After my transition to San Francisco from London, there were naturally many challenges as well as exciting moments awaiting.
I was 3 months pregnant when the move happened with a 14-month old toddler to look after whilst my husband and I house-hunted and attempted to ‘settle’ into temporary accommodation.
During this time, there were lots of highs as well as lows — the highs being beautiful weather, scenic places to explore, sumptuous Californian cuisine to enjoy, new friends to make and lots and lots of quality time with my 14 month old daughter (which I never got in London whilst working full time).
The lows were discovering how expensive everything was in Silicon Valley, no ability to fit in breaks whilst looking after my active, adorable daughter, everything was far and required a car (which after living in ‘very-walkable-London’ is painful) and of course, I missed my family and friends back home.
There were a real mix of emotions playing through my head. I felt that I needed something to give me an element of control, soothe my soul and help me feel calm. I had this surprising yearning to write and not to write just anything but to write poetry. Perhaps it was because I was reading lots of poetry at the time; some classic (William Wordsworth) and some more contemporary (Ben Okri, Rupi Kaur). I had found the poetry to be unbelievably insightful and powerful. I had the urge to express my feelings and my experience through poetry, releasing anxious energy that had pent up.
I took to paper and penned my first poem. The process set my creative juices flowing and the language, emotion and structure flowed. After I felt energised and in a strange way I had more clarity about how I was feeling/had felt.
Feeling refreshed, I could share this happier state of mind with my daughter, giving her the best of me. I wish I had discovered this process earlier. (Now I continue to write poetry and plan to publish some later this year.)
I would really recommend giving it a go if you are going through a transitional period in your life or simply wish to get some clarity over a difficult/challenging situation.
To inspire you, here are two poems — one on motherhood and another one that is a letter to my daughter. Also below is a list of great books on writing poetry. Happy reading!
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the paradox of motherhood by Bijal Shah
as you lie there sleeping
I hold onto these precious moments
a moment to just breathe, reflect, smile
I hold my breath for you might awake
not much time left
to wash, to cook, to tidy
hoping to have some ‘me’ time left.
motherhood has changed me.
all control lost.
my life unpredictable
yet when you smile at me
when you look into my eyes
there is nowhere I would rather be.
I know the days crawl.
the years will fly.
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dear daughter by Bijal Shah
younger than two
you melt my heart
with your sweet smile
when you lie next to me
blowing tiny breaths
I am at peace, my heart smiling
let’s freeze this moment
so special, blessed am I
dreading the day you become your own
hope you will still come lie with me.
miss you already
knowing this window is limited
we cherish each moment
this time may pass in a blink
Hope you enjoyed reading the poems as much as I enjoyed writing them. Here is list of some great books to get you started with writing your own poetry.
25 Great Books on Writing Poetry
Do share your writing and poems in the comment section below!
A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I create reading lists/personalised book prescriptions based on your individual needs, this is my signature personalised reading service. My book recommendations have featured in The Guardian, NBC News and Marie Claire. You can also check out Book Therapy’s free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation. And if you’d like to connect, email me at email@example.com or www.booktherapy.io.
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