When the Strong Get Weak (Poem)


I am broken
And wounded
I am angry
And afraid
Just because you see me smiling
Doesn’t mean I’m not crying
I am dying inside

I see her name
And it’s as if death is all around
I know they’re trying to preserve
–her memory
I just wish they’d let her rest in
–the ground
I see her face
And I am forced to remember
She’s dead
All over again
Sometimes I mention her name
And it’s like nobody cares

My God,
Is this how it feels?
Is this how I have treated others in
–the past?
Flippant, sympathetic responses
With no love, no mercy, no give
Just cold, harsh, hard
Because every time I shout
The only sound I make is

Because no matter how loud I yell
No one can hear me screaming
No matter
How loud I yell
No one hears me screaming

I am falling apart at the seams
It’s crazy
I try to use other things to distract
Flighty crushes that don’t even
Seem right
There’s a tinge of lust there
This just isn’t God-ordained
I have flashes of giggles
And quickly bury them down
Because I don’t feel as though
I should be happy

I think to myself
You don’t have the right to be happy
Who do you think you are,
Out here having fun
While everyone else back home is
–still grieving?
Your friend only died just days
But for everyone else
It’s more like milliseconds
So who are you to be happy
When your friend is still dead?

I don’t know how to deal with pain
–like this
I pushed
And shoved people away
I cannot bear the agony of heartache
Let them throw their sticks and stones
Let them hit me with their fists
I will gladly sport the bruises
But please God
Don’t make me suffer through this
This is something
I cannot take

The trauma is too great
I’m not strong enough for this

So I push
The more I begin to care
The harder I love
The further I find myself
Backing away
“They’re too close,” that’s what I think,
“They’re too close.”
My most common thought being,
If this person were to pass away
How great would my tears be?
Would my cries be so hard
That I would drown myself in my
Would the dagger slice through my
Every time they popped up into my mind?
Could I take it?
Could I withstand the bad news?
Would I find myself still standing
After receiving the news of their passing?

These are things I ask myself
They were things I asked
Before she went away…

Her name was Sandra Bland
Most of us called her Sandy
She was Big Sister to me
Her greeting I cannot recall
But I do remember doing a step
And a dance
And if you knew what was good for
You had better have her Swedish Fish

We didn’t always see eye to eye
We grew apart
But it was 5ive Tails all day
That’s just how it was
Always show your clubs love
But we hadn’t really talked
Nor had a real conversation
In years
So never did I imagine
I would take her loss so intensely
We had grown apart
I was safe, or so i thought,
I was safe
So whenever that bomb would drop
I would be clear from the blast

That’s not how it worked out
I got hit anyway
And I found myself angry with her
Constantly asking
Why did you come back?
Why didn’t you stay home?
You were alive then
Why did you come back, Sandy?
I kept wanting to be furious
But how can you be upset
With a dead woman?
How could I be enraged at her
For dying
When she had no clue that day would
–be her last?

Yet still
I kept asking these things
Until at last
I accepted the fact
That I was angry
Not because she died
But because she died without me ever
–really being close to her
Out of self-preservation
My attempts to protect myself
And she still hurt me anyway
Not even aware
Her death would do it
She didn’t mean to
She didn’t mean to die, didn’t know that
–she would
She just did

And despite all that, I still got hurt

And now
All I can think is
Why, God, would You allow me to love
–someone this much
Only to strip them away?
Would You put people in my life
Just to take them away from me?
I was eleven when Mamu died
My grandmother’s death crushed me
I was never the same after that
Within that same period of time
Watching loved ones fade away
One after another
God, I said it then, and I’m saying it now
If to love someone
Means to hurt this much, then
I can’t do this
I refuse to love anyone else
I’m too fragile, too frail
I will break
I will—

God then spoke to me,

“How do you think I felt
As I watched My Son be nailed to
–that cross,
To see Him endure the agony
Of being separated from Me because
–He took on
Your iniquities?

