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How I use Poetry to Heal

There are many things that I find difficult to say. It is not as if I can’t say them, but I realize now as an adult that I picked up coping mechanisms that pushed me into spaces of holding in my words. This is how poetry is healing for me. Poetry allows me the safe space to express myself freely, which I find is not the case navigating in a world where things that I say can be misinterpreted as weird, dark, or even inappropriate. However, this computer, my pen and paper, they all give me the ability to make sense of moments that are painful, beautiful, that I never want to forget, and that I wish I could forget in a non-judgmental space.

I am not going to glamourize the path of the poet. It found me and pinned me down into the San Diego room I rented as a college student. I was suffering from the pain of feeling my athletic dreams become obsolete due to numerous injuries. Poetry found me when depression and eating disorders were taking over my life. It shoved a pen in my hand and a notebook in the other while screaming at me to write until I felt some of the black liquid inside my soul release into the air in front of me. As soon as I started writing, I noticed that I began to make sense of the pain inside my soul, and I know without a doubt that this is where my healing journey began.

I believe poetry is healing because there are no rules. I can write about anything, and I can choose to share it, or I can choose to keep it secret. In a world where there are so many societal constructs and agreed-upon rules, writing is one of the outlets I go to feel free. I find that if I am triggered by anything in my life, writing about it helps me release the trigger in a healthy way, and no, I don’t gravitate to writing happy poetry as I’ve always wished I could. I tend to write about terrible nightmares and horrible moments where I felt my heart break into pieces. I write about the experiences where I felt neglect, rejection, loss of identity, despair, fear, utter horrors of life, and the realities of death around me. I write so that I can feel freer, even if it is just for a moment. I write because there is a never-ending itch inside my spirit that needs to be expressed on the paper. I write because poetry heals me.

Poem from falling in love alone

i wonder if i am too feral.

i am wild woman

and i tend to drive

the people who love me mad.

Poem from CHRONIC Pain

i don't want my darkness dimmed

i don't want my lightness abused

Malia Nahinu


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