By Christen Foster
I first would like to dedicate this literary piece to a former colleague of mine who shares the same interest in poetry and creative writing as I do, and thank him for sharing his poetry and essay’s with me. Pieces such as “Choose to Stay in Peace”, “When the Storm Arrives”, ”Refuse the Anger Received in Insults” and “Can We Ever Find True Comfort?” Also I want to thank him for giving me the opportunity to share my poetry with him.
Chapter 1 The Nature of Things
We are all familiar with the phase “humble beginnings”, well growing up for me was not bad at the same time it was not perfect either. Lets just call it blessed beginnings, there was a time when I lived with both of my parents but spent more time around my mom because I was her first kid and she took me everywhere, always made sure I stayed clean because if I ever got my clothes dirty she would clean me up right away even though it is expected for boys to get dirty away my mom still put in the effort and time to make sure I stayed clean. Thus this is the first belief system that was programmed into me growing up which was to always make sure things are clean even if they are already clean. I also spent a lot of time around my grandmother someone I grew really close to throughout my life. Anything I wanted my grandmother and mom always made sure both my little sister and me got it even when we didn’t ask for anything. Likewise in the trying times in my life my grandmother was the only one I really felt close enough to comfort me; before discovering the power of prayer and scriptures. On the flipside other phases in my life such as spending time around other relatives and going to school opened the door to all types of toxic belief systems, constructs and limited ways of thinking about life, learning and understanding my own self perception. Moreover I faced times in my life where I dealt with classmates who rubbed me the wrong way, picked on me insulted me and committed all types of persecutions against me, this of coarse spawned all kinds of emotional and mental corruption within me before I knew such scriptures as the one in the book of Romans which says to never repay evil for evil and Matt 5:10-11 which says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake”, when others revile you and utter all kinds of evil against you.
Chapter 2 Walking Alone
Throughout my teen years, I had a difficult time fitting in and making new friends simply because I felt like I really could not relate to anyone and I didn’t know why plus I had not yet hit the threshold in my life for finding my way of expressing myself and the things I really felt inside. On the other hand to my peers, teachers, relatives and everyone else who claimed to know me, I was the kid who was passive, anti-social, introverted and someone who is somewhat of a doormat to be taken advantage of. Deep down I did not want to believe all the things people told me but hearing it over and over again from many different people in many different circumstances, created so much disdain, and negative emotions in me towards dealing with people because I was tired of feeling vulnerable and like I am the victim who is suppose to just sit back and take whatever comes out of the mouths of others like some disgusting medicine that does nothing but poison me from the inside out. Like many young people I did have some friends I hung out with in high school, the best part was that we in the same classes from freshman year all the way to senior year. Unfortunately the friends I really felt close to did not attend our senior prom so it was just me and my prom date who looking back at the situation I really should have asked someone else because she was not very nice to me. Moreover outside of school I spent a lot of my time trying to make friends with others only to experience rejection after rejection.
Chapter3 The Breakthrough
Aside from all the rejection and negative events I have endured throughout the early years of my life, that didn’t stop me from excelling academically. I received so many merit awards I did not know what to do with them all, this was also the time in my life where unlike many young people who were just into being popular and having what they call “fun”, I was discovering deep down what I really wanted to do with my life, my interests, what I like to do for fun and the things I thought I would be good at. Immediately I discovered my passion for art when I started working for a place in South Boston called “Artist for Humanity”. During my time there I learned how to paint, sketch and view the world from the perspective of an artist. I had so much fun there that I was even transferred to the Graphic Design department where I further developed my talents and creativity by learning technical skills, software programs and design concepts. There was also a time where we went on a field trip to many different art museums, as a result of my visit I felt so much inspiration to create and made plans to one day go to art school and get my degree in some creative field where I could put my creative ideas to good use, unaware that one day I really will fulfill that goal years later in my life.
Chapter4 My Savior and Self-Empowerment
During my college years it was a bit challenging adapting to the college environment and a getting used to the class schedule, class structure and juggling different assignments from 3-4 classes at the same time. Lucky for me I had developed years of discipline and focus to help me stay on top of all my classwork and homework. Moreover I still dealt with persecutions from teachers and classmates, which continued to stir up the same negativity I had to deal with when I was in grade school and I really wanted a way out of this mental/emotional turmoil taking place in my life. So I began to seek help from councilors and self help books but it just wasn’t enough to help me to feel better inside. I never really had a role model in my life to help guide me in the right direction but I have always been self-reliant, still there was something missing on the inside that no human could cure. I was later encouraged to start going to church where by myself I met many different people who by the grace of the Lord taught me everything about walking with God and the sacrifice Jesus made because he cared deeply about the souls of man despite the fact that man still rejected him. I spent many days and nights wrestling with the idea that Jesus went through such harsh treatment by people but still loved them. Then I had my paradigm shift and continued to study scriptures until I could be baptized and become official member of a church where my spiritual journey in faith began.
In addition to my spiritual walk in faith, I also began to discover my talent for writing poetry after my film production professor critiqued one of my production projects and told me “This will never make TV”. I felt so upset I wanted to leave his class and never comeback. Thanks be to God the bible contains scriptures such as Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” and the scripture in the book of Joshua which says, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” likewise Romans 8:31 says, “If God be for you who dare be against you?” With these scriptures at my disposal something rose up on the inside of me that said, “Use this energy to express how you feel in a creative way” and this was the creation of my first poem. I even dared myself to take my talent even further by performing my poems on stage in front of a live audience for the first time. Once the show was over I felt so liberated like a new sense of freedom was unleashed on the inside of me. Suddenly I found myself writing poem after poem, ideas for new poems inspiring me left and right I felt so self-empowered by creative writing.
Chapter5 Meditation, Healing and Self-Awareness
No one gives a bird its wings but the bird’s wings must be developed before it can learn to fly. Balance, letting go, reprogramming your mind, healing, stability and meditation are all things we are not taught growing up or in school. We are expected to be successful and perform in every way possible to obtain a level of prosperity that society says we need in order to survive and appear acceptable and gain the approval of man. These are all things I have to battle with everyday in my mind, the good thing is that the power of prayer and faith has brought me along way by comforting me and helping me understand that I do not really need the approval of man if God the creator of all things approves me. More so whenever I find my self going through a hard time in my life I can always remember scriptures such as 1Corinthians 12:9-10 which says that Gods grace is all that is needed and that his power is made perfect in my weaknesses. I often wondered how my short comings
activated the perfection of God’s power but through my personal experiences I am beginning to understand that the areas in my life where I have a hard time I am able to face them in spite of how I feel inside because I am a temple for God’s spirit that together we are a majority, he feels what I feel, sees what I see and knows every thought both good and bad that I project in my mind. My only challenge today and here after is to use what I am learning through meditation and self-awareness to clear out all the negativity from past events, stay in faith and move forward.