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

“My Poetry is Ministry”

Recently within the past couple of weeks, I’ve struggled with comparing myself to other creatives, specifically other poets. This caused me to experience a lack of expression because I was too caught up in what other people were doing. I found myself forcing words onto my paper rather than truly finding inspiration in my day-to-day, and I longed to please others rather than to write what I feel, and connect with others through that.

Most importantly, I forgot where my ultimate source of creativity comes from; I fixed my eyes on myself rather than on my Creator who blessed me with the gift of creativity.

After talking with Honey (my stepmom, for those who haven’t been reading my blog recently), I was inspired to write this poem. She said some wise things that I’ve incorporated here, one of which is the actual title of the poem – “My Poetry is Ministry.” I’m grateful to have such a godly woman of the Lord in my life to help steer me back on the right path when I feel like I’ve been lost.

So Honey, I dedicate this poem to you. Thank you for your prayers, and for always looking to the Lord so that you may speak His Word to others. 💛

“My Poetry is Ministry”

My poetry is ministry,

And I have treated it lately with such

Carelessness — scribbling down verses and words to try to impress rather than to

Try to connect.

My focus shifted towards selfish ways and it became more about filling a page and

I let comparison run rampant through my brain,

When what I truly needed was

My Father’s grace – the grace that bestowed this

Gift of words to me in the first place that

Birthed such beauty from ashes that I sat in —

Grieving a loss, questioning the purpose of my pen, trying to

Comprehend where I was headed, where my value lied.

My Father’s grace is the only thing that keeps my poetry alive it

Makes me feel like I don’t even have to try because it

Freely flows and

The inspiration is divine and

I know this to be true because

When I look back at what I’ve written when my heart is aligned,

There’s absolutely no way that it came from my own mind.

So, first things first —

My words are more than just sowed together scribbles that simply sound deep and that,

As my stepmother once told me,

“Could contain hell underneath,” no,

The bars I spit originate from the Most High and are

Spoken and written through me —

“A broken reed, a smoldering flame.”

Yes, my poetry is ministry so

Take my name out of the equation and see

Nothing

But my Father’s grace.

#MishyWrites 🦋🌿

“My Healing (Growth)” – A Poem

Intro

So…I’ve been doing a lot of growing recently. Like A LOT; more-so than I thought when I first began this GROWTH series. And it’s been interesting to see how I’ve handled it; how I’ve had to have my toes lightly stepped on by the observations of my close friends, but also feel them wrap their arms around me in encouragement. How God’s put words, feelings, and situations in my path to help me realize that I wasn’t as far as I thought I was, but also feel Him smile upon me and say, “But I love you anyway, and I’m still working through you. My grace is sufficient.”

I’ll be honest, I have watered myself through so many tears earlier this week. I’ve had to uproot some prideful thinking that was beneath the surface that was eating away at me being able to grow up and grow out of things I was pretending not to idolize. And I’ve had to stop using being busy as a way for me to avoid processing through things so I can heal, and turn my branches towards the true Light.

The poem below describes my healing during a different time in my life, but I love how it still pertains to my healing now. It was created from a prompt out of Alex Elle’s poetry book Neon Soul. I’m excited to share this poem with you, and to keep these words with me as I continue to live, grow, and thrive.

“My Healing (Growth)”

The branches that I thought I needed that
Had potential fruit to bear
Were either cut off by my Maker or
Naturally separated and
At first, I thought it wasn’t fair since they were the
Only branches that seemed to have fruit.
How could God possibly take away these blessings before they could even bloom? Before they could
Grow into something more and
Ripen for others to eat?
They were the only branches that made me feel like my purpose was complete and
Now they’re gone and
It hurts.
The places they used to reside in now ache and I
Struggle to see how this wasn’t
Some mistake, how
This could be good for me in any way.

As the days went on, however, that aching eased and
I no longer envied the branches and fruits of other plants and trees.
My sore spots healed up after much
Sun, rain and love and care
From my Maker, Who despite my
Feeling lonely mostly through this process was actually
Always there, through every step.
And so, more branches began to grow and
Once they came, more fruit did too.
But this time both branch and fruit were firm and strong
So much so that I realized it had to take this long for
Good limbs and good fruit to produce.

This is the story of my healing.

#MishyWrites 🦋🌿

“uprooted” – The Poem

You moved me and I didn’t want to go.
I complained and sighed at the inconvenience of the timing of my misfortune; I was moved from my comfort zone and
Placed in a spot where I didn’t expect to bloom.
Initially I longed for the familiar dirt that I’d grown so well in…
How was I supposed to realign my leaves and branches back
Towards the sun, towards the Light
That I’d hidden from under shades of
Distraction and shifted focus when
I wasn’t in the secure location that allowed me to
Grow and thrive?
A couple of days later I found that I’d
Slowly adjusted –
That I no longer longed for the soil that I’d built a routine in but
My Maker had realigned my focus back towards Him and
Away from my discomfort, and in the ability of me or my surroundings to
Fix my problems.
My roots, although displaced,
Grew deeper and stronger and more dependent in my Maker’s Hands and care.
My uproot from there to here was more necessary and bigger than my mind could comprehend.

#MishyWrites

GROWTH – Part 1: uprooted

Due to some unforeseen toilet issues, I was crashing at my grandparents’ house all last week. Thankfully, the issues were resolved towards the end of the work week; however, I took up a dog/house-sitting gig located in the same area that my grandparents live in, so needless to say, I didn’t get the chance to stay in my house at all last week.

At the beginning of all this, I was really frustrated; I had to move a lot of my belongings from my home to a new location, which always means I’m bound to forget something important. My routine was thrown slightly off, although it was nice to be a little closer to work than usual. Last week just wasn’t what I intended it to be.

