Give Me My Flowers Today

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I don’t usually post on Saturdays but on discovering a dear blogger friend’s death at the same time the world is mourning Earl “DMX” Simmons, a thought struck me.

“I just wish we could love people when they live the way we do when they die.”

As I scrolled through my LinkedIn page (and I am rarely on LinkedIn), I came across this post and was surprised to learn of Sue Vincent’s passing. 

I know Sue from her promotional posts for authors and her generosity in opening up her space to give others time to shine. I’ve been featured on her blog a few times, and each time that we emailed, she was always welcoming to have me. 

I feel sadness about Sue because I have not been as immersed in the blogging community as I used to be. My schedule is crazy these days, and I have not had the time to dedicate myself to my own blog, much less engage with others. On searching her name, I found tons of posts dedicated to her and posts she wrote about her illness. I am so very sorry for missing it all. 

I also want to note that Sue was a poet, and with it being National Poetry Month, I dedicate this post to her honor.

As per the title of this post, I want to remind us to give people their flowers while they live.

If there is someone you appreciate or someone you love, or someone who has added value to your life in any way, I encourage you to make it known to them now.

Why now? 

Why not now?

Photo by Mel on Unsplash

Last June 2020 was the last time I saw my mother alive. I had taken a quick trip to Chicago to celebrate the life of another person I knew who had passed and stopped by my mom’s place. I was literally only passing through. My husband had to make a run, so I ended up staying with my mother for longer than I had anticipated.

At the time, I was irritated Moshe was taking so long to come back. I did not see how much of a blessing it was he took this run.

Before I left, I put a necklace on her neck that I had meant to ship but never got the chance to. As I snapped it on her, I kissed her cheek and left. This wasn’t out of the ordinary. It is something I did all the time, kiss her cheek and tell her I loved her. The difference this time is I didn’t know this would be the last time I would do it, as she would pass on in September.

I have been away from home since 2009, when we moved to Louisiana. I now live in Georgia, but most of my family still lives in Chicago. That said, I didn’t see my mom daily because we did not live in the same city. If I had not come to Chicago that June, the last memory I would have of her would have been December of 2019 when we celebrated her 60th, and unknown to us, her last birthday.

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

We never know when will be the last time we see or speak to someone, but we still take it for granted. We still treat each other like every day is promised. We still love people more in death than we do in life. We see this every time a celebrity passes.

I hope that one day this will change.

I hope that one day we will live with such immense gratitude that hindsight is no longer 20/20 because we will see things clearly at the moment.

I’ll leave you with this excerpt from If My Books Shall Die:

“Give me my flowers today

and accept the life I offer you

in the form of metaphors on silver platters,

for I am feeding you with silver spoons

and all you’ve got to do is eat.

I offer you the best of me.

And when I am dead

no longer among the living

crack open a book written by me

and feel my breath on your skin.

Hear my voice resurrect

from inside an ancient pen,

Watch my tongue dance.

See my lips move

and witness passion soar 

from beyond the grave.

If my books shall die

then my words did not really contain life.

But if my books shall live

What are you waiting for?

Go to your bookshelf,

resurrect me

and carry

my bones.”


Read the full poem in I am Soul

Don’t Forget to Enter this Year’s Poetry Contest. Click Here to Learn How.


PS. I am not a fan of the new WordPress editor. I like the ease of embedding tweets, but I think the blocks are unnecessarily complicated.

Thank You

I’ve been away a while so I just wanna say I appreciate those of you who continue to support this blog. Even if you haven’t been around or liked/commented / shared in a while I still appreciate you. I don’t trip about that. I know how busy things can get and in that process, how easy it is to forget but you all are still here and I appreciate that. It is not lost to me how central The PBS Blog has been in helping to advance and shape my career. It wasn’t until I started this blog in 2014 and when I released the first book in The Stella Trilogy in 2015 that people really caught onto my work and that I met many of you and for that I am thankful. (Probably should have done this sooner right? Technically, I’ve had blogs before but none of them as successful as The PBS Blog). I mean, over 2,600 subscribers ya’ll! Sounds good to me. Not nearly as much as some of you but I’ll take it. Even when we make it to 10,000 subscribers, I never want to be so big that I can’t be grateful. I hope to maintain the same level of humility no mater the “numbers.” I’ll still thank you.

Funny thing, so I saw the movie Downsize. Far as action I thought it was pretty boring but putting my entertainment eyes away and using my spiritual eyes I get what the writer was trying to convey. Basically, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives to get small and move to a new downsized community after learning that a scientist discovered how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to overpopulation. So yes, by downsize they literally mean downsize as in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!”

I enjoyed the beginning of the movie but as we get into Paul’s life as a small person it loses my interest. I won’t say more because I really could just give away the movie. But from a more spiritual (less entertainment only minded), perspective, I can see the potential. The grass is not always greener on the other side and we should appreciate what we have. (I‘m kinda stretching it though to make my point here on how I appreciate you all…movie was boring…sorry lol).

Anyway, thank you!

p.s. I’ve talked about Grammarly before to help you edit your blog posts but if you use it AND ProwritingAid? Sheesh. Yass. It has gotten rid of plenty of those extra words I use. (Like “that” and “so.”) I can‘t afford a professional editor to edit my every blog post but using Grammarly and ProWritingAid together is a great help. Try it people!


Join me THIS Friday, November 30, 2018 from 12:00-1:00p EST for a book signing and reading from Even Salt Looks Like Sugar at Tall Tales Book Shop in Atlanta. If you’re in the area I would love to have you. Enjoy snacks, laughter, reading, conversation and of course, you can get you a pic or two for the gram 😉 Don’t have this book yet? Get it here for just $2.99 on Amazon and thanks so much!!

(Yes, I am still trying to make this book free eventually and proceeds still go toward helping to fund next year’s poetry contest!)

Don’t forget to visit my author website and sign up for my email list at https://www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/

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.

 

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 💕