My grandmother never spoke to my mother about sex. In fact, my mom isn’t sure my grandmother has ever said the word sex. "Sex" was a bad word in her house — as were vagina and penis. So when I was growing up, my mother made sure I knew all about sex, because she never wanted anyone to tell me something untrue about sex that I would believe. By twelve I had a good idea of the schematics of sex, what goes where and the possible outcomes. I knew about STI’s and STD’s, pregnancy and how it occurs, how it doesn’t occur etc. I even knew some of the common sex myths:
- Having sex while upside down won’t get you pregnant
- Having sex for the first time won’t result in pregnancy
- If you don’t have sex, cobwebs will grow in your vagina and it will stop working
So I knew everything I needed to know, but at the same time, I realized that most kids my age knew absolutely nothing at all. I wanted to tell them what I knew but I figured maybe their parents hadn’t gotten around to doing it yet.
The amount of detail in the sex talks I had been having with my mom progressed as I did. The more I could understand, and was curious about — the more she told me. One time, when I was 16, I was cuddling with my mom and just talking about girly things and she randomly went:
“Sex is nice. It’s the best thing in the world, but only if you’re in the right frame of mind. Once you’re ready, and no, I don’t mean married, you’ll know when you’re ready, it will be great. Just understand that it isn’t a big deal, it’s just penis goes into vagina, repeat process. So wait, wait until you can handle everything that comes with it, because once you start you won’t stop and it will be the only thing you think about for a while.”
On other occasions she spoke to me about the sometimes harsh reality of sex. She let me know that it isn’t always be awesome and regardless of what he may think, you have the option to stop anytime it’s not going how you want it to. Depending on his sex ed, he might now know that you need to be aroused or else the friction can actually damage your vagina. Or sometimes, he might want you to do things that you might not want to do. You don’t have to. You NEVER have to.
Then there was my dad. Not surprisingly our sex talks were a lot more subdued and a lot less graphic, but they were just as meaningful. When I was 12 he let me know that my rapidly developing body would not go unnoticed by men his age and older (he was 40). He let me know that many of them would have no problem sleeping with a girl my age (rape), and that naivety was not an option. He told me about all the girls he slept with while he was young, just because he could.
His support when street harassment got really terrible helped me to cope. I didn’t cope well with being heckled, I still don’t cope well — often getting very angry and confronting hecklers. My dad has always maintained that although men may feel it is natural for them to seek out women, it’s never okay for anyone to make another person feel uncomfortable to just walk down the street.
Perhaps the most important thing my dad ever taught me was that I am valuable. I was a legit daddy’s princess growing up and there’s something about that sense of meaning everything to someone that translates into feeling like you really are important in the grand scheme of things — especially to yourself. My sense of self-importance has kept me from making bad decisions to please boys, or even just doing things I didn’t want to do because it’s “expected”. No, I won’t dance with you, I don’t want to dance. I DON’T CARE IF EVERY OTHER GIRL AT THIS PARTY IS DANCING.
Everything I needed to know, my parents told me. So when I had my first boyfriend and he tried “If you loved me, you would…” on me, I kicked him to the curb. When people — bus conductors especially have tried to touch me — even in benign ways like on my shoulders or less benign ways like on my waist — I know that I decide who touches me and where and I firmly say “Don’t touch me.” When the cat-calling began, as annoying and shockingly graphic as it was, it wasn’t new information.
Moreover, with the foundation they set, I was able to evaluate information I encountered when I eventually started trying to find my own answers to the things I was curious about. My searching enabled me to learn things that would have perhaps been beyond the scope of my parents. Life moves very quickly and suddenly for many of us (but not suddenly at all in reality) — being LGBTQ is a thing, gender is a spectrum, Trans people exist etc. These are things, about which my parents know less than I do, and I’ve been able to talk to them about it. For example, just last Sunday I had the difficult task of explaining how someone who is “Intersex” might experience various levels of body dysmorphia and gender dysphoria.
