Monday, July 27, 2009


This note either finds you A) completely oblivious to the summer I've had, B) a product of the rumor mill, or C) someone who kind of knows what's going on but doesn't know all the details.

So let me clear it up...

To make a long story shorter, I have always been the kind of person who joins organizations and seeks leadership opportunities. I have always tried to be the best at what I am involved with. As a result, from sophomore year of high school until this moment, I have been recognized in several different avenues as a go-getter, as someone who can get things done. I wasn't and am not perfect, and sometimes I drop the ball, but I am a very hard worker.

I realized during my years at OCU that I had a tendency toward workaholism. My freshman year, I was the editor-in-chief of a publication and a sorority officer and an award-winning staff-writer for the campus newspaper. I had a mini-burnout sophomore year, where I quit the paper and changed my major. I started to change it to English Education but when I realized that required fifteen hours of student teaching a week, I settled for just an English major with an emphasis in writing.

People have always told me I should teach, but for some reason I have always fought against that assertion. When I was a sophomore I had too many other extra curricular obligations for student teaching.

My best friend and roommate transferred from OCU after sophomore year. She had decided that instead of being a career dancer, she wanted to study and likely teach math. That and OCU was getting too expensive. I thought about making the same move, but I had a sorority and several organizations that I didn't want to leave. I had always thought "you get what you pay for" and so the fact that OCU was expensive meant it was the best possible thing.

Junior year was basically a mass of mini-breakdowns. From a broken heart in November to a spiritual battle over Christmas break. The mini-panic attacks started in February. I know I was playing at least seven different roles at that time and I didn't want to quit any of them. My friend Christian kept telling me I need to drop a few things and focus on school but I was bound and determined to do it all, to be superwoman.

I made it to the end of the year without really quitting anything, and if I remember right I didn't majorly let anyone down, but I will say that if my professors hadn't been generous and understanding, I would have failed three of my classes. I spent very little time sleeping and a lot of time crying. Jennifer can tell you that I told her several times, "If it wasn't for Alpha Chi I would leave." She and I even discussed my moving to Kansas with her to study and teach. But, I felt like I absolutely had to finish what I had started at OCU.

At this point in the story I have to pause and say, I'm sure there are a number of you who think that I should still finish what I started. It's just one more year, people are counting on me, I can do it, etc.
If you are not inclined to make huge life decisions based on a moment, you probably will never understand this. But I encourage you to read on so that at least you will know the real story.

In case you didn’t know, I’m a poet. I have spent the last 15 months or so observing the local poetry scene – which is fantastic – and trying to decide where I fit in it.
I’m also a Christian. Regardless of how I’ve struggled with that label for the last few years, I am a Christian, albeit a liberal one, and a churchgoer.

On May 21, I was watching TV and passed by a show that my poet friends had been telling me about. Brave New Voices is a youth poetry slam competition that the admirable Russell Simmons decided to turn into an HBO series. Kids ranging from 14 to 19 years old perform (approximately) three-minute poems individually or as groups. I have seen several poetry slams and even more non-competitive performances, but the youngest people I ever saw participating were myself and one other 19-year-old. I specifically remember thinking I had to wait until I was older and had experienced more of the world to be able to write poems good enough for performance and competition. Brave New Voices taught me that I was wrong. No offense to the mature poets I know, but I heard better, more raw, more real, more hard-hitting poetry come out of those kids than I had heard come out of adults.

Right after I saw the competition, I cried because I thought I had missed my chance. I am too old to go to youth slam competitions. I’m officially an adult (as of Saturday). But the second time I was watching the shows, I started paying attention to the coaches of the youth teams. I could say a light bulb turned on in my head but it was really more like a lightning bolt. If I can hone my skills as a performance poet, it’ll be okay that I can’t compete in the youth circuit because I might be able to coach in it.

That thought led to a second thought: I want to teach English. I want to spend my all day everyday working with high school aged kids, teaching them to appreciate (or at least understand) literature, to express themselves with correct grammar – verbally and in written form, and, if they are so inclined, to become good creative writers. That’s what I want to do with my life everyday for the foreseeable future.

