Giving poetry an honest try: Finding my emotional voice

At no point in time have I more regret for not completing college than I do now as I embark on the journey to discover my poetic voice.

The reason I say that is because while I was in college I studied creative writing, news writing, technical writing and basic English classes, among others. But I never got to take that poetry class I coveted from the moment I selected Journalism as my major.

I don’t need to spend any time recounting the events that led to my leaving college before I was ready. Rather I will step aside that and focus on my newfound appreciation for poetry as I begin to find my emotional voice.

Not long ago I asked an online group for advice on how to write poetry. I received a range of answers ranging from the very helpful to the obvious. Still the one piece of advice every poet had that stood out was writing from the heart.

Until recently my heart was filled with hate, anxiety and anger. These are not emotions that serve the kind of poetic voice I was hoping to develop. I wasn’t entirely hopeless, but I was still living a lie as I remained in denial of my true self.

Like so many other aspects of my life that have begun to chance since I started transitioning so too as my outlook on life. I’ve started to feel a broader range of emotions than ever before. Sometimes I sit alone in my house on my couch and cry. I don’t even feel bad and it’s not even a sad crying, just tears.

I have also noticed my moods beginning to shift. This has been something I was warned would happened but nonetheless I failed to realize the true extent to which it would affect me.

I am not say for a second only women have the range of emotions to write good poetry. Far from it. See I was already a hot mess so to speak because my emotions ruled me. But the strongest feelings I had came from my deep rooted self loathing as I refused to accept reality. It took me a while to get past that even once the transition began.

Right now my interest in writing poetry stems from a new found emotion I have never dealt with before. I wrote about it here.

As my range of emotions expands so too does my interest in expressing those emotions. Of course as my heart flutters for the one who ignores me I will concentrate on the feelings that spawn from that agony. But I am absolutely certain there will be other experiences that can ignite the flames of my creativity.

I can say that these newfound feelings are absolutely pumping the creative juices through my brain. As much as the pain that pumps into my heart through my veins that is.

I am fairly certain there will come a time not too far from now where the subject of my attempts at poetry expand beyond the here and now. In fact I am already planning on taking a notepad to some of my favorite peaceful places to see what imagery comes to mind.

Right now my poetry skills are most decidedly best described as amateurish. For the time being I am a student of the craft fumbling around in the dark with no teacher to guide my way. I suspect I might someday bring myself to either purchase a book of poems to get some examples at the very least. There may come a time when I enroll in an actual academic course to fully explore the medium.

Now truth be told it’s not like I am completely blind in this matter with no prior experience. Before I settled into news writing as a career I had lived a life as a musical entertainer. I previously wrote several songs, three full-length CD’s worth in fact. Each song written can be considered a poem of sorts in its own way. That being said even I realize that I was not any good at songwriting.

I can’t pretend that I am going to start writing poetry and suddenly become the world’s greatest poet. Not by a long shot. What I can do, however, is accept the changes in my heart that have opened me to new experiences. This will undoubtedly translate into providing me with new ways to express myself. Hopefully in a manner which is less aggressive than that which I am most well-known. In the meantime, stay cool.

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos.