Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension

In August 2020 my friend, Kayla, reached out to me asking if I wanted to collaborate with her on a poem she really wanted to create. It was a poem that would serve in memory of a dear friend of hers. After listening to her and hearing how passionate she was, I of course couldn’t wait to bring this poem to life. Kayla, knows that I absolutely love to write and I do so passionately. However, she also knows that most of what I write stays behind the doors of my many designed notebooks and journals.

I’m thankful that she approached me with this and made sure that not only did I write piece for the poem but she also wanted me to RECORD myself reciting it. If you know me at all, you know that recording my poetry is so out of my comfort zone. I’m glad I was pushed out of it though because I found something on the outside of where I am comfortable. I found many doors, yet to be unopened. I can’t say what is beyond the doors, but I know I’ll never find out settling on comfort.

Here it is, my first ever recording piece of work along with a dear friend of mine, Kayla Mabry. Our poem, Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension, in memory of Quamaine.

Enjoy

Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension

(Kayla) Excuse me while I stand on my soap box for what I believe I’ll SHOUT from the roof tops “NO JUSTICE-NO PEACE” The media’s made sure this has our Undivided attention We’ve all read, seen, and heard it – the problem comes from divided comprehension This isn’t patatoe/patatoe this is human life “I hear what you saying!” BUT YOU’RE NOT READING IT RIGHT If your skin looks like mine, you have no first hand experience If you’re ONLY listening to reply, you’re not really hearing it Now close your mouth, Open your mind put away the twitter fingers this don’t even need a reply Do I have your undivided attention? Because as you continue to listen – The world needs you to comprehend There’s no hidden meaning – IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE US AGAINST THEM

(Candice) I hope my words are heard just as clear as the ones spoken before me A black woman speaking her mind, Lord I hope they don’t ignore me Checking my watch cause time is crucial, and I got a lot of shit to say Watching another black brother getting shot in the street is now considered “Just another day” While you’re on THE FENCE, I’m on DEFENSE and I promise it is not the same thing It should not be the norm to read in headlines about the death of another Black King And yes, crime is crime and a wrong is wrong and in that aspect you are right But you mean to tell me if my Black brother has a criminal record the price to pay has to be HIS LIFE And for the mentally unstable who are not able to communicate what is on the mind Should they really be silenced with bullets because they could not comprehend a command when it was given the first time Two men with guns, but only one is killed and not because the other was tougher Two men with guns, only one is killed, simply cause one was a brother You focusing on my anger makes you blind to my pain and in result you’ll never hear my message Why when a white person is passionate it’s deemed okay, but a black person is labeled aggressive There can’t be unity in you and me because we aren’t treated the same You can’t blame the media for racial issues when behind closed doors your hatred remains Listen, I mean really listen. Can you hear the pain dragging on the heels of these words Countless Black brothers, sisters, and even CHILDREN are dead. Don’t you think a little justice is what we deserve? People weighing in on black tragedy, telling us how we should feel when you haven’t a clue on what we’ve endured When all we’ve been trying to say is that black lives matter just as much as yours

i can’t write for you

I came across a post on Facebook a couple of days ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It was posted by another writer and I remember reading it and immediately thinking, I wish more people would get this. 

The post was a quote and it read, “I wasn’t born to convince you to believe me. I choose to show up in this space for me and for the ones who find comfort in my art. I talk about the dark parts of my childhood because those stories are worth telling. It’s my way of giving a voice to my inner child. It is okay with me if my art doesn’t resonate with you. I didn’t create it for you.”

I think the reason those words are still with me is because I didn’t always think that way. As much as I agreed with these words, it forced me to think about the time in my life where I felt the complete opposite. 

Are my words good enough? 

Am I good enough?

This was a constant thought. I would hesitate to write anything in fear that my words and experiences wouldn’t be good enough for those who would actually take time and read it. It was exhausting quite honestly. I would analyze experiences that I went through trying to word in it ways that would satisfy OTHER PEOPLE.   Crazy right? 

I would become obsessed about who was reading my work, or if anybody was reading it all. I focused more on what others thought of my work instead of my actual work. 

It wasn’t just in my writing either. I sought approval and acceptance in just about every aspect of my life. I needed to be loved. Loved by anyone and in any way just as long as I wasn’t alone. My mother had died, and my father had chosen not to be a part of my life. Can you imagine for a second what it is like hearing adults as a young child who just lost her mother conversing back and forth on who would be able to take in two kids that are now motherless. It isn’t what I would describe as comforting, lets just say that. 

