To be or not to be Enough

I was going to write a sentimentaljourney.jpg blog post tonight about everyone starting school back up again, friends leaving for college, and the next generation embarking on their journey into the real world but… I wanted to share something special with you all instead. So I wrote a poem, one that’s different from the one’s I usually write.

This one is about a woman’s worth. I was inspired after watching Rupi Kaur in the live TED talk last week (question everything) and I feel that it is something special, something woman flowers.jpgessential for others to see. Sometimes, our own worth comes from within ourselves. Yet sometimes, maybe we can be lucky enough to have others remind us too.

And for anyone who asks, the pictures come royalty free from Getrefe on Tumblr. Their shots are fantastic so check them out too.

Self-Worth

I really do love him.

But is that enough for you?

He is all I have left.

So are those bruises he

gave you last night

It was an accident.

Isn’t it always?

You just don’t understand.

Understand what, that

you’re better than this?

No! That he loves me…

I think he loves using you,

Stop it.

And I think he loves hitting you,

Stop it!

And I think that you don’t realize

that a part of you—

STOP IT

— IS DYING

EVERY SINGLE  DAY

Please stop,

she whispered as her reflection

stared right back at her.

This was too much, far too much to know and not

enough willpower to understand.

I can’t—

Yes you can. You just need

to let yourself.

But what if I can’t stand on my own?

I am nothing without him.

You are you, isn’t that enough?

“No.”

It barely came as a whisper.

Listen to me.

Please, look at me.

She looked up.

Never, ever let anyone make

you feel like you are anything 

less than enough.

You hear me?

She nodded, tears staining her cheeks

through the scars on her face.

You will always be enough.

Go find yourself someone who

can treat you like you deserve.

Every single day, women are degraded,

treated like nothing,

as if they are something less than people.

These women are worth so much more than that.

They live.

They breathe.

And they are worth everything in this world.

So before anyone ever tries to show her

that she is not good enough,

smart enough,

pretty enough,

Loved enough.

I hope there is someone to tell her that

she deserves it all and not a bit less.

Because we are all people

who love other people

and maybe we all deserve

someone to love us back

As if we are enough.

bicycle sunset.jpg

If you find the right people, you will always be enough.

When Opportunity Knocks

Last week, I finally received my Kirkus Review back from my publishers at Archway. Now, you may be asking who Kirkus is… I’ve got an answer for you. They are a well-known magazine for book discovery, founded back in 1933. They review books, as well as give several other literary services, with a cwriter's life.jpgertain merit that is highly regarded in the literary world. That being said, I have finally received my review from this prestigious name, and I must say, I am excited to see that my writing has become something larger than the thoughts within my own mind put to paper. In their words, some of my poems hold “sharp and subtle perception” while others may be “evocative.” Reading this review was like receiving a graded paper back from my Lit teacher with suggestions for revision scattered among words of praise; it is humbling and surprisingly motivating for me to keep going, to keep creating, and to keep finding a way to make this journey larger than I am. I was thinking all of this while reading the review, until my eyes ran over one sentence that had me re-reading it to make sure I had read it right. That’s when I had to think Ah, and there’s the constructive criticism. The not-so-praising words.

[Some of Williams’ revelations seem a bit simplistic for today’s world-wise teens, like “People Matter,” which begins: “There’s only one person anyone can be. / Only you can be you, and I can be me.”]

After reading this sentence, (about five times, possibly more), I was rrailroad walkeminded that my book is titled Live, Laugh, Love, Like a Teenager. Looking back, this does not simply encompass the sixteen to nineteen year olds… It means the entirety of teenage years, including age thirteen because consequently, that is when I wrote that particular poem. Reflecting on it, for a thirteen year old in 2011, a seventh grader just beginning to explore the art of poetry, I think it was a good kind of simple. The kind that offered more to that “subtle perception” or “evocative” expression that Kirkus mentioned. And because of that, I have a few other insights for it in addition to “simplistic.”

How about exploratory, or creative, or even self-expressive? Because this review is on the dot, some of those poems are very simple and even childish compared to others. Especially considering it was not all written at the age I am now. But I also think that Kirkus points out one thing vital to my anthology’s meaning: that is partly what this book was about in the first place. My bookyouth contains poems by a thirteen year old as well as by an eighteen year old because that’s what it’s about: Growing up. To a middle schooler surrounded by other people trying to figure out who they are and the people they want to be, it was monumental for me to realize that the only person I could ever be was myself. As I get older, I learn something new every day, from the idea that maybe we are not defined by one thing in this world or that maybe it is okay to chase your dreams. This review is a reminder to me that my book holds a total of 73 different poems, each and every one a different day and different age of  my life, containing countless moments that mean something more than what it was then.

In the end, sometimes it can be interesting to look back at the things we used to say or even the people we used to be, because it is all change in order to become the people we want to be. The childish thoughts and quiet moments are necessary for us to grow up and make them something more. My poem “People Matter” became this something more by stretching beginning.jpginto one I wrote last year called “No Second Chance” about the danger of suicide and the fragility of human lives. After years of writing, I was able to take an idea I used to believe in and build it into one that I can now stand on as a foundation to who I am. After the fifth time reading that sentence above, I realized that maybe I am okay with simple. Because sometimes, that simple thought or early exploration of an art by a young teenager might be the first hesitant step towards a new path. If we’re lucky, that quiet interest in the unknown just might lead to the next Picasso, or broadway star, or even just a teenager ready to share those simple thoughts with the world.

