“Stories that come to me in the middle of the night from folks I don’t know. Don’t have nothing to do with me except they know I know how to get a pray through and a story straight.”
Susan “Spit-Fire” Lively is a poet, spoken word artist, producer, photographer, educator, and activist from Belleville, IL. Co-organizer of “100,000 Poets & Musicians for Change – St. Louis” since its inception in 2011; Susan also produces the series’ “First Bloom” and “Women For Peace”, and co-produces the “Dia de los Muertos Fiesta”. In 2016 she became an Officer of Urb Arts’ Executive Board. In January of 2017 Susan produced the St. Louis leg of the international event “Poets & Musicians Against Trump” (with co-producer John Blair).
Lively’s been featured on “Literature For The Halibut”, “The Arts with Nancy Kranzberg”, the “Healthy Living Program” and PBS’ “Living St. Louis”. She has taught spoken word and creative writing at Confluence Academy, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, and for the Nine Network and St. Louis Fringe. Susan’s work has been published in “Static Movement”, “Postcard Shorts”, “Head To Hand”, “The East St. Louis Monitor”, “The PEN”, “Chance Operations”, “Drumvoices Revue 20th Anniversary Edition”, “SIUE News”, “Big Bridge“, “No Vacancy” and the social justice anthology “Crossing the Divide“.
We all have moments where we get caught up dealing with life’s chaos and whatever struggles we’re facing, and we have a hard time filtering out all the negative crap that likes to build up and overwhelm us. That’s when it’s crucial that we are careful about the kind of “Self-Talks” we have because if we’re not careful, those little talks can too easily be consumed with an unhealthy amount of pessimism and bitterness that tends to accompany us in times of stress and worry.
When times are hard, they can often be blessings in disguise- so you must let go and allow life to strengthen and guide you, because no matter how it much it may hurt, you need to hold your head up and keep it moving- remember this when you’re having a rough day, a bad month, or a crappy year- just know that things will change and you will not feel this way forever.
We gotta keep in mind that we are in control of our attitude and our way of looking at things, and it doesn’t take much sometimes to let our thoughts overwhelm us and then our heads are filled with, “I’ll never get this finished.” “I can’t.” “What else can go wrong?” “I have too much on my plate, I can’t deal with it anymore.”
That’s when you gotta manage those self-defeating thoughts and acknowledge that to attract positivity, you gotta start by giving off positive energy. Stop focusing solely on what’s going wrong and what can’t be done, and put more energy into doing whatever is in your power to better your situation.
Try shifting your perspective, Take a deep breath. Take a walk. Move to another room. Sometimes working from a different location can bring a different perspective and some much-needed clarity. To keep your sanity and stay mentally sane, sometimes you just need to change your point of view and tell the negative committee that likes to meet up inside your mind to be quiet.
Dawn Edwards wrote her first short story at the age of 8 and has cultivated a deeper love for the written word over the years. She is now a published author, her book is entitled, “Food 4 Thought” and currently has two book projects in the works. She’s a blogger and a political activist who wholly believes that she has the responsibility to use her words, in addition to her legal knowledge and political science background to uplift, motivate and address issues that affect her community. Dawn’s also a mother of 3 boys, and a trained dancer.
I know who I am. I am who I was created to be
Without being who you expect me to be
Who they assume I am
Who I thought I was
I am strong
I have cried and lied and spied and tried
To be that super; that make do, that bag
That pick up the pieces
I am woman
I can roar and I can soar
This may not be in your job description
But it is my prescription, because I have changed
But rearranged myself
I am free
To be who I was created to be
I am a unique piece to my own puzzle
Intricate, a benefit, not counterfeit
Fitting into grooves
I thought I’d never fill the vacancy
I am determined
If I know who I am
I can respect you, because I respect myself
I can love you, because I love myself
I can respond to you and not react
I can share with you and not be envious
I can converse with you and be real
I am a possibility