freewriting

i am writing for
the women
who were once girls
judging themselves
through the eyes
of souls
who couldn’t comprehend
their light

i am writing for
the women
who stammered
just to speak
and
who forced themselves
into silence
when ugly words
were once thrown at them

i am writing for
the women
who keep kneeling
screaming at their phone
as lovers leave
as friends depart

i am writing for
all these women
who still
show up
with a smile
after battling their demons
the night before.

i am also writing
for the women
who do not smile
the next day,
the women who
need
a day or two
to recover
from the brutalities
of the world.

— 

strength 

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

It happens to the best of us: writer’s block. Whether your writing efforts are coming up empty or your thoughts are just too jumbled to make sense, freewriting (or stream-of-consciousness writing) is a great creative writing technique for generating new ideas or developing a vague idea into something concrete—like an essay, short story, or poem. Some authors even use freewriting to flesh out or organize their novels. Other writers simply enjoy the freedom of letting their thoughts flow, with the editorial/critical side of their brains turned off. Amazing things can result when you let your mind run free!

Click the image to read on!

i wish i could brush my teeth
without my gums bleeding into the bristles
and i wish i could get the hang of cleaning it off
without tasting soap on my tongue.
i’m tired of realizing on loop that
nothing makes my stomach more upset than
my fear of being abundant, and here’s the thing:
i don’t want to dab at my nosebleeds
in public anymore.

i’m sick of flossing self doubt
out from between my crooked teeth
and shoving it back in me in messy forkfuls
not an hour down the road. i’m done
with biting the skin off the chapped lips
i sucked in for years
to make them seem smaller. i want
to fix my posture after five years of oh,
if i turn this way and cross this leg
and hunch my back and hold my breath
and wait, then i’ll be a slim mirage
of what could have been.
i’m tired of being bottled inside
a would have could have before picture body.
will you still love me after
i pick off all my scabs and wring my eyes out
to dry in the meager pacific sunlight?
i’ll answer for you: no, because
nobody wants to see their friends’
messy, viscous parts.
you’ll always edge back
once you peer at their insides.
sorry, those aren’t pretty either.

i once made out with a straight boy
who spit me out when i was too big
for him to chew, and i’m tired
of licking myself clean and tasting unlovable
of warming ex friends like flames over my body
of waiting to shrink myself before i love.
i won’t be tender
i won’t be tenacious, i will filter
my speech and click my tongue impatiently
and spill myself open
and spill myself open
and spill myself
and examine my contents
on peachy california tiling. cracked.

one day, i’ll graze in the curving meadows
of my being without waiting
for winter to come and wring the life
from me.

—  i’d like to think i’m getting somewhere but i can’t tell
you desecrated the shrines of my fathers
you pushed my tongue, stole my culture
paraded your wickedness as my savior
you refused the right to let me own my narrative
you butchered my names
you brought war on my land
you call my people “savages”
you steal our histories
and wear them proudly in your museums
you wash away our achievements
you carry it as yours
you “discover” what was already mine
you plant puppets, killed our leaders
you desecrated the shrines of my mothers
when we worshipped nature, you laughed at us
now, you want to carry our ways, learn from us
we refuse to write softness into our stories
for you to feel comfortable
we refuse to let anyone but us own our narrative
we refuse to believe your lies again
you will not spit in the face of our fathers
and think his children will not spit back
in your face.
—  Ijeoma Umebinyuo

paintedprintedpaper asked:

I want to start writing alittle bit everyday. I have so many notebooks that are empty , because I'm saving them till I have something good to write. I'm not looking to write a novel or anything, just little things like my daily life, but not so much a diary. I just don't know what to write? How can I fill the pages with different things???

Your problem is that you’re saving them till you have something good to write!  You have to stop that.  Like, right now.  You need to let yourself write the bad things.  You need to let yourself write crap.  You can’t write good things before you write crap because that’s skipping the fundamental first step of writing: writing something.  If you keep putting off writing because you have “nothing good” to write, then you’re not writing!  You’re stopping yourself from writing!

