Speak | Teen Ink


October 21, 2007
By Katrina Arce BRONZE, New York, New York
Katrina Arce BRONZE, New York, New York
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

"The truth is opening your heart can be dangerous." My solution has always been to write it down piece by piece. Taking a deep breath and looking at an unfamiliar crowd, I let poetry speak the words that I normally would not say.

I am usually not the type of girl who will scream “Hello” across the street if I see someone familiar, nor will I approach a complete stranger and begin a conversation. Instead, I will giggle when I run out of things to say and smile when left speechless. What I find more comfortable is for the other person to speak while I listen attentively. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to face the fact that I’m actually shy.

After a week-long vacation, tenth grade returned like a long lost friend. Swarming out of the furthest elevator, an array of students blocked the path to my English class. Moving an inch at a time, I slowly reached the center of the hallway where my friend was awaiting me. Coming across a bulletin that was difficult to miss, and intriguing, I saw in echoing bubble letters: “Poetry Slam.” I admitted to my friend how interesting the event sounded. The problem is “interesting” is not a word; it is a placeholder - used when something else wants to be said instead. What I really meant to tell her was that I had journals at home rich with meaning and teeming with life. The poetry slam came as no surprise; I had heard of the event since the ninth grade, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. And before I knew it meetings and rehearsals had flown by and my friend and I, along with twenty other brave souls, were scheduled to be in the poetry slam.

When the day finally arrived, I thought, “Have I completely lost my mind?! I can’t do this.” As the lights dimmed, students began crouching on the floor near seats that had already been filled. I crossed my arms over my chest as my foot shook involuntarily up and down. Poets, seated in the first two rows, all held their heads high and were rehearsing words that were sinking into the deep silence I was trying to create.

“Next is Katrina with 'Unspoken.'" Startled back into reality, I staggered through the air - feeling motionless. The slight breeze from the window was allowing me to float from my thought-provoking seat to the promising stage where the virtue of waiting was going to pay off. Holding tight onto the podium to keep my balance steady, I began, "The truth is ..." My heart was pounding because I knew that this subtle gesture had taken a lot of courage. I had to remember I chose what to say, how to say it, and most importantly why I’m saying it.

"Words cannot replace fear. Words cannot embrace an emotion. One cannot live with sentences alone." Words began jumping right off the page of my journal into the minds of others. No, wait. That was my voice bouncing off the walls into the ears of those who cared. Yes, I spoke and they finally listened - there is no greater reward than pouring your heart out to those who will gently hold it. Slowly but surely, my nerves turned into courage. From now on I can refer to myself as the shy, but not so quiet, girl.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Sep. 1 2014 at 8:02 am
I love this piece. Being a shy and quiet person who also loves poetry, I really related to this. Congrats to you for speaking now. :)