When I was a girl, I remembered my aunt Dorret would visit us on her holidays from her home in Connecticut. She would return to Jamaica once or twice each year. These visits would also mark a coming together of all our family members. In the early years we spent this time at my grandparents little house in Prickly Pole, St. Ann, Jamaica. There was a lot of comings and goings. These are some of the fondest memories I have of being with my family there were lots of cousins, uncles, aunts, extended family and friends. On her visits back home to Jamaica, it was always certain almost everyone would be the recipients of some very cool “foreign things.” This is early ’90’s so things were a bit different during those years. What I was most excited for is knowing I would be the recipients of her old magazines. Some would frown upon this but this was my favourite part of my aunts gifts to me. My cousins and I would skim through the pages of Vogue, Cosmo and Good Housekeeping with sheer pleasure and fascination, and we would say things along the line of;
“Wow when I grow up I’m going to live in that house. Buy that car, wear this perfume and eat that food!”
All the while pointing vigorously at the photos of homes, cars, fashion and food. If I remember correctly I once thought for sure I would rent myself an apartment in the south of France. We would pretend to be rich society women. Pretend to eat the food from the magazine pages and speak in posh New York accents. When I look back it makes me laugh and cherish the little girl with the lavish dreams of success and glamour. I harkened to a time I felt the world was my oyster and all my goals were attainable. All I had to do was dream. I especially loved the ads in the magazine and one in particular called out to me every time I saw it.
In a bar sat this very beautiful long-legged Caucasian woman. She was wearing a bright fitted yet classy yellow dress, white strappy heeled shoes. In her manicured hands she held a long freshly lit Virginia Slim cigarette. She was half leaning over the bar from the bar stool she sat on. She seemed so extremely happy. Beneath the ad read….
” YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY.”
And as young as I was, I remember thinking to myself when viewing this.
” Yes! This is who I would like to become.”
Keep in mind I was possibly 8 years old at this time. So, I didn’t understand the sexual undertones of the photo. I didn’t judge her, I just wanted to have success like she exudes in the ad. This brings me to my fourteen year old self strutting my way through Donald Sangster’s International Airport on my way to making my new life in Canada. I remember feeling absolutely sanguinity.
I’ve certainly came a long way. But I haven’t made it to New York just yet. There are times I was that woman in the ad. I’ve always enjoyed all of life’s richness. I’ve had my very high highs and I’ve also had my lows. But who hasn’t? I’ve seen my fair share of twist and turns in and in most people’s perspective I’ve yet to accomplish anything but I’m celebrating my personal victories. Celebrating my own personal best.
I suppose the nature of this post is to remind you all we need to celebrate ourselves. The journey is just as important as the destination. Let us take a minute today and just look back at how far you’ve made it over the years against all the odds stacked up against you. Now take a look at what your future may hold and say to yourself.
“YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!”