Work Blessings..

I consider myself blessed to work for over three decades within mediums I love (see what I did there?) Don’t get it? Radio and Television, anyhoo… when I look back on it, I have also worked in other areas that all have a connection to what I do now.

Can I tell you, I have found this blog to be very therapeutic as it has also forced me to dig wayyy deep in the recesses of my mind, to have you walk with me in my life’s journeys. I have had to call friends to ask if they remember certain dates, places and people’s names. Ole age is something else, eh? I used to laugh at my parents and grandparents when they forget things and blame ole age. I am not doing that now as it is at my door step #coversface.

So after doing the research and digging up factual memories 🙂 I decided to write about my work experiences over the years. So here goes….

My first job fresh out of high school was at the Attorney Generals Office downtown on Barry Street for the summer (thanks mommy). It was short but good; filing and learning about the running of the office and the reason for the Attorney General…(girl crush) Ossie Harding 🙂 who was the attorney general at the time…Moving on..

After the summer I went to the Town Planning Department where I worked in the Registry for a number of years; it is now called N.E.P.A. National Environment and Planning Agency. I got to travel to many known and hidden parts of Jamaica, as the agency had to ensure the plans submitted, did not breach any boundaries and building specs. Can I tell you, the plans for Coney Park, (our theme park back then) came across my desk for registering, so I was ready for it long before anyone else 🙂

Back story time…anywhere that I worked, I always learned other things outside of my duties. So I was stand in/back up telephone or rather switchboard operator. It may seem like nothing, but I had to connect calls by plugging them into extensions. Trust me you had to remain focused or you could plug out the wrong call.

This was the kind of board I used with more extension ports 🙂

I entered Miss Jamaica while there and was approached after the finals to work at a soon to be opened, new hotel, Sandals Dunns River in Ocho Rios, St Ann. The few years at Dunns River has left me with lifelong friends, awesome memories and second degree sunburn, thanks to my boss Paul Tomlinson (love him so much) who loved putting me on pool and beach duty…every week. (Do you all see a swimwear trend in my life?

Wayne, Cheryl, Danny, Tony, Me, Prince
Me & Prince – Beach Party Night

A contingent of personalities were guests of the hotel and I had the honor (or terror) of being the MC for the weekend. Before leaving, Fae Ellington one of Jamaica’s leading media personalities, told me I have the natural talent that should be in media. Mr. T didn’t want me to leave, but knew of my dream of being in media. I stayed through the Christmas holiday, left into the new year, came back to Kingston and enrolled in Fae Ellington’s voice and speech class at the Creative Production Training Centre where I met Susan Simes, (bless her for the China opportunity).

Evander Holyfield – Professional Boxer

While I waited for CVM to launch, I worked at Stuart’s Travel for a year, while still doing more courses at CPTC. I went on to Power 106 FM for a few years, working as Jamaica’s first female technical operator with Barry G ‘The Boogie Man’ and Dr. Leahcim Semaj. I edited shows on reel to reel, (fix your face) its a cassette just 50 times bigger. I oversaw the shift from information on tapes to the computer.

Me & Tony Morrison (in the Sandals group shot)

CVM Television was finally ready to launch and all who were waiting got the call to come in. For over 10 years, I worked as a technical operator in the satellite room, master controller, moved to production and directed and hosted CVM at Sunrise, news, entertainment shows and sporting events, also did news reports. Monica DaSilva 🙂 taught me how to edit promos and programmes (she is the best). I hosted new years events, Jamaica Carnival, did a weekly entertainment show where I interviewed personalities and did a movie review. I got the first interview with my friend Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell when he won the Grammy, such a proud moment.

Hosting Jamaica Carnival Live Coverage
Days of Our Lives Lead cast members visit CVM
Suppose to be editing with Monica DaSilva (in green)

During my time at CVM I went to Trinidad for 3 months; back story…I was running camera and doing lights at a Jamaica carnival event, alongside persons from Trinidad. Back then, women only went before the camera, so I was an anomaly who was invited to work in production for the summer. I remember being at CCN TV 6 and editing something for broadcast and turning around to see all the men watching me, waiting for a slip up I suppose. It stopped after they realized I knew what I was doing 🙂

While still at CVM, Supreme Ventures started their daily lottery games, I saw this as something new to learn, so I volunteered to direct and help them with this new ‘venture’ :). Paul Hoo offered me a job as Draw Coordinator, as he wanted someone on the team with technical skills who could navigate any broadcast challenges and be able to explain to the team in layman terms, what they were. Amanda Hudson (love her) and myself were one of the first draw talents to go live with the daily draws. 13 years of being both a Draw Coordinator and an On Air talent have left me with another set of great memories. I became the girl with the ‘stand-up’ (my model stance) and the ‘Walk Good’ girl. That was always my closing line, in tribute to my Great-Grand mother, Don-Don who always said that to me when I was leaving home. The entire saying goes “Walk Good and mek Good Duppy follow you’. Let good spirits follow you on your walk.

