Poet Spotlight: Nailah Shami | Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018

This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Today, you’ll get to meet the poets and read their poems. Let’s dive right in with our 2nd Place winner.

Introducing Nailah Shami

Nailah Shami is the author of two non-fiction books: Taking the High Road: How to Cope Your Ex Husband, Maintain Your Sanity, and Raise Your Child in Peace and Do Not Talk To, Touch, Marry, or Otherwise Fiddle with Frogs: How to Find Prince Charming by Finding Yourself. Continuing to fulfill a personal mission to inspire, encourage and entertain others, she blogs on Better for That, a weekly platform of uplifting micro-essays, vignettes, self-care streams and poetry. She is also working on a series of contemporary women’s fiction novels and a volume of poetry. Nailah lives in Washington state in the shadow of Mt Rainier and loves travel, festivals, music, comedy, cooking, pampering, all things lavender, hanging out with friends and family (or interesting strangers) and, of course, writing. She is always writing.

Welcome Nailah! So nice to meet you beautiful! I have to say we loved your poem.  Please tell us what inspired you to write it.

Nailah: My childhood was spent in an abusive, alcoholic household, so it took a while to come to the concept of self-care, or what I have come to describe as intentionally loving and mothering myself. But once I did, it became the perfect antidote for undoing that early trauma. I am fascinated, even addicted to, the power that self-care has to enhance every area of my life. It’s me saying to myself over and over in so many ways, I got you. This is a sacred obligation that I trust completely. Shortly before I wrote this poem, my BFF {Best Friend Forever} complimented me for being the most resilient, self-sufficient person she knows. Extreme self-care is the reason and I wanted to share that in a poem.

And share you did! Loving Myself Full is a beautiful poem. I mean, we loved it. There are several lines that spoke to us, one of them was:

I reverse-engineer my collapse

With unhurried tithes to myself

Can you explain a little bit to our readers about this line?

Nailah: What I was trying to convey there was that there is a certain mindfulness about knowing what it will take for me to burn out, and a wholehearted willingness to counteract that by making small, deliberate contributions to my well-being. Could be taking 10 minutes to choose just the right bouquet of flowers, 30 minutes on my yoga mat, 90 minutes on the massage table, making sure I’m eating right and getting my zzz’s or happily saying no to a swarm of demands on my time.

Very nice. I think that’s a nugget of wisdom we can all take with us. 

Now let’s get into this poem!

 

Loving Myself Full, Copyright©Nailah Shami

2nd Place

 

I turn off the phone, turn on the sauna

Dial down stress, dial up serenity

Gather my wounds in a circle,

Sing them the tender lullaby, years cultivated

And love myself full

Hush, I whisper

Until they trust me to gently paint over their grievances

With a mosaic of sunshine and light

They vary in age

Strolling through a lifetime, I nod to each me

Spending extra moments with Inner Mother me

She knows how all of this tenderness will play out

My eyes close when a melody from another world caresses my ears

The massage therapist pulls tension out of shoulders, arms, legs, spirit

Hot stones, aromatic oils, mindless bliss

I am AWOL, refusing to be needed

Lost in the valley of me, myself and I

Vowing to return to more simple things

Coloring, skipping, daydreaming

Hula hooping for breakfast

Beach dawdling for lunch

Lovemaking for dinner

Months before I am raggedy meat on a bone

I reverse-engineer my collapse

With unhurried tithes to myself

Casually buying roses with the groceries

Spraying lavender on the sheets,

Rose water on my face,

Wonder in my heart

I practice forgetting disappointments

And I do not have time to doubt the power of this spell I am casting,

The voodoo poetry of peace, stillness, and self-care

Of vowing to do the hardest things in the softest fabrics

And then have someone ease the memory of the fight from my muscles

With Zen music and hopeful scents

I lose time, but do not miss it

A fair exchange to put stars back in my eyes, silken my soul

From far away, I hear the massage therapist tell me to take my time getting up, and I do.

Oh, I do.

Be Sure to Follow Nailah Online!


https://betterforthat.wordpress.com/

 

Books by Nailah

 

CLICK HERE to learn more about Taking the High Road.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Do Not Talk to, Touch, Marry, or Otherwise Fiddle with Frogs.


Stand by for our 2-Day Special Feature of the Grand Prize Winner taking place tomorrow (Mon. 8/27, and Tues. 8/28)!

Who took home the grand prize and why?

Stay glued, Jahkazia Richardson is next.

