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

Speak Up

You blink your eyes and two months go by without warning.

Someone maybe a month ago told me that they “needed Mishy blog posts,” and I honestly flipped out a little for several reasons:

1) I was flattered. Whatchu mean you need them?! Awwwww 🙈

2) I was reminded how I hadn’t blogged in AGES. It’s been a good minute.

3) I was shocked at how long it’d been since I’d actually sat down to write out a post, or to just sit down and think through everything currently happening in my life – my feelings, my beliefs, my plans, etc.

Blogging is one of the origins of my writing journey. It was the first place I’d decided to allow my thoughts and words to be seen by people other than myself, which was hella scary for me — I always knew I had a voice, had things to say, but was never brave enough to say them. Or to write them, and have other people read them.

Honestly, with this year being almost halfway over (WHAAAAT?!), it’s crazy to think back on how much I’ve had to use my actual voice, not just my writing voice. I’ve had to speak up on so many occasions this year, personally and poetically. And if you know anything about me, that’s difficult for me to do because I’m a people-pleaser.

But what does that have to do with using your voice? you may ask.

Well, it means that I don’t wanna do or SAY anything that’s going to hurt anyone in any way, even when what I have to do or say is healthy for me or whoever is involved. Speaking up, even with good intentions, can offend or hurt others, and there have been multiple times in which I stayed silent to save someone heartache or hurt feelings, even though I knew it was right for me to say something. And sometimes my silence, even though it saved the other person, caused suffering for myself.

So, I’ve had to speak up a lot. Especially for myself. I know that sounds kind of selfish, but honestly, the more I think back on my life, the more I’ve realized how much I’ve kept things bottled up inside. So many emotions and feelings about things that I had opinions on that I just stayed silent about, when I really should have said something.

Now, what I’m not saying is is that we should always just speak whatever is on our minds immediately; it pays to think before we speak. And it also pays to not speak sometimes, but to listen and observe in certain situations; we learn a lot about people, environments, etc. by doing so, and it could save us some unnecessary negative consequences later.

The difference with me is that I would think, and never speak because I was too timid or afraid of what others would think. I was afraid that my communication would come off as too aggressive, or if I disagreed with someone or something, then it would come across like I didn’t care about the person and their opinions. I was also afraid that I wouldn’t communicate my thoughts accurately, thereby creating another way to offend or hurt.

But, as cliche as this is, communication is key, and with everything that I’ve experienced in the past several months, I’m realizing that with speaking up I can’t avoid hurting people’s feelings sometimes; sometimes people’s toes need to be stepped on. Sometimes things need to be said the wrong way for me to be corrected by someone else, or for me to really sort out my thoughts and opinions aloud. And a lot of the time, speaking up brings about a lot of positive outcomes – connections with other people, new relationships, clarity.

And honestly, I think that’s why writing – both blogging and poetry – have been such key parts of my life. Even though I was still sort of timid to have people read my writing, I would rather them read my written thoughts than hear me speak them. But even this year I’m learning to vocalize my writing as well, and that’s been a whole other amazing process. Through specific events and open mics, and people who value other people’s voices and opinions, I have come out of my shell a ton, and said way more than I ever have (shout out to my friends Phenom and Garrell, and the whole Make Noise 423 crew for the major help in that!).

Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is this – speak up. Be it through writing, music, or actually talking, speak. up. Your voice matters where you are, and I know sometimes it may not feel like that. But you really never know until you try to use your voice, or express your thoughts and opinions. Like that old, overplayed song by I-don’t-know-who used to say, “Say what you need to say.”

Sometimes what you have to say may be something someone else is also thinking, but they’re also too scared to say it. Your voice could make a major difference, or it could create some conflict. It could spark change, either positive or negative. It could heal you or others. Whatever comes of you using your voice, it is important!! The world needs it! So speak up.

Mishy 🦋

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 

“One Word”

Yesterday, my church started a new series called, “Discover Your One Word,” and as we study the Bible, everyone in church is actively praying, seeking, and listening for the Lord to reveal one word in their life that they are to focus on for the year.

I wish I could relay all of the points of my pastor’s sermon yesterday about goals, visions, resolutions, hearing vs. listening to God because everything he taught yesterday was so extremely vital and important to following Jesus, even if you aren’t trying to figure out your one word for the year.

Being challenged together with the church to ask, seek, and listen to the Lord for one word is exciting and a little intimidating, if I’m honest. There’s always the question of “What if God doesn’t give me my word, but gives everyone else theirs?” or “What if I choose a word, and it’s what I personally want to work on this year, and not what God is calling me to?” But I believe that, as long as I am actively pursuing, seeking, and asking the Lord to reveal to me my one word, He will do so in His timing.

But I just wanted to share a few of the words that came to my mind yesterday during and after church that are things I can definitely work on this year, but am unsure if they are exactly my “one word”…

“Time”

Time is always something that people want to figure out in their lives – how much time to give to specific activities, when time can be carved out for self-care, spending more time with family or friends. When I thought of the word “time” yesterday, I thought about being present. I feel like my mind is always thinking about the next thing instead of actually thinking of where I am / what I’m doing in the moment. I’m already planning for tomorrow instead of living today. So, I could definitely do better at being present in this way.

