Tribe Pride = Self-Expression

A couple of weeks before the end of the Spring 2011 semester, I had the pleasure of serving on the “Panel on Mental Health Issues in the W&M Community.” The panel, which included Dean Volp (Dean of Students), Dr. David Goode-Cross (Counseling Center), and myself, served as an open forum for the student body, staff, and administration. It addressed mental health and safety, and was one of many events organized for second annual “I AM W&M” Week. This year, this very special week was led by Student Assembly’s Diversity Initiatives, the International Performance Arts eXchange (IPAX), and Professor Tanglao-Aguas, and I very much look forward to it next Spring.

Although, to be fair, I think I should explain why I look forward to this life-changing week.

As a prelude to the Panel (which was held on April 20th, 2011), IPAX and members of the Tribe, performed several pieces of spoken word, rap/lyrics, and songs. Each of the performers were asked to focus on self-expression. To my surprise, I was asked to also share some of my own work. It started as an event where I was to perform four of my own poems (and represent the student voice by serving on the panel), but it has led me down a path of self-discovery, compassion, and joy; after that evening, I felt as if the community had truly come together to listen and understand one another, which is something about W&M that I love. We are a community. We are a family.

So, after the panel, I decided that sharing my poems (and myself) was something I just had to continue. I decided from that night on, I would write every single day. I have kept to that promise, and I now write a poem every single day. I intend to do so until I graduate next Spring. For me, I see each blank page as a new beginning, as I sit myself down every night to piece together the little notes I have made throughout the day. I send out each poem to some of my closest friends for comments, critique, and advice, in hopes of developing my own voice. Today marks Day 105 of my “poetry project,” and since I have already broken 100, I thought it was time to share my work with my family – my Tribe family. The family that inspires me to be better, and to always fight for more.

So this afternoon, I present you with three of my pieces. I’d love it if you shared your thoughts, but most importantly, enjoy!

Day 56 (6/14/2011)

Sequoias Know Best

I once heard that Sequoias are different from most trees

Other trees send their roots deep below

Into the soil to absorb nutrients for growth

But Sequoias, they are unusual

For they know the true meaning of respecting their roots

For the roots of the Sequoia do not seek the depths of the earth

Nor do they rely on water from deep, dampened soil

Thick root systems form early on during the life of this tree

And their roots sprout from the base

And they grow

With dexterity, with grace

And soon, they show that they must reach

Towards the surrounding sturdy Sequoias

And rather than growing independently

They extend and intertwine

So by growing with those around them

With much support in shallow soils

The Sequoia can grow towards the greatest heights of the sky

Two, Three… Hundreds of feet above

Until nothing is impossible

Not even reaching for love

Day 81 (7/9/11)

All is Fair

Consider this a warning:

I’ll burn you

Scald you

Torment you

Hurt you

Break you

Chain you up

Hold you hostage


Your weaknesses

Are no longer secret


They are mine

And I will use them

Against you


So before you wear

That heart on your sleeve

Know that you are vulnerable

To all of the possibilities

Of war

Day 104 (8/1/11)

Be Honest Now

As you outstretch your arms for the warmth of the sun

Let us just start again with page one

Listen and understand as I draw what is said

So you can watch me weave this soon-to-be tangled web

Something pretty similar to what you can do

But I can probably do it a little better

For I’ve seen the master at his best

Carefully carving away the excess

And revealing the beauty that was hidden

Almost as if you are unveiling the bride

Or unmasking the hero

So that identity is more than just an acquaintance

You should become more familiarized

With the infatuated look in their eyes

And let the hurricane come rushing through

Or let the tornado invade and take you away

Twisting and cursing you to your personal fate

Just remember that truth in this life is what you create


Categories: Arts & Culture, Campus Life, Diversity, Student Blogs
1 Comment
  1. HK

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