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What Are You Afraid Of?

I had the opportunity to attend the Hamilton Youth Poetry Slam championships this past weekend at Theatre Aquarius in downtown Hamilton. I have to say right off the bat, that I knew I was going to be in for some great talent because I’ve been to one of Hamilton’s Youth Poetry Slams before…but I wasn’t ready for this.

The level of intelligence and wordsmanship that these poets exhibited was amazing. And I don’t use a superlative there just for the sake of using it, I mean I was truly amazed by what I heard. The depth of the topics they tackled and the raw emotion and passion that was expressed was an honour to witness.

It got me to thinking…why is it that we tend to be so guarded with our feelings and our thoughts and reserve our truth for events like poetry slams or arguments? Communication is such an integral part of our daily interactions and if we can’t be up front and real in all of our experiences…then what’s the point? I find this especially in Canada, where we’re so busy being nice that we can forget sometimes to be real.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is much easier to be honest and not worry about hurting someone’s feelings when you’re writing it out and putting those thoughts into an artistic format. When you’re not confronting someone directly, you don’t fear immediate reactions. And also in the on stage presentation, we’re one step removed from the interaction itself because now we’re performing. But then why is it we need that space in the first place?

I’m as guilty as anyone on this. Preferring to preserve a good feeling and not risk hurt or negativity instead of speaking my mind and letting my true feelings be known. It’s not healthy, people aren’t mind readers and it always feels way better when you’re able to get certain things that are bothering you off of your chest. Yet we hide behind silence.

People develop all types of physical illnesses from holding in what they think or feel. There’s that saying, “you teach people how to treat you”. So if we don’t speak up for ourselves, people will continue to do the things that bother us without knowing until one day we lose it and blow up on them. Tick…tick…tick….bbbbboooom….(now we don’t want that).

Decide that you will improve your communication skills by beginning with you. By starting with communicating what you need, what you don’t like and what you won’t put up with. Have some tact with it, but be brave enough to create the boundaries that you need to create in your life, otherwise, how will anybody know?

Take this lesson from the young poets and care enough about yourself and your mental, physical and emotional health to let your truth be known.

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