Most of what I produce from these drafts is garbage, but I can usually get at least an idea that I can work into a full poem. I wouldn’t say never, because there have been plenty of things in my life that I said I would never do only to find myself doing them, but there are definitely topics that I tend to avoid.
I play an extrovert on stage and on the internet, but in my everyday life I am fairly introverted and shy, so I try to protect myself and maintain my sense of safety by keeping some aspects of myself out of the poems that I release publicly.
I get around 50 messages a day from people who say that my openness has inspired them to speak up about their mental health. So many people’s stories are so intense, and I’m still figuring out how to be receptive and present while still protecting myself and maintaining my emotional stability.
We had just started a poetry slam at our college and this was our first time running a show, which of course meant that I was so nervous that I blacked out for most of my performance.After a couple more drinks I said to him Hey, sorry to talk about work when we’re all hanging out like this, but I just wanted to tell you that your poems have had a huge influence on me, and I really appreciate the art you’re putting out there. The first is that one you always hope for, that lightning bolt moment of inspiration that demands you sit down and write.He seemed really surprised, and he told me that he was inspired that work with my kind openness and honesty was getting such a large audience, and that seeing my success was inspiring to him. Those moments usually come whenever I’m doing something else, biking, washing the dishes, falling asleep, and a couple of lines will jump into my head that I just have to write down.The sense that I get from talking to people about that poem is that while most people don’t have experience with OCD, almost everyone has felt like they were ruining an important relationship because of unchangeable parts of themselves.
seven years ago, my main goal was to show my experience with OCD through the lens of how it complicates relationships, specifically because of how much time and patience it requires to be close to me.So I think that people connected with that sense of frustration and loss, the feeling that though you might love someone intensely, who you are as people will never be compatible. When I write down my feelings I’m literally making my internal state external.