In The Eye of The Storm

You know, I sure have never seen the inside of the eye of the storm, but you’ve heard the stories, right? That…in the dead center, if you were to stand there, it is deathly calm, and there is a barricade of wind stopping the destruction from entering that very middle.

I imagine that they call it the eye of the storm because of way that the swirling pattern looks from way up high…birds eye view, way up high where there is no destruction, just a bird looking down at a pattern, swirling forward.

Coming back down to the vantage point of INSIDE the storm, in the eye, there is calm, and there is clarity. Being this eye, and being this calm…seeing your storms clearly, makes a world (or a whirl) of difference.

This month has seen me activate many new levels in my life – moving on to a new season. Rest assured that the season I have just come from is adamant that I must either stay in it, or be so bothered by the moving storm that I shift my focus away from the calm encircling my vision. I see the truth of where I am standing and seeing that, it makes the storm swirl around me BEYOND the barrier of wind.

Let me bring this into focus for you.

My father…not quite the man people think he is..least of all him..is an abusive and manipulative man, who has chosen for all of his life, to plaster on the face of good works, and of being a ‘good’ Samaritan, rather than face himself in the mirror. Deep down he knows that this masquerade will eventually push to the far corners of his world, everything that he has tried to keep close.

The more that I leaned into my own personal healing, was the more that I saw and became strong enough to bear the weight of who he really is, as a man, and as a human being. I was able to really feel the weight of the pain my inner child felt – the defenceless little girl he abandoned to someone else’s care whilst he lived a mere 15 minutes away and neither called, nor visited. I was able to put into proper perspective that whilst he may not admit to himself that he is an angry, wife beater, I am only responsible to myself for telling myself the truth of what I saw in him as a child where there was another story spilling out like blood onto the floor. Every smiling, self-congratulating thing that he has ever said to himself about himself is lost behind the whirling lies that he has created in his own life. He has projected the evil he saw in himself onto my brother, and like the sweet and affable person that I do miss, my brother sapped it up and became the monster that my father pretended that he himself was not. They both could have healed, but my brother trapped himself in his pain whilst assuming my father’s lies.

In the last year, I’ve seen how powerful we humans can be, whether or not we understand that truly, we create each and every circumstance in our own lives. I’ve seen my father, spit lies from his mouth, whilst the truth of his soul creates circumstances that match the weight of his burden – the burden of lies. Rather than manifest healing, by admitting to himself, “Me..I am that monster,” instead, he has never, not even once, acknowledged nor admitted to any of his wrongs. Rather, everything is all everyone else’s fault – his wife LEFT him, the government is terrible, his neighbours are atrocious and all the ‘other’ people are assholes.

For a decade, I chose to remain here and live with him, mostly to stay close to my nephew, but also because I chose during that time to focus on my own healing, rather than activate whatever vengeance I could have harboured for the man. Instead I learned to both love him, flaws and all but also, see him in his whole truth, at the same rate that I saw myself in all my own truth.

The brunt of my healing, now completed, I can move on, and have chosen to. I told him I was moving. The next day he fell and burst his head. I cleaned the bruise, patched it, encouraged him to seek medical attention, but instead he spiritedly walked around the neighbourhood telling everyone how he fell, seeking their pity and lapping up the attention he got over his fall. It was quite convenient that this fall should happen when he learned that finally he would be left alone to face his own demons.

Spiritual Sabotage
Realising that he was continuing to sprout the narrative that I would, as I had done before, go for another long haunting stretch to my other places, Grande Riviere, and Tobago but return for a spell at some point, I reminded him a few days ago, that no, I was leaving, for good. I’m leaving. I’m not returning, not soon, not ever. He had a seizure yesterday morning.

Now, I did the right thing, and called the ambulance, attended to him, made sure he got to the hospital and everything related to his care yesterday. However, in my spirit, where I have chosen to pull truth up every time I am facing the option of lies or truth, I’ve seen how powerfully this man’s manipulative grasp is wanting to extend into me. It was not enough that I was merely a punching bag for his weak ego all my life. Now, that he is losing grasp and he can see in my eyes, that I’ve seen him in the fullness of his true self, and am no longer drinking his Kool-aid, his spirit is now entertaining a slew of antics.

