poetry

Halfway Haiku: A New Challenge

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I was inspired today while searching through Twitter. I saw somebody that I follow trending #haiku and asking people to submit their own, to have fun with it, to be creative. This sparked my own creative flow and I decided: why not try something different?

Here’s a new challenge I’m presenting myself with – I would love participants. Even if I end up with no participants – at least I can show a different side of my writing and take this challenge to a new level with myself. I have always been a poet but this blog has been mostly rantings, stories, writings, musings – long, novel thoughts. I have used it as an outlet from one battle to another.

From now on, every Wednesday, I am going to do what’s called the Halfway Haiku Challenge – I am going to come up with a new haiku poem, or poems, ¬†just to think outside the box. It can be about anything – whatever comes to mind.

The start date is today – Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Each week I will post again on that Wednesday – you can link to the post or you can post within the comments.

For those not familiar with haikus – here’s a definition.

To start, here are a few I wrote this morning with regards to responding to the ones on Twitter.

Let the thinking outside of my box and comfort zone begin ūüôā Here are several examples.

___________________________

(FOR MY HUSBAND)

Gravity of love

Floating on the bliss of you

Wrapped in my shadow.

____________________________

(WITH REGARDS TO ALMOST DYING ON 2/17/14)

So close to dying

Lights surround my breathing soul

Yet still I survive.

___________________________

Winter stars smile bright

Asking me to wish on them

I whisper my prayers.

____________________________

(FOR MY GHOST ADVENTURES IDOL ZAK BAGANS)

Spirits dwell within.

Voices heard he lets speak out.

Giving life to death.

___________________________

I hope I can get a few people on board to take the challenge. I would love to read your poetry – and see it spread from one eye and soul to another. That’s one great way to draw inspiration – and to be inspired.

Listen Up: A Song I Wrote (and I’m PROUD!)

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Back in January – I wrote a post entitled “Memory That Moves Me: Co-Writing a Song.”

It just so happens that today’s prompt is asking me – have I ever written music or been part of a band?

I should mention, and sometimes I laugh about it, I was once the bane of my choir teacher’s experience. She knew I couldn’t sing – heck I knew I couldn’t sing. I would often lipsynch during performances – every once in a while a note would come out of my mouth and you would hear somebody in the alto section yell “SOMEONE IS SINGING SOPRANO!!”.

Yep. That was me. The tone deaf one who simply wanted to find her way somehow into the music world – but I could not sing. I could play the piano. I was also a poet – but a singing voice?

Uh, no. If I showed up at an American Idol audition – I would likely shatter a window or Ryan Seacrest’s make up.

Music does not fit me well. This is where having a dream – and believing in it – is powerful and important.

My favorite artist is a rock star out of Brooklyn, Ariel Aparicio. I learned about his music on Twitter – and I was hooked from the beginning.

We developed a friendship via Twitter and e-mail and I found myself helping him promote his music by showing up at his performances or by working on his website and promotion materials. One day I got the guts to ask – would you perhaps entertain a dream of mine – writing a song together? Color me excited when he immediately said yes.

I wrote the lyrics. He wrote the music. He presented me with the recording for my birthday back in 2010. I will never forget the moment I heard it. For today’s prompt I share with you the only involvement I’ve ever had with a band or with writing music. The song is entitled “I Need You” – and the brilliance behind it still brings tears to my eyes to this day.

I took that wish my heart held true for so many years – and found a way to make it happen. With the wonderful, generous personality of the oh so talented Ariel, and the poetic side of me – we came up with this wonderful rendition of what I will forever call “my song” – because I helped write it.

Introducing the dream I never gave up on – “I Need You.”

I Need You (Lyrics by Jennifer Stephens, Music and Vocals by Ariel Aparicio)

This lonely heart, it cried alone.

These tears, they dried – dried to stone.

This bed it, it felt no soul – of my – my very own.

 So lonely. It tore my life apart.

 

In truth I never knew

My life and then came you.

