Our Warren Stories series turns the spotlight on writers, readers, and artists within our community. Here, we’ll share their work, artistry, and personal stories in our effort to uplift every member of our community and make their voices heard. Have a story you’d like to tell? Contact us today!
Today, we’re going to hand the mic to Tristian Williams, a young writer and student in Oklahoma who reached out to tell us about her experience with writing as a transformative process that helped her to heal.
Poetry in Healing Form
Words have been a source of comfort to me since grade school. I have always loved to read, no matter the genre. I spent nearly every second of my spare time reading books I checked out from the school library. But then, sports, and other extra-curriculars, entered my life in high school and my desire to read lessened considerably. But, if I got anything of out of my seemingly monotonous English classes, it was an infatuation with poetry. Although I had little interaction with poetry throughout high school, the standard lessons on Shakespeare captivated my interest nonetheless. It was then that I discovered that the elegant flow of words in stanzas comforted me just as much, if not more, than any other coping mechanism I had attempted before. However, I was still too hopeless and naïve to think I could actually produce poetry myself someday.
Fast forward nearly a year after graduation; January of my freshman year of college. My annual, seasonal depression was in full rage. The weight of being a full-time, student-athlete was wearing on me, along with the usual drama accompanied with necessary transitions in life. I was in desperate need of an emotional outlet that wasn’t self-destructive like most of my behavior at the time.
A friend of mine journaled regularly, so I decided I would give that a try. However, frustrated that I couldn’t produce words that captured my feelings to the full extent, I turned to poetry. At the beginning, it was mostly outbursts of rage that I’d hardly call poetry−but it calmed me. I started writing more often and giving it more attention. Eventually it took the form of poetry that wasn’t half bad. Yet, like most things, I didn’t stick with it long. My depression, on the other hand, stuck around through spring, summer, and late fall when I found myself in a hospital from an accidental overdose. I was self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to the point I couldn’t see it was destroying me. The overdose affected several relationships with family and friends, ended my basketball career, forced me to transfer schools, and quite frankly start over. However, I see it as the only thing that saved my life.
Being torn away from my comfort zone and being forced to completely re-evaluate my place in life has led to a better me and made me realize my passion: writing. I was spending most of my time going to therapy and going back home. I had so much free time, I just wrote. I wrote journal entries, a whole poem, a couple lines, letters to people that will never be sent, etc. I was just getting everything out. It was freeing, in a way, to be able to talk about what was happening and my thoughts on it. I was able to think through the issues I was facing, realize my self-worth, and eventually became self-aware of my own toxic traits so I could correct them. My sloppy journal entries turned into messy poems, then eventually poems I could be proud to show to my friends and family. I spoke about heartbreak, depression, sexual and emotional abuse, and how I overcame each of these things.
The great thing about me is, I’m still on this journey of self-love and healing; I’m not going to run out of things to say anytime soon. If I can produce poems that help not only myself, but others face their own issues, then I’ve accomplished my goal with writing. Even if it is interpreted in a different way than originally planned, the point of writing is for people to be able to relate; to form an emotional bond. I hope my poems reach out to someone, even just one person, and show them that they matter.
Tristian Williams is from Boise City, Oklahoma. She grew up in love with books and basketball, and received a basketball scholarship to attend college. She now lives in Blanchard, Oklahoma, and attends Oklahoma City Community College as a journalism major. She hopes to one day be a published writer.
You can contact Tristian on Reddit.