I am still trying to create a children’s book about an African American girl character who becomes either a poet or a spelling bee champion. I want to have the little girl become either a poet or the best speller in her elementary school. The girl’s name is going to be Ayesha. I am sure of that. This is going to be my first children’s book. I’ll work with this idea until I have the manuscript written and all I need is an illustrator for the book. I like the spelling bee champion idea if the class poet idea doesn’t work. I want the little girl to be really pretty too and my complexion. I want this to become a popular children’s book.
I didn’t realize it until I was thirty years old that my joy and my pain were not my self worth. I thought I’d always be the broken black girl at NAMI Mercer with a blank stare on my face. I never thought that God was even there. God walks with me. God gives me a peace that passes my understanding. I almost lost my mind but God said “Ayesha you can go to sleep at night now and not be consumed or overtaken by your fears and worries!”. As an African American woman who has lived with Schizophrenia for over twenty years I know I need to have a good cry or maybe a few good emotional releases so that I can feel better. I write a lot and I post blog posts to my writing blog often but I sometimes have writer’s block where I’m not sure what to write. At those times I journal and try to get “inspired”! I refuse to let other people’s opinions of me mess with the self love tip that I’ve been on for five going on six years now! If a person talks trash about me that’s fine. I refuse to address that kind of slander. I really like myself and I like my life and I love being Ayesha (me). I really do and if someone decides to mention my name and talk shit that is okay! I’m on a whole new level now so I expect to have conflicts and I know there’s really no way around these glitches otherwise I wouldn’t have to post this.
I have been connected to Edi Giunta since the Fall of 2014 when I took Memoir Workshop with her. Edi invited me to follow her on Twitter and to like several Facebook pages. I am a member of the NJCU Writers Workshop also taught by Edi Giunta. Memoirfest was where I shared my story for the first time outside of the safety of the classroom and the safety of NAMI Mercer. I remember how positively everyone responded and all the great feedback the other memoir student writers, Edi and Josh gave me. I didn’t know people would have responded so positively to my schizophrenia autobiography and to the two pages I shared from my first 3,000 word final piece, Memories of Me at the December 2014 memoirfest. Edi is so awesome! She is a caring teacher and a professor of English and Memoir at NJCU. I am connected with Edi Giunta. She is a person I feel very lucky to have in my life. Every year since we’ve been connected Edi and her husband Josh Fausty who is also a professor of English at NJCU wish me a Happy Birthday on Facebook. I went to Memoirfest three times December 2014 for the first time, May 2015 for the second time and December 2015 for the third time! I am looking forward to the next meeting of the NJCU Writers Workshop in January 2017! I have to check Facebook to see when Edi posts the date and time and room we’ll be meeting in!
Ever since my 30th birthday I have been on a journey of self discovery and self acceptance. People sometimes say “Ayesha’s this” or “Ayesha’s that” but you know what I really like myself. I really love the woman I see in my mirror even though she is far from perfect she is me. I remember how I used to feel when I was a teenager so broken inside that I thought nothing could mend or heal me. Now I’m a different person. I accept myself and though a lot of people have opinions about me or just don’t like me I can say “so what I like myself” and that makes me feel happy. Nothing can rain on my self love and self acceptance parade, nothing! People have criticized me since I was a child. My childhood, my adolescence and my 20s didn’t stop me from smiling in the mirror after putting lipstick on in my 30s. I’m 35 right now!
I will never succumb to the level of my haters. Let them talk about me! Imma let haters keep hatin’ on me and Imma keep doin’ me! People like me. People tell me I am pretty! I am a gorgeous African American woman and I love being myself! I don’t want to trade places with anyone else. I love my life. I have another poem coming out in the January 2017 NAMI Mercer Messenger newsletter. It’s another free verse poem that I shared. I believe I will have haters and naysayers for the rest of my life but I know who I am. I have an Identity to be more specific I have a “Black Identity” and God gave that to me! I am such a self-love advocate. Nobody is better than I am! No one can take my Black Identity away from me or my college degrees or my life experience with my mental illness!
Self acceptance took me by surprise. When I was a little girl I can remember other kids being horrible to me and adults being critical of me and my mother. I was never anyone’s favorite child. I was my mother’s daughter and she loved me unconditionally since I was a little girl. My mom and I have a really good relationship now that I’m in my 30s. My mom still works as a school nurse and has a midwifery license and is an amazing woman! I can remember how kids would tell me I was “too dark” and I was “too black”. Kids treated me terribly when I was a child. When I got to be a teenager a light skinned girl told me “you’re pretty to be dark skinned” and it was like somebody had told me I was Miss America. Getting older has its perks because I’m as Schizophrenic as I want to be and I love myself. That’s crazysexycool!
Hello world! Guess what? I’m on payroll at Mercer and I am Schizophrenic. Oh my God! I am an African American woman and I am a part time staff member at Mercer as a Mentor for DREAM program. I’m here! I’m a proud Mercer alum class of 2007. I am going to become an Early Childhood Educator. I am taking ECE classes right now at NJCU for my second Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. I believe in myself and Miss Sue my boss gave me a chance. Sue hired me! She said to me during the interview that yes my volunteer experience at NAMI Mercer did count and then she hired me. Since January 2016 I’ve been on payroll at Mercer! This Christmas it will be Christmas at Mercer and NJCU!