Studio
Amanda Hudson & Me

Kool 97FM during that time was looking for announcers so I auditioned and got the position, starting with one shift. I did this for 13 years while simultaneously working at Supreme Ventures. God Bless Sonia Davidson and Anthony Jackson who always tried to accommodate an Outside Broadcast or any time Kool may need me to cover a shift or any other media related event I had to host…another set of awesome bosses that blessed my working experiences. Yohann Stephens, a former Kool DJ migrated and left the Saturday morning slot open. I was the announcer working alongside him. None of the DJ’s wanted the shift as it was 5-9am (too early for them). I took up the challenge with the assistance of fellow Kool DJ’s, loaded my computer with music and started doing the show by myself. I was so unsure at the start but I grew up around all types of music and the show Kool Alternatives, consisted of a number of musical genres so I had a great time putting together the show till I found my footing. I looked forward to Saturday mornings. I left Kool 97 FM with all that along with being Production Supervisor.

I had to add this work experience; In order to complete my degree I chose to intern at JPS in the Corporate Communications Department. Ruthlyn Johnson (uwi lecturer during my degree) and Winsome Callum both true Boss Ladies to me and I learned so much from them. Let me tell you something, it was never an intern work, straight out the starting block, I was writing press releases, commercials, writing presenter introductions. I interviewed and wrote pieces on interns there at the time (yes I was one…kinda), worked with the team on their Streetlight launch in Montego-Bay, Race to Save community project and on the JPS Power Smart tv show. I am very proud of being given free reign to create the JPS Bushing flyer that gave information on trimming tress and shrub safety during the hurricane period. Their fun day was another one of the highlights for me. Called the JPS Power Up Championships, there is JPS TV, (yes please!) and I was the roving reporter for the day. I also co-hosted with Boss Lady, Ruthlyn, on their monthly intranet show. whew!!! Love my JPS family.

My newest work journey move has been to another radio station, The Edge 105 FM, since January of this year, as a producer/presenter. It has been another learning experience and forging of friendships. I look forward to where this innovative Reggae station takes me and Jamaica.

Live Out Loud Team Me (producer) & Tami (host)
High Frequency Team Me, (producer) Sajay (tech op) & Alaine (host)

I am open for what is next for me. I have been told the best is yet to come, even better days are ahead in this ‘new year’ of my life and work blessings as I continue to ‘Walk Good and mek Good Duppy follow Me’.

Rox on the Runway…

Along with dreams of representing my country through service, being a fashion model was another big dream of mine and after meeting my fashion model idol, I was intent on being the next Iman. Back story…I had the immense pleasure of meeting Iman when she visited Jamaica, when I was a contestant in the Pulse Fashion Model competition. I always wore bangs as I was teased in school about my ‘buck forehead’ (large forehead) so I would cover it with bangs. She called me up, moved the bangs aside and said, ‘You are beautiful! Do not hide your face.’ Listen…that was it; I stopped wearing bangs that day.

80’s Supermodel Iman

I started doing fashion shows at the Hughenden community center in my neighborhood as well as school, church and after work fashion shows. I loved being on the stage; I could be any character I wanted based on what I was wearing. I get lost in it.

CVM after work Fashion show
Atlanta Fashion Show

Miguel Models was run by The Music Maestro, Michael Barnett and was one of the first agencies I was signed to. For those who remember the Oceana hotel in downtown Kingston, that was the home of the agency and where most of the shows were held. I got great early experience on the runway, in print, in the ring and my first billboard. Yes I said ‘the ring’. What had happened was…I was a ring girl for the final fight of iconic Jamaican boxer Richard ‘Shrimpy’ Clarke and it is said I distracted him… and that’s why he lost the fight..(covers face)

