So I was looking through my stats here on this blog and I noticed that some of my most popular posts are just essays that I’ve written for scholarships. So here is another one that I wrote a little over a month ago. I never heard back from the people who held the contest so I assume I didn’t win, which is kinda sad because I am quite proud of this essay and was hoping I would win. Anyways, the prompt was:
How has language helped you find your voice?
(And I’m always looking for constructive criticism on my writing so feel free to share any tips or thoughts in the comments below! Enjoy!)
About a year ago, I was reading some poetry by my favorite poet when an idea popped into my head. If she did it, why couldn’t I? What’s stopping me from being a poet? Poetry was something I’d had a history with, I’d attempted writing poetry back when I was a preteen but soon tossed it aside, figuring there was no point to doing something when I had nothing important to say. So I had stopped.
But last year, I had fallen into that dangerous mindset of believing that I did not have a voice. That there were no words I could say that carried any weight. And this bothered me. I began to take a good look at my life and wonder: “What can I say that is important? What do I have to offer?”
That night, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just write. So I wrote a poem. It was terrible, but it was mine. It was my voice loud and clear. So then I wrote another poem. And another. And another. And throughout that summer I continued writing mediocre poetry and posting it on my blog that no one read.
It was then Autumn and all I had was poetry no one read on a blog that no one ever read. Everything felt safe, I was comfortable with this arrangement.
Ah, but then I had another idea….
What if I tried to get my blog popular? What if I posted my poetry on Instagram?
So that’s what I did. I reached out, marketed, my blog posts got better, my poetry was climbing out of the pit of mediocre. I was scared half to death of how my poetry would be received.
And over those few months, something amazing happened.
I had found my voice.
Soon people from all over the world were reading my poetry and my blog. I received comments on Instagram about how inspiring my poetry was, how brave I was to post them and how I must continue writing. I had done it. I found my voice and boy, was it loud!
Around that time, a young woman stumbled across my Instagram account and we got to talking . We both loved the same TV shows, we’d come from similar backgrounds and really seemed to hit it off. Over the next few weeks she began to share her story with me. That she was a recovering alcoholic who had let alcohol ruin her life for a year. That experience had given her major PTSD and she was currently in a bad place mentally and physically. I’d of course had no experience with this sort of thing and couldn’t believe that she was reaching out to me, who was only 16 at the time. She was 22.
But then I got to thinking about how my blog was doing and all the people I was inspiring with my poetry. And I realized that I had a way with words. I had the ability to encourage others, to bring a sense of hope wherever I went. So again, I thought:
“Well, why not?”
So we continued talking and I was there to offer words of encouragement and tried my best to talk her through panic attacks and to help her be optimistic again. They were just words I had figured and it’s not like I could actually make an impact with just talking, right?
And it never hit me until she finally wrote about her story and how I had helped her. Permanently altered the course of her life. Here’s an excerpt from her blog:
“Through this account I met some amazing people, one of those people being my friend Kate.
She runs the account kate_cruz17 on Instagram.
We are two uniquely different people, but I swear to you that if it wasn’t for Kate I’d be a whole lot worst than I am.
She from day one knew that I had a story, and over time she learned it and helped me through it.”
And then it hit me. I have a voice. My words are powerful and life altering. I am no longer that shy, timid girl last year who believed that I have nothing of value or importance to say. With my voice, my words, I can help people, I can make a difference.
I can change the world.
In a few months, my first poetry book is coming out. In less than a year, I have written over 50 poems! I have readers from all over the world who hear my voice. And over this past year I’ve realized that one voice can change the world if only we have the courage to speak up.
Wellspring of Words
Words aren’t meant to stay hidden
In the depths of our souls
Share the story of your life
For there are truths that need to be told
Do not let your words land in whispers
You are too powerful to barely exist
For I have seen the change we can bring
So be an open hand, not a fist
And I know that right now you feel weak
All you can do is force air out your lungs
But we are not creatures of silence
There is still much work to be done
And like you, I did not know what to do
Until one day I picked up a pen
And began writing my story in a rhyming verse
And now my words pour forth with no end