I’m telling you all of this because at twenty-two, I can have conversations about sex with both of my parents without anyone cringing. If a sex scene comes on in a movie we’re watching no one bats an eyelid. I can talk to anyone about sex, I’m not afraid to say the word sex, or penis, or vagina. Yet, even at 22, I have friends who are just like the 12 year olds who knew nothing. I have friends who are woefully misinformed, under-informed and generally lost as to what sex really means. I have friends who their only sex education came from a pastor who said wait until marriage. I have friends whose only sex education came from the boy who told them “just dweet” (dweet means do it in Jamaican Patois), when they were 16. I have friends who blush or giggle when someone says penis or vagina. Friends who are so ashamed of their own sexual organs, friends who don’t know how they got pregnant in the first place, friends who’ve been assaulted and don’t even know they have been etc etc etc. The list goes on and on.
When I told my 6th form Literature class a quarter of the things my parents told me about sex everyone cringed, said it was gross, couldn’t think of their parents speaking about sex much less having sex.
During my time as a Writer/Reporter on the Talk Up Yout School Tour — I met kids who wanted more sex education in their schools because they didn’t know anything about sex, and teachers who thought telling them anything other than the basic penis goes into vagina repeat process was immoral. I met people who thought children generally shouldn’t know anything about sex, and blamed people telling their kids about sex for the high rate of teenage pregnancy.
Seriously Jamaica and everywhere else. Sexual Education in our schools needs to be revamped to reflect the society we live in, where parents are sending their children out to have sex with older men for money. We can’t tell those kids “Abstinence Is the Only Way” any more. We can’t tell anyone that Abstinence is the ONLY way any more. It’s crazy, and it will never work.Take the time to talk these children. Let them know that their bodies belong to them, and whatever they choose to do with their bodies will have repercussions.
My point is. Sex education in school is a necessity, but the problem begins at home.
If parents don’t educate their children, then they leave them vulnerable to misinformation and cannot really be upset when their children make mistakes.
Talk to your kids. You don’t have to be as graphic/thorough as my parents, but talk to them. And more importantly, make sure they know they can talk to you.
"I have conquered abuse and self harm which I'm very proud of because they have made me who I am today."
Who is Chelsea? That's a good question, a tricky one. Well I'll start from the basics. I'm a young vibrant female 17 years old. I'm 4'10 in height but that's the tiniest thing about me, my voice and way of thinking is very Big (get it lol) and makes up for it. I'm grateful for the life I have been given even though I have struggled with many problems. I have conquered abuse and self harm which I'm very proud of because they have made me who I am today.
My passion ! My passion is helping. I feel such deep joy when I am involved in bettering someone's state of living or even state of mind, Also when I'm able to work on a project knowing that it is a positive contribution to my community. My philosophy is that we can't help everyone BUT everyone can help someone. I believe my mission as a Jamaican youth however, is to help to instill national pride and patriotism in our young people. My vision for Jamaica is not only for our economy to move from developing to a developed status but for the Youts to rise up, become proactive and be the change that we want to see !
Talk Up Yout is crucial for our country's continued development , Why? Because it allows for the fresh innovative ideas of the Youts to be heard.
So Talk Up Yout mi seh fi Talk Up Yout
A our time now.
Meet Makeda Bawn, 20 yrs old.
I am the old aged girl without wrinkles and this is my story. I remember holding my mother’s hand in the hospital as I struggled to breathe; I felt like I was drowning in air. My lungs felt small and my chest tightened. Darkness separated us after I closed my eyes. I was nineteen years old when I experienced severe chronic attack. It creeped on me like a thief in the night, and I felt a part of me died. My mother cried for days; she had already lost four sons and she was not ready to lose her only daughter. I am determined to be somebody inspirational before I take my last breath. I was born a premature baby and suffered severe asthma attacks while growing up, I weighed 1lb 6oz on the 8th of April 1996 at the Spanish Town hospital in St Catherine.
I was diagnosed with Lumbar Lordosis at 14 years of age in 2010 after my parents and I were involved in a car accident. A mini pick-up truck slammed into the back of my father’s car and I took a flight that would affect me later on in life. I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease in 2015. Degenerative Disc Disease is a condition where the discs lose their water content, they lose their height, bringing the vertebrae closer together. As a result, the nerve openings in the spine become narrower therefore the disc does not absorb the shocks as well especially when you are walking or doing any other physical activity. Persons who have been diagnosed with this condition are normally in their senior years. For this reason, I feel like an old aged girl without wrinkles. On occasions, I feel like a 140 pound baby is sitting on my chest and the bones in my spines are breaking continuously while I am awake and my body starving me from happiness.