First print ad

Miguel Models started the ‘Uptown vs Downtown’ fashion series of shows. Let me explain; dancehall fashion was becoming prominent in our dances and parties in the 90’s. Earl ‘Biggie’ Turner was one of the leading dancehall designers then (still is) and I loved wearing his pieces. So what Michael did was have us, his ‘uptown models’ showcase the mainstream clothing and brought in popular dancehall ladies to model the latest in dancehall fashion. Included in the lineup were Carlene Smith who went on to be our ‘Dancehall Queen Carlene’, and Michelle Downer, who is now known as recording artist ‘D’Angel’. I will now reveal the secret to the show (sorry Michael). I would come out with Dale in mainstream fashion, then Dale would immediately come back out in dancehall fashion. Whaaa? He was actually a twin and we loved to see the confused looks in the audience as they wondered how he changed so fast. Thanks for the great memories Michael 🙂

Next up in my ‘model life’ was signing with Jade Marc Models, remember Bridgette 🙂 ?  We did a number of shows at Coney Park, which was Jamaica’s theme park then. We also did a number of music videos. I loved being in the video ‘Dancehall Queen’ with who is now my very good friend Peter Lloyd. My face is shown, but the director, Lennie Little-White utilized another part of my anatomy as he said it would be an ‘asset’ to the video 🙂 I am glad you all won’t be able to find it online (crosses fingers). The other video I had tons of fun doing was Fab 5’s ‘Don’t wear none’. I was honoured to also be on the cover of the album.

Bridgette (2nd left) and Kay (far right) 🙂
Bridgette (left – in green ) Me (right – two-piece)

After I completed the Miss Jamaica and Pulse Model competitions, the awesomely creative soul that is my dear friend Weston Haughton and I started working together on shows. I can’t quite remember how it all came about, but I was and still am at his side as production assistant, back stage manager and sometimes  ending up on stage handing out awards, if the presenter is not available. I always make sure to dress up in the event I hear, ‘Roxene here, go hand this out’. Weston creates the most creative and exciting runway shows and he always finds a way to get me on the runway. I remember one show in Florida, the designer forgot my top and Weston said ‘make it work girl’, so my hands became my top and I just had to keep saying, ‘Roxene, don’t drop your hands!’ 🙂

Outfits all the way from South Africa

Weston and our fashion family in Atlanta and Florida still put on shows, so I do get to Rock the Runway from time to time. A majority of the designs are made by Caribbean designers as Weston wants to ensure their talent is showcased on the shows. There was one show where the designer took my measurements and the pieces were made and sent from South Africa… you know I had to make sure no extra weight was attained before the show 🙂 There was another show where he wanted to school the audience on different colours, so we had a fruit platter backstage and he handed us fruit that matched our outfits as we went out. Go figure.

I have entered the stage on a bike through the audience, I have been a dancehall queen, a movie icon, worn just a hat and a man’s shirt, carnival costumes, dresses that left little to the imagination, lots of swimwear, G’s included, (Weston likes putting me in swimsuits 🙂 ) and some of the most beautiful wedding dresses and evening gowns. There were so many varieties of outfits, so many, that I just can’t remember them all.

Even though I never got to walk the runways of Milan, do Fashion Week in New York or make the cover of Vogue, the fashion shows, print ads, tv commercials and videos that I have had the opportunity to be part of, will always be very special to me, as I Rocked the Local Runways…

From TomBoy to Top 10!

Representing my country has always been a dream for me. Though the route it has taken was not my choice, through it all I have learnt and grown and met the most awesome souls along the way..

My mom reminded me the other day, that I had told her while still young, that I will be the first female tourism minister (that didn’t happen) but, I still haven’t given up the dream of using the gifts I have, to work for Jamaica, my heartbeat. (maybe Senator…what you think?)

So, what had happened wuuuz…I was approached to enter Miss Jamaica World; me, tomboy Roxene, who stress out her mother when it’s time to comb my thick maroon hair 😔 always climbing trees, running tyres and building juice box trucks. I remember one Saturday evening after a day of hard, sweaty playing, this ‘dirty, chip up’ person, passing my mother in the hallway, she shaking her head and saying to herself, “I know I left the hospital with a girl”.

Me trying to do a cartwheel ‘kin pupalik’
You see the look!

