Appreciation

They are an Important Part of My Life

Where do I even start with my ever-expanding YP Insight family?  They have become a hugely important part of my life and not surprisingly have played a huge part in my year, with two events usually taking place a month, sometimes more.  I see their faces regularly and I speak to them regularly.

Every single person who comes to a Young People Insight event automatically becomes part of the YP Insight family, and the more I get to know those that engage, the more they come to mean to me on a more personal level as well.

Of course, there are some that I have gotten to know a whole lot more now, because of their consistent presence at events over the years.  It’s been great to see Gus at so many sessions of The Kickback, fully involved in the conversations and providing some very interesting views.  I always love seeing Kris and convincing him to jump onstage at Poetic Insight to shower us with his talent – I can also talk to him for ages, whether it is after an event or just randomly bumping into him on the street.  I’ve also loved having Renee back, with her passionate personality and strong views.

Then there are my beautiful Poetic Insight veterans – Aaron, Sid and Annotate.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Aaron for a couple of years now and I love his presence, his poetry and his personality.  Talking to him is always lovely – we also had a really good conversation on the bus this year, which made smile.  Sid is a great guy and great poet, very down to earth and humble, in spite of his awe-inspiring talent.  We’ve enjoyed some very good conversations this year as well, and he has never stopped being supportive.  And there is Annotate, who I not only see at my own events, but a host of other poetry events and just randomly in passing.  Supportive, motivated and willing to learn, I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know Annotate a lot more this year and have appreciated the love he shows to YPI – it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

I also have to mention the returning beauties who helped me celebrate YPI’s 2nd birthday – shout out to Daniel, Andrae, Randy, Stephen, Laurence, Danielle, JayJay, Kris, Hakeem, Joan, Frances, Jason, Becky, Jenniah and Nomes.  And thank you to the new beauties who helped me celebrate as well – Soad, Mia, Ian, Mohammed and Fez.  Apologies from now if I missed out anyone.

I’ve just got to take a little time to speak about Joan here, who does so much in the Croydon community and has been an avid supporter of YPI for almost all of its [soon-to-be] three years.  She has been at most of the events in 2018 and will continuously spread the word, which means more to me than I think she knows.  People like Joan are precious jewels that you do not want to lose.

There have been a host of new faces that have joined the YP Insight family this year and made a quick impact.  I already told you about Mhairi, but there is also the funny, sassy and outspoken Antonia, who has made her presence felt at every Poetic Insight since July.  The phenomenal Zhanai, who has come out of her shell immensely since I met her in July before my break – I am hugely proud of her.  Spoken word enthusiast Elisha, special and sweet, who I encounter and speak to at a variety of events.  Samirah, a raw, emotion-fueled talent, who I have also struck up a friendship with. AdamSpeaks, a powerful, humorous poet, who is a lovely guy and easy to speak to. And Kane, a fire poet with a pure heart who really gets what YPI is about – I’m so glad he’s part of the YP Insight family and that I have the chance to get to know him.

Then you have Woodzy, who not only debuted one of my favourite spoken word pieces at Poetic Insight this summer, but he also became a large presence in my life over the second half of the year.  I initially met Woodzy at a poetry night in Croydon, which I love by the way – shout out ‘What You Saying?’.  I don’t remember who approached who, but all I know is that I loved his poetry and I’ve loved it ever since.  When I say this guy has got bars for days, I mean he’s got bars for days – have one conversation with him and you’ll find out.  He came to my events, we sat together at a whole lot of poetry events and I saw him do an amazing music set in Croydon too – he was a recurring face during my summer.

This list could go on, and on, and on.  I haven’t even spoken about Jess, Destini, Chantae, Si-Ann, Humi, Daisy, Emma or Lola (who I collaborated with on a very special event).  I’ll just say that I appreciate every single member of the YP Insight family and love you guys very much.  You inspire me and motivate me to do better.  I say it all the time, but I really do mean it when I say that I could not do it without you.