The doctors discovered nothing in his blood, X-Ray, CT-Scan or ECG to confirm that a seizure should have happened, or would happen again. This was entirely manifested by the storm raging around his own denial, about himself.

In clarity and calm, I see his storm raging around me, along with everything else form my past that has tossed itself into the winds in the last two weeks and wanting to hold me bondage to the family and life that I am leaving behind when I move out of my father’s house at the end of this month.

I won’t crash his narrative. I will play along until I am just not there to be a part of the play anymore, and whatever story is left behind will be his to tell, and re-tell.

I live in truth, and in the eye of the storm, I see the storm clearly. The storm will die away if you just, stand still…stand still in truth.

Lies, even the ones that you tell yourself manifest a chaotic life… a loveless life, a frenetic and stressed life as you focus so gingerly each day on preserving the lie, that you don’t realise that you are swirling around and around and going nowhere.

Five years ago, I stepped out of the storm of my own life, and it has increasingly given me the peace and clarity to stay out of storms entirely.

It is as quiet today, as it was the yesterday and the day before that, here in the truthful eye of the storm.

The Truth of the Matter Is

They say “the truth shall set you free.”
It doesn’t.
..unless you act on it.

This has never been more true for me than in my relationships with people.

Maya Angelou has famously been known to have said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Before I knew that it would be worth it, it was depressing and tiring – leaving friendships, closing doors, opening new ones..

One of my manipulators hissed at me one day, “you’ll die alone..” and for a while I kept that idea close, believed that I had to stay..or else I would end up alone and unloved..that version of me needed much more bravery then, to walk away, than I do now.

..but alas, the truth of the matter is..one day you will walk into the rooms that refresh you instead of exhaust you.. By acting on the truth that “You are worth more than this..”, you foster an energy around you that gathers momentum every time you ACT on this knowledge. This ball of energy eventually stirs wildly enough around you that you start to open new doors and become pleasantly surprised when…they show up for you, they love you, they even really like you..they don’t wish to hurt you, though not perfect, but they are true..they are truth.they act kindly on the love they say they have for you. They reflect your truths. They reflect beauty.. all because, you were brave enough to ACT on the truth that “I am worth more than this..”

One day…your actions will set you free, if you keep believing in yourself enough to take them..

– JanBerry

#selflove #healing #knowthyself #lovingself #soul #spirit #sexuality #spirituality #duality #writing #author #genderidentity #genderexpression #gender #masculinity #femininity #lgbtq #lgbtqia

The Dream by JanBerry – Excerpt

“Are you feeling for this?”

“Thunder!” She smacked her lips playfully. “Sure.”

She spun around to face me, pushing me back into the bed, and grabbed onto Thunder directing him into the O-ring, with her hands over mine and looking at my eyes.

Melting, I smiled at her, and she smiled back as she stood up on the bed to pull down her slacks.

Whilst she was doing that, I grabbed the lube from the side-table and squeezed some onto Thunder. I wanted to enjoy rubbing the lubricant onto it for a minute, but Zia didn’t waste any time. Before I could properly get Thunder ready for her, she knelt over me and positioned her pussy onto Thunder and slowly slid lower over him and smiling sensually.

I slid my hands under her vest, and she lifted her hands so that I could take her vest o . I could see impatience as it crept across her demeanour. She raised herself o of Thunder and jumped o of the bed, to lay on her back closer to the edge instead, then stretched her hand out to reach for me.
I scooted o of the bed and bent my knees slightly, to lean down into Zia’s mid-section. Our bed was custom-built to be just beneath the height of my waist, for occasions such as these. Pressing into Zia, I guided Thunder back in to her.

She invited him in with a squeal, and cut her eyes at me, then stopped moving, to ask, “Did you understand what I meant about the tree?”

“Yep, I got you.”

I stuck my tongue out, content with my retention, then grinned at her. She rolled her eyes and laughed.

