Back in October I shared some of my poetry with the expansive audience of the Internet for the first time.
It was extremely hard for me to do, as I had kept my more personal, poetic writings a secret since I first picked up a pencil for something other than a book report or cartoon drawing back in 6th grade.
But it was a very liberating experience and I got a lot of positive feedback that propelled my confidence in my creative writing and emotional expression at an exhilarating rate.
The support, compliments, and constructive criticism I received from strangers, family, peers, teachers, and friends allowed me to fully embrace my appetite both poetry AND finally pursue spoken word.
It took me three years of attending Cal Poly, but this past academic year I finally attended my first Another Type of Groove, or, ATOG, on campus.
ATOG is a monthly open mic hosted by the Cal Poly Multicultural Center and it is quite possibly one of the best events our campus has to offer… and the best part if that it’s ongoing! Not feeling super inspired in February? That’s fine. There’s another one in March! And April and May and, well, you get the point.
I have come to cherish these monthly open mics, which happen on the first Wednesday night of every month, like Christmas. Honestly, for a writer, it is. A chance to share some of my work with other people? People who are supportive, observant, sensitive, educated, passionate, brave, etc.? Sign me up! Like, forever.
While ATOG is open to guitarists, rappers, stand-up comics, beatboxers, and singers, I definitely take the most interest in the other spoken word poets, as they are learning to better the same craft as me and find solace in the same form of expression that I do. Together we share and we learn and we never judge.
I have this in my life now, along with the courage to share my poetry more freely, which I have even done one-on-one with another person (maybe definitely the scariest thing ever.) I am so grateful. And I wish I had gotten to this point sooner, but my timeline is my own and it is beautiful for being so.
The reason I am beginning this post with this short anecdote is because I think it’s important to consider the positive impact our support and kind words have on someone’s confidence and growth.
Given what I’ve been told by friends and family, most people perceive me as an extremely confident person.
While I agree and consider myself a very confident person, I have my moments. We all do. And we all have our roadblocks and fears. Although writing is one of my biggest passions, I faced severe mental obstacles for years when it came to letting anyone, even those close to me, read the words my mind and my heart had spit up onto the pages.
But after Going Out On A Limb I found that this community compromised of those who I know both in real life and through the Interwebs is far more kind, curious, accepting, interested, and appreciative than I had made it out to be in my head.
This brings me to today. Today marks Day #1 of the pact/bet that I made with my older brother, Ryan, about a week ago.
Both of us are very introspective and have a wide array of interests and passions. Both of us ask questions about ourselves and the people around us constantly. We both know we have figured out a lot about ourselves and still have so much more to learn. We both have blogs and we both support each other’s writing pursuits.
And we both agreed to write and publish one blog post every week of the summer, up to August 17th when we leave for an exciting vacation with our parents to Spain, Greece, and Italy (along with France and England for me.)
To hold ourselves accountable, if one of us does not publish a blog post before midnight on Tuesday of that week then we have to immediately Venmo the other $20.00. Being the semi-broke college student that I am, I’m seriously not trying to let it get to that point.
Thus was born today’s post!
I hope you gained something, even if just a reminder of the values you already hold, from what I had to say about how the small interactions we have make a big difference. And how taking one risk with sharing my work led to tons of support, which gave me the courage to discover things that would facilitate my growth as a writer and improve my overall happiness as a human being.
Below I have included some of my poems, notes, condensed thoughts, etc. Some of them were written in the middle of the night on my phone, some of them were written recently, some last year, some of them were scribbled down in my journal, and some were penned on a Guest Check from my work because inspiration hit me while on the job. Enjoy.
I Am The Waves (final edited version below)
Final edited version:
I study the waves
and I see myself
in the white, washed up chaos closest to the shore.
Bellying upwards, pushed and dragged forward by an invisible force.
The reason as elusive as the true blue of the water.
These waves are never truly settled,
never at peace.
Propelled again and again
And as soon as it seems the water may finally calm,
the force is there again
and all it lost
in the infernal blank sea.
He’s the scab you know you shouldn’t pick,
but the temptation is always there.
The small, reddish brown, maggot shaped mark commands your gaze for a few seconds
and inevitably you find yourself wedging your fingernail
beneath your skin and free will.
You peel back your walls like dried blood,
freshly vulnerable like the exposed flesh
and for a moment your decision pleases you, but soon you remember it’s a wound.
Healing was not far away and now,
Now you’ve placed yourself back at the starting line.
The process repeats itself umpteenth times
until one day there is nothing left to pick at.
This is certain.
But know this,
The more times you go back and cave in,
the more likely you are to scar.
They say, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
And I agree.
Tracing back, it took just one to kill me
One of Those Days