As Mental Health Awareness Month is coming to an end…

I pride myself on being an amazing mother, partner, family member, friend, human being etc.-and here’s why…

There was a point in my life where I was more angry than sad. I was sad because I was so depressed and i was angry because I truly felt like no one gave a shit. So much so that I tried to take my own life (this was years ago) and I wrote a suicide note, and turns out I kept it.
I’ll be honest I didn’t even know I kept it until I stumbled upon it yesterday digging through old journals.

And so I sat down and read it- I bawled. Y’all, I was so angry back then.
It broke my heart to read a letter I left behind for people who knew me and yet it was filled with so much anger and then there was part for Kannen and I told him that despite what anyone tried to tell him, his momma loved him.

Reading a note that was telling my son goodbye- whew, that hit different and it just…
It just really broke my heart.

My point being that as #mentalhealthawarenessmonth comes to an end, I want my family, my friends, other human beings, etc. – I just want you to know I care, I’ll always care- even when I say I don’t…I do.

I will be your vault, your shoulder to cry on, your person, your safe space-I will be what you need in the moment you need it the most.

It’s important that we remind those that we love just how much we love them.
You never know what people are going through.

I love you guys with everything I have and then some.

✨🖤✨

From Writer To Published Writer And The Fear That Comes With It…

Do you remember the first time your work was shared somewhere other than between the lines of your journal?

Or the semi perfectly formatted pages of your website?

I guess technically we are published writers every time we become brave enough to let our words take shape on its own, releasing them from the pages we keep them captive on.

However it’s a bit different receiving an email informing you, that the poem that you submitted has been published on someone else’s website or in their book, or wherever else we loosened our grip enough to watch our words travel.

I GOT THAT EMAIL YESTERDAY!!

I am a published writer!!!

I am a published writer. Like an actual published writer.

It was surreal to scroll down and see MY bio under my poem on someone else’s website. You can see my featured poem here on PhoebeMD

It was also very scary…and before you think I’m crazy let me explain why.

For years, writing has been the one thing to remain constant in my life. No matter the length of the hiatus between us, I could always come right back to it. Comfortably-with no awkwardness and resume right from where I left off as if I had never left at all.

My journals never judged me about the ways in which I coped. I was never made to feel less than or labeled the “black friend” as if that was all I had to offer the world. Writing was/is/and will always be MY SAFE PLACE.

With that being said, deciding to open up my home-where I feel the safest-to other writers, and really the world is both exhilarating and absolutely terrifying.

What if this becomes something I no longer enjoy doing?

What if I get caught up in the superficial things and I no longer feel safe writing down the stories begging to be told?

Those are some scary thoughts and they are with me constantly….

Want to hear how I deal with those thoughts and how I try to keep my writing as sacred as the day I opened up my first black and white composition book?

Tune in next Monday to an all new episode of the iHaveWrites Podcast as we discuss the fears surrounding the things we love the most.

big girl.

Somewhere within the pages of my emails, lives a draft of a letter I wrote.

It speaks volumes of depression so loud, no one can hear the girl screaming within wanting nothing more than to be saved

It describes how my legs have grown tired of walking away from situations that leave me too battered to fight

It’s assumed that because the mass of my skin is a larger number, I am capable of upholding the heaviest of troubles

And I’d crumble under mountains of heartache before I let you hear my war cry

I’d drown in the river of my sorrows before I’d ever quench the thirst of the serpent begging to be hydrated only to defeat me

Big girls don’t cry until we are reminded that we are big girls

Love seems attainable until it’s ripped from the core of my spine causing my ribs to collapse into themselves leaving no room to take a breath—

—and now I’m suffocating looking for the same love that ditched my body to come and revive me

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

just thoughts

to be the inanimate object that resembles your love

the smell of coffee brings back memories of you staying a little longer

what undiscovered treasures live right under our noses

x marked the spot where i met you

and your hand brushed against mine

time-there’s never enough

or maybe there’s too much

the ocean lives in your eyes

and not a day passes by that i don’t want to dive into you

and not a day goes by that i don’t drown in all that you are

cries of heartache were only described sounds until i met you

something like the scary stories you tell a child to keep them weary of monsters until those very same monsters rob them of their innocence

in a sense i knew you long before i met you

in other ways its like I never knew you at all

x marked the spot where i met you

i fear ex will mark the spot where we fall

An Angels Ascent

If tears must fall let them not be for granted, let them be in celebration

For my body no longer stumbles through dark valleys, there are no more complications

