My recent trip to Jamaica was unlike any of my other adventures before. This time around, I tagged along with 6 other women: my old co-workers Doreen and La’Shell, and Doreen’s friends Jade Chrissy, Kiki, and Roslyn. With so much going on in Los Angeles (apartment hunting, knocking out schoolwork early, and planning my own events), I was all for the getaway (when am I not really?). In true Wanderwoman fashion, only telling my mother two days before I left, I slipped unnoticed onto the plane and away into the paradise that is Jamaica.
On the first day of activity, we took a bus to Ocho Rios to H’Evans Scent Zip Lining in the parish of St. Ann. This being my first zip lining experience, at first the thought of flying through the forest excited me more than it made me nervous, but it was a whole different ball game when I got up on the ledge and gazed to the other side over the trees. My legs started shaking and my heartbeat quickened. I had no clue what to expect, so I closed my eyes before the leap; it’s my way of stepping into the fear, scared, but still swinging. I felt my stomach jump into my chest and my heart leap as I dived down onto the slack of the line. For a moment, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t even scream. My eyes were clenched tight. I stiffened for a bit, and then the thought ran through my mind, “You’re gonna get up here and let this pass you by without even looking at the view?!” Screw it. I opened my eyes to find myself gliding through the air, passing over heaps of green and lush forest. How could I let myself miss this even for one second. I always tell others, “When you decide to take the risk, you can’t tip-toe through it or play it safe. You might as well go all in.” I had to remind myself of my own words. “I took the leap already–might as well enjoy the flight while I’m up here.”
I was fairly go-with-the-flow for the most part, but there was one thing in particular that I had to make happen. In my high school senior book, I made a bucketlist page with all the zany, random things I wanted to do in my lifetime, and on that list, I wrote, “Go to Jamaica and be serenaded by a fine man with dreads and green eyes.” Beside it was a picture of Jason Momoa shirtless on the beach. (Don’t judge me). On the fourth day of the trip while at the Bob Marley Museum, I met one of the most beautiful men I’d ever seen. He had green eyes, a course goatee decorating his upper lip, and long locs all twisted into a big, low bun. The whole trip, I was telling the crew how I wanted find a green-eyed-crooner to cross something on my list. He was that guy.
“Hey, come here,” I said, motioning him over to me. “Can you sing?” I questioned, tilting my head to the side.
“Uh yea, a little bit,” he replied.
I went into the brief story of my girlish, high school wish.
“That’s really specific, yah know” he laughed, a little bit amused and unconvinced.
“I know, I know,” I gestured with my hands, “it is. But when I saw you, I was like, ‘He’s the one.’” My eyes widened as I looked up at him. “Can you sing to me?”
I was shocked. Who was this new woman, going in, approaching guys all smooth and what not, being fearless in the pursuit of what she wanted? I LOVED her! She was doing the things I always had trouble doing before. Long story short, he ended up being our tour guide and serenaded me with one of his original songs after the tour was over. Score! It turns out, he was a reggae artist and an amazing singer, if I do say so myself.
Of all these things, Carnival was by far my favorite part of the trip. We started planning the Jamaica getaway back in September 2016, and I had my anxiety about being half-naked in a wire bra and tiny bikini–walking in a parade and not on a beach. When I tried on my costume on the day of pick-up, I looked over to the stood in front of my reflection in the mirror. What I thought would be nerve-wracking actually…wasn’t so bad. In fact, I was into myself so much, I didn’t want to the outfit off. I went home that night and laid my whole costume out on the bed like a kid the night before the first day of school. I brought out all the jewelry I was going to wear, my favorite gold shoes, and my Nigerian flag.
The morning of Carnival was perfect. I felt amazing, and it showed all over my face as I twisted and pranced down the road, side by side with the trucks and carnival goers. I looked around at all the different shapes, sizes, and colors on the road and all I saw were hearty laughs, cheers, and people dancing like no one was watching. There was something extra special to me about baring (almost) all during our 8-hour road march through the streets of Kingston. I felt no animosity, tension or self-consciousness from the crowd, and I would like to think that’s because I didn’t feel those things toward myself. I took it that was how it looked to let go and enjoy the moment.
Each time I return back to LA after a trip, I feel like a brand new being. It’s as if I light up a new room inside my temple of understanding, and hat’s what I love so much about getting out of the country. I took initiative in making my Jamaica experience amazing and, for that, I am proud. Along with an amazing tan, a bomb costume, a bucketlist achievement, and memories for days, I took a great lesson from my week in paradise: most things aren’t as daunting as they seem if I can just let go. Understanding this makes it that much easier to pursue every single thing I want for my life. Thank you, Jamaica, for making me reinforce my best Self.