anthology, belief-governed, changing disposition, collection of poetry, difficult people, emotional manifestations, emotions are gauges, feelings are not guides, healthy moods, inside weather, literary moods, map out, March, mood swings, moodiness, Moody Woman, temperamental differences
you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.
soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer. – Psalm 42:5-8, MSG
March is my birthday month, and I was born on the 6th of this month. Now, everyone who has ever shared descriptions of early March-born individuals’ temperamental differences with me has always said early March-born individuals are as follows: the most difficult people to understand and the moodiest people. These two truths about my nature, as well as other truths, are why I equate my temperamental differences – my changing nature or mood swings – to Mother Nature’s changing weather. Just like Mother Nature’s weather can be stormy, dreary, cloudy, sunny, hot, warm, cold, freezing, cool, rainy, dry, humid, windy, and so forth, the same is true about my “inside weather” – my soulish nature’s weather. However, the main difference between my soulish nature’s weather shifts (changing dispositions) and Mother Nature’s weather shifts is that there usually aren’t any clear warning signs – no accurate forecasts – that will let people know when a change in my “inside weather” will happen.
Now, I have always believed that God gave us our feelings – our various emotions – for us to use as gauges and not as guides. What I mean is that God designed us in such a way that it is our beliefs that should govern our feelings/emotions. For sure, it is our beliefs that map out our thinking, and we eventually express what we believe and think through our emotions. These emotional manifestations of our beliefs and our thinking are our “inside weather” – our mood swings. Since our moods don’t come out of nowhere, we who are believers in Christ must never allow our moods to alter what we believe. If we truly believe we live by faith, then this belief should govern our emotions and keep them from manipulating us and others.
Thankfully, my moodiness (unpredictable mood changes) never manifested as angry outbursts that happened several times a week. For sure, my moodiness never involved uncontrollable verbal rages and physical aggression. The kind of “inside weather” changes I experienced never made me psychotically depressed – depressed to the point that I contemplated suicide. To the best of my knowledge, I also never manipulatively used my “inside weather” – my mood changes – to control others. In other words, not one of my so-called “bad moods” was ever intentionally leveraged as a weapon used to force others to do what I wanted them to do. Some people might have felt like that was what my moodiness was doing, but I never calculatedly bullied, oppressed, or forced anyone to oblige me by doing my bidding.
Compared to the more depressive and crueler kinds of moodiness, mine has always been rather mild. In fact, the best definition of moody, as it pertained to what my family and friends called me, as well as pertains to what I refer to as my “inside weather,” has always meant the varied ways I expressed my feelings.
Writing became my main way of communicating how I was living with my accepted truth – my moodiness helped make me a difficult woman to understand. Since I was a child, poetry was the one writing form I have repeatedly used to show my changing feelings. However, over the years, whenever someone whose opinion I respected didn’t like a poem I had written, I would stop believing in myself as a poet and, as a result, I would stop writing poetry. My longest period in which I wasn’t creating any poetry was from 1969 to 1978.
By the late 1980s, when I was working on my Ph.D. degree at Howard University, someone encouraged me to enter some of my poems in a contest. That someone was my African-American Poetry class’ professor. She encouraged her entire class to submit at least one poem to the Howard University’s Poetry Contest (sponsored by The Academy of American Poets). Because I felt that none of my poems that were more than two stanzas would stand a chance, I submitted a quatrain that I composed in 1984. I selected that poem because I was sure it wouldn’t win, as I did not consider this poem to be one of my better ones. Surprisingly, that poem (“Pebbles”) received an honorable mention, and that honorable mention made me believe in myself as a poet, again.
Fast forward to 2017. That is the year I started compiling the poems that are in my soon-to-be-published Moody Woman anthology. In this poetry collection, there are many poems that have never been published – poems I composed in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. These poems are mixed in with other poems I composed during the twenty-first century – most of which also have never been published.
Every poem in my soon-to-be-published Moody Woman anthology reflects the particular mood I was in when I composed each one. In this collection of poetry, I poetically describe my romantic, melancholy, humorous, mysterious, spiritual, peaceful, cheerful, and chaotic moods as though they are natural. In other words, my poetry is being used to express my “inside weather” – my mood swings. Therefore, every poem in this collection most definitely is my way of rejecting the widely accepted notion that moodiness is an unhealthy pathological condition.
I will update this blog posting with the date when my Moody Woman anthology becomes a published book, and I will note where it can be purchased. It is my hope that everyone who is a poetry lover who also reads this posting will at least consider purchasing my collection of poetry. However, if supporting my work by buying my book isn’t possible, everyone’s sincere and kind prayers will be greatly appreciated. Shalom . . . . .