Poetry or journalism, what a joy it is to write.Yesterday, in my never-ending quest to say “yes” to more things, I found myself at a poetry reading. Not just any poetry reading, but a reading by THE Poet Laureate of the United States, Ada Limón. This was a big deal!

SIUE sponsored the reading and discussion with Limón, and there were at least 200 people in the room as Limón read from her six books. The poetry was just so beautiful.

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Now, a little background. This was not my first poetry reading. I studied both creative writing and journalism in college, and I’ve been to my share of poetry readings. I’ve also written plenty of heartsick poems, hidden in a secret file on my Google Drive. But this was a serious poet, someone who does this for a living. I was fascinated by her and deeply impressed by her work.

I write for a living, and it’s the greatest joy. But it’s a good thing I’m a journalist and not a poet, because if that was my job, you’d never see me again. I’d be holed up in my little hovel, rhyming, for eternity.

I was impressed by Limón’s poetry, but also by her. She was so cool! So confident up there at the podium, reading deeply personal words to a crowd of hundreds. I admired her vulnerability. It made me reflective.

I’ve been saying yes to all these things, from yoga and rollerskating to bad tattoos and spontaneous road trips. But how many of these adventures have required vulnerability? I put myself out there, but do I allow myself to feel?

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These are the big questions I’ve been asking lately as I get more comfortable. I’m growing into the life I’ve created for myself, and it’s a perfect fit. But I don’t want to get complacent. I want to make a point to stay curious, to try new things and take risks.

So I say yes to things like poetry readings, and I write columns like this one, just a little more honest than I typically like to be, a little bit insecure. This is the truth of my life right now. I am a little bit insecure. Sue me. I’m 24 and still learning how to live. Maybe you never actually know how, and that’s what we spend the rest of our lives doing: learning how to live. If you have the answer, dear reader, please write in.

But something tells me no one really has the answer. Something tells me this will resonate with someone else out there who feels equally restless, who aches with the need to be honest but is also embarrassed by honesty. I respect vulnerability when I see it, like in Limón’s poetry. I cringe away from it in my own life.

It’s awkward to be vulnerable! It’s awkward to admit that you don’t have the answers, that you’re a little bit uncertain. But I don’t, and I am.

Going forward, I’m going to embrace the vulnerability I saw last night at Limón’s reading. I’m going to admit when I’m uncertain and I’m going to lean into uncomfortable feelings. This is my mid-year resolution. I’m going to let myself be honest.

Care to join me? Say yes.

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