My soul lies in these o so green pastures, at the very top of the hill

I am where the waves no longer crash but instead where the waters are still

Let our memories dismantle your anger

Let our love console your grief

Let our laughs keep you warm at night

And that is what will bring me peace

Focus not on the battle I lost there, but on the war I won here

And though my eyes have closed, the world has never been so clear

The sky has never been so blue

The earth has never felt so soft

Think of me as the angel you’ve gained, not the loved one you lost

When you miss me call on your Father

Pour into him your overflow of me

Think not about what we missed

But be filled on what we did see

As these clouds begin to open and I begin to soar

Know that these wings carry me comfortably 

And I am in pain, no more

death.

Death came knocking at my door again

No, not for me

But still it came, uninvited and unwanted

Unexpected

As it had come so many times before, I knew it’s knock

A knock you never expect until it is already pounding at your doorstep

Catapulting you into a reality that no matter how many times you’ve been before, still it takes your breath away

We are on a first name basis

No formalities

Candice, you know the drill

There I stand in NOT sadness, but pure hatred

You sick son of a bitch

When will it be my turn

Why do you insist I be in your audience only to witness your disgusting performance

The screams I am begging to stay buried leave no room for grief

I am angry

I am livid

Is this your idea of grief

Is this a part of your sick and twisted humor

All emotions but the one I need

Angry because I’m guilty

Guilt that my anger leaves no room to grieve

Lonely because I refuse to be consoled

And in this toxic circle there I sit

Bargaining with death

But he’s already gone

Just as quick as he came, he left even quicker

Leaving me with nothing but our memories and the future plans we made

He didn’t come for me but I feel him all the same

silenced

I can think of everything i want to say to you

But come the time and i can not write it

Words unheard, thrown to the curb

Seems my soul has been silenced

Look in my eyes and you’ll see the signs

Promise they will guide you right in

Listen for the skipped beats of my heart

And no doubt you’ll find what I’ve been hiding

In a field full of red roses

I am black and wilted

I’ve been here a while so I hang low but still I try to get your attention

Pick me, I want to scream

But my pride won’t step aside

If you could just look past my missing petals

I swear I’m beautiful deep down inside

No hidden thorns

No buried secrets

Just longing to be grabbed by my roots

Hundreds of hands have touched them

But none of them were you

What do I do

Words have failed me

And words were all that I had left

A silenced soul nourishes nothing

But a love on its last breath

And in those final moments

Still I’ll say all is well

A love lost in words unspoken

Another story I’ll never tell

Once A Young Girl

Barbie dolls and hair bows

That’s what I dreamed it’d be

Instead innocence and security

Was ripped away from me

Young girl turned quick

Delicate skin forced thick

Hesitant to talk about it

No one else ever did

Shit like this shouldn’t happen to a kid

Where do I start

How do I begin

I trusted this guy

Because who wouldn’t trust a family friend

On my back I lay still

Hoping my silent screams

Reached the ears of anyone willing to listen

Because this can’t be right

This can’t be the way I learn about love

This can’t be how I learn about intimacy

His pants have come down

And now his penis is exposed

I am one step closer to intimacy issues

I am one step closer to never fully trusting a man

I am one step closer to the battered soul I’d soon claim to be mine

I am one step closer to depression that leaves me in the same position I was in when this all took place

On my back I lay still

Penetration came next

Is this considered sex

Am I supposed to be this scared

The sound of my suppressed tears must’ve been loud

Because I looked up and saw my mother standing there

The words “save me” fled from my closed lips

The ones on my face and in between my legs

She did her part

She showed up

Wiped her daughter front to back

But there was no conversation

Just hesitation, hugs, tears, her breast cancer, and then her death

The first of many bags I’d learn to carry alone

Barbie dolls and hair bows

That’s what I dreamed it’d be

Instead innocence and security

Was ripped away from me

Young girl turned quick

Delicate skin forced thick

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. 
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