Top 5 Lessons for self-sustenance!

Some of life’s best thoughts come to us in the most unexpected places and in the most unique ways.

I mean, sitting on the loo, john, bike (real Jamaican) or potty, whatever you identify with it as, it’s a great place to really develop brilliant ideas. Let’s take out the thought of what you may be doing there and just focus on the truly profound thoughts that come to you in the moment. Some of which could be life changing.

Here’s some context for reference. I am a single parent, living with extended family, females, and my daughter and son, in case you haven’t learned that from the other posts or I haven’t mentioned it, or you’re just new to the blog, welcome. Single black female [here] addicted to retail… Well not really. I thought to share life skills that as women its perhaps a good idea to even have basic knowledge of these, hacks of sorts. Yes some of these things you can simply pay someone else to get done but guess what, when funds are limited or hell you just want to save a few coins, or you just appreciate being self-sufficient, learning how to do it yourself can change things greatly.

  1. Learn Basic Plumbing

Earlier today, I found myself in the midst of a perturbing situation in my bathroom. Having young children sometimes means experiencing a few clogged toilets or sinks from time to time. Now I am no plumber but I have learned by way of trial and error how to solve that problem even in the scope of short term fixes. Now, I had an important work project to complete. Bearing in mind working from home, though blissfully surrounded by my loves still has boundaries and restrictions that I need to adhere to. I said to my mom, yes the sink is blocked, leave it, when I’m through I will deal with it. She proceeded to try to fix it herself because the same stubborn streak I have, well you know the rest I can imagine. Now here we are with a drained sink, yes, but a broken plastic vent air kit air gap disposal elbow coupling. Did I know this all along, nope? Google is your best friend, use her wisely, another discussion to be had later.

Bless my grandfather’s heart, he was a master plumber and may his soul rest in peace. The way the plumbing in our house was designed, trust me, it is the same as how the design of Falmouth, Jamaica was, brilliantly laid out. He was a man of great integrity. A man of great spirit and though he did not have education on paper, he was a brilliant man, street smart and just so willing to learn, before I go on any further come back to the next article to learn more about the woman I became by virtue of the influences in my life.

Back to our discussion on plumbing. Ensure that you have a plunger. Though we don’t go into situations expecting our little ones to stick the most obscene of items down our toilet, they will do it and instead of paying someone $7000 JM to get it removed, these basic tools can help you get it done. I mean, it’s totally fine as well if that’s just not your thing and you would rather make it rain so that you can spend more time on what matters to you, to each his own. Do your thing boo!

2. Learn Basic Motor Vehicle assistance

I don’t have my license mind you, but I can drive and I did observe my father during my early years when he had vehicle troubles. I recall travelling with two persons from an event. On our way back, we noticed smoke appearing from the bonnet. I alerted the driver, he pulled over and being the men in the vehicle. well that and heck it’s his vehicle, they went to assess the situation. One of the individuals taught mechanics mind you. They both stood looking at the vehicle wondering what could have caused the issue. I sat in the vehicle patiently waiting at first, then my curiosity got the better of me. When I went to take a look, I immediately drew the conclusion that the radiator was the issue. I mentioned it, they both said no, that’s not it. I suggested pouring water into it, they proceeded to do their own thing because well, what do I know? I don’t drive nor is it expected for me to have any knowledge about mechanics why, you may be wondering? Well because I am a woman quite obviously. His mechanic was not too far away, we were able to drive the vehicle to the location and low and behold what the issue was, the radiator became overheated.

Ladies, let no one limit you because of their interpretation of you or what they may think that you are about or the role they believe is designed for you. Even if you have no interest in getting down and dirty and learning every tidbit, observe, ask questions, travel with tools in your vehicle. Don’t find yourself stranded. But again if that’s not your thing, roadside assistance exists here in Jamaica as well.

