What Does Poetry Mean To Me?

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Every month feels like it comes and then in a blink of an eye, it’s gone and we’re onto the next. Before April ends I have to talk about a topic very near and dear to my heart, poetry since April is National Poetry Month! Every day of this month I’ve been making it my business to write, no matter how long or short, to celebrate poetry and keep my creative juices flowing. I began writing when I was in elementary school. I’m not 100% sure what prompted me to write but my entire family loves music and song lyrics have always stuck out at me. Also, Shel Silverstein’s books were my favorite to read, full of poems and cool drawings. Poetry has given me more memories from some of the best moments in my life and has also gotten me through some of my worst. So what does poetry mean to me? Vulnerability, honesty, and freedom are exactly what comes to mind when I think about poetry.

When I moved to NYC in 2015 I started performing at open mics. I was sure people would just stare at me, uninterested in all I had to say but I received the opposite. Each time the crowd clapped, made comments like “yasss girl”, and so much more. I’ve written about happiness, sadness, my career, and the list goes on but poems about love are my absolute favorite. Whew, love is just a beautiful thing within itself and then writing about it creates a bunch of butterflies and wonderful feelings inside.

In January of this year, on my 26th birthday, I released my self-published poetry book titled, “The Stages of Me: Poems of Growth & Metamorphosis”, through Amazon. This 50+ paged book is a collection of poems with a variety of topics and lengths. Some poems I had written years ago and others came about when I decided I should actually publish a book. For the most part, I like to keep my feelings to myself. Of course, I talk to my close family/friends when I have something going on but me? Amirah? Being vulnerable to the public just wasn’t a thing I was all the way comfortable with.

Whenever someone tells me they are reading/finished reading my book, the one word everyone uses to describe it is vulnerable. I took everything that was in my heart and mind, wrote it out, and shared it. Poetry to me is all about being vulnerable. When I’m writing there’s no holding back and there’s no worrying. Sometimes people, including myself (I’m working on it though), give off this persona that we are always in a good space. That’s not true at all, now is it? We all go through things. Life isn’t perfect by any means and that’s okay. Whenever I write, especially when I share it, I try my best to keep it as real as possible. We are all human and emotions make us who we are. Being vulnerable is something relatively new to me and it definitely brings a bit of nervousness with it but in the end, I feel so good.

 For months I struggled with depression and anxiety,  feeling like I should have been in a much better space with my career while working my ass off to make all my wildest dreams come true but still feeling like it was never enough. There was so much more going on and I often felt disconnected from the world. I tried my best to act like I was in good spirits when around people who had no idea but I spent many days sitting in my bed crying my eyes out and barely able to pull myself together. I would just write, aimlessly about how I felt and continued to go to open mics because I knew if I bottled everything up it would just make matters worst.

A few months went by and life seemed to be getting better, I was working more, building my credit, my skin was clearing up, and then I got my feelings crushed to smallest of pieces by a guy who meant the world to me for many years. This sent me into a place full of anger and sadness. For almost two months after, I worked nonstop, taking zero days off because I didn’t want to think or write about it. I finally got to a point when I realized that wasn’t good for me emotionally, mentally, and/or physically. Towards the end of the summer, I went on vacation to Houston, TX. I spend some much needed time in the sun, eating BBQ, and enjoying a new city and when I got back I knew better things were on the horizon and started writing again!

I’m a firm believer that every single thing happens for a reason. Throughout life, there will always blessings in disguise. God’s timing is perfect and I try not to question it. He knows what he’s doing even though I may not at the moment. Having poetry as an outlet pushed me to be honest with myself about how hurt I truly was and also helped me recognize how far I’ve come, how amazing I am, and how there’s so much more to do/see. Within the past year, I’ve grown tremendously into the woman I am today! Once I write, I feel so free. Constantly thinking, “yup, this is how I feel, and?” I have poetry to really sit, acknowledge, and analyze when something’s wrong, then take the necessary steps to fix it.

When I’m in a not so amazing space, poetry often reminds me that it isn’t the end all be all. Recently I’ve cried happy tears more than ever when I’m writing because I’ve evolved into such a dope woman and there’s still so much more of life for me to experience and more growing. Poetry keeps me grounded. I’ll sometimes right in future-tense, which helps me to remain optimistic and hopeful, knowing that if I can envision things getting better and work towards it, then they will. Once I changed my mindset, I changed my life. I still get stressed out every now and again, it happens to the best of us but it’s nothing like it was in the past. Using poetry as a coping mechanism has played a huge part and I’m forever indebted to poems of all sorts.

What does poetry mean to you?

You can click the link to order my book right here:  “The Stages of Me: Poems of Growth & Metamorphosis”

Make sure you’re following along for more on Instagram – @lookinthemirah

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