So I needed a plan.
I could change my major at OCU to English Ed., but I would still have the same problem that I had as a sophomore: no time to student teach. I also would have to be in school longer which meant MORE debt. I had settled for the option of finishing my degree in English (with an emphasis in writing) in May 2010 and then going back to school somewhere else to get my teacher certification. That was my plan.

But every time I thought about it, finishing my current degree, taking the classes I was enrolled in, seemed like a waste of time. I wanted to teach and I wanted to be taking the classes that would get me there. I also wanted to stop being worried about the debt I was accruing. Jennifer told me about how she has a couple scholarships, a couple grants, and the rest of her tuition money is so little she pays it in-full in cash at the beginning of the semesters. I had a plan, but I wasn’t satisfied with it, especially not by comparison.

Summer came and I was glad for a break. I got a job the week after school was out, and I was ready to just coast on through. I lost that job a few weeks later and was having a hard time finding a new one. Employers don’t really like to hire for the summer anymore and I knew that once school started I would be too busy with my extra curriculars to do much off-campus work. I was kind of a sitting duck.

In my overly abundant spare time, I researched other colleges in the state. I even had a meeting with a faculty member in UCO’s department of Education. I called myself just checking it out. I thought the earliest I would transfer would be the spring 2010 semester. That would give me time to tie up all my loose ends at OCU. I continued to straddle that fence until one church service with my friends on Weds., July 8. The pastor said, “the problem is that we do everything halfway.” And I knew he was talking to me. He said, “there’s only one way to do this now, and that’s all the way.” I knew then that I was doing school and my career and my life halfway. As a confirmation, this Bible passage popped into my head,

Matthew 8:19-23 (New King James Version)
Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Everyone has their own interpretations of the Bible, but to me that meant, do what you are being called to do and let your previous obligations handle themselves. That night I decided to transfer to the University of Central Oklahoma for the Fall 2009 semester and finish my Bachelor of Arts in English Education.

When I realized I would now have time to work, I went and re-applied at Chili’s in Midwest City. I finished my training last Thursday and am now primed and (basically) ready to work for the stuff I have (rather than take out loans for it).

I have applied and been accepted to UCO. I need to set up an advisement appointment and then I will be able to enroll. I need to register to take a teacher certification eligibility test. I don't know exactly how long it will be before I graduate, but I'm hoping and praying that I'll only be one year behind (2011). For the first time since I don’t know when, I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

This past Saturday at, Craig said the difference between where you are now and where you’re supposed to be is the hard decision you refuse to make. If I hadn’t already made my decision, Saturday’s message would have pushed me to do so.

I don't plan to just leave everyone in the lurch. If we were on a committee together, please call me, so that we can discuss what I can do to make the transition easier for your organizations. I don't intend to just drop everything and never speak to you again. Let me know how I can help between now and Aug. 24.

So, to my Alpha Chi Omega sisters, I love you. The standards of our sisterhood are part of what helped me reach this decision. I will miss you, but not too much, because I will be close by to help and to hang out.

To the members of the Black Student Association, y’all taught me how to balance being the life of the party with staying on the grind. I am still learning from you every time I am with you. I love you, fam, and I’ll be around to visit.

To my professors and administrators, thank you for showing me what excellence looks like. I will take OCU’s standards with me everywhere I go. I appreciate the way you all take a personal interest in your students.

To the people I'll meet and reconnect with at UCO, if you knew me before now, pretend like you didn't, because I'm a different person. I study, I attend class, and that's about it. Don't ask me for more. My days of campus involvement are pretty much over.

I currently spend my days reading, writing (poetry and prose), making plans for the school year, working, thinking about Stomp the Stage (more on that later), memorizing my poems, volunteering at's youth ministry - Switch, and daydreaming about the days when I'll have a classroom and kids' lives to change.

I’m glad to be on the right track. Thank God for guidance, for the Church, for inspiration, for poetry, for the beauty of youth, and for the desire to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Questions, comments, concerns? I am an open book.

