When I wrote that over two years ago I never really felt I was a writer, let alone be a poet. How can I be a poet or even consider myself a writer when I continued to compare myself to the likes of Julia de Burgos, Sylvia Rexach, Judith Ortiz Cofer and Gloria Anzaldua?
In all the years I’ve been writing, ten years to be exact, I never really thought or even considered that my poems would really make themselves out of my little notebook. Writing was about my own journey, my struggles, my pain, and my heartbreaks a huge part of my healing process. The thought of sharing those intimate and private thoughts meant I was sharing the deepest parts of who I am, like giving a part of my soul away and letting the vulnerable part of who I was exposed for the world to see. Just the mere thought of that terrified me, so for many years I kept them all to myself, tucked away in my night stand protected from the world.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I began to share those tucked away intimate pieces of myself. Poetry students at a high school, where I was a mentor, challenged me to share my story. They boldly walked into class and announced “Miss G, if we have to get up in front of a group of people and share so do you!” How can I tell my students that I was afraid of the very thing I was asking them to do. It was then I realized I had to get over my fear and release the years of hidden away thoughts and memories. It took some time for me to feel comfortable with sharing, I still feel I struggle to this day to share those stories, let alone get them out on paper. I still have so many more stories to tell, so many words to pour out, yet I find myself with what feels like a thousand thoughts and about a thousand more emotions and my OCD tendencies surface.
Just as quickly as those thoughts and emotions appear they disappear. Recently, I’ve come to realize my lack of writing doesn’t have to do with my inability to write or that I no longer feel average compared to Julia de Burgos or Judith Ortiz Cofer, but more so of my need to have everything in perfect harmony. I realize poetry and writing is not about perfect harmony or having precise thoughts it’s just about getting it all out, whether it makes sense or not, the perfection comes with every re-write.
Last year, I definitely came full circle when the two poems closest to my heart where chosen for the Proyecto Latina Anthology, Rebeldes. I can’t even describe the emotions and awe I experienced when I read Paloma Martinez-Cruz’s email informing me that Allegiance and Endangered Species where chosen. When I read the list of other amazing poetas I finally realized Awilda you are a poet you are a writer and yes you have a story to tell. Since the release of Rebeldes, I keep hearing Diana Pando’s voice in my head saying, “If we don’t write our stories, someone else will”, and those words became etched in my heart.
My goal this year is to live with intention in everything I do, which includes sharing my story, the story of so many other women who find themselves voiceless out of fear. I now remind myself everyday by reading this quote I wrote at the end of last year, “You can’t partake in my Glory if you don’t know my Story”. It’s time to share those stories, to write OUR stories and to let go of the thousands of words and thousands of emotions that have been tucked away for too long. So Cheers to a year filled with overflowing words! – Awilda González
ABOUT AWILDA GONZALEZ
Awilda González is a Puerto Rican Poet and Writer, born in Chicago and raised in Chicago and Caguas, Puerto Rico. She is a grad student at North Park University pursuing her Masters in Higher Education Administration and holds a Bachelor in Human Development from North Park University. She began writing as a teenager but it really wasn’t until 2004 after a series of life changing events, which she began to take writing seriously. In 2005 she read two of her first poems, one at North Park University’s Poetry Night Events and the second at Batey Urbano’s Windy City Women Event. She has taught poetry workshops at Association House of Chicago and taught poetry class at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School in 2008. In 2008 she took a team of students from Campos and prepared them to compete at the 2009, Louder than a Bomb, Young Chicago Author’s Poetry Competition. The team made it to semi-finals and was awarded the “Truth Award”. In 2010, she wrote her first all Spanish poems and performed it at various bomba performances in Chicago and Aurora. As a single mother she is very familiar with the struggles women face in parenting, being an individual and trying to balance it all and have her own identity. In the summer of 2010 she wrote her first article, which was published in Gozamos.com entitled “Single motherhood vs. Being a woman”. After visiting Proyecto Latina a couple of times, was selected to be the feature poet in March, 2011. In 2013, two poems closest to her heart, Allegiance and Endangered Species where published in Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology. Her desire is to speak of the things others tend to hide and first and foremost to be open and candid about her personal experiences, which is the experience of many silenced women.