Freewriting isn’t for everyone, but when it comes to the physical act of writing—you just have to write.  I used to use the same excuse: nothing I’m writing is what I want, nothing is good enough to my standards, I should wait until I have something good to write.  That was the most harmful belief I held about writing for years.  It’s what kept me from writing for years.  I’d tell myself that I had to develop my ideas more, that I had to have my plot ready before I wrote, that I had to develop my characters more—and that’s all crap.  It’s crap (but not the crap you have to write before you can get better—actual crap that’s harmful to you as a writer).  That kind of mindset will keep you in your head with ideas flitting around here and there.  It won’t get you words on a page.  To get words on a page you need to just get words on a page, no matter how good they are, what they are, whether they’re in past tense or present tense, or just a whole lot of key mashing the same word over and over again before something clicks.

The physical act of writing (be it with a pen and paper or with a keyboard) will get your brain working.  It will get your writing muscles working.  And you need to do that!  You need to develop your skill for getting ideas from inside your head and transferring them to words on a page.

My fingers crave to empty this pen of its ink.
To empty my mind of its words and phrases.
But for all these books have taught me
And all the walls I have built around my heart,
There is one thing I could never learn.
I could never learn to let myself feel,
I could never learn to carry my vulnerability with pride.
I have blinded myself from weakness
But craved wide-eyed and hungry for anger.
You see, anger is the only emotion I was allowed to find acceptable.
But anger is a desolate desert,
All the power, nothing but a mirage.
Anger hardens the heart
And causes words to become empty.
So no matter how much I write,
These words will quickly dissolve
For I will never allow my heart to weave itself within this burnished ink.
I can never allow my soul to empty itself
Of these pathetic phrases.

-A.L Nash

Love,
you did not survive
all the demons
all the pain
all the heartbreaks
to become
another soul’s darkness.

You did not carry yourself
away from pain
to become pain itself.

A little kinder, darling.
A little softer, sweetheart.

— 

lessons

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

When I looked in the mirror and no longer recognized my own face, I knew that I had to fix something. I had to improve upon how I saw myself; no longer worrying about what others saw me as. I had lost touch with who I am and connected with who others wanted me to be. I was just wet sand at the beach, being molded and washed away over and over again by different people. I was clay underneath the hands of these amateur sculptors.
—  Jamie A. Cooley (Self-Reflection)

You said you’re ugly, a big horrible mess. But darling, have you seen the sparkle in your eyes whenever you talk about the sky? Or have you heard the sound of your voice as you excitedly talk about the book you read last night? Or listen to the laugh you release as you watch one of those series you like so much? Or have you seen yourself dance to the beat of the song of your favorite bands. Or the weird faces you make when you can’t understand something and the serious face you have when you think and try to solve a mystery. Or the way you clumsily move your hands in your lap when you’re too nervous to relax. Or the way you try to force to stop the tears from spilling out of your eyes because you don’t want anyone to see you cry.

Because darling, I do. I’ve seen you. I can see you. Fully. And I can describe you with a lot of adjectives written in the dictionary, but ugly and a big horrible mess isn’t one of them. You’re a mess, but you’re beautiful just like that. You can be my mess and I won’t even complain to have you in my arms.

—  you and your mess //  two things i can’t get enough // i will never get enough // s.j.
Bila Kau Tahu Aku yang Mengirim Surat Ini

Kotaku dan kotamu
Berada begitu jauh
Sampai kita tak lagi percaya
Bahwa cinta bisa bertahan
Dari jarak dan berbagai macam cobaan

Ketika kutulis ini, yang terbayang di benakku adalah betapa kau enggan membacanya lagi
Ya, kusebut lagi karena entah ini surat yang ke berapa kali

Kau tahu, sebuah lagu terdengar sayup-sayup dari komputerku
Komputer yang berlayarkan fotomu

‘Look at the sky
Look how they shine for you.’

Aku otomatis ingin menatap langit malam ini
Menikmati indahnya bintang
Seperti lagu yang pernah kau berikan padaku dulu

'Yellow’

Kau tahu aku begitu menggilai warna itu
Lambang keceriaan
Lambang kehangatan

Ah, pikiranku sudah kemana-mana
Kau sedang apa di sana?
Semoga surat ini tidak lagi hanya bertumpuk dan memenuhi tempat sampah di dalam kamarmu
Hanya karena kau tahu siapa pengirimnya

Jadi, bila kau tahu aku yang mengirim surat ini, apa kau akan membuangnya lagi?
Atau barangkali
Perlukah aku mengirimkannya tanpa nama?
Agar kau bersedia membacanya?

