"Identity and the development of our sense of self is nuanced, often layered with tension and ambiguity. Poetry is a medium that requires the writer to dig deeper within themselves and confront “the self” head on. In these three pieces, Lyn explores the complexity of self and its connections to culture, ancestry, and migration."
The soul of a rebel
let it burn sis
when all you do
is put out fires.
What would happen
if we just let the fire burn?
Fire often quells itself
and once the soot
starts to settle...
let it burn sis
The Soul of a Rebel
My mother is an elephant
regal and elegant
tranquil and serene.
My father is a bull
tempered and prideful
stubborn and furious.
They fight incessantly
while their battles
I am constantly
longing to be free.
Lessons in Self-care
the way you want to be treated.”
more than they can love themselves.”
Nobody taught me
that I am a person
who can be a somebody to myself
-Lessons in Self-Care
Lyn is a deeply invigorated poet who delves into the themes of self-love, identity, overcoming trauma, accepting your wild and learning to listen to your intuition. She is a 31-year-old poet, dancer, and educator originally from Seattle, Washington. She firmly believes that writing is a form of healing for both author and reader. She is specifically inspired to write about women who are marginalized in our society, as a means of empowering future generations with their stories.
Can you describe yourself or your personal identity with a five-word story? Why did you choose those words?
A journey to find her. I grew up in a multiracial family my identity was a topic of ambiguity, confusion, and tension. I’ve been on a journey to define myself and to empower myself with stories of my ancestors.
How does this series, as a whole, or each piece individually, represent the idea, embody, or visualize the essence of identity for you?
Each piece sort of speaks to this idea of ancestors and the fluidity of how we define ourselves. I believe that we get to define ourselves and we can do so by empowering ourselves with knowledge of who and where we come from.
In what ways has being bi-racial or, unboxable racially, in today’s society impacted your identity development? In other words, did you ever question, or have a hard time feeling authentic in your own shoes?
I don’t identify as being bi-racial, I identify as multi-racial because both of my parents are bi-racial and multi-ethnic. As a kid growing up in a community where other children were considered racially “homogeneous” this was very difficult. I was constantly confronted with the question “what are you?” At a very early age this forced me to be reflective about how I identify and define myself. When I was young, there was a lot of tension and hurt around my identity. But as I’ve gotten older and acquired the language and knowledge of how identity develops this tension has decreased. As I dig deeper into my ancestors, I’m more able to place myself in space and time which has made me feel empowered.
Why do you create? Who do you create for?
I create to heal. As a child, I went through something traumatic and I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I discovered poetry and found a voice to explore my inner dialogue without people knowing explicitly what I was going through. It was a safe haven for my emotions. For that reason, I write for myself first. Every time I sit down the work is deeply personal to me. I create for me, but I’ve realized that sharing allows me the space to connect with others who may feel similarly. I’ve found also that sharing empowers others to share their stories and have language to describe things that can be difficult to describe but felt deeply.
How has your locale informed your identity? If you have recently moved to a new place or experienced a huge shift in environments, please describe how that has impacted your personal identity.
In October 2018, I sold all of my things and began traveling full time. I’m constantly feeling unsettled and yet learning so much about how connected we are as human beings. A lot of my poetry right now has been about personifying artifacts that represent larger communities. For example, a drum which represents the diaspora of black identities in the Caribbean. I have become increasingly inspired by the diaspora and have found so many representations of my family and our culture as I’ve traveled these last few months.
Have you been able to find or create a physical community where you live?
Because I don’t currently live anywhere having a physical community is difficult. In addition to being a poet, I’m also a dancer. Salsa dancing is my most prominent medium. Being a part of the Salsa community is so beautiful because I can literally show up in any city, go out dancing, and have an instant connection with people. I’ve been salsa dancing in countless places but have always found a familiarity in the music, moves and culture of the community. It is part of the reason I feel comfortable traveling alone because I can always find a place that feels familiar.
How has the Internet expanded or changed your idea of and involvement in community exchanges?
The internet is constantly changing the way we are able to connect with one another and access knowledge. Without social media in particular my poetry journey would look very different. Through using apps like Instagram and Twitter, I’ve been able to connect with more artists who share my background. It has encouraged me to take my creativity to the next level. I also find that I have more access to safe spaces to submit my work to and feel represented in a way that empowers my art and my voice.