Real Thoughts from Yet Another Poet Tryna “Make It”

So yeah, you might’ve noticed by now that I’m a poet.

Not just another poet…but another poet tryna make it.

The phrase “make it” means different things to different people. To some, it means being well-known/famous/popular. To others it means making a ton of money. Or it can mean that they’ve achieved a particular goal that they’ve specifically set for themselves that has nothing to do with money or fame.

If you want to know what “making it” means for me, it’s this: yes, I would love to be well-known for my poetry. I would love to see copies of my poetry books on book shelves in bookstores, or even seeing the cover while scrolling through books on Amazon. I would also love to make poetry my main source of income instead of working for someone else, like I’m doing right now. But ultimately, “making it” in poetry means this to me – that I connect with someone with my words. That any and everything that I’ve gone through and written poetry about touches someone’s heart, and they’re able to read my work and say, “Yes…I felt that. She gets me. She knows.”

And not only that, but I would love for people to talk to me about faith, and how I incorporate that into my poetry. Because it is a HUGE part of who I am. Do I have it all figured out? Definitely not…but I think that’s the beauty of some of my work as well. It’s less concrete, and more real; because I can’t express how many times I’ve questioned God in poem form. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed poetically, and still not come to solid conclusions about things in this life. But I do know that He is good, that He is loving, that He isn’t afraid to come at me head-on with my questions and queries. And I want people to understand that too.

I feel like “God” and “Christianity” are terms in the society I live in that are cause for eye rolling, and immediate shutdown of conversations. And it breaks my heart that people (including myself) are more comfortable avoiding the topic than delving into it, and boldly asking questions. Not everyone is timid to have these conversations, and although I myself have tried to avoid those brave people for asking questions, I am now realizing that I would rather talk about things than for me to hide in shame or fear of judgment. So I long for my poetry to bridge that gap; to help me start the conversations, so that I can continue them, whether in interviews, conversations at meet and greets, etc.

That is what “making it” means to me. Maybe that means I’ll still have to work a part-time job while doing poetry, or maybe it means I won’t be extremely well-known, just locally known, and if that’s the case, then that’s okay. But if I can connect with people poetically…wow. That’s the biggest blessing, honestly.

So with that being said, you’ve probably also noticed that there are LOT of poets releasing their work these days. From Rupi Kaur to Reyna Biddy to Cleo Wade to r.h. sin and everyone in between, which is amazing. The world needs more poets to write and speak the truths that we sometimes find hard to communicate ourselves, and I am inspired by all the poets I named, and then some.

But honestly…it can be hella intimidating and discouraging sometimes. Do I think that poets need to come together to support and encourage each other in the craft? Absolutely! And I’ve witnessed and been a part of a community of poets that does so, and I’m grateful and blessed for that.

There are times though, when I get discouraged because there are SO MANY poets coming out with stuff that I feel like sometimes what I have to say is irrelevant. I know that every writer and poet has different experiences, and expresses them in different styles and words, but I still wonder if what I write can even connect with anyone anymore. This kind of thinking not only discourages me, but it also causes me to be a little unmotivated. Like, why should I even try if there are already so many amazing poets out there? What difference will my words make in the world anyway?

Of course, this kind of thinking isn’t limited to just poets – I mean, you see how many musicians, painters, mixed media artists, DJs, etc. are out there. Being a creative is a competitive field, and unfortunately, not everyone makes it where they want to be. And that’s something that just scares me – being one of those that doesn’t accomplish the goals and dreams I have for myself. And if that happens, I do have faith that God has a better and bigger plan for me, even though I don’t know what it is. Will it still hurt if I don’t “make it” per my definition? Of course it will!

I’m not writing this post for sympathy; meaning, once you read this, I don’t expect you to send me a message assuring me that my words are relevant, that there’s a place for me in the poetry world, etc. Because I’m just revealing a feeling I sometimes get as a creative, specifically as a poet. Even though this is a negative perspective, there can be positives about seeing other poets succeed – it makes me think that if they can make it through all the different outlets they used (tumblr, SoundCloud, Instagram, publishing a book, etc.), then truly, I am capable of doing the same!

