The bravest thing we can do is share our stories.
Clenched fists, sweaty palms, shaky voice and all. Speaking our stories aloud is what connects us to each other. It inspires more truth to be shared, it awakens our compassion, it releases the burden of silence; it’s healing.
Whether through writing, song, poetry, art, Instagram captions or tweets, when we bare our truths on our sleeves, it gives us more room to breathe. It gives those around us a chance to exhale, too.
In my last blog post, I mentioned the power of speaking your truth. Often there’s an avoidance when it comes to talking about the things that mean most to us.
There is for me at least, especially right before a poetry performance. Each time I literally have to force myself to remember,
“this isn’t about you, it’s about those who are listening.”
We can easily talk about what’s happening on TheShadeRoom or rant about a new series we’re binge watching on Netflix, but when it comes to expressing our deeper, truer emotions, we’re often less vocal.
Related post: 40 Essential Lessons Life Has Taught Me
Yet, these are the expressions that heal us, all of us. We go through things to not only learn and grow ourselves, but to help spark growth in others. We never know who will resonate with our words, what light we’ll spark in the hearts of those reading or listening; that’s what’s so powerful about it. Feelings don’t have a face, race, color, gender or status, they’re simply felt.
I felt Dr. Sonia Sanchez’s poems from the moment I read her work. The piece that hit home to my heart was A Poem for My Father. It was the poem that inspired me to recount the times, memories and songs I sang with my own father before his passing in 2016, which birthed I Am Love, Desk and To My Future Husband.
As God would have it, last Friday, I was in the audience as Ms. Sanchez serenaded the room with her mellifluous voice and spirited presence. At the opening reception for the 14th National Black Writers Conference, I sat in awe.
Dr. Sanchez carefully weaved her stories through the ears and hearts of those in the room at the Akwaaba Mansion, a black-owned bed and breakfast in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The entire time I couldn’t help but think I can’t believe I’m here. How inspiring it was to listen to and witness Mother Sanchez expressing her truths so eloquently, so gracefully.
Listen: My Poetic Vibes Playlist.
Every time I share a part of my story, something is stirred in me by literary truth-tellers such as Sonia Sanchez, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison. Muses that give voice to freedom, and light to passion for next generation writers, poets, singers, artists—humans.
It was nothing short of a blessing—a divine intervention even—that I crossed paths with one of my biggest inspirations. The words Dr. Sanchez signed in my book of hers, Shake Loose My Skin, has sparked soon to be written poems, I look forward to their freedom.
Sister Mel, walk your beauty and intellect across this country, my dear sister.