Soca is Healing

Cropped version of sketchbook collage, ink & sharpies piece showing lots of soft coloured flower petals around the image of a woman's face which is buried among flower petals in a bath

Featured artwork: Soft & Soothed, sketchbook art 2020 by Leigh

4 Oct 2020

2020 has been a hard year for everyone… except maybe Zoom?

Despite liking to be in my house, the loss of that energy exchange between people, the limited contact with a small number of people, home-schooling, and the total derailment of my plans for this year meant that I was constantly working to pump myself up.

I was writing a paper on Creative Action and Purpose, then I was writing a paper on Social Change Curation. I was trying to shift existing art stock. I was looking to promote Life Story Art. I was job hunting in academia. I was working to build up my social media marketing – a task I love as much as I love the idea of going back to admin jobs… again. Errrgh! Basically, I was all over the shop.

In the last 2 weeks the slide was getting steeper and slicker. I know, left to my own devices, I’d have abandoned meditation and gratitude journaling long time; but the hubby wouldn’t let me. Every morning, he just behaved like meditating was a given and so I ended up just going along with it. Every evening, he’d pull out his gratitude journal and start writing and I’d feel bad to skip so I’d get mine out and write my 10 things to be grateful for today too. I’m the one who harangued him in to doing this stuff, ah cyah quit. Still, my half-arsed efforts with those weren’t enough to stave off the meltdown that is inevitable when you go from a super busy, high earning, feeling-useful-and-needed creative year to a year of excessive tumbleweed.

So last Thursday my spirit broke. I sat down to do work and could not concentrate. I was frozen in my chair. My chest hurt, my breathing was laboured, my mind was spinning and blank all at the same time. I couldn’t seem to hold a thought other than – You’re such a failure. Shame made my fingers tingle and heart rate speed up. “Stacey you were more financially independent and solvent in your 20s than you are now”. The self-loathing rolled in like a tsunami and took out the pokey little sandbags I’d been using to reinforce my mental levees. I surrendered, put on Kirk Franklin’s Hold me Now (1998) and bawled like a baby. I figured, if I couldn’t pull myself up then I might as well go down. Perhaps if I sank to the bottom, I could push off and hopefully break the surface at some point.

The self-hate tsunami complete with pity party sound track was what my dear husband met when he came home for lunch. He said nothing other than, “do you need more tissue?” then wrapped me in his arms and proceeded to spend his lunch hour getting snot and tears on his jumper.

About 24hrs later when the fog cleared, I kept finding myself humming the same two tunes out of the blue – Magic (Kes the Band, October and Charles, 2020) and Throw Back Ting (Kes the Band and Lyons, 2019). So I went to my streaming service and pulled up Throw Back Ting. I was passing a mirror when these lyrics hit me like a lightning bolt.

“Every time I see your face
I start to remember the love and affection
Every time I feel you close to me
My body keep telling me to wine non-stop.
This wine on lock.
I telling yuh the love still dey
I wanna know how the love still dey
I wanna go but the love still dey
All this time.
Ah feel that the love still dey
We grow apart but the love still dey
Down in mih heart yea, the love still dey
All this time.
So baby doh lemme catch yuh in a corner
doh lemme catch yuh in a corner
Cuh we go en’ up ben’ up, en’ up ben’ up
In a throwback ting.”

Kes & Terri Lyons (2019)

It was like I was singing the lyrics to myself, reminding myself that the love was still there, that I will always come back to me, that even when I want to give up on myself and I can’t feel it in that moment, I still love me. And every time I manage to find my way back to my heart and soul the feeling of reconnection is orgasmic and comfortable all at the same time.

I stared at the woman in the mirror and sang softly to her at first. The song would end and I would hit repeat. If it was a (cassette) tape, ah done stretch it! Slowly my volume increased as I sang to me and caught myself “in a corner” so I could “en’ up ben’ up, en’ up ben’ up in a throwback ting”.

sketchbook collage, ink & sharpies piece showing lots of soft coloured flower petals around the image of a woman's face which is buried among flower petals in a bath
Soft & Soothed © 2020 by Leigh

Maybe after 10 repeats, I moved on to Magic , a collaboration with Jimmy October and Etienne Charles. The video starts with Kes and Jimmy explaining their definitions of magic. My eyes got glassy when they said, “It’s us as a people” and the happy tears rolled down my big spacey-tooth smile when Kes said “Believe in the magic, we are the magic”.

That afternoon the husband came home to find me making dinner for the kids, blasting Kes, wining in the kitchen, screech/singing “Believe in the Magic!” That man didn’t even blink an eye. He just smiled, moved in for a wine, hugged me and said “welcome back baby”. Maybe the last 14 years taught him how to handle my creative cycles.  Who knows? What I do know for sure is that soca is healing.

Thank you Kes, Terri, Jimmy, and Etienne for the resuscitation.

Hello again world. Ah ready!


Franklin, K. (1998). Hold Me Now. [CD] Monica Bacon. Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2020].

Kes the Band and Lyons, T. (2019). Throw Back Ting. [mp3] Lunatix Productions, 2 RR Productions and Full Blown Entertainment. Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2020].

Kes the Band, October, J. and Charles, E. (2020). Magic. [mp3] Deputy. Available at: [Accessed 2 Oct. 2020]. Soca is healing. This song helped me tap into my creative core again and refocus on my purpose and connection to inspiration.