Wonderful

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.

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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.

New Year, New Faces

I love meeting new people and this year was great for meeting new people.  Over the past twelve months, quite a few new people have entered my life and given me plenty of new memories.

It’s weird when I think that I started going to the LNK unit early in the year.  I feel that some of the people I’ve met there have been my friends for ages, especially my guys Kenneth, Andrae, Jack and Randy.  These four guys constantly make me laugh and seeing them will always put a smile of my face.  Kenneth just happens to have one of the best personalities ever and arguing with him is a lot of fun.

Going to LNK also meant that I was introduced to the wonderful people from Beats & Eats, which is a truly unique music event in the heart of Croydon.  They all made me feel appreciated and welcome, which is a great feeling, and I will always be willing to show them support.  I’m especially glad to have met Gemma the Baker, who I can genuinely call a friend.  Meeting the beautiful, soulful-voiced Ivanmore has also been a huge highlight.

However, one of the best sets of people that I met were the special group of Americans that I spent a couple of days with.  These individuals had a great set of personalities and I’m happy to still be in touch with a number of them, especially my awesome basketball buddy, Caleb.  I hope we stay friends forever.

And how can I forget my kind but crazy friend, Elikem, and my sweetheart, Inno.  Although I haven’t even known Elikem for a year yet, it feels like we’ve been friends for a lot longer, and I just love Inno – the two of us can really talk.  There are also the lovely people at Croydon Tech City and any other event I’ve been to.

I’ve enjoyed meeting these great people in 2014, along with numerous others that I haven’t mentioned.  They’ve become a part of my life and they’re in my heart, like all of the people who have been a part of my life over the past 22 years.  I can’t wait to meet a lot more new faces in 2015.