Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Road Less Traveled... Or losing my first friend

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
                                                  - Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled

I don't consider myself a trend-setter, and I don't really follow them either. But, lately, I find myself longing for a path uniquely my own. Longing, longing, longing...

And I think I've finally found it.

Like I said last time, I'm gonna start my own business.

It's going to be hell. I'm doing this in a foreign country. I'm still trying to raise the insane amount of capital that the Japanese government insists I have. And of course, even in the best of circumstances, starting a business is never easy. I've gotta build a name for this company, and build the company itself. I have to convince people to have faith in me and then live up to their expectations.

But I've found my path. I turned 35 on Thursday, and I've just figured out what I'm meant to be giving the world. I can't ignore that.

I expected it to be tough. Raising money is going both worse and better than I thought it would. And people I expected would jump at the chance to support me, haven't. And people who I didn't imagine would care have jumped at the chance to help.

But I think what shocked me the most was the first time a person I considered a friend just did not support me.

I don't mean with financial donations. And I don't mean the play-it-safe types who fear for me jumping off this cliff into the uncertain like a Disney character in the middle of the flagship song.

I said to my friend that I couldn't meet in the middle of a work day on a Monday. My friend accused me of worshipping money and letting money change me. I drew analogies about 9-to-5ers taking a break in the middle of their work day to hang out. Or taking a day off in the first week of a new job to chill with a friend. It made no difference.

And the more I think about it, the more I can't avoid that I'm going to lose this friend. You can't have a friend that despises children after you have kids. You can't stay friends with people after you find that they're opposed to some fundamental part of you - your race, gender, sexual orientation. And by the same token, I can't be around people who spew poison about my commitment to building my business while I'm building my business.

It's a lot like being a writer I guess. Some people you consider close will never buy a book. Some people will try to discourage you because of their own fears. And some people will never understand and make you feel guilty for not making them do so and bad for following your dream.

But you have to follow, don't you? As Langston Hughes asked, "What happens to a dream deferred?"

Kudos to you all for following the road less traveled. And if you haven't - yet - I wish you strength. Strength .... and the support of those around you. You've already got mine. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Barbados gained independence on November 30, 1966. Just last week, we celebrated our 50th anniversary. Even for an ex-pat like me, it was a momentous occasion. My Dad was a cadet on the first Independence Day parade and returned as the 2nd in command of a special detachment for the parade this year. I pretty much spent the whole week busting with pride.

But, of course, I got to thinking about being independent. As a person. About making big changes. And taking big leaps of faith. I've decided to start my own business and with all the obstacles to being a foreigner and starting a business in Japan, I spend a lot of time wondering if I'm crazy...

What am I talking about? I AM crazy. This is established.

Oh, well. Hang on to your hats, folks. The wild ride has just begun.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

We don't need tickets

My absolute favourite line from Gossip Girl is this:
"We don't need tickets; I'm Chuck Bass." 

I have always wanted to say something even half as cool.

I've mentioned a few times that I have no money right now. I've quite gotten used to being constantly broke at a level that only a constantly broke person could understand. But, being broke has caused me to realise that pretty amazing things happen to me, and they are completely independent of cash flow.

Having just got back from Nigeria, it occurs to me that the majority of the coolest places I've been on have been paid for by someone else or heavily subsidised. Jamaica, Colombia, Japan - all not me. Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Bermuda, Montreal, 11 US states - I actually got paid to see them.

Even apart from crazy travel experiences, there are a lot of other ways in which things just fall into my lap. I am the sort of person who gets jobs first and applies for them after. Who gets amazing opportunities to meet really famous/ really inspiring people like Maya Angelou without going out of her way. The sort of person who finds herself in positions people work really hard to be in, without putting in the effort and purely on a fluke.

And even outside the big things, there are little things that the 'having of no money' usually prevents that I still have access to. But my amazing support system of family friends makes it possible for me not to be a complete recluse. Thank you. (Or as they say in Yoruba "ẹ se" - eh sheh)

And I say all this not to boast, but to be appreciative of the good things that come my way. My new Yoruba name, Oluwayemisi, loosely translates to "God honours me."

Fo sheezy.

So while I may not have enough money to be sure of all the things that should be bought or paid for are actually bought or paid for, I do have a list a mile long of amazing blessings. So much so that I'm able to match Chuck Bass. If only in reverse.

I don't need money; I am Claire Dawn Oluwayemisi.

àṣẹ (asheh)
(Yoruba for Let it be so.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

World Order- Far Out Friday

 Every year, after watching the previous year's Danthology, I make a playlist with all the songs. The songs I can't stand eventually get deleted - rap that's too raucous, electronica with no words, Gangnam style... But other than that, it makes an awesome playlist. This year I discovered will.i.am's #thatPOWER.

