Book Anniversary and In the Wilderness

It’s definitely been a long while since my last blog entry. I’m going to have to play catch up again. For this entry, I mainly want to share a few of the obstacles I’m facing; and, the unexpected surprises I never planned to happen.

First of all, today marks the one-year anniversary of my book, “Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image,” being published along with the birth of my nephew. As I reminiscence, I would have to say it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Though my nephew has grown quite a bit, I can’t help but smile when I look at him. In this generation, babies do not stay babies for long. They grow up rather quickly. He’s already a handful like his father and grandfather before him. So, he has it honest; the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Digressing…

Now, secondly, I’m here at Emerson College in Boston which is quite a culture shock. It’s very expensive to live and thrive here. Do not even get me started on the parking; it’s a nightmare. Many people have revealed that it would be better to commute and I see why. I must confess – I miss the country. I’m trying my best to adapt; it’s not as easy as some would believe. Also, the people here are very cold and intellectual, not much common sense. For example, I’ve noticed that some people will just walk out in front of cars on the pedestrian walk while the signal is still flashing the hand to wait. I cannot count how many times I’ve come close to hitting someone. Yes, I’ve freaked out on multiple occasions. It’s very different up here and congested.

Thirdly, I’m facing several hectic obstacles concurrently. Things that were supposed to work out fell through at the last minute, and it led to me and my partner sleeping in the car for a little over two weeks now.  (I’ll have to do a separate entry about me in a relationship in next one). We barely have any money, hardly any food, and not a place to…well. You get the idea. He and I were questioning everything: being here, trying to find jobs after we were promised positions, etc. We were fighting battles after battles – we were losing, badly. Every time we thought things were going to ease up, we would get slammed with countless bundles of other stuff. I was at my breaking point, so was he.

Then, my legs and feet swelled so bad. The school clinic had to put me in a room for me to prop my feet and get some rest. Then, I was so stressed out, I caught a migraine. I’m thinking: “Why is this happening? It wasn’t supposed to be like this when I got here. Why can’t things just work out for once?” My partner stayed by my side even though I knew he hated to see me in that condition. Similarly, I hated for him to see me at my weakest point too. The school helped as much as they could such as granting us emergency temporary housing. It felt good to have a bed, bathroom, and food. But, we both knew we would be back to square # 1 again.

I had applied for several jobs at the school, but I never heard back from them even after I did a follow e-mail as the school department suggested. There was nothing. And it was the same for him too. He kept telling me, “We’re doing everything right, so why is this happening? It’s always one thing after another.” I couldn’t even begin to form an answer to his question. I was thinking the same, secretly.

In addition, the school helped with food like letting me access the “Student Food Pantry” and adding cash on my student ID to use at On/Off Campus Merchants. So, they have really done all they could. Some felt that they could do a lot more. I’m just grateful for what they did; a little truly does go a long way.

I felt like David when he was in the wilderness. I’m telling you. We tried to ask for help from home. A few did help but not from the ones we were expecting. I’m like, “Lord, we’re in a strange land. Things are different than what we’re used to back home. How can one get ahead when others won’t even give them a chance?” I even had someone tell me, “Oh, yeah. It’s expected for you to have money when you come out here to Boston.”

I told her, “I’ve never had money. Since I came into this world, I’ve never had money. All I’ve ever had was God, my faith, and my driven ambition. I come from two parents: one is sick with Diabetes Type 1, and the other is basically doing all she can, on her own, to provide for the family. So, I’ve never really had helped. Generally, I’m not accustomed to even asking for help. I just try to get by with the little I have.

Most people will “sympathize” your struggle, but will not genuinely “understand” it. Guess why? Because they do not have to go through it or endure it. Guess who does? Me and my partner. Eventually, I got tired of trying to explain and expecting empathy. Very cut-throat.

Even during these obstacles, God has continued to show us, teach us that he’s the ONLY one that will provide, protect, deliver, etc. It’s taught us to be more humble, patient, grateful, and to trust and depend on him, not man. He’s strengthened our faith and belief in him. For the most part, it has gotten just a little better. I believe it will continue to get better as long as we keep God first in everything that we do. He’ll never leave nor forsake us. He’s been with us every step of the way.

I got a few job interviews lined up, and he got a couple himself. But we’re still waiting on the good Lord to open doors, keep us safe, and lead the way. At this present moment, we’re back to sleeping in the car. We now know that it’s only temporary. God is making preparations.

There’s this quote: ““Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” —C.S. Lewis.”

