Wednesday, February 21, 2018

In the book of Genesis when God created man and woman, plants and animals, one of His orders was for them to be fruitful and multiply. And they did. But you would think with such a divine order God would enable us all to do so, right? And this same God blessed a woman’s womb at over 100 years old as in Rachel’s case who suffered long and hard to bear a child.

The fact that He made the ‘Immaculate Conception’ possible, should it not be the case for all infertile women, right? And before you all start hurling stones to martyr me think of the words of Nicole when she was asked about her infertility struggle: “I am a good and active Christian who is just wondering what am I being punished for when my one true desire is to have children and grow them up in the fear and admonition of the one true God…”

Many women and men all over the world deal with infertility on a daily basis and though the reasons for this may vary, the struggles bear resemblances. But first what is infertility? It is referred to as the inability to conceive after having regular unprotected sex. Infertility can also refer to the biological inability of an individual to contribute to conception, or to a female who cannot carry a pregnancy to full term. And in many countries if a couple is unable to conceive after a year of trying, they may be rendered infertile. Studies indicate that slightly over half of the cases are as a result of female conditions, while the rest are caused by either sperm disorders or unidentified factors.

We just came out of the holy Lenten season, but for many couples the wilderness seems never ending. For Easter, while many are out partying and downing some bun and cheese along with fish and bread, many are having a hard time digesting what Easter meant in ancient times.

Ishtar: pronounced “Easter” was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and rabbit) were and still are fertility and sex symbols. Well I’m sure you know by now those had nothing to do with the crucifixion and resurrection. So sex is never in short supply but as much as we have babies being born every day many couples are struggling to get and or stay pregnant.

Most times the relationship suffers from the increase in nagging and no shagging as the unavoidable desire to procreate presides. Richard was 34 years old when his marriage ended after 10 years of trying to conceive after his wife had a miscarriage. They were both rendered secondary infertile. He oftentimes talks of how it depresses him to attend baby showers, kid’s football matches, kid’s birthday parties or simply just taking on the role of god parenting. So he stays away from such.

Like Richard, Jennifer, though, loves children but her failure to conceive drained the fire she had to be around others and share in the celebratory moments of family and friends with children though she’s genuinely happy for them.

Both Richard and Jennifer sometimes question why ‘Mother Nature’ didn’t favour them. They have to try hard to believe in the God that bless underage, unfit, and people who don’t want any children, with them. (I agree it’s a mystery). Now she seeks alternative routes to fulfil this desire so as to shed the feeling of inadequacy as a woman and the depression that accompanies this.

With all the new developments in medicine, women and men cling desperately to this for hope. Some go to extreme lengths to accomplish fertility, such as going on spiritual fasting and prayers, visiting herbalists and even witch doctors; concoct elixirs, take in-vitro fertilisation, hormonal shots and pills. When all those fail they may even look to surrogacy.

When Jennifer was asked how she copes, she answers: “My husband and I have both done all the tests and it came back that the problem was really me. Well we have tried all the help our money can buy and though we have achieved many of our personal and relationship goals this one elephant is in the room with us always.

“I know he would love a seed of his own and I oftentimes hint at him, if he goes out to get a child, I would understand and welcome that child. Maybe because I couldn’t help feeling insecure but to date he hasn’t done so to my knowledge despite the direct and indirect pressure from friends and family. We are in the process of adoption and can hardly wait to take our son home first, then about another three years a daughter. I talk about it now with select friends and families and it does help to lift the weight of my infertility.”

For Richard things are much different. “My wife lost faith in the process because after spending money I had saved up to pay down on our home for several testings the doctors couldn’t diagnose a reason and we tried their prescribed drugs but nothing changed except for us being at each other’s throat about who’s at fault. I lost my insatiable appetite for sex because it was always a mission for the baby. I could always know when she did a pregnancy test because she would spend that night to herself or by family crying.

“After a while I got tired of fighting and of trying so we drifted away from each other. During the separation a young lady I was dating for a few months told me she was expecting and oh the joy that flooded my soul. But that was short lived when she lost the baby at an early stage of the pregnancy. But I can’t lie given my history with infertility this gives me hope to want to try again,” he recounted in a conversation with me one day.

The popular dancehall artiste Marion Hall aka ‘Lady Saw’, over the years made her struggles public. Her issue wasn’t an inability to conceive but rather due to a condition with her uterus her ability to maintain her pregnancies beyond two months. But she still tries. Her temporary cope was to adopt.

