what are you attracted to?

personally, I like “to do” lists

check boxes and color codes and deadlines, all of that grabs my attention

but alas, just making the the list won’t do

neither will ripping it up

you have to put in the work

Continue reading “what are you attracted to?”


of dreams?

were you what,


I want to 

flip the script.

now mine, it’s


conquered, I fear.

forever lost

never remembered.

time? no, have I


that behind?

see, you’ll

acknowledge Death

follows what


live to want.

dreams of

what you were


to want, I

script the flip.

it’s mine now.


fear? conquered.

lost forever.

remembered never.

I have no time


behind that

you’ll see

Death. acknowledge

what follows.


want to live.

consumed or refined?

nobody likes a process, but here we are, processing.

recent events in the world may have life feeling like a trial, specifically, a trial by fire. I’ve been pretty checked out of social media recently, because a lot of the content I saw was draining and made me feel kinda hopeless. I’d think to myself, what’re we supposed to do in the face of all these systemic injustices? how’re we supposed to carry on?

y’all know I like to learn new things, so my digital hiatus has been put to pretty good use. recently, I’ve been focused on understanding the refining process. if you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s a summary:

  • there are lots of things you can do with metal. refining is the only process that gives you the same metal you started with in a purer state. others (smelting, calcining) chemically change the metal. yes, I did my research.
    • there are different types of refining that I could make analogies for, but this would turn into a very long post. we’re focused on trials–I mean–refining, by fire.
    • scientifically, oxygen or air is added to an impure liquid metal as a way to remove impurities. when does the blacksmith know the metal’s pure? he can see his reflection in it.

now run that all back.

you’re the metal, and God’s the blacksmith. but who wants to go through fire?

Continue reading “consumed or refined?”


I couldn’t come up with a witty title for this post, but the idea is that I want to share 20 things that I learned from being in the class of 2020. (update: a good title would’ve been 20* tips from a 2020 grad. but just “20” feels edgy (and also resolves the making 19 20 thing) so I’m keeping it.)

Trump got elected my freshman year, and I graduated with the cords of Covid-19 and racism heavy around my neck. It’s been a time.

Right now, people are being active. In the physical, in the spiritual. “Thoughts and prayers” won’t cut it (as a phrase), but spending time in prayer, in God’s Word, and in God’s presence is all keeping me together right now. But more on that in a minute, let me not get ahead of myself.

I’m bringing this list directly from my journal so it’s not in any specific order, and it’d probably look different on a different day, but here’s what we got:

Continue reading “20”

hey guys, welcome to my channelll

I feel like Swae Lee showing up 40 minutes to Zoom Slope Day (my bad y’all)


this quarantine thing has been interesting

one minute I’m packing up my dorm and saying bye to friends, then I’m home for things like Mother’s Day for the first time in 3 years, and then I’m graduating??? I’ll probably get my degree before y’all hear from me again, wild


anyway, I haven’t been writing as much but I have been doing stuff! I’m hoping to have a nice lil portfolio put together soon, but I have to finish my thesis first. yes. expect a story time on that eventually, probably via YouTube, since that’s the most recent addition to my Renaissance Woman Resume:

IN MY DEFENSE, I was not planning for this to go on YouTube. you hear me make a lot of references Instagram because I truly thought I’d be sharing this testimony through IGTV, just for it to be way too long lol. I ended up posting it on my Vessel in the Valley YouTube page, which already existed because of an old performance I’d posted. that performance is now /gone/ because it took me over a year to realize the video was cut short :-))) go through your own content y’all–that’s a story for another day. I’ll put up a full version eventually!

but yee, I talk about this poem and pretty much all of college in this video, and since posting it I’ve had a lot of ideas to finish up the series and just make more content in general. but first, THESIS! (good) changes are definitely underway and I’m excited to see what this all looks like in the end, but that’s the most recent life update I have for y’all ✨

love is love, pt.1/?

ight lemme get to it

I told myself if I have time to watch anime (I gave it up for Lent #notcatholicjustdevelopingdiscipline) then I have time to write this blog post, but then I still wasn’t writing this blog post because social media is a TRAP

I’m also fasting from Twitter and may not go back fully, stay tuneddd

anyway, I need to focus. this post is currently untitled because I don’t know where it’ll end, but it started on my Instagram Story yesterday morning. here’s what I had to say:

“I just had a thought but my laptop is taking too long to boot so we’re taking it back to the Bible Study via Snapchat days, summer ’17

so apparently I hate the phrase labor of love Continue reading “love is love, pt.1/?”

frozen 2 review, but make it about God

I watched Frozen 2 two nights ago, for the second time

by choice

I grew up a Disney girl and will always be a Disney girl

but because I’m also a thinker, I wrote down the quotes that resonated with me and reflected on them, blog-style, in my journal afterwards

think I love you 3,000, but Disney.


this post will make the most sense if you’ve watched the movie, which makes more sense if you’ve watched the first one, but I’ll try to add enough context for those of y’all who just want the key points! I kinda float back and forth between talking to me and talking to y’all, so as always, let me know if you need any clarification in the comments! anything not italicized was added after my original journal sesh. *insert Into The Unknown-related pun as a good transistion*

  Continue reading “frozen 2 review, but make it about God”

2.15.18, 9.27.19

“hey y’all!

like ____ just said, my name is Iyaniwura Olarewaju, and I’m a senior at Cornell University

literally everything I study and do research on is science-y, but I’ve been writing since 2011. I don’t have a lot of poems from back then because when I started out I would burn everything

