Open Mic Night
Last week my friend, Li Xi (Lee-She), invited me to this poetry open mic night at Kafe Kerouac on campus. She was going to be reading. This usually would not be my type of thing, but I wanted to support Li Xi. I also thought it would just be a cool experience – something I’ve never done.
Of course I took my camera. Kafe Kerouac is a campus dive. It is very low-key, but really popular. It’s a coffee house and a bar. It is filled with books, records and you can find artwork on the walls as well.
Li Xi just got herself a nice camera. So, it was fun (and funny) having her there with me taking photos. She always tries to take my picture! I REALLY dislike my picture taken. If you know me, you know I love my selfies, but I definitely do not like when other people take my picture. I prefer to stay behind the camera. Anyways, we were taking photos outside giggling like little girls. We talked to everyone that was hanging out in the patio area. They were all pretty nice. It’s always nice to start up a conversation with people – yes, even strangers – instead of having that awkward silence, having them stare at you or you stare at them. There was a diverse group of people there.
This is me not wanting her to take my photo and her not wanting me to take hers lol.
Before the show started, I wanted to get a chai. I love trying chai at different places because I am trying to find one that I really love. I studied abroad in India for a month in 2014, and the chai there was real – and good. So, finding chai here that lives up to that has been hard.
There is a separate room off of the café/bar room where they do the poetry. It definitely was not what I was expecting. I thought the poetry would be read in the café area, but instead the café area was filled with student groups or couples on dates. The poetry room was outlined with bookcases filled with books. There was a stage and then rows of chairs.
I was expecting the mood to be somber, but it was quite the opposite. The host, Scott, made provocative jokes and there were many readers that did comedic presentations. I felt out of place – out of my element – but it was something good to see. It was good to see people expressing themselves and good to be surrounded by people that were not like me. When you surround yourself with people that are like you – that think like you, act like you, like the same things as you, do the same things as you, et cetera – you do not learn anything new. It is important to be around people that are different from you. It is important to be around people that you can learn something from. The truth is, they will probably learn something from you too.
You can’t help but wonder what the people up there reading their writings are going through. Many people write, that create, that sing – that express themselves in that artistic way – are in some sort of pain. There is often an underlying sadness. One comedic even talked about how he tried to kill himself by stepping in front of a bus. Crazy right?
It is important to find an outlet to express yourself. Any way that you can get your feelings that weigh heavy on you out – is good for your soul. Something as simple as a hot shower can help - anything that makes you feel lighter.
Li Xi’s poetry is deep and complex. She has experienced a lot of heartbreak and loneliness - amongst other things - which I can relate to. Through all of that she is so brave, so confident and so strong. It is inspiring. I have only known her for about 6 months, but she has grown so much in that time and continues to. I am happy to have met her and proud to know and call her my friend.
Growth is beautiful.
Growth takes time. It takes experience. It takes sadness, tragedy and struggle.
Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Never be afraid or ashamed to want to become better.
Never compare your journey to someone else’s because growth is beautiful and we all grow at a different pace. The important thing is that we are doing it.
The important thing is that we are not standing still.
Growth is beautiful.