Bukittinggi, 15 Juli 2014

- @TiaSetiawati

There is no human being, no soul that will break me into feeling like i am nothing. There might be days of weeping, of struggling to stay afloat and doubts but those days will come and go. I will decorate my words with light, i will wash my soul clean of their darkness. I will laugh again. I will love again. Darling, i will do these things inside the altar of my being. I will heal my wings and slowly learn to fly again. I will clean the mirror and smile at my reflection because there is no human, no situation, no soul strong enough to hate me into hating myself. I will welcome myself home. I will welcome myself home.
—  Ijeoma Umebinyuo, this being is too great, darling
I’m scared of a lot of things. I’m scared of the dark. I’m scared of space. I’m scared of boys telling me they love me even though I spent half my time wanting a boyfriend.
I’m scared of building a house so big I’ll forget to put a door here or an ending to some stairs there and get lost in it and no one would hear me screaming because I lived alone.
I’m scared of stepping on my dog’s foot ever since I once did it accidentally and everyone yelled at me. I can’t walk past my dog without my mind filling up with the memory.
I’m scared of being famous because even though I ache to be loved I can’t stop thinking of the pictures they’ll take of me and how stupid I’d look in most of them.
Of never really leaving my country.
Of a future where the people I love now won’t be the people I’m loving then. I lot of people promised me forevers. They didn’t make it very long.
I’m scared of how many people I might’ve hurt the way I’ve been hurt. I’m scared of the second death I’ll die, the one where my name is uttered for the last time after my body starts to rot. I’m scared of my last words not being profound. I’m scared of the word ‘posthumous’.
I’m scared of what it’s possible for me to become.
Of the probability that humans will leave earth and go to another planet to live on but what about me? What about me who cannot think about black empty spaces without wanting to bury myself into my bed?
I’m scared of space.
I’m scared of the space we’re all suspended in and I’m scared of the space between him and me and I’m scared of the space I’ll enter after leaving the one I’m in now.
I’m just scared. I’m really fucking scared.
—  Fears, Isha Joshi
freewrite - 8:30am: imploding on a severe lack of sleep that codeine couldn't fix

I’m trying to see myself in a new light. But there’s a storm brewing outside, and the world is no longer what it used to be. But that’s a lie, isn’t it? Yes, it is. Because the world has always been the same way. It’s just that we imagine it to be a certain way for so long that we trick ourselves into thinking that how we think of it in our minds is really how it should be. How easy it would be, wouldn’t it? To not have to starve our morality and struggle to climb out of the cesspool of utter uselessness. Where are we and where is it in comparison to where we are going? Is there a such thing as a place we are truly fated to be? Just because I wonder about these things, does that mean we all do? Is a singular person a fair representative of the greater collective? How much value is in a sample? In a piece? A tidbit? Does it ever match up to the rest? Can it? Who can assure that there isn’t the slightest variation that marks it different from the others that are supposedly deemed the “same?” In our efforts to be the same, have we not completely forgotten the values and merits of individuality? And for those who still have the sense to strive for it, are they not ultimately the same in their endeavour? And what if there is absolutely no end? Imagine humanity and the lack thereof being stuck in a loop until everything collapses in on itself. Can you picture it? Can you hear the sounds, the crash, the calamity. The death of a star, both born and dead into a sea of absolutely nothingness. And the constant reminder of this. Of this. Of this.

It hasn’t been easy, has it? The ways you keep falling down. The days you thought that this would be the end. It hasn’t been easy, has it? The ways you called out hateful words to the one soul, one spirit and one being that is you. It just got harder for you to keep faith when the lovers left, when the friends ripped your heart apart. You thought, “surely, i cannot go on” and you felt yourself drowning. It has been hell. Heaven knows how many times you felt failure knocking you down, calling you all sorts of names. Heaven knows how many times you have been kept alive by your one single dream you had as a child. But, i know, it hasn’t been easy. You imperfect miracle. You wild flower. You strange absolutely gorgeous creature. It hasn’t been easy has it? You, wild flowered child. Plant you anywhere, you still bloom. Throw you into the ocean, you learn to swim against the tide.
— 

Ijeoma Umebinyuo, 

you have mastered how to swim against the tide
so,
keep swimming.