All-in-all, I’m not here for the numbers; sure, it would be amazing to see how many people could be impacted by what I write and speak, but my main goals with my writing are that people can see the lacing of Love in the Gospel through my words; that they can connect with the emotions, feelings, and situations that I write about; and that one day, I am able to look in the eyes of every single person who is touched by my poetry, and hug most of them (all of them if possible) so tight because hugs are important to me, and I want to be able to do that to thank them in person for even sticking with me, ya know? These are things I dream about when I write.

So, after thinking on these things, these dreams (and after being encouraged by one of my big sisters to write down my serious goals for myself), and after being confirmed several times in this gift that God has given me, I know for a fact that my words mean something; that they’re valuable, and that they are relevant. And maybe they’ll only be relevant to one person, or for one season, and that’s okay. If that is all the Lord gives to me, I will be grateful for it.

I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep speaking.

Because, yes…I’m another poet tryna make it. And I believe that I will, indeed, make it in some way.

Mishy

“One Word” Update

Do you remember when I blogged last week about my church going through a series about finding our “one word” that the Lord has placed on our hearts to really focus on throughout the year? Well, I feel like I may know what my word is – “brave.”

There have been so many words that have come to mind through this past week – the ones I’ve blogged about, and a couple of others have also come up. And I just couldn’t feel the Lord pulling me in one direction or another. And this past Sunday, as I sat in church and listened to my pastor preach about sowing and reaping, the word “brave” came to my mind.

If I were to look back on my life, there have been moments in which I was brave, and moments when I wished I was braver than I was. And even as I think about where I am now, and what I strive to accomplish and learn from the Lord this year, the word “brave” really just fits.

For instance, right now I’m dealing with a website that I launched in the middle of last year that is in need of some recovery, revision, and reboot. I was honestly really discouraged about it towards the end of last year, and it’s taken me a lot of motivation and reminders to get back into picking it up off the ground. In other words, I feel like I really need to be brave during this time, and dealing with this situation.

Yes, I do want to do things this year that I’ve never done, and that takes courage/bravery. One of the major things I want to do is delve into who the Lord is, who Jesus is. That may sound so silly to some, but I feel like I’ve heard about God and Jesus all my life, and unfortunately, it’s just become a common topic of my day, not anything earth-shattering, even though it’s the basis of my faith, my life. It takes courage to get out of the mundane, the typical, and admit that I don’t know everything, and need to learn more about Who my Savior is, and how deep His love is.

One reason I didn’t think “brave” was my word in the first place was because I am currently reading a devotional book revolving around being brave, and I’m even going through it during my #MotivationalMishyMondays on Instagram live! I figured it was too simple for me to say that “brave” was my word when I was reading and learning about it every day. But God doesn’t try to trick His children; I think my word’s been under my nose this entire time, and I just haven’t realized it until recently.

I’m still going to pray on it though, make sure that this is the word that the Lord has for me to focus on. But I just feel like bravery is rooted in so many things I need to focus on.

I’ve expressed several times here that I’m a worrier, and I’ve always been a worrier since I was a child. Thankfully, the Lord has helped me through my worry as I’ve gotten older, but recently, I’ve felt the same type of worry that I used to as a kid start creeping back into my life. It’s so weird how you think you’re over something, but then when it’s brought back into your life, you can feel the familiarity of it; you remember what it was like in all the ways – emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically.

As I thought about my worry, I thought about the root of it – why did I worry about certain things, people, situations? And I thought, My worry is rooted in fear – Fear of the possibilities of things going a certain way, or people doing/saying things, etc. And if I am to face my fears and worries…I need to be brave. Brave enough to remember that the Lord knows my heart, knows my fears and worries, and is with me no matter what happens. Brave enough to continue to live without fear, because fear holds me back from doing and saying so much.

