Bravery Shown at a Special Poetic Insight

There are instances at Young People Insight that truly blow me away and make all the work I put in feel more worthwhile than anything in the world.  This month’s Poetic Insight was one of those.

On November 27th, Poetic Insight came to Urban XChange Bar and Grill for the first time, which I was excited but slightly concerned about.  I was concerned people would go to the wrong venue or get lost.  I was also sick, so I did not want to come out on a cold rainy evening either (I’m just keeping it real), but I am beyond glad I did.

This immediately became one of my favourite ever Poetic Insights, filling me with emotion, pride and wonder.  It made me not only proud to be a young person, but proud of the safe space I have been able to create over the years that incites bravery in young people and encourages them to open up in amazing ways.

The theme of the night was Survival, and returning poet Antonia was first to step onstage, sharing a deep poem about the pain that can come from a romantic relationship and surviving through loving yourself.  Chantae also returned after last month, starting with a poem called Olivia’s Theory, which was in response to a friend, followed by Broken Stopwatch, both brought to life through her beautiful words.

Beverly has been to some of The Kickback sessions, but this was her first time on the Poetic Insight stage.  Despite her nerves, she shared an emotion-fulled poem about pain and vulnerabilities in relationships.

Script Index came to our poetry night for the first time, all the way from West London, to draw us in with his wonderful delivery of True Flow.  Next up was now regular Poetic Insight attendee, but first timer on our stage, Destiny, who shared thought-provoking poems about mental health and an empowering poem about how lit she is.

The following three poets were all extremely brave, raw and openly vulnerable with us on the night, taking to our stage for the first time and wowing all of us.  They were a big part of why this Poetic Insight immediately became one of my favourites.

Emma is the perfect example of why I started Young People Insight.  When I met her on the night, she told me that she wrote poems but was nervous about performing, although she was thinking about it.  She then decided to sign up to perform, but told me she would be going onstage with a friend.  By the time she got onstage, she was willing to stand there on her own and lay herself bare by reading a poem called Mum Break Me The Most.

She was followed by Ingrid, the friend who was supposed to take to the stage with Emma, who also laid herself bare by sharing a deep poem about surviving trauma.  In the poem, she referred to herself as a victim, but I made the point of saying that she is no victim – she is a survivor.

Then it was Adam, who was wrestling with the thought of performing when he got to Poetic Insight as well, telling me that he wanted to perform but was scared.  I encouraged him to think it through, as there is nothing worse than getting onstage when you are half-hearted about it.  In spite of his nerves, he read an amazingly open poem, about consent and sex.

The final poet on stage was the returning Kane Adams (he performed under Adam’s Son last month).  He finished the night not only with some powerful micro poems, but he also provided words of wisdom, which were especially for the “younger” young people in attendance, although I think we all took something from them.  The moments that break away from poetry, while also reaching out to others, are some of my favourites at Poetic Insight.

It was a truly special night, which reminded me of why I set up Young People Insight all over again and why it needs to keep going for the long haul.  I can’t wait to see what more future events will bring.

Poetic Insight will join with The Kickback on December 18th for our final event of the year, when we’ll be ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’.  We’ll be at Urban XChange Bar & Grill ( 1 Lansdowne Rd, Croydon CR9 2BN) from 6.30-9.30pm, so save the date, as you do not want to miss it.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

What do young people see as success?

A couple of weeks back, I asked what you see as success, which was a question mainly aimed at young people.  I understood that we all look at success differently, with one person’s definition of success varying from another, but I was not sure about what young people’s definition of success would specifically be.

I was intrigued to learn that in spite of age, gender or peer group, the vast majority of young people that I spoke to see success as achieving their goals – specifically their personal goals.  These may be career goals (getting a secure job), academic goals (passing exams, finishing with a 1st at uni) or lifestyle goals (having a nice super-bike, learning to drive).  Whatever they might be, young people seemed to have set goals in mind that they wanted to reach.

Photo by Ice Princess.
Image by Ice Princess.

A 20-year-old male said: “I see success as totally fulfilling one’s goals or aims to a desired standard.  To me, it’s more  of a destination rather than a journey, so perhaps you could have an unsuccessful journey but a successful destination.”

It appears as if young people want to look back on their life and feel proud, like they’ve achieved and accomplished something.  They look at success as a process that will eventually lead to something great or meaningful.  However, there are some who not only want to achieve their goals, but also achieve their dreams – interestingly enough, those that mentioned dreams were in their 20s (with the exception of one 19-year-old).

I also began to understand that young people want to work for their success, as there is something special about achieving what may have been so long out of their reach.  This 22-year-old man illustrated it best: “Success to me is having a goal or dream that seems almost impossible to achieve, yet somehow you achieve it, and there is this amazing feeling afterwards, like you’re unstoppable.

A small number of individuals in their early 20s view happiness as success, rather than achieving their goals and dreams.  A 22-year-old woman said: “To me, the real meaning of success is happiness, to be able to wake up everyday happy within yourself.”  However, another young woman also saw fulfilling achievements and accomplishments alongside being happy as success, because they would “in turn make you happy”.

Photo from Pixabay and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo from Pixabay and used under Creative Commons License.

I was a little surprised at how few individuals linked success to happiness, but this highlights the society we live in, where happiness seems to be a continuous afterthought.  And does the fact that only individuals in their 20s mentioned happiness suggest a slight gap between them and the teenage generation?

Some religious young people associate success with their beliefs.  Various individuals see it as living the life God planned for them, fulfilling what God wants them to fulfil, trying to be a good Muslim, following the path God leads them down or trying to get to Heaven.  One 19-year-old female said: “I believe success occurs when you take on Jesus’s character, because in doing that, everything falls into place.”

Image by Melissa Bube and used under Creative Commons License.
Image by Melissa Bube and used under Creative Commons License.

Referring to their beliefs revealed what was in the hearts of these individuals, yet such a small number of these types of responses raises the thought that religion is becoming a lot less meaningful in our society.  It suggests that believing in something is far less important than having all of the “goods” that this world has to offer.

Others see success as love, family, material things, freedom, being content in their personal achievements, settling for nothing less than the top, helping others better themselves, gaining all you need in life, living meaningfully and unsurprisingly, making money.  I was genuinely surprised that more young people did not mention money.

Yet ultimately, young people want to grow and be able to look back at their life and say that they’ve accomplished something – they may have failed at certain stages, but failure is all part of the journey to success. “Success is when you excel further in your life than you were previously.  Success is a good feeling – it means progression as an individual, as well as maturity,” said a 25-year-old man.

Success seems to mean a lot to young people, as it allows them to look at themselves, all that they’ve been through and everything they’ve become.  A 15-year-old male puts it beautifully: “Success means a lot, as it means you have learnt from your prior failures and haven’t given up.”

Image from Willow Oak Counselling.
Image from Willow Oak Counselling.

There is also a sense of pride, as they want others to see them as individuals who do their best and are making something out of their lives.  A 19-year-old young mother said: “Having a child makes me want to achieve nothing but the best for me and my daughter, and settling for nothing or less, as we were created to be the best… My success will be when my daughter is old enough to see all I have done for her to lead and direct her.”

Gaining an understanding of what young people see as success was an eye-opening experience, which forced me to consider what I see as success.  I hadn’t paid much attention to this fact before, so thinking about it was quite tough, but I eventually came to my conclusion.  To me, success is being truly happy and becoming the person that you’ve always wanted to be; you will have reached your dreams and be living the life that God wants for you.  How do you view success?

Photo by OTA Photos and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo by OTA Photos and used under Creative Commons License.