I’m going to touch the sky, gonna be fearless all my life.

I love and hate Westmoreland for its slowness. I was born in the town Savanna-la-mar to a matriarch household and lived there for 16 years. We grew up poor: sometimes I’d miss school a lot because there was no money for the bus and when we ran out of food, my mother would send us to our grandfather who ran a small restaurant. My brother and I would walk several miles to get there, we were used to walking - sometimes we’d walked even further distances to get to school.

 

My mother has a super-woman heart, she taught to love as well as she could through live examples of what she did wrong and right. I learned to be kind and content with having little - she’d always tell us “someone has it worse so be grateful and give away what you can.” I remember her urging us to choose clothes we no longer wanted and have them ready for the small family that would walk through our community asking for help. She really wanted us to be good and thankful and polite. I think that this way she would be able to identify us as hers wherever we went in the world.

 

We had a huge open field near our house in Sav, it was filled with fruit trees that my brother, friends and I would climb; it had a small hill that we’d run up, to launch our DIY kites into the sky during the windy months we called “Kite Season.” I loved my friends, they lived right beside us, my brother and I would spend our free time at theirs playing video and board games and hide-and-seek, salad-a-kick. I was the only girl in the company of five boys and sometimes more when the other boys from the community joined our games. I developed my first crush on one of them named Rawle.

 

I went to High School at Mannings and that was where I felt the most left out; where it sank in that I had less than most. I wore my shoes until the bottoms fell off and I had to sew them back on. I couldn’t go on the field trips because there were fees I couldn’t pay attached to them. I started paying attention to how people would turn their noses up at me and my brother so I learned to speak better than they did and be smarter than they were and I put my worth into those things. They were always surprised that I spoke well and I liked surprising them because it meant that they hadn’t summed me up correctly.

 

By the time I was about fourteen we had moved five times. I started wanting more than the laziness I associated with Westmoreland so I memorized that I needed to move out and be somewhere else by the time I turned sixteen. I argued and shouted my plan to my mother and she slapped my left jaw. I knew she believed me.

 

I entered a national talent competition hosted in Kingston, Jamaica in a group with two girls and we came third. I was sixteen, and I didn’t want to go back home, I remember telling everyone who got to know me. The girls and I stayed with aunts and uncles and friends of aunts and uncles and our schoolmates’ mothers. I finished high-school in Kingston. I liked that I felt important in Kingston and I didn’t feel trapped anymore. I wanted to stay.

 

I worked as an assistant’s assistant, call center agent, supermarket sales person, promo girl, social media manager; I did every legal job I could so I could stay where I felt I was closest to my dream. My dream was to be a singer. I questioned myself over and over about this dream. I wrote down the pros and cons about it, I wrote down my feelings, I wrote down quotes I thought were cool, I wrote. I cried about it, forgot to eat about it, talked to everyone about it, was silent about it. And I sang loudly, practicing along with Celine Dion, Kierra Sheard, Demi Lovato, Beyonce, Anita Baker, Otis Redding, Amy Winehouse, Gregory Issacs, Linkin Park, (you get the idea). All my questions to myself about whether or not I truly wanted to be a singer resolved themselves into “YES, I NEED TO.”

 

I’m not frightened about my future, I have a need to live my purpose and it drives me forward. I’ve learnt and I’m still learning that it’ll take everything, and I’m ready.

I’m going to touch the sky, gonna be fearless all my life.