I basically met my best friend because of poetry. We found ourselves in a really really shitty situation the day before we met, but teamed up quickly and handled it together. Without even knowing the other girl, we stood up for each other right from the start. You never really know how girl drama like that will pan out, so we took quite the leap of faith trusting the other. The short end of the stick was handed to us both from a third party; we could have blamed each other for that. She didn’t owe me anything in those early days, and I didn’t owe her. Instead, there was this instant connection and complete honesty right up front. No cattiness, no bitchiness, no fighting — and fight we could have. Could have torn the other down without knowing her side. Made her the scapegoat of our side of the story.
*I’m being intentionally vague here, because everyone involved in that situation is still in my life. In my life by my own choice, I must stress. Everyone is good – we’re all fine here. It’s hard to throw people you love under the bus even after the fact and even if we probably all deserved it at some point. There’s way more back story here than just that she and I were on the receiving end of a bad thing. True as that is, I caused my share of bad things before our situation ever even happened.
It’s important to say again that everything was alright in the end. —
All other parties have been forgiven by now.
Forgiveness is a powerful, powerful thing. Letting go of something for your own health and giving second chances can be life-changing, but that came later – many months later.
Poetry came at the beginning, and as always, right on time.
The Princess Saves Herself in this One is one of my favorite collections of poetry. It’s feministy, it’s strong, it’s angry, it’s real, and there’s so much to relate to. There’s lots of good poems on reading and writing specifically, which of course spoke to me.
I totally dug the overall theme of fairy tales; dragons, castles, princesses all that. I read it in public once and wept and then read it at home again the very same day. That’s how good it is.
This book was the second one I passed around for people at work to read as part of my Pay-it-Forward-Poetry initiative. For this one, we colored the pages
from the corners inward. It turned out to be just as colorful as Milk and Honey, but you’d have to flip through it to see the rainbows. It didn’t make as big of a splash as Milk and Honey, probably just because that was our first and it was many people’s intro to poetry. The overall feeling after two rounds of poetry, was that maybe Milk and Honey was more liked as an overall read, but the poems we found in The Princess Saves Herself, hit us way harder and way closer to home!
There were poems that floored me. Ones that make me cry instantly. There was anger in those pages and I loved it. I wanted to slay the shit out of some dragons while reading; literal and metaphorical ones. I wanted to rule the hell out of a kingdom when I was done – any kingdom. I’d steal yours and rule it after this book.
*fangirl out 🙂
The book had pretty much made its rounds by the time drama ensued in my personal life. I think the last girl I had on my list to read the book had it ready to return later in the week. I told her I needed it right away because it suddenly had a new purpose.
I got it back and started marking pages for my new ally. I had already read it, of course, and colored my pages; but this time I put sticky notes on poems specifically for her.
Poems about girls, girl relationships, and slaying your dragons. I remember being so nervous to hand over the collection to someone I didn’t actually know yet. People get weird about poetry, because they assume they won’t get it. I tried to explain what the book was, what I had already done with my group of readers, and then what I was trying to do for her. I just hoped that she bought into the idea of connecting through poetry and that she didn’t think I was some kind of weirdo who couldn’t talk through shit on her own. I told her to read the whole book if she wanted, but that I really needed her to read the ones I marked for her.
I marked poems that she needed; I knew what she needed because it’s what I needed.
I just knew that she and I both needed certain poems at that time. I can’t stress enough how important it was in those early days for she and I to back each other up without question.
We needed to rebuild ourselves and each other from the ashes of the situation.
From the start, we said about the other: “We are made of the same stuff, she and I.”
We said this mainly because of the way we helped each other when we had the option of not doing so.
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, or hers, or make each of us out to be the ultimate girl, flawless and selfless and endlessly supportive of the female race. But that’s kind of how it was.
We basically threw everything aside and made the other our priority.
And that’s what saved us, saving each other.
For me, it was incredible to have another girl have my back at the beginning! I’m so shy and it takes me forever to get close to people. I’m that person that everyone assumes is hella mean, because I don’t talk a lot up front. If I don’t know you, I am not saying hi to you in line for coffee, I’m not making small talk in the bathroom, I’m not smiling at you in the hallway. To have someone immediately get me was crazy. She was on board with everything right from the start. Just trusted me.
For her, it was the first time to truly feel supported by other girls. Sometimes girls are just hard. It’s weird and competitive and catty; even friends are hard to love sometimes. Reading a book of poetry that other girls had read and poured their hearts into was a uniquely special experience for her. Which is exactly what I wanted out of the poetry sharing. Connection. To see a poem that makes you cry and know that maybe five or six other girls did the same thing when they read it. That experience, seeing the marks on the pages, makes you feel normal and connected and not weird and isolated. After reading the poems that I wanted for her, she chose to read the whole book and color in it herself, connecting with all of us another step further.
She wrote on the bottom of one of the pages that she and I were made of the same stuff. We are. I gave her the book maybe the first or second week that I knew her, and I think I’d said that phrase once by then. We say it all the time now, but that’s where it started and I love to go back and look at that page and remember our instant bond. She is my reason for living, my reason for writing, my ultimate and endless support. She’s the person behind this blog and the person behind all my artistic endeavors. Right away she thought the best of me and gave me a chance when she didn’t have to. She got on board with my poetry sharing right away, because she could sense that it was important, that it meant something, and it had the ability to truly connect girls. It’s connected us – in a deep and long-lasting way. I will forever love this book for its ability to bond. It had one life circulating my normal circle, connecting girls I work with in small ways. It had another few lives being paid forward, because I know at least two girls have bought it and passed it around for themselves. It’s most important life, though, was the foundation it built between me and my star dust twin. We truly were the damsels turned princesses turned queens.
This book was our How-To Guide.