Just because my word for the year is possibly “brave,” it doesn’t mean that I will totally learn to conquer fear by the end of the year. But I have faith that the Lord is capable of doing that in me, if I trust in Him to teach me how to be brave, and obey Him when He calls me to be. And even if my “one word” isn’t “brave,” I still feel like it’s something I need to continue to learn as I go throughout my life.

So, this week, I pray that the Lord would continue to conquer my fears and worries, and that He would show me in specific ways how to be brave.

#MishyWrites

Being Brave with My Food

I’m currently reading this little devotional book entitled 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs, and after each short devotion is a challenge to be brave, or reflect on bravery in some way. A couple of days ago, the challenge was to journal about a couple or a few experiences in which I or someone else would consider brave.

Well, let me tell you right now…I’m currently doing this 28-day reset challenge with my sister that involves cutting out certain foods, and it’s been a struggle. The first couple of days, I was unsure of what to eat, so I barely ate anything. Yesterday (my third day), I cheated by eating a little snowball cookie (I have such a sweet tooth, it’s not even funny), so I’ve decided to start all over which will set me back to the very end of the month.

I bring this up though because, personally, this reset challenge requires some bravery. The point of this challenge is to cleanse the body of things like dairy, gluten, sugar, processed things, and alcohol, and afterwards, slowly bring them back into the diet to see what your body can truly tolerate and not tolerate. Honestly? I’m really nervous about day 29. What if I can’t eat pizza or ice cream anymore because, surprise, my body actually can’t tolerate dairy like I thought? Or what about bread and pasta? I love me some good pasta. What if I try to eat it, and I can’t anymore? What if I get sick from trying to implement that stuff back into my diet?

No lie, I texted my sister yesterday trying to see if she’d give me some leeway on this whole cleanse thing. On only the third day. After I cheated already. All I was asking for was for my coffee to be sweet; I’ve hated the way I’ve been drinking it so far.

But after feeling guilty about our conversation, and thinking about the benefits for my body, and also realizing that this would be a time for me to be brave, and not give up even when it got difficult, I have decided to keep going with this. Because ultimately, I want what’s best for my body, the only body that God gave me. I am continually striving to better myself spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, but rarely do I strive for it physically. And this is my opportunity.

Now, I’m not saying that for everyone to strive for their best physical self they have to go on a diet or cleanse, or become a vegan or whatever. And I’m not saying that I’m not satisfied with the way I look. I am just personally convicted that I haven’t been taking care of my body as best as I could be, and this is one way for me to do that. And with this cleanse comes an exercise plan as well, so I’m also covering that base, don’t worry!

Those of you who may be concerned about if I’m eating at all, yes, I’m eating very well now! Had to take a few trips to the grocery stores, but I got what I need! I’m still missing french vanilla creamer in my coffee though…I’m trying Stevia and unsweetened vanilla almond or coconut milk with my coffee to see how it goes. Pray for me, lol.

#MishyWrites

A Struggle with Sleep

Last year, there was one night in particular in which I found myself struggling to sleep.

Now that I think about it, I may’ve blogged about it – how I was in this state between awake and asleep. How I wasn’t able to really get to sleep without listening to some gospel music, and praying that the Lord would just put me to sleep already since I had work the next morning.

Well, with the new year here, I’ve experienced two more nights like this, and it’s honestly quite troubling. The last time I can remember ever struggling with sleep was the fall semester of my sophomore year in college, and it was just as frustrating then as it is now.

I’m trying to avoid complaining because I have friends who’ve struggled with sleepless nights longer than I have, and I don’t want to be insensitive to the frustration they’ve endured. But it doesn’t make my experiences any less exhausting (no pun intended), and I’ll be honest, a part of me is a little afraid to go to sleep nowadays, afraid I actually won’t fall asleep as easily as I used to.