I looked down at Thunder rubbing past her pubic hair, listening to the slick sounds, and then stopped..

“Tell me that you want it.” I said to her. She bit her bottom lip. “Yeah.”

“I’ll stop. Tell me. Say, I want it.”

“I want it baby. I want it.”

Thunder was not very thick, but he was long — great for quick thrusts. Of all the colors that this dildo came in, Zia chose the purple. I didn’t care for all these scandalous colors, but for her pleasure, I would go to any length, and Thunder surely had it in him. (Heh!)

……….

– Excerpt from Chapter 2, The Dream by JanBerry

#janberry #thedream #writing #author #genderidentity #genderexpression #gender #masculinity #femininity

Node’s Tussle

Rizzo gently picked up the chicken as he stepped forward. “Where were you going anyway? There are wild dogs out there.”

“One of these days I’ll leave you to your wits and see what comes of it.”

Node clucked defiantly, as if to test Rizzo’s statement, making her chuckle.

“Okay, then.”

Node had one stray red feather that stuck straight up in the air, like a feather in a cap. It was almost hilarious, but Node took himself so seriously that it stopped you from laughing.

Rizzo opened the pen and placed Node near to the warmer. “Have a great night Node. Stay alive. There are wild dogs out there.”

Node turned her head away from Rizzo as she placed her down on the straw.

Leaving all the chickens to retire for the night, Rizzo turned on the warming bulbs and turned off the side porch light, so that the chicks had a nice glow over them.

She looked back before heading inside and locking the door. Node’s red feather was visible through the cage wire, and side board. “Crazy chicken,” she thought, chuckling.

The next morning, Rizzo walked to the yard, as she usually did. Her heart began to melt when she saw the bottom of the pen door smashed in. Several chicks lay dead, half eaten and smothered in their own blood on the ground. Node was nowhere to be seen, and she feared the worst until she heard him clucking. Rizzo looked up to see Node on the roof of the pen, and exhaled in relief.

Rizzo stretched a broom handle toward Node so that he could grab onto it and be taken down.

“How’d you get up there anyway?”

Node pecked at and picked up the chick that he had rescued, then grabbed onto the broom handle and let Rizzo bring him down.

Once on the ground, Node released his clasp on the chick and let it walk away, then turned toward Rizzo.

There was a bit of ripped flesh on on Node’s side, and he was bloody. It looked like he’d been in a tussle.

“I couldn’t let those bitches get away with ALL the chicks.”

Rizzo looked down in shock, “Did he just…?!”

There would be no answer to that. Node pressed his chest back into the air, clucked and walked away, to sit in his perch once more, leaving Rizzo to contemplate life and all that was real…or not.

– janberry #shortstory

Letting Go

Letting Go is being able to embrace your realities and be entirely present in the moment with them, meanwhile understanding that you are not the sum total of those experiences.

I’ve likened it to the use of a pencil to write, so in holding a pencil to write with it, you have to properly grip the pencil in order to effectively write. Letting go is understanding that you control the pencil, the pencil doesn’t control you.

You don’t have control over other people and how they use their aura of influence, but the more that you take ownership over and properly grip your own pencil and write with it, directing and guiding it, is the wider your aura of influence becomes.

So, letting go is both holding that pencil to write whatever needs to be written, but then leaving the marks made to take up their own space after you’ve done so, because you only have control over yourself, but the more control you take over yourself, the more your own sphere of influence grows. As far as that interaction goes between you and the pencil, it is a delicate balance of gripping both tightly and loosely. The more that you utilise your creative ability to write your own reality, your fluency in doing so increases, and you evolve. This is why there is a need to also hold loosely, to allow for that growth and expansion.

– janberry. 8Sep2020. 5.05am

There is a snippet from the book launch above. I’ve been thinking about it in the context of letting go, particularly because I am at the beginning of a transition to have a more masculine appearance. My first doctor’s appointment was last Wednesday. There are so many things to let go because of this. It is an evolution that will take me deeper into gripping my own pencil, but also holding loosely to allow for the changes I expect, as well as the ones I don’t anticipate.