Friday, July 24, 2009

don't ask why - original poem

“come unto Me all who are weary and I will give you rest.
bring what hurts, bring your scars,
bring the load that you carry and I will give you rest.”

so often we write our pain.
we perform the things that would normally be too emotional for us to say.
and that’s beautiful because the stage is a safe place to loose the demons.
it’s like if we turn agony in to art,
maybe the things that break our hearts won’t have to hurt so much.
or at least the pain can be spread amongst all of us.

but why are we all so sad?
i know there’s another unjust war raging across the sea.
i know that even this far after the movements we’re still fighting for equality.
i know the economy’s caving and everybody’s money is tight.
i know there are countless things that we just can’t seem to get right.
but why?

it’s either been seven thousand or a few million years
since men were introduced to the earth.
all this and i wonder why we weren’t taught to behave first.
they say things will never get that much better.
men will always raise fists against each other.
people will always be greedy
reinforcing the fact that there will always be needy people under bridges and in third-world countries.
some will always ignore boundaries.

but why?

i am standing here before you
with more love in my heart than i could ever hope for you to see.
and i’m telling you: stop asking why and be the one
who actually does the work to make the change instead of just promising a change will come.
go back to school;
get the degree that will help you get that job that benefits the community.
pick up double shifts at the restaurant
until you can take the financial burden off of your family.
give your life willingly so that others are free to pursue their dreams.
go to law school; not because you want to
but so that there will be compassionate people working in our government buildings.
focus on the helpless and misguided rather than doing everything for yourself.
take the initiative instead of pointing blame at someone else.

michael jackson said,
“there are ways to get there if you care enough for the living.”
don’t ask why bad things happen.
the answer’s not even worth giving.
it won’t change anything.
but ask your God and ask yourself,
“what can i, one person in a broken world, do to help?”
and i promise you, the answer will come
on the wings of an angel sent to guard and protect the one committed to the solution rather than the problem.
i’m sorry to say it, dear heart,
but if all you ever write about is pain then maybe you’re not doing enough.

“in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – john 16:33.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

i guess this is a good time for writing. i have some ideas and i've written some things that are in the editing stages.

1 - something about entrapment and the search for freedom: physical, emotional, occupational. DONE!

2 - something about the connectivity between images, feelings, thoughts, words, and reality. memories, dejavous, expectancy, our connection to the Divine. DONE!

3 - something about competition, striving, goal-orientation. DONE!

Now I need to edit these and have them seen by some other folks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


"i'm starting with the man in the mirror
i'm asking him to change his ways
and no message could have been any clearer
if you want to make the world a better place
take a look at yourself and then make a change"
-michael jackson

"yes we can heal this nation
yes we can repair this world"
-barack obama

why is that people rarely come together for anything other than death? michael jackson's memorial was beautiful. watching everyone on cnn and on facebook updating their statuses and showing love was great. it made me think about how the last time i saw anything that beautiful, that unifying, was at the hand of president obama (his inauguration, election night when he won, his landmark speeches). but prior to the election year, i rarely saw people joining hands with people they had never met and had almost nothing in common with. "bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven" (william wordsworth).

this all means even more to me right now. i have recently felt my heartstrings connected to the state of oklahoma, as if i belong here. as if i have red dirt running through my veins and a tornado wreaking havoc inside my ribcage. over the last week, it had begun to look like oklahoma is a state that has yet to fall instep with the mantra of "united we stand, divided we fall." state representative sally kern has written a proclamation blaming the president, homosexuals, and debauchers for our economic crisis. she claims that a return to morality and religion is the key to turning the financial tide. and she defames america as an immoral nation.

i am not in denial. bad things happen everywhere, including the u.s., including oklahoma, but pointing fingers has never solved problems. and as a person who believes that, above all else, Jesus was a representative of love, it kills me to see people standing in Christ's name singing "God bless america" while villifying people's freedom of sexuality. it broke my heart to watch people proclaim division and animosity and then sing our "star-spangled banner."

i believe in the united states of america. i believe that when people unite themselves around a cause, there is nothing they cannot accomplish. it is true that the rule of the majority can sometimes yield unfavorable results, but that is why this is the "home of the brave" not just the "land of the free." we must take responsibility for the causes we rally behind. and we must never forget that freedom always comes at a price.

