stepping up.

“Imagine all the people who would have been affected if Esther never stepped up. Okay, now imagine all the people who will be affected if you never do.”

– from @shespeaksministries Instagram, written by @worthyofgrace
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‭⬇️Devo ✍🏼 @worthyofgrace . Esther a woman who was not born into royalty, but was chosen by God to be queen to save the Jewish people from annihilation. Her story is a lot like ours, once an orphan, but now chosen to do the work of her Heavenly Father. Esther is easy to relate to. When Mordecai (her cousin, but he also adopted her, and raised her), came to Esther one night and said, that Haman has order the death of the Jews – her people. Esther was saddened by this news, and Mordecai encouraged her to speak up for the voice-less. Sometimes, we sin by what we know to do, but yet, we do not do it. Speaking up for truth and justice in the midst of great fear had Esther dreading this assignment. It’s easy to want to back down, because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of can God really use me, fear that the whole plan will be utterly chaotic and ruined if you do it, so you back down. Well, despite all her fears, Esther called for a fast, and God responded with great favor for her and the Jews. Is God calling you to do something hard? To speak up, to step into your purpose, to pursue your Heavenly Father’s business? Remember Jesus always went about healing people and doing good – ACTS 10:38 (I love that about him)! . You were made for such a time as this! It’s time to step out you are worth it! You and God got this! #shespeaksfire . Esther 4:14:“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”” ‬

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My coworkers all decided to wear red, white, and blue to work today since tomorrow we’ll be off, and the Fourth of July is this Saturday. If you’re not aware: with the recent events surrounding racial tension, and the increase of racial awareness, most Black people have decided to celebrate Juneteenth instead of July 4th for Independence Day, declaring the Fourth of July a “white holiday.”

So, all week I’d debated on whether or not I should participate because I definitely wasn’t planning on celebrating the fourth, and I didn’t want to symbolize that I was with what I was wearing, but I also knew that, being the only Black woman in my workplace, I’d probably be making people feel uncomfortable, and questioning me as to why I didn’t dress in the said colors. And since I work in a preschool, I didn’t need or want parents complaining to my boss about what I was wearing either.

Because I decided this morning to wear my “I Can’t Breathe” shirt instead.

I had so many thoughts: Would someone say I was trying to be political by wearing it? Would my boss be angry with me? Is wearing this shirt inappropriate for work? But why would it be? Why am I questioning if I can wear this shirt when I’m able to wear almost anything to work and be 100% fine? (I knew the answer to the last question)

I resolved that, if my boss told me to take it off, I’d just take it off and just have a different shirt on, but I would not wear the color combos red, white, and blue to work today. I was honestly sort of nervous…so much so that I texted the co-teacher I’m working with this summer about it to get her thoughts…not her permission. She fully supported my decision, and even said she wouldn’t wear the designated colors too so I wouldn’t be alone.

As I prayed this morning and prepared my heart for the day, the quote above popped into my mind. I’d read it yesterday, and was touched at how powerful it was, and I was grateful that it could resonate with me this morning. (If you don’t know about the story of Esther, definitely check her out in the Bible. Such an amazing woman!) What if I wore the shirt and was able to start conversations with my co-workers about what was happening, not just in our city, but in our country as a whole? Granted, we’ve been back to work for weeks now…I honestly feel like some of them are avoiding the topic of racial tension because they don’t want to say the wrong things or offend me. But I’d rather them say something wrong and I be able to help them understand why than to not talk about it at all. Because the reality is, they work with ME…I, a Black woman, am going to be with them five days a week, and that right there is looking and being with racial tension – what to say, what not to say. To touch my hair or not to. To make comments about certain situations, or to just be silent. I see all of that stuff, and I take notes, and act accordingly.

If I chose to just give in and wear what everyone else was wearing, I felt like I’d just be giving up, and not speaking up. And while I shouldn’t be the only person that my co-workers go to for Black questions, I feel a responsibility as the only Black woman there to be the voice for the Black community that is rarely if not at all represented in that area.

The result?

