Wonder Women: Why You Need To Listen To Spoken Word Poet Sarah Kay
It can be easy to take our voices for granted. Sharing our thoughts, our views, our stories with peers, (talking as a millennial Londoner) they are all things many of us do every day without questioning our ability to do so. By the same token, we live in a world where we share so much publicly on online platforms: from visuals and words that give perspective on the world around us, to crafting our own personal branding. For me, I am fortunate enough to question how often my voice and what I can say ever actually come under question. There's a surge of female empowerment, an uprising against hiding our thoughts, a drive to expose any struggles that women face in order to stamp out inequality, oppression, and any sense of a patriarchal order.
However, there's a flip side to all of this in that often many of us can suffer from anxieties and fears to expressing ourselves. This may be speaking in public to a large group of people. It can be speaking up in a meeting at work. It might be when we meet new people for the first time. It can even happen when speaking to people you've known for years and yet a random pang of worry hits you and you feel your opinion is worthless and you're suddenly afraid to use your voice.
At the Merit Club we are constantly seeking ways to celebrate our voices, share our stories and experiences. That's why when we discovered Sarah Kay's Spoken Word Poetry, we had to share her story and message. In her fascinating Ted Talk on why Poetry makes people nervous she talks about the way in which her students are often trying so hard to fit in and be "cool" that they would never want to admit to anything that scares them or excites them and so writing poetry seems completely alien and daunting. This feeling may haunt us when we're growing up, but does it ever really go away? How many of us would crumble at the thought of performing poetry - A lot! And that's fine. Not all of us will be spoken word poets. However, what we can do is harness a sense of this confidence in sharing and of expressing ourselves. We think it's time to rediscover wonder, and like Sarah Kay, reshape the way we think about poetry, and, primarily, how lucky we are to have a voice.
Take a look below at Sarah performing her Spoken Word Poem "The Type" (breathtaking!) followed by her TED talk on her journey so far that received not one but TWO standing ovations!