I didn’t know how true it was until now. The wilderness is not always a bad place to be, just like “rock bottom.” In the wilderness, you’re broken down. Then, you’re remolded, transformed. You evolve and embrace the path and person that God is shaping you to be. As for “rock bottom,” you have to build on a rock solid foundation. If there’s a crack, the whole thing is unreliable. To paraphrase T.D. Jakes, “anything in life, you have to build it and build on it: relationships, jobs, school, character/personality, etc. It just doesn’t happen or develop on its own.”

Raw truth.

That’s all for now…

*Next Entry: “The Unexpected Adhesive”*

 

Commencement of the Sabbatical; then, the Comeback

I was supposed to start this entry yesterday, but I just felt the need to pace myself. So, let’s begin.

Well, yesterday, I was really going through. For over a week now, I haven’t been able to either get much sleep or any for that matter. As a result, I have been physically drained, mentally drowning, and emotionally all over the place. Although the Sandman refused to grant me sweet rest, I took the time to check on my friends and family.

I made a couple of new friends; I felt the need to just be an active listener. See, people listen, but are they truly listening? Hence, why I placed emphasis on “active”. We must learn to actively listen to one another without interrupting or selfishly interpreting. While aiming to be there for my friends and family, I recently had to learn how to just actively listen to the distress and yearning for understanding and compassion from the people I sacredly love and deeply care for. I did what I could, and I pray what I imparted helped them.

However, I learned a few hard lessons; but, the one to cut me down to my core was people will make time for who they want to make time for. If you’re not a priority, don’t expect to be. I always make time for people: strangers, friends, family, etc. In the end, I learned that the people I wanted to care or be there for me were M.I.A.

Let’s recount. With very little rest, I discovered a lot of people I considered “friends” were not that at all. Part of me was past tired of reliving this monotone, repetitive cycle, yet the other half was glad to know that it was revealed. On my FB profile, I started doing FB live videos. Between last week to this very moment, that’s when everything was revealed. I won’t go into specifics because it’s irrelevant.

Frustration and old wounds slowly opened. I had numerous thoughts on my head, my heart was heavy, and my spirit was restless. I was angry at them, but I was mostly angry and disappointed with myself. What was I doing to keep going through this past dead routine? When did being a good person with a contrite heart – so giving and understanding become a crime? The wicked is triumphing and the good is just…I cried so much that my eyes had swollen. So guess what? I still couldn’t go to sleep.

Then, I realized something else. Some people just don’t know how to be friends.

Another hard pill to swallow.

Change kept ringing throughout my mind and spirit. Change is occurring. Again, the people I was hoping to be there for me were not. They were killing themselves to be there for everybody else except me. Contrarily, I did have a few people that stepped up to the plate to be there for me when I needed someone. I really had to grasp the transformation that was happening. The people I’ve been chasing were fading to back. I had to learn to let them go and not keep chasing after them. For me, I get attached to things like stuff animals, a piece of jewelry, a quilt like an heirloom, and people. It’s difficult for me to let go – my Achilles heel.

God was separating me from a few people in my life and forcing me to work on myself. Of course, I had to call my motivational coach and seek her guidance. We talked for a long time. And she said, “Jasmine, you can’t make people change. If people aren’t ready to be committed (not just in relationships), then they’re just not ready. But, Jasmine, you just don’t change your heart. Don’t stop giving, don’t stop loving.” Her words did something to me. They relieved me. You can’t save everyone; they may not want to be saved.

After our conversation ended, the thought train took me on a leisure ride. I introspected, reflected, and made a decision. I decided to take a sabbatical from doing FB lives for a while. On the other hand, the sabbatical goes deeper than that. I admit I’m going through a metamorphosis – the healing process. I have to work on me and heal. I have to release all the hurt, anger, resentment, and self-hatred inside of me. Before now, I wasn’t aware that all of this had grown. It was little at first; over time, it took root and grew.

This sabbatical is vital in order for me to truly release, heal, and be set free. I can’t get to the next stage in my life with all this stuff inside of me. Does that make me a bad person? No, I’m human. The difference between me and people at least I now know what it is, and I’m choosing to work on it.

Also, I’ve realized that everyone wants to change whether it’s a job, house, relationship, situation, or whatever. Are you really putting in the work? Yes, some changes just happen spontaneously. But I’m talking about changing your life. I can’t wait for anyone to find or place my happiness in. I have to learn how to be happy by myself and within myself. I can’t keep praying for “change,” and when it gets here, I’m running or fighting against it. No. I have to go through it. Yes, it’s a process that I have to endure. Am I scared? Well, not so much now. But, I won’t continue to let that fear hold me back any longer. I want to get better. I want to be better not for anyone other than myself.