So, my transformation actually began a year before the pageant which was held in 1990. I was still not sure about entering so I took my time to get prepared as best I could; I started working out for the first time and after the initial ‘pain up’ I grew to love working out, even till today; learning to apply makeup (which I still cannot do so well, but I managed); then personal grooming (waxing/shaving, sweet Jesus! ) and knowing how to style my hair, ugh!!! (notice how my hair is always pulled back in one 🙂 )

The brain ole, so I do not recall all the details of elimination into the top 18, but I made it, duhhh. But what I do remember, is that it was a whirlwind of intense preparation leading into final night. Filled with voice and speech sessions, learning the ‘pageant walk’ and of course getting up to speed on current and international affairs for the interview segments, to be able to strike up conversations when we were on the different engagements as finalists. We never knew who the judges were until pre-judging, so at any event at which we were guests, any one of the persons engaging us in conversation could be a judge. Knowing that, we made sure to always be on point in everything, from head to toe.

Do you see my career goal..Tourism Minister

There were many memorable parts of the pageant and one was travelling the length and breadth of Jamaica. Any former pageant entrant can correct me but I believe in our year, 1990, we went to almost every parish in Jamaica. I met some incredible people and the experience with the girls is something I have always cherished. I have kept in touch with a number of the girls to this day; my pageant roommate Cheryl Gore, Kay Chin (who went on to be Miss Jamaica Bikini and Miss Body Beautiful), Jillian Henry, Hillary Henry, Bridgette McDonald and all the other awesome ladies.

Colgate Smile with Bridgette McDonald

One lifelong friend who to this day calls me his right and left hand, is Weston Haughton. He was and still is the creative mind behind the Miss Jamaica pageants. With Weston, you never know what the theme will be each year, just that it will be unforgettable. In my year we arrived at the National Arena via a cruise ship (yes mi dear! ) it was exciting, we were met by the Captain and serenaded by cabaret singer Nicky O.J.

Captain and Miss Jamaica 1990 Erica Aquart (red dress)

Did I tell you I was contestant number 13? Well it became a thing after I was sashed. Bless their hearts, Dorraine Samuels (sleep in peace, she always encouraged me when I started my journey in media) and Allan Magnus always said ‘Lucky number 13’ when they introduced me. I loved that. There were moments during interviews that I was told “you are good looking for a black girl”, (still don’t know what that means) but I took it in stride, said thank you and kept going, absorbing the experience that no one can ever take from me.

Lucky number 13 Miss Interiors 2

I had entered the Pulse Fashion Model pageant in 1988 as I was gonna be the next Iman (sashay Shonte, finger snaps in a circle, guurl! 🙂 )and in early 1990, I entered the Miss Universe Bikini and the Miss Spartan Body Beautiful so I was quite comfortable being on stage by the time I got to the competition on September 1. 

Me and Bridgette again 🙂

I say with pride that in all the competitions I have entered I have made top 10 and or top 5. I won the semifinal of Miss Cactus Bikini and have trophies and medals for stage presence and poise.

Do you see Collin Hines Face?
Miss Cactus Bikini

My pageant days are behind me, but never forgotten as they helped to shape, figuratively and otherwise, the woman I have grown into today. Even though I retired from entering pageants, I am now pageant coach and chief chaperone of the Miss Jamaica World Pageant and have been blessed to still be able to work with such beautiful ladies as they pursue their goals and dreams of representing this beautiful and blessed piece of solid rock… my home, my heart JAMAICA.

When I stop struggling…I Float

Nobody’s life is easy and if someone says so, lets all go to him or her to find out the formula. Truth be told, i have always strive for perfection in all areas of my life, from as far back as i can remember, but i do not want a perfect existence (would you, that’s boring, no challenge 🙂 )as i have learnt from my mistakes (for want of a better word).

I am always throughout my life looked at as strong, the one who is there to listen to give a word of encouragement always having it together. There were many times I was tired of being strong. I would have liked to be on the receiving end of a shoulder an encouraging word, but when I voice that i’m not feeling mentally great and i’m just tired, I was met with ‘what is wrong with you, you got this, you are the poster girl for strength’. So as not to be a burden I will in my quiet space, release my human emotions (alien here), regroup and put back on my wonder woman cape.

Wonder Woman

Listen, the only person you have control over is yourself. I have had bosses who have told me to ‘stand down’ when i was asked to give my opinion on a work scenario based on my years in the field and another boss asked if i needed to do one of endometriosis surgeries, stating ‘this is not a good time’. Can i tell you the pain was so bad that while working, a wave of pain hit me so bad, i could not see the script, God bless the director who told me what to say till i could move on. I chose the high road and approached each challenge with dignity as i have said in a previous post i always think of not embarrassing my mother, trust me, thoughts of my mother before reacting or responding in a particular way have kept me employed and out of prison. (filter issues)

I recount such events to illustrate that we are all faced with challenges whether personal or professional and we have to control the narrative (that was so good) but seriously, we have to decide how we are going to deal with the challenging and sometimes unfair situations that life presents us with.

Relationships were not a strong part of my early life, I was brought up with the notion that as a woman you never complain but be the support for your partner and he doesn’t need to know everything in regard to what you are feeling or really think about something in particular, so I would suffer in silence with all my thoughts and questions and taking on more than I should, which resulted in me for many years i didn’t feel worthy to speak up for myself.

I gathered love by being supportive and doing all that is needed as a partner but over time that came with disappointments, hurt and a shaken self-esteem not knowing that a relationship needs to be a team effort, give and take.

In 2019 i took on this quote from Steve Harvey ‘You never know your parachute works tiil you jump’. I have jumped a few times and the chute opened and landing in new spaces have been life altering for me and since 2020 with the journey into my ‘new year’ of life (50) My mantra Has been ‘Everything is always working out for me’. Trust me it will work out for you.

When YOU stop struggling, look around, be silent and notice how you begin to float.

I’m a Pelican…Again…Go UWI!

I had traveled the higher education road before when I completed my Diploma in Mass Communications at CARIMAC. Then, it was understood that the education path was to go through Primary school, then High school, then on to University. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to go, but it took two attempts before I made it, because Mass Communications is a very competitive course and everyone in media wanted a spot. 

At this stage in my life, I think I have a greater appreciation for UWI life than I believe I would have had in 1997. The university is not so ‘theory focused’ any more and the courses have become so much more practical and hands on. This is something that I loved about the course I chose.

I wanted to improve on my skills and I asked a close friend for advice on what I should do. When he suggested that I pursue a fairly new degree in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), I gave serious thought to finding new friends since going back to school was not what I had in mind. Couldn’t I just wave a magic wand or drink some kinda potion or something, c’mon dude! 

I felt that at my age, who on God’s green Earth would want to subject themself to that kind of commitment and hard work and assignments and deadlines and playing nice with other classmates?  Not to  mention the godawful, wretched, mandatory English Language entrance test I’d have to do in order to get in, even though I had passed both English Language and English Literature at the CXC level. Turns out that mi proppa, good up grade dem nevva matta because dem doh recognize CXC! Yuh si how di devil bad mind?! I don’t like tests, they don’t like me, we don’t like each other…but I studied the 40 odd page book, sat the test, passed it like a boss and the 3 year journey began.

It took a minute…like a year…before I got my UWI rhythm and grew over time to love the versatility of IMC. This course complements my media experience. It also introduced…and frightened the crap out of me…to elements such as poetry, creating a website, creating surveys and conceptualizing and implementing three events, yes sah! Tossed off of a cliff and told to fly! 

Group work is a great part of UWI life; it preps us to be able to deal with varied egos, personalities and scenarios. Trust me it wasn’t fun at times, because no matter how strong the group is, you’ll always have those that won’t pull their weight. Truth be told, sometimes you’ll want to just slap somebody! I can say with pride and a great deal of relief, that I had wonderful groups during my tenure; we leaned on each other whether or not we had a project, studying and  helping each other, even with courses we weren’t doing, upholding the pledge that we would leave no one behind.

The friendships formed over the 3 years on campus are priceless and we all keep in touch… thank God, I am better versed in using social media #coversface. Love them all as they still cannot believe my age, still requiring signed proof 🙂 

Love you all forever….(There aren’t enough pages for all the pictures I have 🙂 )

Listen, I may be a graduate with a degree but I’m not so smart. In second year, a message was sent in the wattsapp group about team members that made the Dean’s list. I was showering them with love and telling them how proud I was of them, only to have them say “Rox you made the list” Whaaaat??? I was so damned focused on not failing any part of the course, that I wasn’t watching GPA or Dean’s List! (I made that list twice, by the way, and had to be told both times, oy vey!) Hard to believe I’m allowed to wander around without parental supervision!:) Those were proud moments for me, it meant all my hard work and dedication were paying off.

Let me tell you something, I did not attend UWI alone. God has blessed me with such an incredible circle of friends who were there with me when I felt that failure was a sign of the  times and I should just pack it all in and slink off to raise sheep in New Zealand; supporting me late into the night when the paper for midnight submission was looking anything but ready; being there when my part of the project refused to come together, offering themselves as interviewees or test subjects for many of my projects and showing up for the events my group had to put on. I don’t have enough words to express my eternal thanks to all my friends who are family. When I graduated I said ‘We finish UWI’ and we are all graduating.

I did it……
Family and Friends…well some. UWI wouldn’t let them all in 🙂

Each course came with a variety of lecturers, running the gamut from the sweetest, who took the time to assist and encourage, to the harshest ones, who, with a little help, sent you to figure that baby out yourself! There were others that were so mean, I had to take to prayer in order to subdue the thoughts I had about them. Mummy would have been ashamed. Shi try wid mi enuh! 

But get this…for my entire school life, I always thought I wasn’t a bright student. School seemed to be harder for me  than it did for my friends and classmates. It seemed to take more effort for me to grasp things, I had to work harder and do extra classes. I hated school. But then, in my second year at UWI, when I felt I would fail because of a particularly difficult course, a lecturer took the time to assess me and informed me that I am what is called a ‘Kinesthetic learner.’ Hmm? What now? Well, it means I learn best by writing out my notes, highlighting sections during the lectures, using sticky notes with topic areas. This process helps me retain the information better. Remember I said me and tests don’t gree? I freeze up even if I know the subject. After my diagnosis 🙂 I got pass papers and wrote out the essays where it was required, wrote out the answers to questions. Study groups also helped a great deal. When I got into the exams I remembered what I had written, it helped to spark my memory and calm my nerves, and I did better in the exams going to the end of my time at UWI. 

A humbling and gratitude filled moment was when I got my results and realized I had received Second Class Honors.  When I started my journey to being a Pelican again…I didn’t think I could do it, I doubted myself during the process but I learned so much from the books, the lecturers, my fellow classmates and all the experiences in my 3 1/2 years at the University of the West Indies…again.

UWI’s motto “Oriens Ex Occidente Lux” means “Light rising from the West.” My light has risen and will continue to shine as I make my mark and continue to learn and grow in whatever I decide to pursue.

I am a Endo Sister….Friends call me Wonder Woman

Endometriosis…Have you ever heard of it?

This disease affects 1 in 10 women worldwide and I am one of those women. I was diagnosed 10 years ago when I was trying to get pregnant.

It was a difficult, emotional time for me and in researching this disease I found that Jamaica has a support foundation called BASE, led by my amazing Endo sister (that’s what we call each other) Shauna Fuller-Clarke https://basejamaica.com/ 

Any opportunity I get to speak about endometriosis I do. I became quite the mouthpiece, doing all I could to bring light to this thing that I had discovered. In fact, in my first year at The University of the West Indies (UWI) I wrote a paper and did a presentation on it for class. The first diagnosed case in Jamaica was a 14 year old girl, showing that age is not a factor. Many persons did not know endometriosis existed, after all, it is the norm to have ‘bad periods’, right? Most people just thought that this Curse of Eve was supposed to be a miserable, painful experience and pretty much just accepted and worked with it.

Wearing Yellow for all my Endo Sisters around the World

While featuring women living with Endometriosis, Rocheda Bartley did a feature on me. (Link to the feature included)

https://flairja.com/endometriosis-through-the-eyes-of-a-warrior

Since the feature about my journey was published, I have been humbled and am happy with the responses I have received. This is a difficult topic to discuss and so many women were living in pain and despair, thinking they were alone. 

This is what women who reached out to me on my IG page told me as they thanked me for speaking out and putting them in touch with the BASE Foundation and with my doctor Michael Abrahams, who is a Godsend, and so aware of the difficulties of opening up about so private and for some women, embarrassing a topic. They were appreciative of me taking the time to answer their messages, and I am thankful to have been able to offer support in any way I could.

I have been through the surgeries (laparascopic), the miscarriages and am in pain every single day of my life. The worst moment for me was waking up in the hospital after a procedure to induce labour, knowing I would never hold my baby in my arms (she died in-vitro). I was 5 months pregnant at the time, long enough to have fallen in love, formed a bond, planned how I would embrace ‘mommy-dom’. These things, these kinds of pain, are what women suffering with this insidious disease go through, wondering what they did wrong, what they could have done better, too ashamed to speak out and claim the help and support they need. 

This disease affects your life in so many ways: it comes with depression from the constant pain; it affects your sex life because of the pain; your work and social life suffer because of the pain. Pain…mental, physical, emotional…becomes a part of your existence and you just don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. Spontaneity doesn’t work anymore. Every plan depends on how you may be feeling on any given day. 

