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.

 

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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.

Stream of Consciousness 4

Someone told me that if I really don’t have one hour, or two hours, to give completely to myself, I had to explain to them exactly why I wasn’t worth my own personal time. Wow. So I’ve been spending my time writing, praying, meditating, and it’s a nice feeling. I would really like for this to continue as a regular thing. Once a week, set aside time just for me. Set aside time between me and God as well. I’m trying my hardest not to get sick, but at the same time, I’m anticipating it to happen already, if that makes sense. I’m excited for a lot of events this week regarding interfaith work and slam poetry. We have a second general body meeting of the year, we have one once a month, and I hope to have just as good of conversation as last month, we’ll be having a movie night in order to talk about religious and non-religious representation in film and other forms of media (talk about stereotypes, how to be better consumers, etc.). My spoken word organization is having an event in awareness of domestic violence, and we’re looking forward to the turnout at that. I’m really excited for CUPSI in April of 2016. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed. I like writing pieces about mixed race identity, I’m doing that for one of my social work assignments, so I hope that turns out well. I have an apple in my room that I could eat right now. Looks pretty tasty. I’m wondering if I should watch a movie or not. We’ll see. Maybe, probably. The Prince of Egypt would be good to watch again, it’s one of my favorite movies, not just one of my favorite animated movies. I don’t know, I should keep writing. I got a Twitter account over the summer. I used to have one in high school, but I hated it. I like Twitter now. Hopefully today continues to go well. If not, that’s okay, at least my morning was nice, but I do hope for an overall good, productive day.

Stream of Consciousness 3

I really need this:

There is not enough representation of biracial people in the media, and not enough representation of multiracial people either; and I am not only speaking about those mixed with black and white. I have European American, African American, and Native American descent; my mother identifies as biracial (black and white) in most situations and my father identifies as black in most situations. There are those who believe that Mixed people are ill-equipped to speak on certain issues for communities of color. Then there is the dilemma of having to choose one facet of one’s self when they don’t. There is a difference between identifying as one part because of being more comfortable with it, and just choosing one part in order to hide other parts to be comfortable. Personally, I’m not comfortable with just identifying as one part of myself, because I felt that I had to do that when I was younger out of obligation. A tricky word: comfortable. It’s interesting, the words people have come up with for mixed people: mulatto, hapa, black bean, race traitor. There are websites that explain all kinds of words, positive and negative, many even really outdated, for mixed race individuals. Let me make this clear: I do not see myself as a “tragic mulatto.” No one should say mulatto anymore and nothing about my racial identity is tragic. I mesh well with both black and white relatives. I now know that who I am is not a curse. I also don’t enjoy it when people ask whether or not I hate white people. Just because I care about social justice, it doesn’t mean that I hate white people. Why should I hate a part of who I am? Don’t ask me if I prefer white men or black men to date in the rudest way possible. I do find it fascinating to talk about hair products, but, again, don’t be rude about it. I would like to see more media platforms talk about mixed people with mixed parents like me. It’s usually one parent is only this, and one parent is only that. It’s sometimes hard to write something down in a more creative way about my experience. The Girl at Mirror poem on here and something I wrote for a solo performance class were the closest things I got. I want to write a novel about it. And it’s not the multiracial experience, it’s only a multiracial experience. It’s never great to generalize a whole people. It’s never healthy to generalize a whole people. I get really excited when I meet a group of people who identify as mixed outside of my family. I saw this blog recently: http://www.vox.com/2015/3/11/8182263/biracial-identity and it was a joy to read. I have some mixed views about the sixth point made, but it’s still great.

That felt really nice.

What Am I Going to Do?

I have been watching YouTube videos and podcasts all day…

About possible jobs that I want to pursue.

Right now, at East Carolina University, I am studying Social Work and English. Afterwards, I plan to go to grad school.

Plans always change, I know that, it’s just, what am I going to do after undergrad?

Primarily, I hoped to just work at a non profit, do counseling, community outreach, write grants, and write on the side for myself. Then, Expressive Arts Therapy really attracted me. It made my two majors at the moment actually click so well with one another, it made me so excited! I could do outreach with poetry, reach out and counsel people through poetry, performance, journaling.

Then the Interfaith Youth Core Conference happened. You can see the post titled “Better Together” about that.

Interfaith Studies would give me perfect creative space and outreach space to reach out to so many people because interfaith is so broad and open.

However, in terms of making sense of transitioning from my undergraduate to graduate school, there are also programs that offer an MSW in conjunction with an Expressive Arts certificate or a Social Healing Through Arts certificate.