I went to work, had a co-worker ask what my shirt said, I showed her, and she said, “Oh, okay!” Had a few other co-workers see my shirt and they silently kept it pushing.

Feeling like I had to explain myself (which I shouldn’t have to, but anyways…), I talked to the same co-worker who asked me what my shirt said about why I wasn’t wearing red, white, and blue, and she fully understood, and said she wasn’t offended, and didn’t know why others would be.

When my co-teacher came into work a little later without any red, white, or blue on, my boss asked her why she wasn’t wearing any, yet she didn’t ask me when she fully saw that I wasn’t wearing any either.

Apparently, she also made a comment out loud again about how one of the kids in our class looked cute wearing the patriotic colors, but my co-teacher (not me) wasn’t matching.

It sort of breaks my heart that no one really asked me more about my shirt, or tried to ask my opinion on what was happening, or even ask how I was doing (because since everything started in late May/early June, no one from my job has asked except my co-teacher) but it also doesn’t surprise me. I just wish people wouldn’t be afraid to have racial conversations that could possibly expose things they didn’t know weren’t okay to say, do, believe, etc. And maybe they are having those conversations outside of work, which is great! I’d just like to know that that information is being translated to EVERY area of their lives, NOT JUST to their black friends outside of work, or their black family members.

I will say that I’m extremely grateful for my co-teacher…she stepped up for me today, and I cannot thank her enough! It felt good to have someone stand with me in solidarity today. And even through these first few weeks of work, she’s been pro-active about asking me questions and talking about the racial events that are happening, and I believe it is not a coincidence, but a full-on blessing that we were assigned to be with each other this summer.

Just felt like I had to share that. There is SO much work to be done to undo all the racial injustice our country has held tightly to, and I’m grateful that the protests haven’t died down, and pray that the conversations everywhere don’t die down either. While my gesture of wearing a “I Can’t Breathe” shirt to work may seem small, it opened my eyes to just how deep the fear of being called out about my race is rooted in me. And in no way would I say that I’m ashamed to be Black! But I know that I myself need to shake out of being afraid to be a topic of conversation, or to have conversations with people I’m with on a daily basis, or with my friends or family.

I continue to pray that all my Black brothers and sisters would be able to step up wherever they are: in their friend circles, in their families (whether blood or in-laws), in their workplaces, etc. I pray for strength and courage. I pray for peace. And I pray that the spirit of racism would cower at the Holy Spirit, who favors no person because of their race or background, but lives within WHOEVER believes in Jesus Christ and His death, resurrection, and return.

BLACK BROTHERS AND SISTERS: What are some ways you’ve had to step up for yourself, either recently or in the past, in regards to your race? Where do you find the most support? Where do you find the most tension?

BLACK ALLIES: Have you been inspired by a Black friend, family member, co-worker, significant other, etc. who has stood up in the face of racism, or in just the isolation of being Black in a particular place or circumstance? How did you respond? Did you learn anything that you’ll take with you as the fight for racial equality and justice continues?

Mishy 🦋💙

through His Eyes.

A couple of nights ago as I lied in bed, trying to get to sleep, I began praying for all the things I’d been so focused on last week. All my frustrations, all my concerns…and I’m not sure if I dozed off a little bit, or what, but all I know is, my mind began to think and then sing this song…

Just take a look through my eyes.
There’s a better place somewhere out there.
Just take a look through my eyes.
Everything changes, you’ll be amazed what you find,
When you look through my eyes.

Guys…if you know, you know. That’s a song from the Disney movie Brother Bear. 😂 And while it’s comical that that song popped in my head, and I hadn’t seen that movie since I was probably around ten years old, the words were significant enough for me to shoot my eyes open, and lie in bed to briefly think about them.

Not only that, but I prayed, asking God to help me remember the next morning that this song was in my mind the night before. And it brought me peace. Because I wasn’t think about the song and how it related to the movie, I was thinking about how it related to my life.