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On Soft Hearts

Do not ask me not to care. I will care anyway. I will wonder why the flower doesn’t bloom. Why its petals are dry. Why is there a flower falling to pieces for lack of moisture? I will wonder about the soil and the colors in the sky. I will mourn with those who are sad, rub empathy on the wounds of those who are bruised. I will care about people who probably won’t think twice about me. I will take this heart of flesh and show them that I am hurt too and I too have been trampled upon. Here, see the holes and scars on my skin. But we don’t have to let our hearts grow cold or build walls that are too high for people to climb. When everyone’s a savage, do not be afraid to be soft. There’s got to be someone in this chaotic world who can show proof that there can still be love, after war.

No Whining Wednesday – Peace Under Pressure

Welcome back to No Whining Wednesday, the only day of the week where you do not get to whine, criticize, or complain. If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please do scurry on over HERE to learn more about what this is all about.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

I’m excited about today’s inspiring quote so let’s get into it:

I’ve been loving on Ryan’s social media pages. His IG is hilariously funny with writer memes and as soon as I saw this nugget of wisdom I had to feature it for today. Whining, complaining, or criticizing really just comes from one source: Lack of contentment or peace. Whether this is because we are upset, confused or frustrated the point is that somewhere, for whatever reason, we are not content with our present situation and we are not at peace.

How do we overcome these situations? After all, it is not that stress is a bad thing entirely. It exists naturally in everyone for a reason. It is there surely to be helpful to the body in some way. How do we allow it to be what it is without over-stressing ourselves? Learning to identify the good in bad situations is one way.

This series I am writing, for instance, is probably the most challenging project I’ve ever written. There’s so much going on as I am writing these books. Personally, professionally, emotionally, mentally, its hitting me from all directions but I have to keep going.

I have been looking for the silver lining in every situation to help carry me through. The diamond in the ruff, the light in the darkness, the calm in the storm, the peace under the pressure. Here’s an example:

If I get not-so-good feedback on my manuscript, instead of focus all my energy on the negative, I look for something good. Unless the person is just a total (fill in the blank) about it, there’s always something positive that is said among not-so-positive feedback. After licking my internal wounds, I look to find the something good I missed and use it as fuel to keep pushing on.

Find the good and when you find it celebrate it. That’s peace under pressure. Don’t ignore changes that need to be made but celebrate the good as well. Be excited about it! Sorry. I don’t mean to yell, but you understand why I have to.

The good is a light. Take it and let your light shine.

But, dear non-writing readers…

….this is not about manuscripts and writing. I’m using myself as an example but this is about life in general.

The message is:

Celebrate your successes no matter how few or small.

It is not easy and sometimes it is good to vent. Good to let off the steam. The problem is when we do not balance this out with anything good.

See, I don’t want to get on my whole “balance soapbox” here but everything in life must have a balance. I spoke yesterday about being yourself on Social Media but even this is with a certain level of balance. You don’t just want to be all out boring. Or maybe you don’t care about blog stats. That’s cool. I get it, but there’s nothing wrong with paying attention to it sometimes. You don’t have to be obsessed with it, but it is good to know where you are. There’s nothing wrong with monitoring growth.

In life, we just do not balance things out as much as we should. We find ourselves venting too much and letting it rob us of peace. We find ourselves not celebrating the good and not forgiving ourselves for the not-so-good.

Today, we will strive to limit our number of complaints by looking for the good in not-so-good situations.

Why I Read

kindle-photo-unsplash

Because I can create peace in my mind

Even if the world is not all that peaceful

Because people write their truths

And when the heart is contextualized

hidden gems are found

waiting to be resurrected

and valued

I read because reading is valuable

And because books are the only place

where you can learn for free

I read because books are the only schools

I can carry with me

I read to learn from people

who came before me

I read to hear voices

through words

written down

to understand others

to listen to hearts

I read to find the person between the lines.

I read because not everyone can.

No Whining Wednesday – We Haven’t Finished Yet

Happy Wednesday! Your favorite day of the week 🙂

If you’re new to this blog, learn more about No Whining Wednesday HERE.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge
The No Whining Wednesday Badge

Today’s message came as I was frying chicken strips last night. I was also listening to some throwback jams (preparing for what to choose for tomorrow!) As I was listening I thought about the night before, where I re-watched some of The Five Heartbeats. For those of you who didn’t see my post last Friday, I quoted a line from a movie, well, it was a song and I asked you all if you knew what movie it was from. Since I got no responses I figure I’d tell ya. It was The Five Heartbeats and from the scene, everyone loves – The “We haven’t finished yet” scene. Long story short, I pulled it up on YouTube. As I listened again and again and again and….you get the point, I decided this would be a great inspiring video for No Whining Wednesday!

