By Michael Wafford
Senior Staff Writer
Shamir Kali Griffin isn’t a fan of labels “I don’t let athlete, bi, Christian, whatever define me. I’m all these things,” said Griffin. After surviving cancer Griffin is moving on with his life as he finished his last quarter at CSUB.
Born in Oakland, Griffin,23, moved to Bakersfield one and half years ago to attend California State University Bakersfield. Transferring from a community college, Griffin discovered the only school that would allow him to attend during the fall 2011 quarter was in Bakersfield. Rather than waiting another year Griffin said, he decided it would be best to attend college here where he majors in sociology and psychology.
The transition to Bakersfield from Stockton wasn’t smooth for him though. During his time in Bakersfield he’s gone through multiple health issues the most dire of them being lung cancer.
“I had part of my lung removed October 11. It was interesting because my body was so weak from surgery I was in the hospital for an extra seven days. I was in there for 11 or 13 days,” said Griffin.
During his first few days of recovery, griffin was comforted by his fraternity brothers from Kappa Sigma. “So many of my fraternity brothers and alumni were visiting me during that period even though I wasn’t exactly lucid – I had never had support like that in my life,” Griffin said.
“Typically when it comes to big organizations they’re brothers on one end but not exactly in reality so I was surprised by how many people showed up,” said Griffin.
Griffin said he also experiences intense migraines. When experiencing a migraine he said he struggles to remember details about the person he’s talking to including their name. His vision also begins to blur alongside the pain of the migraine.
While Griffin hasn’t had an easy time in Bakersfield he said the experience has helped him grow. “Every quarter has been a real battle. Dealing with cancer, migraine headache, anxiety attacks, staying active with my fraternity Kappa Sigma, and volunteering and staying active as an officer in Psy Chi. Keeping my grade ups, and working and trying to have relationship. It’s been interesting,” said Griffin.
“Although there’s been so much adversity I’ve definitely grown from it,” said Griffin.
Griffin is also a poet who has written three collections of poetry.
“In terms of music, the first two [books] were my mix tapes – this is the album,” said Griffin.
While his poetry is finding an audience, Griffin has decided to take a hiatus from writing.
“I probably won’t be writing for another year and some change. I want to see how this book sells and how people handle the material. I want to see if I’m ready because I need to focus on recovering my physical health and my spiritual health,” said Griffin.
His newest collection of poetry is “Identity in Shades.” It’s available for purchase online through Amazon.com and locally at Russo’s Books and Barnes and Noble.
Griffin was selected as the poet of the month at Russo’s Bookstore and will be reading poetry on June 13 at 6:30 p.m. during its open mic night.