LOVE…of Poetry

My love for poetry actually didn’t start in my childhood, like some people’s desires to become doctors, astronauts, etc. In fact, I didn’t always want to be a writer…my first love was singing. I loved to sing in the car with my dad, at school in the choir, and once The Cheetah Girls came out, I was convinced it was for little girls like me who wanted to become famous singers and choreographers just like them.

Eventually though, my love for singing faded; mostly because I was shy. My dad was proud of my ability to sing, and he’d want people who came to the house to hear me sing, but I was too shy to really want to. Imagine that…me, shy. The thing is, I’m not shy when it comes to making friends, but when it comes to my gift, it’s a whole different story.

So, after taking voice lessons in the sixth grade, but then desiring to do cheerleading, and being told that cheering would mess up my voice, I was sort of at a standstill. The summer before my seventh grade year, Honey (my stepmom) told me she was writing a book, and encouraged me to write one too since I had been an avid reader since I learned how to read.

That began my love for writing.

I wrote a few mystery books through my middle school years, the last one being written my first year of high school. From high school on, I dabbled in fiction writing because that’s what I loved to read. In college, I took creative writing classes, and continued to stick to the fiction genre, despite being somewhat discouraged by my college professors critique on what I’d written.

Poetry had never crossed my mind. I always thought it was for those hipsters at my college who drank coffee out of a French press, and discussed philosophy and art history for fun. Part of me felt like I’d never be able to rhyme anything, or even try to come up with metaphors for the world, so why bother? And then when we tried to examine poetry, and people came up with what seemed like off-the-wall interpretations, I decided that poetry was just not for me.

How That Changed

The summer after I graduated college, I went through a situation where a potential relationship didn’t end up working out. I was pretty devastated; I had just graduated, was back home trying to figure job things out plus what in the world I wanted to do with my life, and then this occurred. I fought the self-sabotage demons hard; I really felt like I was lacking in so much.

Before my best friend Bria moved to California for her new job that summer, she and I were in Barnes and Noble one day and I picked up the poetry book milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. I opened it to a random page, and the poem I read related to my current feelings and situation, and I was immediately drawn in.

I said to Bria, “This is considered poetry? I thought it had to rhyme and whatnot…”

And she replied, “No, poetry doesn’t have to rhyme! Contemporary poetry can be short and simple…”

I ended up buying that book. And while I read Rupi Kaur’s words, and the poems that resonated me, I began to think that maybe I could write poetry too, to help heal me and get me through the funk I was in.

I started a secret tumblr page, and I dropped some poems here and there. It was just nice to get what I was feeling out in a creative form that wasn’t just journaling.

Honestly, I can’t even remember exactly when I decided to become a poet. I feel like once I moved away from home into the city I’m in now, there was a shift. I was blogging like crazy, but I wanted to do more. I kept writing poetry. I was exposed to the creative community here in my city, met up with people who wanted to pour into me, and then things began to snowball.

The nickname “Butterfly” came from a group of girls I met online who supported me after I said a poem on my friend Silas’ IG live. He played keys for the artist William Singe when he went on tour in 2017, and he gave me that opportunity that allowed me to connect with so many who connected with my words.

They started calling me that because I was doing motivational talks on Instagram live, and it was just a positive nickname they gave me that turned into a part of my artist name, and also the start of a poetry project I’m still working on.

Poetry means so much to me. And honestly, I feel like I’ve been at odds with it recently because I lost the main reason and purpose of why I began to do it in the first place. It’s easy to get caught up in the things you need or want to do, like promote, make content, record, perform, but writing this blog post and contemplating over my poetry and it’s purpose has made me remember the reason why I love it so much.

I love poetry because of the way words can connect to my heart, to my feelings. How they can make me feel understood, make me feel like I’m not alone in feeling how I’ve felt or how I’m currently feeling.

And now I feel inspired. Bye for now, I’m going to go write before it gets too late…after I finish this episode of Living Single.

Mishy 🦋