I grew up on the rhymes of Dr. Seuss. The rhythm and sounds of the rhymes rolled off the tongue in a sing song fashion. Although I didn't fully comprehend the real world meanings behind the stories, just listening to my dad say the wild, wacky words sent little sparks of joy through my mind.
I was never the strongest English student. The "right answer" wouldn't come to me the way it did in science and math. The first time I enjoyed writing was in second grade. The poetry unit taught me that I had a knack for rhyming things, but I never thought much of it.
Fast forward to middle school. My best friend and I wrote raps for fun, and most open ended school projects would be a live performance of the Asian Eminems. I loved rapping, but I had no desire to take my words farther than the classroom.
In my first year of high school, I was anything but outspoken. I had so many thoughts inside of me but I lacked the self confidence to speak out. Meanwhile, poetry club gathered for the first time at Gleneagle Secondary. I joined, hoping that I could learn from the senior poets in my school. They taught me how to improve my poems, but more importantly, they taught me how to express myself. Performance was a moment in time when everyone was willing to listen to what I had to say, and because of that, I treasured the moments I was on stage. Eventually, I was able to take that confidence with me into everyday conversations. Through the school team, I was able to take part in Hullabaloo, the provincial spoken word tournament. It was a mad scramble of workshops and bouts and showcases that left me itching to improve. Through the connections I made at Hullabaloo, I was invited to perform poetry, from elementary school show cases, to local charity performances, to the Richmond World Festival.
Stepping into an unknown world of spoken word gave me confidence beyond the stage. I developed the know how to speak in all kinds of situations. Spoken word ended up helping a quiet boy speak up.