Beautiful People

They Taught Me More Than They’ll Ever Know

I couldn’t write about the people who played a special part in my 2018 without writing about Queen’s Gardens.  I spent a significant portion of my time in Queen’s over spring and summer, bringing me into contact with a number of people who I continue to love, in spite of what may have passed between some of us.

Queen’s is one of the strangest and most interesting places in Croydon, because of the mixture of characters you will find there, and also because of what takes place there.  It is kind of like a bubble, a community within a community, which you come to realise the deeper you ingratiate yourself with the people there.  I learnt a lot – good, bad and useful – which I will definitely be taking forward in my life.

I’ve developed relationships with some beautiful people, who I happily speak to and spend time with whenever I see them.  Due to some of their lifestyles, I won’t be using their “government” names or naming them at all.  If they were to read this, I’d hope they know who they are though.

I’ve known my Jamesy-James for a couple of years now, and he’s always been someone I find easy to talk to, although I can’t put my finger on why.  I guess he’s a great listener, and is definitely an all round lovely person.  I’m always excited to see him.  I’ve known and been friends with Gamma for a couple of years too, but I got to know him a lot more this year.  Gamma always finds a way to make me laugh, and I’ll never forget when he had me cracking up when we were hanging out in the summer one time.  I also love that he calls me ‘Poetry Queen’ – just saying.

Win is a really, really lovely human being.  He’s easy to get on with, easy to talk to and easy to be around.  We got on immediately, from the moment we met in summer.  After not seeing him for a few months, it was nice to bump into him randomly, spend some time chatting on a walk and then go to Kaspas.  Whenever I’m with him, I know I’ll always be looked after and treated right.  And you’ve got Frankie, who I first met in spring, but quickly warmed up to and also got on well with – he looks out for me too.

I saw more of a beautiful lady I met last year, who is always warm and quick to greet me.  When I ask her how she is, I love the response she gives, which is such a mouthful that I cannot remember it all.  I also met a young woman this year, who I found sweet, despite being very rough around the edges.  She is always quick to greet me too and ready for a little conversation.

After meeting him at the soup kitchen the church I attend puts on, I came to see more of this ball of energy at Queen’s during the summer months – let’s call him My Darlin.  Like I mentioned, My Darlin is a ball of energy, talking quickly, walking quickly and often on the move.  He is truly lovely, with a heart of gold and caring nature.  He’s always got a story to tell too, which can often be amusing.

There are so many others I could mention, including a kind-hearted sweetie who made me feel like family, and a group of Eritreans, including a beauty who brings me joy with his beautiful, bright smile and shining eyes.  However, I came to spend quite a lot of my time with a particular group, who will always have a place in my heart (some of them have a special place).  No matter what has gone down with them, I want the best for all of them and I will always keep them in my prayers.  I don’t think they realise the impact they have had on my life and how much I have learnt from them.

Through one member of this group, I came to meet a genuine, down-to-earth, lovely person, who is studying youth work (I think he’s going to be a great youth worker), and I could have proper conversations with.  I have time for him any day.

However, it was the one who introduced us that has probably had one of the largest impacts on me this year – we’ll call him my Knight (in Shining Armour).  Out of everyone from Queen’s, I think I ended up spending the most amount of time with my Knight.  I initially met him last year, but we didn’t really speak, which all changed this spring.  Somehow, we began to talk more and more, as we became properly comfortable with each other.  The conversation flowed and we got to know each other better, which was made easier by his raw honesty.

Like people I tend to get on with best, he made me laugh, although sometimes he would joke around too much.  He looked out for me, like many of the people in Queen’s would do, but he went above and beyond in some ways by being very protective – not in a creepy way though.  However, what I think most stands out about my Knight is the sense of calm he would bring me, especially when I would get stressy over the actions of certain individuals – it was funny how much he would come up with sensible things my sister would probably say.  He’s got a really good heart as well.

As strange as Queen’s can be, meeting people from there has made me a better, more resilient person and more streetwise person.  I don’t think they even realise how much I love all of them.

Advertisements

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.

They Made Me a Better Person

On my last blog post, I reflected on ‘The Year of Shaniqua’, and mentioned that I wanted to do a series of blog posts about some of the beautiful people who have played a special part in my 2018.  When I thought about doing this series of post, two individuals that I met in TCFT in Bridport earlier this year came to mind.

I’m not really about labels and I don’t like putting anyone’s business out there, so I’ll just say that I had never met anyone like them before.  Meeting them made me more understanding, even more tolerant and less ignorant about certain things I had a lack of knowledge on.  I don’t think they realise how big of an impression they made on me.

More than anything, they became my friends, and if you know me, you’ll know that my friends mean a whole lot to me.  I enjoyed creating music with them, reading their lyrics, speaking about their questionable eating habits and having incredibly rich conversations.

Since meeting them in February, I’ve watched them grow and move forward in a myriad of ways, which is truly amazing, considering how shy and closed off they were when I first came into their orbit.  I am genuinely happy for them and proud of all that they have been able to achieve, especially artistically.

One of the most amazing things about being part of TCFT is developing relationships with individuals from all walks of life, which challenge you and expand your mindsets.  Meeting Billy and Ken definitely expanded my mindset and made be a better person.  The five days spent with them will have an impact on my whole life – I am literally not the same person I was before meeting the two of them.

I hope to see a little more of Billy and Ken in 2019, but more than anything, I hope that my friendship with them will continue for years to come and that we will have the opportunity to create more art together.

So to Billy and Ken, thank you for being such a special part of my 2018, contributing to my growth and having a significant impact on my life.  I love you lots.