They Warmed My Heart & Made My Year More Beautiful

As you probably know by now, I’m a poet, so portions of my life are spent with poets and around the poetry scene, which brings me happiness and a wealth of other emotions.  This year has been spent in the world of poetry a lot more for me, bringing a lot of great people into my orbit.

I am beyond thankful to the stellar poet, who is Anthony Anaxagorou, for bringing me into the world of Out-Spoken.  Out-Spoken not only wows and inspires me, but the poetry and music onstage has enriched my soul on a number of occasions.  In November, I went to Out-Spoken feeling emotionally drained and was uplifted by the gorgeous, soulful sounds of Thabo, who was exactly what I needed on that day.  In December, I teared up to the ridiculously powerful poetry of Chimene Suleyman, then cried my eyes out to Lowkey’s emotion-fuelled, politically charged music.  They were both incredible nights; in fact, every night at Out-Spoken is incredible.

Going to Out-Spoken is also the perfect opportunity to see Anthony and Joelle (who I met during Rallying Cry) on a regular basis – both lovely human beings who always make me smile.   Anthony is also brilliant at convincing me to buy books.  Seeing Tom is great too, who I met through Spread The Word, and its been lovely to meet the ultra talented Karim and Kaia as well.

Paul was someone I’d known in cyber form for a couple of years, but I finally met him in the flesh at my poetry night in April.  He is a wonderful human being, who wowed us with his stage presence and made it clear that he wanted to support me and Young People Insight (YPI) as much as he could from the outset.

He stayed true to his word, putting out a photo of the two of us, captioning it with info about what I do and a call to action.  He also invited me to perform at Field Day in the summer with The Chocolate Poetry Club, his poetry organisation.  I was beyond grateful for the opportunity, as it was the biggest festival I had performed at up until that point and it provided me with another platform to get my poetry heard.  I’m so glad to have people like Paul in my orbit.

Field Day was where I met Usaama face to face for the first time, after being in contact through YPI on the Twtittersphere for a significant period of time.  I’d seen his work online, but watching Usaama perform his poetry in person is special.  What’s funny is that after finally meeting him in the flesh, I went on to seem him perform three more times throughout the year, including a few days later at Out-Spoken, none the less.

What I’ve come to love most though is not Usaama the poet, but Usaama the person.  We’ve sat together at three of the four events I’ve seen him perform at this year, so we’ve been able to chat a little bit.  His personality is unique, he always makes me laugh and he never fails to engage me in interesting conversation.  However, what makes Usaama really stand out is the amazing, beautiful compliments he gives that warm my heart and soul.  These aren’t basic, face-value compliments, but they are compliments that speak to the inner-most parts of my being and character.  Everyone needs someone in their life who compliments them like Usaama.

Then there is the lovely, supportive, community-orientated Darren from Well Versed Ink, who asked YPI to be one of the partner organisations for LIP Fest 2018.  Shout out to Justine (Well Versed Ink), Jemilea (Writerz & Scribez), Ted and Peter (Poets Anonymous) as well – I was happy to see it come to life with you all and I can’t wait to see how it develops next year.

And one of my favourite poetry nights, What You Saying, put together by the wonderful Humi, Daisy, Nomes and Nikki.  They have created a beautiful event that exudes a beautiful atmosphere, which I miss whenever I’m not there.  I’ve also met some beautiful people at their nights to, including Manj, Roe, Louise, and Nay, who I enjoy catching up with whenever we’re there.

Poetry has become one of my great loves and I’m blessed to share it with so many great people.  I hope their presence in my life will continue and that their creativity will continue to grow.  Love them all.


Creativity Runs Deep

Recently, I’ve been making a lot of references to my love of the creative arts.  I have been blessed with a creative mind and creativity runs deep in my heart and soul.  Creativity is a huge part of what makes me who I am and the creative arts have a great ability to touch me and speak to my emotions.

I am a huge fan of the creative arts – I love music, fine art, graphic art, design, television, film, dance and of course fashion, textiles and theatre.  I have studied fashion and textiles at different periods of my life, and I have also written a small number of stage plays that have been performed at my church, but it is my dream to have one of my plays performed on a theatre stage.

Yesterday I went to the theatre for my Dad’s birthday and I am so glad that I did, because I was able to watch one of the most moving and amazing pieces of theatre.  I had never heard of The Scottsboro Boys before last night, but now they will be in a permanent part of my mind and the story will stay forever entwined in my heart.

The play was based on a true story of injustice, racism and the struggle that came with being black and living in the South of the USA.  This powerful tale was created into a special piece of musical theatre, which effectively combined the seriousness and deep sadness of the tale with humour.

It also helped that the acting, singing and dancing was on point.  The harmonies were stunning and I loved the tap routines, especially during the song about the electric chair.

I love music, dance, theatre and history, so this play was definitely a treat for me.  It touched me, broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes, but it also had me laughing and smiling throughout.  I would definitely recommend The Scottsboro Boys to anyone who is planning to go to the theatre and I urge everyone to research into the story behind the play.

Last night confirmed to me just how much I love the theatre and I see that I need to go to the theatre more often.  It also made me even more determined to get one of plays on a big stage one day.  I want to share my gift with all the world, because creativity is at the heart of who I am.


A Small Friend

When you’re a small person like me, it always feels nice to spend time with someone that is smaller than you.  However, this is not the reason for me being friends with this individual.  Yes, we are both small people, but we share a bond over creativity and museum visits.

Studying Textiles was my favourite part of my whole A-level experience and it was also one of the best eras of my life – I’ll never forget the two years spent with an amazing teacher and five great ladies, one of who I’m writing about today.  A-level Textiles meant a lot of museum or gallery visits, but they are not always fun when you are on your own or don’t have a complete idea of where you’re going, so my friend and I found ourselves on quite a few visits together.

These visits were always fun and full of laughs, like when her sister almost hit her with an umbrella that she threw down from the balcony of her flat and we spent the day hopping from tube to tube.  We also found ourselves at the British Museum hunting for shells that we thought weren’t there, but we eventually found them on one of our travels.

She was one of my closest friends at sixth form and I loved our times spent chatting during form time.  I also enjoyed our little trips  spent buying birthday presents for our Textiles teacher.  She always had a story to tell and something interesting to add to our conversations – now that I think about it, I really miss hearing her tell those stories.

I am truly grateful for those museum visits, not only because I love museums, but because they enabled me to strike up a strong friendship with someone who really means a lot to me.  Again, I don’t see her nowhere near as much as I would like to, but I hope she knows that I love her loads.