Here we are smack dab in the middle of the week, probably still reflecting on the events of last week, and even the events of the last few months – coronavirus pandemic and the racial pandemic our country has been in, but has now resurfaced due to recent murders of black people. And it’s easy to look at things through so many perspectives, and then react to those perspectives in anger, hurt, sadness, etc. Not to mention that lately, it’s been personally easy for me to see myself in a perspective that isn’t uplifting, and then I sometimes react in the ways I named above.

This is just a reminder to see ourselves and our lives through God’s perspective, through His eyes. How would He want us to perceive the things happening in our world? How would He want us to react to it all? What would He want us to say when we have opportunities to speak up? What would He not want us to say when we have opportunities to speak?

Asking all these questions is like the deeper version of “WWJD?” (“What would Jesus do?”), and as a Christian in this broken world, I have to ask myself these things before I respond to anything that’s happening around me because I’m not just representing myself, I’m representing Christ as well. That doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes, because I’ve definitely had some wrong reactions or said some wrong things due to just viewing things in a selfish way, but it doesn’t mean I should just give up and not work on it at all.

So, I just encourage my fellow Christian brothers and sisters to look at the world and to look at your life through His eyes, and act accordingly. What do you see, and how can you respond in a way that closely resembles how Christ would?

Also, don’t be surprised if God speaks to you through something like a Disney song. It may sound strange, but sometimes it takes something as simple, and what might seem somewhat silly, to grab our attention, and to have us hear His voice.

Mishy 🦋💛

for poetry.

Another day, speedily come and gone. I even woke up earlier than usual, guys! And I’m down to a little less than an hour to write. Again. 🥴

At least my days are filled to the point where I’m not extremely bored! I realized today (or maybe it was late yesterday) that this month is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! 🙌🏽✨ And if that’s the case…then I want to write a poem every day, all month! I’m already behind 2 days, so it looks like it’ll be 3 poems for me tomorrow!

And thankfully, after a good conversation with Pa today, I will be able to branch out my writing thought process by joining a Zoom writing workshop that he’s been going to that happens twice a day (with the same prompt). I missed today, but I hope to make it to tomorrow morning’s at 11am!

I wonder…are there anymore online writing workshops going on during this time? Maybe some workshops on IG live? I did hop onto Rupi Kaur’s (author of poetry books milk and honey and the sun and her flowers) Instagram live once during this quarantine time, and she was doing a poetry writing workshop 🤩 If anyone knows of anymore, please, holla at ya girl! 😁🤙🏽

Well, hopefully I’ll have better content tomorrow here for y’all. I know for some people these days are dragging on, but for me, they’re speeding by quickly!

How can you find a way to be more engaged with your craft/hobby? Who can you connect with to help you advance in it further?

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 🦋

speaking in silence.

Today, I lost my voice.

It’s that time of year when all the sicknesses are going around. I’d just gotten over a cold, and I guess maybe I really hadn’t gotten over it since this week I’ve been coughing, and now my voice has decided to leave me probably due to all the coughing, talking, singing, and yelling I’ve done throughout my week at work, home, with friends, etc.

Honestly, not being able to speak or sing is kind of frustrating for me. Especially since something I do and am passionate about is spoken word. I want to be able to practice, to hear myself say the things I’ve written. And I love to sing as I’m doing things throughout the house, and especially when I’m at work singing to the one-and-a-half to two-year-olds in my class.

It was interesting to go through today without my voice. If truly necessary, I would whisper, but for the most part I tried to give my vocal cords a rest and remain silent. Thankfully, both of my co-teachers were able to talk to the kids when I couldn’t, and sing when I couldn’t. I thought today would be more frustrating than it actually proved to be.

listen here…

Instead of being a voice in my world today, I’ve done a lot of listening.

Instead of…

…singing along to songs I played on my way to work
…talking to, yelling at, singing to the kids in my class
…having a lot to talk about with my co-workers

I was able to…

…listen to and really connect with the lyrics to the songs I was listening to.
…listen to my kids, and observe things I probably normally wouldn’t have.
…listen to what my co-workers had to say, whether it be about work, life, etc.