I was a very emotional pre-teen, and nothing made sense in my head so I would put my thoughts on paper, and then I would burn them

it was a great form of release back then, but I just got this iPad so I don’t think my dad would be very happy with me if I set it on fire




even with all my flame-filled years of experience, I didn’t start sharing my poetry til 2017. that’s when I started my blog, Vessel in the Valley, and that’s the first time I got on stage with my writing

it was really weird

I was sitting in a chair, because I knew I was gonna get shaky

fun fact, it’s really hard to stand in heels for more than 3 minutes when you don’t go to the gym, but I digress


I didn’t usually have a name for my poems back then, and this one doesn’t have a name either

I just want to talk about Esther


full transparency, I don’t do Spoken Word, I just Speak the Word

I have the rhythm and the flow, my voice just doesn’t go boom like the Button Poets do

and it doesn’t need to

when the time comes, I can speak soft and smooth with a voice that feels like honey, I could sing melodies if I wanted to

I does that, among other things

but a few months ago, I got asked if I’d be free to perform some poetry on a Friday night, and now it’s 2:23 on a Friday morning and I’m finally getting ready


I really like the theme for tonight, songs of freedom

songs can bring freedom. I feel the release sometimes, when I remember to let go

words can bring freedom too, when you remember to use them

I’m finally getting ready to talk about the time when I couldn’t


there’s a lot of time, almost a year’s worth, that I just don’t have

it was taken from me

nothing made sense in my head but I didn’t have any paper left to put my thoughts on, they were all covered with notes for my chem final, I had a chem final soon

I couldn’t get my thoughts straight so I didn’t say anything

didn’t say no, didn’t say yes

didn’t say much of anything

nothing was making sense, so I waited to see if it would


it didn’t


and then a few months later, things were making even less sense in my head, so I said even less since I was already lost

I had already lost

my freedom

and my voice had gone with it

so I didn’t say much of anything, for a few months I just ran because I felt so scared, so confused, but when I finally recognized what I was running from, it’s like I gave up


I have very few memories from 2018, because it was just me in the Valley

looking back, I know God was there too, but I had completely given up on myself

it felt like he had taken me with him, since I hadn’t told him not to

it felt like it was my fault, so I locked myself in shame, in pain

it took so. long. for me to find any semblance of freedom


when I talk about the Valley, I am talking about Psalm 23

that was half of the inspiration for the name of my blog, Vessel in the Valley

“even when I’m feeling low, He fills me up”

that’s what it says in the search bar as you scroll through the site

the other half came from 2 Timothy, where it talks about the Vessels that are used for His honor

I made a commitment to stick with Him even when we went through the depths, but I didn’t realize how deep my seas would get

even now, I know they can get deeper

but at least now, I know that if He’s never left me, He never will

I wouldn’t have made it here on my own, I didn’t even want to

I’d really given up


since I’ve lost my freedom, since I was able to find Him in my prison, I have to ask if He brought me here for such a time as this

every day, everywhere I go, I ask “is this what You brought me here for? is this what You brought me through for? is it time?”

I’ve lost my voice, but I have it now, and I’m learning how to use it again

in the learning, I’m speaking, I’m singing my songs of freedom, I’m saying no, I’m saying yes

I’m using melodies and rhythms and flows and whatever I can to speak, to be my own witness, to bring myself justice

I cannot stay silent, because I know it’s only death that follows

I know that my voice can bring deliverance, my voice will bring deliverance

He’s given me a second chance

He’s helping me talk about the time that I couldn’t


*some silence*


sooo yeah, that was just the tip of the iceberg, but I really pray that everyone heard the Word they needed to hear. whether you’re asking Him to use you as His Vessel, or you’ve found yourself, lost in the Valley, or you feel like Esther, looking for a Mordecai to remind you that God really may have brought you here for a time just like this, I pray you got that. thanks y’all



‘Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” ‘

Esther 4:13-14


i fear what i want

i dream big so i fear what i want and i fear what i need to get what i want because i don’t know what i need and i told myself to never settle but i keep ending up among stars when i should be on Mars, and they blind me, bind me

i fear what i want because i know i can have it it’s so close i could grab it but i hate asking for help i hate feeling helpless, and you’re present but your presence always helps less than you mean it to, and i couldn’t blame you

you don’t fear what i want

you could hold my Mars in the palm of your hand

to you, my Mars will always be a grain of sand




i fear what i want

i dream big so i fear what i want and i fear what i need to get what i want because i know what i need and i told myself to never settle but i keep ending up among stars when i should be on Mars, and they blind me, bind me

i fear what i want because i know i can have it it’s so close i could grab it but i hate asking for help i hate feeling helpless, but You’re present and Your presence makes me feel blessed like you mean it to, for that i thank You

You don’t fear what i want

You hold my Mars in the palm of Your hand

to You, my Mars will always be a grain of sand




I thought I could rewrite this, but I don’t fear as much anymore

I know what I want and I know I can have it, sometimes I spend a bit too long in the locker roo m ut I still go for it

I can see the stars before I get to Mars and yet I take them all in, enjoying the view, as I should

I know I’ll end up somewhere

I know what I want and I know I can have it, it’s so close I could grab it, I hate asking for help and I hate feeling helpless, but I do it anyway, because You’re present and Your presence makes me feel blessed like you mean it to, for that I thank You

You don’t fear what I want

You hold my Mars in the palm of Your hand

to You, my Mars will always be a grain of sand

and the palm of Your hand will always be a safe place to land