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!!

1st Year of Blogging

Today marks an entire year of having this blog.

Whoo hoo!

This blog is one of the main things that help me be consistent with my writing. It definitely helps with writer’s block, venting, and trying different mediums of how I should write poems, prose, short story.

It’s one of the two things that made my day today.

This morning, I received a package that was a lovely source of encouragement for my faith and well being. Especially in terms of creativity and my life.

A whole year of commitment and consistency with this small online platform, reminds me of why I should keep writing. One day I want to publish a couple of books. A book of poems and a novel. The idea of writing a novel is more overwhelming than writing poetry. There’s the fear of writing something that’s too preachy or with too much voice without setting or an actual narrative. But it’s so weird that a tiny notification, can give me encouragement to maintain that goal.

This blog has made me write about things that make me happy and things that I want to change and bring awareness to. It has also helped me set a goal for how much to write, and even what to write. I put up more short stories and more updates about small publications I’ve done in school. I soon want to write reviews of movies I’ve seen, poems with more structure, and more.

The novel is the ultimate goal. To make eight year old me proud of me. And current nineteen year old me proud of me. It’s going to take forever, but it’s a bucket list priority. It needs to happen.

Whoo! A whole year on a blog!

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.

Published! (II)

East Carolina University publishes a literary/art magazine called Rebel each Spring. My poem, “Hometown: Ft. Washington, Maryland” won a publication. It made me really happy!

Unfortunately, my friend Michael, did not have any of his work published, because he was not an ECU student. I have a post about him titled “Poem: for Michael Boyles” on this blog if you would like to know more about that.

Nevertheless, I am still pretty happy that I have been able to publish my work on my campus. It can help in terms of networking and how I can a challenge myself as a writer some more.

There is no link to my poem, but, I do have a link to the winners in film, dance, and music who were published about in the magazine. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrQ4AXcgW3TPQ2DDj9tqzvg/videos

Short Story: The Sketch

The living room is painted in a bright beige color, correlating with the cream colored carpet. The sun is setting outside; slanting through the white, transparent curtains, which try to shield the view from the window. Little light seeps through the curtains, so the overhead lights are turned on, making the room have more effervescence than it actually has. A couple of yards from the window is a big, plushy, yellow-green couch. It’s so new. Eddy can smell its freshness while laying on it to draw his picture. It didn’t smell like a book’s pages like their last sofa; it smells like the linen scented Febreeze. How well did Ikea know Febreeze, Eddy thought? Did people who work there spray it to make people buy it? Hey, it worked, if they did.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the old couch, but Daddy said it was time for something new. Eddy didn’t have a problem with that.

Daddy was coming home from work soon; maybe he would like a present after a long day. Mommy has been saying how stressed he’s been lately, so this ought to make him feel better and relax.

“Can’t he get his old job back so that he can relax again?” Eddy asked Mommy. That was a week ago, and they were both sitting on the couch to talk before Daddy came back.

Mommy smiled warmly, rubbing Eddy’s shoulder. “It’s not that simple, baby,” she said.

Eddy takes his black crayon to shade in a mustache on his sketch’s face. It was oval and apricot. It is too late to draw an apricot neck, because a blue jacket and blue pants are already attached to the body. And Eddy was too focused on finding the correct red for a tie, like Daddy’s tie. Was it red, scarlet, or burgundy?

How furry is Daddy’s mustache? How hard does Eddy have to dig the crayon into his paper to make the sketch look just like Daddy?

A lot of people say how Eddy looks a lot like Daddy. He wishes that were true sometimes. He looks at his tan hands and back at the apricot hands he drew. Well, at least he has hair. Daddy doesn’t have any hair. He used to have a little before his new job, but not anymore.

Suddenly, hands a little smaller than Eddy’s cover his eyes, making him drop his crayon upon the couch. He knows exactly who’s interrupting his drawing from behind.

“Guess who!” the so-called mystery person yelps in a higher pitch than her own.