A Life Worth Living

As we grow up, it’s fascinating to watch as our circle of people grows larger with every new direction our lives take. We start off with our family, then a few friends, and from there we make that 360 degree ring larger every step of the way, from preschool to high school and beyond. F3FH5XYZY0Along that journey, our connections grow stronger in some places and somehow these people manage to rub off on us, just enough to shape us into the people we become, allowing us to create the kind of life we want to lead. One person in my life who managed to impact me and those I love in ways unexplainable was my grandfather— a man who made it through 97 years of putting others in front of himself, working hard, and never ever giving up on anyone or anything. He was one-of-a-kind and for that reason, I am blessed to understand one very important life lesson: Maybe it’s not quite about having people in our lives that we are afraid to lose, but those that are worth giving us something to lose in the first place.

There is something about the people we meet, each and every one holding something that maybe we are drawn to or have a desire to hold onto. Have you ever felt that pull towards someone? That intense feeling of understanding, or wonder, or a need to know who they are and what knowledge they may hold within them… That was my grandfather. GrandpaHe held such a wealth of wisdom and experience that I could only ever wish to find within my life. At 97 years old, he had the imagination and the spirit of a teenager, always wanting to do more and be as many things as he could, both for himself and those he cared for. He personified the kind of person who truly made themselves a life worth living. Not only was my grandfather extraordinarily driven, he was also very loved and wonderfully attached to so many other lives. I think that’s what made his life, as well as the end of it, so beautiful— it brought people together no matter how much hurt or loss came with it in the end.

In the first week of my senior year, almost my entire side of the Williams family was in town to spend time together with the same 97-year-old man who had impacted us all. Our grandmother, almost a dozen children, their children, and even their children… We were all here, all four generations of us. Because the thing about those kind of transcendent people who manage to touch so many more lives than their own is that they change who we are. Something about that to me is what makes life itself so elegant; even the hard things, the painful parts, come with some sort of beauty. The reason our hearts ache at the loss of someone we love is because they were someone worth loving. And even though they may be gone, we must step back and also appreciate everything they gave us, taught us, showed us, and left with us to then keep living this life on our own. It is not all about how they left or when they did so, but also what they left behind for us. That kind of wisdom and love can go a long way, we just need to be able to hold onto it and hold onto each other in the meantime.

Sometimes I look at the past year of my life and think about all the moments my grandfather would have truly loved to see: My graduation, my college acceptances, even my first book being published. He put so much work, and love, and care into his children that I cannot fathom how gratifying it must have been to see them and their children, to see us, become something bigger. And for that reason, I am reminded that tworld galaxy starshese lives we live are not truly just for ourselves. In the end, yes, it does all come back to us and the things we strive for. But it also involves the people who love us and those who simply want
to see us succeed. We live these lives to become everything we know we can be, as well as to help those we love become everything we know
they can be. We are our own people as much as we are supporters for those who support us. From our parents and our friends, to our teachers and our mentors, that circle of people around our lives grows as we do. Truly, we owe it to ourselves as much as we owe it to everyone who got us to where we are, to become a part of that beauty. We owe it to ourselves to become someone worth losing. To my grandfather, I can never thank him enough for being that kind of someone. 

 

 

End Of Summer, Beginning of a New Chapter

It seems that summer is winding down as schools in the area resume next week, meaning that this week is the last full semana of summer. sand-937387_1920I would like to say that for most people, it has meant spending as much time with friends and family as possible while enjoying the time while it lasted, but let’s be honest here. This last week was spent cramming in all the summer work people procrastinated on, because if you haven’t kicked that habit yet, why start now, right?

For those students embarking on their senior year, it’s hard to believe how much is going to change. Everyone walked into high school with at least two or three solid people to hold on to and they all came in as different groups of people who didn’t quite know one another. The thing is, by the end of a year of rallies and Sunrises and constant talk about sticking together before college, all the seniors walk out of high school as a class. Because that what senior year is, it’s not just the end of 12 years of schooling… It’s the drama, the games, and most importantly, the friendships that ultimately bring people together in the end.

Then there are those going into their junior year and under, and for those people, all I can say is keep going. Sometimes it seems like those years are going to last forever, that the people and the classes and the grade checks are all never going to end. But staircase-274614_1920they are. As some people say, all good things much come to end and sooner or later, so does mandatory education spent with some of the people you have known all your life. So I say keep working, keep studying, and don’t let up. But also, find a way to keep smiling, keep discovering yourself, and keep on finding your people. Because, like I said, all good things must come to an end. Why not use the time you have to make the good moments count? And the bad ones? We can all get through those together.

Last but not least, we have the rest of us students: The ones either embarking on our freshman years of college or those continuing their journey through it. This is where things really change, where we take one step closer to the real world and one step farther away from our parents. More responsibility, more maturity, and most of all, more discovery. These next four years or so will change all of us, hopefully for the better, as we uncover who we are and find the place where we fit in a world of 7.4 billion people.
We are chasing our future, and if we are lucky, we might catch a few new friends and hold on to a couple old ones while we do it.

This is the story of our lives, the story of how we become the people we are supposed to be. Sure, it includes a plot of heavy lifting and countless frustrations. But it also includes a lot of laugher, good times, and hopefully, asteps-388914_1920 whole lot of love. This is the journey we all take together, the same obstacles and same hardships often plaguing more than one of us at the same time. But in the end, that is okay, because together we are taking each of these steps toward our future and reaching for the opportunity to come out the other side victorious. No matter where we are in life, I know we are all going to make it to where we need to be just fine. Maybe, if some of us are smart enough to catch on early, we might be able to kick that procrastinating habit before we do.