Zee’s Transformation

“I don’t get poetry, and I don’t like it,” she said. 

The young woman, new to our drop-in poetry and spoken word workshop looked around the group with tears in her eyes. “But I’m here because my best friend loved it, so I’m doing this for her.” Zee shared that her best friend had committed suicide while the two were talking on the phone—and that not only did others blame her for her friend’s death, but she blamed herself, as well.

Weeks passed, and Zee began showing up more regularly. With each workshop, she blossomed a bit more—cracked a small smile, lent a listening ear to another participant, and shared her poetry with the group.

This heartbroken 16-year-old wrote of fear and loss, of determination and misperception, and slowly a light began to flicker within her.

She had stoked the flame of self-discovery, ignited by the safety of a creative space in which to share her struggles and learn of her promise.

Today, Zee throws back her head and laughs along with the others who attend the workshops. She has been here every week for months and has sustained friendships with the drop-in youth who have shared their own stories of triumph, sorrow, and hope. She has performed for the agency at First Friday events and plans to continue to represent our programs in the community.

Even though Zee began coming to Art from Ashes to honor her friend and will always remember that is why she attends, she has embraced her own voice, as well as her creativity and her potential.