Finding a purpose in life could take years, decades, or even the second that you’re born, but if it wasn’t for me discovering poetry as a teenager, I don’t think I would be here today to tell you this story.
As a teenager, I had the reputation as “the quiet girl”, which took a toll on me because I didn’t know how else to identify myself. I didn’t see myself as a gifted child, the popular girl, or someone that was cool enough to have a lot of friends. I was going through so many things outside of school that I decided to be silent and reserved, from 10 years old, up until about my freshman year of college, because that was my only way of hiding pain and weakness.
My writing journey started when I was 14, writing love poems whenever I had a crush on someone. I had a large red college-ruled notebook (which I still have today), and I would write poems expressing how I felt during that day or week. Sometimes the poems would be describing the nature of a beautiful day, and some poems would be revealing anger and jealousy (which I learned the hard way that it was not the best idea to share publicly). At the time, I didn’t take poetry too seriously, but I knew it was my way to express feelings that I was too afraid to reveal verbally. Also, I was comfortable with communicating through verse and rhyme. During my freshman year of high school, I joined the Creative Writing Club, and that gave me the opportunity to get published and work with other student writers.
However, my writing shifted just two days before my 15th birthday, when Michael Jackson died. I was in Florida for a family reunion on that Thursday, and my brother called my mother to tell us the news. About three days later when I arrived back home, I wrote a poem describing his life from beginning to end, and posted it on my Facebook “notes” section. From that point on, I knew that I had some sort of talent for poetry. The responses that I got from Facebook made me feel important, and I was happy that people could vision me as something else instead of just the quiet girl. Over time, I kept writing about love, school, faith, but then stopped for a moment because I experienced depression for the first time when I was 15.
My life as a 15 and 16 year old was really hard because on top of my favorite artist dying, I had family issues, church issues, adolescent struggles with my weight, and I was losing friendships all at once. Pretty much every scary thought that people with depression has, I had, and I didn’t feel like I was worthy enough of living. There was one scary moment that happened around 2010, that completely changed the way I look at life. Fortunately, I never experienced self harm, but something stopped me from pursuing it. This might sound crazy, but I remembering a voice from God telling me that all of my problems were temporary, and that I need to be here to help people. I dropped everything and cried because I didn’t see my own strength until that day when I realized my life was worth something. Ironically, the next day, I heard that there was a talent show happening at my high school, and a few of my classmates thought that I should audition for it. I got in the show, and performed a poem called “My Eyes”, which you can listen here:
That was the poem that started my journey as a poet, and the moment poetry saved my life. Now as a woman, I’m so grateful for my life and every breath I breathe because I remember the days when I didn’t see the value of it. Eventually over the years it brought my voice back, and I’m no longer afraid to express verbally of my thoughts and opinions. I talked about the talent show performance in my college essay, so I wouldn’t have made it to college without poetry. Although I still have my moments of sadness, I never question my life. I believe that I was put here on earth to help in some capacity through poetry, writing, advice, or anything that is in my heart. I have carried poetry throughout high school, college, work, family, and this blog. The Rina Collective would not have happened if it wasn’t for poetry, and it’s the purpose that has kept me living on this earth by choice.