Moments in 2017

Sooooo much has happened in one year. This is one of my longest posts to date. You’ve been warned.

I completed my time as a Better Together Coach for the Interfaith Youth Core co-facilitating at the Interfaith Leadership Institute in Atlanta, Georgia and Elon University’s Ripple Conference in North Carolina.

I wore green in honor of Meredith College’s Green Out day in support of the Muslim community since the election of 2016.

I performed “My Angry Vagina” in ECU’s production of The Vagina Monologues.

I performed poetry along with my poetry partner for our friend’s multimedia installation Bare Bones, which involved music poetry, a lot of dance, photography, and visual art.

I organized ECU’s second annual Interfaith Leadership Summit that had Chris Stedman (author of Faitheist) as our featured speaker; this was the first time we’ve had local news coverage about it: https://youtu.be/zc5z7CHKm-4

I got out of a romantic relationship.

I competed in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) with my slam team in Chicago, Illinois.

Interfaith Pirates Better Together won the Identity Development Award for the second year in a row, and for the first time, my spoken word group and slam team Word of Mouth won the Civic Engagement Award at the ALANA Heritage Ball Awards at ECU.

I got to collaborate with Hillside Missions and the Interfaith Refugee Ministry in New Bern, North Carolina to volunteer in refugee relief under Interfaith Pirates Better Together.

I completed my semester long BSW internship with United Way of Pitt County where I developed storytelling programming for infants and toddlers and did grant writing.

I graduated from ECU with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and a Bachelor’s of Art in English Magna Cum Laude. For my English graduation, I gave a speech as a recipient of Most Outstanding Undergraduate in English.

I went to Windy Gap for InterVarsity’s Rec Week as a retreat for religious and spiritual growth.

My brother graduated high school.

I traveled out of the country for the first time to South Asia and had a long enough layover to look around England upon returning back to the states. You can read all about it here: https://flighty101.wordpress.com/south-asia-externship/

I moved to Portland, Maine and completed my first semester of graduate school at the University of New England and got all A’s my first semester.

I decided to go to therapy again after deciding to stop going for six months.

I started my first half of my yearlong MSW internship with Maine Inside Out grant writing and co-facilitating theater programming for incarcerated youth and formerly incarcerated youth. One of the letters of intent I wrote as a candidate to apply for a grant got accepted.

I have been contributing monthly videos for Multiracial Media touching on topics about mixed race identity you can find here from this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjr38JuDvo0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixN6bXUlKJo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jsvzufHOr8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w4wl-DQFqY

I shared a lot of people’s spoken word work on mental health and suicide online, including my own, in honor of Suicide Prevention Month; I got my second tattoo as well in honor of Suicide Prevention Month.

I became a Personal Support Specialist on the weekends.

I was a sacrificial poet for the Vox Slam for Slam Free or Die’s tournament in Manchester, New Hampshire.

I got to meet Leslie Odom, Jr. at Portland Ovations and he was wonderful! And he signed my copy of Hamilton: the Revolution.

I’ve had ups and downs in the dating world.

I got to create interfaith programming as part of my course work at UNE.

I was a sacrificial poet at the Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam Tournament (FEMS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts and got to see old and new friends in an empowering space of fems.

I joined Portland’s weekly spoken word collective Port Veritas, won a couple of their slam contests, and I host every couple of weeks their open mics.

I got to co-feature with a friend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Book n Bar with the Beat Night Band.

I have received a lot of mean tweets for a tweet that I made about a confederate flag waving near the highway in Virginia. Never thought I’d put something like that on this list.

Although this was my first Thanksgiving without family, I got to spend it with great friends in Montreal, Quebec; it was my first time in Canada and second time out of the U.S. this year.

I’ve had the opportunity to read so many of my friends’ books and love them and support them.

I watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Coco in movie theaters and I loved it!

Resolutions from 2017:

Have the concept of a book set in order to start writing a draft. (Achieved! It’s going to take forever to actually complete the book, but the more I talk about it, the more I’ll be held accountable in finishing it)

Read Scripture every day, along with writing prayers every day. (Beginning of the year was steadily maintained. In the middle of the year, not the best. However, since July, I’ve been consistent and I’m still going. I’m more consistent in going to church every sunday too; since August, I’ve only missed 2 or 3 Sundays. So I’ll say Achieved.)

Have a car for grad school. (Achieved! Thank you Dad!)

Expand topics in the Race Section of The Tempest. (Achieved? I did get to do a bit for a couple of articles edited and pitches I gave. However, I actually stepped down as editor in August/September. I still pitch to The Tempest when I can, they’re still so amazing!)

Outline an interfaith-related form of programming for Hillside Missions. (Achieved! Read above)

Work out twice a week starting January 9th, when school starts again. (Beginning of the year, steadily maintained. Summertime, none at all. Since August, I made it once a week. Once or twice since then I’ve done it twice a week. Achieved?)