Oftentimes harsh words are hurled at men or women, who at their ripe age, still bare no children. Some are called despicable names such as mule, barren, fig tree, dust bowl, while some of the names cannot be mentioned.

No doubt both parties are hurt but it’s the women who get the flowers, hugs and comforting conversations from family and friends and is the more likely one to open up about her struggle.

The men have to deal with the physical, emotional and financial stress alone as they tend to want to distance themselves from the issue, and become irritable. We must understand that it’s his way of coping. Sure we can’t read his mind but instead of mocking and jeering guys about his age and constantly reminding him that he’s the only guy in the squad without a youth. Have some sensitivity that it may not be by choice.

To become pregnant, the complex process of ovulation and fertilization need to work just right. For some couples, infertility problems can be a congenital situation or something can go wrong along the way that results in infertility.

Let me encourage those who wish to find out more about the causes of infertility to further research them and also find treatments if any is available. It may not be our personal concern but all of us may know someone who is struggling and needs support. For those who are, start focusing on yourselves. Remember that the two of you came first, before any thought of baby. You’re not alone; millions out there are in the struggle and though everyone’s level varies in measurement and each experience is different, try not to shut others out and bear it all on your own.

Seek external help. Find healthy, fun things and projects to do both individually and as a couple. Besides, you need to be healthy partners before being good parents. Instead of worrying and raging which any good doctor will tell you lessen your chances, be supportive and respectful of each other, and yes talk about it but not every day all day. Take a break or the stress of it all will break you. Keep faith in God and be open heart and minded on this pursuit for your bundle of joy.

Zion Syke is a Jamaican phlebotomist. Send your feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Could mother goose be suffering from a broken heart when she wrote “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and the king horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again”?

Poor Humpty Dumpty!

A man was placed in the liking of a fragile egg and that egg could signify a big heart that most of us do tend to possess. The walls are relationships that should grant us some security and stability but the stumble that takes us to the great fall that causes the fragile heart to shatter on the ground we so desperately tried to avoid may be those words we can’t unsay or the actions we can’t undo or the words we should have said or the actions we should have done.

Many suffer from such a plunge throughout their lives. No matter how we try to undo and live past those mistakes that caused such a shattering blow we remain forever broken, swept into a corner of life, wallowing in self-pity and insecurity. Sometimes you meet someone who is willing to work with your cracks but the psychological damage was so great that if not careful you damage that person’s feelings just for trying because you may even question “what do I have to offer? To whom can I make a whole? Why would someone want to even bother with me when there are so many others out there which do not need fixing?”

Questions upon questions, and despite the obvious that even you can be loved you still manage somehow to convince yourself that ‘I can never compete with what’s out there so best I let my desire to be wanted and be loved get swept under the rug where all the other pain remains’.

Paige was a beautiful and very talented young lady but if anyone ever has misfortunes it was her. The scourges of being a battered child, raped, confused sexuality, promiscuous, multiple failed relationships, miscarriages and failed business ventures, to name a few; drove her to feeling like a book that always ended up back at the second-hand book store, waiting to be withdrawn from the shelves when the keeper realize it’s too tattered and worn to go through another hand.

Paige’s heart was bigger than her brain, her emotions ran wild like weeds and she was open like a well so it was no surprise that her pain ran deep beneath her façade of happiness. For many years she was a victim of an abusive husband who never cared to even start a family with her – a deadly blow to that marriage which almost cost her life.

She was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour and for once her husband, who loved to fight, took flight instead. Several surgeries and treatments left her mentally and physically disfigured and at this point Paige was sure, after several attempts at plastic surgeries to fix her picture perfect face, death may have been less of a hassle.

She was a giver, a pleaser; because she felt this was how she would turn others attentions away from the chips and cracks, even she wouldn’t notice them because she would be too busy making others pleased.

Everyone came and chipped away at poor Paige but she always found the strength to go one more round; boxing aside her real issues, she never closed her wounds. Paige was convinced she would die young and alone from a broken heart and broken body. No matter how loving, kind and sweet she was, no one wants to stay with an emotional wreck. And those who wished to stay, the conditions were so constrained it choked her very soul.