3. Develop Self-confidence

It is important to develop your own self-confidence ladies. Some of our decisions, some of our relationships grow from places of uncertainty and brokenness. I was raised to believe that my voice matters, I matter and as such never allow anyone to make me feel less than worthy. Now there are levels to this because being the extremist that I am, this goes on to many things and has so many levels. I recall an experience relatively recent, being introduced to a new work environment. Surrounded by people who already developed their bond, their gang gang lol. I went in not interested in any of that but only caring about learning my new role and putting the relevant measures in place. Funny thing about me, in a work environment, I rarely get to know people until after learning their working abilities. So basically I don’t like or dislike persons I work with, I like or dislike their attitude towards their work and if they are great at what they do then hey, I will try to learn a bit more about who they are as people and perhaps get to know them on a personal level. Now, being in this work environment, yes it isn’t right to judge, but you can observe and make an assessment of the situation and not have it come off as “judgy” right? Well, I quickly realized I was surrounded by adults that loved their pay but clearly had no interest in doing the actual work that was put in place for them to be compensated.

Thinking back on it, I have always said, people are willing to accept mediocrity but would rather pretend not to. They want to be surrounded by the best and the brightest but have no appreciation for them. They would want to be known for having the best staff, the best location, the best whatever but won’t invest in them. I am here to say, if it no longer serves its purpose in your life! Pack it up, move right along. Going back to self-confidence, I can recall being in a meeting that we had ever so often, why is beyond me because we wasted at least four hours of a productive day each time but perhaps it was for other reasons I need not dive into without giving away the obvious truth. Anyway, there was a day that an older woman ran to the then “manager” to complain about the fact that she asked for assistance on a project and I said no. Now here’s some context, I am new, I have a desk full of duties that I am just getting to learn and you are there doing nothing but being on WhatsApp all day but you want me to stop what I am doing to do your work as well?!!!! Um, no. The manager came into the situation rather short… tempered, hot and bothered and began to express, from what I recall was a very loud and unnecessary manner, his thoughts on me saying no to her request. Immediately I addressed the woman, in front of everyone, I explain to her how silly she appears for doing what she did. They proceeded in a failed attempt to gang up on me being the youngest and the newest to the team, but little did they know, I don’t get bullied, nor do I tolerate being spoken to in any manner not befitting a professional environment. So I addressed the matter head on and lets just say they got the message.

Now I am not saying be loud and fight fire with fire, but no matter the situation, as women, we need to protect ourselves at all cost because who else is going to? In the pay negotiation, make that big salary request, go for what you want, men are asking for the top dollar without even deserving it often times. Find your center, know your name, and stand confident in your power.

4. Educate yourself on finances

Financial literacy is pertinent regardless of which gender you identify as. I am still learning, but in the era that we now live, information literally is at our fingertips. There are a fair amount of YouTube videos that can teach you about creating budgets, creating financial planners. Even starting a business can be a simple process. Don’t ever let your freedom be tied to the finances of anyone let alone a man because Lord knows the implications, the repercussions and the whole idea of it all. BUT, if that’s your thing boo…

Ask the relevant questions of your bankers, make them work a little, get the education you need to not only survive but to scale up and thrive. Locally, great examples can be seen on YouTube, Kalilah Reynolds, explores the laypersons guide towards stocks, finances and all things about Making Money Moves.

5. Learn to finesse Google to your advantage

I would have mentioned being in an era of easy access to information. There are many times where persons ask questions when truly had they taken a moment to observe, draft a quick analysis and apply simple tools, they would have come out on the victor. Mind you, ask to seek clarity but observe the pattern and see whether or not what you were about to ask can be answered on your own if you do a little leg work. For me at this time there is no excuse to feign ignorance because a quick google search could find you with these answers in short term really quickly.

Understanding that in this life, meeting new people, engaging in new circles can be the difference in where you are versus where you’ve dreamed or envisioned that you’d be. I appreciate a researcher. I appreciate someone who will go looking for the answer to the very topic we are discussing because they want to stay engaged. No, you don’t have to fake understanding but you can leverage the free tools available to us all to really get involved in the conversation.

Ladies, these are minimal but could go a long way in saving a dollar or two and getting you moving towards a more self-sustained you.

Feel free to send commentaries to thecontentjamaican@gmail.com. Let’s chat shall we?

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