I Am Not a Poet

love & beauty, Uncategorized

It’s inevitable, I believe, that just as you are approaching greatness you doubt yourself. You wonder if you’re good enough; if you have  what it takes; if you’re doing the right thing. These things have crossed my mind over the past couple of weeks.

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was six years old. Over the years I’ve written everything from resumes to newsletter, blogs and poetry. While I’ve always considered myself a writer, it’s been a little difficult for me to don the title of poet.

I mean, I’m not like the poets you may think of. My style is too loose to be compared to the greats like Shakespeare and Keats. Those guys created structures that the rest of the world would follow for years. I’m also not one of the new age spoken word artists. I don’t speak with my hands when I talk; there’s no background music or incense burning. I’m not even a motivational tweeter. I don’t write for likes or wish for my words to become memes. So if you were categorizing me based on those standards, I am not a poet.

But I think about the artists and entrepreneurs I respect and none of them are like the rest. When i first started listening to E-40, I had no idea what he was talking about (and this is sad because I’m from the Bay). But when an E-40 track was played, it was always undeniable E-40. His voice, his language and his style stood out. When Allen Iverson stepped onto the basketball court, he not only looked different from everyone else with cornrows and tattoos, but he played different. he didn’t alter his style to be like everyone else. He played just as rough and on point as he did in his neighborhood.

So when I think of my writing I put it in the category of other. I realize I do not have to be THAT kind of poet to be respected for my poetry. I just have to speak from the heart and share the stories that only I can tell.

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I Try Not To Write When I’m Pissed Off But I Do Make Exceptions…

business, entrepreneurship, Uncategorized
This is untitled, for now

I wonder what gives them the audacity to ask me:
is his father around?
Many times I’d bow my head and look to the ground.
Too proud to tell
Or embarrassed by the reality the question reveals
Still…
It’s none of your damn business!
It’s taken me 7 years to address this
7 years of my heart being restless
hoping no one would ask
Praying no one would know
Trying not to let my singleness show
I want a hashtag for all you bastards that ruin my beautiful mother-son moments with your need to know,
the pity that follows,
the exchange of blows
For you, the privileged assholes who cut me in line,
strike up a conversation then pay me no mind
Don’t ask his name
Don’t tell him he’s cute
Don’t try and flatter me with the “oh, he looks just like you”
I am over explaining who we are and how we came to be
My only wish is
that you let us be
We are complete
with or without a “He”

Stay or Go

love & beauty, Uncategorized

I love to travel. There’s something about going somewhere new and navigating the scene that excites me! I enjoy getting lost and finding different places to eat. I love people watching and scoping out others’ do things. And even if you’ve been to a place before, you can discover new things.

I find it hard to awaken this same sense of excitement and discovery on a daily basis. Always eager to learn though, I was listening to a podcast and the question was asked: should I stay at my job of 16 years or move on to something else? I thought this question was interesting for a few reasons: 1) Why was this caller asking a complete stranger for THIS type of advice?,  2) Why do some people stay in place while others leave? 3) Should I be asking myself this question?

I always find it weird when adults ask certain questions. Some things I assume people should just KNOW, but that is not always the case. The woman who posed the question didn’t mention what type of work she did or even where she was located which to me, made it kind of hard to answer her question. BUT, either she loved her job so much that she committed to it long-term OR she found herself stuck; committed without consent. The host of this responded rather confidently and said, “I wouldn’t stay anywhere 16 years!”

I thought for a moment how easy it is for people to go from place to place without ever having a sense of belonging. Many, many years ago people would get hired at a company and remain until retirement or death. Gone are those days, I imagine. People used to buy homes that their children and grandchildren would hopefully live in. But now, the terms “starter-home”, “dream home” and “vacation home” eliminate any sense of identity or familial ties. These notions trickle down into relationships. People commit to each other but are willing to leave at the slightest inkling of a problem. I’m fully aware that most people do things because they can. But even more people do most things because they can’t (or feel that they can’t) do others.

This lead me to wonder if I should be asking myself the same question, should I stay or should I go? When I was about 17 years old and started seriously looking at colleges, I vowed to only apply to schools outside of the state of California.

I wanted to GO as far away as I could and hopefully never return. When you’re young, the whole world is an option; you believe everything will work itself out and anything you want you can have. Part of me still believes that. But in my junior year of college when I became pregnant with my son, home in California is where I ended up. Seven years later, here I am. While it is a blessing to raise my son in the same place I once grew up, there’s an uneasy feeling of complacency and lack of accomplishment that haunts me. Am I limiting my potential by staying in my hometown? Is there something out THERE that I should be doing? Am I playing it too safe?

