When I was little, I was scared to sleep in my own room. (There was a boogieman in the basement of my house. He has since moved out). So I often asked my sisters if I could sleep on the floor in their room. Usually they said yes, but before they would agree my one sister argued that I would have to read poetry with her first. As an avid reader herself, she wanted to share her love of poetry with someone else… even if that meant tricking me into it. She would read me poems like “The Road Not Taken” or “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” and then ask me to help uncover their meaning. I learned of themes like independence, love, and longing and eventually, I fell in love with poetry all together.
Poetry has this power to make even the saddest topics sound beautiful, and love even more powerful than it already is. It’s unique in its ability of phrasing such common ideals in a deep and profound way that it pushes you to take the extra minute to uncover its hidden meaning. Although I’ve never been a fan of the initial frustration that comes from having no clue what they mean, the “ah-ha moment” is fantastic when you realize that you feel or have felt the same way the poet has.
Poetry has also been my hidden form of counseling for years. Poets like Donne, Thoreau, Emerson and Frost are my team of counselors, helping me to feel inspired on days when I’m just not feelin’ it. They are the authors to how I want to feel, even though I myself can’t always articulate it. Over the years, they have provided me with a list of quotations I often refer to in times of stress or discontent. Below are some of my favorite quotations that hang in my room, on my computer, or are stored in my brain due to continuous referral.
—Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense- Ralph W. Emerson.
—Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference- Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken.”
—-Fall in love or fall in hate. Get inspired or be depressed. Ace a test or flunk a class. Make babies or make art. Speak the truth or lie and cheat. Dance on tables or sit in the corner. Life is divine chaos. Embrace it. Forgive yourself. Breathe. And enjoy the ride. -Solbeam
—If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person. -Mister Rogers.
Poetry is what works for me, but if you’re not a fan…try finding a song or artist that you like. And if you’re really feelin’ the love, share that song or poem with someone else. Some of my favorite songs/quotations have been those I’ve found through someone else.
(Also, an added thanks to my sister for passing down the inspiration and for being an inspiration to me, always.)
LeadHer™ Intern, Campus Calm™
Learn more about Julie here.