I grew up desperate for attention but was always too sad and ashamed to ask for it. It was a war I fought internally and alone. So I started to write. I wrote poems, I wrote stories, hell I wrote diary entries hoping an adult would go through it and find my cries for help. And when I didn’t get the response I thought I would, it sent me even deeper in the hole I dug for myself. It was a type of hell I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. 

If I’m being completely honest, it wasn’t until roughly two years ago that I truly saw how dependent I was on the approval and acceptance of others. I wanted to be loved so badly by others, I totally forgot about loving myself and knowing that loving myself can be enough. And I’m still a work in progress but it’s IN PROGRESS. 

I’ve come a long way. 

So when I saw that post it just made me think about how far I’ve come, and the roads I’ve traveled. Made me realize that I used to write to be right, and now I write because it’s simply what I love to do. I write for no one other than me. It’s how I express myself. It’s how I survive. To be able to write down and free the words and thoughts that have held me back for so long is a feeling I may never be able to describe but it is MY feeling. 

I guess what I am trying to say simply put is that I used to force myself to color inside the lines because I thought it’s what everyone would like. I thought a perfect picture is what would make me worthy. And now? Well now, my focus isn’t staying inside the lines. I draw what I want and how I want. Some people love my artwork, and others don’t. And while it’s okay for people not to like my art, just keep in mind, I no longer draw for anyone but myself. 

Isn’t it crazy what feelings can surface from things we see on social media?

the words i wrote for myself but not to myself

The end of the day can be such a bittersweet feeling, can’t it? You can feel relieved that the day is over, you AND your children have survived, and the house is finally quiet.

However, even with victory coursing through your veins it is almost impossible not to think about all the things you got wrong. Well, at least for me it is. You’d think I’d take the little time I do have where I can actually hear my own thoughts and actually revel in what could only be described as a win. I should be able to fall asleep effortlessly and dream nothing but magnificent dreams…

And when that happens, I’ll be sure to write a blog describing how I’ve transformed into an all mighty and powerful being who shits cupcakes and rainbows.

At this very moment, both of my kids are asleep in bed, I have a Friends episode playing in the background because it is my favorite type of white noise (no pun intended). You’d think I’d have nothing else to do other than sigh the joyous sighs of relief that no one is asking me where the other purple polka dotted sock that grandma got as a gift last Christmas is. While I am pretty damn happy no one is asking me that question…anymore, my mind still seems to run a mile a minute and I seem incapable of being able to stop and enjoy the stillness that embraces me.

I am my own worst enemy, and critic. I can’t help it. At the end of the day when I go over all the things I forgot to do, or better yet the things I did but failed at doing, it is no one else’s face that is looking back at me in the mirror. Instead, it is only mine. My face looking at all my failures and they all look the same, they all look like me. In these moments there are no words I could utter quietly to myself that could lift the weight from off my shoulders. It seems giving myself advice is the equivalent to my son actually listening to me when I tell him to clean his room, it just does not happen.

So because desperate times text for desperate measure (I know most people say desperate times call for desperate measures, however I actively avoid telephone calls so I went for what works for me) I decided to pretend a loved one came to me with this problem. See with me, I severely lack in the self love department, but tend to kick ass in being able to lend advice to those I love. To see those I love be able to thrive in the awesomeness that is them, keeps me going on days when I have nothing else.

My hope is in doing this or approaching it from this perspective, is that I am able to create something beautiful. Words I will be able to look back on when I need to remind myself that the love I pour out onto others, first needs to be poured onto myself. With that being said, here goes nothing…

To you who I love,

Think not about what you didn’t do or how you didn’t do it as good as you could have. Don’t think about how all you had to give your son for lunch was a pb&j but instead focus on how he told you that you were the best mom ever for fixing his pb&j the very specific way he liked it. Don’t let it discourage and stress you out thinking about how your toddler fought with all she had to go to sleep but instead think about how she rubbed your cheek gently when she finally decided to wave the white flag in defeat and closed her big beautiful eyes. Don’t focus on the plants that didn’t grow today, but instead replay the memories you made planting seeds with the people you love. My love, focusing on how hard the rain falls from the sky will cause you to miss out on the opportunity to dance freely in the rain, so freely you don’t even notice the tears falling from your eyes releasing all that once held you down.