These scars are fading.

These scars are fading.

 

My scars are fading.

 I need you.

 

I spent so many days waiting

For a hand to take my soul sayin’

You’re not alone in your corners prayin’

I will take your – your pain away

 

In truth I never knew

About peace and then came you.

These scars are fading.

These scars are fading.

 

My scars are fading.

 I need you.

 

Lesson learned by knowing you

The way your words they teach me truth

I can’t go on, I can’t be new

These lessons learned by knowing you

 You only can mend my broken heart

 

In truth I never knew

About peace and then came you.

 These scars are fading.

My scars are fading.

 

In truth I never knew

My life and then came you

 These scars are fading

These scars are fading

My scars are fading….

 

I need you.

I need you.

I need you.

I need you.

Shoulder Space Available: Inquire Here

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Clearly if you have navigated to my blog you will come to realize within, likely, seconds – these thoughts are new.

My bare sidebar, less than 20 posts, 49 followers…. (I even put a new arrival sign for wandering eyes to better understand that I am still gathering my thoughts, intentions, and design).

The header I made is a graphic from a banner making website: it was free.

I show no talents in graphic creativity. I chose to utilize the free version of WordPress (oh, but how I want to upgrade my space so I can get a music player for my side bar) …

Yet, if you have ventured into the depths of each of the posts, the vast majority of them are long winded thoughts, musings, stories, random tidbits of my brain that have come flying out through my typing fingers. I’ve learned to use blogging as an outlet – and yes, deep inside, I hope I reach out and touch somebody (this blog is in no way associated with AT&T or MCI) – that my messages will resound, and be inspiring.

Interestingly enough, I saw a blog on Freshly Pressed yesterday about ¬†the 8 Reasons Why (the writer) would not be friends with you on Facebook in 2014. I completely and totally failed number 6 – guilty (“sorry, not sorry”) – I bluntly apply my struggles to social networking (no, not my divorce, as a matter of fact, no one knew I got divorced until a year after it happened when I kept getting inquired about my ex-husband, so I eventually spilled the beans).

My rantings were with regards to overcoming a dependence on pain medication, the withdrawals. I was not ashamed to post it – and the comfort (and the GO GET HELP, DO NOT TRY THIS ALONE) posts – I am so grateful for.

(Sidebar: Number of people who defriended me over it out of 500: ONE.)

I do what I do ¬†because I know that deep in the pits of the person, or two, or ten, that has come to visit The Overcoming – and even those that saw my Facebook posts, they have come for a visit because they have read my header: I aim to inspire, and I am completely, utterly, FANTASTICALLY, honest. I hold nothing back. I choose to announce my struggles via Facebook (defriend me, I do not care. If you do, you are obviously not someone I wanted to be friends with in the first place if you can’t stand to set your eyes on the fact that some people have to struggle negatively and reach out for help. I said this in my article previously on being Uniquely Strange) . I also choose to chronicle my daily dealings as a mother who lives with anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, self-esteem problems, and the “how-to” of remaining completely drug-free while raising my children, being a wife, staying a friend, and keeping calm.

I am an accepting person. My shoulder is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week (or in recent terms “24/7”) – if someone wants to talk, vent, yell, cry – I will not judge that person. ¬†I will not underestimate that person. I certainly would never condescend to that person – because I am so open-minded as to understand – everybody hurts (props to REM for a GREAT song! If I only had my darn music player I would add it … )

I know that if there was one person who came to read my blogs: it’s the open-minded, inspiration seeking, understanding, individual looking for motivational words, a trip into how a blogger can creatively turn an uphill battle into just what my header says: an inspiring intent.

Odds are, it’s the person that wants so badly to come out and express themselves, a truth they want to get into the open, that they are struggling: but because of the nature of privacy and social media, taboo subjects, not knowing how people react: they become afraid. My aim is to discourage ever keeping secrets – to fully embrace whatever it is you are conquering, and to let people watch and learn from you: to be able to inspire takes a very strong human willingness to be HONEST.

