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!

Published (V) and an Awesome Update

This year is my second year published in my university’s Expressions Magazine, a literary/arts magazine representing minorities on campus. The issues keep getting better and better, and I have more pieces in it this year! Yes! There are some pieces you guys may recognize, such as “Girl at Mirror” and “Enough.” I decided to submit those two poems. I also submitted a poem called “Living with Depression” that I will upload on here eventually, and a short story called “What Are You?” which I will upload as well. It’s a really good semester, being published a lot. I’m really proud of myself.

I’m also proud of being part of an ongoing project called The 100% Mixed Show. It’s a YouTube channel that accepts video submissions about various people from around the world growing up mixed race. Other videos on there about questions about mixed race heritage are on their channel as well. Here is my submission, if you would like to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxzcxsLHRpc. Also, check out other people’s stories! And, if you would like to submit, the guidelines are right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVRQ4g2YU98 (if you’re worried about editing, they can edit it for you).

I’m gonna make a post about another publication, which you will have to find out more about by reading that post once it’s out.

It’s been a pretty good few weeks.

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.

Poem: Passion

Passion: Noun.

Intense driving, or overmastering conviction.

Yes! I Am Triumphant.

I have discovered the depths of the blurry image

Of what the crystal ball kept trying to show me.

I was not the product of a sale for a deceiving, brightly dressed psychic.

I’ve become better than that.

I speak of the object of interest in my thinking process

Of a future I’ve been afraid of for as long as I can remember!

Passion: Noun.

Obsolete. Suffering.

The constant debate of where you find yourself is settled here:

In high school, you are nothing but lost.

Or at least I was.

It wasn’t until I became erect to the words of

Ellison, Sondheim, and Christ

That I became awake upon a piece of furniture that I’ve always laid down on in exhaustion.

They took over the torches and pitchforks that pressured the need to only settle for something

as comfortable and lousy as that couch.

However, it didn’t make the flames or stabs disappear.

For example, I once thought it was silly to tell a bunch of straight A AP students

That I wanted to make a living making people’s day.

Maybe artists and dreamers wouldn’t be welcomed in their circle of intelligence.

Passion: Noun.

The state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces.

Inspiration is the backbone of all achievements.

Whether or not “great” can be the true name for each one, varies.

Sweaty palms and a racing heart can’t mirror

My pace of walking into a new building;

Inside, excitement ensues.

Meeting new people and hearing their fascinating words lead me to smiles high enough to

reach the Everests that are my cheekbones that were once too hard to climb.

Passion: Noun.

A strong liking or desire for, or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.

Some of the craziest mixtures of theories and dreams can be the most admired.

Therefore devoting to accomplish them becomes well supported.

How foolish I was to believe adopting those flavors wouldn’t exist for me.

Passion: Noun.

Ardent affection. Love.

That is where I stand for the people around me.

And for the future ready to embrace me.