By writing this, I’m letting go. I had promised myself I wouldn’t divulge any details of my transition, because, as you can well imagine, it is an immensely private experience. At the same time, I’ve suffered silently for so long that I truly want to help people, young and old, come to grips with things like this. My message isn’t for everyone but it is for someone.

In the video, I talk about the vanity of it. Vanity is a valid human emotion, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If we lived on the earth entirely alone, then we would have no need to have an identity, because who would we be identifying our selves against, or for. We live amongst people, and everyone of us has a unique imprint, that is important to bring to the surface. I’m about to do this thing, and I have to let go of the process itself. I have to let go of previous versions of me that have brought me here, meanwhile being steadfast and fearless in bringing about the new me.

– JanBerry

Ampersands: a gray area

Black and white are colors we’ve been hearing a lot about lately. Well, if I could pause and be a nerd for just a second, neither of these are colors, but rather, illusions. Black is the presence of all colors and white is the absence of color. Okay, so I really just want to talk about gray today.

I wrote a poem when I was in college titled, Uncertainty. In it, I rendered the somber and mixed feelings of having alternative sexual feelings but also being spiritual. I lived on Seaver Street, and there were two Catholic churches, each a 15-minute walk away. One of them did their service in Spanish and the other did their service in English. I interchangeably went to both. I didn’t know enough Spanish to follow along for the entire service but it felt good. It felt so good knowing that I did not have to know everything to feel what I felt – the awe and softness that reverence brought to my life. In the same breath, as I walked to either church every Sunday, I would always think about my unresolved feelings about who I was prone to love.

In my expression of myself, masculinity defines me. I am more masculine than I am feminine, but these are not genders. I was designated woman at birth and that’s fine. We need something to put in the box, yea? Whether I remove my breasts or not, take the hormones or not, I will still be a woman AND a man. This is MY experience. Even as I write this, I am uncertain, because I wonder to myself if I will want more. Will I want more after I’ve done the things that will push my physical self into a new expression of my spirit self. I also stand the chance of being MORE misunderstood if I press forward. I focus rather, on the fact that I am shining light on an area that we don’t see clearly enough to think of as anything but ‘transient’. It’s seen as transitional, instead of being an actual place. I embrace that gray place. I am a ‘JanBerry’…fruit of my own tree. There is no one like me, and there is no one like you either. Own it. Embrace it.

I feel like the reason most people need to know whether you are a man or a woman is to know how to treat you..which biases to employ. The people that have seen me have felt me with their hearts – and used the eyes that aren’t on their face. I think from those eyes, perhaps everything looks gray, because you can always feel the tension between multiple perspectives of the same truth.

Recently, I told my brother that I was going to be making some changes to my body, and immediately he assumed that I wanted to transition all the way to male. I do not, but this is an expression of that inclination humans have towards seeing something as one or the other, and their being nothing in between. I am ‘in between’. I am gray. I am both/and…but I get it, ampersands are never the focus of a sentence when it’s used. Ampersands are a gray area.

‘Ands’ recognise a sameness that we cannot always express in words, but we lean into it. The ‘ands’ have it? I dunno, I felt like this writing needed a cute ending..but shit, maybe it doesn’t and…

– JanBerry. 26June2020. 6.23am

He Touched Me

The male security guard at my primary school. My uncle that I lived with. The male neighbor at my aunts house. The male neighbor at Ms Elaine’s apartment, where my mother and father left me when my mom went away. The man sitting next to me in the cinema. The older boy at the park from the neighboring primary school. My Additional Math teacher in high school. The teenage daughter of my father’s friend. One of my former best friends.
 
They all touched me, inappropriately, without permission, violating my trust and spirit.

I didn’t start to unpack all of this until I was an adult. I delayed even the feeling of it. I just pressed pause, and came back to it at 24, when, as an adult, I began to voraciously read about sexual abuse, sexuality and sex. Around that same time, I began to cry, often…crying all the tears I never cried. I cried for myself and all the young girls that were touched. I cried for the woman I had become, and cried for all the times I hadn’t cried before. When I finally released the pause button, the river came down and it lasted many years.