I'm jamming along to the track for like three seconds, until... Wait, I've seen that dance somewhere before... Huh? That street sign is in Japanese. Oh my gosh, yes! What's the name of the crazy- skilled Japanese-guy slow-walking dance group?

Yeah, now I remember. World Order. Pretty sure that is NOT them in the will.i.am vid. Unless it's like their second-string team or something. The vid was filmed in Japan. I have no doubt about that. So why aren't World Order a part of it? Were they like, "You cute, but no. We can't be tarnishing our name with the likes of that not-surgically-precise thing you're doing there."

Either which way. World Order is amazing. I love how they're like, "We will just dance in the middle of Narita International Airport, the biggest airport in Japan, and one of the most trafficked in Asia. Meh, no biggie." And I love that the world tries to copy it. Even if they come nowhere close.

Looks like Japan leads the world in more than just technology.

One more vid for the road. And yeah, Japanese dating is pretty much like that.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Danthology 2013 - Time Travel Tuesday

Maybe, you've never heard of it, but every year this dude named Daniel Kim, mixes together a bunch of music's biggest hits (from a North American perspective). Living in Japan, it's too hard to keep my finger on the Western pulse, so I tend to ignore it. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to know who sang what, and who the new guys in the game are. So every January, it's Danthology time.

Any tunes on it that you LURVED? Any tunes you think were big enough to be on it and weren't?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Re-finding my Blog Voice (MomM)

Once upon a time, I was an avid blogger. I had a plan. There was a designation for every day of the week.

Monday on my Mind.
Tell it Tuesday and Time Travel Tuesday.
Write Away Wednesday.
Talk Back Thursday.
Far out Friday.

I was so into the blog scene that I even gave a lecture on the topic at the Japan Writers' Conference.

Oh, how the Mighty have fallen.

Back then, I didn't look for blog topics. I was tripping over them. I'd have 3 or 4 blogs pop into my head almost fully written every day.

Hold up a sec, let me repeat that slowly.




I couldn't very well post them all. So I wrote them down, just in case I had a drought. But I never did. Until now. Wish I could find that notebook...

Now that I'm not in the practice of belching up my soul every 24 hours, I can't really remember how to do it. I can't remember what you like. Or how I used to be able to tap into that. I hardly even get to read anymore, and I don't know the last time I did any novel-writing. The biggest thing that defined this blog isn't even really a part of my life right now.

I feel like the biggest disappointment. I mean, I know noone's crying into their Earl Grey over the state of Points of Claire-ification (except maybe me). I'm just that kind of person. I like to keep my word. And every time one of you comments or follows or even reads all the way to the end of the post, it's a vote of confidence. And in return for that small favour, I make a promise. It's woven into the words the second I click the "Publish" button.

I will not waste your precious time.
I will try to be relevant.
I will interact with you.
I will educate and share my world.
I will be fun and entertaining.

I will give you what you want.

It's been over a year since I've properly kept any of those unspoken promises. So, in apology, I offer you a new one.

I will re-find my blogging voice.

Here's hoping you're along for the ride.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Translating it is

This month's contribution to the happiness project will be translation.

How'd I pick it?

Well, I'm not one to fight the tide. (At least sometimes.) And the truth is there's a lot of translation going on in my life right now. I've been translating for school and for work. And yes, I work at the school, but I don't work FOR the school, so it's two different things. Plus, the mayor has put me on a committee, so I have a massive amount of translation related to those documents. Just so that I understand what is going on and pull my own weight and stuff.

But why does translation get a month?

I've been thinking about my Happiness Year, and I realise it's not htat much about happiness. At least not in the Western sense. Maybe in a Socratic sense. I mean I'm manic-depressive. Half the time I'm too "happy" and when I'm depressed it's because I "can't" be happy. So happiness really isn't my problem.

Unless we're talking Socratic happiness. Because to Socrates had a lot to do with being the best person you can be. And personality-wise, I don't think I do a bad job. But in terms of moving forward in life, I don't feel like I'm growing. At 32, I feel like I'm at exactly the same place as when I finished secondary school. Yes, I've moved from Barbados to Japan, which is literally half the world and all, but still. It's like I'm spinning and spinning and all I get for my efforts is dizzy.

So my Happiness Year is really about cultivating the habits and skills that will make me a better person in the future; the sort of skills that will maybe move my career forward when that career finally falls into place.

Translation happens to be one of those things.

How about you guys? Do you feel like your lives are moving along swimmingly? Is there anything that you really want to improve on?