This morning, I thought about how, despite my lack of sleep and constant restlessness, I was thankfully not as tired as I thought I would be. And God definitely showed up as I read Psalm 3 as part of my morning devotions. A part of a verse in this psalm is actually lightly engraved on the inside of one of the rings I always wear. It was a ring given to me during the fall semester of my sophomore year college by my Pa (my stepdad), who told me about some specific verses in Psalm 3 to go to after I expressed to him my trouble in sleeping. And the comfort was still there as I read the same verse this morning…

“I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” – Psalm 3:5 (ESV)

Even though this psalm is talking about David running from his own son Absalom, and how the Lord continued to protect him even in sleep, I can still pertain to David. During my sophomore year, I was dealing with some major academic, social, and mental stress, and, since I have been a well-known worrier, all of those things were affecting my sleep patterns. Reading this verse reminded me that the Lord knew those situations, and was working in every aspect of those situations, even as I slept, and that I had nothing to worry about because He would sustain me. He would give me peace enough to lull me to sleep, and the grace, mercy, and strength to wake me up again in the morning.

And now, as I struggle again with sleeping once again, I am grateful for that lesson I learned during my sophomore year, and for the sweet reminder in Psalm 3.

Not only was I reminded in Psalm 3, but I was given a few verses in Proverbs 3 this morning as well. I had to actually stop and re-read the verses several times, because I was blown away at how the Lord would speak to me in the same time frame through His Word to just reassure me…

“My son, do not lose sight of these – keep sound wisdom and discretion and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” – Proverbs 3:21-24 (ESV)

A set of instructions that follows with a promise if the instructions are obeyed: to not lose sight of wisdom and discretion, and the Lord will grant me peace – in the journey AND in sleep. Hallelujah! It was only a little part of a verse, but reading it brought peace to my mind, heart, and soul.

I wrote all this to give a reminder to anyone who’s struggling with something – maybe it’s also sleepless nights – that the Lord truly does care about it, and about you. About the things that seem so minute compared to other things going on in the world right now. That He will perfect the things that concern you and me. That He will speak little promises to His children at the exact time He knows we need comfort and reassurance.

The reminders and promises in God’s Word don’t necessarily guarantee automatic resolutions to our struggles, problems, and worries. But they do open us up to the peace of God; the assurance He gives that we are not alone through those things.

Am I still a little nervous to go to sleep? Of course I am. But I go to sleep reminding myself of those verses, those promises. Reminding myself that, even if I can’t get to sleep in the time I want to, the Lord is still good, He’s still working on me, and I can still spiritually and mentally rest in His peace even if I’m not physically resting the way I want to.

Thank you, Jesus.

#MishyWrites

A Writing Type of 2018

“I feel as though I am always writing my first draft. As though my life is a series of edits that I never have time to complete.” – page 184, Pillow Thoughts, Courtney Peppernell

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

I hope you brought in the beginning of 2018 with people you love and care about, and ones who love and care about you. I’m really excited for this year, and what the Lord has planned for me and all of you!

This will be the last post in the “Type of 2018” series, and I wanted to end it with this subject because, let’s be honest, I feel like in 2017, I did pretty terrible at writing, at least on my blog. To the Brim was constantly abandoned for weeks, sometimes it seemed like months at a time, yet I was still writing outside of it in journals and on my phone. I tried to comfort myself, knowing that some of the best writers and bloggers I know don’t blog every day, but only blogged about important topics and events in their lives, and still had a decent following, and decent writing.

And Peppernell truly has captured how I feel as a writer sometimes: I feel like I start writing all sorts of poems and blog posts and stories, and then I never finish them. And then I feel lost as a writer, and then I feel terrible as a writer for feeling lost.

But honestly, it’s okay, and I plan on embracing my status as a writer as so in 2018. One of my goals this year is to write a poem every day (I know, it seems crazy, right? Like how can I write a poem every day if I can’t seem to get it together to blog every day?). But, as I’ve said in the past when I began the whole “just start writing” mindset, I think that in order for one to become a better writer, you’ve got to keep writing every day. Tons of writers and teachers of writing have said it, and I believe they say it because it works.