In the week and a day I’ve been blogging, I’ve already garnered so much support, likes, follows, e-mails, comments – of those that I believe I have touched in a positive way. I also got Blogger of the Week on Dancing with Fireflies (insert happy dance here). I do this for those that I know are coming to read – if there’s one specific person, I believe it’s the motivated one who is looking for another shoulder space on loan (they do not sell supportive shoulders at Walmart) – and someone to relate to that is not afraid to muster up all of her emotional energy and put it out for public eyes to read (again, I digress, they do not sell transparent honesty at Walmart, nor is it ever on sale for half price “in bulk” at your local Cotsco).

(Sidebar: it’s free on my blog)

That person is me, that blog is mine, and to that reader: I want you to know you are never alone, no matter the battles you face. I want you to understand you can always be yourself, to never give up hope, and to always reach out for support when you feel it’s necessary – you will find gratitude, patience, and dedication waiting for you on my welcome mat.

We’re always open at The Overcoming.

And yes, we serve pie.

Fascinated by the Famous: A Thank You

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Dearly Famous,

“We are gathered here today…” (no I’m kidding) – the following soulful masterpiece of my blogtopia is dedicated to you. The above entitled truly is a thank you – it is not sarcasm. ¬†I am not giving you a criticism. I am truly showing you gratitude.

This entry is written to you straight from the heart of a middle class southern nerd – I have been bullied, cried many hours, over anything from my goofy hair, to my braces, to acne …. Many days I sat scared and hopeless – approaching the mirror with a procrastinating trot, a fearful glance, “do I still look the same?”.

My entire life I’ve been plagued by this inner monster that has held me back. I confess I have an impediment of my personal strength and wish to no longer remain silent: I have never felt pretty on the outside – and I have somewhat yet not always felt beautiful on the inside but was never really talented or creative enough to get people to understand that (or at least, I never gave myself credit for it – enter in my favorite word in the dictionary besides hope and faith: esteem).

The worst of this haunting is not only is it that I suffer with now even at the age of 34 – it is that I know I am not alone.

So why, in professing this dreary ghost to you, am I thanking you – the famous?

Because I’ll bet, that each and every one of you, at one point in your lifetime – if not even now – suffer with these same inner demons. Maybe it’s when you were young, or went through a life changing event, maybe it’s when you made your first movie, your first song, your first public speech.

I am grateful for you. You in your entirety despite personal flaws that weigh a person down (your energy level is low, you feel like crying, you would really just rather be alone) – you go into the spotlight. You face the press. Your entire life drama, if any, suddenly becomes the center of speculation for millions of people who are watching – waiting for you to make a mistake.

I have always wished that the public would keep their noses out of your business. I had wished they were more thankful for the movies you make, the shows you act in, the songs you write – or whatever you practice that makes you famous.

Aren’t we living in a social media world where we can watch anything and everything online? Where we can finally send fan mail but in a speed of seconds – over Twitter. We sit in silence behind our computer or television screens (at least us Twitter users do) and wait and see: will I get a retweet? Will I get a reply? Can I just get a “favorite”?

Because we love what you do – we would not have entertainment, leadership, or anything of that matter to associate ourselves with if people did not embrace whatever talents they have: and become famous.

(If you are reading this at the movie theatre – do not roll your eyes – you would not be there enjoying yourself and a little day out and a bucket of overpriced popcorn without the actors and directors who made that movie you’re watching, so settle down)

I wish I did not feel so immature in doing this – but yes, I do write fan mail still sometimes (albeit 140 characters or less) to those that really inspire me to make a difference – and to those, with their persistent dedication to their own success and beings, impact my life in telling me to take it a step further: NEVER BE AFRAID.