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Sexualised Floor General

Have you taken time, tick-tock of the stop clock time, to watch?
Sank into the sofa, pupils glued, mind open
Ignorance swept out the door
Snide comments left below the depths.

You might find it’s not as you’ve been brainwashed to believe.
Society’s unbalanced illusions filling crevices of your cranium
Not treating the “fairer sex” fairly
Slamming their skills, dunking on their capabilities.

You’re not about fair though, are you?
Unless it’s fair on the corneas.
Attention on attraction and appearance
In place of strength, stamina, sagacity.

Probably why you jumped in with the Fighting Irish
Was struck by the Shock
Diggin beauty over leadership
Floor general sexualised; raw energy and talent overlooked.

Do looks add elements to her game in any way?
Not enabling her to sprint from line to line any faster
Add spring to her layups
Swipe fiercer with the best of them.

Ability coming for her work ethic
Fundamentals instilled, same as the names around her
Often overlooked, less lusted for;
Ugly, masculine, butch their labels.

Why do aesthetics means more than flair displayed?
It would make sense for genuine fans
To appreciate the spectacle, get lost in the intensity
Whether played women or men.

Push your biases to the sidelines.
Enjoy each quarter play by play.
Watch the greatness of the game come alive.
Stop demeaning who could likely run hoops around you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaniqua Marie

Crying Out for Acceptance, Approval & Appreciation

In this world, we find ourselves striving for material things, things that can be bought, things that can be studied or achieved. We want the nice house, the pretty clothes, the flash car, the good grades, the top job to fill our bank accounts with money, and the list goes on.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting these things, as most of them are basic needs and wanting our things to be nice or attractive to look at isn’t a crime. However, it becomes a problem when this becomes our main want in life and our desire for these things overtakes our need for happiness, love, inner peace or our own well-being.

We have a tendency to neglect our mental and emotional health, in favour of meeting the standards society has set for us, striving to make the most money we can, or get the best grades we can, or have as many things as we can. I’m guilty of this myself and I’ve been paying the price for it over the years.

I put myself under pressure and unnecessary stress to achieve the best grades possible at GCSE and A-level. I worked myself ragged as I did all I could to get into my dream university. I found myself emotionally drained and mentally tired, giving my all on a university course I hated, in an institution where I never felt comfortable.

Although my grades at GCSE and A-level were good, I got into my dream university and I persevered for two years at that university, it wasn’t worth the emotional and mental turmoil I put myself through. By putting myself on a pedestal and piling on the pressure, I ended up losing myself and a sense of happiness in the process.

My energy dropped, my mood could quickly worsen and I let little things upset me. I found myself easily getting into depressive states, I cried bucket loads of tears and I was self-harming over the years. I was emotionally dying, walking around in a daze and struggling to fall asleep.

Yet through it all, my desire to make others proud wouldn’t allow me to give up. I wanted to make my parents proud, I wanted to make my family proud, I wanted to make my Textiles teacher proud, I wanted to make my tutors proud etc, etc. However, I can’t say that I was making myself proud – all I saw was disappointment after disappointment.

My GCSE grades weren’t good enough for me. I wanted to get all As at A-level, just like my teachers had predicted, not just one A*. I was regressing rather than progressing at university, which depressed me more and more, because I was trying my absolute hardest and spending practically every waking moment on my assignments.

None of this was helping me and my desire to be the best (or perhaps the world’s idea of the best) was covering up the issues within myself. In trying to be the best, I was crying out for acceptance, approval and appreciation.

I wanted my parents to say how proud they were of me and tell me they loved me. I wanted to make something of myself so that people would no longer look down on me or look through me. I wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t be second best anymore.

Looking back on it all, I can see that all I want and all I’ve ever wanted is love, affection, support, care and appreciation from the people around me. I don’t want to feel lonely (despite not being alone) and I don’t want to feel like I’m second best all the time. Yet what I really need is to learn to truly love myself.