I am at a fragile age of self-discovery. I am at an age when the most subtle changes in perception or the most seemingly insignificant decisions could define who I am for the rest of my life. Not to sound overly dramatic, but us women fresh out of college obviously have a lot more on our plates than figuring out the next step in our educational or career paths. It is at this stage in our lives that some of us will be more acutely aware of external and internal changes, some of which are explicitly outside of our control, that lead us to question…everything. It is when some of us will take a moment to witness our evolution, stepping outside of our skin to observe our metamorphosis in slow motion. It is at this point that some may decide to observe mindlessly, letting themselves be overtaken by the motion of things, while others would be knee deep into the arduous undertaking of trying to shift this process in their favor, rejoicing in every little victory knowing very well that it is impossible to win over it all. But that does not matter one bit.
In other words, it is the stage at which some might choose “poetry over prose” - not an original notion but a very novel application of it.
We all know that poetry is the most stubborn, unpredictable, and stereotypically capricious woman of all. But she can also be the most daring, the most passionate, and certainly the most selfless. Those women who choose to live poetically, or embody poetry in every moment in their lives, are constantly fighting a current. They are fighting themselves and the oh-so human tendencies to give in to the narrow normalities of the world. They are fighting the people in their lives, quite often the ones that they hold or should hold the dearest, who insist on pressuring them to live according to their expectations. They are fighting intangible, macro social constructs that permeate every facet of their lives threatening to adulterate their own supposedly “rebellious” constructs. They are fighting the urge to just give up whenever they think of all of the wrong in this world and theirs. But there is no such a poet that would tell you that writing poetry was easy, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that living poetically would be just as hard, if not harder.
Living poetically is to ride that current, gracefully, or awkwardly, surpassing every bump in the way, even those low dips that threaten to bury you underneath the ocean forever. Living poetically is to think with your head, your heart and your guts as you imagine a road map across an endless body of water and not giving one thought to its endlessness for fear of it slipping venomous doubt into your core. Living poetically is to support and challenge countless other women stranded as you are, trying and failing and trying again to find their footing on that narrow and obscure material negligently given to them at the start of their journey. Living poetically is also about drowning a number of times and having the humility to let yourself be picked up from the depth.
I once saw myself drown and it was, sadly, a man that fished me out. The most tender moment was right before I panicked. Right about when everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as I was observing myself running out of breath. The tips of my fingers were reaching out for the surface. My legs hung on their own, swaying lifelessly with the movement of the water. My eyes stinging as they peered through a blurry shade of blue was the only indication that I was indeed still alive. I stood still in time … until my surroundings collapsed as the man dived in to rescue me. It has been the most vividly poetic moment of my life. It never occurred to me until now that that moment keeps happening again and again in my life and in the life of so many others. Now that we are noticing every pore in our bodies, every crack in our shells. Now that we are graced with enlightenment. Now that we have to make that choice.
Let us hope that we are among those that harbor that craving within, even subconsciously. Let us hope that we are among the chosen few who can and will choose poetry.