National Poetry Writing Month: Week Four

And so it draws to a close.

It has been years since I wrote consistently every day. When I was young, I wrote every day because I loved it, but as I grew up, quality seemed to be more important to me than fueling my passion regularly. I became a victim to the belief that you must “wait for your muse to come”.

I might as well have waited for my Prince Charming/Knight in Shining Armour to show up while I was at it.

I’d say for sure that this month taught me that it isn’t about always churning out good stuff, because the reality is, you will make crappy poetry. No matter what. But it’s better to exercise that writing muscle and then look to find the great lines. The fabulous lines. Find the lines that really strike out. And then those lines, you can use elsewhere. Or not at all. It’s all up to you.

In any event, I will definitely try to write everyday now, whether it’s a poem, to-do list, story, or otherwise.

Without further ado, here are the poems for Week Four:

 

04/23/2017

A new horizon, I look beyond the veil.

04/24/2017

I will finally a part of this new world,

and then suddenly,

it’s like slipping on glass

& swallowing razor blades.

04/25/2017

Into the darkness.

I am swallowed down.

Cool at the surface.

Hollow within.

04/26/2017

Dancing around you,

tip-toe-ing over daisies.

We stand so close

I can barely breathe.

Am I a part of you?

Can I let you in?

04/27/2017

….Coca Cola like it was nothing…

04/28/2017

…doubt,

like black ink,

spreads through my veins,

consuming me whole….

04/29/2017

Lace,

and an old pair of dirty boots

Dirty in the air,

crystals in my lungs.

04/30/2017

I miss the smell of you

in my lungs…

 

Stay safe and insane, my dears ❤

National Poetry Writing Month: Week Three

A sleeping Brenna and her Rosey

I’d have to say that this has been one of the most difficult weeks I have had in a long time. Not only have I been grieving, which is like trekking through an unknown jungle – you don’t know what it’ll do to you – but I was also going through an interview process for a new job doing custom alterations. About two hours after Rosey passed on, I got the phone call asking me to come in. Since then, I have accepted the position and had my first shift yesterday.

In a way, I feel as though Rosey passed on in order for me to really start becoming the person I need to be, and who I always wanted to be. I miss her so much and love her with all my heart, which is quite evident through all of these poems and excerpts, but I am excited and intrigued to see what the world has in store for me now.

“When a chapter ends, a new one begins.”

Here are my poems and excerpts from Week Three:

 

04/16/2017

A sniffle. And a cough.

My tiny little friend, I worry about you often,

but especially now, as you sputter little garden hose & hack up slime.

Poor baboo. Get well soon.

04/17/2017

Cannot write tonight, because without you, I am nothing.

04/18/2017

….and there you were.

Meowing.

Purring.

Kissing me.

Rubbing on me.

Gods, it felt so real

….

Today was a lot of firsts,

and never-agains.

But I know now that you will always be here.

Goodnight.

I love you ❤

04/19/2017

Day one,

day two,

day three.

Counting the days I survive

without you.

Hoping one day

I don’t need

to count the days away.

04/20/2017

…Thank you for visiting me in the night. Please don’t stop.

04/21/2017

So much laughter. So much new.

“When one chapter ends, another begins.”

I know you are with me always.

I love you. ❤

04/22/2017

A Dust in the darkness,

a walk alone.

Through the sands,

toes covered in sand,

walking.

White dress dancing

in twilight,

dancing.

Silence.

And a calm.

She awaits.

I awaken.

 

Thanks for stopping by and having a read. Lots of love.

Stay safe and stay insane.

National Poetry Writing Month: Week Two

I wish I could start this whole thing off on a light note. But unfortunately, my cat, my little girl, Rosey Posey Prather, died this morning. It was quite sudden.

She lived a good long life. She would have been 17 this coming August.

She was my birthday present in the first grade. When I opened this big box, I found that it was filled with cat toys and food dishes. I was so thrilled. My birthday is during the week of Christmas, so we waited until the first week of January to go to our local humane society to pick a cat out. January 7th, to be exact. I knew I wanted a black cat and it had to be a girl. I walked in and looked around at all the cats – and there she was.

