Poem: A Tribute to Princess Leia

Note: This was a draft from 2015 when I was preparing for a Nerd Slam at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational at Virginia Commonwealth University. I never I got to perform it, and it’s been in my laptop since then. One of my friend’s convinced me to watch Star Wars after I started college, and Princess Leia has been my favorite since then. When I saw Episode VII in theaters for my birthday in December 2015, I shouted “Nobody has love for Leia?” Because Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker all got their cheers and shouts, but I was the ONLY one cheering for General Leia! What the heck? I’ve watched movies with Carrie Fisher in it before watching Star Wars, and I liked her characters, but Princess Leia touched me the most.

A woman in modest garb and high buns that show your face,

Your presence on Star Wars has humbled men and women everywhere,

Your highness.

Princess Leia Organa,

I thank you.

You gave orders on a space ship full of men

With such affirmation and confidence,

Instead of a TV screen,

Little girls hoped it would be a mirror.

You made that reflection possible

When Hollywood still had trial and error of

Straying from the stay at home mom,

Or glamour girl,

Facades of how women were “supposed to be.”

In Episode VI,

I wept for you when you were enslaved to the hideous creature, Jabba the Hut.

Stripping you of your dignity into half nakedness,

Villains interpreted it as sexy,

But I knew the truth.

Strangling in your chains you portrayed the honesty

Of the chains by men labeled “virgin,” and “slut,”

“Model” and “Housewife.”

Yes you did look beautiful,

But beauty isn’t always safe or right.

And then you used those same chains to choke Jabba to death

That alien man who tried to weigh you down in insecurities

And Constructs

It was glorious!

It would not surprise me if you were the inspiration for Merida,

A princess of messy hair that flowed as a windy river to represent

Unorthodox beauty.

Peggy Carter,

A woman ahead of her time fighting along fellow supermen and mortal men.

Princess Elsa,

The first Disney princess that didn’t have to rule a kingdom with a man!

Your Highness,

You changed film history in the moment of fear and anxiety

Hammering through you to crush you flat upon being captured,

Instead of playing a maiden,

You are pure royalty as you give Darth Vader a glassy stare

Of readiness and courage.

You didn’t say it,

But I’m pretty sure you thought,

“Go screw yourself.”

Yours truly,

A fan.

Moments in 2016

I got to meet poet, educator, and activist Sister Sonia Sanchez. I also got to meet Matthew Vines, writer of God and the Gay Christian, and founder of the Reformation Project.

I participated in the #ECUWithoutMe Campaign, speaking out about visibility of multiracial identity.

I got to compete in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational for the second time in Austin, Texas with fellow Word of Mouth Slam team members. I saw Rudy Francisco and Neil Hilborn again–seeing Neil was great especially before opening for him in a spoken word performance at our university–and I met Sierra DeMulder for the first time.

My interfaith organization, Interfaith Pirates Better Together, organized East Carolina University’s fist Interfaith Leadership Summit as a space for people to discuss and put into action social justice through interfaith dialogue. It will now become an annual conference.

Interfaith Pirates has been recognized in local and national nominations and awards for our hard work.

My InterVarsity staff worker left his position to work at Third Street Community Center in Greenville, NC, and he left someone just as awesome as him in his place.

I became a contributor and editorial fellow for The Tempest, where diverse millennial women take media by storm. I later became the Race Section editor for The Tempest.

Another sister of mine graduated high school.

I was invited to share my work at the Mixed Remixed Festival, and was on the Mixed Millenials Panel at the Festival in Los Angeles, California. I also got to meet Taye Diggs at the Mixed Remixed Festival.

I interned with Hillside Missions for the whole summer serving refugees in the Richmond Area and learning more about cross cultural missions work, and how to change the narrative of missions work, which has inspired me to go to South Asia in June 2017: https://www.gofundme.com/mayas-trip-to-south-asia.

I was accepted into the Interfaith Youth Core’s Better Together Coach Program, helping facilitating different students’ learning in campus interfaith work all from around the United States. I also had the honor to read a speech at the annual Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois about my growth as an interfaith leader.

I got to meet activists Angela Davis and Kate Bornstein. A friend and I got to open for Angela Davis through spoken word performance.

I saw Zootopia and Moana in theaters and I loved it!!