Eddy laughs and lightly pushes her hands away from his eyes, then faces the culprit.

Little Gracie, with her long, blonde hair and rosy cheeks. She sticks her pink tongue out at Eddy.

“Do you want me to chase you?” Eddy asks his friend.

“You’d never catch me,” Gracie taunts, already sprinting towards the window.

Eddy leaps from the couch, causing Gracie to shriek as they scamper around the big couch.

“Can’t catch me. Can’t catch me.” Gracie chants.

“We’ll see about that!” Eddy proclaims as he yanks her arm, causing them both to fall on the floor.

“Ow!” Gracie says, surprisingly giggling as she rubs where Eddy pulled.

“You’re it now,” Eddy says, excitedly jumping up.

“No, I am,” a distinct voice calls to them, causing both children to stand up straight. A female voice, firm, yet sweet, as if soaked in honey with a single bee stinger to keep you in line; Mommy.

“Gracie, your mom is waiting for you outside,” Mommy announces, entering the room in her blue jeans with her dark hair placed in a sloppy bun. If Eddy drew her, he would mix mahogany and brown together for her hair. That would get her color just right to be pretty like her. The lighting in the room makes her tan skin more golden. “You may want to get your things together.”

Gracie nods. “Yes, ma’am.” She turns to Eddy. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“See you,” Eddy farewells.

Gracie walks over to the white door, where her small, tie-dyed book bag was, against the wall near the exit.

Gracie reaches for the golden doorknob, only to see it turn to the right on its own.

A tall man comes in, unbuttoning his blue jacket, and stretching his scarlet tie from his neck. He nods at Gracie, wishing her a good evening.

“Tell your mom I said hello,” he says gruffly.

Is Daddy ever okay? Does he always have to sound stressed coming home?

Gracie shuts the door behind her, and Daddy sighs loudly, taking his jacket off, throwing it on the couch.

“How was work, hun?” Mommy asks.

Daddy looks down to shake his hand at Mommy, almost shooing her. What did Mommy do?

Mommy would usually give him a hug, a kiss, or a rub on his shoulders or feet each time he looked down like that. For the past month, it’s been different. Does Daddy not want her to help him anymore?

Trying to make him feel better, Eddy grabs his drawing from the couch, and runs to Daddy.

He lifts his drawing up in the air and smiles.

Daddy bends forward, squinting his eyes at the drawing.

“Is that supposed to be me?”

Eddy nods feverishly, grinning.

Within that very moment, Eddy’s pride is crumpled up, like the sketch Daddy immediately crumples after snatching it from his tiny hands.

Mommy gasps before the paper hits the carpet.

“Edward!” she yells, rushing to the floor, picking up the paper.

“What?” Daddy shrugs at her. “If I wanted a girly gift, hell, I would have asked my assistant.”

“Oh, is that what your family is to you now? Your assistants?” Mommy asks forcefully. She massages her temples with her right hand’s nimble fingers. “God, what is the matter with you?”

“The boy has to learn what’s good, and what’s not.” Daddy points to himself, furrowing his eyebrows. “I did.”

“I didn’t ask you to take the job, Edward,” Mommy seethes, unfolding the paper.

Daddy shakes his head, groaning.

“I’m going to bed.” Without looking back, he says, “Night, son.”

Daddy’s been doing that a lot lately. Eddy didn’t think he would dislike his gift, though.

Mommy walks slowly towards Eddy, and hands him his drawing.

“Give it to your daddy this weekend,” she soothes. Tussling his messy hair with her long, soft, caring fingers, she adds, “He should be better then…Promise me you won’t cry, okay?”

“I’m not going to cry, Mommy,” Eddy promises.

“Give it to your daddy this weekend,” she soothes. Tussling his messy hair with her long, soft, caring fingers, she adds, “He should be better then…Promise me you won’t cry, okay?”

“I’m not going to cry, Mommy,” Eddy promises.