I’ve decided that while I’m on my sabbatical I will be journaling on my blog. I need to get back into my writing. I got so backed up I could no longer listen to the voice, my voice. I can’t keep focusing on others, for the time being. I HAVE to deal with me. I could only run away from me for so long. Now, it’s not an option.

One of my favorite quotes is from Rocky III:
“There is no tomorrow.” – Apollo Creed, character. When I first heard this quote, I had no idea what Apollo meant when he told Rocky this. Now, I see. People keep putting things off and putting things off and putting things off. One day, we just decide to leave it where it’s at. Problems don’t just go away. Sometimes, you have to do the work even when we’re trying to use others to escape it. What happens when that person decides he or she no longer wants to be there?

You have to deal with it now. TODAY! Don’t keep waiting or running. You’re only running away from your true self – the light. The light and the truth will set you free. Hopefully, for me, I pray I embrace and experience that kind of peace.

This is the commencement of my sabbatical. Once I go through this and endure it, get ready for a great comeback! Don’t go to sleep on me; stay woke! I’m going to make power moves! I’m going to keep climbing! I will get to the next stage!

Next blog is Day 1 of the sabbatical…

Truth Revealed: MOST POETS Don’t SUPPORT Other Poets!

Hello, everyone!

It’s been a while since my last blog. I’ve been enduring my trials in the interim. But this will probably be a short entry or not. I guess we will find out.

So, I just read a review from a “so-called” fellow poet. I will only highlight what gave me pause…

“I appreciate the creativity of using the ‘2’ as ‘to’ or ‘too’, or the ‘?’ instead of ‘question’, but when it is done repeatedly in various poems, it loses its uniqueness and ruins a bit the feel of a poem. There were a couple of ‘ur’ and ‘u’ as well, which weren’t as bothersome. Apart from these, there were few grammatical issues, which are easily overlooked, as no work I have read so far was perfect.

The writing style wasn’t my cup-of-tea either. There was a lack of flow or rhythm to it. As some of the reviews mentioned, some metaphors were forced, and so were some rhymes. I think when one opts for rhyming, the rhythm of that poem should also be more consistent, or else the rhyme is not even as effective. Some of the rhyming pieces really threw me off as they seemed forced, and that’s a shame when the message of the poems was so personal and touching. I can feel the potential in the expression, but I just cannot get behind the style of writing — it simply is not my style to read.” – Anonymous

Now, I wasn’t under the impression that my way of expressing myself was supposed to be subjected to “YOUR” standard way of writing. Also, I read this person’s pieces as well. Only I read to follow along in the story, not to critique it! I personally didn’t like them, but I respected his way of expressing what he felt. Maybe I’m just different, an alien or something. It really seems like no one wants to listen to the story! People want to pick it apart piece by piece because they didn’t like this or that.

I really give because this doggone millennium knows nothing of art or expression. The only thing they care about is the form, not the art!

When I started writing, I was a child. I had no idea what I was writing. I just wrote whatever came to mind. Then, I was taught, at the point, that all poems rhymed. Heck, if you give a little girl a piece of paper and told her to write what she feels, are you going to tear her down because of the “form” or the way she chose to express herself didn’t fit the way you wanted her to do it?

Those poems began at childhood…

I’m done sharing my art! Why couldn’t I’ve been in a time or in the era of the Transcendentalist? They appreciated the freedom and expression of art! Now, all artists are starving because we have to write what people like or what they want to make “it” feel worthy.

Guess what?

True poets support poets because they understand the message, not the form! If you’re constantly worrying about this or that. You’re going to miss the message. All those “urs,” “u’s”, and “?”, they’re there for a purpose. How do you know the little girl is not directing something towards you directly? Hmm….makes you think. It’s our job as poets to convey the message, not to explain it. Everyone has their own perspective of looking at things.

But, I digress.

These dang reviews do not make my book any less important. Despite it not being a bestseller or any other accolade, it is my legacy. And when I part from this God-forsaken planet, it’s all I will leave behind. It’s immortal.

No matter what others say or how they quietly try to tear it down, you can’t take it away.

The power of words…

It’s real whether you believe it or not. Speak LIFE! We have enough negativity in this world: hatred, violence, poverty, jealousy, etc. We’re so quick to throw someone under the bus. So quick to say, “I didn’t like this, or I don’t like that.”

Lesson Learned: Just because people say they support you. “Support” is an action word; support is more than just words or even doing. It has to be genuine from the heart and soul. Just because we’re poets, it seems we won’t be “wholeheartedly” standing together to help bring recognition back to poetry.

You better be careful if you’re caught in a lie. I promise you – it will show around your edges.

I’ll see the real you.

I won’t explain myself or my art ever again!

It’s the last time!

I’m done ranting. More updates to come later.