Struggle

Insecure Poet

I was going to keep this to myself, as I prefer to deal with things on my own, but writing helps me deal with things, as well as making my voice heard. I want all parts of my journey to be documented, not just the ups, but the down moments too, as they are what make me stronger in the end. There are also those out there who may share my experience, and I never want anyone to feel like they are alone. I feel like that too often.

My insecurities have been rearing their ugly head recently, leading to a lot of inner struggle and fighting I’d rather avoid, as it’s dragging my mood. It seems like all the positivity I was riding on a couple of weeks ago is draining away and I’m hating that – I know I’m a bit PMS-y, which is never a good thing. But I don’t want my insecurities to win; I know they’re the devil’s lies.

My biggest insecurity is about my poetry, which is an annoyingly recurring theme. I fall into the trap that I always advise other poets not to do, which is comparing myself to others. I find myself doubting my poetry too often, even when I know that it is God-given gift and that I am actually good at what I do (I seriously struggled to type that, as I never want to come across as arrogant or egocentric; I also struggle with self-praise) – I’ve developed a lot as a poet over the years. However, I still find myself thinking that I’m not good enough – good enough compared to who, I don’t know.

I don’t think this has been helped by quite a few rejections recently; an inevitable part of an artist’s career journey, but always scathing nonetheless. I remember asking esteemed poet, Anthony Anaxagorou, about rejection and he said that it never gets easier; you’ve just got to keep pushing through. Nevertheless, it sometimes feels like pushing through is all I am doing, but I’m regularly getting pushed back by blocked walls.

It’s tiring, especially when it begins to feel like you regularly have to pay money to get your art noticed to carve out a career in poetry (when not earning a whole lot of money yourself) by submitting to competitions (that you may not win) or buying tickets for open mic nights (sometimes not getting a chance to perform). I understand the arts are underfunded and under-respected, which is unfair in itself and part of the problem – it can get real tough on artists.

Like I said, rejection is inevitable and I’m learning to deal with that as best I can (God lets everything happen for a reason). Being a creative can be gruelling and I can deal with that, as I’m no stranger to putting in work. However, what I’m most struggling with is feeling alone as a poet, like I don’t fit in anywhere in the world/scene/community of poetry. I’m not snappy, punchy or verging-on-rap-rhythmic enough, so I don’t fit in the spoken word poetry world. My poetry isn’t very obscure with lots of long words, so I don’t slot into the page or wider poetry world either.

I’m kind of just there; floating. Being told I’m great by some, but that I need to be a lot better to move forward by others in the world of poetry. I find myself wondering if my growth will ever be good enough or if there will ever be enough space for me to fully break through. Sometimes I wonder if I should give up on a creative career altogether and pursue something that will be easier on my emotional and mental state, because maybe I’m too sensitive and not strong enough for this. I do still take a lot of things personally, even though I am trying to deal with that.

What is for sure: I love art and I’ve only ever wanted to be a creative. I also don’t belong in this world and never will, so why should I expect to belong as a poet? I just don’t want to let these insecurities bring me down.

People

Like a lot of my poems, ‘People’ was born out of struggles and sadness.  This poem was written during The Complete Freedom of Truth when I needed time to myself, and was inspired by situations from the past few months when I’ve really struggled to be around people and needed time to get my emotions together.

People.

I have a real love-hate thing

With people.

Sometimes loving people,

Sometimes not,

At times wanting to integrate with them,

Other times desperate to be away from them.

When I’m in the right setting,

In a good place within,

People bring me joy,

Put a smile on my face,

Leave my heart bursting,

With love.

Yet if I’m in a bad place,

Swimming in a sea of people

Is the worst possible thing;

Easily infuriated,

I don’t want to talk,

Wanting to cry,

At any fleeting moment.

Some people ask what’s wrong,

Might try to engage in conversation,

But barely any words get said,

Feelings kept hidden below.

I hate letting my guard down,

Letting others see my pain;

In those times,

Preparing to keep myself to myself,

As my own company is best,

Not offending,

Annoying anyone else,

Giving my emotions time to rest;

Because even if I reveal

How I feel

To them,

Would I express it correctly,

Would they truly understand?

People will be people,

That will never change,

But I can change my location,

Making sure I’m not in their way.

Hating 24

I turned 24 on Monday and I hated it.  For the first time in a long while, I actually felt my age.  I felt older, like the many responsibilities of being an adult were hitting me harder than ever before.  When a friend of mine joked that I was turning 17, I genuinely wished I could turn back time and be a teenager all over again, but time can only move forwards in this life.

Now it’s not that I hate being an adult because I don’t want to have to deal with responsibilities – it’s just that life gets tougher, more demanding and a lot more real.  The future continues to draw nearer and plans for your life seem to become more urgent, as the days run away from you; it seems that you’re running out of time, despite being relatively young.

Three years ago, my life plan completely changed after I made the decision to drop out of university, meaning that I’m not currently where I thought I would be or should be in regards to my career.  Instead, I’m on a different path, which I believe is God’s plan for my life, but it’s happening at a slower pace than I would like.

Although I keep on reminding myself that I’ve achieved and grown a whole lot in the past few years through the various actions I’ve taken, I still feel that it’s not enough.  I don’t feel that I’m doing enough to change my community, make changes in my country, eventually change the world.  Couple that with not having a job that pays enough for me to buy my own place, I end up feeling frustrated and sad, like I’m failing in some ways.

Then there’s the matters of the heart, the constant issue of love that leaves me impatient, despondent, jealous and in tears, over and over again.  I’m 24 now, with no boyfriend and no boyfriend on the horizon, which is depressing, because I always wanted to be married by 25 at the latest.  There is no chance of that happening now.

For me, love is cruel, breaking my heart or simply not working out, for one reason or another.  The cruelty of love punched me in the face on my birthday, as it fully hit me that there was no chance of finding the one in the time frame I wanted.  It felt like the window was closing as I grew older, time quickly getting away from me.

As I write this I can see that time is a constant thread throughout.  The thought of time getting away from me is causing me distress, especially as this world continues to show me that life is short.  I want to achieve as much as I can, give as much as I can, feel as much as I can.  I want to impact the lives of young people, I want to have an organisation of my own, I want to experience real, beautiful love that will actually be reciprocated.  I want to feel happy in my age, not fearful and anxious.

Following on from my birthday has been a struggle, as I’ve found myself wrestling with questions and dealing with conflicts of the heart throughout the remainder of the week.  Not knowing what to do or how I feel, I’ve worked myself into a state of panic that I’m struggling to come back from.   Effecting my health and my emotions, my head hurts, my chest feels strange and I can’t hold back the tears that are flowing for reasons unknown to me.

I don’t think I’ve ever hated a birthday or an age like I’ve hated 24, which comes as a surprise to me – I expected to simply feel indifference, not complete disdain.  However, the fact is I’m still here and I want to be thankful for my life, because there are two beautiful people I love very much who aren’t here anymore and I wish that they still had a life to live.  I just need to take every day as it comes and trust in God, because He’s got my back and His timing is perfect, in spite of how much I may want to rush Him.