But as the week went on, my frustration subsided, and my perspective of the situation shifted. This year, my sister and I decided to see my grandparents who live in the area more often than we had in the past, so we see them two Sundays out of the month, hanging out at the house, catching up with them, sometimes eating dinner with them.

Last week I was given the opportunity to be in their lives for more time than I usually am. I was able to talk to them more about specific things affecting my life and their lives. I heard where they spent their time, and who they spent their time with during the week. And of course, I got a lot of grandparent lovin’, and who doesn’t want that?

It made me more grateful to be with them, despite the uproot of my belongings and my routine. Although uncomfortable and inconvenient at first, I see the benefits of being with my grandparents, and even being away from my own home. I can’t say exactly why God allowed this to happen this week, but the thoughts and ideas of an uproot – of changes, shifts, relocation come to mind…

Maybe last week I needed to be separated from my home because I was getting too comfortable with my normal routine. Sometimes monotony can cause me to forget the bigger picture of who I am/who God has called me to be, where I am, what I’m working towards, etc. It can also bring about lack of motivation, which I honestly have been feeling a little bit of. Maybe it was just time to spice things up a bit.

Maybe I needed to get out of my house to realign my focus. Truthfully, February brought about a lot of changes for me – some good, some bad. I started eating horribly again (after Valentine’s Day hit with all that sugar, I could. Not. Stop.), I began doing more things towards reaching my goals, which is good, but I was also losing so much sleep, and I was filling my days with so many events/meetings/hang outs, I would get to the end of my days and wonder what I even did during the day. And, of course, I barely blogged at all during the month because I was doing more running around. I was moving so much, my focus was off. And maybe I needed to just dive into a new space to shift everything back into place.

And I almost finished this blog post, but as I re-read the above paragraph, I can’t help but get excited. Because I used a word that I’d been praying about all last week and into this week, that God would just work through it – the word realignFor me, the significance stems from the line of a song titled “Born Again” by Cory Asbury, in which he sings, “Realign my heart and help me keep the first things first.” All I’m saying is…if this whole week was part of the answer to my prayer, I am extremely humbled and in awe of my God. Like, wow. His care for His children always blows me away.

Maybe my uproot was necessary to stimulate my creativity. It gets harder to write the more normal my routine is, the more comfortable I am with where I am. It also gets harder to write when I’m just crashing in the bed at night instead of giving myself time to wind down like I did at the beginning of the year. I’m telling you, February rocked my world.

And honestly, all of this has inspired a new theme for the month of March – growth. I had already planned to focus more on nature/greenery/green things this month anyway on my Instagram, and for my poetry, but last week the Lord really revealed Himself to me, tapped me on the shoulder, and whispered, Just watch what I do here as I move you up to your grandparents’ house for the week. Wait for me to reveal to you the positives of this uproot, and the lessons you need to learn. Listen to my voice as you go throughout this week in a different way than you normally would. See what I’m showing you? Now, go; work with what I’ve given you, what I’ve put inside you.

So, here I am doing just that. Yes, I’m still working through this, and I’m HELLA EXCITED that I’m in the midst of it. Yes, I just started a little mini-series of blog posts for the time-being, and I honestly wasn’t even expecting it to be like this, BUT HERE WE ARE!

And YES…there will be a set of poems about this. Stay tuned for the next parts of this series and the poems!

#MishyWrites #GROWTH 

Current Reads – January Edition

Hey guys, Happy Monday!

So, this year, I told myself that I’d have more words in my life – in writing and in reading! I ended and started off my year reading Opening Moves by Steven James, a crime/thriller/suspense novel that I truly enjoyed. It’s a part of a series I began reading in my later high school years, but it was just as good now than it was back then. I hope to find the rest of the books in the series, and also start the new series that James has written based off of the same protagonist!

Currently, however, to close out January, I am reading two different books – Neon Soul by Alex Elle and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

Neon Soul

For most of 2017, I wanted to buy Alex Elle’s poetry book Neon Soul, but I was never able to because either I couldn’t find it at Barnes and Noble, or I didn’t have the money to really afford to get it, but this time around when I got a 15% off coupon for Barnes and Noble, I finally found it and purchased it, and it’s been so good reading her poetry.

I try to continue to read other people’s poetry, not so that I can copy their style, but to inspire myself, and also encourage myself in my own poetry. It’s amazing to see the different styles that poets write in, and to see what sort of themes center their books. This book is really thin; there are only 143 pages of Elle’s poetry, so I’m trying to learn to read each poem slowly, and sometimes even repetitively so I can fully ingest and digest it. At the end of the book, she has some poetry prompts that I’m excited to delve into once I’ve finished reading!

Writing Down the Bones

I actually bought this book in the spring of 2017 on a trip to McKay’s Used Book store with a dear writing friend of mine. She suggested it to me, and honestly, I haven’t picked it up until now. But with me trying to refresh and restart my Just Start Writing website, and also with me writing my own content, I think it’s important for me to continue learning more about writing because, hello, I’m definitely not an expert just because I got my Bachelor’s in English. Yeah, I don’t even have a concentration, so I can take all the help I can get!

Only a few chapters into this book, and I’m already learning, and really excited to possibly do a series on the JSW site to help other writers work on their own writing.

 

I don’t plan on necessarily finishing these books before the end of January. I mean, my goodness, this is the last full week of January already, and then we’re headed into the second month of the year! I plan on taking my time with these books, and when I’m finished with one or both, I’ll continue on to other reads I have in my bedroom that I haven’t finished. Because there are PLENTY of them!

What are you currently reading? Are you reading for pleasure, to study/learn, to write a review? I’m always in need of some book suggestions, so let me know in the comments!

#MishyWrites

“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