Photo by Mal Collins on Unsplash
I’ve just completed the 30 Day Poetry Challenge, kindly created by the creator/editor of Know Thyself Heal Thyself platform, Diana C.. It took me on a journey of rediscovering the poet in me.
A few weeks before then, at the beginning of May, I’d had composed several poems like “Patrick” as listed below as a brand-new writer kindly accepted on The Brain Is a Noodle (TBIN), created by Lucy Dan. That was only my experience in poetry on either MEDIUM or in the States.
Rude Awakening as a MEDIUM Writer
Last Christmas Eve, I began writing and publishing essays on MEDIUM. Until the end of March, when Sam DeBrule, cofounder of Noteworthy, approached me, I didn’t know I could be a writer specific platforms according to their or my preference. In gratitude to him yet still bewildered, I submitted my first publication, Tidying Up, to Noteworthy at the end of March. This story became one of my most successful essays.
One day one of my favorite writers, Michael Burg (he’s created a few platforms of his own, such as Doctor Funny) left a highlight on my article. I loved his articles dearly because of my passion and background of being a healthcare provider, and he was a 5x top writer at the time. I wrote him some beginner’s questions, and he kindly answered, never taking my hand like a toddler but rather pointing at the mountain. I began to observe him, as well as to learn a bunch from how-to self-help articles.
One of my most favorite writers, Donna L. Roberts (she is the founder/editor of her own platforms like Psych Pstuff and was a nearly 20x top writer then), began to highlight my articles and sometimes left a comment. I was deeply touched by her kindness and absolutely filled with enthusiasm about the journey ahead.
In my short followers’ list, I one day found a shiny star— Dr Mehmet, the creator/editor of the dynasty Illuminations. I wouldn’t know his incredibly big heart and unspoken invitation until it came to my consciousness later. Still, he would become my mentor in a short time, showing me how to engage in writing and the writing community.
When I began to write poems on TBIN, a top writer in poetry, Tree Langdon kindly took my hand to teach me various things. She was also an editor of multiple platforms and suggested that I write more poems. I decided to commit myself to the 30 Day Poetry Challenge and began to publish poems on Write Under the Moon. The creator/editor of the platform, Claire E. Kelly, showered me with her kindness and empowered me to continue building my presence online.
In a short while, without knowing much about it, I began to get integrated into the community by finding writers, reading their works, and clapping for, commenting on, and responding to them. At the same time, I kept trying to create better articles. That’s how I’ve become a better community member.
Why Poetry Matters to Me
I wanted to scream. Why do I need to start writing poems . . . again?
Yes, “again.” I was writing poems before I came to the US more than thirty years ago, back when I was in my twenties. Long shuttered and broken, I found myself, my best friend, and a small window to life in writing. Poetry, in particular, was close to my heart. I wrote for breathing space from the difficulties I’d undergone, and I found pieces of myself in the poems I created.
Several years before my departure to the States, however, I stopped writing. It was almost self-imposed punishment, me castigating myself for first failing my attempt to kill myself, and then failing to escape the life that was making me so unhappy, back then. Poetry was the symbol of my closed and frozen life, and I hid it away from myself.
I moved to the States in 1990. Here, I enjoyed building my life from a scratch and beginning to rediscover myself. I met my late husband-to-be, Patrick, and together we engaged in a spiritual but practical wonderful life. But after twenty-six years of inseparable partnership, our love- and light-filled life together was taken from me.
In the unprecedented pain and agony I experienced in the year after his passing, I clung on to writing. I knew that, abandoned as I felt, returning to the writing was the only way I could be a human and find my truths. (If you’re interested in learning more about my story, my memoir, Finding Home: A Japanese Immigrant Woman’s Life and Transformation will be published on September 6, 2022.)
Though I’d come back to writing, I never thought about returning to poetry. I had too many fears associated with that place. For me, poetry was a symbol of the aching, tender, oozing, and never-responded-to echoes of my dark emotions—the album of my pain, tears, and blood. How could I ever go back to that place?
What Writing Poems Brought Me
In my gut, I knew I would eventually face my fears—and when I finally did and began the 30 Day Poetry Challenge, I felt totally different from how I had while writing poetry before. I found myself flowing like a stream, chirping like a bird, and wanting to express more and more. My inner voice was unleashed and never wanted to stop.
Looking back at the poems of my youth, I see that they were full of raw emotions and focused sharp eyes on my most vulnerable places. Now, my poems have changed; they are filled with love, light, unyielding hope, and trust in life. It has become so natural to sing from my heart, truths, and experiences.
Through the 30 Day Poetry Challenge, I’ve met so many warm-hearted, great poets, writers, and readers. They have accepted me and my poems despite their flaws and despite my lack of skills and background in poetry. I’ve been brought out of the cave where I was hiding before and up to the light. They’ve found me and I’ve found them, all these people with shining gems in their hearts. To all my dear mentors on MEDIUM, and to my fellow poets, writers, and readers—I am eternally grateful you’ve found me in writing. Thank you.