I entered this year with a plan, one that challenged and expanded my writing, where I hoped to introduce the world to a changed and new me. A more confident me. A more focused me. A more wiser me. A stretched-beyond-recognition-me as my plan pushed comfort zones into new, wider places. It demanded I said an active ‘yes’ to every writing thing asked of me, despite my mind screaming “noooo” and my body gearing up for run/ flight.
There were various mind maps of ideas and goals, a to do list so sophisticated it had chapters and scheduled notification reminders that buzzed. I was so sure that 2021 would be a another year of growth and development, much more than what I have ever imagined. Unable to contain myself, I walked around stiff and tight, bursting to the brim with excitement.
“Just say an active yes to everything creative”
Then the penny dropped! A few months into the year I realised weeks had went by and I hadn’t done much. Those weeks quickly transformed into months and before I knew it, I was already halfway through the year! (Yes… I did cry and grieved the 6 month loss…)
Life was hectic and overwhelming, an uncontrollable beast that sucked my creative energy and motivation dry. I must admit, I did lay there for a bit and allowed it all to happen. It just felt easier and I didn’t have the emotional and mental will power to say to myself “Come on Traysi!” “You can do it Traysi!” “Don’t stop Traysi!” (I should have just paid someone to give me a hard kick on the butt!)
But, amongst the mess I knew deep down it would be OK. I was reassured by my trust in God, the gift of inner strength and the fact that I have been in these places before and survived.
When I got a spiritual nudge two weeks ago, I jumped up with joy! The nudge whispered “love letters to God.”
That was all I needed. It reminded me that the year isn’t over and I could still end this year achieving something satisfying and amazing. I just needed to refocus, replan, set aside time (fight for my time) and not be so hard on myself for the way this year started.
So I am throwing this out there and being accountable to all who read this and those who love me and my poetry. I will (start to) finish my “love letters to God” poetry collection and end this year with a bang!
This is the first in a series of poems that explores why I write. Reason #1 is the healing aspect of “expressive writing,” and obviously, my chosen format is poetry. However, if you want to try something different; “expressive writing” can be writing diaries, journals, songs and thought pieces.
In the new world of Covid-19 there has been increased conversations about mental health, wellbeing and wellness. For example, the signs to an unhappy mental health, the different things that impact mental health and the many wellness activities you can do to ensure a healthy and happy mental health.
“Expressive writing = happy mental health and wellbeing”
What’s on your heart and mind?
“What’s on your heart and mind?” is the subtitle of John F Evans article titled Expressive Writing. He describes the rhythms of expressive writing, the connections with wellness and challenges readers to ‘become their own researcher,’ trying out his tips and advice, seeing if it works.
But that question, “what’s on your heart and mind?” Is the foundation of expressive writing. It is the starting point where the tumbling of words from your heart and mind become written (or typed) and ignites the healing process. It is the outpouring of soul that helps the transformation from an unhappy mental health to a happy (or happier) one. And like most things in life, practise makes things (writing) easier.
“So, what is on your heart and mind?”
From very early on in my writing career (as a young teen, lol), I had some awareness of the links between poetry writing, emotional healing and a happy mental health. Of course, I wouldn’t have used those words to describe it, it wasn’t talked about like it is now. I just knew writing made me feel better. It helped make sense of my world and I just found it easier to explain my thoughts and emotions with a pen or pencil.
The strong urge
As an adult and during my most rock bottom places, I translated my emotions to paper or computer screen. Often prayerfully scribbling down (or typing) a difficult period of my life, after feeling a strong urge just to get it out of me!
For me personally, this “strong urge” was usually connected with a previous “God time moment” (as I am a Christian), where I had a verbal/ thoughtful outpouring of what was on my heart and mind. Followed by a still moment wrapped in God’s warmth.
It’s unimportant if you have just a “strong urge” or something else that helps you to write like another wellness activity or strong motivation. Just write something! Everyone has to start somewhere.
“I must write, I need to write, I am going to get it out of me!”
However, the “strong urge” might not be enough for some or they just might never experience the “strong urge.” Don’t worry because a regular expressive writing routine will get you there. It doesn’t matter if it is daily or weekly, in the morning or before bed, poetry or journaling. You have to do what feels right for you, be consistent and take baby steps. Just get through the week and the month, despite the never-ending assortment of emotions and distractions. Then before you know it, your “expressive writing routine” is a daily habit like brushing your teeth and sleeping.
The first Windrush Day was celebrated in the UK on 22 June 2019. This day acknowledes the generation of people from the Caribbean, who came over to the UK by invitation to help rebuild Britain after the World War Two.
But when 500 migrants from the Caribbean arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex in 1948 to live and work in the UK, they were met with racism, prejudice and hostility.
My parents came over from Grenada in the early 70’s, after the Windrush generation. It pains me that decades after Windrush they were mistreated. And decades after thatWindrush Scandal hit the news in 2018.
Over the years I have written various spoken word/ poetry pieces exploring racism, identity and culture. I have shared some of these pieces below.