It’s Time I wrote About My Grieving Process, but…

I don’t want to talk about it.

I don’t want to put words to what I feel, because I am scared of what those words will form. The outline they would create of the monster living inside of my nightmares, or my reality. They both seem to melt together these days.

I don’t want to talk about depression anymore. I have said that word so many times, it is starting to become a piece of my identity, and I can’t let that happen. I am me without the sadness, right?

I don’t want to describe the all encompassing fear. That ties my feet together, and puts a noose around my neck. It shackles my heart in the past, so that it cannot reach the hope for tomorrow. I can’t talk about it, because then it would be real.

Parts of me would unravel, and I’m not sure if I would ever come back together. The ocean inside of me is made of black acid, and there is a tsunami brewing under the surface. If I speak too soon, everything would come tumbling out.

I can’t speak on this, because I would morph into a burden to the unfortunate person listening to my story. Their inability to help “fix” me would result in a counterproductive response. They would search their hearts and rack their brain with what to say, and the taped together condolences they offer would only irritate me. I don’t want the perfect response, only an open heart.

I can’t write about this.

But I guess I just did.

And I still am…typing. Because there is more to say.

Like…

I’m scared I won’t ever be the same; that the girl with stars in her eyes died. Hope doesn’t live here anymore, and it’s not even allowed to step on my welcome mat outside. I have taken off my rose colored glasses and refuse to put them on again. I am different. And no one has even noticed. They talk to me as if I am the same Juaquina, but I’m not.

But I’m not. 

Keep Creating

When I was six years old, I wrote my first poem. I remember the moment very vividly. I was standing in the driveway of my family’s home, when I looked into the sky. It appeared that a storm was approaching, and I could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance. That is when these words rose up from within me:

“What’s that I hear?

A thunderstorm near

Oh my dear”

These words may not seem significant to you, but they mean the world to me. This was the birthplace of my relationship with poetry/writing.

Before I had friends. Before I knew how to communicate with my family. Even before I knew God. There was poetry. Poetry is how I process and communicate with the world around me. I would even say it was the starting point of God’s pursuit of me. When I write, I wish I could say I was the source, but I am not. The words seem to just flow from deep parts within my nephash (soul) that even I haven’t fully experienced. It’s like giving birth.

Last week, I was both humbled and deeply inspired when asked to be a featured artist for an event. I did nothing to deserve that platform. I did not strive for it. I did not ask for it. Yet, it was offered to me by people who could see my art even when I was not creating. I was blessed with the opportunity to display my short film and perform my poetry.

It felt like a dream the entire night. Even as I recited the poem I had rehearsed all week, I could not understand how I had grabbed the attention of everyone sitting in the bar. I could not believe they cared and related to the words of the piece, and I still can’t. However, God wanted to show me what He had been telling me all along.

I am a writer. 

He wants me to create. He wants me to be a storyteller. He did, in fact, place this gift inside of me. My poems are not in vain, and they do matter. They are part of my light. I always believed I was placed here to do great things, but after life knocked me down for seven years in a row, I was starting to think it was just a fantasy. But it’s not. It’s very real. I believe God let me go through the journey I have been on, because he wanted me to remain humble. He wanted to teach me that it will not happen by my strength but by His alone. Everything He promised will happen, but only because of His power. Yes, I still have to be obedient, but I don’t have to map out every detail of my life. Besides, our humanly plans never seem to work out anyways. Instead, I must always recognize that God is in control.

I did nothing to deserve that stage, but God gave it to me. I choose to believe this is only the beginning. I am a writer. I am a poetess. My words matter. I have a story inside of me that only I can tell. All I have to do is…

…keep creating.

The rest is up to God…

…and I think I’m in good hands.

I Have Something to Say

fullsizeoutput_1a17I wish I could adequately put into words the closeness I experience with God. This is my desire, not so that you will feel I am holier or try to mimic how I converse with Jesus, but so that you would be encouraged to continue on your own journey. Life will throw you so many curveballs, and these disappointments will have an impact on how you view God. They may push you to lean more fully on Him because you realize He is the only constant thing in existence, or perhaps they might lead to hard questions and difficult conversations that place a proverbial wedge between you and your creator. Whichever direction you find yourself drifting in, just know God is walking with you.

God is my best friend. I think that is a title that gets thrown around without any real weight attached to it these days, so let me be more specific. He knows me. When I don’t speak, He knows how I feel. In every situation He knows how I would best recieve love, and He gives it. He never condemns me (although He has the authority to), He never focuses on my flaws, He never dismisses my emotions. He listens, He speaks, He responds. (Maybe I’m just oppertating in the image of my father with this site. Hmm…). He is so patient with me. He is so kind. He is the perfect love I always wanted but never really believed existed. He speaks to the life inside of me, and holds my hands through every difficult situation. He is literally my best friend.

