It was August 2016.
I had moved to Colorado Springs two months prior.
I was a recent college graduate, just starting a new job, and desperately craved creative community and expression.
Some of the first people I met were poets. They invited me to different events around town, and I was blown away by not only the talent they possessed, but the incredible power of words.
From small house meetings to big poetry slams, I couldn’t shake the impact I saw words have on people. When these words resonated, they would compel people to grunt, snap, clap, stomp their feet, yell out, or muster up the courage to go and share their own poems.
One day, I got home from work and I felt this insatiable desire to step out and start something. To not just have the purpose in my life be confined to the hours between 9 AM and 5 PM. I wasn’t supposed to just write a poem or hop on Photoshop and make something; whatever I started was supposed to be bigger than myself.
I thought about the writers I’d met, how much talent they had, and how cool it would be to give them a platform from which they could share their words and impact the people around them in a really intimate way.
I liked the idea of having local poets handwrite their words, but where could they share these poems? They couldn’t just throw them on the ground. The Colorado Springs Police Department probably wouldn’t like that too much.
Then, it hit me:
We’re surrounded by cars. They’re oftentimes destinations for negative messages. Parking tickets. A note from someone telling you they hit your car. Poorly designed flyers for an event you don’t want to go to.
With Car Window Poetry, I could change the narrative. So I took the leap.
Fast forward to December 2016 — Car Window Poetry had been featured on NBC Nightly News, HLN, and multiple news outlets around the country. Yet I still wasn’t satisfied. I thought I should’ve seen more people participating than I was. As I was expressing this frustration to a friend, she responded, “How often do you go out and share poems?”
I was floored. In trying to build this project, I forgot I was a participant too. So that day, I went out and shared a few poems. It felt awesome, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Then, later that evening, I checked my email and I had gotten this:
This email meant the world to me because it affirmed something I only had theories about.
When starting Car Window Poetry, I knew there was the potential to put a smile on someone’s face or make their day a little brighter. But the biggest reason behind me believing in CWP is the idea that, if we could put enough kind words out into the universe, eventually someone would receive a poem they absolutely needed. Words that would give them hope. Words that would keep them alive.
Recently, my friend Gracie Packard announced that she’d be hosting a World Suicide Prevention Day event and I immediately hit her up and said I wanted to be a part of it simply to share these words, “Your story isn’t over yet.”
I believe there’s so much power in seeing your life as a story because one of the key elements in any story is conflict. But when you think about the greatest stories of all time, they don’t end at a place of conflict.
I know I have those moments when I’m watching a movie and I get super worried for the characters because I don’t see how they’ll ever make it through what they’re going through, but they do. They always do.
Your story isn’t over yet.
There’s more life, more adventure, more joy on the other side of whatever conflict you’re facing.