I unburdened fault – it was never mine. I released shame – it was never mine.

At first it was through logic, which is where my masculine energy always wants to start. The statistics and numbers had proven that there was nothing particularly special about me. My weakness and femaleness were more perceived than actual. This happened to more girls and women than were ever reported. The numbers were alarming. 1 in every 3 women. In some countries and regions, it was higher..every woman..1 in every 2 women. 

For a while, I still blamed it for who I became. I would think for a long while that it had made me gay, back when I needed something to blame, because my sexuality was a problem I needed to solve. I healed..the tears helped, but it was really forgiving myself and being truthful with myself about the experience that helped me close the scars. I forgave myself for feeling like it was all my fault. I told myself the truth that for a long while I really did hate men and I felt unsafe. It helped me own the feminine energy within me that needed safety so that I could understand how to nurture it within myself and my relationships. I resolved my masculine energy that felt powerless to protect myself. I admitted that it did break a part of my spirit and soul, and that it would take me many years to rebuild. I could never have fixed that which I had not admitted was broken.

In the midst of this uprising, so many voices are clamoring. They’re saying, “Look at my pain.” So many of us have suppressed our pains because no-one around us seems to think that they’re important enough to stop and acknowledge it..to acknowledge us. When we see that black lives thrash around in their anger and pain, we feel the familiar hauntings that we ourselves have turned away from. We are faced with all the feelings that we have minimized. We are confronted by the regret we feel for telling the ones that have dared to speak up that they are exaggerating..overreacting.. Everyone wants their pains validated now, because ripping the bandaid off of one scar tends to make the others bleed. There is so much..pain.

I write this for Toyin. I say her name like the day I said my own name in the mirror one day, “Jan, it’s not your fault..but you still have to own the feelings that came with it.”

Feel your pain lovelies..your anger too. You are worth every moment of your abated frustrations and tears.

– JanBerry. 16Jun2020. 8.25am 

In between things

A few days ago I made a decision about my gender expression. It so happened that yesterday, I passed by the very same beach where all this brave discovery began 6 years ago. I sat and meditated for a while and then made a video.

The video below is episode 2, from 6 years ago and is truly where I started with a deeper level of self discovery.

The Inside Out Story – ep 2

..and this is the video that I made…episode 5..

The Inside Out Story – ep 5

Since travel bans started, I’ve realised that the main reason I wanted to leave Trinidad so badly is that I didn’t want to face Trinbagonian attitudes and pressures toward the transition I had been deciding upon. This country is an amalgam of homophobia, transphobia, gender misunderstanding, alongside chauvinist and misogynist ideals. The list continues with the sentiments expressed in hypocritical barbershop conversations that don’t bring us, as a country, any closer to loving people outside of the gender and sexuality ‘norms’ that we think legitimize our opinions.

I share my life so that people like me could know that we are real and gain the courage to overcome Caribbean sentiment. Differences in gender and gender expression is not a ‘white people thing’.. For me, “..my whole life I’ve felt like I am in between things.” I think we, myself included, the whole world have been really stuck on a very ‘this’ or ‘that’ way of looking at gender but the more I understand myself, the more I’m able to articulate it. When I say ‘between things’, I don’t mean between genders (male and female). I mean between my ability to express my masculinity and being perceived as being more feminine than I am because of my curvaceousness and other physical female traits.

I don’t want to be a man – I don’t want to switch out my vagina for something else. I don’t want to change my name or write ‘MALE’ on my forms.. what I do want, is to be able to express my masculinity visibly. I tend to overcompensate on feminizing myself because of my body. I want my masculinity to be SEEN but I still want to BE a woman (in terms of my gender assignment but not femininity).

Disclaimer: Please note, this is MY experience of my gender and gender expression, and is not to be applied to everyone you consider to be different in these areas.

In my green

I am extremely grateful for the growth I’ve experienced in the last few months. It has made me more courageous and also more resilient. Best of all, I have become clearer and clearer about my intentions and desires, shaped in knowledge of self.