Having a voice is a powerful thing, but there was a lot of power in listening as well. I was shocked, honestly, to see some of my kids still understand me as I pointed to toys they should pick up and put in a box, and they did exactly that, without me verbally asking them to. It was as if they understood my motions and actions more than they understood the words. You’re probably thinking, “Well, yeah, Mishy, they’re only two-years-old,” but we’re encouraged to really talk with the kids so they can begin to verbalize their needs and wants to us, and ultimately talk in small, somewhat sentences.

still communicating

I also thought about how my facial expressions could express the same emotion just as well, and maybe even more so without me having to verbalize an expression like, “Oh no!” or “Yay!”And this thought led me to how awesome it is that God created different ways to express ourselves even when one part of expression is limited.

And I am thankful that, despite not having an audible voice, I’m still capable of using words or facial expression to communicate. That even though I’ve lost my voice today, I truly haven’t lost my voice altogether.

I can still speak through the silence.

This is also a lesson in thankfulness. I’m never truly grateful for something I have all the time until it’s gone. I normally have my voice, so I don’t ever think about losing it until it’s gone. So, even though I am thanking God for ways to communicate through the silence, I will learn to be more grateful for my voice – to be able to talk to my loved ones, to be able to sing my favorite songs, to be able to speak the spoken word things I’ve written.

Just finished drinking boiled OJ + honey for the second time today. Don’t knock it until you try it – a friend of mine from college suggested it to me when I lost my voice one time in school, and it truly did help me gain my voice back. Only, I’m almost out of OJ. So, to drinking green tea it is!

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

Changes…in Speech

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading my Bible, and as I was reading through a few chapters of Proverbs, several verses focused on speech, language, the lips, the mouth, and the tongue…(all verses are taken from the English Standard Version)

From Proverbs 15…

“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” –  verse 2 

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” – verse 4

“The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” – verse 7

From Proverbs 16…

“Righteous lips are the delight of a king and he loves him who speaks what is right.” – verse 13

“The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.” – verse 23

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” – verse 24 

From Proverbs 17…

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” – verse 27

From Proverbs 18…

“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” – verse 4

And honestly, these references got me thinking about convictions I’d been thinking about for a while about the way I speak – the words I use, why I use them, what exactly is considered “perverse speech,” what is acceptable/unacceptable to say, what is slander?

I feel like I’ve heard before that in the Bible when it talks about “perverse speech,” it means mostly saying the Lord’s name in vain. Don’t quote me on that though…I’m not exactly sure.

As for slander, well, that’s talking about other people – gossiping, bringing people down. I can’t say that I never do those things, because I’d be lying.

Another thing I will be honest about: as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been using more cuss words when I speak, mostly among my peers, and a lot more so when I’m alone muttering under my breath, or when I’m frustrated about something. Instead of skipping the cuss words in songs, I sing them out boldly. And this all began about a year ago after so many songs that described the way I was feeling were released, and they all had cuss words in them. I justified singing them because using the profanity just made it seem more powerful; it validated how passionate my emotions were.

It also doesn’t help that all my friends were / are using cuss words too. There was a point in which one of my friends and I decided to stop cussing, and I was happy I wasn’t the only one who wanted to strive to speak better. But lately, I’ve slipped back into it.

Some of you may be thinking…

Mishy…You’re An Adult…

Yeah, I know that, and society says that once you hit a certain age (which is even younger than twenty-one honestly…more like sixteen these days…maybe younger), using certain words is acceptable. At least in American culture. Many cuss words used in America are normal, every day words in other countries. Maybe even in different parts of America they’re used differently. Anyways we won’t get into that.

But cussing is just the way most young people talk; it’s the way this generation speaks to each other. Using those words just places emphasis on everything.

Something I’ve realized is that people from my generation and younger exaggerate a lot. We place emphasis on things that are truly so basic. We are all “hella extra” and proud (I admit, I am an extra person in some ways…). So we think it’s okay to use language that expresses all of these things.

But words like damnshit, the f-word that had such harsh meanings years before now basically mean nothing these days it seems. Or they’re words that replace verysooops, etc. We’ve neutralized them into just being filler words to add dramatic effect, sometimes to equally dramatic situations, but sometimes not so much.

