Once upon a time, I was a poet.

As a teenager and in my 20s I wrote and read poetry nearly every single day. In graduate school, I taught poetry too. I performed spoken word at venues across the Bay Area.I saw poetry in everything from a sunset to the run in the pantyhose of a woman walking by.

Then I became a working journalist, and deadlines and due dates slowly began to push poetry from my life. I became an entrepreneur and business and bills finished the job.

I have no regrets. Journalism helped me write my way to the life of my dreams. Every day I feel my 11-year-old self smiling, feeling proud that I am a bonafide businesswoman.

But one day, I looked up and poetry was gone.

Or so I thought.

Turns out poetry never left me. Poetry was simply hiding between the pages of my journal.

Last week the pastor of the church I’m currently attending asked me to write and share something with the congregation on the theme of Embodying Diversity. I immediately knew I would share the poem “Dear God I Wish You Were a Woman,” a poem you can find in my book Find Your Way Back. But when I read it, the words fell flat.

I panicked.

What should I do?

The poem is already published. I can’t rewrite, I told myself.

Says who? my wiser self asked. It’s your poem. Do what you want.

My wiser self was right, of course. After all, when I was an English teacher I taught my students that literature was a living thing. And when the women of my writing group share fears of publishing their work and later being dissatisfied with it, I tell them everything is editable and to remind themselves that whatever they’re working on doesn’t have to be the last thing they ever write. You can change your mind. You can rewrite your story.

So I decided to take my own advice.

I rewrote the poem, using many of the musings of my journal to do so. I read it with pride without stumbling over a single syllable and I was showered with compliments at the end of service.

I can’t say I feel like a poet again. But I can say I’m back in my poetry era and I’m excited to see where it leads.

My message for you is two-fold: first, don’t be afraid to revise your work. To write is to rewrite. Second, journal and reread your journals often. There could be a part of you inside waiting to be rediscovered.

Here’s the new poem:

Dear God, I Wish You Were a Black Woman

Dear God
I wish you were a Black woman
Because since I was a little girl
I’ve imagined you as a white man, with white hair, sitting on a white cloud
Far, far away

But I am not a man
And my skin is a deep shade of mahogany brown
So how am I to believe I was created in your image?
And if you are far, far away

How can you be my Immanuel?

Dear God
I wish you were a Black woman
Because the songs of my sisters

Move me more than any hymn ever could
Because girls brunch feels like Communion
Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes
This is my Apostle’s Creed

Alice Walker once wrote:

Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me.

Ntozake Shange once stated:

i found god in myself
& i loved her/i loved her fiercely

These words became my scripture
Emboldened me to enter your courts with thanksgiving declaring

She so loved the world

Declaring She loves me