Inspiration

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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A Letter to My Grandad

Grandad,

I can’t believe it’s been a year since you passed, time flies by so fast, yet it still feels surreal.  I don’t see you anymore and you’re not here, buried how many feet down in the ground; but it feels like you should still be here.  Not seeing you feels wrong.

Going to your house, it’s weird not having you greet me at the door with one of your famous lines or watch you slowly descending down the stairs.  It’s sad not seeing you at church on a Sabbath and not hearing from you on my birthday wasn’t nice.  In fact, not being able to tell you happy birthday wasn’t nice either – August is our month and it’s a whole lot emptier without you.

There are times when sitting there thinking about you, suddenly remembering that you’re gone, can bring me to tears.  However, there are times when those thoughts bring a smile to my face, as I remember all the good memories I have of you.  Simple little things I took for granted are no longer the same and I wish I could hear another one of your Burton jokes again – you genuinely did make me laugh.

I still miss you so much grandad, a whole twelve months later, and I still want you to come back.  The pain isn’t so raw, but I don’t think my heart will ever fully recover from having you taken away.  There was still so much more for us to say, so much more time for us to spend together and a whole lot more for me to learn from you.  I keep thinking about the joke you told me about Job’s daughters, which you never finished and I never heard the end of, which saddens me more than I can describe.

Grandad, you were my inspiration and my hero, one of the people I looked up to most in the world.  I just hope I can make you proud and continue your legacy, because you were the most humble, loving, genuinely caring, considerate individual I ever knew.  I can’t wait to see you again.

Love you with all my heart.

Shan-Shan

I’ll Miss You Grandad

GranddadI never had the chance to know the grandad on my dad’s side of the family, but the granddad I had the chance to know more than made up for that.  My grandad was, in my opinion, the best grandad in the world.

He was one of the few people in my life who never let me down.  He was always there for me, showing me love, support and care.  In fact, he was one of the few family members that I wrote a blog post all about — he was just that special.  More than anything though, my grandad has been the main source of inspiration in my life.

Unfortunately, I lost my grandad today, but he will never stop being my inspiration or being the best grandad in the world.  My grandad will always be in my heart and I hope to keep his legacy living on by emulating his amazing character.  I want to exude his kindness, faith, humour and warm, welcoming nature.  I want to be able to touch lives, like he touched mine and countless others.  I just wish that he could be here to see it.

My grandad had an amazing knowledge of the Bible, which really impressed me.  During my time spent studying with him, I developed a hunger and a will to learn more.  I wanted to understand the messages God had given to us, partly because of the example he had set me.

I’ll miss so many things about my grandad.  I’ll miss his “Burton jokes” and famous sayings, particularly “That’s the point”, which is my favourite.  I’ll miss hearing stories about his childhood and listening to him recite poems.  I’ll miss him asking, “What do you love?” and then having that dish prepared for us the next time we were at his house.  I’ll miss his bread and fried dumplings.  I’ll miss him leading out in song and saying long-winded speeches during family worship.  There is just so much more.

It won’t be the same without my grandad and I can’t imagine life without him, because he has been a constant presence since the day of my birth.  However, I feel blessed and happy to have known such a wonderful, loving man who made an impact on so many lives, and I’ve been fortunate enough to call him my grandad.  I wish that he could have seen me achieve more and truly make a difference in this world, but he will always be present in my work, because I know he played a major part in shaping who I am.

I love you with all my heart grandad, now and forever, but I know you’re finally at peace and the next face you’ll see is Jesus when He comes again.  You’ll finally be going to that home you’ve desperately hoped for and I hope to see you there.  May you rest in peace.