SEBLA ABBADY | CONTRIBUTOR
In 2019, Headroom Sessions at ReCreative Denver was named the best live recorded music series in the city by Westword. Curator Elle Naef has cultivated a space designed to support musicians professionally and communally trough video-based publication. Last year a relationship was formed with Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Service to extend the live and online syndication to television. With the confluence, poetry was added to the mix. Particularly poetry from the metro areas youth. At the top of the nomination cue was Rangeviews own Sebla Abbady. Naef spoke with A Story and expressed that “Sebla has a notable presence that is powerful, calming and provides prospective depth to youth voice”. In this A Story exclusive we are blessed to get a glimpse into intricate self-exploration of a young shapeshifting wordsmith.
Like Kim Namjoon said, “Who am I?”
The question I’ve had my whole life.
The question which I probably won’t find an answer to my whole life.
There is truly no way for me to figure out what I am, but I can always find the little things that create the whole picture.
I am a young black girl living in the US.
I am the daughter of Immigrants.
I am Tigray.
I am a “writer”,
I am a student,
I am a sister,
I best friend, a cousin, and a niece.
And with all these things I have, I have become a very observant person. I found myself more absorbing instead of just giving away all I have.
In technical terms, I can say I have become more aware of people and life in itself. I’m still very young, but my biggest thing is to be taken seriously.
My family always told me, I was very talkative in my very early adolescent years. They would tell me how I never was able to close my mouth and my aunt said one time while she was trying to tell me to be quiet I said, “I can’t, I have to talk”, but it changed after Kindergarten.
I remember being deathly afraid of the other kids, so that was when my quiet journey began. For two years I didn’t really talk or make friends with anyone in my school.
But, in 2nd grade, I and my best friend who was obsessed with dancing and singing decided to start a girl group. We got our other older cousin and younger cousin to join us in our new group named The Justice Girls. I would be the main song writer, while my best friend was the choreography, and they were the main singers. For not talking much for 2 years, all that energy was really concentrated in those songs.
Then in 7th grade, I had an English teacher named Ms. Waterman who gave us a poetry lesson, we were learning the different forms of poetry: dribbles, free form, pantoum, etc. We had a lot of freedom on what to write about and got extra layout to play with for extra credit: reverse, sestina, etc. It was a very creative space. I had claimed to be a writer already so I really thrived in those lessons. With her class I got stronger and solidified my concentration in poetry.
In 8th grade, I went on the DC trip and we went to the Newspaper museum. The whole time I was amazed by the stories and I got to explore a tribute wall with an Ida B. Wells quote that said, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” I remember the metaphor and the message really struck me.
But through those years My writing only consisted of things like social justice with a main focus on police brutality/racism. It wasn’t until the 9th grade where I joined speech and debate, I finally got to use my poetry for what it was.
In around September of 2018 I wrote my first “Seblifiyed” poem. It had all the raw emotion I had yet to release and it was a realizing experience. It has seemed to be my most successful slam piece I have written, although I’m not that fond of it anymore.
I now write more mentally and emotionally. I’m not trying to educate someone. Rather than me trying to teach lessons about police brutality, how black women are treated in America, and how family affects a child, I’m writing about how my inner conflicts are very strong, and about how hard it is for me to get through these situations. I’m not just spitting facts and others lives, I’m speaking the only really truth for me, and that is my story.
Routine is a story about a family member of mine that has always been in and out of the house, ever since I was 4 years old. It’s a story I have been writing about for years now but have Never seem to get it right. I guess when I saw the topics for the recording and I picked to write about “the visitor(s)” this was one of the two things that came to my mind. I do cherish and love him, but sometimes I can’t help but see him as more of a visitor that comes to visit once in a while rather than a permanent figure. It was a story for its time, and constantly seems to elevate itself. If I could go back and edit the piece before I read it out, I would have. Things have happened which I know would enhance it.
Arriving outlet was the other thing that came to mind after learning the topics. This poem is about me finding my other “outlet” in a music group. The name of this group being BTS. The poem displays someone going through very destructive and hurricane like event, being sucked into the ground. I intended for that to express me at my darkest, draining myself out of the sun and into a closed darkness. It talks about how they just randomly appeared and brought a light into the situation, much like real life.
The whole poem is not something people I know would take seriously, a lot of people see BTS as this generic k-pop boy band, when the reality is nothing of the sort. They express and explain things in a way that stick with me and pushes me. Although people may say their message is overdone and basic, I can’t seem to view it that way. They are genuine, and seem to always have the best timing concerning my life. Like recently they released a song called Black Swan that really narrated what I have been feeling for the past months, and really pushed me out of it.
I think when I first started, my poetry was definitely my sisters poetry, or my parents poetry, even my teachers poetry. It was all in pleasing for them, but it never was truly personal. I even had a poem I wrote talking about how all my poems are someone else’s words that I have just digested and wrote down. I failed to realize then that I did go through things and I’m not just a plain person who can only consume stories from others. And when I did, I wrote for myself.
It’s my poetry because it’s for no one else but myself. These are my thoughts, my feelings, my stories, my memories, and my wants. They hold my secrets and regrets, things I truly hate about myself and things I want to appreciate but can’t. They hold each different dimension of my soul and mind. To be honest, I don’t believe most of my poems are mimicable (not including my earliest works) they are personalized for me. It’s like a fitted suit, when it’s been tailored to your body, it’s harder for someone else to borrow it and express the same comfort.
When people ask me about my goals;frankly, I have no clue in sight. I know to most its weird for me to say that, I’m not sure about keeping poetry as a profession. What I see for my poetry is for it to be something I can hold, release when it gets too much, but pick back up again. But I do have a goal I’m working towards. I want my mom to peaceful, and I want my dad to reach full content. They have worked so hard, and faced things, most can’t even imagine, and I want them to finally feel complete with their lives, not being regretful at their loss of a proper education and career path. So, I try to do all I can so I can ensure I my spot for “success”, and I use things like BTSand poetry to fulfill my selfish desires.