Book Number Two…

My second book, aptly entitled “Letters To My Mother” will be a collection of essays & prose to both chronicle this essential relationship and to provide a heartfelt tribute to my own mother.

Although it feels like I am early in this journey of motherhood, I am often reminded that a woman’s journey (if she desires) actually begins with how she is mothered.

I am simultaneously excited, terrified, & ready.

Keep an eye out for more special announcements and the official release date. 💖💖

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Writing for My Life

I’ve spoken with you, dear reader, before about my work with those who are actively suicidal and struggle with self-harm of various forms. I’ve spoken about my one battle with self-mutilation. This post is concerning my bout with self-hatred. Low self-esteem can rear its ugly head in a majority of teens across our world, but for many, it’s so pervasive that a person is abusive towards themselves on a soul level.

I can remember filling multiple college-ruled pages with a single written phrase: “I hate you”. What prompted this? Various things: mistakes, getting yelled at, being rejected by a friend, loneliness. Ruminating this type of inner dialogue caused a death-like atmosphere in my heart. Like I had scorched an entire landscape of fresh, fertile soil with a persistent fire. I felt no good thing deserved to take root in me. I told myself that no good thing could take root in me.

I was a believer in Jesus Christ here. I was a leader among younger teens. I prayed for others to feel the love of God. But inside, I was dead. Aware and in agreement that God’s Love brought life, yet I was still lifeless.

When I arrived at college, I’d been writing for about 6 years. I carried around notebooks full of my words; clutched to my chest. Unbeknownst to me, I was carrying around pages full of seeds. Potential. I had even taken on a pseudonym for my writing role: “I.Am.Spoken.Word.” It was the name I used to identify my desires as a writer. While hiding behind a computer screen, I’d slowly become accustomed to others reading my poetry from the comfort of their dorm rooms. Inside, however, there was disconnect still evident in my heart.

It wasn’t until I started performing/reading that I felt life stir inside. After getting a few on campus open mics under my belt (shout out to my husband for the much needed push), I built a reputation. One particular friend of mine would see me on campus and would declare (without fail) LOUDLY “Speak Life!!!!!”. This went on throughout my entire undergraduate career.

Now, I can look back on this process, and see that where I once used words to speak death and ill will over myself, I now take words to call out life. My words carry the potential to spring up newness where there is stagnation and barrenness. I’m drawn to writing for those who feel cast out, counted out, and broken. Not as the one who provides a silver lining, but the one who can encourage, uplift, and call out our most ingrained sense of resiliency and vulnerability.

I write for my life because I have been given life.

Three Reasons Why I’m Not [Yet] a Great Writer

Three reasons why I am not yet a great writer:

One.

Because I am not honest.

I would like to use obscenities sometimes, but I choose not to because I am a Christian. It’s not that I would like to be vulgar; I simply feel that there are times when expletives are necessary…

…like when it took me almost three hours to put my son to sleep. While tiptoeing out of his room, I step on a squeeky toy that I’d begged my daughter 12 times to pick up earlier, which wakes my son up.

or

..like when I put my last $15 into my gas tank, hurry into my car to get to work, and it does not start.

I would think a “shit”, at the very least, is applicable here.

But I would rather be proper than be honest.

Two.

I am afraid.

Of being too….something… Too black. Too feminist. Too religious. Too typical. Too universal. Too tolerant. Too much.

Or even not enough of these things.

I’m afraid that it only took 18 years to write myself into a permanent circle; with no more depth or height in my words. Only monotony. Around and around.

Passing by the same street corners; going down the same avenues that I’ve always gone and never daring to venture down scenic routes.

I know for certain that there are undiscovered dark corners on the outskirts of my pages, but I am afraid of finding if there are other worlds there or simply a cliff. I am afraid of losing myself. And I’m afraid of finding myself.

And three.

This one is more insidious than the other two combined: I care too much about what you will think once I’ve said my peace. I’ll show a tiny bit of bravery here and talk about my book that I released this summer…

I’ve sold 10 copies total. And it took 5 months to sell 10 copies. 1 of them was purchased by me (which I eventually gave away) and another copy my mother bought. I’m afraid I care too much about this. Even now, you are reading these words and may feel pity for me. It’s not my intention, but I see there may be something meaningful, but hidden, lodged in between this book and my next one. And I wish to reveal and pry it loose. At this point, I feel that my words just may be currently unimpactful, at the end of the day. Good, in theory, and even welcomed, but lacking what’s necessary to draw a reader’s eye and appetite.

It is these reasons, among others, why I feel like I’m not yet a great writer.

So…

cover_2

I just self-published my first collection of poetry. It took me much longer than I’d like to admit, but I did it. Something concrete that I created is public. Open to be consumed and critiqued. Interpreted.

I hope people are inspired. I hope people understand me more. I hope to help others put their books out. I hope this is just the beginning.

I feel clean. Like I’ve made a lengthy confession about my first 31 years. Now that this is done, I can move on, and write more honestly. Clearer. Some of the poems in this book represent a trek from mindsets that I don’t even hold anymore. Battle wounds that are simply scars.

Wow.

It’s done.

If you’re interested, find the book here:

For James