This week I performed a poem for the first time. What, you write poetry? Yes I do! But very few people know this because I never think any of my poems are worth sharing. I write them and think, wow, that’s pretty cool. Too bad no one will ever see them because they’re not that good. Before I performed at poetry night, I was debating whether or not I should put any on this blog, and I mentioned this to a friend. I told her that I didn’t think they were good enough to share, and she replied with what was oddly the most empowering remark she could have said: “It doesn’t have to be good to put it on the internet.” She quickly back peddled, thinking she had insulted me, but in fact she had done just the opposite. I was quite inspired.
At the risk of sounding cliché, nobody likes to fail, especially a self-acknowledged perfectionist like me. I’ve always had a hard time doing things that I didn’t think I was good at, which obviously made it rather difficult to become good at something I had not yet mastered because I was reluctant to do it. It was a vicious cycle. So when she articulated this simple concept, it sparked a bit of a revelation – it doesn’t matter if my poems absolutely suck, I’m going to keep writing them and start sharing them until they no longer suck. Practice makes perfect, right? And if that never happens, then I haven’t lost anything; something doesn’t have to be good to be put on the internet. I just added a bit to the vast collection of mediocre articles on the web. And I will have gained something invaluable in the process – confidence.
So, I hope you all like my poem, but even if you don’t, thanks for being my first (and hopefully not last) internet audience. This poem is called Seashells.
I adore the seashells that wash upon the beach.
Their brilliant colors shimmer in the sunlight as the ocean breathes in and out,
As the waves crash upon the sand.
The waves bring life and beauty to the shoreline,
Revealed as they recede into the ocean.
As swiftly as it gave them,
This master of fate will steal them away again and engulf them into its depths.
Who knows how long this tide will last,
Or how deep it will be.
I sit and pray this time won’t be over my head.
I refuse to leave the sea.
As terrifying as the waves are as they beat against my body,
I still remember the beauty of the shells that they leave behind as they retreat.
So I dig my heels into the sand and brace myself against the water’s strength,
Until the day it steals me from the beach to take my place among the shells.