This was sent to us by Amy who is a teenage girl within the Shona community. Our website is a safe space for young women to share their stories and experiences. By sharing our stories, we can ensure that girls across the country will know that they are never alone, no matter the situation. A big thank you to Amy for sharing her story with us!
I’m Amy Sheridan and I am the author of My Heart and Her Eclipse. I’ve written a short piece to share with you my love for poetry and why I write. I wanted to share this piece with the Shona audience to encourage young writers like myself to peruse their dreams in writing and maybe even inspire readers to take the leap they’ve been too afraid to take. I hope this piece reaches out to young writers and helps them on their writing journey. Poetry became a safe space for me, poetry is my form of escapism. I would encourage young girls to invest in their poetry, use their voices, talk about difficult conversations and uncomfortable topics and grow from them. I believe way too many young girls don’t realise the power behind their voice; poetry could change the world if you wanted it to. I’d advise young writers to collect their work, build a manuscript and always put themselves out there for any opportunity that comes their way, everything is an excuse to produce work, and everything is a possibility to become more.
I don’t think there was ever a time when I didn’t write. A time when poetry didn’t mean the world to me. I remember scuffling through the pages of my scrapbook in a shared bedroom of mine that I had at eight years old. My writing started off as nothing spectacular; I wrote about the typical things an eight-year-old would write about, how much I loved puppies and how extremely little I liked math. Growing up poetry was never an educational thing for me, it was more sentimental. It was feelings on a bad day that my heart had no words for, it was experiences and analysis of how they changed me as a person. My peers never showed an interest in poetry, which often made me feel slightly outcasted and maybe even a little lame. But my friends were always intrigued by my work, their support fueled me for miles. There were times I questioned if my poetry was powerful enough to move people and if it would ever mean something to anyone other than me. They always assured me it would.
“My heart and Her Eclipse” is a collection of poetry that I had written throughout my teenage years, beginning from the age of thirteen. And I can tell you now, thirteen-year-old me who stuffed dog-eared hardcopies under pillows and on top of the highest shelves would have never imagined having a published book! She would have been too afraid to read them aloud. There were experiences I knew I would write about like rebirth, love, and healing, but there were also experiences I wish I never had to write about like loss, mental illness, heartache, and the ultimate struggle of being a teenage girl.
During the time between 2021 and 2022, I experienced loss for the first time. Experiencing loss for the first time as a young person was harder than I ever considered. It was something I never acknowledged enough even though it was inevitable. I lost two souls close to me in the space of a year. I learned that some losses are harder to accept than others. Some take months to accept, and some feel as though they are never to be accepted at all. I experienced both. Writing poetry often helped me come to terms with these experiences. Not all the poems I write are personal, I often wrote poems about an experience on behalf of somebody else. I feel like this brought diversity to the book. Growing up as a teenager you are bound to feel big feelings that are indescribable, I know I certainly did.
The only thing that scared me more than feeling these feelings was talking about them, poetry was self-expression. There are things we experience growing up that society tends to overlook, and I wanted to make these things known. I always struggled with the concept of going through mental turmoil alone. I wanted to normalize this in the simplest way possible -with words. It can be hard growing up and experiencing things that may shape you as a person forever, it’s hard to determine between what is real and what only feels real. I wanted to use poetry as a voice, a voice that would speak to people on levels they have never been spoken to on before. I needed to find comfort in healing others with my words. Reaching out to young people and inspiring them to be kinder to others, and kinder to themselves was my goal. I needed to spread the message; everybody has bad days. Mental turmoil is something everyone experiences at some point throughout their life and shouldn’t be something to stop them from chasing their dreams. There were aspects I struggled with in my teenage years like education, I never thrived in a school environment. I always found it extremely difficult to get out of bed on school mornings, the thought of entering the building itself made the entire world feel like it was falling apart. I promise you the world will not fall apart. You are allowed to be afraid of facing your anxieties. It is completely normal to be conflicted with what seem like simple everyday things. This is what My Heart and Her Eclipse is all about.
I remember for my 15th birthday a good friend of mine bought me Eleni Sophia`s “This Ones for Me”. A year later I was flickering through the completed notebook and decided to share one of my pieces on Eleni Sophia’s hashtag when I learned she was CEO of a publishing company. I submitted a small manuscript sheepishly, expecting no response in return. I did in fact get a response the next day and was over the moon. Publishing a book can be nerve-wracking, pouring your entire heart out onto a page for strangers to read is intimidating but the support I received from my publishing company Perspective Press Global was tremendous, there wasn’t a moment in our partnership where I didn’t feel at home. It was a safe space all throughout. Holding the very first copy of the book in my hands brought it all back to me, all the hard work and dedication I put into my poetry, All the hope and determination I held within myself. Having faith in myself was key. The very reason I write is to help people feel, to help people acknowledge feelings they’ve cast away for quite some time. I’m extremely grateful for every opportunity I’ve been granted and for how far I and my book have come. I hope it makes everyone who reads it feel just as special as it made me feel, I hope it makes its readers fall in love with it as much as I have.
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