She developed a hobby to rescue and find homes for abused and homeless animals and when I asked her why she chose this over all the other options she said “…the need to feel needed; and besides, the animals never looked at me with scorn and pity and they never said I’m ugly…”

But God had plans for Paige’s life and she was shock when one of her doctors asked her out with the intention to court her. For sure it’s not easy to love a woman who sees herself as damage goods but he married her and they made a house, a home with their children.

She still has work to do on understanding that her exterior is just a fraction of her whole and her husband is along for the ride because he fell in love with her soul more than he did with her face. It’s now their job to teach their children to understand and embrace uniqueness of themselves, her and others in a world where people tend to ridicule and fear it. The ones who hurt her and left her just couldn’t handle her strong and beautiful soul.

I still describe love as an unruly emotion, we have to be careful how we just let it run wild because it may get us trespassing on grounds even bad dogs beware of. Sometimes we expel too much love too fast or too little too slow and at times to the wrong persons and you find yourself having sleepless nights alone wondering where did you go wrong.

But even love has side effects if you overdose or has inadequate supply. So the equilibrium is of utmost importance. Depression comes into play when the love you give is not returned in equal part but ask yourself these questions: Do I love myself? Am I loved by others? Can I love others?

If you’re not sure or your answer is closer to ‘no’ then it’s time to stop being available. Take yourself from the dating scene. You’re doing yourself more harm than good. Time to work on you and only you! Dig deep and start dealing one by one, from the hardest to the lesser of your internal issues and get past them. You’ll find as you lift that pretentious life away you may become so appreciative of that forsaken marble flooring of a life so beautiful and strong.

You never knew being with yourself could be so wonderful until you start to appreciate the abstractness of you. You will make someone happy because you add to the value of his or her life and they too will acknowledge you for all the right reasons.

As I was scrolling down my Facebook page news feed I came across a quote Lady Gaga posted, captioning a photograph of her kissing presumably her partner at the 2016 Oscars. It said: “I never thought anyone would love me because I felt like my body was ruined by my abuser. But he loves the survivor in me; he’s stood by me all night proud and unashamedly. THAT’S a real man.”

The next day a post was put up on a popular radio station’s social media page of her in her evening gown, criticising her dropping cleavage but for sure the comments never ceases to amaze me how unkind and insensitive both women and men alike can be. This is a woman who is bursting out of her insecurities and ready to love her ‘weirdness’. But there will always be critics, right?

Before you start feeling ‘oh well I’m oh so broken and unworthy’ note; you’re not the only person in the world who is flawed. The one who could not reciprocate your love and appreciate you for you could also be undergoing diverse effects of the great fall.

It’s true what they say; some really good sex followed by wonderful cuddling can make anyone feel in love but an excellent sex partner doesn’t always means an excellent love/life partner. So he or she makes you reach cloud nine in the bed but when it comes to settling down and treating you like a part of their life or being there when you are at your worst, you may wake up face down in a puddle of mud. Sure everyone has a type that they are instantly attracted to but if we can get past the superficial we will find the wealth of genuine mind and heart ready and willing to love and care for you despite the odds.

Some of us build walls with bricks from our past around our heart, blocking ourselves in and others out. But as much that is asked of you is also required, so if you want to be loved you must be willing and ready to love.

In closing, no matter what curve balls life may throw your way – and they come in various forms like illnesses, financial constraints, mental and physical diversity, family woes and all the others we use as blocks – please know that the artist in his work choose to be different with each piece to keep his gallery interesting. God knew everything we would go through in life when He created us but imagine a world without variation. There’s nothing wrong being weird if that’s what you are. You don’t have to fit any mould. Vibrate at your highest frequencies and you will attract the right souls at the right time for the right moment.

Zion Syke is a Jamaican phlebotomist. Send your feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Sunday, 07 February 2016 10:37

Who am I? Knowing myself and my purpose

Let me first wish all my readers a prosperous 2016 and thank you all for giving ears to my thoughts throughout the years.

I want to start this year on a note of knowing one’s self.

Too many of us are lost, not knowing who we are and why we are here. What we know for sure is where we have been, because we all have experienced the past.

We all go through different realms in our life which the past, the present and the future seeks to unfold daily. Many of us are trapped in one realm; the past. But who you are determines what you will do.

I believe our problem in this life is not a lack of money or education, it’s actually not knowing our purpose. You could go broke the next day after being given a million dollars because one does not know their purpose. Education doesn’t change people, it’s the values and morals learnt at home or in the village.

