Sunday, 5 February 2017

How I Started Writing | Personal

I've always had a love for writing.  My mother used to be a librarian and ever since I was little, I remember falling in love with reading. She'd bring home books for me; sometimes I'd make her read them, other times I'd make her listen and read them to her. At eight I started writing my own "books", by taking A4 sheets of paper and folding them in half. I'd just write until I felt the story was finished. Sometimes they wouldn't actually finish and I'd just tell people it's so the audience can interpret it however they want, but honestly it's just because I was lazy to complete it. 

At ten, my uncle got me an opportunity to have a publisher see one of my books, but my work was rejected as they thought I was too young. Despite that, I continued to write and I'd bore my friends to death by reading my books to them at sleepovers. I probably sound really full of myself, but I was so excited to share what I had created. I sometimes wonder where that passion went. I wrote short stories until I was about fourteen, and from there on I focused mainly on poetry. Boys was an easy topic, so I needed something to challenge myself. I refused to tap into my feelings and for a writer, that's a big mistake. You need your feelings to get your best poetry out. Only then will you completely allow yourself to write a relatable piece.

I started joining poetry communities online and watching Youtube videos of Spoken Word poetry, but never had the courage to perform my own. I wrote yes, my family and friends all knew about it. Throughout middle and high school, my friends always asked me why I never performed and I guess it was because I wasn't comfortable with the idea of sharing poetry, my writing, thoughts and feelings, to a crowd. 
I was scared.
What would they think? 
How would they react? 
It took me a while to get over when I realized their opinions didn't matter. I wasn't writing for them. I was writing for me.

My opportunity to perform came when I saw that my university was hosting a Poetry Party. You know, the type of event where people dress in black, drink wines and coffees, eat cheese and crackers and snap their fingers when they like what someone else is saying. The winner would be crowned Campus Poet and get a bunch of opportunities to write more and perform in other cities. I wasn't even thinking about the title, as I was reluctant to sign up at first, but a friend gave me the final push I needed to submit three poems in order to be considered. From there on, the judges said I was through to the first round and I'd need to be at the venue to perform one poem. If they liked what they heard, I'd be put through to the second round to perform one more poem.

Before the poetry event commenced, I met up with my friend Nesrine. Like true writers, we grabbed coffees at a local cafe, had a little chat about how we were feeling and then walked back to the poetry building through clouds of cigarette smoke, inhaling fumes of teenage angst, nerves and possibly lung cancer. I was super nervous when it was my turn, but I had recited this poem so many times I could feel the words drilling a hole into every crevice of my skull. It was my poem, so who else was going to perform it better than me? Who else knew what I felt as I wrote these words? I repeated these questions in my head as I walked to my place, giving myself a little pep talk - kind of like the cartoon version of Lizzie McGuire in every episode ever. I wasn't doing this for anyone else. Heck, I didn't even tell anyone aside from my mom and boyfriend that I was performing. I was determined to prove to myself that I could do it. And so, I walked on stage, tapped the mic, greeted the audience and started reciting my first ever poetry performance... 

If you'd like to read more about how my first Spoken Word Poetry Performance went and see a video of me performing a poem I wrote, feel free to click play and select HD on the link below!

Love, Miah
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