Resolutions for 2018: (still trying to maintain the idea of realistic goals, and won’t berate myself if they’re not all achieved, but I want to achieve as much as I can)

Have a website to showcase myself as a poet.

Perform at 3 to 5 venues as a poet that aren’t in an open mic setting or a competitive slam setting.

Complete at least half of my book.

Get my LMSW after graduation and have a job where I can put my license to practice after graduation.

Get out of my comfort zone creatively by trying stand up comedy, dancing, more singing, and maybe other forms.

Go to the Mixed Remixed Festival in June since I missed it last year.

See A Wrinkle in Time in theaters.

Publish a poetry chapbook.

I enjoy writing these posts to look back on as much as I’m willing to share about with others. Overall, I have had a pretty good year, and an exciting year. On a larger scale, I know that this year has been so so rough for a lot of us. It hasn’t been easy for any of us to always maintain optimism, and we shouldn’t be obligated to. Cheers to us who still found light the best way we knew how to.

 

 

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Poem: What to Do When You Have Suicide Ideation Again

Retreat to music.

Retreat to loved ones even if they’re not there physically.

Focus the majority of your energy on someone else’s mental health issues

instead of your own.

Lie to yourself about not being depressed,

and then tell yourself the truth upon realizing that you just don’t want to

experience it again.

Remind yourself that you’re broken and not broken

at the same time.

Write it down because you can’t scream it.

Your thoughts are all trapped inside your body,

so at least get it out on your phone screen,

God******

Listen to Third Eye Blind…and be disgusted

at how cheesy and cliché you are about

suicidal thoughts.

Remind yourself that these thoughts are not

as bad as the ones from the first time around.

Be thankful that you listed your struggles with anxiety and depression

on your application for the last

biblical missionary training you went to.

Remind yourself of how much it hurt when loved ones attempted and/or

succeeded.

Remind yourself of how when your best friend attempted,

You reminded them of how you’re all out of poems for death.

Remind yourself how you reminded them

that you will not write a poem for them.

Therefore, you friends will not

write poems for you.

Don’t tell your mother about your

suicidal ideation

because she can’t go through that a second time.

Sure, she may do better than the first time

if you tell her,

but your point still stands.

Listen to Christian music…

but not too much.

Because you refuse to be a cliché

again.

Write your prayers because you’re more honest with God

when you’re writing.

Use Twitter for random rants

because it’s the oddest form of venting,

and sometimes validation.

Pray for friends who don’t respond to your messages

of checking in;

especially when they’ve told you that

your persistence mattered to them.

Thank God for the one friend who did finally respond.

Remind yourself not to be a hypocrite,

because your friends are going through a similar journey as you;

up and down

in mental health,

whether circumstantial or not.

Tell yourself that you’re not alone,

and it’s normal to feel how you feel.

 

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!

What I’m Doing and What I Want to Do

I am so excited for this summer.

Starting next week, I will be taking an online course for about a month in contemporary British literature.

Next Saturday, once a week for three weeks, I will be teaching spoken word to active elder adults under the Creative Aging Network in Greensboro, North Carolina. I have interned with them before, and taught classes with them before, it will be great to see my supervisor and everyone else again.

On June 11th, I will be part of the Mixed Millennials panel at the Mixed Remixed Festival in Los Angeles, California. It has been amazing, being in contact with their platform on Twitter for a while, sharing my pieces with them there, and now I’ll be able to share my pieces in person!

Starting June 17th, I will be interning with World Horizons’ USA chapter Hillside Missions working in ministry for refugees at their nonprofit. My goal is to work on their art team so that I can do arts ministry.

In early August, I will be training under the Interfaith Youth Core to become a Better Together Coach, where I will learn more about interfaith leadership and help students at the Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois. The Interfaith Youth Core has helped a great deal in getting ECU’s interfaith organization up and running, so it will be great working with them more closely!

After this summer, I will be a senior in my undergraduate programs at East Carolina University.

I will be graduating in the Spring of 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and English. I will be applying to the University of California in Los Angeles, the University of New England, Appalachian State University, and ECU for graduate school.

My goal is to attend a graduate program to obtain my Master’s in Social Work with a certificate in a field of expressive arts therapy and/or social justice.

Let’s see how it all goes.

Moments in 2015

2015:

I have been wearing glasses for the first time in five years. I still wear contacts, but it’s cool to switch things up every now and then.

I flew on a plane for the first time in seven years to Atlanta, Georgia in January. I took a second plane to Chicago, Illinois in August; it was my first time in Chicago.

I have competed in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia for the first time along with two other slam teammates out of the five of us. We made it to the semifinals and placed 17th out of 68 teams! We met fabulous poets such as Neil Hilborn, Rudy Francisco, and Aja Monet at CUPSI.

I went to the Interfaith Youth Core Conference in Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois to receive interfaith training to being East Carolina University’s first interfaith campus group. So much has been done this year in interfaith work! I’m so proud!