My child,
Understand that I know your pain,
I know it very well.
Yes it hurts,
But I promised I would never put more
–on you
Than you could bear.
I am here,
I am the One who is holding you up
When you think you’ve got it all
I am the One keeping you
When you feel you’ve been smashed
–to pieces

Do not be afraid to love.
Pain reminds you, you are human
Not invincible
And that you need a Savior to get you
–through this.

I made you to love,
To reach as many people as you can,
While you can
And while they’re still here,
But you can’t love anyone
Behind that titanium bunker
Lined with electrified fences,
Laced with barbwire

And no one can love you through
–there, either.

I didn’t ask you to be the strongest;
I only asked that you let Me be your
Your Rock,
Your Protector.
I know it hurts
So darling, come to Me.
I am here for you.

I am here.”

I don’t know what it is
The more I shove
The closer people get
And they will not go away
And they will not leave me alone
And they will NOT…
>>>let me go through this alone

Jesus has shown me
It’s okay to feel
To hurt
To grieve
Because now I know
What His children feel
It’s okay to love
To be loved
To fall for someone
Because no matter what life throws at
I’m going to be okay

Sandy’s death
Has been difficult for me to deal with
While she is gone
I did not die with her
I am alive
And it would be an insult
To all my loved ones who are deceased
If I did not continue to live on
In their memory

Nothing can separate me
Nothing can separate
Not depression, nor anger
Death or despair
No situation can break me
But even if it should
I know who my God is
And He’ll make me stronger than ever

Watch out folks
I’m gonna use this thing to light up
–the sky
I’ll explode and shine bright
Like a huge firecracker
My glow will be as permanent
As the stars in the night
I won’t die down
I won’t die out—I refuse
Satan, did you hear me?
I will not give in to you

In the midst of my silent cries
And falling tears
I shall still find
My smile
This did not kill me
This will not kill me

It’ll only hurt
For a little while.


When the Strong Get Weak (Behind the Poem)

I was working at Kids Across America, a summer camp in Missouri, when I received the news that my friend Sandra Bland had passed away. Those close to me know that I don’t take death very well, so for her death to be so unexpected and sudden, it was really tough some days. I was led to write a few poems about her, but this by far was the hardest. Originally I had intended on doing a spoken word piece [a shortened version] to perform while at camp but it just didn’t work out that way. So, I decided I would eventually share it once I finished editing it, but since it was so painful to write it I just kept putting it off. I was inspired to finally finish it due to a friend going through a time of loss.

Today, for those who don’t know, is the first day of trial for Sandra Bland’s family in their pursuit to seek answers for her death. #WhatHappenedToSandraBland I pray that no matter what the verdict is, that God’s favor go forward and that He will continue to give them peace and understanding through an extremely difficult time. I have said it before, Sandra Bland is not a movement–she was a person. For a lot of us, including myself, it’s hard to speak of her in past tense. People need to be mindful of that before they start trying to treat her name and her cause #SandySpeaks as some sort of fad.

With all that being said, it is my honest prayer that by sharing my pain I am able to help others through their time of loss as well. You never know how difficult it is for someone to lose a person they deeply care about until you have to go through it yourself. Certain days and special times have a whole new meaning, and suddenly, you have a whole new anniversary to remember for the rest of your life. The ladies of Sigma Gamma Rho were founded November 12, 1922. The sorority started a campaign that every 22nd of the month we wear blue and gold, however since Sandy passed we now honor her memory on that day. My hope is that one day, while I am slowly working through my grief, that I go from recognizing the 22nd of each month as the remembrance of Sandy’s death to seeing the 22nd of each month as the celebration of her life. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I know with Jesus I will be there someday, when I’m ready.

(You can read the poem here: When the Strong Get Weak)

Pin Needles (Poem)

PIN NEEDLES                       9/8/15

Another no

I keep telling myself
Stay encouraged
That new job is gonna come
Before you know it
I can’t help but wonder

What am I doing here?

