Today I Chose Myself Over My Job

I have been working at this same job with the same people for almost 10 months now.

Only two people bothered to learn my name, Juaquina.

I come in on my days off, I work overtime almost every single day, I work hard.

When a family member died suddenly, no one bothered to check on me. Once I returned to work after the funeral, they worked me seven days straight.

I smile at everyone, and I make sure to provide a pleasant work experience with everyone who comes into contact with me.

Yesterday, my boss told (not asked) me to cancel two very important doctor’s appointments in order to come into work on my day off. That’s right, the day I was scheduled to be off and therefore decided to care for my own being was the day he told me that I had no choice but to come into work.

I did not argue. I did not respond. I simply made a decision to choose myself over a job that would replace me within a few days if I dropped dead tomorrow. These people don’t even respect me as a human enough to learn my name (which is unique but only three syllables). They want me to be available 24/7, 365 days a year, but is that even humanly possible? It is not.

I write this, because two weeks ago I said a prayer.

God, if you don’t want me to remain here don’t let me get comfortable at this job.

Well, stuff has been hitting the fan ever since, but this was truly a moment to remember. The day my supervisor told me to put my health and well-being second. If he would have asked me to come in, if he would have asked me to reschedule my appointments, I would have said yes. But he TOLD me to put my health second. He was mistaken to think my kindness meant I did not have the capability to advocate for myself.

Today I chose myself over my job. Tomorrow, I might not even have a job.

I believe in self-care. How can I preach that to ya’ll, if I wasn’t making myself a priority? I have to stand up for what I believe. I believe in hard work. However, I believe that before one can work hard, they must make sure their cup is full. They must care for their mental and physical well-being before they can efficiently pour their dedication into anything or anyone.

So, today I chose myself over my job. Today, I heard the response to the prayer mentioned above. Today, I was reaffirmed that I was made to do something different. My answer to God’s answer is…yes. I will be an entrepreneur. I will put self-care as a priority. I will take those frightening steps that will ultimately lead to me leaving the work force, and forging my own path.

Self-love is the best love, only second to God’s love.

 

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?

 

Always Remember…

IMG_2557
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

Future Love 2/14/2016

I rolled over on my side

This morning

And noticed an emptiness

That has always been there

But never felt so hollow before

I noticed you weren’t beside me

You never have been

But it never felt so apparent

The weight of your presence

Wasn’t creating a dent in my mattress

Your hands weren’t holding my waist

Your eyes weren’t watching me as I wake

Your breath wasn’t matching mine

I noticed how

I craved you

I missed you

You haven’t entered my life yet

But the space God has reserved

Is one to catch my thoughts

Significant enough

For me to feel glimpses

Of what our love will be

How our love will grow

The rooms we will decorate

As our love expands

I rolled over on my side

This morning

And found my thoughts

Lingering on

You

 

A new video is posted every Thursday for my Mixtape Poetry series! Subscribe to my Youtube channel to stay up to date with new videos! This is video 3 of 7

Misplaced

Would you do it?

Would you submit yourself to those things that are killing you?

Would you play with fire?

Would you continue seeking their attention?

Would you wear an outfit that’s barely there?

Would you inhale what’s damaging your lungs?

Would you sip the poisonous liquid?

Would you take the fruit and indulge in the forbidden?

 

Would you sit with those girls?

Would you be in competition with every woman who might have more?

Would you compare yourself?

Would you secretly tear apart yourself?

Would you pinpoint what you don’t like about your own reflection?

Would you call yourself a bad bitch?

 

Would you let him call you anything other than your name?

Would you give away pieces of yourself for free?

Would you allow him to raise his hand?

Would you cover the scars?

Would you….stay?

 

Would you hold on to the resentment?

Would you sleep with hate?

Would you live with bitterness?

Would you walk with hurt?

Would you?

 

Would you do it if you knew?

Would you use your jewels for play if you knew their value?

Where is your crown?

 

Why are you lost if the kingdom is inside of you?

Why do you delay when the promises await you?

Why are you silent when authority is within you?

Why do you accept what is given?

Why do you see but have no vision?

Where is your crown?

 

A new video is posted every Thursday for my Mixtape Poetry series! Subscribe to my Youtube channel to stay up to date with new videos!

My Own Heartbeat

Sometimes I don’t trust my own heart.

The desires planted in the soil of my soul, I look at them with suspicion in my eyes.

Ignorance leaves me blinded to the bigger picture. I hesitate with every decision. I chastise myself. I punish myself.

But why?

I am realizing to listen to what these desires are telling me. I am learning that I am growing, and my passions are evolving. I am discovering I was created by an intentional God.

So, why do I find it hard to believe He created me to be moved by certain things? Things that escape others. Things they don’t even notice keeps me awake at night, causes me to remain restless until something changes.

I am learning to allow my heart to beat. To trust the goodness that is was made in. If I trust the creator, why wouldn’t I trust His creation?