By Theresa Puskar
Emily Teran – Westmont High School – February 2019
In my opinion, our ability to express ourselves through our creativity is one of the most potent and deeply transformative gifts we’ve been given on this earth. Creative expression has great healing power, and it can alter us from the inside out. Years ago, when I was living in Vancouver, Canada, I was taking a watercolor painting class. On one particular fall day, I spent an entire afternoon experimenting with my paints. When I finally emerged from my apartment, I happened to see a fellow actress friend, as I sat waiting for my bus. She looked at me, and then took a second glance. “Something is really different about you today. What have you been up to?” When I told her that I spent most of my day painting, she immediately understood. “That’s what it is. You are so calm. You are so much more peaceful than I’ve ever seen you before.” I’ll never forget that conversation. It had quite an impact on me, because she was right. I remember how much joy, deep inner-peace and connection I felt after spending my day immersed in my art.
Years later, I have also experienced the same feeling at the
pottery wheel, playing with collage or intention doll-making at my favorite creative haven, Whispers from the Moon (Lisa Sorce Schmitz’s art studio in Oak Park). I try to get to Lisa’s gorgeous studio at least once a year to feed my soul and express what’s in my heart.
This is the third article I have written that focuses on The Wisdom of Our Youth. As I glanced through several poems that were submitted, I was particularly struck by Emily Teran’s piece, “Poetry is a Flashlight.” In it, she celebrates the freedom that she feels when expressing herself in this art form. New to the art of words, Emily shared that she never found traditional writing very stimulating, but finds poetry particularly liberating. “With poetry, we can share a lot of unspoken truths. We don’t have to come out and say things directly, and because of this, we are able to share more ideas.”
POETRY IS A FLASHLIGHT
By Emily Teran
The great thing about poetry is that you can write about absolutely anything
You can write about the summer, your dog or about some kid that lives down the block
You could write about trees or fog or your hatred for baby talk
Poetry is the wind underneath a writers’ wing
The great thing about poetry is that you can have hidden meaning
You can tell someone to f*** off without using a finger
Its confusing message will leave a feeling to linger
You can say you’re mad without ever screaming
The great thing about poetry is that you can choose your words
We all have a chance to speak, a voice
Let us ever be grateful that we have the choice
Poetry is the song in every bird
The great thing about poetry is that you can address love a feeling
Like a warm embrace or a flower
Or something held against you, a great power
Poetry is a part of the process of healing
The great thing about poetry is that you are allowed to be sad
Write about death, write about hopelessness
Write about the things that nobody notices
Poetry is being angry at your dad
The great thing about poetry is that you give life color
Your words fill the air with blues and reds
It’ll give you signals til they get through to your heads
Poetry makes the world less duller
The great thing about poetry is that it gives you insight
An invitation to the writer’s state of mind
A pair of glasses to leave you unblind
Poetry is a flashlight
To be fully expressive in whatever art form one pursues, I believe that one has to be in an environment that supports non-judgment. Years ago, when I was doing graduate studies in Theatre Directing at Purdue University, I remember struggling, because the head of the Drama Department was, in my opinion, a bully and intimidated his students and the performers in his productions. I found his behavior the antithesis of all that supports creativity. How could anyone feel safe to open their hearts and souls and expose the deepest part of themselves when they felt fearful? In the end, I decided to leave the program, because I did not feel it fostered the kind of educational environment in which I wanted to spend three years investing my time, energy and creativity. Part of the reason why Emily fell in love with poetry was the encouragement that she received from her creative writing instructor, Mrs. Anna Oshel-Jakubowksi. “She is fun, and she really allows her students to express whatever they are feeling,” Emily shares.
She goes on to say, “When I write, I help myself. Thus, my attitude towards the situation changes, and allows me to be more honest with the person with whom I am struggling.”
When was the last time you gave yourself some time to create? When my daughter was in grade school, I cared for her and her friend every Wednesday after school. The two of them loved doing artwork, and I made a conscious commitment to spend a couple of hours each week doing the artwork with them. It was tough at the time because of that incessant to-do list that I always felt compelled to focus upon. Do you focus on your never-ending to-do list, and avoid giving yourself time to create? Haven’t you noticed that they are never-ending? I suggest that within the next month, you allow yourself at least two hours to write, paint, draw, collage, play music or do something else creative. Note how you feel prior to creating, and then reflect on how you feel after you’ve taken that time for yourself. I believe that taking that time will not only raise your spirits but your energy as well.
Emily’s final words of advice to our youth, “If you have a voice, use it. A lot of the world’s tragedies happen when you say nothing.” So, speak your truth, and when you do it through creative forms of expression, not only does it raise your energy, but it adds beauty to the world by speaking to the souls of humankind!
Theresa Puskar is an author, performer, speaker, minister and motivational audiobook producer. With over 25 years of experience in media and communications, she has worn many hats in the industry. She is the author of the “Terri” children’s book series, which focuses on a variety of emotional and social development issues for children, ages 5 to 9. She is also an actress and director, and recently returned from performing her autobiographical solo theatre production, Causeless Joy (formerly titled Beauty, Bollywood and Beyond) in Los Angeles and New York (where she received a 4-star review by New York critic, Alex Miller). A powerful inspirational speaker and transition leader, Theresa edu-tains her audiences, by touching hearts and minds in a way that is engaging, joyful and life-affirming. For more information, visit www.TheresaPuskar.com.