Thoughts of going back home
Pound the walls of my brain
And as I hold onto the fragments of hope
—I left with
I begin to second guess myself

Were You really the One
Who told me to go out here like this?
Or was I just lying on Your name
By mistaking Your voice
For my own?”

This scene is all too familiar

I feel trapped between two rocks
The walls crushing me
As I helplessly, listlessly won’t budge

I share my dreams
And feel just as stupid
As the stares I receive
I mean
Am I being all that realistic?
Starving artist…heh
I’ve been hungry for years
So much so
Stomach pains are starting to become
A norm for me
The word “eat” is foreign
What does that mean?

All the grown ups are chowing down
And I’m sitting here sulking at the kids’ table

All I need
Is a chance, just one opportunity
To prove that I can write
The cards, however,
Don’t seem to line up right
Have You forsaken me?

Of, of course not
God I’m sorry I’m just
At around age 40
You said I would be performing
On stages
Showed me the crowds
And the lights cascading down over me
Like a beaming photon blanket

And as it is,
That’s currently 23 years aways
And counting
But each day
The vision of lights and stages
Slowly fades

I feel the pressures
To make something happen
And make it happen
Gotta get to the quick
Real quick
Quick oh forget this I quit
God I quit
Is settling really that bad?
I’ll just go back to Mom’s house
My clothes are still in bags
I’ll tell my friends today
That I’m leaving
No way this could happen for me
I had to have been dreaming…

Even as I hear You say,
“Is that what I told you to do?
Why did I send you here?
Tell them your purpose.”
I quiver in fear
In terror I say they will not understand
Full of pride I say it’s just homesickness
I told one of my sisters in the faith once
That I could not let people see me cry
I refused to do it

Panic is rising up and bringing tears with it

I can’t let them see me cry
And I can’t share my vision
They won’t buy it
That dog won’t hunt
That is not going to work
And Jesus tells me,
“Even if they should fail you,
I will not.
I am all that you’ve got
In spite of you thinking you have
I am literally
All that you’ve got.
Believe in Me.
Trust and be sure that I am God.”

My excitement is always followed
By doubting and despair
Whether immediate
Or tarrying along the way
Doubt and despair always show up
As depression attempts to sneak in
Three’s company, I suppose
And still
In the bitterness of waiting
There is yet a hope that thrives

I have survived too much in my life
To turn back down that happy trail
God, ju-just please…
Show me what heck am I supposed to do with my life…

And all I hear Him say
“Continue to follow the dream, dear daughter,
Continue to follow the dream.”

Why Where Sandra Bland Died is as Important as How

For over 50 days, I have been receiving messages on social media telling me what a fool I am for standing in solidarity with the bold and vivacious activist, Sandra Bland. While the messages vary in their intensity, most of them have two things in common: 1) they know nothing about Sandra Bland and are woefully misinformed 2) they express their own belief that Sandra Bland chose to end her life and, thus, her life is not worth honoring, her grieving family is not worth respecting, and the circumstances surrounding her death are not worth questioning.

Sadly, they have completely missed the point.

While understanding may not be their goal, I know that it is the goal of many of you out there whose concern is piqued not only by our persistence, but even more so by the bold, vulnerable, powerful and loving voice that you have heard in the…

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Vanity (Poem)

(Going through some of my old poems and decided I’d share this one. Hope you receive a message from it—take care and God bless.)

VANITY                       (11/7/14)

I had to remind myself today
I’m beautiful

This reminder took place
After I found myself
Over picture
After picture
Staring gazing studying examining

If that guy I’m crushing on,
If he saw it,
Would he instantly friend me?
Would he follow me
And give me tons of orange hearts?

Would he like me?
Would he like me back?

