I was never a quiet person until I reached high school. When I was a child, my voice split through rooms. I sang so loud my throat burned. Questions spilled out my mouth and filled every hallway.
Something changed freshmen year.
I sewed my mouth together for a little while. My voice crawled down my throat and slept in my chest. But just because you shut up doesn't mean you don't have things to say. I overflowed with words. Yet I stayed silent.
It's got to have something to do with fear, right? Starting high school, a new environment, being a bit friendless. I redesigned my mouth. I made it hollow, dark, full of secrets.
Nah. Not anymore.
I started my poetry project out of nostalgia. Since I was eight years old, I have kept journals to an obsessive extent. I have a giant plastic tub that I keep in the center of my room, that's filled to the brim with journals. This past summer, it occurred to me that all the poetry I'd ever written was in those journals, and I couldn't read them all together in the same place.
So I decided to go through the journals and type all my poetry into the same word document. Maybe I'd print a little book, just for myself. For memory's sake.
The project grew legs fast. As I typed, day after day, an idea was tugging at me.
What if I shared this? What if I took it further? What if I made something and shared it with the world?
I kept my project a secret from everyone, including my family, almost up to the date of publication. Poetry is insanely intimate. It's a method of survival, and there's nothing more personal than our survival strategies. But the more I worked on The Last Four Years, the more I realized why I needed to share it.
We're all in this life together. Our lives are all amazing and they all suck in their own way. I was scared of showing the world my struggles. I write about a wide variety of topics, but some themes that pop up would startle those close to me -- themes like mental illness and abusive relationships. I'm a pretty private person. There are some people very close to me that don't know I've been through this stuff. And it's so weird, because now all of a sudden anyone can find out. And it's my choice. I have chosen to strip my soul naked.
It's important for me to share these words, these secrets, these stories. It's important for me, because it makes me braver. But it's important for others too. I want you to know that you are not alone. That it will get better. And that words have the potential to help you along the way.
yours in haste,
kelsey day is a young award winning poet who grew up in the blue mountains of north carolina. she has received recognition for a collection of short stories, as well as two novels she published at the ages of 11 and 13. today she is studying creative writing in boston, massachusetts.