I having been blogging for over two years.

Resolutions from 2016:

Score well on the GRE when I take it in February. [Achieved!]

Intern over the summer with Hillside Missions in Richmond, Virginia. [Achieved!]

Be accepted to at least one out-of-state graduate school. [Achieved! I will be attending the University of New England in Portland, Maine in August. I will be in their Advanced Standing Master’s in Social Work Program along with their certificate program for Applied Arts and Social Justice]

Find new ways to to take time for myself while also finding new ways to use this blogging space. [There were moments when I haven’t blogged in a long time, however, this was still able to be accomplished. Achieved!]

Meditate more along with writing prayers and being more active in prayer. [Achieved in being active in prayer. Not Achieved in writing prayers as often as I used to, or in meditating. Could have been better]

Read my great grandpa’s work on the missions he did in Africa. [Not Achieved]

Continue learning how to be more honest. [Gradually Achieving]

Audition and perform in a play. [Auditioned, yes. However, the performance for The Vagina Monologues won’t be until February of 2017. Achieved?]

Resolutions for 2017 (trying to stay as realistic as possible):

Have the concept of a book set, in order to start writing a draft.

Read Scripture every day, along with writing prayers every day.

Have a car for grad school.

Expand topics in the Race Section of The Tempest.

Outline an interfaith-related form of programming for Hillside Missions.

Work out twice a week starting January 9th, when school starts again.

This is the first time I actually post this the day of the New Year. This past year has been rough in our global climate, and this year may be even more rough, but it’s still going to be great. Here’s to a Happy New Year!

Poem: Spirituality

**a workshop piece

Speaking from the mountain tops from my mind,

I know it can be hard at times.

Is that truly fine?

I don’t want to become stagnant.

I don’t want to be okay with not pursuing

A greater good in the constant ripple effects of my life.

It’s okay not to be okay,

But it’s not okay to continue perpetuating the idea

Of nothingness.

Prayers are good.

But prayers without legs willing to run,

Or hands willing to climb

In order to reach for the hands that

Pray the most while receiving the least

Is the definition of nothingness.

A black hole of inactivity tempting you by

By blaming the chaos in this world we live in

To tie your hands behind your back

As your source of comfort.

Being a masochist for all the wrong reasons.

Yes, it can be hard to remember

That there is still good in the world to strive for,

Just please don’t forget on purpose.

Don’t fall into the rhythm of a meaningless routine

Because this world fails you.

All you need to know at the end of the day,

It’s going to be 11:59 pm.

Just a minute away for something new

Each day to appear.

I’m Going to South Asia!

Disclaimer: Yes, I know it has been awhile. After my summer internship, senior year of college and writing/editing for The Tempest and Inter has taken up my time. Hope to be blogging again soon! In the meantime, feel free to check out my GoFundMe below!

Since my internship ended, I wanted to find a way to continue that kind of work. To see the course of my internship, you can visit right here: https://flighty101.wordpress.com/hillside-missions-summer-internship/

And, of course, here’s where you can help me complete my goal to continue the work outside the U.S.:  https://www.gofundme.com/mayas-trip-to-south-asia

Short Story: You Will Never Be Mine

Note: This was a creative assignment for my contemporary British American Lit class. The style is inspired by Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.

