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Mental Health

Why I Write Poems Even Though They’re Bad

Bottom line: because I like it! It took me a while to realize that being creative does not mean being perfect. That’s really hard for me to remember because I’m such a perfectionist, but I’m trying to teach myself to appreciate what I create… even if I don’t necessarily like it. The more I work at it, the better I get. This applies not only to poetry but music, drawing, photography–even just doodles in my chem notebook.

I wouldn’t say that poetry is my favorite form of creative expression, but I think it’s one of the best. I find that I’m not usually able to come up with new things to draw or play, but I never feel limited when it comes to writing, especially poems. You can use words in whatever way you want. The hardest part is avoiding clichés and not ridiculing yourself for your past work, which can often be pretentious writing that makes you cringe. What you have to remind yourself when you’re looking back at your journal from 2015, reading all your heartfelt poems and overdramatic, 3-page entries, is that everyone has to start somewhere! It just takes some time to find the best way to tell the world how you’re feeling.

Image via Reddit.

Art doesn’t really have a definition and it can be whatever you choose. When I say “poetry”, I mean more of a loose jotting-down of the ideas in my head. It doesn’t have to make sense. Take E.E. Cummings, for example, who does a great job of showing that poetry has absolutely no rules. Whatever way you prefer to portray your thoughts, you can take comfort in knowing that no one can tell you what’s right or wrong.

Image via English With a Smile.

Creative expression is important. There’s no better way to get out whatever you’re feeling, and if you want, it can just be for you. I’ve never liked to share the things I create. It scares me to think that someone might not like this thing that I’ve put so much work into, but that’s okay because I am by no means obligated to show anyone. It can be my thing–a little gift to myself that I can be proud of. And if I feel like I want someone to see it, I can take that step whenever I’m ready.

Image via Pinterest.

If you like writing, drawing, painting, taking photos, dressing a certain way, doing your makeup, or whatever it is that helps you express yourself, keep doing it! Don’t feel pressured by the work or judgment of others. Creativity doesn’t have to be about comparison if you don’t want it to be.

Olivia Fetter is a first-year at UC Santa Barbara planning to major in Psych and Brain Sciences. She loves traveling, terribly cheesy movies, photography, music, the Oxford Comma, and memes. A fun fact about Olivia is that she graduated from the same Connecticut high school as the actor who plays John Tucker in John Tucker Must Die, and she has genuinely looked forward to being able to say that since 10th grade. See what she means about cheesy movies?
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