My ailments made me scared especially knowing that I need surgery to save me, I am confused and doubtful because I never felt normal. Pain made me numb and I often had nightmares of being buried in a hospital gown with amputated legs; the image of not being able to walk tormented me for 365 days and counting. My world ceased and I became this child in a womb of despair clothed in a placenta of thorns. Depression consumed me and I endure so much. My back, legs, and neck pained me every day, and I had headaches and episodes of vomiting. Everything hurt so much. Simple things such as walking, talking, sleeping is difficult for me. I lost friends because they did not want to be around a “sick person”. Every day I wanted to rip the hair on my head out. This illness brings back memories of primary school where I went through a period of bullying from my peers for years. Standing out at the time in primary school seemed like something queer. DDD is my bully and I have to face it every minute. But, being a child from a home with two unemployed parents, the struggles made me hungrier for success because nobody knew when we were starving and I wanted my mom and dad to enjoy a luxurious life.
Throughout my time in high school, I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. I was President of the Speech and Drama club; Vice President for Photography Club; a Youth Mentor; a member of the Inter-school Christian Fellowship and Debate club. I inspired the establishment of a writing club at my high school for students with creative minds. My literature teacher, Miss Edwards, was impressed with my eccentric way of words and she grew extremely fond of my poems. I was encouraged to showcase my talent by submitting my poetic pieces to the Jamaica gleaner. I was successful and the gleaner published three of my poems. My favorite piece was “Hidden Truth”.
My poetry speaks to the heart and encompasses ideologies of socialist feminism. I became a fan of photography and developed a love for advocacy. I gained experience in advocating through photography for positive changes after enrolling in the Jamaica National Resolution project. The Jamaica National Resolution Project was established to teach youth in rural high schools about the Art of Photography. It was a great platform to portray my world through the lens of a camera.
In 2014, I was awarded for Best Body Image for my photograph entitled; “Pure, Her Most Prominent Possession”. My photographs were on exhibition in the Departure Pier in both Norman Manley and Sangsters International airport. My photographs were also on exhibition at the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre in London, United Kingdom. I also got the opportunity to cover events such as: the annual Rebel Salute in Jamaica. This project had a profound impact on my life.
After graduating from high school my life changed for the better and worst. I took part in a videography workshop hosted by one of Jamaica’s well known full- service television and multi-media production company called Phase 3 Production. I developed skills for the film industry and after graduating from the program, I was given the opportunity to write, direct and produce a short film entitled, Forgotten Voices. In 2016, I was featured in the Social Impact section of the Jamaica Gleaner Blogs, in an article entitled; “A Conversation on the Move: Talking Media and Ackee Walk with Makeda Bawn.
In university, I became doubtful about my career path; no one would want to employ a sick person that have to get help going to the bathroom. School life is a real struggle especially when I have to go through all of this not to mention the financial issues. However; I am sure that whatever I chose to become I would motivate and inspire persons from all walks of life. I love children and even though doctors recommend me not to give birth, I will help children in need. It makes me sad because I will never know what it feels like to give birth naturally to a beautiful miracle. I always wanted to be a pediatrician, to help children in the health care sector. But, I could never fall in love with science but physics was always a mystery to me and I appreciated the knowledge. I became an actress in Jamaica’s first puppet series called Ackee Walk. This television series was established to teach children about their rights and responsibilities. Although I was not wearing a white doctor coat on set, it’s a joy to me to know that I am helping to educate children.
What makes me keep going? Is a question I have often been asked from persons who have met me. I keep going because I cannot go a day without thinking about inspiring my family, friends and strangers. And I believe that I was born for a purpose. My success dreams cannot happen out of the blue, I have to work for it. Legends are not super humans, they are normal beings who never gave up and no one will remember someone who never tried in life. I have to keep balance on my bicycle because I have to keep moving. Time is precious and short, for my time to be valuable on earth I have to believe that I can survive. Everything that I have accomplished so far has been a rugged journey for me. I suffer from illnesses but I am determined to make the best out of life. I pledge to use my skills and expertise to the best of my abilities to escape poverty. My personal and professional experiences have equipped me with passion, commitment and competency to succeed after my tertiary education.