So today sucked. Well, I hate to be the one to tell you my dear but odds are that tomorrow will suck too and it is because it may suck just as bad as today that it is necessary to forgive yourself for whatever went wrong. Let your failures be your success story. Let your doubts be the reassurance that you care deeply. Stop giving yourself such crazy expectations attached with even crazier limitations. Your soul has to rest before the next race and even then prepare to be extremely proud of yourself even if all you walk away with is a third place ribbon. Let those ribbons be the stepping stones to your gold medal.

So you failed today, just promise yourself that tomorrow you will fail even better. Before you know it your heart will be heavy no more.

Love Always,

candice.

The Baby I Keep In A Pink Booksack

Okay, so I don’t have an ACTUAL baby in a booksack. 

No need to bash me in your mom group just yet. 

By the end of this, you’ll understand. Just bear with me as I try to find the words. 

 

Have you ever thought about how you’d react to a bad situation?  

What if it started as a good situation? 

I never expected to be so incredibly hurt in a situation where it started off as nothing but excitement and joy. 

 

On November 3rd, 2018 I miscarried my daughter, Kennedi Rose Chenier. To this day it still remains as one of the most devastating things to ever happen to me. That experience started off as something so beautiful. So hopeful. “You are pregnant”, I had been home from a two week stay at a mental health institution for about four days (another story for another day) and after feeling horrible for all of those days I went to the hospital and those were the words the doctor greeted me with. It was the happiest I had felt in a long time. I also thought that maybe being pregnant is part of the reason I had a mental breakdown. 

 

I had to wait about a month before I could get in to see my doctor and when that day finally came, I had no idea it would be the beginning of the end. The months that followed were filled with more blood tests that I ever knew my body was capable of. I know that there were steps in between but in my mind it went from being too early in the pregnancy to see anything to “you’ve miscarried”. And I heard the words, I did, but I held on to the hope that maybe I would still give birth up until the very day I knew for sure I wouldn’t be giving birth any time soon. 

 

I still remember what I was doing when it happened. I was outside waiting for pizza to be delivered. Pizza. In one moment my mouth was watering as the Pizza Hut delivery driver was driving up and then in the next, I am fighting back tears hoping he hurries up before the blood leaking from my vagina reaches the concrete. You know, I have no idea what happened to that pizza now that I think about it. That night was, o man, it was a memorable night. So memorable that when I was at the same hospital a few days ago, I stared at the exact spot on the parking lot where I passed out and bled before Sarah could come back with help to get me up off the ground (yet another story for another day). It was a night I sometimes fight to forget but it is painfully etched into my soul. Mine forever. 

 

I returned home after two days in the hospital. Part of me didn’t want to leave. I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I went to the hospital with a baby, or the idea of a baby, and I came home with nothing. I was so EMPTY. 

 

The hospital sent me home with so many things. There was a stuffed animal, an angel keychain, numbers to multiple organizations, etc. A couple of my friends had bought me some different things as well, things like relaxing bath salts, books that would help me through the grieving process. I don’t think they’ll ever know how thankful I am for them. Seriously, no matter how many days go by, I will forever love you. And I was thankful I really was but when I got home, I noticed something. I had what kind of looked like the box of things the hospital sends you home with once you are discharged with your brand new baby but in this story, my box only reminded me of the baby I would never meet. 

 

It stayed in the corner of my bedroom for quite some time. A box filled with gifts, grief counselors information, a onesie I had bought, my crushed soul, among many other things and every time I looked at it, I thought about the daughter I’d never bond with. The daughter I’d never teach all the things I learned on my own. My heart broke all over again each time my eyes fell on its appearance. 

 

Enter the pink booksack. A week had passed and I had had enough. I was home alone and I became enraged. I started crying and throwing things while searching for anything that I could make that box of things disappear into. I stuffed all the papers, books, gifts, all of it into a pink booksack. I was so angry. There was nothing anyone could tell me that could’ve helped me. I had lost my child and I started to question how many things I would have to lose in my life before the universe decided to give me a break. I was broken. 

 

That booksack sat in the back of my closet for months. Out of sight, out of mind they say. 