A little tuxedo cat, about 6 months old. She was the only girl in the whole room, and her sister had been adopted the day before. She reached out to me, and my life was never the same. We were two peas in a pod. It might sound silly to some people, but she was my first best friend (after my mom, of course).

She is….was my whole world. I gave her all the love I could give her and more. She was my everything. Gods, I miss her so much already.

In honor of her,I thought I would share the entire poem I wrote about her on the first day of this month.

I know I am home

when I hear your sudden scramble

to the door & tight “meow” as

I enter.

I feel safe

when I hear your stretching moan

underneath the bed at 2am.

I find it cute

when you look at me

begging for treats,

even though I just gave you 6.

It makes me laugh

when you get so picky about

your water.

“The fresher the better”.

But my favorite thing about you

is how intuitive you are,

especially after a long day –

you gracefully next to me,

a wave of purrs rush over me,

How your fur can be shiny & silky

still amazes,

my little Tuxedo cat.

Your sweetness reminds

me that I am not alone,

as you look @ me,

only me,

as if I am the world.

16 years have passed since

our fated meeting.

I know our love is

a ticking clock.

But my hope is that our love

will surpass us,

the world,

the galaxy,

and maybe even the cosmos.

Love you always,

my precious Rosey. ❤

 

 

Here’s the snippets from Week Two of National Poetry Month –

 

04/09/2017

Lips stained insolence,

Spilling out ignorance.

I try to wash you away.

But I guess ordinary water will not do.

04/10/2017

Imaginary conversations sipped at 2am,

wondering when our eyes will shut

…..

Let us remain in conversations until the lights go up.

04/11/2017

It’s almost as though we are fire.

04/12/2017

….I shouldn’t be wishing my skin would dissolve in the pit of my own stomach acid.

04/13/2017

…Jumpin’ out of this sweatsuit,

into a space suit,

as I shoot off acute.

04/14/2017

Are we brunch on a Tuesday at noon? Are we picnics placed delicately by a clear blue lake?

04/15/2017

Heart over mouth.

Eyes go blind,

thinking of all of the stars

in your galaxies…

 

Give your loved ones a hug today. Value them. Love them. Stay safe and stay insane.

Thank you for all of the wonderful years we shared, Rosey.

Love you always.

National Poetry Writing Month: Week One

When I first started writing poetry, way back in middle school, I would write every single day. In fact, I made a goal – write 5 poems every single day. I would just sit during my lunch period, or study hall if I had done all of my homework, and just write poetry. I believe I originally started doing that because I really loved writing poetry and wanted to improve my work. But then, the 8th grade hit and I grew a huge crush on this boy who rode my bus. And every day, on the bus ride home, I would show him my poems, hoping that they’d make him fall for me.

Spoiler alert: Didn’t work. At all. Actually, it freaked him out. Damn Rom Coms lied to us all of these years! Although it probably didn’t help that I also kept randomly calling his phone just to listen to his voicemail. (I was 13, okay?! I know now that that’s insane and I am so embarrassed. Sorry, dude.)

Nowadays, I usually just write a poem down in my journal as it comes into my mind. Could be every couple days, or every couple weeks. But this month, in honor of National Poetry Writing Month, I decided that I am going to write at least one poem every single day. And thus far, I have been succeeding. So here’s my favorite snippets/quotes from every day of week one.

 

04/01

I know I am home when I hear your sudden scramble to the door and tight greeting as I enter….

04/02

Khaki Pants. Matching hat. Long Face. 65+ easy.

What a non-threatening description for a human being.

If only his bark matched his fur.

Here’s hoping it won’t match his bite.

04/03

…An adrenaline rush, knowing my happiness destroyed his own. I was alive. I was free. But like any high, I imagine, it had to come to an end. And this high, it fell down slowly, and struck mad hard. But I will always look fondly, that year, that smell. I was free. I. Was. Alive.

04/04

….Two smiles meet, and then time – it becomes still….

04/05

Arm around you, with an S curl.

I am reminded that I am not alone in this world.

04/06

Falling.

Falling down

               endless

                        spirals,

         I am lost.

Uncertainty.

        Uncertainty is wondering if I will brush

                                       these waves

                                                        aside…..