I SPEAK LIFE BECAUSE IT HAS TAUGHT ME MANY WORDS
Listen to 24 year old Anthony 'Vokal' Richards
Who am I? Countless times I would be found staring into the mirror asking my reflection, just who are you? then finally after years of silence I became a voice, I became Anthony Vokal Richards. I am an ambitious, generous and passionate individual. I believe in its entirety that God should be at the forefront of my thoughts, plan and actions.
I am a dub poet, chef, song writer /singer motivated by my love for capturing life in the essence of words and music. This is because as a child poetry and music were my only sources of comfort when my closest companions were loneliness and poverty. I was forced to adapt to my conditions by making my past someone's hope!. To reassure persons that I have made it despite not having a dad who cared , with a mom who worked tirelessly so I could survive. Despite my struggles I did not resort to violence even when I was caught in the middle of a cross fire. I became a victim of gang violence when I was shot in my community at age twenty one (21), having a bullet lodged inside of me for six months. Having to watch all that I invested in pass me by because I was hospitalized. I then became a beacon for my community to stop violence and promote peace as I could have been but a memory rather than leaving a legacy.
Talk up yout gave me a platform to stand, to echo my voice with my talent, to be bold and speak life, the lessons and defeats it has taught me. Even though I was born in a life where education was my only way out and even after achieving the education needed to function, Talk Up Yout allowed me to market myself in a environment where finding space was a challenge for established individuals yet alone a new comer. It gave me a new found confidence and opportunity to bring added purpose to my life.
I have a vision for Jamaica! Where a child does not have to wonder if he/ she has to sit down years before finding a job when they are qualified. A Jamaica where children who can't find or have lost their biological parents will know and feel the warmth of a country who cares for them. A country where a man will be a man and stand by his call of duty, his responsibilities as a father and his calling as a human being. A Jamaica where we cherish our past while pushing for the future. A country where address does not define you or determine what job is available to you or the tone or your skin. A country where violence will no longer make monsters of our youths, a place where we remember we all may look different but are one. We are Jamaicans first and all else come after.
I am Shinelle Surph and I am the second and last child for my mother and father ( so I thought). I was recently introduced to my sister on my father’s side almost 3 years ago and as to where my brother was concerned, it was an on and off type of relationship.
I have made a lot of self conscious decisions in all my 27 years and it has been a rocky road. I have always felt worthless regardless of what my mother drives in me. I continuously struggled with overcoming my abuse, many times I would relapse and fall into depression thinking what could have been if I had not made it happen, if it was all my fault. I have struggled with suicide for years but I can say now that my mind set is neither here or there where suicide is concerned since I have had my daughter.
My passion is volunteering and providing customer service. I love to see the smile on others when I have done something good. I am apart of various youth groups, one being ‘Youth for Change’, which has opened up a lot of doors for me. I have overcome a lot through being apart of them. ‘Police Youth Club’ is also one of these organizations that I can truly say has shone a bright light on my life and various situations happening in Jamaica; National Integrity Action teaching me how to have an open mind, speaking up and speaking out.
My youth mission is just to get more youth involved in volunteering and assist to the best of my ability in helping people with various situations and problems Jamaica has been facing.
Talk Up Yout definitely gives Jamaica’s youth a voice for it has helped many youth in Jamaica, although it might not have been highlighted. However from hearing others stories, I can say it has helped me personally. When I was down and cutting myself, on the verge of throwing in the towel, I saw Talk Up Yout' when it was just interviews by Emprezz and I cried like a baby because I could relate.
Talk Up Yout is a medium that has helped me and for that I’m thankful.
Published by : Talk Up Yout- The Voice of Jamaican Youth!
My name is Hakeem Marcus Bryan; those three choices available are on many occasions not chosen when referring to me. The names that are used as substitutes are ‘Uncle’ and ‘Kheemy’. Uncle is derived from the timeless wisdom I offer plus the maturity that is embedded in my face. Kheemy on the other hand is a shortened version of Hakeem, with the letter H in the name reminding people that my name is ‘Hakeem’ not ‘Akeem’. I am twenty one years of age, might not look it but I assure you, I am. My hobbies including: writing, reading, watching movies, listening music and seizing opportunities. That last hobby was, until recently, just a dying promise to me. 2016 provided me with the equipment and mindset to breathe life into that promise. I finally turned that promise into action and have been acting upon it. I prefer calling it ‘2016 Get There’.