Life has been difficult. Every year feels like it comes with a new set of heavier burdens than the year prior. Rejection. Debt. Tension. Discontentment. Hopelessness. Depression. Death. Suicidal thoughts. Disappointments. The list keeps going, but the list will never be bigger than God.

All of this is a long winded-introduction to a simple conversation I had with God last night. Through revelation that could only come from God, I was empowered by this truth:

I love writing, and the world could benefit from what I have to say. 

So, I confessed that outloud to God and my empty room. Then God responded in a way that was a lot more loving than how it will read on this post.

God: Now act like it.

I honestly was beginning to question a lot. Let’s just say I was starting to sound like Solomon when he wrote Ecclesiastes…”Everything is meaningless!” I was beginning to walk away from writing and I definitely abandoned the notion that the world would ever hear the things that I have wrote. However, God reminded me who He created by having me look at all of my creative journals. I found my first book of poems I wrote when I was around six years old. Then, I began reading and watching how my writing has evolved drastically throughout the years. In this moment I realized something that may sound vain to you but was something I needed to be reminded of: I am gifted. I am a writer, and I really do love words. It’s hard work creating and growing as an artist. A dream job is far from dreamy. But I really do love writing, and God would not call me back to something for 19 years (from age 6 to 25) if He did not want to use that. Also, I must choose to believe the world would benefit from hearing what I have to say. If I don’t walk in that truth, it would feel pointless to continue writing and striving to get better. Now, that I know these things and I confess these things and I choose to believe these things, I must act like it.

So, world, listen up:

I have something to say. 

 

 

 

Exodus

I’m in the part of my journey no one will clap for; I am experiencing a wide range of emotions that no one will notice. When my shoulders slump over and my head droops, no one seems to care.

It’s an internal conflict.

I have been arguing with God lately. Not the most devout thing I have written, but ya’ll don’t expect that from me anyways. I have given him attitude and I have folded my arms in protest. He has been speaking…A LOT. Unfortunately, He hasn’t been saying things I have wanted to hear.

Yes, He still speaks life and speaks of a glorious future to come, but now, as I begin the journey, he is bringing me to the edge of the promise land. He is showing me the giants and telling me He won’t remove them all at once, but slowly. [Deuteronomy 7:22]

He is giving me a speech that I will indeed inherit the land, but my mind grows suspicious when he repeats the phrase “Be strong and courageous.” [Joshua 1:6-9]

What is happening Jesus?

I told God that I wanted to live at an optimum level inside of His will. I want to reach my fullest potential. I don’t want anything that He wanted me to accomplish to go unattended to at my funeral. I want to see all He wants me to see. I want to do all He wants me to do. I want to sacrifice, and love, and be successful. I want to be successful!! I want to experience all the promises spoken over my life before I was even born. I want to experience financial freedom. I want to minister to people I will never meet through my writing. I WANT THE DESIRES OF MY HEART.

And I went through a celebratory moment when God said, “Okay. It is done.” When He woke me in the middle of the night to tell me He loves me. When He repeated promises I had forgotten about. When He said it all belongs to me and this is the time everything will begin to shift into place.

But now, (excuse my french) I’m mad as hell. Because now, I find myself on the run. I find myself hiding in caves. I find myself being hunted down by the people I trusted most. I find myself alone. I find myself in a constant state of battle. [The entire life of David]

God, this feels like war.

The words I hear God saying now are “Life is hard,” “This will be tough, but I will get you through,” “Hard work is not a bad thing.” (yes God had to remind me that hard work won’t kill me). But I am yelling “GOD TAKE AWAY THESE THORNS!” The crown I longed for is starting to feel more like a punishment. I am now barely grasping how much courage it had to take Jesus to pray for God’s will to be done in the garden as I find myself struggling to say the same. [Luke 22:42]

This is the part no one claps for, no one notices.

When God delivered the Israelites out of slavery, they didn’t know they were going into war. Stop judging them. Their journey was a tough one. No one claps for them in Exodus, but what they experienced was real. It was hard. It was an everyday battle. The life I’m living is real. It’s hard. Its an everyday battle. However unlike the Israelites, I will not run from the land of giants.

I’m going to take what already belongs to me.

I’m ready to fight, are you?

 

Identity

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Source: Unknown

The balance of humility and confidence is what I struggle to achieve. It seems like a constant compromise to either self-deprecate or walk with arrogance. I am learning that having a solid knowledge of who I am will keep me from wandering to either extremes. So, where does my identity come from? It comes from the Lord. I am His child. I am loved. and I am royalty. Everything else is a small detail. This is the foundation I build upon on this lifelong journey of discovery. 

