Self-love and Poetry Contest

I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. It’s slow, a little boring and I find the portrayal of submission and authority and the use of scripture to verify abuse offensive, filled with all of the stereotypes and misconceptions the world has taught in regard to a woman and man’s divine role. But, there is one perfect example in the series that illustrates why self-love is so important.

The TV show is based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood and is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. Gilead is ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state and is faced with environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate. In a desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude. One of these women, June (Offred), is determined to survive the terrifying world she lives in, and find the daughter that was taken from her.

In the series, the Handmaid’s (whose purpose is to birth the children) are treated worse than the baby they carry. The society and the household only love the Handmaid’s to the extent that they love the child they are pregnant with. They treat the women like crap, like slaves and only extend kindness when they get pregnant. When the women get pregnant they are allowed privileges, mercy, and compassion. But only until after the baby is born, where they are to nurse the baby for a few months before turning the baby over to the wives. The women are then shipped off to another family, where their purpose is the same. Make babies for the barren wives of the wealthy families, to be loved only when they have conceived. But how can you love the baby but hate the mother who births the baby?

 

Self-love is important because you can only love others to the extent that you already love yourself.

When the wives of the wealthy men abuse their Handmaid’s, it’s because they hate themselves. They hate themselves for not being able to bear children. They only show love (if we can call it that) to the Handmaid’s when they love themselves and they only love themselves when they have conceived (through the handmaids) children.

Love Yourself. Know Yourself. Be Yourself.

Self-love is not being arrogant and prideful, it is not about the clothing you wear, not about how many likes and comments you get on a post, not about the amount of money you make or what you do for a living. Rather, self-love is a state of appreciation for yourself that grows from actions that support your physical, mental, professional, and spiritual growth. When Self-love is present, we begin to accept better our weaknesses as well as our strengths without thinking badly about ourselves. We are not easily provoked, popping off and cursing people out every time they say something bad about us. We have less of a need to explain our actions and decisions when we know who we are and what our intentions are. We are not quick to over-intellectualize our shortcomings in an effort to get people to understand us. We have more compassion for ourselves instead of beating ourselves down when we do something wrong and we are more centered in our life purpose and values.

Self-love also gives us the discipline to deny what we want for what we need. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.

When we love ourselves, we expect more of ourselves and of the people around us. No longer does it become acceptable to treat us any differently than we would treat ourselves. When we love ourselves, we demand more and we give more. When we love ourselves, we become more productive professionally, spiritually, and physically. Our cup runs over and we are able to give more to others.

Self-love is important because you will otherwise hate others in the same way that you hate yourself…

…which leads to abuse. Abuse of your friendships, abuse of your relationships, abuse of your career, abuse of your children, abuse of your family. People who hate themselves destroy everyone and everything around them. In turn, they cope by deceiving themselves into thinking it is someone else fault. The truth is that relationships are two-sided. It is never 100% the other persons’ fault but each person has come with their own set of issues. But if you don’t love yourself, you’ll lack accountability for your actions. You’ll tend to always make other people the villain and you, always, the victim.

Remember, without love, knowledge is nothing. Without love, prophecy is nothing. Without love, the truth is nothing.

Now, Enter the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest before July 31st!

Win money. Win books. Get published. Get noticed.

The theme for this year is: Self-Love, Self-Care. Write a poem that talks about self-love or self-care in some way and email it to yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot) com

Don’t forget to read the full rules and guidelines HERE to learn more about this year’s prizes and how to enter.

That’s it! 3poem max per poet. Enter BEFORE 12:00pm EST on July 31, 2018. Winners announced on August 22, 2018.

 

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When the World Loves You

I hate to have to be the one to tell you this

after all, you woke up today optimistic

and here I am

feeding you words that I know you do not want to hear

but I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I didn’t tell you the truth

about how the world loves you.

The world will love you

only after the soil hugs your flesh

when the breath leaves your body for that place it will now call home

the world will bring you home

on the backs of T-Shirts

and tattoos that kiss cuzo’s flesh

in a frame on grandmother’s wall

and in museums

popularize your name in a post

speak to you in a language that you will never understand

and in a voice that you will never hear

the world will love you

later

after the fact

like they did messiah

on their living room walls

force a crown of thorns around your head

sacrifice your body to social media

hang you

on their Facebook walls

hashtag your legacy

in cyberspace

they will celebrate you

like they never even did at birth

I warn you

they will throw you parties

bigger than anything your eyes could behold

hold you

in their memories like a nightmare

from which they cannot awake

you will haunt them

and they will love it

the world will love you in caskets

and in prayers

tell you secrets in the grave

they will confide in you

like a man to a woman’s hips

when the world loves you back

it is in flowers

and candlelight vigils

it is in marches, street corners, and pictures

the world will love you in laughter

and in memorials

in memory and regret

and I apologize that I have to be the one to tell you this

after all, you woke up today optimistic

but I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I didn’t tell you the truth

about how the world loves you

only in death.


This poem is inspired by “When the Hood Loves You Back” by Steven Willis. You can watch the video to my poem below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for notifications of more poems.

Subconsciously Lusting

No, not that kind of lusting. Stay focused people.