So, along with writing one poem a day (at least), I plan on blogging every day for an entire year, and seeing where this takes me. I say this with all sorts of pride because I am proud of myself: I crushed the blogging game at the end of 2017. Like, I almost posted every day in the month of December, and that is amazing. And I think I’ve found a good system to keep me blogging like that for the rest of the year. I just need to have the discipline to keep it up.

I will admit, I am a little nervous about this goal I’ve declared. As I was reading a blog post by a favored writer of mine, I thought to myself, See, you don’t have to write every day. It’s okay; ease up on your goal so you’re not majorly disappointed when you don’t achieve it. 

But I also don’t want to doubt myself and my abilities; like I feel like me and my mindset are the only things stopping me from making this blogging and writing a poem every day thing happen. And if that’s the case, I don’t want those things to stop me.

And I also know I’m only human, and I may miss a day or two. I truly don’t want to though, so I will try my best. I look forward to all the words I’ll be writing onto pages, saying in my voice memos, and typing on my keyboard, either my laptop or phone.

What about you? What’s one thing you really want to push yourself to do in 2018? If you think it’s impossible to accomplish, what is a solution to truly doing your best to making it happen?

Again, happy new year, everyone! I pray that this year brings you all sorts of adventures, learning, observing, writing, or whatever else you’re into!

#MishyWrites #Typeof2018

“and he lived…”

Maybe I’m just like Belle,
Looking into the eyes of the angry, frightening Beast,
Whom everyone in the village wants to put to sleep
Yet all I can see in you is
Beauty.

They say I’ve just pricked my finger with the thorns of the forbidden rose
You’ve held captive, and claim as your own.
I long to pry it out of your hands,
To give your heart a rest.

Let me take the burden.
Let the villagers trample me
While you collect yourself in your castle.
Take as long as you need;
I know it could be forever.
But I refuse to give up on you.

I refuse.

I know I’m not guaranteed a happy ending,
But that’s okay.

I just need you to be.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

this season

Tonight, I was encouraged during a dinner I had with some friends. Each friend possesses a different creative spirit – one is a musician, the other an artist/businesses owner – and they both inspire me to continue in my own creative field of writing/spoken word.

We talked about each of our own creative endeavors and experiences, our goals. We also touched on where we currently are in life – one of those friends and I are in the midst of a living transition as we try to find a place to live together. The other friend has this grand idea, and is wanting to execute it within a certain time, and involve as many creative/artistic people she knows. We briefly spoke of our college days, which now seem like a distant memory or even a dream compared to the lives we're living right now.

And as I sit here in my bedroom, thinking about the season I'm currently in and seasons that I've passed through, I am trying to think of the goals I have in mind for the future, and how I can make a plan, and start executing that plan. Honestly, I've been in the planning season for a while, and I've also been trying to prioritize other things, like my health.

But I don't want my goals and dreams to sit on the bench; yes, what I've been trying to prioritize is important, but I also need to make sure that I'm doing something every day to obtain my dreams. I think for the remainder of my night, I'm going to sit here and really ask myself what I want to accomplish / where I want to be this time next week, next month, next year.

It's scary to come up with a plan, sometimes. One of my friends pointed out tonight that there's just something about making an actual plan to reach a goal that seems intimidating, and it sometimes stops us from really thinking through the process and achieving our goals. Maybe it's seeing how many steps we have to take. Maybe there's one particular step that requires us to really get out of our comfort zone.

But if there's one thing I've learned, planning and process is so important. And tonight, I realized that in a way, I've kind of been avoiding the planning process probably because I'm a little fearful of it. I've been focusing on other things I need to focus on, but at the same time, I knew I should be working on my craft.

No fear, though. Time to take advantage of this season.

What kind of season are you in? Are you doing things that are actually productive to you and where you want to eventually be? Ask yourself where you want to be next week, next month, next year; sit down and write those things down. Now write out how you're going to get there, no matter how crazy or scary it seems. Get together with a close friend and share these things with them, and come up with ways to stay proactive within your plans. 

We got this, luvvies!

#MishyWrites 🦋✨