But I also thought about being present with where my life is – working as a preschool teacher; having the friends and connections I have right now; having my writing, blogging, and other projects currently where they are. It can be a little frustrating to think about where I am right now because I’m not where I ultimately want to be.

Currently, I’m reading the book of Esther and, although this phrase is such a cliche in the Christian realm, the phrase “for such a time as this” kept coming to me, and making me think that maybe I am where I am in my life “for such a time as this” – for a specific reason, a specific purpose. The reason / purpose doesn’t have to be huge like it was in Esther’s life (to those unfamiliar with the story, the Lord allowed her to be queen to give her the opportunity to save her people from annihilation), but maybe I am where I am to learn a specific lesson, or to help a specific person, or simply to be content with where I am, and serve the Lord right where I am.

Thinking this way doesn’t mean I shouldn’t pursue the things I want to, but it does mean I don’t have to be frustrated with where my life is right now.

“Pride” or “Humility”

As I sat in my seat at church, the Lord brought these words to my mind.

Lately, I’ve been told that I’m really good at certain things, be it writing, dancing, singing, etc. And I truly appreciate the compliments – they really are a part of what keeps me going. However, I just felt the Holy Spirit telling me to “be careful.” Because yes, maybe I am good at all those things, but I don’t want them to go back to the glorification of myself. Because I’m not the one who made me a good writer or dancer, or a lovely singer; the Lord is the One Who created me, and gave me the talents and gifts that I have. And I feel like lately, I haven’t really thanked Him for that; I’ve simply been taking the compliments, and moving on to boost my ego.

What I’m not saying is that I should deny the compliments to act humble, but that when I receive a compliment, I should give thanks to God right then and there, to remind me that I am only who I am, and I can only do what I do because of Who He is, and who He created me to be.

“Fix your eyes” —–> “Focus”

My pastor said this phrase near the end of church, and it made me think that I should write it on a notecard, and tape it to my bedroom door so that I can see it right before I step outside to interact with anything or anyone. Because it’s a reminder for me to check myself: what am I focusing on before I walk out of my door? What do I plan to focus on throughout my day?

In order for me to really tune in to what God wants to reveal to me, I need to focus on Him. There are way too many outside distractions, especially during this time of year. My pastor mentioned that people are so focused on what their outside looks like right now – their health, their finances, their relationships – that they’re not fixing their eyes on what their inside is like. They’re not focused on Christ, and what He would have them to work towards. And if I’m honest, part of me has been focused on God, but a whole lot of me has not. So maybe “focus” will be my word this year.

 

No matter what my word is (even if it’s not any of the ones I just wrote about), I am excited to see what God is going to reveal and do throughout this year with my word, and I’m also excited to have the accountability of my church family to guide me through this. I’ll have to keep you all updated as to what my one word is / how it came about / when God revealed it to me!

#MishyWrites

Gold

I always thought that when people would talk about the Lord confirming something to them, it was sort of a magical experience. I didn’t imagine extremely drastic things, but I did think that confirmations were pretty special events.

In 2017, the Lord did use special events to confirm things for me, but more often than not, He would speak in whispers, or in ways that would seem simple and normal to some, but were significant to me personally.

My beliefs about God showing people specific things, or specific themes in their life were about the same as Him confirming things for people; I always thought that only special, specific people would be revealed certain things, but God truly did speak something that may seem small to you, but was pretty big to me.

In the last days of 2017, the color gold started showing up more and more in my day-to-day. I already had notebooks with gold-lettering or gold designs on them, but the color gold showed up in another notebook I got that will now hold poems I plan on writing every day this year. When my grandpa told me that I could look at some jewelry that a passed relative had left behind, and take whatever I liked, I found a gold butterfly pin with a stone in the middle of it. And when I went to Plato’s Closet with my sister, I found a pair of metallic gold, slip-on Vans in my exact size for a really good price (yes, I bought them).

Maybe you read all that, and think I’m just making a bigger deal out of all those things than I should. And if I am, then that will be revealed to me. But I can’t explain the feeling I got when each of those objects in the same color presented themselves to me. I’m not trying to be superstitious, and I’m not stretching for a subject to write about. There was just a particular feeling felt when I saw each one of those things. Maybe it was a bit of confirmation, I don’t know.

I can’t tell you what the Lord is saying to me through the color gold; I don’t know what it means, although I could make so many speculations and guesses based off the goals I’ve been reflecting, meditating and, most importantly, praying on…

Golden Notebooks

Since one of my goals is to write one poem a day, I’ve decided to write them in a notebook instead of keeping them on my phone. And the notebook pictured above has a subject line and date line on every page, which helps me keep all my poems organized.

If the Lord is going to bless me with more words to say, I say, “YES, LORD, I’M READY!” I look back on poems I wrote last year and think, “There’s no way that came from my own mind. There had to be some divine inspiration.” And I wonder if that’s how some of the writers of the books of the Bible felt too.

