When I was 11, I decided to "get more serious" about my writing. As in, I didn't have a place to write because I had thrown my diary away when I was 8 (amazing what impact embarrassment can have), and I was growing out of The Amazing Writing Machine that I used on our computer.
So, I challenged myself to write a poem everyday. I did off and on for a month and wrote some of the lamest poems about cloud shapes and "surprisin'" sunsets. That was the beginning of the month. By the end of the month I was writing deeper, heartfelt words about experiencing God.
It got kicked up even more in high school, when I still avoided keeping an honest journal, and instead let my words build up until they were lines of poetry flowing out onto the page as I processed relationships and breakups and all the confusing feels of a teenager.
Fifteen years later, and I finally keep a journal to put all of the hard, honest thoughts to rest, and the flow of words hasn't stopped. I get this rhythm in my head that words pass through in river motion until I get them out--in a journal, in my phone notes, in a blog post. Those outlets are to me now what poetry was to me as a teen--a way to work thoughts out until they became a meaningful piece of art and a memento of the journey.
During this 30-day series celebrating three-oh, I want to pay tribute to some of those words that started this writing rhythm when I was a teen. I wouldn't be the writer I am today (and still growing) if I hadn't started back then.
Instead of overwhelming you with my old poetry, I'm sharing 30-ish lines of poetry from my collection. In each poem, there's a common thread of perspective (one poem below was literally about perspective). But even the others were all about taking my heartache and trying to uncover a different way to look at the hurt until the hope of a silver lining became a radiant sunbeam.
These are a glimpse of who I was as a teenager, as well as a vision for who I hope to remain as an adult.
4 lines from a 3-page poem recovering from hate-created fear:
I hate because he left me
To face the world solo.
I fear for lack of opportunity
To simply thank my hero.
8 lines from a poem comparing jelly beans with life. I go deep, I know:
We measure life up, and look at the result
To label each moment or give it a fault.
Was that a scratch or lesson learned?
A year in the past or another to unturn?
A waste of time or time put to use?
A bad choice or the privilege to choose?
Either way you lived it, you've gone through the strife.
Labeled or not, I'd still call it life.
16 lines from a poem I wrote as I processed heartache:
Perspective is a view,
of the things we daily see.
In how they relate to you,
of importance to me.
When we view our life,
through the way it's flown,
in looking at this strife,
we're not looking alone.
There is an Intervener,
through each situation.
Who's eyesight is keener,
in reading the interpretation.
I ask the question,
"Will I ever make it through?"
And One gives direction,
You'll be stronger when you do.
7 lines from a poem about two separate hands that eventually join:
One hand, so meek and changed,
Now rests inside the Greater.
One hand, so loving and true,
Now holds the lesser.
Faithful and walking,
Joined until forever are these hands--
My Lord and I.
Thanks, Poetry, for getting me through some tough times in a beautiful way.
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31 days celebrating three-oh