Three years ago when I moved to the bay I took part in a local poetry slam (A poetry competition where you recited poems you have written). It was in a dingy diner in some odd part of town… and it was exactly how we see artsy people hanging out on TV and in movies. Guess that’s one thing they would naturally get right. It was a very different, but amazing experience to say the least. I ended up placing that night, but while it was my second round poem that secured me the prize it was what happened after my first round poem that has forever been etched into my mind.
My first round poem according to me was better than the second, it’s a dialogue between a disheartened individual and their reflection, attempting to remind the individual of who they really are. It was a poem I wrote about the moment that turned my life around when I was at my lowest. Amongst the three judges that night, two liked the poem, the third was completely lost (poem was pretty obvious so I’m quite surprised). But it didn’t matter I was just excited to be able to read.
After the first round ended and just before they were going to announce the finalists who would proceed to the second and final round, a girl approached me through the crowd and suddenly threw her arms around me. I was taken aback initially since I don’t usually hug strangers, but then she started to speak. “Thank you for writing that poem” she started, “regardless of what happens next, I want you to know that it meant SO MUCH to me, I felt it!”. I remember suddenly feeling tears well in my eyes. Not because someone understood my poem, but because my poem had understood HER. Here was someone who was potentially going through something hard, and something I had written had touched her. As a poet and writer, I cannot describe the feeling we get when someone not only understands what we’ve written, but actually FEELS it!
In that moment I reached around her and gave her a tight hug back. Because I figured she probably needed one. Because hugs truly are the most healing thing in the WORLD.
Finally, pulling away she looked me straight in the eyes with an emotion I cannot describe. “Thank you” she said squeezing my hands… before disappearing back into the crowd.