That is why support is essential to you getting through each day, and yes, it is daily, because each day brings a different part of Endo, a different challenge we have to battle through. But if we stand together, support each other, educate our partners so they have a true understanding, we will manage. Hopefully they will find out why this happens and a cure will be discovered soon. #crossesfingers #prayerforendosisters

Bless my dear friends for seeing strength in me that I sometimes don’t see in myself, but those two words in the title of this blog ‘Warrior’ and ‘Wonder’ are words I will continue to try to live up to. I will embrace them as I continue to fight for myself and my sisters who also know the heartbreak, isolation and self flagellation of this disease. For those of you who are blessed to be Endo free, please take the time to read up on this illness, support your friends and family who may be going through it. Gentlemen, please be gentle men, and show the compassion, understanding and care that your women need as they fight on. Let them see the amazing men they fell in love with. 

Endometriosis…..It is here but it will not define who we are…we are Endo Sisters, Endo Warriors…Wonder Woman says so…

Me…write a Blog?…No sah!

I had always heard about blogs and bloggers but never found out what it was all about. I just knew it was persons writing about places they went and things they did and sharing it on this platform. My journey into the world of blogs came about during my second year at university. I had a communications class where we had the choice of creating a blog, vlog or website so I decided to start a blog.

Listen!!! I wasn’t savvy (and still am not) in all the technological in’s and out’s of how to start and navigate a blog page. I must admit I got frustrated and wondered why I was doing it. Because I figured no one would want to read my blog, I stopped working on it for months. But that darn voice…you know the insistent, nagging, annoying one that sounds like your persistent Great Aunt…kept telling me that this is part of my purpose and I need to just get it done and publish it, even if it isn’t perfect. I knew that by launching it, I would be forced to create content and have to work on it a little bit each day, so I bit the proverbial bullet and stepped off the cliff. I would either grow wings on the way down or smash to pieces on the rocks below…which quite frankly sounds messy and more than a little painful. 

So I started researching for the best blog site to use. I was told WordPress is one of the good ones and since I am thinking big, it can be monetized at some point. I scoffed at that part, as my purpose is to inspire and motivate even one person with my journeys, but I am open to all possibilities it will bring; one never scoffs at money after all, let’s be honest. 

Here are #MyNickle2cents on starting a blog.

Figure out what you want the blog to be about. It may take a few tries…then a few more, but just put pen to paper and it will come. “If you build it, they will come.” Remember that movie? Good stuff! 

Start putting together pictures that you want placed within the blog (we are visual beings)

Gather your thoughts, figure out the sound of your blog, how your words will paint the picture, the angle that you want to take in presenting your posts.

Have at least 3 – 4 blogs to start with, so persons will have enough to absorb to get a feel of your personality and the direction you’re heading in, but also to give yourself time to work on the other set of blogs, without stressing yourself too much. 

Set the launch date and work towards it as best you can. Yes it may pass, but flap those wings and move along. 

I am always thankful of how blessed I am to have the most wonderful circle of friends. In starting to work out the graphics and look of my blog, I turned to my best friend Noran (shameless plug for my friend, who is uber creative). I told him I wanted a “thing” that speaks to me, who I am and where I am from and he created the beautiful banner you see as you visit my page.

Blog Banner

Then I thought maybe I should have a logo to give it a more authentic look and in a few days he sent one he conjured up for me. No back and forth; he created, sent it, I fell in love…next. Flapping those wings, baby! 

Blog Logo

Just as an aside, what with all the wing flapping and flying and such, the initials of my name are RAVN (pronounced Raven 🙂 so Noran said, using the Game of Thrones analogy, I am from house RAVEN…yes we are silly, maybe that’s why we are friends… ok, moving on #coversface

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a banner or logo. You can choose to have one or the other, or none at all. It doesn’t matter. But whatever you do choose, it must represent you. Don’t try to be anybody else. Just do you, boo. 

So now I have a banner and a logo, I continued trying to figure out WordPress, it was still a challenge, but I dedicated at least 2-3 hours each day to work on it and with the help of a former UWI classmate Fitsroy (check out his blog) https://fitsroythoughts.wordpress.com/contact/, we got it to the launch point, not perfect, but i told myself, “Self, we are not gonna pass the date I had set for publishing the blog.”

I must admit it has been fulfilling and life changing, these few weeks since I published Roxenesjourney. Oh chile, lemme tell ya, It has been a new journey! Reading the comments, hearing from persons about how my blog posts make them feel, inspiring others to start their own blogs has been humbling.