Let’s say you’re feeling unmotivated, unsure of self, aimless, can’t find your passion, directionless… you’re in good company – most people are in the same boat. Now there are millions of quotes and blogs online telling you how to find your passion and purpose in life. Not a bad thing but let me add: because God did not make man so that the world could happen to it we were created to happen to the world. Don’t let people tell you that you are an error likely to happen. You must do what you and only you were created to do.

Identity, talent, and purpose. These are the important aspects of life. So we are from slavery but the question is: Are we still slaves? No, you are not so your fate doesn’t have to be your destiny. Stop blaming your past, live in the future. I was born to a missing in action father and an uneducated mother but the village built my character instead of being my disadvantage. I’m not sorry anymore for my past because it’s one God and one big plan so it’s all a part of a grand design. My background is just a pressure cooker needed to prepare me for my purpose. So the real question is what are the reasons behind all this confusion?

Well I stop making excuses for my life and start moving forward. No more sitting in the mental jail I built, because my purpose is way bigger than my pain from my peripheral view. You’re born for greatness and that does not come cheap, the greater your purpose the greater your trials. Nelson Mandela was jailed for 27 years and came out saying “I forgive you…” If not, then he would still be in jail. So you need to let go of someone who hurt you over 20 years ago and stop walking around like a living dead pointing back to those moments. Wake up and move on because if you continue existing like that you won’t live, only waiting to die. When you don’t know who you are, you live fighting for positions and possessions. Know this today, your purpose sets a stage for you so that positions and possessions will come knocking on your door. Can you think of any natural creature that does not know what to do with every moment of its life? Each from birth has innate impulses and answers to its call. In the Garden of Eden God called out to Adam and not Eve because he was charged with the responsibility of providing and protecting, but because he was out of purpose he hid himself from God (Genesis 1:26-27).

Imitations lead to limitations

No one was born with the same talent and the same quantity. No Humming Bird looks at the crows in envy of their salvaging, wondering if it would feel better about itself if only it was awaiting the death of an unwary dog or cat. Is the great soaring hawk greater than the simple chickens walking around stalking its meal on foot laying eggs to feed the nation? No creature in nature is plagued by the conflict born of comparing itself to another, none fear that they should be something other than they are; each serve all, and all serve each. The best comes from difficulty so don’t let your abuses limit you. Be a phoenix and rise from your ashes; be better than your yesterday.

My purpose starts where my background began so I stop saying “why me!” You are unique to the world. Do you believe that each person have a purpose? You are an answer to a problem so find and be that answer.

I am, because you are; even your uneducated mother and dead beat father served their purpose -they add fire to your fuel and life. Many pressures caused a combustion, and oh, how today the sparks turn into this great flame that you are. So if nature did not have it that you bear children, perhaps your purpose is to foster those who will be parentless. You are dyslexic? Big deal, you are great with your talent of singing, dancing, painting, styling, planting crops, rearing animals… and I could go on.

You can’t seem to find that amazing job but you could start a charity organization and volunteer to build your community, or start a little business that will provide employment for others.

Lasting relationships just don’t seem to be your forte? That’s ok. Perhaps travelling the world sharing with others the gospel of being self-motivated and at peace with one’s self could be your call as you are a true and living testament to that. Yes, while we admire others and take qualities from them we must never try to fill the covers of our life with the pages they have written for themselves because we would be imitating; losing our true purpose and limiting ourselves to that person’s limits. Leap over those boundaries set by our parents and society at large; they will someday come to cheer you.

Just a word of advice: Be careful who you make the centre of your life because when your centre shifts, which it oftentimes does, your whole life could so be the centre of someone else’s life.

The plan

After we came down the birth canal no manual was issued for our life so we had to learn each step of the way. Should all your titles be stripped away today and you’re no longer the manager, the wife, the husband, the relative of, and all the great accolades and honours that could be bestowed on any man, what’s the plan? If you know your purpose then vibrate at the highest frequencies in life and achieve all you can, but ensure you acknowledge and understand that you must give yourself what you love. No more wasting precious time in haunted deliberations over what you think others will love about you if only you step up and “satisfy” their social contrived expectations. Do this and this only; give yourself what you love and if this passion remains unsure or unknown to you look for the trails of its promise hidden within you. Follow your longing; it’s already connected to the source of itself. In this gradual unfolding of this daring act you will come to find the greatest love on earth; being what you and you alone are meant to do, and knowing that you have found yourself.