Carnival is always a milestone for me, particularly J’ouvert. It is a time of expression which is rooted in identity. It is a time of re-birth, which is rooted in growth. It is a time of vibration, the essence of who we are as human beings. At this junction, I give space to allow the oscillation of my spirit to touch others and to be touched – even, in the literal sense, as people lather paint on my body on J’ouvert morning.

Disciplined practices of contemplation, meditation, deliberate rest and a balanced diet have been molding my body, soul and spirit – my character, my expression…ultimately, my identity in this life.It is my experience that in the periods that I have had the most expansion, the paint color in the J’ouvert has also been very symbolic for me. I’ve already written a post about blue in the year 2017 (janberryblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/far-from-finished). And now, green. Talk about vibration! Thank you 3 Canal. In the last 3-4 months, I’ve taken to using green hearts a lot. They mean for me, an outflow of natural love – the kind of unbridled showering of love that nature embodies. Love as a force in nature takes many forms, but it is consistent. It is consistently growing.

My writing lays the path that my heart is making and then my soul follows, and as it comes into being, it becomes clearer to me as well as to onlookers.

The book cover of Godcall is deeply meaningful and was a foretelling. I have finally reached the color that I was pressing toward. The black was the soil, the muck which we often think of as base. The black is the beginning – the root – the oil – and without it, we can go nowhere. A seed must be first planted there. This period was dark but beautiful. There was much crying, watering my seed with my own tears There was also much healing. The blue was transitional and liberating – attaining the environment the seed needed to become what it would become.

The green cumulus, as my tears accumulating into them as a mass of tiny droplets.. These clouds have the potential to bring either fair or dread weather. It depends on how they develop…the season..the environment.The pink mist is an unveiling – a sheathing of feminine energy, brought to the surface and removed. All that would remain is that which was mine to begin with, and had not been narrated over my life.

And now, I am at green…standing in my tall, dark beauty…my tall, dark queer beauty.So what is the outflow of all this personal philosophy – it just means, I am more me than I’ve ever been.

1) I fully transitioned my wardrobe to androgynous/male clothing.
2) I’ve been successful in explaining to my male admirers that no, it’s not just a wine or a this or that or whatever they think it is. It’s more like two hyper-masculine straight (non-gay) men rubbing up on each other. Dude, don’t touch me…and especially not like that.
3) But yes, I enjoy the company of effeminate men also because I’m drawn to feminine energy. I prefer female gender and genitalia..important for me to sustain a long-term relationship, but really, it’s feminine energy that I am drawn to. The more of it I feel from someone, the more I find them irresistible.
4) I am in my green. It has pulled my shoulder blades back and lifted my chin, giving me a swagger that comes from deep within.

It’s not easy being green. Kermit was right, but damn, it sure is a happy place!

Feminism and the demise of society

Feminism was the beginning of the demise of society. I mean among other things of course…when we started telling femininity that it should not display itself for masculinity..and to do so would be objectifying itself. Objectification is the dehumanization of a person – the same as seeing a whole woman as just a slick hole. But I do want my woman on display..and I speak for men too when I say, yes, we want you to flaunt it…Wear that lingerie, batty rider or thong..call it fattt and know it. When you overthink it without overstanding it, you deny yourself the intentions of the indulgence. The passion is robbed when you intellectualize desire..and douse the embers of what was meant to be a holy fire. In the context of a relationship, regardless of gender, there are two instincts..receiving and giving. This interplay unfolds in so many ways..but to definitively say that it only happens one way, is to misunderstand the energies present – masculine and feminine are never absent, even in the singular.

I want her…
I want her to want me wanting her.
I want her femininity.
I want her to want me.
I want her to want my masculinity..
I want her to understand her energy..
And thus, understand mine.
I want her..
Do you get it? This is all DIVINE.
– janberry. copyright 909am.13feb2020.
.
#poeticprose #poetryinprose #writing #writer #feminism #opinion #divinefeminine #divinemasculine #knowthyself #isaidit #unpopularopinion