I have a poet's mind. It's not that I speak in rhyme constantly (although I did force myself to write "constantly" rather than "all the time"). I also think in metaphor, similes, puns and long descriptive passages. I can't help spouting flowery speech. I should have been born in a different time. I don't think my penchant for painting with words is appreciated in today's world. It's certainly more likely to cause odd stares than not.
It also makes it harder for me to speak my mind. When I'm passionate about something, I find myself at a loss for words. Not because I have nothing to say, but rather it is a protective reflex. I don't like to be mocked or teased, so I prefer to keep my opinions to myself or wait until I can mull over the words on my computer screen. Even then, I may keep my thoughts to myself. I can't help it. My sensitive poet's mind is very aware of others' feelings. It doesn't want to cause hurt. For me, poetry is about healing and empathy. It is about gently leading others to my way of thinking, about using honey instead of vinegar. Whoops, there I go again.
The more emotional I am, the harder I find it to speak from the heart, because it comes out poetic without even trying and I'm not sure whether my poetry will be well-received. Worse, I worry whether it will be misunderstood. For instance, I recently tried to sign an online guestbook in memory of my mother's cousin, Cindy. I stumbled over every word. I was flooded with emotion--grief, loss, and fear. Fear always comes into play for me when it comes to death. My greatest fear is being alone. It's a bit paradoxical since I like to be alone to think, but the thought of being left completely to my own devices is frightening. I can't even post a blog entry without my husband or one of the kids reading it and assuring me it sounds okay. This little message of sympathy was freezing me like a deer in the headlights. These feelings swell to my fingertips and suddenly simple expressions like "my condolences" or "my thoughts and prayers" sound trite and hollow and unacceptable to me. So writing in that guestbook was hard. It didn't help that my husband has a more analytical mind and thought I should just make it simple. You would think he hasn't been married to me for almost twenty years. Me? Simple? How?
I ended up emailing my sister to see what she thought of my entry. This is what I mean about not wanting to be alone. I don't know what I would do without my sister. I bounce thoughts and ideas off of her a lot, as I do with other family members. If mom isn't available, I tend to turn to my sister. (Mom was actually visiting my sister, but I figured she needed some rest after a long day traveling, which included a missed flight.) My sister understands my poet's mind better than many. With one word she was able to give me the courage to post my entry. That word? "Perfect."