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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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.

Being Christian and Multiracial

Growing up, my father with African American and Native American descent and my mother with European American and African American descent raised me; mostly my mother raised me, since they divorced when I was five. Nevertheless, both are Christian, so I was raised in the Christian faith. A popular question I often receive as a Christian woman, especially in an environment were there are people of multiple religious affiliations, and of non-religious affiliations, is regarding the mark of white supremacy in Christianity’s history. Why do I identify with a religion that had people who oppressed my descendants of color?

Africa has such a rich background in its culture and tribal religions, but during the time of slavery, the African diaspora had to assimilate to English, Christian dogma, and no longer being free. Native American mysticism and gender fluidity has especially been damaged due to colonialism, assimilation, and exile. During the Vietnam War, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk burned himself alive because of the horrific acts of Christian oppression. When the British invaded India, proselytizing was an act forced upon its citizens. All of these moments listed and more are needed information to point out, yet it is often ignored when studying Christianity, whether through a devotional lens or a scholarly lens.

I grew up attending traditional white non-denominational churches and traditional black Baptist churches. In both traditional settings, there’s often the need to not question. Do not look at outside sources, because the Bible should be the only text needed for spiritual growth. And the Bible details great proof of diversity, various tribes in various cities, but most churches do not value that part of Scripture. How could I have appreciated Christianity with the disputes over whether Jesus was white or black? How could I have appreciated the faith the pushed love and acceptance when it was shown to me through closeted mindsets?

It wasn’t until college where I grew to appreciate black churches. African Americans have taken Christianity and turned it into their own. Formally an act of persecution, it became an act of celebration and inspiration. African American culture is responsible for the evolution of gospel music and interpretive dance through the worship of Jesus. It has inspired heroes such as Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr. to improve social conditions. It made me realize the joy and excitement from my culture. I also joined InterVarsity, a Christian campus ministry, and it was originally a predominantly white ministry that later understood the importance of diversity in order to create an open space for multi-ethnicity and Jesus’ teachings and grace. InterVarsity is becoming a place for all racial backgrounds, including white, black, and even mixed-race backgrounds.

Furthermore, Jesus Christ didn’t compartmentalize his identity of being born of a human mother and a godly father, He identified as fully God and fully Man, labels of privilege and lack of privilege.

Despite the amount of openness Christianity has had to offer spiritually and culturally, unfortunately, it is still not seen as an open form of faith. The majority of people in political office right now are Protestant and white, for example. When some white Christians are asked to stand with their brothers and sisters of color for social justice they have the privilege to say “I don’t think God is calling me to that right now.” With the facet of proselytizing, Christians are often viewed as exclusive, another popular view of whiteness.

It wasn’t easy identifying with all of my backgrounds. And it also wasn’t easy to come to terms with them when relating to my faith. However, I am still proud of how the Christian faith calls me to be uncomfortable in order to push for reconciliation in my community, and hopefully my world. Yes, multiracial identity can be seen as a symbol for racial harmony in of itself, but when looking beyond the externalities, being a Christian also helps me strive for reconciliation in our society and to be open to other cultural perspectives.

The Good Samaritan story is a parable Jesus tells of a man of a different race and different religion that helps a man different from him on the side of the road. If that isn’t a symbol of reconciliation in Christianity, I don’t know what else can be stronger than that.

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.

Being Mad at God

I do not enjoy the insinuations of our emotions being sinful. Apparently, the only justification of anger in terms of faith have to be when one refuses to believe or when one isn’t doing what they’re “supposed” to do.

It is okay to be happy, sad, upset, and yes, angry, towards God. The guilt may come in fruition due to all that He’s done for us, but, let’s be honest, that’s just putting a band aid on the problem sometimes.

If we are not honest in our practice of faith, how will we be able to grow? How can we share with others whatever we believe if we’re not even happy with what we believe?

Half of Psalms was David throwing hissy fits at God. Moses was angry at God. Even Jesus cries to Him before His crucifixion.

I understand I know more about my own faith than others, but I believe this should be shared.

It is not only okay to let out your anger. It is highly encouraged.