I wondered all that
And then I remembered
To remind myself

I’m beautiful,
And even if he doesn’t think so,
Each time I look into the mirror
And can say confidently
How gorgeous I am
While embracing my slightly awkward attractiveness
Is a milestone in itself

I still hold on to memories
Of a pretty young lady
Who hated herself
Disgusted so much by her own appearance
She cursed her reflection
For making her cry
And for refusing to change into what she thought
Was exceptional
Beyond radiant

Because all she ever saw was ugly

And felt ugly, too

And now
I’m sitting here
Going round two
With a third round on the way
Just to keep speaking into the looking glass
And say

I’m beautiful
I’m dynamite
Fantastically amazing
And lots of other words
That couldn’t possibly describe
The beauty I feel inside

I am a true natural beauty
And I’m not just talking about my hair
Or physical features that require
Little to no makeup
I am referring to my inner being
What makes me who I am

It’s easy
To get lulled into thinking
You’re not good enough
Fooled into believing
That the right selfie will do the trick
So the next time you log on to Instagram
You’ll be greeted with dozens of notifications

The thing about compliments,
Double taps and the like,
Such as those likes on Facebook
And what have you,
Is that they disappear
Just as soon as they appeared

It never lasts long
It’s never enough
And you’re always wanting more
So you get to brainstorming
Wondering how on earth
You’ll top yourself week after week
Before you know it
You’re going to great lengths
To join the thousand plus club

As I slowly obsessed over those photos
New and old
I could faintly hear a familiar voice

“You’re still ugly,” it whispered

And that was what made me draw the line

No I’m not
I’m beautiful
Sexy fine
Even if no one else sees it but me
Even if no guy ever tells me so

I’m beautiful

And you, my friend
Have got to go

I’ll be sure to let the door hit you on the way out.

Form of Expression (Poem)

(After Sandy died, I found myself reluctant to write but I picked up a pen anyway. I wrote this while I was still away at kamp [Kids Across America] and now I’m ready to share it with all of you. I pray that it helps anyone dealing with loss…I have another one I’ll be editing and posting up on the blog sometime this week.)


Words crumble when I speak
It’s true
Why do you think I mumble so
There’s always uncertainty there
Scared of saying the wrong thing
At the wrong time
That’s why I write so much
I have the chance to consider
What I shall say
How I shall say it
And if I don’t like it, well,
They’re called rough drafts for a
Scratch out, insert, edit, delete

When I write
God’s voice is penned down in
And I find myself eager
To hear what He has to say
Sometimes I get swept away
In a sea of emotions
Putting down whatever I feel
Which is okay
Because some days
You just gotta keep it real

But Jesus Christ alone is the realest
And above all else
I must quiet down the tides
Tell them to be still
Be still, shhh
The Lord is about to speak

It’s funny
How we think our situations
Are so unique
Ignoring the glaring similarities
Between us and someone else

I had not ever gone through the five
–stages before
Until after Sandy died
Her name was Sandra Bland
But many of us knew her as
We had grown distant
Yet still
You never know how much you
–truly love someone
Until they’re gone

I knew she wasn’t coming back
Yet still
I was hoping she would
‘Til I saw pictures from her funeral
And I’ve holding it all together
With a drop of glue
And a strip of tape
Then I saw the picture of her memorial

I was furious
Irate with God because I felt as though
–He took her from me
I didn’t even get a chance to say
And I was mad at Him for it
“You didn’t let me say bye!”
How could I be so selfish?
Did her family, did her friends get to
–say farewell?
What makes your pain so special?
These things I told myself
But it still didn’t stop it from hurting
Rage bubbling in my chest

It’s hard for me to reach out
The words fall apart every time
I want to let people in
But I can’t let my heart get broken into
I’ve been broken in two
The other half of me is still scattered
–on the floor
I shove away potential friends,
Chances to fall in love
For reasons just like this

I can’t handle this
I’m too weak to bear it all

Then again
It was never intended for me to carry
–the weight
In the first place
Christ allows me to feel
What I feel for a reason
When I feel like there’s nothing left
–in me
It reminds me Jesus is necessary

I’m hopeless without Him