Golden Butterfly Pin

As some of you might know, I associate myself with the butterfly – the emoji, the insect, the concept, everything. Hence why my latest project is going through the three growth phases of the butterfly.

When I saw that golden butterfly pin, I immediately thought of The Butterfly Project, about what the butterfly symbolizes for myself, and what I hoped to portray through the project. I thought about my goal to speak my poems in public. And I felt a glimmer of hope despite having to face some huge fears of mine in going forward with these projects.

Golden Shoes

When I think of shoes, I think of walking, and when I think of walking, I think of directions and paths. I haven’t been sure for a very long time of where the Lord was leading me, and I’m still not 100% sure despite many things being revealed to me. But I know that I can trust Him enough with my story to follow Him wherever He calls me to be. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but I know it will be worth it.

Again, these are just speculations and feelings of what I feel these golden objects represent for me. I’m honestly really excited to see what the Lord is going to reveal to me through this color, through those things.

I got so excited, I even got my nails done with a sparkly, gold accent. I mean, look how cute that is…

#MishyWrites 

“Me” Type of 2018

In the days before Christmas, I was already thinking about 2018, and how I want my overall attitude to be. If you follow me on Twitter, I’ve made a thread of the type of 2018 I’m going to have (that was fun, by the way haha).

2017 was really a year of growth for me, and now I feel like I’m ready for 2018 to be filled with action. But during, or even before I start planning all the actions, there needs to be some moments of active reflection on 2017…

I’m currently reading a poetry book entitled Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell, and it always amazes me how so many poets have so many thoughts that are just SO TRUE, and completely fit specific instances in my life.

And there have been several little poems of hers that have hit home for me as I reflect on 2017, and plan and envision what my 2018 will look like (again, with the openness that the Lord will move the way He so desires). So, for the next several days until the new year, I’m going to write a post on a few of Peppernell’s poems, and how they relate to my reflection and envisioning.

“When you have been someone  your whole life and suddenly you realize a part of you exists that you never realized before, it’s perhaps the hardest thing to walk away from the you that you have always known. To walk into the open arms of this new, redefined you is like saying, I don’t know you very well, but I want to.”

~ page 194, Pillow Thoughts, Courtney Peppernell

This poem perfectly describes how I feel like my 2017 has been – it was a year of revelation as the Lord showed me a part of who I am that I honestly didn’t know was there, and the year continued in confirmation as time after time He faithfully said, “Yes, this is who you are. This is who I created you to be.”

And a lot of my 2017 has been me trying to really grasp and embrace this part of me that the Lord has allowed me to discover – the poet / spoken word me. The me that I honestly was intimidated and scared of becoming, but that I now know is woven into who God has called me to be.

One of my favorite people ever, Arielle Estoria, said once that it’s amazing to see how God brings us back to the things we tend to run away from. For her, it was acting and being on stage. For me, it is writing poetry, and possibly speaking it on stages for people to hear. I’ve never really liked to perform, to be the center of attention for people to watch and stare at and take in. But now, after this year of confirmation, I’m determined to expose myself to the things I feel called to.

So yes, I’ve definitely felt moments of not knowing who this part of me was, and striving to get to know me. And I plan on going into 2018 with this me completely accepted.

I challenge you to look back into 2017, and ask yourself – were there things about yourself that you never knew that you had to face? Have you been afraid to accept who you are / who you’re called to be? How can you better embrace yourself going into 2018?

#MishyWrites #Typeof2018

 

“no. 111517”

My feet shift under the quicksands of those too quick to commit,
And those too hesitant to even try.
I’ve fallen on my face one too many times and
I’m over it.
Yes, lessons were learned –
People came and went, some came back unexpectedly,
And yes,
I’m thankful for that.
How many times though do I need to find myself on my knees,
Asking God to please just have His way,
Knowing good and well that He’s going to, whether I like it or not?

The last time I adamantly prayed that prayer, you left.

And even though I convinced myself that I’d be okay,
That I’d be strong through it, and accept it for what it was,
I was weaker than I realized.

I crumbled.

And it took so long to rebuild myself again.
To allow the Lord to break me down just to show me what He could create in me,
Using me to mold something new.

Revealing someone I didn’t know lived inside of me.

And now that I it in this new skin,
This new form,
I can’t help but wonder sometimes who in the world could look at a creature like me and
Not be intimidated.
Who would dare take the risk of coming close to someone like me: someone so
Bold and beautiful,
Shining bright, laughing loud, speaking so much truth,
Who in their right minds would stand by my side,
Take my hand and
Love me?

Admittedly, there are days that the thought seems completely impossible.
But I know I have the comfort of my God,
Who knows my heart –
What it yearns for, what it needs –
He hears my questions,
My fears, my wonders,
He sees my fears,
And even though no one’s decided to
Step up and
Stand by me,
My God has always stood by me to gently tell me that
It is well. All is well with Him.
That He is capable of touching me deeper than anyone in this world ever could.
And even though my soul my waver between
It is well and
It is hard,
It is hurtful,
It is lonely…

I will wait.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