During these months I found out I was pregnant again with my now almost five month old beautiful rainbow baby girl. I think finding out I was pregnant again gave me an out to not have to think about the gut wrenching loss I had experienced months before. I guess I thought things were normal again until the day came where I knew for sure things were definitely NOT NORMAL. 

 

I’m not sure what led up to this particular moment, but whatever the reason it led my son to my closet digging for some toy I’m sure. However it wasn’t a toy he dragged out of my closet five months into my pregnancy, it was the PINK BOOKSACK. That damn booksack

 

I completely lost it.

 

All these emotions that I had no idea were still using my body as storage surfaced when I saw that booksack. I screamed at my son to stop unzipping it immediately, as if fully unzipping the booksack would destroy us all. I told him to zip it back up and put it back in the closet EXACTLY where he found it. His face, I will never forget his face. While he returned the booksack so many thoughts ran across my mind. 

 

Such as

  • I just screamed at my son for no reason, at least not a reason he has anything to do with. 
  • I had lost a child
  • I have not dealt with this loss 
  • I stuffed my feelings and the memory of my child into a booksack and then stuffed the booksack in the closet
  • I lost a child
  • I lost a child
  • I lost a child

 

All that time that had passed and I thought I was over it, when really all I had done was put my child in a booksack.

I ran to my room to meet my son who was quietly trying to put the booksack back where he got it. I grabbed him, I hugged him, I apologized, and then we cried together. 

 

I still have the booksack and it still sits in the back of my closet. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to unzip it. 
IMG-7692

I Can’t Write For You

I came across a post on Facebook a couple of days ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It was posted by another writer and I remember reading it and immediately thinking, I wish more people would get this. 

 

The post was a quote and it read, “I wasn’t born to convince you to believe me. I choose to show up in this space for me and for the ones who find comfort in my art. I talk about the dark parts of my childhood because those stories are worth telling. It’s my way of giving a voice to my inner child. It is okay with me if my art doesn’t resonate with you. I didn’t create it for you.”

 

I think the reason those words are still with me is because I didn’t always think that way. As much as I agreed with these words, it forced me to think about the time in my life where I felt the complete opposite. 

 

Are my words good enough? 

Am I good enough?

This was a constant thought. I would hesitate to write anything in fear that my words and experiences wouldn’t be good enough for those who would actually take time and read it. It was exhausting quite honestly. I would analyze experiences that I went through trying to word in it ways that would satisfy OTHER PEOPLE.   Crazy right? 

I would become obsessed about who was reading my work, or if anybody was reading it all. I focused more on what others thought of my work instead of my actual work. 

 

It wasn’t just in my writing either. I sought approval and acceptance in just about every aspect of my life. I needed to be loved. Loved by anyone and in any way just as long as I wasn’t alone. My mother had died, and my father had chosen not to be a part of my life. Can you imagine for a second what it is like hearing adults as a young child who just lost her mother conversing back and forth on who would be able to take in two kids that are now motherless. It isn’t what I would describe as comforting, lets just say that. 

 

I grew up desperate for attention but was always too sad and ashamed to ask for it. It was a war I fought internally and alone. So I started to write. I wrote poems, I wrote stories, hell I wrote diary entries hoping an adult would go through it and find my cries for help. And when I didn’t get the response I thought I would, it sent me even deeper in the hole I dug for myself. It was a type of hell I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. 

 

If I’m being completely honest, it wasn’t until roughly two years ago that I truly saw how dependent I was on the approval and acceptance of others. I wanted to be loved so badly by others, I totally forgot about loving myself and knowing that loving myself can be enough. And I’m still a work in progress but it’s IN PROGRESS. 

 

I’ve come a long way. 

So when I saw that post it just made me think about how far I’ve come, and the roads I’ve traveled. Made me realize that I used to write to be right, and now I write because it’s simply what I love to do. I write for no one other than me. It’s how I express myself. It’s how I survive. To be able to write down and free the words and thoughts that have held me back for so long is a feeling I may never be able to describe but it is MY feeling. 

 

I guess what I am trying to say simply put is that I used to force myself to color inside the lines because I thought it’s what everyone would like. I thought a perfect picture is what would make me worthy. And now? Well now, my focus isn’t staying inside the lines. I draw what I want and how I want. Some people love my artwork, and others don’t. And while it’s okay for people not to like my art, just keep in mind, I no longer draw for anyone but myself. 

 

Isn’t it crazy what feelings can surface from things we see on social media?