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When we came into this world we had a few innate skills but our first learnt one was how to let go. A young baby will grip your fingers but when it’s time for her to let go you have to pull that grip. Then from slowly lifting herself up to rolling over, to creeping, to holding on to objects, to stand and move around, to making to leap of faith of standing and walking on her own. The greatest misunderstanding we tend to have is that we are weak if we let go, but true strength is not in holding on.

Keva was working at a major magazine firm. She was offered the job as an apprentice to her boss but during her interview her supervisor offered her a better position to start editing despite her stated limitations to perform this job effectively. Keva was not one to back away from a challenge though, and she took the position. She was settled in her job for about two months when her boss started making his advances at her. She was made to realise that she was not special; she was among quite a few ladies who worked with the company to find themselves in such a dilemma. He used his workplace as a hunting ground for sex.

In Jamaica's employers market some women hold fast to the job they have especially when they have extra mouths to feed, loans to pay and bills which keeps piling up. Aware of all her boss’ unprofessional intentions Keva was even more afraid that she could lose her job if she refuses to have sex with him, so occasionally she met his demands. In some ways Keva started to love the attention she would get from this man; he would buy her fancy gifts and make nice remarks about her. At times the supervisor would sit Keva down and try to talk sense into her about her actions and even threatened to dismiss her from work if she continued sleeping with the boss.

From time to time Keva would feel intense guilt of having to face her boss’ wife everyday, but no sooner a naughty text would pop-up on her phone telling her to meet him in the office. After everyone leaves for home he would have her right there on the desk or on the sofa in the office he shared with his beloved wife. Sometimes he met with her at small cheap motels and at her house, but his real kick was when he could invite other girls to the party and for this she would be most graciously rewarded with multiple orgasms and expensive gifts.

Reading this by now you’re utterly disgusted with Keva but before you start an exorcism let me bring you deeper into Keva’s world. On a normal day for her she despises her boss and really wanted to end her relations with him. Mr McCloud remind her of her father who sexually molested her as a child and who would reward her every time after he touched her inappropriately. Her father was of the same body type, he was also a business man and a womanizer who was also married. She even told this to her boss hoping he would stop pursuing her but he only used it to his advantage asking her to call him daddy during sex; this did something to him and it made her weak and submissive to him in a sick and twisted way. Her body cringed every time he touched her and she couldn’t wait to take long baths, at times in tears, to wash off both him and her father all over again. His presence started affecting her and it showed in her attitude and work on the job.

For the first time Keva got professional help. She went to a therapist and she broke down laying it all out. Finally someone she could shed her skin in front of and dredge her soul to with no fear of judgement, and someone who made her understand what was really happening to her psychologically.

Armed with the understanding of herself and her worth, Keva went back to work and started ignoring all advances her boss made at her. A renewed woman who was no longer afraid so it wasn’t long before she resigned from her well paid job and decorative job titles to go home. She later started her very own design label and lord knows it wasn’t easy but she held fast to the dream.

Keva’s demons still seek to haunt her but that bold shift she made years ago taught her when it was time to change. It’s not enough to want it, so like Keva many women worked on becoming successful entrepreneurs and got help from organisations such as Women Entrepreneur Network of the Caribbean (WENC) just to name one which works together with you to learn and develop your abilities as you strive to be a better version of yourself and make your contribution to yourself, and the world become yours to make your mark on in a positive way.

Your current situation does not determine your future. Someone once told me if I’m driving and all the traffic is heading my direction this could very well mean I’m on the wrong side of the road so with all the confusions that this world presents into our lives daily we must not be afraid to change lanes when needs be.

While working at a popular sports store my boss in one of his general meeting stated; “while being faithful to your job here I don’t want any of you married to my company”. I didn’t fully understand it there and then but after leaving the company I realise he could have very well meant there is better somewhere else.

Make your check list today of where you’ve been the past five years ago, what your goals are for the next five years and where you are now. If you’re not pleased with what you’ve found then see if you have realistic goals. If they are that means it’s time to change your methods. Can’t do it alone? That’s fine; seek help like Keva and many others who did and make that needed paradigm shift, starting with injecting some positive energy into your life and where necessary you may need to change your circle because if those around you don’t have the same goals for you then you may be swayed or sidetracked. When your future no longer drags your past along you know you’re living.

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