Poetry is more than finding the right words, it can also lift one's spirits.
"My love of poetry actually started when I felt kind of lost about four years ago," said Jessica Thodas, who is going into Grade 12 at Holy Trinity Academy. "We were doing poetry in school and I hated it just like everyone else.
"I found that it is such as abstract way to express all of your emotions... and others get to interpret it as the feel about it.
"Poetry is the biggest thing I use to kind of cope through."
Thodas recently had her poem Exploding Into Nothing published in the book Perspective after finishing second in the 2018-19 National Student Poetry Contest held by Polar Expressions Publishing.
"I was recommended to the contest by a friend," Thodas said. "I had been writing poetry for awhile and I thought it would be cool to put my poems out there and see what happens. This contest was the one she recommended."
The poem was written in the fall of 2018, just days before she entered the competition. The awards were announced just prior to the end of the 2018-19 school year.
Exploding Into Nothing was written as Thodas, who was then just entering Grade 11, was reflecting on some harder times in her life.
She admits it is a little dark.
"It was about past relationships I've had that really affected me negatively and I found that it was just eating away at me," she said. "It (the poem) was just to bring light to relationships that people find themselves getting into, that can just tear away at who you are as a person."Just bring into light that others go through this as well.
"That is what I do with my poetry — I express really dark things that I go through so others can relate to it and not feel alone."
She was inspired by her Drama teacher Wendy Doerksen, who although didn't help with the poem, urged Thodas to pursue her artistic dreams.
"She always encouraged all of us to express ourselves in any way we felt reflected us," Thodas said. "Her teaching method and how inspired she was with the arts really inspired me."
Doerksen has a flair for the dramatics.
She announced Thodas received the award in Martin Kennedy's band class.
"Her and Mr. Kennedy have a good relationship and she said: 'I need to talk to Jess,'" Thodas said with a laugh. "I was quite surprised, shocked. I started crying and everyone was quite excited for me."
Thodas plans to study creative writing at UBC and hopes to minor in psychology.
"If I am not making the money I need from writing, I can be a therapist, which can help fuel my writing as well," she said.
Thodas received $60 for her published work.
Exploding into Nothing
By Jessica Thodas
Holy Trinity Academy
They say if you are near a bomb when it goes off, you turn into pink dust.
In seconds, you are gone,
Raining on the earth with your own personal fairy dust.
From a heart that loves
And a brain that knows
And hands that care
No try-agains, no restarts, no second lives,
Nothing but dark with no end,
An endless restless sleep. Hard to fathom, really.
I get it, though.
I get how an explosion can turn something into nothing.
A fit of rage.
With every word, you spit venom,
Getting louder and louder, the words blending with the warning beeps.
It’s all over.
The heart that beats for you, now silenced.
That mind that knows you goes blank.
And the hands that care for you go stiff.
I understand in seconds everything can be destroyed,
How life can turn into nothing—
Because he gave me first-hand experience.