Using words like this shouldn’t be a defining characteristic of what makes you an adult, or cool or whatever else people thinks it makes them. I’ve heard twelve-year-olds use these words, and have had to stop and wonder where in the world they heard that from. But truly, they are everywhere, being used by mostly everyone.

I know you’re probably thinking I’m dissecting this way too much; why do I care so much about the words I use? Why can’t I just stop cussing, move on, and not blog about it? Well, for one, it’s content soooo…

Another thing is that words are so powerful. So powerful. I mean, people get their feelings hurt every day, how? Words. Decisions are made using words. Words play a huge role in life. And as a now preschool teacher, I definitely need to watch what I say so as not to influence the little ones I teach in terrible speech (oo, you read that rhyme in there?).

But it’s not just because I teach two-year-olds. Words are such a big deal to me personally. They’re what I want my career to be based off of. They’re a part of my major dream as a writer and spoken word artist. I have a whole site based on a mantra that “Your words matter,” yet I’m slinging words around in my every day speech as if I truly don’t believe that. As if the words I use don’t have some affect or display of the knowledge and wisdom within my mind. As if they don’t have the power to heal, to influence, to give delight to someone because I am speaking what is right.

Never have I ever felt the need to use cuss words or anything like that in my writing, be it blogging or spoken word. I feel like as a writer and speaker, valuing the integrity of my words is a major part of who I am and what I do. Am I saying that other writers who choose to use words like the ones I’ve mentioned do not stand for the value of words? No, of course not. As writers themselves, they choose how and what words can be used to express their feelings and thoughts about their perspective of the world. I’m not here to judge other writers and the words they use, I’m here to evaluate myself, and how I feel about the words I am using.

And I strive to be a person that people look at, and don’t have to question whether or not it’s okay for their child or their loved one who is more sensitive to the use of words, to read or hear what I have to say. Again, I’m not saying everyone is wrong for using cuss words. However, I am saying that maybe it is wrong for me to use them.

So, I am now in the process of changing my speech; of being more aware of what I say, and how I say it. I want whatever I say and write to be pleasing to God, and I just feel like not using certain words is my personal way of doing that. That, plus also lessening the gossiping; I’ve written a blog post previously about not talking negatively about people. I have a specific event every Monday (#MotivationalMishyMondays) on Instagram live that aims to encourage and build people up. What would it be like if those same people who came to that live heard me talking smack about someone while I was at work, or out with a friend? It’s so difficult to not gossip because it’s so easy to do, and everyone does it. Everyone. It’s still a challenge for me to lessen it, and stop altogether, but I want to strive to do so.

I’m going to end with the main Bible verse I use when I think about my writing and my speaking…

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

“Good Vibes Only.”

I know that the title of this post is something we all probably see smacked onto cups, shirts, bags, etc. But I've honestly been needing good vibes after a couple of weeks of the things I've seen and heard.

I'm not here to point fingers or call out names, I'm here to just address the fact that the negativity has reached its peek for me, and I'm tired of having it around. I've read way too much bashing, and not enough kind comments. People are constantly talking about one another – one person will talk about someone, and then go to someone else to talk about the person they just talked to.

It's honestly all drained me, and made me think about a lot of things within this realm…

Me

All the negativity has me looking inward. I know I'm not perfect; as positive and encouraging as I am to the outside world most of the time, I have my moments, trust me. And I'm not proud of those moments in which I indulge in gossip, or eagerly await to hear the rumors about someone else. I'm not happy to say that I've sat in silence, and just listened to all of the negative discussions, instead of speaking up and addressing the fact that maybe things shouldn't be said or talked about.

I've realized it's not enough to be silent, and just stand around while the people around me are talking negatively. Because I'm still listening to the negativity; it gets into my mind, and before I know it, I'm thinking, saying, and doing the things I didn't want to think, say, or do. And because it affects me, if I continue it, it will affect those around me.

Honestly, a lot of the negativity I had been seeing was on social media, and I started to drift away from checking my socials often because I realized how much I was being affected by all of it. It's another reason why I stopped going on social media on Sundays – to have a day away from checking up on everyone else's lives, and potentially feeding off of and into the negativity I was seeing.