One of my most memorable moments of ‘2016 Get There’ was getting chosen to be a part of Talk Up Yout, a program with magnitude and focus that I have never been a part of. It allowed for me to make sense of my thoughts and to put them into structured content. My thoughts were a jumbled mass of nonsense and brilliance but it allowed me to realign everything. It also gives me a medium to share many of my experiences and zealousness. My experiences are broken down into trials, needs and struggles. My zealousness is broken down into passions, my mission for myself and vision for Jamaica.
Trials - Procrastination, Laziness and Lack of motivation, were all trials I have faced. These trials had jurors who were skeptical of me and leaning toward the verdict of guilty. The prosecution had an overwhelming case file filled with one conclusive finding “smart but underachieving time waster who won’t amount to anything in life”. This backed up with witnesses; teachers from high school plus relatives. It was a sure conviction for me. My attorneys-at-law, Confidence and Self-esteem were waning as the trial went out. It wasn’t until a surprise witness by the name of Talent took the stand, that my trial changed. Talent showed me all the things I can and will do with just effort. My attorneys, Confidence and Self-Esteem grew exponentially and I got a not guilty verdict. It wasn’t until I found my talent, that I realized I could conquer the world.
Needs - The only thing I need is a ‘buss’ not a bus but a ‘BUSS’. I just need opportunities to ‘leggo my career’. Talk Up Yout was one of those opportunities and I am very grateful for it, but I need more chances like this to publicize my brand and my skill sets in order to shape my country and my region in a positive light. Opportunities and proper advice are tools that every industrious youth needs to have in his toolkit. I don’t have both, just bits and pieces but I am still grateful for that because I know they will assist me to ‘leggo my career’.
Struggles - The hardships I face are no different from other trying youths. The hardships are: motivation, encouragement, positive ‘vybz’. These struggles leech on you and will bring you down if you let it. These struggles are needed, because you have to stub your toe many times in life before you achieve something big.
Passion: I talk with a lot of fervour when expressing my goals. My goals will be scored, as I am a top striker. My passions in this life are my writing and my brand. My written works will be the awe of the Caribbean as I aim to achieve and surpass great Caribbean authors before me. I’m indebted to my writing as it was the only thing I can say that assisted me in coming out of that dark place which I resided for many years. My writing and in the offspring of that which is my brand will be a force to reckon with, because I believe that my career will get leggo. This will be done with guile, hard work and making the right connections needed.
Mission Statement: “Leggo Career”
Definition - Achieving monumental success.
Vision for Jamaica: Jamaica is the land of my birth, the land that I have fallen in and out of love with during my twenty one years of life. Jamaica is on the rise but on a slow movement. This can be easily accelerated with a boost in positivity within the mindsets of our people. Jamaica will achieve that positive mindset only by seeing positive young people. Talk Up Yout must be partnered with by many other governmental agencies and corporate entities to showcase that positive image towards our people.
Talk Up Yout is vital to the development of Jamaica, as it showcases the different issues that plague our youths. Issues that have been swept under the rug or not highlighted enough or just issues that have been dealt with meekly and not boldly. Talk Up Yout is the shock factor for the Jamaican society. It is a building platform for the confidence of young people that have been on the show and for young people that have watched the program. It allows for a sense of comfortability and trust. Talk Up Yout needs to be broadcasted on a much wider platform, even regionally as this will assist our young people as a region. Talk Up Yout is great and I appreciate everything it has done for me and others.
Mhm a it.
It's funny how I can easily write about the stories of others but as it pertains to me, I feel hesitant - not in terms of unwillingness but hesitant in terms of what should I say? My name is Kenloy Smith and for the 18 years that I have lived, my journey has had some #topshelf moments and some not so top-shelf moments.
I am a Christian, and also a nurturing individual. I think I'm one of the few guys who tried to save a frog from being squashed by vehicles simply because I hate seeing pain, no matter how small or how great. At first I didn't like myself because of how "un-cool" everyone else made me feel. Coming from a church family where manners and happiness is a norm and, having both parents present and just being spoiled by love - I had (and still have) a very optimistic approach to life and school in general. However our society seems to shun that in males.
All of my strengths seem useless when compared to the expected reality or perception of "MEN". I'm emotionally stronger, more in tune with nature, prefer female company, prefer a pet over a vehicle, etc. But it seemed to me growing up that you had to be forceful, loud, demanding, dominant, egotistical and prideful to “BE A MAN”.