You’ve gotta listen to the lyrics as you’re listening. Today’s message is simple: You don’t have a reason to complain because you haven’t finished yet. You are still here and, as I always say, you’ve got something to do. Enjoy and remember, today is a day of peace, not war. When you find yourself getting upset focus on rooting yourself in this present moment and don’t forget to BREATHE.

FYI: The video quality is not great but it is the only version on YouTube that played the entire song. If it’s too low you will have to plug in your speakers or headphones but it should be good though.

BREATHE

Temporary Cover for BREATHE.

Dear Author,

Writing is just as psychological and spiritual as it is physical. The level of mental clarity necessary to write books is not something that any writer can ignore. From reaching out to people for special appearances, book signings, and speaking engagements, it goes without saying that taking on this enormous responsibility will require the strength of an individual who has worked, not only on his craft but also his mind. Someone who has come to the page with a mindset that he or she will accomplish greatness. Someone who has not only decided on a profession but has mentally prepared for it as well.

At the time that I write this I’ve been publishing books for ten years and within the last three years, I have had the pleasure of working closely with writers in a way that I never have in my career. This intimacy is made possible through writers and the publishing of their most personal thoughts through the platform that is the blog. As I sit back and I observe I have come to understand that doubt and fear is a major contributor and enemy of the writer. It creeps into the mind, seeps into the soul and gnaws the bone. It gets down so deep inside the author that it bleeds through the pen and taints the words. Next thing you know every time you look up that writer is not a writer anymore. That writer is a shadow of his former self, wallowing in self-pity and doubt. That writer has allowed fear to creep in and to steal his gift.

Writing is not a cake walk. It is hard work and often mentally challenging. While writing itself is exciting, the process of pre-writing, writing and then re-writing, publishing and marketing and promoting, can take its toll. Not to mention the barrage of “Thou shall write like this” advice and the author’s own personal life. Who knows what kind of stress the writer battles during production and what kind of sacrifice it took for you to hold that book in your hands. Authors are people too and like any other person, we have lives outside the page and outside the blog, trials and tribulations to endure that can make finishing a book mentally taxing. Writers under this kind of mental strain must somewhere underneath the clutter of depression and self-loathing, find the motivation and the confidence he or she needs to approach the page again. He or she must root themselves in the present moment and find the strength to endure. That writer, he or she, must learn to BREATHE.


“BREATHE: Letters of Writespiration to Keep You Inspired, Motivated, and Writing” is the first book in a series of books that is my next project. A string of letters from me to you, the writer. It does not yet have a release date. I am also not having any fancy launches for this. After The Nora White Story, I am focusing on seriously finishing and producing my memoir which can take some time. These books will be small projects of mine in-between my larger projects such as novels and the memoir.


If you’d like to know more and to read some of the letters before the first book is released (which won’t be for some time), be sure you’re subscribed to my email list. I am doing some redecorating, such as an all-white background for a neater look. I am also sharing Chapter Four of my memoir in the next issue (Chapters 1-3 will be available to download to new list members or veteran members who missed it.) Also, if I have not gotten around to promoting your book, it will be in the next issue as well. Your patience is always appreciated.

Love Me Into Music

music-4

the birth of tranquil

when words meet music

racing anxiety slowed,

and slick,

and subtle

like splashes of sunlight

chipping at our faces

warm and comforting

like tapping footsteps

love me

like drumming fingers

like dancing

bobbing heads

and bodies contorted

into the full figure of violin

and singing like half notes

like puzzles brought together

and connecting to the sky

we love like wireless

find us anywhere

find us weak

and fractured

our experiences tugging against our very

existence

like tendons and muscles

our faces pulled back

like nostalgia

an orgasmic melody

of words to virgin ears

potent,

and suspect,

and anxious

musical therapy

a body of instrument

like balls of flesh torn

into stuttering syllables,

and time signatures

and melodies and pianos

we play poetry like pianos

like fingers are feathers

every nerve tickled

by the slightest touch

a Katrina of waves

pleasurable

and strong

like euphoria

brushing against the shores of truth

love me into music

like base that split atoms into frequencies

that scrape the sky

that loves like stringed instruments

this is a love

that sounds

like

music