Anytime I am asked to give any information or details to introduce myself to new people, my answer is always, “I am nothing if not a sensitive, hopeless romantic”. For as long as my memory goes back, I can remember being drawn to anything teeming with self expression, curiosity, and love. With a brother four years older and a sister two years older, my life consisted of tagging along or performing absurd made up plays and dances for my family. My siblings nurtured and protected this artistic part of me, most likely because watching your youngest sister make a fool out of herself is free entertainment, and supported all of the wild products that stemmed from this unbridled creativity. Whether it was attempts at fantasy short stories, songwriting, auditioning for the school band, or desire to act in our school plays, my siblings and parents were applauding my efforts every step of the way.
Around the time I entered my teenage years, my once unflinching confidence was being threatened by growing feelings of self doubt and insecurity; the beauty of being a teenage girl. These overwhelming feelings seemed to elucidate an obvious truth I had been ignoring. Despite my continuous efforts in varying arts, I was not really good at any of them. I had dipped my toes in repeatedly, testing the waters of all the different artistic pools, but none of them seemed to feel good enough for me to dive right in. This realization hit me like a cartoon piano falling on an oblivious passerby; I didn’t really have an art or creative outlet to proudly identify myself with, even after years of trying.
I finally discovered my place artistically when I was 13. One day when I was in the 7th grade, my brother came home from school and walked into my sister and I’s shared room with his laptop propped open on his forearm. With a nervous energy radiating off of him, he slowly lowered the screen down to my bed and said he wanted to give me something. The top of the Google Doc pulled up on his screen read, “An Ode to my Sister”. While I had read some poems before this occurrence, usually for assignments in school, never had I received one that was about me or was filled with the kind of words that immediately produce tears and a burn in your throat. I was unaware of the power that poetry possessed until then, and after witnessing how much it touched me emotionally, I saw a way to release my desire to create and produce some form of art.
I began writing as much as I could from that moment. While a lot of my early poems are impossible for me to read now out of sheer embarrassment, they still reveal the emotions and sentiments of what it is like to be a confused teenager who wants nothing more than to feel a part of something important and special. Poetry introduced me to a world that did not shy away from painful vulnerability or sensitivity, but rather embraced it. Getting to be a part of the Sundress team is an opportunity I craved when I was younger, so I feel nothing but gratitude and excitement to be where I am today. I am hopeful that more opportunities like this will come my way in the future, but for right now, I am thrilled to be in an environment that loves the art as much as I do.