Pick a Side

I was seeing a lot of people who follow me and even each other talk badly about one another, and it made me so uncomfortable because we're all supposed to be on the same team. There shouldn't be an "us vs. them" or "me vs. her or him" mentality; we are all human, we are all wanting to get somewhere in life, and we are all connected to each other somehow, maybe by interest or people or location.

All of the negative talk also put me in this terrible position – I felt like I had to take a side. I either had to agree that "yes, this person was being this way," or "no, I don't think this person is like that," and this sort of dilemma is why I simply stayed silent. But again, even in silence, what I was hearing/seeing/reading was still affecting me. I began to take what some people said as gospel instead of questioning what was being said with questions such as:

Was what was being said true?
Was this person in a specific type of situation for them to act in the way being portrayed by the speaker?
How would this person feel if they were to hear what was being said about them?

the way in which I viewed the people being talked about, or the people doing the talking.

I Love You…I Love You Not…

By listening to and participating in the negative talking about others, or to others, my perspective of people began to be tainted by all of the things being said, and overall, it was affecting the way I loved on people, despite those things. And it's unfortunate because the things being said may not have been true, yet I used them as a measurement on whether I showed someone love or not.

 

Now, this isn't to say that I've totally blocked people, and have deemed them all horrible human beings for smack-talking each other. I am including myself as a person who smack-talks, and I say it with shame.

But I do want to address it because I'm tired of all of the negativity. Everyone says, posts, and supports "Good Vibes Only," but are we actually willing to be a part of what that actually means?

It means we love each other the best we can without trying to stir the pot (even though it may be fun sometimes. I didn't say spreading around negativity was boring; it happens for a reason). It means instead of tearing each other down, we're building each other up, encouraging each other in the things we're each pursuing, and embracing the differences we each have, because not one person is the same. Sure, there may be some similarities in some things, but each person is a unique human being who needs to be treated with some respect.

I'm not saying throw out some fake love; don't say or do anything that you don't genuinely mean. But it does mean that, if you have the opportunity to bash someone else, you choose not to do so. Maybe instead of staying silent while someone you know or sort of know is being talked about, you stand up for that person, and ask the speaker some hard questions about what is being said. I'm not saying throw hate on the speaker either; I'm saying, ask questions that will make them think about what they're saying.

It's hard and I know it is, because I have a hard time choosing the high road of not spreading the negativity.

But I just encourage myself and all of us to seriously spread the good vibes – be a positive light in the conversations you have. If you're tempted to talk bad about someone, think of one good thing about that person instead, and genuinely mean it.

Think about what you're saying before you say it.

Place yourself in the shoes of the person you're wanting to talk about – how would you feel if the things you were about to say were said about you? A lot of this just goes back to the major "Golden Rule" – "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

So yeah, that was just something that's been weighing on my heart lately, and I hope that my thoughts were able to make you think about where you are within the realm of good vibes and negative talk. We've all done it at some point, and we can't change that. What we can change is our reaction the next time the opportunity to speak negatively presents itself.

#MishyWrites #TruthPrevails 🦋✨

 

beauty in the vague.

How about a little writing lesson I’ve come up with myself, and am considering whether or not it’s good to share since it goes against the grain of what I’ve always been taught as an English major, and as a writer?

Ready?

There is beauty in the vague.

I thought about this while I was talking to one of my friends this past weekend about writing. I was explaining to him my thoughts on poetry, and decided to spread my thoughts out to writing in general. Before I even spoke this quote, I typed it out on my phone to make sure that my thoughts made sense before speaking them. And this is what I came up with…

Poetry…no…writing in general…is not complete without the finishing touches of the reader.

And I hope that when I wrote this and thought this out, I wasn’t taking some other author’s words, and claiming them as my own. If I am, I’m sorry – I only truly began to make sense of this as I was having this conversation with my friend. I will give credit where credit is due if I’m told of someone who’s thought like this.