i guess i'm just hoping that people continue to think globally, to think about others as well as themselves, and realize that the good things we want are waiting for us to make them happen. someone else needs to stand up and be the one so that one can become two, two can become four, four can become forty, and forty can become the majority.

but today, let's all start with the man in the mirror.
r.i.p. michael jackson

Sunday, July 5, 2009

empty eyes - original poem

("2 a.m. and i'm still awake writing this song. if i get it all down on paper it's no longer inside of me threatening the life it belongs to. and i feel like i'm naked in front of a crowd 'cause these words are my diary screaming out loud and i know that you'll use them however you want to..." - anna nalick)

he had empty eyes - hollow, naked -
and a forlorn type of smile.
he filled his cracks with anything pretty or hypnotizing:
words, work, intoxicants.
he wanted to love, but it's hard to show your feelings when you're leaking.
it's hard to give when all you've got is holes, empty spaces where your soul should be.

he married her because she was everything he wanted to be:
calm, stable, and solid.
solid of mind, heart, and body.
nothing seeped out of her unless she released it.
he thought she would save him,
instead he drained her.
she poured her blood into a skeleton
she poured until her supply started to run thin.
her pouring was futile because he had no skin to hold it in,
no veins to make the blood give life.

he left her when he saw that she could do nothing for his dry bones.
but he left her with a baby daughter who was just like him.
and when he left, he took the light in his daughter's eyes with him.

he left a wife who has always been mesmerized by the depth of her daughter's eyes:
always open, always watching, always looking for something,
for anything.
as the little girl grew, her mother learned to fear those large empty eyes,
portals to a soul she would never understand.
sometimes she felt as if she were drowning in them,
being thrown into a black hole, or sinking in a mire.
at those times she felt what her daughter felt,
she knew why her husband left.
at those times she was scared
because she knew she wouldn't be able to save her any better than she could have saved him.
so she learned to stop looking into those eyes.

my eyes.
i look at the world like a man just come from the desert drinks water.
what i see keeps me alive for brief moments at a time.
but as the body continues to need water to survive, my soul runs dry if there's nothing pouring into the black holes of my eyes.
i see everything.
“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!"*

he shared his darkness with me when he gave me his eyes.
or perhaps the darkness was in his seed.
either way, i've known since i was young that i needed to hide the darkness in me.
so i avert my eyes, let my soul run dry,
because i don't want you to see
that just like him, i'm empty.
i've tried everything.
the world pours itself into my hollow eyes and my heart remains empty.
the floodgates of heaven are open, and i'm ready to receive,
but, like him,
the blessing pours in like water and comes out like tears,
never staying in me long enough to make my dry bones live.

my eyes are tired of seeing everything.
now i pray to be blind like a skeleton should be.
if i forget what life looks like maybe i won't feel the void so intensely.
or at least i won't be able to see the sadness in my mother's eyes when she looks askance at me,
or the pity in his eyes when he doesn't look at all.

i wonder if my father ever felt that the more life a room contained
the less life was available to him.
i wonder if he ever felt other people's eyes picking at his bones to make sure they were clean.
he was lucky.
i pray to be beautiful; he just wanted to be seen.
i pray for abundant life; he just wanted to be free.
i have seen the fatted calf; he didn't know what he was missing.
i've stood at the threshold of the veil; he has never seen the anointing.

i have my father's eyes
and the only other thing he left with me is the emptiness behind them.

*the gospel according to matthew chapter 6 verses 22 aand 23. the words of Christ in red.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

i want to spend the next six weeks ignoring the mirrors made of glass and looking into the eyes of my friends until i see something acceptably beautiful and grown up.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

the best laid plans of mice and men...