You look at me. Pretty green eyes and all. She’s great isn’t she? Oh I know. I’m excited. I’ve got the jitters. But. Still. Excited! Can you believe it? Who would have thought? Me. Getting married. Are you okay? Hey. I know that look. Are you okay?
You rub my shoulder. As you always do. At least I’ll keep this part of you in my life. But not. All of you. I can’t tell you how much I want all of you. Not today. Today is your day. Not ever. Today marks the start of your forever. With. Her.
You’re sure you’re okay. Just a little tired? Okay. I just wanted to be sure. I couldn’t make it through today without you. You smile. Thank you. You hold me. I love you too. You are my best friend.
Best friend. Best. Friend. Just friend. Just. Friend. Couldn’t say something earlier. Couldn’t say any more. Couldn’t try to say something. Say. Something. It’s too late. You’d never view me that way. Not the way you look at her. Her. My enemy. The enemy who plunged her sword of words into my heart by being the one to say something first. My enemy. I couldn’t let you know. Why was your great girl my enemy? No. The enemy is me. Enemy. Me. Tell me you love me. I mean really love me. You say you love me all the time. Like a sister. I could never tell you how much that hurt. She’s the one you call lover. I stay your sister.
You slap your forehead. Oh right! I have to finish getting ready! Best man brother comes in to rub your shoulders and fix your bow tie. You wink at me. I’ll see you in the pews.
You do see me in the pews. But you look more towards her. She-devil. No. Me-devil. She-angel in white dress. Arm in arm with her father as she maintains your eye contact. You give the room one more glance before returning your bride’s gaze. One second. At me. I give you quick thumbs up. How pathetic. You are affirmed by it. I can tell. You return her gaze. Not mine. Never. Mine. You. Will. Never. Be. Mine.
Your aunty is sitting next to me. Doesn’t she make a lovely bride? Lovely how things worked out between them. Oh. Yes my dear. He makes a lovely groom as well. Funny he’s not marrying you today. I know I know. Just friends. Back in my day, you bring a lady friend home, you weren’t just friends. Anyway. Your boyfriend couldn’t make it? Broke up? Oh. I’m sorry to hear that, girly. Plenty more fish in the sea.
She’s still talking.
Stop. Talking.
More fish in the sea? I wanted to swim with you. I’m drowning. While you’re swimming freely into her eyes, I’m drowning in yours. At least I’ll keep those eyes. Sea foam green eyes. Pretty green eyes and all. Eyes. In my life.
Nothing’s going to change, you said. And. You’re right. Nothing is going to change. Nothing. Will. Change. Why wasn’t I. Willing. To change?
People divorce all the time. People die all the time. People make mistakes all the time. It’s not his mistake. It’s mine. It’s not her mistake. It’s mine.
I tried to replace you with nimble fingers. Deep brown eyes. Dark, swooping hair. Good job. Good teeth. Told me he loved me. I mean really loved me. Wrapped his arms around me. Stroked my hair. Wiped my tears away when you couldn’t. Good smile. Good future. Told me he loved me. I mean really loved me.
But…But.
He…He.
He wasn’t you.
He. Wasn’t. You.
Told him we were going in different directions. It was a lie.  It was for the best. You asked me if it was okay to invite him to the wedding. He didn’t come. I don’t blame him. Why did I come? For you. Always. For you. Despite my insides burning. Trying hard to yank back tears. Keep heart from pounding too hard. I. Still. Want. You. Did you? Did. You. Did you ever? Ever? Did you ever want me?
Oh, honey. Are those tears? No need to be embarrassed, honey. I’m happy for my nephew too. She holds my hand.
I actually need that. I don’t need to hear her talking. But I do need her hand. She’ll never know. How much. She’ll never know how much I needed that.
You exchange rings with your bride. My eyes release more tears. Diffuses internal burning. Does not diffuse heart pounding. Heart. Still. Pounding too hard in my chest.
Still holding her hand.
I would have ruined things for you. She-devil. No. Stop. She-angel. She would not have ruined things for you. She won’t ruin things for you. She’ll never. Ruin. Things. For. You.
You have your first dance with your bride. Still gazing. Her blue. Your green. Your pretty pretty green. Then she dances with her father. Then you dance with your mother. When everyone’s dancing you come to me. What, I can’t have one dance with my best friend? Don’t worry. Of course she’s fine with it. C’mon. You need one good dance.
You’re right. I do. So I do dance with you. But I also. Need. You.

Published (VII)

Okay, so, really exciting news…

I am a contributor for The Tempest, a platform ran by millennial women on a global scale sharing diverse stories. Their former target audience was Muslim women, and then they expanded it, and it’s pretty awesome that they did!

They truly are an open platform. The first article I read of one of their contributors was about how she studied Islam and recognized her Christian privilege. Since then, I have read stories on their platform from contributors outside of this country, trans women, Middle Eastern women, black women, a couple of mixed race women, and more.

I’ll be writing for their Politics and Race Section, mostly on mixed race identity. We’ll see where this goes and see what else I’ll write about!

I am so honored to be a contributor. My first piece will be live tomorrow!

You can either stay updated on their website http://thetempest.co/ or their Twitter handle @WeAreTheTempest.

Yay!!!