I wonder how many of you have ever been afraid of something – after all, you are human (right? I have only met two of you REALLY famous people in my lifetime – each of you seemed human to me with your common courtesy to shake my hand, smile, and give me an autograph)…

Once again, I express my deepest of appreciation that you continue to serve your fans, the general public, whatever we shall name those that are not, by definition, famous, – you continue to work even when you are at your worst, when you honestly are having the worst day and you want everyone to go away (and for all sake of decency – to stop putting a camera in your face at Starbucks).

I’m guilty. I admit it. I’m guilty of people watching on the street to see if I can get a glimpse of one of you – I tweet you on a regular basis (only my favorites of course, it is fun, as an adult, to have this outlet that reminds you in a way of hand writing a letter and waiting weeks upon weeks – running to the mailbox wondering if I got an autograph or a response)…

Why the fascination?

I am fascinated by your fervor to withstand negativity, to compound it, and to make your mark on the world through even the toughest hardships. Granted, I speak myself like you are perfect – or as if you are in a higher class than myself or any other person – none of you are. I apologize if this sounds a bit harsh but who is? Not everybody who fits the bill of famous is a ¬†person that is famous for a positive reason ¬†(oops, a criticism, so I lied at the beginning of this post, but at least I’m admitting it, no?) – but I see you and learn from how you deal personally with so many different aspects of life at one time.

Yes, I know some of you get paid millions – it’s your job, yay for recognition and cash, right?

I see this differently. I see a person who could very well have walked in my nerdy, bullied shoes and has come out with a fan base of millions. I, from the depths of my heart, do not ever think I could deal with that kind of attention. My followers and friends would be surprised, after all I’ve revealed recently, how private of a person I really am.

No really – stop laughing – I am. I rarely allow visitors into my home. I stay in my pajamas most of the time. The peril of going out to the grocery store and spending any energy I have that I wish I could spend on cleaning up toys or changing diapers, that in itself should show you: I am very protective of my abode – it’s hard making a public appearance for this very non-famous woman. My blog is not ¬†created for the sake of famous attention – it’s created with the hopes it will touch people’s hearts – if even just one. I aim for inspiring – and any new follower, while it makes me happy, the gain is in the aspect of prayer that my faith will touch that person’s faith.

So thank you, famous people, to all whom have inspired me to try harder – to each of you that has put on a brave face during the most devastating of outcomes and have still come forth to make a difference in other lives while others watch.

Now don’t go all snark on me now – I realize that most of the most influential people in my life – are actually not technically famous people. They are family. They are friends. They have been there since the beginning – I won’t have to wait for a tweet or a reply: I can simply call or text and boom: contact made. Success.

So what makes a person famous? Should I have defined this in the beginning of the post (sleep deprivation talking – my apologies to those who made it this far)…

For certain I meant actors (my favorite is Matt Damon, brilliance, my friends, BRILLIANCE), singers (Adam Lambert is my favorite, SUPERBNESS, my loves, SUPERBNESS) … (Ever watched my favorite show Ghost Adventures? Zak Bagans is honestly so intelligent and talented – REALNESS) anyone you see in front of you that works their behinds off doing what they love – and giving us something to hold onto (for all purposes, this includes writers, speakers, blah blah … I need not go on)….

But this is not all I meant.

To all famous people – I do thank you – I am so gracious to bear witness to your undying love of your profession and how you continue to bring that talent into my world …

For all of those who have ever felt even an ounce of what I have – feeling ugly, horrid, indifferent to the world, hopeless, worthless, uncreative, not talented (so sorry for everyone that had to hear me sing Ol’ Susanna at the 4th grade talent show) … but you have decided to step forward in your life, admit, learn, and inspire: guess what, you have become famous.

To yourself.

And THAT is most important.

So thank you all – because each and every one of you is different and diverse, many different pathways met, gone, and crossed, and each of you has a quality I admire, respect, and desire: and that is how I have become famous to my heart ¬†is by inviting such intriguing views, needs, and thoughts from so many different people – into my world – and by making the most of those ghastly emotions, that one single pimple on the edge of my nose, that moment when I just break down and cry: I just don’t let it stop me anymore.

