Hey guys, welcome back to TNTH!
If I had a frequently asked questions section of my blog, I bet you one of the questions I would have to answer is the one I’ve been getting from people for the last couple of years:
Liz, why don’t you write poems anymore?
As I’m slowly trying to get myself back in writing creatively again, I remember the times that I sat for hours writing poetry in my notebook. There was a point in time that I wrote a new poem every other day, possibly writing and posting one on Facebook every week. I used to attend poetry workshops as a teenager and for a while, I began to see my poems becoming better, cleaner, and wittier. For a while, I was “Liz, the poet” more than “Liz, the writer” and I was fine with that. Poetry is what ultimately made me start writing and to start taking writing seriously.
Then, I stopped.
I stopped writing poetry at the end of 2013 mainly because I found myself being a much happier person. My poetry was at its greatest in 2012; the time when I was battling with depression and issues within myself. Yet, my poetry in that era was some of the cleanest, wittiest, and most put together pieces I ever wrote. I find myself reading back at those poems from time-to-time and I have to ask myself, where did all of this come from? I mean, surely my inspiration came from my depression and my issues, but the passion and the hurt behind it; how did I convey that through poetry?
But, I didn’t stop for only that reason. I stopped because I was a wuss. I had a friend at the time that would criticize my writing and my ability to write good poetry every single time I would share one. It was always something negative like “this was absolute trash” or “do better next time”. As a depressed 18-year-old girl, that was discouraging and slowly but surely I just stopped sharing altogether.
I didn’t realize this was my issue until I took a poetry class during my last year of undergrad. I had to be conferenced by my professor and I had to show her my portfolio of poems I’ve written in the last semester. She wasn’t the nicest professor at my college, but she knew what she was talking about, and I appreciated her critique because of that. She told me that I had a gift for contemporary poetry. She told me that I have such an urban lyric style to my poems that she never really saw in her students. She also said that I could do better. My poems were creative and they told stories, but I wasn’t confident enough to let my words speak for themselves. She then asked me if I had any background in writing poetry and I told her, but I also told her that I’ve gotten driven away from poetry by my peers. I told them that they made me feel like my poetry was amateur and not meant to be taken seriously; like my voice shouldn’t be taken seriously. I mean, my professor ultimately told me to tell them to go fuck themselves, but it was already too late: by that time, I lost my passion and my drive for poetry. I wasn’t in such a bad place anymore, and I overthink my poems because I get so nervous that they aren’t good enough.
Two years after that talk, I find myself wishing that I kept that side of my creative writing closer to me. I wish I was able to just ignore those around me and continued to write poetry to help heal me. Sitting down and writing one is easier said than done, and every time I do so, I end up scrapping it. I don’t know if there will be a time when I am able to just write a poem, but I really do miss it.
It really was a love-hate relationship when it came to poetry. Writing poetry made me have to get in touch with my feelings and how I felt about certain things. There would be times I would write a really dark piece, and even after I was done with it, the ambiance would still be around me. But, some of the greatest poems come from a place of hurt, and I wrote some of my best during this dark time in my life.
Maybe poetry was just a part of my past self, maybe I just let people’s comments win.
At the end of the day, I will always be a writer, no matter how many people want to tell me otherwise. My writing always speaks for itself, whether in stanzas or not.