What I Wish I knew

I wish I knew more writers before embarking on this journey to authorship.

I wish someone would have told me the hard stuff.

Like…being a full time writer can be lonely. That spending 40 hours a week in complete solitude with you, yourself, and your thoughts is challenging for even the most extreme of introverts. That letting your thoughts run wild is scary, because you have always been told not to. That it’s so important to allow your mind to wander, for it is only then will you discover what is really inside of you. That writing is a journey into the depths of self, and self is sometimes unpleasant to observe.

I wish someone would have told me to get out the house more. To mingle. To take time to look away and do mindless activities. That using your gift so much can be draining, so extracurricular activities are a must. That your friends won’t understand what you’re going through. That people will keep asking what your life plan is as if writing is just a hobby and you need to get a “real” job. That even the people closest to you just won’t get it all the time. That your vision is not a shared experience….the only person that can see it is you. So, being your own cheerleader is a must.

Most importantly I wish they would have told me to stop caring. Immediately. Stop caring about opinions and criticism. Stop caring about the reader when you’re writing (they only matter afterwards). Stop waiting for people to celebrate milestones, because they really don’t understand your struggles. Stop caring about the outside noise. Stop caring about things that don’t matter.

I wish someone would have told me that I am the most important person in my own journey.

I wish someone would have told me to love self furiously even when I can’t stand to look at myself.

I wish I was taught earlier what it means to live an unapologetic life.

But that’s okay, because I learned. My first five months as an artist was damn hard. It was one of the most challenging moments of my life, but I am so much stronger now. I am so much wiser. I am a better version of myself, and I’m ready to continue ahead.

One step at a time. One lesson at a time.

If you are thinking of pursuing artistry full time, well…this is me telling you what was never told to me.

Pittsburgh

“What happens to a dream deferred?”

It grows

And expands

It takes time to decide

Whether suicide is its destiny

Or if life is the only way

 

It lies down and weeps

Rolling around in the possibilities

Of “what if’s” and “could be’s”

Self-pity is the initial reaction

To a dream left in the shadows

Of life’s troubles

 

What happens next?… is not the decision of the dream

But the dreamer

What happens next… is the thoughts

The resilience

The courage of the one who gave birth to such a thing

The one responsible for the care and tenderness owed

 

My dream

Left alone

Tucked away

And hidden

Accumulated dust

Lost it’s luster

But it did not falter

Once discovered again

I realized it

Was the same

Everything inside of it did not wilt

Rather it grew in wisdom

As my life grew in length

 

And now

It lives

Inside of me

A mature version of childish passions

Plays on in the fantasies of my mind

With more room to develop into

The woman who will not forget

To allow her heart to beat

Now the boundaries are being broken

Letting adventures unfold and take shape

 

A dream is not a silly thing

A dream deferred thing can be a strong thing

And a dream pursued is a sure thing

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 5 of 7

Applause

And this is the part of my story no one claps for. Before the book is published. Before the speaking engagements are streaming in. Before a thousand people subscribe to my youtube channel. This is me.

Writing for the love of it. Working my a** off, and seeing very little get accomplished. Holding on to faith that this too shall pass. Learning to enjoy every step of my journey (even when the steps seem to take me backwards).

I am learning to love what no one can see. I am learning to celebrate every completed poem, every blog post written, every vlog posted, every project finished. I am learning to love the me before the celebrity, because it is only a matter of time before my persistence and consistency pays off.

Then, their applause won’t distract me nor validate me. Why? Because I was knew who I was before anyone else noticed.

This is She. This is me.

Journeys Back Home

I wanted to journey across the world.

I wanted to plan an escape outside the state. California, New York, New Orleans. Anywhere outside of where I stood would surely bring me happiness and contentment.

The more I planned to run away, the more I realized I was trying to escape the wrong thing. It wasn’t about where I was physically. The discontent was growing inside of me and taking roots in my mental space.

A mental prison.

I really needed to flee my thoughts. They fly back and forth. They get high on possibilities then roll around in self-doubt. They ridicule and criticize every action I take. Every word that escapes my lips get replayed and questioned. Did I say that right? Did I offend this person? Did I come off as rude? I was on a self-inflicted rollercoaster of mental abuse and self loathing.

Now I am planning a different type of journey.

I am learning what is means to be present. I am understanding the courage it takes to not mentally escape and daydream my life away. I am learning to sit in my thoughts. I am listening to what the monologue constantly playing in my mind is telling me. About myself. About the lies I have chosen to believe. I am learning to be gentle with myself. I am learning to take control over what I thought was holding me captive.

One day, I believe I will travel. I believe I will explore parts of the world I have only dreamed about. But for now? I have to sit still. That is what God is calling me to do. Sit still physically and take a journey within. Explore myself. Learn the languages spoken in my soul I find it hard to interpret. Like why do certain smells bring to the surface old memories? Or why do I like feel a pain when I hear certain songs?

I’m tired of searching for home.