I started working at the cultural center on my campus, and then started working as a tutor for student athletes on campus.

I participated in a Faculty Forward protest for the first time, and I went to an LGBTQIA Pride Parade in Durham, North Carolina for the first time.

I saw the first season of Daredevil on Netflix and enjoyed it along with the third season of Orange is the New Black!

I chopped my hair into a pixie cut, and I am loving it when it’s natural and when it’s straightened. It’s been growing out, so I’m now going to let it grow out.

My sister graduated high school.

I constantly questioned what I was going to do for graduate school.

I have been published in ECU campus media and online media.

I became an intern for The Black Sheep Articles @ ECU, first as a staff writer, then as a paid intern as chief campus editor.

I met Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a non-profit that invests in recovery and hope for those struggling with suicidal thoughts, addiction, and self-injury. I purchased a TWLOHA t-shirt and a poster that has a quote from Tworkowski’s If You Feel Too Much.

I attended the Urbana ’15 Missions Conference in St. Louis Missouri with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We talked about faith, social justice, cross-cultural efforts, and we worshipped in variety of cultural music in different languages all the way into the New Year!

I have been blogging for over a year.

Resolutions from 2015:

More writing on this blog, but include short stories, not just prose, poetry, and rants. [Achieved!]

Express genuine joy, not force joy or happiness out of me. [Getting better.Achieved!]

Attend a missions trip for the first time. [CHAT Program for Spring Break. Achieved!]

Participate in more interfaith events. [Dude, yes!! Interfaith Pirates Better Together at ECU is doing such great work. Gonna keep it going! Achieved!]

More praying. [Yes and no. Fluctuates. Mostly yes, I believe. Achieved!]

Try painting over the summer. [No. Didn’t get the materials as intended. Unachieved.]

Complete the Star Wars series and the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit series before the year is out. [Completed Star Wars; including The Force Awakens. Not Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. Achieved?]

Do more research as I read the Bible. [Achieved!]

Resolutions for 2016 (trying to stay as realistic as possible):

Score well on the GRE when I take it in February.

Intern over the summer with World Horizons in Richmond, Virginia.

Be accepted to at least one out-of-state graduate school.

Find new ways to to take time for myself while also finding new ways to use this blogging space.

Meditate more along with writing prayers and being more active in prayer.

Read my great grandpa’s work on the missions he did in Africa.

Continue learning how to be more honest.

Audition and perform in a play.

A day late, I know, but here’s to a Happy New Year! Whoo hoo!!

The Black Sheep Articles @ ECU

Back in June, I received an email about a new internship opportunity.

It was described to me as “like the Onion, but for college campuses.”

I would receive internship credit for turning in articles and attending content meetings every week for The Black Sheep Articles @ ECU. I received my first two assignments yesterday.

I’m actually pretty excited about it! It gives me the chance to write more than I usually do, it’s an opportunity to reach out to my campus, and it gets me further along in my English degree. What is there to lose? Also, it will push me to want to write in other mediums when I’m not working on an article, that way my creative juices can still flow properly.

Here’s to a good year with The Black Sheep.

Moments in 2014

2014:

I met three lovely and groundbreaking artists: Andrea Gibson, Mayda del Valle, and Indira Allegra.

I participated in my first protest against racism and injustice towards people of color.

I received my very own “Gay? Fine By Me” t-shirt around the same time gay marriage was officially legalized in North Carolina.

Friend and fellow poet Mia Willis was my partner in crime and a fantastic group piece and while hosting an open mic for the first time.

I lost a friend to suicide.

I got to see The Fault in our Stars and Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters and loved it!!!

I saw the second season of Orange is the New Black, and enjoyed it like the first season in 2013.

My family and I moved into a new place.

I met Laverne Cox, the first transsexual actress to win an Emmy for her role in Orange is the New Black. Fun fact: she first studied Creative Writing in college before studying Dance and pursuing acting.

I began teaching poetry at Third Street Community Center in February, which led to more workshops with different schools and non profits. I even got to intern at the Creative Aging Network to teach a poetry workshop and participate in community outreach. I was asked to come back in 2015 to teach a two-day workshop, and I did.

I made the Dean’s List in school.

I donated nine inches of my hair for the first time in March, which led me to cut my hair even shorter after a couple of months. I love my hair short.

I went to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s retreat in Rockbridge for the first time. I took the Identity Track where we talked about race, family, sexuality, and gender in terms of identity with the Lord. It was fantastic!!!

I got to perform spoken word for events and competition.

I created this blog.

Resolutions (not the cliché kind I don’t think) for 2015:

More writing on this blog, but include short stories, not just prose, poetry, and rants.

Express genuine joy, not force joy or happiness out of me.

Attend a missions trip for the first time.

Participate in more interfaith events.

More praying.

Try painting over the summer.

Complete the Star Wars series and the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit series before the year is out.

Do more research as I read the Bible.

Happy New Year everyone! I’m eleven days late, however, I still hope and pray that this year is a good one.