LORD You are good and Your mercy endures forever. i come before You humbly asking that You insert Your will into the making of these plans and then grant me the grace and the courage to follow through with them.

to lose the weight:

the good news here, is that i've already lost 12 pounds. what's cooler than 12 pounds are the articles of clothing i don't wear anymore because they are too big! unfortunately there's are still several items that are too small. the goal is 12-15 more pounds by my birthday (august 1), 5-10 more pounds by the time school starts (august 24) and another 20 pounds by christmas. that makes 50-65 pounds total.

the tactic:
1. walking>jogging>running daily or at least 4 times a week and lifting weights or using other toning exercises 5 times a week
2. drinking more water and less pop, eating less dessert, and planning and counting down to indulgence days.

my new style:

simply beautiful is what i'm calling it. i'm taking tim gunn's ideas and adding them to my career plans and personality. i need staples: nice solid black, white, pink, and blue tops; nice solid tank tops for layering; 2 or 3 pairs of good jeans; functional but classy pants in muted tones; solid colored dresses; vests, jackets and sweaters galore. if you're bored with these ideas, the plan is to take full advantage of this lovely new discount jewelry store in the okc metro and buy all kinds of loud, crazy, fun jewelry and accessories, including scarves and hats.

we're not even going to touch shoes. shoes are an entirely different beast. i haven't decided which avenue my shoes will take.

i'm also going to have a consulting done about my hair. the goal is to wear dredlocks. the lady i've talked to who has locks and knows how to do them says she waited a year to lock up her hair because she didn't want to start off too short. well, i'm not afraid of short - i rocked the rihanna for several months. so in a couple of weeks i'm going to make and appointment to see her and figure out if it's possible to lock my hair at the length it is. if she says it's possible, i'll probably take the plunge around my birthday.

the biggest thing about the simply beautiful transformation is that the hair is all i can start on now. i will not buy jeans or tops until i'm closer to my weight loss goal. it's my incentive as well as a money-saving tool.

and i'm all about throwing in a couple or three new tattoos! lol.

the house - cleaning:

i clean my bedroom all the time, which is wonderful progress from where i was. now i need to learn to clean the kitchen. that will just take a pair of rubber gloves and bravery. if i really want to be good, i could clean the garage, but i'm making no promises there. and then there's a spare room that could use some sprucing.

1. i need to really get rid of all the bags of things leftover from the move. it's not sexy to have bags everywhere. plus i still don't know where a lot of stuff is.
2. the issue there has been that i moved from a HUGE bathroom to really a half-bath so i have a lot of stuff. i could get one of those fun door hangers that were made for dorms.

i have turned our spare room into a work/art space. it's tiny, but its functional. it needs some work though.
1. i need to bring my desk out of storage and into the room.
2. i need to gather and store all of the unused bedding in our rented facility.
3. stack and label my art boxes
4. keep my office things contained
i'm highly motivated by the show "clean house." thanks, trish suhr.

the house - living:

1. i need to make routines for cleaning and re-organizing
2. i need to hang my art on the walls in the spare room
3. i need to print some pictures off of my computer
4. i need to have real projects, not just boxes of supplies
5. i need an ipod dock that charges and has good speakers

one more thing...i need a job!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

what does Jesus think about politics?

this morning, i was going through my routine - check google mail, check school email, check facebook, check myspace, check blogs, browse twitter - and i came across something that confuses me.

a friend of mine posted a link to a news story from the huffington post about a resolution going through the oklahoma state house of representatives.

the resolution blames president obama for the recession - citing not just his expensive stimulus package, not citing his ideas for health care reform, but blaming it on his "cancellation" of the white house recognition of the national day of prayer and his support of "immorality" in the skin of the lgbt community. the resolution implies that the economic recession is punishment for america's lack of adherence to biblical principles. you can see the full resolution in the story and see for yourself if i've summarized it well.

the call to action at the end is to once again make morality and religion the priority of the state. for those of us who have lived here our whole lives it is hard to entertain the notion that anything other than christian evangelism is at the forefront of oklahoman thought.

but, to take this a bit farther, my question as a person who is trying to seek the LORD and do what is right in the eyes of G-D is: what would Jesus do?

does Jesus believe in separation of church and state?
does He believe in democracy in general?
does He think citizens should be able to take part in their government?
would Christ condone representation of the masses and the idea that a government be conducted by the people?
does Jesus think that members of the lgbt community have fewer rights than heterosexual americans?

how do you stand for Christ and be an active citizen at the same time? or can you?