I’m watching The Real before heading out to my part-time (which means I better hurry this post up) and I loved how Adrienne gave the story about the dress she wore and posted to IG, and how it was actually a Forever 21 Dress she paid $17 for. I appreciated this because so many young people look at the lives of celebrities and want what they have without a clue of what it actually means. I say all of that to say to my young people:

Don’t fall into the trap of ingratitude by subconsciously lusting for what you don’t have. Learn to admire from a distance, remembering that what you see is not always reflective of what actually is. You don’t know the pain behind the smile or the storms that person has endured to get to where they are. Sometimes you’ll see people with amazing strength but you don’t know what it took or what it will take for you to have the same kind of resolve. You also don’t know if that person’s possessions are honest or if they actually sold out to get it. If you log into Instagram or Twitter for instance, you will see a lot of inspirational advice from celebrities on the importance of working hard and how they acquired their success. While celebrities are real people, it’s not that simple. Not every celebrity worked hard and overcame trials and worked their way to the top. Some of them sold out. (And no, I am not saying Adrienne sold out. I don’t know her personally and I don’t know what her life is like privately. Her post is just motivation for this message. If she never said she bought the dress at Forever 21, ya’ll would be secretly wishing you had lots of money so you can buy that dress.) My point is this:

You are already in such a great place even if you’re struggling than many of the people whose lives you wish you had. The grass is only as green as your mindset to quote Meggan Roxanne. If you stop focusing on other people and instead nourish where you are it will be fruitful. Just because your cup is not overflowing does not mean that it is empty. You just have to appreciate what you have now and be content knowing there is water in the cup and it is enough. Now, I gotta go but for those of you following celebs online and secretly feeling some kind of way, don’t lust after what you don’t understand. Remember that spoiled milk can still be white. Stay woke.

I Believe in Progress

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I believe in progress. In recognizing and acknowledging your growth. In appreciating not just everything that you have but also everything you’ve endured to get to where you are. In process. In stopping to consider where you are, not just where you are trying to go. In gratitude and contentment. In looking back only to be reminded of where you’ve come from. To see the lessons and to teach them and to inspire. To never forget where you came from. Your roots. Your experiences. Everything that made you who you are today. Everything that built you. You are not just the positive. You are the negative too. The struggle. The hustle. The grime. The beautiful and the broken. The good and the bad. You are balance. I regret nothing. There’s no reason to. I am not just made up of the good things. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve been drunk. I’ve been hungry. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been hopeless. But I’ve also been happily married for seven years to a man I’ve been with ten years. I’ve also produced documentaries and taught women and children all over the world, hosted radio shows, performed poetry, taught grown women how to read, fed the homeless, helped felons to find jobs, and authored nine books and counting. I am not perfect, trust I have my days. Some are harder than others and I wonder how I’ll make it through but then, I believe in progress.


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including work in progress and short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at  yecheilyahysrayl.com.

Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

Today is Good

That amazing future and glorious tomorrow. Always enticing us to move time forward so that we may rush what is now for a moment much more beautiful than this. A tomorrow much more gorgeous and radiant than the present. The present. What of this? What of now? What of our quest for some rare and perfect tomorrow when today is already a precious gift? Today is normal but it is here and living and present. We know not what the future holds. In fact, we know nothing but now. This moment. This treasure of breath in mouth. Today is good.

Good evening 💕

The Power of Influence

I was browsing my archives and thought it was interesting that I came upon this post I wrote on the same day it was published two years ago, August 10, 2015.  I don’t believe in coincidences so I am re-posting this for whoever needs to read it. It is, after all, Throwback Thursday.


What if I told you that inventions were built on your smile? If I told you, that babies were made from your good morning? That because of you someone glided their way home today. Kissed sunshine into the arms of a loved one or sat down to give birth to their first poem. Trembling and afraid, they are virgin to this moment. Nothing to warn them of the Sanchez in their blood or the Maya on their skin but here they are because you loved them. What if I told you that inside the creases of your armpits were hugs that wrote masterpieces, which sang platinum albums, and wiped away tears as easily and as gently as music? What if I told you that your words are music? That someone somewhere is listening to you strum their pain with your fingers. That with your words alone you Lauryn Hill them back to Zion. Never underestimate the hope you unknowingly gift to others, like slow songs that mean nothing until you are desperate enough to listen to the words.

To All Those Women

This is the most real post I’ve read in a long time! Men are not always appreciated as much as women are and no one says anything about it.

Heron There & Everywhere

To all those women who have full-time husbands and don’t really appreciate them, you can all go to hell. Yes, I know that’s abrupt and a bit nasty, but I don’t care. This post is aimed at women who don’t know how good they’ve got it.

I’ve worked with women who whined because their husbands played golf or watched too much football or worked non-stop on the car or on the house. Their husbands were still there beside them every night, but they felt put upon because he had other interests besides them. Stupid ungrateful women.

My hubby was home for just over four hours today. Four HOURS. That was our “weekend”. He came in, we had lunch together, I did his laundry while he showered and took a nap. He watched the Preakness with me, he packed and left again. Yes, this was an unusual circumstance. There was some…

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