My writing career began later than it should have. In elementary school, I struggled big time. As I tried to juggle learning both Spanish and English at the same time, some things were not prioritized, one of which was writing. I the dual-language program putting little emphasis on it early on, but my 8 year old self paid little attention. That was until 4th grade. I remember struggling to formulate my thoughts as I was tasked with writing one of my first real essays. I wasn’t triumphant. My thoughts were jumbled, incoherent, and difficult to understand.
Then 6th grade happened. It wasn’t a sudden change-my essays didn’t get much better. However, I did discover a medium in which I could actually express my thoughts:poetry. My 6th grade teacher made us write anthologies of our collected poetry. Of course we had to follow some formatting rules, but overall, we could do whatever we wanted. I remember feeling absolutely liberated when I discovered that I could actually express my thoughts with the written word. I wrote story poems, rhyming poems, short poems, long poems. The requirement for the number of poems was around seven; I wrote seventeen. My teacher liked some of my stuff, so she encouraged me to share it with others. We then held a poetry reading get-together in a cafeteria for our parents. Not only did I like writing poetry, but I also liked performing it.
Flash forward a few years. Poetry doesn’t play a huge role in my life; I’ll be honest. I wish I wrote more poems and had the time to go to open mic, but alas, I don’t. However, whenever I’m sad, distressed, or having an existential crises, or just have something to say, poetry is there. Nowadays, I usually throw away or lose what I write down on paper mostly because it doesn’t matter if someone, or even I see my poetry again. For me, the liberation and joy of writing usually comes in the moment. It comes in those revelatory phrases that surprise even me when I write them. For me, writing down staccato, rhyming phrases helps me to collect my thoughts and establish what I actually think about something. By no means am I poet; most of the time, it hardly comes naturally at all. But in those few moments where I get excited about a phrase or some cool wordplay that shows what I think about something, I know it’s worth it. I wish I could do it more often. Maybe I’ll start today.