04/07

It’s funny how you know what you want,

                          the moment another swallows

                                                                      you

               whole.

04/08

….Glass-eyed, a porcelain doll waits….

 

Hope you all enjoyed that! It’s been so interesting to see what ideas I come up with everyday, whether they are perfect, small, or nowhere in between. If you are participating in #napowrimo as well, let me know below!

Be sure to check out my latest post about teaching a theatre design and storytelling workshop to youth students, linked here.

Stay safe, and stay crazy out there, my dears.

 

Just a Little Taste: ‘Theatre Design Meets Storytelling’

Collage , made by Just Buffalo Writing Center Students

This past January, I was given the wonderful opportunity to teach a workshop called ‘Theatre Design Meets Storytelling’, which discussed how theatre design aids in telling a story . This has been something have wanted to do since I graduated from University at Buffalo in 2015. I am so grateful to Just Buffalo Writing Center for giving me this opportunity!

I just wrote a piece about it on my design website, and I would love for you to check it out (here)! Let me give you a little taste:

When I was doing my undergrad at University at Buffalo, I heard many colleagues in my program refer to their job as being a “storyteller”. It makes perfect sense. The stage, in my mind, is an entire novel, and each person’s job in that space is a piece to the story line. The director and playwright work together as writer and editor, the actors are the characters, and the designers create the descriptive imagery. Everyone aids the story through collaboration, which makes it such a beautiful, fascinating experience, especially for me as a writer.

Please take a look, and let me know you thoughts! I also wrote about this workshop on Just Buffalo Writing Center’s blog, which you can check it out here!

Recovery; Commitment.

Your recovery is a commitment. It is something that you must commit to, wholeheartedly, every day, for the rest of your life – regardless of whether your world came crashing down, or the land is filled with daisies, unicorns, and sunshine. Otherwise, you accept death immediately. You are choosing life or death. That is your commitment.

It is important, however, to remember that sometimes, much like other parts of your life, you fail. You fall down. You scrap your knee. You lose yourself to the pain.

And you know what? That’s okay. That’s okay, so long as you get right back up, wipe aside your tears, slap a bandage on that knee, and keep trudging along to a better moment, a better day.

 

Recently, I had a stumble in my own recovery. A hiccup. I was constantly stressed and anxious due certain pieces of work in my life. I was eating nothing but junk. My mood shifts were drastic. And on two separate occasions, I almost relapsed.

I have since brought myself back up, but for anyone out there who is struggling with recovery, I just wanted you to know that it’s okay. It’s okay to not be alright all the time. It’s okay if you fall into a dark place sometimes.

Because here’s the thing – mental illness is not like a cold. You cannot take some medicine to make it go away. You cannot sleep it off. It is there, and it is always there. It is a part of your soul and who you are, and you must work with it if you are ever going to be happy. Whether you do therapy, take medication, go to support groups, or do something else that eases your personal ailment (exercise, hobbies, journaling, etc.), you are working on being a happier you, and that’s what is important.

 

Remember to never be afraid to ask your support system for help. Be sure to know who that is. It is not for the faint of heart. In this stumble, I have seen the people who will withstand the tests of time with me, and those who I will definitely not be writing home about. And that’s okay.

Does it suck knowing that certain people will never understand you? Yes. Is it better to know now rather than later which of the people in your life will love and appreciate you, no matter what? Oh yeah! And don’t worry, people who can’t handle it, we don’t hate you. It’s a hard job to support someone who suffers from mental illness. Better to be honest than to cause unintentional heartache.

 

Never settle for people who don’t love you for who you are, and don’t try to save people that you can’t.

 

And most importantly, never ever forget to love yourself. You are you, and that is special and beautiful.

My new life list: The ramblings of a 20-something college graduate

Often times, when your moment comes, when the diploma is finally in your hands, you are three move ahead. Graduation is just a formality. Throwing your cap in the air is just a photograph for your parent’s mantel. This is simply a milestone that you have already passed.

Maybe you are headed to grad school in a few months. Maybe you have a new job, in a faraway city, beginning anew. Maybe you are headed back to undergrad for another degree. Maybe it’s as simple as heading back home, using the comforts of home to slowly get into your career.

