I went to open mic poetry tonight. This is the second one I’ve been to this week. The great thing about Knoxville is that we have great poets. The shitty thing about Knoxville is that we only get together twice a month. And in the same week usually. The second Tuesday and the second Thursday of the month, which leaves three weeks of nothing. And that is just sad for poetry lovers.
I love the open mics. I started going about two years ago and getting on stage and reciting what I’ve written. I’ve been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. I even remember re-writing other people’s poems in middle school just to feel how the words felt coming off the pen and onto the paper.
Tuesday night, I didn’t read a poem. I just went to listen. I knew I couldn’t stay for the whole thing and I would have to cut out early and I personally think it is really rude to read your own poem and then leave as if nobody else’s poetry matters. So I didn’t read because I wasn’t staying. Tonight, I wasn’t going to get up on stage either because my kiddo was out and about with friends and I didn’t know if I would have to go pick him up or not.
During the intermission, I was introduced to a young lady who wrote poetry but was scared to share it. After I gave her a short little pep talk on why she should share it, I had guilted myself into getting up and reading a few poems.
I will give you the longer version of why you should share your story.
It doesn’t matter if it is poetry, art, song, dance, a blog, or just a few sentences. You should always share it, because it is your story. Most of us take our pain, our joys, our loneliness, our heartbreak, our triumphs, and we translate them into a story. Maybe the story is a poem. Maybe it is a picture. Maybe it is a tattoo or a song. Even a t-shirt. It doesn’t matter how you choose to tell your story, it only matters that you do.
I used to be so scared every time I got up to read that people would think what I was writing about was stupid. Or too dramatic. Or too full of emotions. And I would second guess myself. I would try to talk myself out of sharing my poems. And if you’ve ever heard any of them, I very rarely write anything that didn’t come from a balled up or bleeding place in my soul. Pouring your heart out on paper is just as difficult as looking the person in the eyes who broke your heart or broke your face.
It doesn’t matter what the situation, it’s scary re-opening old wounds for the world to see especially when they picture you as the type who always smiles and would never get themselves into “that kind” of situation.
But a funny thing happened. Every single time I have ever shared a poem someone has come up to me afterward and said, “thank you, I needed to hear that.” Every. Single. Time. And I took it as a lesson to just do the thing that scares me most. Share my story. Because someone needs to hear it.
And it’s the same for you. It’s ok if you are scared. Share your story. There are billions of people in the world, which means the likelihood of someone having been through something similar or exactly the same is pretty good. Better than winning the lottery, for sure.
So I mentioned that tonight on stage before I shared my poem “the narcissist” about a guy I dated who was terribly abusive. First mentally. Then physically. I got back to my table who I was sharing with two strangers and the girl next to me leaned over and showed me a meme about narcissists that she had saved on her phone to remind her it was him not her. And she said, “tonight, that poem was for me.” And she thanked me for writing it before she left for the night.
And it just further solidified my belief that there are no coincidences. We run into people when we are supposed to. We share pieces of our life with them until the clock runs out and our time with them is up. And then we have a story to share or a story to keep to ourselves. And so I’ll say it again: you should share your stories. You are not alone in the big wide world even though it feels like it sometimes. There is at least one person, probably within a hundred feet of you, who needs to hear your story. So share your art, share your creativity, share your poetry, your pictures, your words, your songs, your music. The world needs to hear what you have to say!
Don’t keep it to yourself. That would just be selfish!