I guess Jamaica on a whole, has this stigma against guys. I've seen parents raise their male child "rougher" or "with less care" than their female children. That shouldn't be the case because not everyone is the same. There are girls out there who aren't as "girly-girly" out there in the world, and they are treated fine or with less disrespect, but you look at a guy who is gentler and is effeminate and immediately there's a riot.
I struggled for so many years, TRYING to be a "MAN" that in the midst of all the confusion, I questioned what a “MAN?” is. I had to hide my goals and interests in the presence of these guys because they wouldn’t think it was "straight". Dealing with that by myself was my worst struggle. I felt unloved, hurt, lonely, unwanted and depressed inside. I remember one day while I was inside my house alone I heard cheers and laughter, and when I peeped through the window there was this group of guys just playing football. I watched them for minutes like a caged bird looking at those in the open. "Why can't I be like them?"
In my senior years of high school, I learned that I am special and just as important as everyone else. I've made some friends who helped me so much, just by even talking to me or walking with me in public. It was almost like there were two different sides of society, the one I knew was only the negative side, but there’s the positive side, the educated, the ones who have fears but face them or equip themselves to handle them, the ones who knew the different types of LOVE, the ones who cared about emotions, goals, aspirations and most importantly the ones who didn't care about others’ opinion once they knew who they were and that they have a strong foundation.
That's my vision for Jamaica, that we have more of those persons in society who learn the essence of words like "TOLERANCE, ACCEPTANCE, PATIENCE, LOVE, TRUTH, OPTIONS and UNITY." If we are "Out of Many One People" then we need to cater to the different needs of everyone rather than trying to force ideals on them. Yes! Rules are important and without some level of ideas and force, people will stray and do whatever they want but ultimately; just like God, let's give our youth FREE-WILL. Of course you are going to teach them bad from good but leave them up to their own self-respect and consciousness. I wish that no one or no child has to argue and say that "You made me to this! I was so unhappy! etc".
I could have been told "You're gay, so just be yourself." but that just didn't feel right to me, my personality isn’t sexual, (and that's what everyone or most saw it as,) but being spiritually inclined. And then meeting males (MY DAD for e.g) who shows me love and acceptance (not saying that I don't get dirty, or perform my duties as a male but that he knows that I am better at other things) and then friends and fans who supported me and just looking myself in the mirror and saying that "I love you!" You are Handsome! You are Special" made everything tranquil.
In closing, as I move from Rural to Urban and as I sit around this laptop at U.W.I as a freshman / freshers, I realize the importance of a solid foundation. Things will get shaky but if you are truly rooted and grounded (can't over emphasize the importance of spirituality) then you'll be great. Talk up Yout is important because "TALKING UP" allows you to release stress, to express yourself, to be heard and most importantly to be responded to. After meeting this team (Season 6) I realized how blessed I was and how my problems were not rare. But if you never try, you'll never know. If we want to reach that 2030 goal then "TALKING UP!” And “TALKING AGAINST!” negative and unproductive behaviors must be a rule. Don't sweep it under the broom! EXPOSE IT! BRING IT TO THE LIGHT! I can only imagine the youths who WISHED they had our privileges, those who died, and those who suffer from rape, drug abuse, mental problems, and even those who just want to feel loved. That's why I am being the best me, so that when others hear my story it can inspire positive change and hope.
#Talkupyout #youthstories #Givingtheyouthavoice
My name is Deja Gennelle Campbell. I was born in Linstead, St. Catherine Jamaica. I did most of my schooling here in Jamaica, but I traveled back and forth from the US. After completing high school I moved to Canada then I later returned to my country to pursue a career in music. I started off dancing and then I learned how to sing and act while dancing through my brief Musical Theatre studies in Canada and while dancing with the Beam Dance Company.
Being a victim of bullying, I often struggle with being overwhelmingly shy and having terrible social anxiety as well as an inability to function normally when suffering any amount of emotional trauma, however as I learn more about myself and my inner strengths, I also learn how to handle these situations, through music and through meditation, both of which increase my ability to be calm and rational. It's not the easiest thing being a 'misfit' in a world full of 'robots', but I do find the rewards of standing out in a crowd to be much greater than the trials and in that I find great motivation to be who I am at all cost.