Or, if you are like me, you have absolutely no idea what you are doing.

And that’s totally fine!

You see, when I first got my rejection letter from the one grad school I applied to, I was heartbroken. But not because I wanted to really go. It was because I didn’t have any elaborate plans for after graduation and I was afraid of the backlash I’d get from other people in response.

Looking back, I look at the experience as a blessing because if I had gone, it would have been a mistake. My experience writing my memoir taught me how important my writing is and that I need to remember to keep all parts of myself alive – no matter what. So, I decided to do the following things: a) Start working as much as I could stand and gather up money for whatever move I want (for I’d like to move out of Buffalo eventually), and b) Figure who I am, and what I want as a person to find out what I want out of my career as a writer/designer/artist/etc.

Now, in order to figure out who I am and what I wanted, I decided to create a list of wants and goals, which I think came somewhat from being rational, but also from the sage advice of Mama Gena. Thanks, gurl.

To keep my promise to myself to achieve these goals, I thought I’d share this with the internet, hoping for encouragement and to help anyone out there who needs help finding themselves, post grad or otherwise.

Here we go!

Taking a few minutes out of my day to clean up my bedroom, and doing the occasional all over clean up when necessary.

Growing up, I never really had a choice as far as whether my room could be messy or clean. My mom wasn’t too particular, but my mom’s then-boyfriend was very, very much into it having the whole house clean (even though he never personally cleaned anything because that’s women’s work, after all). He even tried to throw out my dolls in an effort to make sure that I kept my room clean. It worked for many years….until this past year, when my room went from semi-clean to there just being a layer of garbage everywhere. The floor. My desk. Every table in my room. Just garbage, dirty dishes, and laundry.

Now, I believe that a state of mind can totally be determined by the state of one’s bedroom. It usually is organized chaos, but had becoming a dirty disaster zone of hellish proportions, which spoke to the fact that I was an anxiety-ridden, horribly depressed individual who was barely functioning.

Thankfully, after writing my memoir piece, I felt a gigantic weight lifted from my mind, body, and soul. My anxiety and depression no longer controls me, and so I made my promise to myself to never give up writing again and to always give myself the love I deserve (and then some). With that in mind, I not only gutted out and organized my room, but I even redesigned so it felt more welcoming and comfortable to be in. I hope to find room for a circle chair someday, but this room is rather pleasant as is!

 

Bringing back the exercise I have always loved/wanted to do

These would be: yoga, dance, and martial arts.

These are exercises I have done over the course of my life, but have sort of been away from since I started college. Mama had me in front of a TV doing yoga moves from a kid’s yoga video when I was a toddler. She started me in ballet classes in 1st grade, and put me into a dojo in the 7th grade, where I learned the styles of ninjitsu, jujitsu, judo, and kendo (I also learned a little Japanese).

I started back to yoga Monday by joining in the 30 days of yoga challenge done by Yoga With Adriene. It felt so good to get back into the practice, and she made it so fun. Here’s hoping the first day is just as good as the rest of the 30 days! I also want to get back into belly dance from home, and maybe try getting back to hip hop through a local class. And a salsa class possibly because hey why not.

 

Spending money on things I need/want

I have always been very frugal with my money, even as a kid. I always made my birthday money last. I go to the dollar store to get sponges and cleaning supplies. I usually go for the cheapest options for anything I want on Amazon. And I almost never would splurge on a ridiculous but cool item.

This was partly because Mama taught me how to be responsible with money, but also partly because I didn’t have a lot of money growing up. This habit grew into an anxiety so intense that I would beat myself up for spending money….on food.

Gradually, I have learned to enjoy spending money on my needs, and now my wants. I still remain practical with my splurges, but I feel so much happier, and much more fabulous! Now, I am moving up to making big purchases that are practical, but rather pricey. Those things are:

A new Android phone for my plan

A professional camera (for photography and video)

A scanner w/printer

Driving lessons

My first tattoo/nose piercing

 

Doing things that intrigue me, but also terrify me

As I have GAD and social anxiety, there are quite a few things that scare me. Some things, I swallow and bear. Others….yeah, not so much. Those things I want to get past my fears to do are:

Singing, dancing, and any form of performance in front of people

Getting better at public speaking

Being more comfortable in social events (parties, clubs, functions, etc.)

