I mentioned on Instagram a week ago that sometimes I write lists of things I know to be unequivocally true as a sort of grounding exercise and a few people asked for details and to see an example so here it is!

I got this idea from a poet named Sarah Kay in her TED talk, “If I should have a daughter.” I definitely recommend giving it a listen!

I title my lists, “Things I know to be true” and then start I just writing. I try as much as I can to do this stream-of-consciousness style, writing down whatever comes to mind, without judging or thinking much about each one.

Here’s an example–

Things I Know To Be True

  1. I really don’t like Aoki music.
  2. I don’t usually get visibly at people who aren’t my direct family.
  3. Getting mad is scary.
  4. Sometimes I get so mad at people and I have no idea what to do with the anger.
  5. The blackboard is covered in my doodles.
  6. My butt hurts from the way I’m sitting.
  7. I walked out of the room to wash my hands because I was so angry and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to contain myself.
  8. Songs have the power to bring the past into the present; to drag an old emotional state back into consciousness.
  9. This is number nine.
  10. My feet are cold and dressed in striped socks and it’s snowing outside.
  11. Some songs have the power to make me cry;
  12. Some songs make me miss her; some songs make me feel like she’s next to me again.
  13. Some songs make me so sad; but even when the tears start, the nostalgia — the longing for a time of comfort and familiarity — stops me from turning it off.
  14. And sometimes it’s not a specific ‘her’ that I miss,
  15. Sometimes it’s a feeling, a state of being, a safety.
  16. Sometimes I feel lonely.
  17. Sometimes I am alone.
  18. Being lonely is not the same thing as being alone.
  19. Sometimes I love being alone and sometimes I am lonely, lost in a crowd of people.
  20. When I listen to this song, I’m suddenly back home on a sunny late morning and she’s dancing and for a moment I’m just happy — that was rare back then.
  21. It’s not rare now; I’m happy a lot now.
  22. Some songs make me happy.
  23. And some songs make me want to throw the speakers across the room because I really don’t like heavy metal music.
  24. This song makes me miss my father.
  25. My parents love me dearly and I know that there is nothing they wouldn’t do for me and my brother.
  26. I miss my brother.
  27. Sometimes I’m hyper aware of my height and I feel short.
  28. My favorite kinds of stories are short stories — concise and to the point.
  29. I am often frank and direct but
  30. I am not often concise
  31. I like to talk.
  32. I like to know people; I thrive on connection
  33. I ache to know and be known; vulnerable and open and naked

Sometimes things I didn’t even realize I was thinking about escape and those are the most valuable nuggets. I might then spend some time dissecting and writing more about these.

Categories: poetry