I interned at the Creative Aging Network in Greensboro, North Carolina and loved it. I did workshops there on poetry and expression for elder adults last summer and over winter break. I have been teaching poetry at Third Street Community Center in Greenville, North Carolina for almost two years, and I taught creative theater for two months; I enjoyed, and still enjoy, them immensely. I look forward to do outreach and teaching poetry at Restore One in Greenville, North Carolina, an anti-human trafficking group; they’re also really for interfaith collaboration and LGBT collaboration and they are a Christian organization.

All in North Carolina.

For grad school, two years from now I know, my top five are The California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California (Expressive Arts Therapy), Claremont Lincoln University in Claremont, California (Interfaith Studies),  University of California Los Angeles (Social Welfare and Social Healing Through Art), Appalachian State University in Boone, NC (Social Work and Expressive Arts Therapy), and East Carolina University (Social Work).

The list is always bound to change. It always changes.

I also may have an idea of what to study set in stone, only to change.

I want to branch out, but what if I am more than satisfied where I am in North Carolina two years from now?

I know that I won’t get in to every grad school I apply to, but that doesn’t take away the pressure. Is it true that you can’t change your mind as easily with your master’s as you can with your bachelor’s?

Today’s Tangent Day.

I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I want to make people feel good through writing and provide awareness through artistic platforms.

I keep telling myself, and it’s quite clear, that it’s okay not to know. It’s just irksome having to think about stuff like this all the time.

I’m already trying to figure out where to get tutoring for the GRE. Geez.

After this summer, I go into my junior year of college.

And I’m struggling with whether or not to take the phrase “Take your time” seriously.

I once deleted these post because of all of the rambling, but it’s good to ramble. It helps with planning and assertiveness, surprisingly.

“Just Smile”

More people should understand this: no one is required to smile. Just because you tell someone to smile, it doesn’t mean that they’ll want to or that they ought to.

Most of the time, when people are focused on something else, or feel down, that is the last thing they want to hear.

It’s true.

And it is especially true for women.

A woman isn’t feminine enough until she smiles in public, smiles on demand for how grateful she should be, and how optimistic she should be. Because we live in a patriarchal society, men are encouraged to be angry, not to express substantial emotion, and not to smile. Women must present rainbows and butterflies unless she isn’t strong or she isn’t respected for being honest with the world by not smiling.

Moreover, smiling tends to equate attractiveness. If women or men do not smile when told to, they are stuck up, or mean, or ugly.

It’s quite strange.

Western society praises individuality, yet it sets these high expectations that aren’t always possible to reach in human emotion. Telling someone to “just smile,” because of the mold you want them to be in, makes them feel guilty and even more alone.

Did you know that developed countries have higher rates of suicide because of the expectations that are too high for the culture? How can Americans reduce the stigma of mental health if we’re still perpetuating the need for a happy standard that can’t exist permanently?

Besides, if we are just happy all the time, we wouldn’t know what happiness is anymore.

There are good intentions behind it, but it isn’t as helpful as some think it is.

Stream of Consciousness 2

Another experiment. In my Writing for Solo Performance class, we just wrote the first things we came up with in order to later write a poem.

My earth needs more spark, and cursive, and God, and sharpened pencils, and watches, and kisses, and falls. Fall for me. On the fall. Scribble scribble scribble what can I get typical reasonable no punctuation no structure no fear but there is fear what yes how because why? Construct. Yellow construct covered in old cheese and technicolor sprinkles, reruns of Girlfriends, Friends, Modern Family, comma splices, synonyms, paper, paper people in paper towns. Jesus, poetry, sports, liking art more than sports and being unfit because of it. Consciousness. Unconsciousness. Love. So vague, yet so meaningful. No erasing no TV no YouTube mispelling grammar mistakes no plot graphs or lines or other charts. Nonsense. Madness. Release. How? Freedom ain’t always free. Rings. Purity rings. My three rings comfy shoes strangling feet to be wanted and held during the day since they’re always tossed to the side at night. Clicking, ticking, screaming, Jesus, Holy Spirit, God, hands, eyes, hair. What the heck is good hair?! I don’t want to stop. Tell me to stop.

Below is the poem that came out of the chaos above I titled “My Three Rings”:

Two on my right and one on my left.

I have my own holy trinity to prepare me daily.

I have tan lines on display that can be read

Between the lines of my past and present through

Virginity, class, and mood.

They hug so tight to my fingers

During the day.

Are they hurt when they’re tossed upon a dresser

Or a desk at night?

Do they understand that I don’t want them

Trapped in screaming sheets

Or reruns of the storm in my head

That makes me toss and turn?

They make my mattress rumble in either misery,

Exhaustion, or anticipation.