I have an incredible need to find like-minded individuals in this world, those who share a common vision, not afraid to be the black sheep as it is no secret this fight can get lonely, those who stand for what's right and stand for what they believe, those who fight for those who have nothing to give in return and those who give a voice to the voiceless, because only those who believe they can change the world will!
I am most passionate about music, dance, film and overall art, for example: drawing and poetry. The ability to create an alternate reality for others to experience, the ability to tell stories untold, to show people the world that exist out there, to touch people's heart without ever meeting or knowing them, share another's pain for one to understand, to create magic and push the boundaries of people's imagination, stimulate their minds with what ifs and whys and who? And the most magnificent of it all? To show the world in live and living sound and colour, what goes on in a beautiful mind, one of the most God-like talents, it's as though God has loaned you her paintbrush and canvas and says 'go forth and paint the world!' and so I paint!
My youth vision is to see a much calmer, more empathic generation, a generation which uses the arts to its advantage, one which would rather dance instead of fight and sing instead of argue, a generation that understands the pain and struggles of another, a youth strong in morals who wouldn't dare hurt and betray the ones who love them, leave a man hungry or dying, turn a blind eye to the plight of children and elders or steal, cheat or lie. A youth who values knowledge and seek it and believe in something greater than themselves, a generation longing for greatness and disciplined enough to work to achieve their goals and most of all a generation truly full of Love.
My vision for Jamaica is to see growth and development in all aspects, especially the justice system, education and youth, arts and culture. If we don't invest in ourselves chances are no one will. If you won't even bet on your own horse to win, why would I? Until we begin to value our country and it's ever growing potential, we will remain just that...full of potential but no growth. Let's fund that upcoming filmmaker, let's help send some kids to college, let's upgrade the documentation system in our police stations, let's grow together!
Talk Up Yout is important to Jamaica and to me, as it provides a platform by which youth may voice their trials and pool great ideas. Having a voice is the first step to youth development. Talk Up Yout has done its part by giving the youth a chance to tell their side, the youth have done their part by making use of the opportunity and now it's Jamaica’s turn to listen, understand and implement the solutions the youth have suggested. Talk Up Yout! Listen up Jamaica! #TalkUpYout #NationalPride
20 years old, Media & Communications Major at Northern Caribbean University.
"There is one thing I have learnt about myself - I am a warrior. No not just that, I am a survivor. No, I am a risen hero.
Growing up, I was one of the happiest children you could ever find. I had everything I needed; I had everything I wanted. The world was my playground, and I had persons willing to buy me all the toys I wanted for it. When I was 9, tragedy struck. The happy child with the bright laugh and the shiny eyes became damaged. My life was turned over by someone who was supposed to protect me, and my innocence was taken away way too early.
It took a toll on me, my shine began to rust, and I became bitter. I did not know who I was. I created imaginary people to help me get through my crisis, because I decided I could tell no one. I created people and I began to feel they were real. I talked to them and they were not there. I was going crazy. I began to turn to men for attention, losing pieces of myself that I could not get back. I was trying to find myself, but I lost it even more. I thought I was done for.
When I was 18, my grandmother died. She was one of the most important persons to me in the world, and I thought I could never have lived without her, but I did. I lived even more after her death. It did not ruin me; it fixed me. It made me realize that she died fighting for me to live, and it hit me, I have to mend the broken pieces, and just like that I did. Her memories became my fuel, and I became someone I never knew I could be. I found myself in all the chaos, and I loved the person that I found, she is pretty amazing.
I want to make a change. I want to become a legend. I want to help as much persons as I can. I want to make a difference, and bit by bit I am. I want to help the Jamaican youts' find themselves, and find their paths in this life. I am on a mission to make not only Jamaica better but the whole word, and I can because I no longer limit myself. I try to volunteer in every thing, because I care, sincerely and wholeheartedly.
I am on a mission to succeed, to shine like a diamond and kill the darkness in this world, well at least some of it. I have such big dreams that if I put them on paper they will tear the pages, and if I say them, they will deafen the ears of the small minded. I don't want to be just another person that lived. I want to be the person that helped other persons to live.
I am thankful for my scars because now nothing can bring me down. I am blessed and highly favoured, and now I am happy. God and myself got me through something that would have destroyed many others. I am a warrior. No, I am a risen hero."
"I am Naggai Powell, and I am out to make history."
Youth, ages 14 - 26, from all over the world, talking up. #TalkUpYout