This actually goes back to the night of the last concert I went to in Nashville, TN, when I was talking to my Lyft driver about non-fiction writing. I can’t remember what specific topic regarding writing was being talked about, but I do remember telling him that it is good to give details to help the reader imagine things well, to paint the picture for the reader, but it is also good to be vague sometimes.

I know that sounds odd, especially to my fellow writers and English majors who remember being told countless times in creative writing classes, “Details, details, details. Don’t tell me, show me. Describe what you want your reader to see with vivid imagery.” And I agree, these things are totally important to writing. But I’m learning that being vague can also be just as important, just as beautiful.

This is the example I gave to my Lyft driver: I may want to write about me being in a park somewhere, but I want to emphasize my feelings and emotions while being there more than the fact that I’m at the park. Sure, I could place some proper nouns in there, give some vivid descriptions…

I walked through The Commons playground near the forest green and beige plastic playground set towards the swing set that was rooted in wood chips of different sizes. The city preferred the wood chips to the rubber padding that would cause less splinter incidents among the neighborhood kids, who would notoriously land on their hands and knees from jumping, falling, tripping, etc.

What was a pain to kids and parents all over my neighborhood brought some sadistic symbolic comfort to me. For I desired to sit on a swing, and swing as high as I could, kicking my feet back and forth, pushing me towards the sky. I wanted to launch myself off of the black rubber seat, fly through the air, and feel the stabs of the small sticks on the ground against my hands and my knees as I landed on earth, the pieces of wood stuck to my flesh when I’d look down to see the damage that was done.

Because that’s how you made me feel – you got my hopes up extremely high only to let them come crashing down, with repercussions so painful, they’ve stuck to me like splinters.

So, here, you can see that I gave some specifics about the playground, like the name of it, the colors of the playground set and swing, what kind of ground it stood on. Which is great, the reader can totally envision the playground, even though they probably haven’t been there themselves (okay, maybe they can’t truly imagine exactly what it looks like, but I’m trying to make a point here in a short amount of time, bear with me!)

But sometimes – I’m not even sure when I’ve done this in my own writing, but maybe I have – it may be best to leave the details out. Instead of “The Commons” park, just the park. Instead of saying what color the playground set is, just describe the playground set in general terms – jungle gym, two slides (maybe one straight, one twisty), etc. Now, why as an English major would I ever suggest such vague writing? I feel like a total hypocrite right now as I type this.

In this instance, when I want to focus on a specific lesson, situation, or emotion, I feel like filling out the details is unnecessary. Instead, let the reader fill them out for themselves for a deeper connection to their own story. Let them choose the park they’re walking in; maybe they’ll envision the one they have in their own neighborhood. Allow them to envision the color of the playground set. Give them space to put themselves into a specific setting they’ve created by the general descriptions you’ve provided. And let them take on the feelings you’ve described. Yes, you as the writer still have some control because you’re telling them what the emotion is – disappointment / high hopes that were totally dashed.

Now, of course, you don’t want to give the reader full control of the story if it is a true account that you’re trying to portray to them, like if you were writing a memoir piece. Reading other people’s accounts of their personal lives, the places they’ve been to, where they’ve lived, is fascinating, and inspiring, and I’m definitely not discounting that.

But I also believe that being a little general, a little vague has its place as well, and I don’t know about any other writers out there, but I was never told that being vague in my writing could be a good thing. I was never taught that allowing the reader to take control sometimes, and to connect in their own way with the words I write could be something powerful. And I truly believe it can be as readers can put themselves in their own worlds, but at the same time try to sympathize and empathize with the feelings of the writer.

And, who knows, maybe I’m wrong, or maybe there’s someone out there saying this already, and I have yet to hear it. For now, I’m gonna take this thought, run with it, and see where it leads me.

I hope that maybe this spurred some thoughts about your own writing, or maybe you have questions about why I think like this, or maybe you want to tell me your opinion on this matter? I’d love some feedback because in no way am I saying that I’m the English / writing expert here. Just sharing my writing thoughts with you all! 🙂 Please don’t hesitate to comment!

I must go, for sleep is needed when one must get up at 6am for work the next morning. Sweet dreams, luvvies!

