Last Friday, via all my social media accounts, I publicly shared my first self-published poetry book titled “Six.” Since it’s been out for a few days, and I’ve gotten so many sweet messages and views on the book, I wanted to share a little bit more about what “Six” really means to me.
I’ve always wanted to write a poetry book. Specifically, I’ve always wanted to make “Six,” but until this year, I didn’t exactly know how to articulate a lot of the things that I had been feeling and ambiguously writing about for years. Despite the fact that I’ve written hundreds of poems that are located in countless journals, notes and hard drives, I wanted this debut book to focus on a very specific theme, and to include only work that I felt was extremely edited (since I’m a perfectionist). The theme of “Six,” is, as a write in the description, the relationship between my body and the world around it. I chose this topic for a few reasons.
First of all, I’m a woman. As I discuss in several points in the book, being a woman has an incredible number of expectations associated with it. Expectations on how you should perceive your body and how you should let others interact with it.
Another reason I chose this theme is because it was my first opportunity to address through my work trauma that I experienced when I was six years old. Like so many survivors, I waited a long time, 14 years, to address the emotional distress associated with my traumatic experience. I hoped that by sharing this part of my life, even in a small way, that I could encourage others to seek help, tell their stories, or at least feel less alone.
Lastly, I really wanted to use this opportunity to talk about my body as more than a physical place. I have a dissociative disorder and a lot of both my depression and anxiety stem from what my therapist calls “existential issues.” In poem 5, I explore the kind of identity crisis I experience often when I have panic attacks. The idea about what is your body is so simple, until you can’t identify it anymore, or you have no grasp on the reality of what is your body and what is not. Poem 5 is definitely the messiest poem, and I think that’s because I’m still trying to better navigate and understand that aspect of myself.
Overall, “Six” is small. It’s a start. But it’s even more than that. As a woman, like many women, I have often felt downgraded by my male peers. Told that I was not as strong a writer, or photographer, or artist for a variety of invisible reasons. I have always felt small in my work, and often hesitant to claim any title like poet or photographer, even if I had been doing it years longer than my male peers. It took me a while to see the connection between the language that was given to me, and the way I viewed myself, but once I saw the connection, I actively started trying to change that. It took me a while to build the confidence to put something as small as “Six” out into the world and claim it as my own. Even now, I reread it to make sure there are no glaring errors that would allow people to strip the title of “poet” or “writer” from me. But I did it. I made this little, very important book, and I hope that everyone who reads these poems can connect to them in some universal, but unique way. This is the first of more to come, so please enjoy “Six.” I’ll be printing copies soon so be sure to hit me up if you’re interested in getting one. And thank you all so much for your support. It means the world.