-Juaquina She

 

Always Remember…

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Photocred: Me. Juaquina Carter

I am like this plant.

Growing where they told me I couldn’t

Through the darkness

Flourishing where there is no soil

Where there was once concrete ceilings

I must have saw opportunity

My existence is a miracle

Not to be taken for granted

For where there is life

There is a purpose

Do you hear that, self?

Where there is breath

There is life

And where there is life

There is purpose.

So don’t forget that you are

Something rare

Something phenomenal

Alive.

 

Last night I tried to stop breathing, but the beat in my soul would not let me. I wanted permission to escape from the prison I don’t belong in. This confinement was starting to feel like home, and that disturbed me. I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to break down the walls and free myself from oppression.

Suicidal thoughts…

…begin to sound like freedom when you have lived your life in chains. I was desperate enough to answer a call from the devil. I wanted to be happy again. But how can I use satan’s plan to get to God’s glory?

I cannot.

So, I fell into a hole not meant for living. And it is in here, I find what heals me.

The darkness is so deep, it swallows my thoughts and never spits them back out. I am afraid to even move my arm, because I do not know what surrounds me. The light came on, and all I see is blackness. A mysterious hue blocking all ambition and energy. God exposed what I was creating, what I was living. And I realize, I cannot use my own strength to get out of a castle made of sand.

“Be still.”

The duality of the moment is perplexing. Here I am, in my own sin, in my own healing. I quietly wait in the darkness while God does things I cannot see. I thought I had run out of faith, but I guess this is what it practically looks like to obtain it. Running to the ends of yourself, and having nothing to rely on except…..Jesus.

He said all I needed was a mustard seed, but I didn’t have that. So, I prayed for it. He wants all of my heart, my mind, and my soul, but I lost those down here in this pit. So, I asked him to help me find them.

He is taking me through a process that will not be over in a night. I will not bounce back in a week. Nor will I be ready for relationship in a month. No, this takes a commitment so strong, I have to give it a new name.

Covenant.

Something so powerful, it uses time its tool. God will not be rushed. And I will not be moved. We will sit here together.

I, in the mysterious shadows, will be still. I will slowly realize the the chains I could not see. I will hear them rattle every time I try to solve my own problems by ignoring them. Then I will be reminded I am still in the process.

And God? He will be faithful. He will be present. He will be working. For where I cannot see, he knows perfectly. He will bring me what I need. I must only rest. He will give me the key. He will remove the chains I placed on myself. He will teach me to stand again. He will teach me to walk again. He will teach me to live again. In truth. And as a result, I will know that…

He is God. 

And through Him,

I am alive.

Update-GREAT NEWS!!!

I love ya’ll so much ❤

I want to post on my site more, and I want to be more consistent. However, every artist knows….consistency is not our strong suit. So, me posting this update is, hopefully, a step in the right direction. I still don’t know how exactly I want my website to be branded, but I know I want it to be authentically me.

So this is me right now:

Great news!!!! I started school…again! The first time around I was going to a school just because I thought that’s what you’re supposed to do right after high school. I signed up for classes and got lost in the shuffle of things, and I ended up with this gigantic bill! I could not afford what they wanted, and they kicked me out. Politely, of course. And ever since then I have been on a journey of self discovery.

It took years away from traditional learning for me to define who I am and what I actually care about. I also worked a lot of jobs that were not a good fit for me. I do not believe your job defines who you are, but we spend a lot of time at work. So, it is important for me to spend my time on something I care about.

With that being said, I asked God, “What is my next best move?” And through a series of events, He answered, “Full Sail University.” That’s the short version anyways.

Basically, after working on my series, Mixtape Poetry and creating videos for my vlog series, She Speaks, I realized how much I love creating visual stories. I also realized how hard it was to teach myself certain camera techniques. Eventually I want to create my own films and write my own scripts and publish my own books, but if I have to finance my dream through a regular job…I want to be in an industry I love! So, I am going back to school to acquire my degree in Digital Cinematography.

Why not writing?

Writing is my first love. So, I don’t want anyone to control it in any way. I don’t want it to become a chore or mundane. So, getting a writing job was never something I was interested in. Changing my writing style to comply with someone else’s vision is just not for me. I would probably grow to resent something I once loved. So, I still write! You don’t ever have to worry about that, but I am doing it on my own terms. I will still publish my own words one day.

But I’m an artist. Which means I am not locked down to one lane. Which means I have the right to explore different avenues of storytelling. And visual storytelling is something else I am passionate about.

So, I just wanted to share where I am! I love you all so much for your kind words and encouragement. I hope to start posting more on here soon. Something tells me I might make a few changes to the site in the near future.

Stay Tuned!!