IT is so very rare that I find someone that I can ask the simplest of questions and their responses are so intriguing that you could just listen to them for days. It is for this reason that my FITC was only asked four questions but have long responses
Medalise Breen is a 35 year mother of one who works at the Cultural Development Foundation as a Business Development and Marketing Officer. But it is her way of thinking and the golden nuggets that live in her head that I’m sure will have you gripped.
Breen grew up in Babonneau spending divided time with her mother and elderly aunts, so she has an undying love for and understanding of the elderly.
Her stint as a teacher also awakened a passion for children.
Her reserved nature might make her seem like a recluse but when she explains it all, one will want to find the nearest cabin in the woods to do the same.
Breen says it is her experiences with people that she has come across in her life’s journey that makes her who she is today.
She gave me her story and right now, I’m giving you readers the chance to get lost in her mind and her beautiful way of thinking. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did
The VOICE: You mentioned that you enjoy being alone. Many people might choose to label you an introvert or recluse, but to you personally, what does that alone time mean to you and why do you choose to keep to yourself?
Medalise: Being raised by so many different people who had so many different perspectives about life, I think what happened was that it afforded me the opportunity to find out so many different aspects of myself and so when I spend time with myself, I ask a lot of questions of me…what does that situation that I found myself in yesterday tell me about myself? What is it going to teach me? Where is it going to take me? When I spend time alone, I’m doing a lot of reflection and personal development because over the years, I have learnt and accepted that I am “different”. You grow and are taught that we are all unique but I truly believe that I am different and I believe that my uniqueness has a lot to do with all of the experiences that I have had and it has impacted me. I am complex because of my experiences and so every experience that I have pushes me and directs me in a different path and so when I spend time with myself, what I am doing is just trying to find aspects of me and put myself in perspective. When I was growing up, I remember friends always saying “It’s just so easy to talk to you because you understand where I’m coming from” and I’m just like, it’s not that difficult really, all I have to do is just stop and take the time to listen to what you’re saying, just listen to you. To listen to you, not with the view to have an answer that is already predetermined, but to give you a response based on what you’re saying. So if I’m going to do that, it means that I have to pay close attention to who you are and what you’re saying to me, and I cannot be judgemental. There’s the saying; “Why can’t we all just get along?” Why can’t I have my perspective, you have your perspective, we both share and express ourselves and we move on hand or next to each other and continue along our journey? What’s wrong with that?
The VOICE: Let’s speak about your love for older folks. What do you think we, the younger generation can learn from them if we just take the time to look beyond the obvious barriers and stigmas that we have about “old people”?
Medalise: There are so many things that we can learn. One of them, some may see it as trivial but one time I went to visit my grandmother who is 87 and she still walks around from one community to the next. She still cooks her own food and washes her own clothes by hand and up till two years ago when she fell and hurt her back, she would still go to her garden. But generally, this is a lady with immense physical strength, but yeah, I went to visit her and she was in her balcony when she told me about an uncle of mine who brought her a medicine. “How did he get that medicine?” I asked, and she said he was sitting one time and this leaf just came from wherever it came from and landed on him. Now traditionally, there is this thinking that when you are sick and you have sent invocations to the universe that you are in need of healing, the universe is going to send you healing through natural means and often times, it comes in the form of a leaf. So when that leaf comes, you take it, you boil it and drink the water from which you will get healing. She was telling me that he found that and she vows that it works and has worked for so many people before. Now mind you, I’ve heard many other older people talking about the same medication. Now in as much as I am a science student, that method goes completely off what I know about leaves, healing properties and caution. I do not understand why or where there is logic behind that teaching but you know what that teaches me? That the universe works in tandem with us through the elements. I may not understand where she and the others are coming from, but that teaches me that because I don’t understand something, that doesn’t mean that I have to throw it out completely and not give it any thought. So what do I do? I have been thinking about this thing and thinking, “well what does that mean?” And I’m still thinking about it. I have not exactly gotten to that point where I can tell you where I am in terms of understanding and giving full acceptance to her perspective, but that teaches me that because I don’t understand her perspective, that doesn’t mean that I have to completely cut them off or ignore them. Older people have a way of explaining things, even without explanation and it is for us to be wise enough to be willing to do further investigation to understand where they’re coming from and why they say do this that way or whatever, before we are able to make a judgement. That teaches me that in order to come up with my perspective of life, other perspectives are important. Where I come from in terms of my views on things, it comes from other sources and I have to give other people’s perspectives and views a chance. That’s one of the things I think we can learn from older people.
Another thing we can learn is something I notice that I do with my daughter. We learn how to avoid certain pitfalls that we may find ourselves in, in life. I find myself trying to help my daughter avoid certain things. Whereas it is important for us to go through certain experiences so that we can come out on the other side with the knowledge of having gone through it, we need to be open minded and again listen to the deeper explanation of reasoning that they are giving and not be too much in a haste to be living and experiencing ourselves. Because they have been through certain things and they know that when you would have gone along that path, you would meet certain things. So when they speak to you about certain things that you will experience, don’t be too hasty to be like; “These people have lived their lives and they just don’t want me to live mine.”
The VOICE: You are now at the CDF. What drew you to this place and what are you hoping to take away from it.
Medalise: Every experience for me is a learning one and in my life, one experience has always led to another or maybe it is that I have drawn lessons from one experience to another…not necessarily because one led to another but because of my thinking, I think I have always drawn lessons. I was always taught to believe that I wanted to be a doctor as these professions always sit well with adults in their hearts and minds. I loved sciences and understanding how certain things worked. I was encouraged to do it because I did well at school. But even when I was at CCSS, I believed that I would become a doctor and that went well into my adult years, but what it really was, was me being somebody who would help people to be better…simply put. When I left school, I ended up teaching. When I was going up to my third year, it was required that I went to teacher’s college but I wasn’t sure that this was what I wanted to do and I had decided that this would be my final year as a teacher.
It was one day when I was at home correcting papers that a friend brought company over and little did I know that this was an interview for Praise FM…this came just at the time when I was considering what I was going to do with the next phase of my life. I worked at Praise FM for three to four years and it was a good experience but I wanted to do so much more. I had realised the power of radio and the impact that I had on people. I told myself that I wanted to work for RSL (Radio St. Lucia) but I knew that it was next to impossible to work there. Well, I thought so but I kept telling myself that this was where I wanted to be. I was at home one day and a cousin called and suggested that I submit my resume there as there was a vacancy at RSL. I sent it in and got the job. I learnt so much there and the people whom I met, listeners, have become life long friends.
What I wanted to do in my life, I have been able to do so from one area to another. I love my “St. Lucianess” and whilst I never thought I would work at CDF, I always wanted to be involved in St. Lucian culture. So one day I was heading home and out of the blue, I was stopped and told about an opportunity to go to CDF. This was two weeks after I left RSL. I sent my application in and I ended up meeting up with my current supervisor. My position was non existent prior to now as CDF has rebranded and so whilst others were shortlisted, I got the job. What baffles me and I cannot understand other than for the simple fact that the universe is at work…you may not be able to explain it and you should not try but I just wonder why and how my life’s journey led to now. I had to do teaching so that I could have gone into media which all led to me here and now.