#JustStartWriting

💙 Mishy 🦋

grasping for straws – write on, pt. 2

I had to be quiet.

For just a few moments,

I needed the silence to

Swallow me up.

These days I find myself

Aimlessly searching for words

To breathe themselves onto paper.

 

How to reach? How to connect?

How to make everything I say

Come straight from my heart?

I was experiencing things, but not feeling them.

I was desperately trying to focus my attention

To my Main Priority

And in that process I became

Fearful.

Fearful that the words I would produce

Wouldn’t be as good as

Previous thoughts.

Scared that what I had to say wasn’t

Original.

Was mentioned too often to matter.

Would be seen as plagiarism or

Mimicry.

Because there are so many people who are similar to me.

 

But that in itself should fuel my desire,

Should heap passionate words onto this burning fire of

Writing.

Communicating.

Speaking.

Connecting.

Similar stories mean

Similar feelings and

Similar emotions that

Need addressing.

 

I cannot be afraid to overlap.

I cannot be ashamed to say, “me too”

For it’s one of the main ways that

I can connect with you.

 

So

I’ll write on.

 

#JustStartWriting

💙 Mishy 🦋

part two.

My computer is now functioning at a decent level, PRAISE.

Welcome to “part two” of yesterday’s post!

Let’s Recap…

If you missed my last post, I expressed how I am going to focus a lot on people and characters when it comes to my writing. Lately, I’ve just been really inspired by meeting new people, and observing their habits, gestures, etc. Plus, I’ve been reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, which has some awesome character descriptions and development.

With this new thought in mind, it made me re-evaluate my own tendencies and such. Who am I, and what do I do? I asked myself.

blah, blah, blah…

While I was Indiana, I attended a class on communication within the workplace, and during this class, we watched a brief TED talk on how to be a better listener and conversationalist.

Guys. I was so convicted because a lot of the things [this woman] said to avoid, I am guilty of doing a lot.

The one I want to focus on, though, is being brief.

I suck at making what I have to say short and to the point. See, even right there; I could have said, “I suck at having brief conversations.” But nope.

When I talk, I want to express all the details – who, what, when, where, how, how often, to what extent, this, that, and the other. My sister has told me this many a time; “Dude, you’re taking too long to say what you need to say,” is what she says to me.

But I just love details. And I don’t just want to be the only one describing things; I kind of expect everyone else to tell me details because I want to know them! I mean, you don’t have to tell me everything – some things are just better left unsaid. But if you went somewhere cool, like a concert, or even if you just went to the mall, and had an odd experience, I want the details.

Unfortunately, because I like details, when I’m telling someone something, it takes me fifty bajillion years to get to the point. And they may get impatient with me, or even stop listening altogether.

I expressed my concern of not being able to be a brief conversationalist to the woman that was teaching the class, and she told me that I was okay because I was a writer.

And ya know what…she right. I’m sorry if I don’t get what I’m trying to say across to you in a quick and easy fashion. Maybe I should work on it a little bit. But truthfully…it’s just who I am. I find such importance in the specifics. And it’s not that I want to take hold of the conversation completely; like I said, I love hearing details from other people’s experiences as well!

Knowing this about myself, I’m going to try to catch myself in the moment when I’m having a conversation, and also watch the person I’m talking to. Does it look like he/she is listening? Are they overwhelmed? What is possibly going through his/her head as I try to express myself?

Also, how can I be courteous enough to drop the details sometimes, and just get to the point?

I’m sorry if I talk too much; I need to be a better listener too.

But I’m excited. This is exciting.

Tomorrow is FRIDAY. Hmm, maybe I’ll make some goals for the blog this weekend…

1) Finish The Bluest Eye and write a review 

2) Finish the #FromtheDrafts post I’ve been trying to work on for days.

I think these are some pretty good weekend goals, yeah? Hoping to get some deeper content up. Lately I’ve been so busy, I’ve honestly felt super rushed trying to get posts up.

Love you guys! You can do this, enjoy your Friday, and the weekend will be here before you know it!

#JustStartWriting

Mishy