I am going to establish home within myself. I am going to watch how it expands, making love materialize.

 

Labels

I saw the word: CREATE.

Who is it that I am?

CREATOR.

Hm….has a nice ring to it. I am a creator. Hm…it also sounds a bit arrogant. Let’s take a step back.

The creator of everything is who I worship. And the more I reflect, the more I realize I have not created a single thing. Not a poem. Not a story. Not a blog post. I haven’t done anything magnificent enough to call myself a creator.

A more accurate word: INTERPRETER.

I see parts of the world others cannot and I interpret what I have witnessed.

Thoughts are difficult to convey so I translate common emotions and situations.

I am not creating anything for there is nothing new under the sun. I am merely picking up the tools God placed in front of my door. And I’m having a damn good time.

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?

 

Everything I Am

It all belongs to me.

Success. Authorship. Financial freedom. Homeownership. Entrepreneurship. Things to come.

But also…

Failures. Lessons learned. Wisdom. Obstacles. Fears overcome. Things of the past.

They all belong to me right now. Simultaneously. I am everything I have already gone through and everything I will be. All swirled into one moment. I am everything I have gained and everything I will ever need. My ultimate resource is within.

Too often I have looked at things I want to accomplish as if they are outside of myself. But my calling and my purpose are within. It is not a matter of reaching for something in the distance; it is more about discovering what is already inside of me. Discovering the blueprint. Discovering all that I was created to be.

What an empowering lesson. I no longer have to desperately grasp for things that don’t belong to me. Everything I need. I already have. I already am.

 

From City to City

Leaving one city to conquer another sounds exciting in movies. In real life, it sounds like the worst mistake you can make. Working so hard just to be comfortable, then choosing to walk away from that comfort seems foolish. But it is precisely what I have done.

Pittsburgh. A city of growth. A city of loss. A city that challenged me every single day. Just breathing became a difficult task in a place that forced me to see the world for what it is. In Pittsburgh, I cried. I mourned death. I sat in my loneliness. I witnessed betrayal. I discovered the jealousy that was consuming my own heart. In Pittsburgh, for the first time, I saw the ugly. Life was not, in fact, a box of chocolates.

Pittsburgh was a mirror I had to look into in order to become a woman. I had to view reality. I had to sit in my disappointment. I had to grow in my endurance for the difficult. It is something I had to grow through. It was not the city itself, it was the isolation from everything familiar that brought about these changes. For me, living in Pittsburgh was tough. But necessary. And when I was finally beginning to find stability in life, God told me to leave.

So I did.

I moved back to Atlanta. From one city to another. Walking away from the little I managed to build in Pittsburgh. Watching my sandcastle get swept under the current. Now, I am loosening my grip and allowing the old to wash away. Now that I have come to terms with the failures and ugliness of life, it is time for me to build the good. We were all created in the image of perfection and we all possess everything required to construct something beautiful. And now, it’s time I discover what exactly I was designed to create.

It is scary to lose everything that defined me as an adult. But I rest in the assurance that God will restore everything I lost. This time, it will be aligned with His perfect plan. This time it will be independent of the opinions of others. This time, I realize my power. I recognize I am more than a conqueror. This time, I am not blindsided by the truth. I embrace it and I use it as something to propel me further.

Moments

What I have learned is that my story is not going to mimic anyone else’s. There may be similarities, but ultimately my journey is unique. I cannot measure where I am by comparing my state of being to anyone around me. I cannot judge based on the opportunities others capitalize on or the methods in which they pursue their dreams. Our timelines will not be identical.

This is a common lesson always being taught, but I didn’t really understand until faced with the temptation to compare. I have a friend who already has a beautiful brand she works on during the day and funds by working at a restaurant at night. I have another friend who looks for every opportunity to perform in front of a crowd in order to build their audience. They are both gloriously pursuing their passions, and I applaud them. However, I don’t do either of these things. Is there something wrong with me? Am I lazy? Am I sluggish? Why don’t I even have a desire to explore either of these methods?

Because that is not what God is calling me to do in this moment.

I have to be honest with myself and where I am. I have to focus on placing one foot in front of the other. I have to turn my ears to intentionally hear what God has to say. Where He wants me to go. What He wants me to do. I am a poet, and I thought that meant I had to start performing at every open mic. But if I am honest with myself, I do not want to do that. Not because I am afraid of being on a stage (although it can be anxiety inducing I can push past that when necessary). I simply want to present my work through another medium and I am still learning how exactly to go about it.

What is my point in this post? Because I am beginning to ramble. Basically to remind myself not to compare myself. Or to not let the opinions of others dictate how I measure myself. Or even better….not to measure myself at all. I must only focus on being a good steward of every single moment granted to me. I must make a commitment to myself to live fully and completely in each moment. To hear the opinions of others and allow their words to flow gracefully in one ear and out the other. To fill myself with affirmations and not depend on the compliments of others. To just keep swimming. No matter what…I must only keep swimming. And take life as it comes.