These are just questions I have not answered for myself yet. And I think that’s healthy. I also think, change is good and one may be due for me soon. Whether it is career, lifestyle or location, I do know that I do not want to be the podcast caller relying on a complete stranger to make that decision for me. I also don’t want to spend 16 years figuring out if I’m happy where I am or if I need something more. The struggle… of growing up, I guess.

Patience

business, entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

I hate waiting. For me, the Aries, waiting is cruel and unusual punishment! I am impulsive. I want everything not now, but right now. A delayed response or action is no action at all. So I thought. But I’ve learned, recently, that patience is a lot different than waiting. 

Waiting is…waiting. Or, as Dictionary.com puts it, waiting is a period of pause, interval or delay. To wait, to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens. That’s the hard part; doing nothing until something expected happens. For most people though, this is life. Many of us make plans and stop working hoping that what we’ve planned will magically happen. As far as I know, wishful thinking has never gotten anyone very far. Waiting is often out of our control and for me, being IN control of my life and decisions is important. If you are like me, you need to be doing something and this where patience comes in.

Patience is more about your attitude and that IS something I can control. Patience is defined as quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence. This takes practice, but exercising patience is one of the most powerful things I have ever done. I have a problem of starting projects and not finishing them. I get excited about the possibilities at the beginning, but somewhere along the way, that excitement fizzles. I grow tired of waiting for things to happen. But exercising patience means that I can work diligently while I wait thus, expediting the process. Patience is working steadily towards something with the end goal in mind.

I saw this quote awhile ago that said, “Patience is not about how long you wait, but your attitude while you wait.” I like that.

28…. And counting

love & beauty, Uncategorized

a birthday poem (April 2, 2015)

I am in awe of new beginnings

Bringing forth a calmness that exists only at the start

An anxiety too that refreshes you

A new deck of cards handed you

I promised myself I wouldn’t be the same or like anyone I knew

I don’t want to be like the women I see on reality tv

They are beautifully broken

Ignorant

Confused

I’m not gonna be one of those women still trying to find herself at 40

I knew who I was at 12

And it’s been hell trying to convince you that I love me, as me because of He

So this year I’ve vowed to let that go

Because there’s no way you could know what I know and still be sane

It’s a gift, a blessing, magic even

To be tortured, tempted, ridiculed and still remain the same

I’m usually quite humble

And I’ll let the rumble of an empty stomach become a roar before I’d allow the media to brainwash me into being a whore

I want MORE for myself

I want more for you

But I realize sharing the same hue doesn’t always mean we share the same view

I’m not chasing fame or chasing wealth

I’m chasing the God that believes I am better than myself

I value the God in me enough to see the Devil in the things I used to do

I don’t hit the clubs anymore and it’s only water bottles I’m poppin

To be inebriated means to be out of control

You can’t play the role of Queen with an empty soul

I am that,

Queen is she

I could have been a lot of things, but none greater than me.

My birth was not a right

Free-erthan a bird set for flight

My thoughts come alive at night

When I am quiet and close my eyes I have the best sight

A clearer vision

I am able and enabled by my creator

I am creative

I am humbled by God’s power and his endowment

These things I’m no longer searching for

I’ve found it.

Drifting on a memory….

love & beauty, Uncategorized

My first night at college I couldn’t sleep. I needed police sirens to lull me to sleep.I was uncomfortable being in a room full of girls having shared a bed with brothers for many years of my life. I didn’t know these people; this environment. Richmond to me is like a village where everyone is related to somebody and no one is really a stranger. We are a familial people: sisters, brothers, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandmamas and mamas and daddies, baby daddies and baby mamas. It was reassuring to get a text in the middle of the day or night that simply said “so and so got hit.” We’d gather in the street and watch; shed tears and reminiscence. We’d stay in the street long after police arrived. We’d wait until the ambulance left or the coroner arrived. We bonded through our grief. At least we thought we were grieving. Violence and its residuals were a part of life; a part of us.

But college is different. There is no shared history; only individuals. And while I prided myself on being an individual, I wasn’t sure if THIS individuality was for me. Did anyone other than me know the difference between a gun shot and a firecracker? I couldn’t sleep.

It wasn’t until years later when I returned to Richmond that I made the connection between what I now know as trauma and my childhood. The re-entry was difficult. Every block a painful memory. Every person carrying with them a sad story. It’s overwhelming to say the least but this is home.

I now attempt to be nostalgic about the past and remember the “good ole” days. I tell myself now is different but it really isn’t. The street been unsafe; Kids have always been wildin’ out; people die everyday b. I want to see the youth as our saving grace, but they are just as naive and all-knowing as we were. Unintentionally ignorant.