Get even less terrified of making phone calls

 

Getting more comfortable with drinking alcohol

Aerial yoga

Bunge Jumping

Parachuting out of a plane

Committing to things I want to do, and not backing down

I’m sure there is more, but I am sure they will be covered by the rest of my list.

Getting my violin fixed up and re-learning my skills

I found it while cleaning out my storage unit. I need to get my E string replaced, but otherwise it’s in good shape. I hope to re-learn and perhaps learn some cool songs to play for friends when the occasion call for it. Suggestions will of course be welcomed and appreciated.

 

Enjoying a day off

The last 3 years of college was like working 2-3 full time jobs, so a day off was rare. As work requires at least two days off a week for an employee, I make sure at least one is spent relaxing and doing errands, and another is spent on social activities.

 

Developing my cooking/baking skills

My recent love as an adult is cooking and baking. Mama did the cooking growing up (unless it was on a grill, which was for men obviously, so my mom’s then-boyfriend did the grilling), so all I knew how to do was ramen, mac n’cheese, and my family recipe for chili. Now I try to make homemade things I either find recipes for online OR stuff I come up with on the spot (leftovers can be repurposed in so many ways). I would love to continue that.

 

Eating better

I am not really into diets or subtracting food from my life, but I am a supporter of adding good things. I want to find delicious alternatives to my favorite junk foods for when I want to treat my body well.

 

Books in my personal library that I need to finish or start reading

I have a lot of books. In fact, I might have more books than clothes. And there are definitely books I own that I started and never finished, or that I haven’t ever started. This includes my college books, some of which I don’t own at the moment, but would look to.

I’m going to start by finishing Pride and Prejudice, and then possibly starting Life of Pi. So pumped.

 

Talking to family and friends on the phone more often

I really need to get out of the habit of not calling my loved ones. It’s not cool.

 

Trying out “girly” things

I tended to prefer dressing in jeans and t-shirts for much of my youth. In some ways, I wanted to be a boy, but I also wanted to be a “good” feminist, which I interpreted as not allowing anything “girly” or feminine into my life.

Now, as I have grown, I have learned that gender is a social construct and you can do whatever makes you happy and you are still a feminist. That’s how I found my love of make-up and fashion, which brought me to my career as a designer.

I’ve slowly been trying new things I deemed feminine growing up that I now love, like exfoliating, getting my hair styled, and wearing thigh highs, and I want to keep it going. Try a facial. Maybe mani-pedi. An at-home teeth whitener. The possibilities are endless.

 

Adding men’s clothing/men’s styles into my style, and other fashion experiments

In that same breathe, I want to bring in men’s clothing into my style. I’ve always experimented with my style, from Old Navy to Hot Topic to thrift stores and beyond. I like to be a different person every day, and so now I want to be able to put on bow ties and men’s button downs. I have been wearing regular ties since middle school (Thanks, Avril), and I own a men’s flannel that I just love.

I also want to continue to explore my body through fashion. I have been showing more skin than I’m used to lately, and I am so enjoying it!

I want to continue on my fashion quest of experimenting and confusing the masses, while at the same time having them find me oddly sexy.

 

Working on my own, personal projects

I keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities, but thus far, nothing in my fields of interest has seduced me. And my head is full of unique and wonderful ideas. Life is too short to wait around to fulfill your dreams, so I will start working on them now! Here’s some vague ideas:

Writing plays

Belly dance performance

Slam poetry

Art installation/performance

Photography series

 

Well that is the end of my rambling lists of tasks and goals for my new life. Thus far, my work on this list has helped me figuring out so much, and has led to new things for me to try. I hope that continues for me, and I hope that this list will help someone find themselves when lost in this big, dark, confusing word.

RMS Titanic is my life obsession, and the movie has always been connected. Rose was my style inspiration, but Jack Dawson was my soul. “…I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you. To make each day count.”

This list. This list is to help me make it count.

Will you make it count too?