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Never forget that.

Yours truly, and living famously,

Jenn (pictured below for everyone to see who is writing this – in case you haven’t clicked the About page) ūüôā

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Edited to include a shout out to the Daily Prompt for Jaunuary 13, 2014. The Golden Globes were last night and I could have totally used this as my current event – but I had writers block and went elsewhere with the idea. I wish I had written this today not yesterday – but that’s the way writing is – or maybe I’m psychic. Who knows. If I could have applied any current event it would have been the Golden Globes because that’s what it’s full of – by definition – famous people (and Matt Damon was there!)

Embracing Me: Uniquely Strange

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I consider myself uniquely strange.

Some wonder if my total honesty – is a quirky fault.

Quirky – defined.

I appreciate my faults – as a matter of fact, I do not believe that the term “worst quality” should even exist.

It does not to me.

I am brutally transparent. I believe in being truthful – exposing myself ¬†in ways emotionally that may subject me to negativity in return – despite my intentions ¬†being positive and empowering. The revealing of details of my darkest secrets often gets me “looks” “stares” “wow – really?”

It is a top priority in my book of knowledge to love myself – otherwise, I do not believe I can fully embrace loving others. I cannot love myself completely if I hide unknown shortcomings. I would rather people understand me fully the way that I understand myself – otherwise, I believe I would be living untruthfully. I ¬†believe living dishonestly is a burden on one’s soul that perpetuates the inability to have any esteem.

I examine myself daily. I dig into my deepest tombs of feelings and pull from it the imperfections.

While I concentrate on the things that are wonderful about me, my kindness that I exude to the world that others find outstanding, fun, and graceful – I find more intention in exposing how being lonely, fearful, terrified of the truths you may not want to own up to (and then you do) – can lead to empowerment, inspiration, and quality of life.

This is where I find myself strange – positively but also to a fault. It seems to me in the world today – people want to constantly fill their social networking feeds, blogs, articles, conversations – with the “oh I’m so happy” … “Oh I have SUCH exciting news” … “My world is so awesome!” …

I can’t.

At least not constantly. Maybe the fault here is I wish, at times, I could be more “YAY” …

I live in a world of fulfillment: three beautiful children, a wonderful husband, a house, two cars, a backyard, a supportive family … ¬†I am truthfully blessed. It used to be that I would post continuously to my followers about the greatness of living a blessed life until I found myself on a beaten path of failure due to my own actions. I felt slighted and angry at first – I cried the “why me?” and threw my fists in the air – claiming “I do not deserve this.”

Then I turned around and decided to transparently apply my struggles into other people’s minds – “let them see”, I said. I wanted other people to understand that IT IS OKAY to find out that YOU ARE NOT PERFECT. It is okay to let the world know you are struggling, you need a shoulder – that you feel you are falling apart inside and have no clue where to turn.

Living with both happiness and sadness is a delicate balance. I choose to remember that often times a person can appear wonderful and amazing on the outside but on the inside they are torn to pieces – hiding from this because putting it out there for all to see “well, people might think I’m strange.” (insert the word quirky – daily prompt that inspired this post).

I do not care if people unfollow me, defriend me, tell me to hush – and to concentrate on the positives. I find that in turning my imperfections into positives – it becomes an educational and empowering process – even if others do not want to watch or listen.

I love myself despite a battle that could have sent me over the edge -the cliff of never being able to appreciate myself again. ¬†You can define me in all medical terms, you can say I fit the bill of a specific category of people that the census recognizes – or the dictionary explains. ¬†I choose to, instead, say I am just me, you like it or you do not, you embrace my uniquely strange honesty, or you don’t. You either read into me, read my blogs, understand my intentions – or you don’t.

The most important person who does all of the above for me – is me.

It may be quirky, something people hate, love …

I find it to be both my closest to perfect and most imperfect quality.

By the way – I do not believe in absolute perfection. If I did, then I would suddenly believe in the term “worst quality”.