I wonder, if I am of any use to them. Like me, they are dreamy believing all good is accompanied by bad. They are simultaneously fearless and fearful. But I want better for them. This is why I’m here. This is home. I’m trying to sleep.

People Watching is Good for Your Health

brilliant ideas, business, Uncategorized

I’ve been trying to buckle down and commit to writing daily. So today, when my plans got changed, I headed over to Barnes & Noble to do just that: write. I made my obligatory purchased and spread all my gadgets on the table. I’ve found it helpful when in public to wear earphones, even if no music is playing. People will assume you are busy and they won’t bother you. I intended to work uninterrupted.

But just as I began the ritual stare at the computer screen, I noticed a beautiful young woman entered the cafe area. Searching for a seat, her shoulder length dreadlocks bounced ever so slightly and the swishing of her bag seemed to be in sync with her footsteps. Her skin was caramel. Her lips full. She sat across from me diagonally at a smaller, circular table; her posture impeccable. As she adjusted her bag on an empty chair beside her, a man approached her whispering and leaning in. She smiled.He wrapped around the low hanging banister and sat in front of her. I imagine that their eyes locked as her gaze became pointed. I couldn’t see his face.

I tried to mind my own business but my lurking was more interesting. In between keystrokes I tuned my ear to their conversation. A first date it seemed. She described her beliefs and inquired about his. Disclaimer: “I don’t have a problem with a strong man, but I do have a problem with a man that needs to constantly prove his strength”, she said evenly. And without flinching she continued, “I hope you don’t have a problem with a strong woman.” He didn’t flinch either.

The exchange moved smoothly and lasted only awhile longer. She smiled; he laughed; they listened intently to each other and then they went their separate ways.

I’m not sure what is to come of them. Or if they’ll ever see each other again. But I do know that today, I witnessed one of the most beautifully authentic conversations I ever have in my life.

Instagram Taught Me..It’s About Gifts and Not Talent

business, entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

Someone posted a video on instagram the other day. The brief, 15 second clip was so compelling that I reposted it. It was an excerpt from Steve Harvey on his radio show. He simply said, “focus on your gifts and not your talents.” He explained that gifts are things that come easy to you. I realized in that moment something I knew all along- my gift is writing. And so, that day, in that moment I decided, without a doubt, that I would write a book. (I had actually already started 😉 cheat!) So I got on my computer and began pouring words from my notebook into the screen. 48 poems later, I have the makings of my first book. Eek! Exciting 😉

I’ve always wanted to write a book. But I must say my trepidation in doing so came from other non-writers being successful at writing. It is the same reason I gave up my dream of being a music journalist. But just because someone else is successful doesn’t mean you will be less successful. Just because someone else shares your interest doesn’t mean you should become less interested. Right?! But it does suck knowing that you are great at something, passionate about something, and others who could care less are profiting from what makes you, YOU.

Anyways, I’ve settled on a title, If You Wanna Fly. More details to come…

Keeping My Head in the Clouds

love & beauty, Uncategorized

About six months ago I drove down to Southern California and couldn’t keep my eyes on the road. I travel “down South” fairly often and find the drive down I-5 boring. But hitting the road before sunrise, this time, offered a more magical experience than ever before.

IMG_3516

It was as if the clouds were creating pictures in the sky just for me. An entire play, scene by scene was unfolding before. As much as possible, I watched (within reason because OF COURSE I am an excellent driver who is completely focused on safety first!). I listened. I didn’t over think; I took it all in.

IMG_1424

On the trip back, I found myself looking up. And from time to time, I’d pull out my phone and capture the moment. This has turned into an obsession of sorts (I have 100 pictures of sky in my phone, judge me). But therapy in its own way. My looking at the clouds reminds me to be still. It is a reminder that the universe is bigger than me. It reminds me that some things are out of my control. I mediate by watching the clouds.

IMG_1425

After 6 months of cloud capturing, I am proud to say I’ll be keeping my head in the clouds and you should too. Dream big. Look up. Take it all in. Breathe it all out.

photo

Fucked

love & beauty, Uncategorized

The scent lingers,
Not of love but of you
The sweet smell of your herbal remedy collides with the air connecting deeper than we do,
I smell smoke but I breathe you.
Did you notice?
Hmmm.
You didn’t say.
You didn’t stay.
Am I the picturesque image of indignity
Or just a girl who thought she was filled but approaching empty?
I exude the lack of confidence that is within me,
looking exactly like what was did to me.
No wonder I feel Fucked.