A brown woman.
And so begins one of many beautiful, arrow-to-the-heart-and-soul poems by New York’s own Morye’J, also known as Ajahneik Jackson. At only 24, she has not only survived common creative fears and blocks, she has learned to thrive. It was my pleasure to speak with her on writing to heal, what it is to live holistically, and how finding opportunities to bloom in the city that never sleeps.
It’s a common belief that creative people are just born that way. You either have it, or you don’t. By now, we should all acknowledge that lack of truth in that. Despite her ability to weave words into compelling poetic truths now, she didn’t start that way.
“I didn’t actually start writing poetry at all. I remember being in elementary school, [in the 5th grade], and I was required to write a paper for my class. And my subject was respect.”
She chose to write about the respect of a woman and sex workers. An impressive subject to broach in elementary school. Her paper was so well-received at school there was cause for a publication party at home. What may have just been a moment of pride for the family became a source of inspiration for her aunt who would later go on to write a poem in celebration of her niece. It was this small token of pride that would light a poetic fire.
“I was so happy about the poem …that I wanted to write one.”
So she did. Not just one, but many, many poems.
Writing became her voice.
“I always felt I could communicate better as a writer than I could physically in-person.”
Writing became her therapy.
“I’ve just been writing to release emotions and speak about what I’ve gone through.”
For those that prefer the written word or spoken word, I don’t need to educate you on the power of simply writing things down. Something transformative happens when thoughts and feelings swimming in your head bleed onto the writer’s canvas. But you don’t have to consider yourself a writer to experience powerful change on the inside. Maybe you, like Ajahneik or myself or so many others, also turn to journaling.
“…when I put them out on paper, they kinda make more sense than it does coming out of my mouth or sitting in my head.”
Writing aside, we also talked about other ways to approach self-care. Practices such as isolating from social media to going outside and interacting with people to improving diet.
I couldn’t agree more. Across many platforms, more voices are reverberating the same message: get off your phone, go outside, eat healthy. When you give to yourself, it makes giving of yourself that much easier. And creating is definitely an act of giving. So, what happens once you’ve taken the time to renew yourself and create more? You find an outlet to share that work, of course.
Morye’J, the poetic voice of Ajahneik, has graced many audiences with her talents in a wide array of environments. She’s performed in churches, university campuses, and studios. Her poetry has also been shared with organizations that support women empowerment and give assistance to victims of domestic violence. To say the least, she’s just scratching the surface of reaching people.
“Whether they like it or don’t like it, I just want people to feel something from the piece.”
She looks at who she’s performing for, where, and what message should be said through her piece. It could mean a lot of editing to get to what’s right without sacrificing the powerful message behind the work. It could also mean creating something totally new for the audience and event.
We spoke about her aspirations. What did she foresee in the future?
“I do envision myself as being a household name in the next few years.” She feels confident about it. She wants people to know her work and her name, even if they don’t know her.
She believes that putting more of her work out there will only serve to bring forth more opportunities.
When asked what advice she would give to other writers or creatives, she had this to say:
“Create while you can. Sometimes it’s very hard to create when we have writers block or feel we’re not creative at the moment. But when you have that one thought that comes to your head like ‘oh I should do this’. Follow it.”
She believes you never know which of those thoughts takes into your next unexpected project – the one you fall in love with. And if you still don’t feel it, she had this to add:
”Look at what you were doing before, see how you’ve changed, see how good you are. Because we don’t realize how good we are. We surprise ourselves.”