Purpose achieve…I will continue to share my journeys on this ‘new year’ of my milestone life…I hope you continue with me to ‘Walk Good’.

I’m 50…whats next….??

I am now a half century, it is a milestone birthday that i have been looking forward to and it is now here. Can i tell you, my birthday fell on the actual day i was born, Wednesday, it has to be a sign that the best is yet to come.

I was told by my friend Tami that i am now in my new year, as my birth month cuts the year in half so i have six months to chart new waters and follow my purpose.

I have no regrets over these 50 years, good bad or indifferent the many experiences i have been blessed with, yes i say blessed, that is how i have felt as i believed these experiences were to make me stronger as i learned on my life’s journey.

Terri & Garfene – Birthday Surprise
Weston always gives me the best gifts…
Edge family made my day so awesome

St Elizabeth at 77 West

Good friends better than pocket money…..

My day was made extra special with all the love i was showered with and the awesome gifts and words of affirmation. Words failed me as i realized the effect i have had on people who have touched my life.

I have always felt that even with my talent (my voice) there was more that i should be doing, as if i haven’t been fulfilling my true purpose.

I started this blog as a project while i was completing my degree last November, so this is the start or rather re-start and re-vamping of using my voice to make a difference in the life of even one person.

Love these people so very much….Avengers Unite……

I am looking forward to all the new experiences that are on their way to me. I hope by sharing them with you, it may make you smile and in some way inspire or motivate you to find and follow your purpose. Walk Good!!

The Taj Mahal

A trip to India is not complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal. It was our last few hours in India.  The drive was 5 hours either way to get there, we left the hotel at 6am. Eva from El Salvador, Emma from Honduras and myself, charted a taxi for the trip. Our driver Rajesh, was super accommodating as we made stops for food and supplies.

Many naps later, we arrived at the Taj Mahal. Cars aren’t allowed on the stretch, which is where we met Mohammed, an awesome guy, and our tour guide, with his own tour company Agra_trip_packages. He told us about the rich history of the Taj Mahal, how it was built, what the tools and labour force included, and about the gardens that surround the Taj Mahal.

Mohammed is an excellent photographer, as he assisted us with getting the perfect shots and angles of the Taj Mahal. No pictures were allowed on the inside, so we absorbed, and basked in it’s essence.
The view at the back of the Palace where the rivers meet was breathtaking, it was beautiful.

The Taj Mahal

On leaving the Taj Mahal, Mohammed took us to where the marble was made in the Palace. We purchased replicas of the Palace, and other little trinkets to commemorate the moment. We thanked Mohammed for an unforgettable experience, and promised to send him the pictures, and the link to the blog where he could keep up to date.

Made it back to Dehli, where the journey ended in India and I had time to only pick up my luggage and began the journey back to Jamaica.

Thank you India for the priceless memories. Namaste.

Warrior 2
Yogi Emma
Nailed it
Namaste
Not a selfie
At the back of the Taj Mahal
The Taj crew
The Taj crew with Mohammed behind the lens.

Meeting India’s Prime Minister

Next on the itinerary was the visit to the Prime Minister. By 7:45am we were all gathered in the lobby ready to depart. Everyone was dressed so nice, some in their national outfits. There were about 5 to 6 buses parked at the front, ready to take us to the Prime Minister’s office. It didn’t take us long to get there, but when we did, that was an experience in patience.
There were 2 security checkpoints, which took about 3 hours, then another hour as they placed us for the official photo with the Prime Minister. The time was passed by sharing our experiences in India and with our fellow delegates.
Finally it was time to take the official picture. As is protocol, the room fell silent, Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered the room and took up his appointed position, many cameras flashed, as there was a large contingent of press in the room. The official photo moment went quite quickly and the Prime Minister then exited the room. 
Chairs were then brought in and put out for us to prepare for the Prime Minister’s speech, we were given our translation receivers and headphones. The Prime Minister and the official delegation returned and went on the stage. A member of our delegation spoke on our behalf, thanking the Indian Government for hosting us. 
Prime Minister Modi’s speech was inspiring. He spoke on the journey of his country and its people and thanked us for coming to share in India’s rich history during the Kumbh Mela. He asked us to share our experience with our people when we get back to our countries and extended with open arms an invitation to return soon to India.
Tiffany Henriques- Antigua & Barbuda

Lytton Cheesman – Guatemala

Chief Jean-Yves EboumbouDouala-Bell – Republic of Cameroon

Momodou Lamin Manga surrounded by our liaison officers

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi
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