Letters to Stories: Behind “Encore”

By Simon Heywood

Encore was an interesting poem to write. First, the title sprung up because I was on another one of my “listen to Gabbie Hanna 24/7” kicks and I found myself listening to Honestly (Encore) over and over again. Then, my mind honed in on the word “Encore,” and I was tossing around ideas because I thought it would be fun to write a poem called “Encore.” I was thinking, “do I want to finally have a lighter poem on my feed? Take in the literal definition of “encore” and make it about something performance related?” Quickly, my mind said “haha no” and almost instantly a familiar tune started playing in my head.

The beginning notes from the guitar brought me back to my younger days. The song began with “Here we go again.” You might have guessed it; it was Demi Lovato’s Here We Go Again that found its way into my mind! I felt the nostalgia of that song, but that caused me to reflect. The next thing I know, I’m thinking about how all of my life, I’ve been living in a cycle; or maybe multiple cycles. Whatever it was, and whatever it is, my life constantly goes through these patterns that always repeat itself, and it often leads to me suppressing my emotions and suppressing my true colors. From then on, I Here We Go Again on Spotify and put that on a loop as I typed away in my phone notes, creating this poem, Encore. Instead of playing into the implied of what an “encore” is, I decided to use it for what it actually means: to repeat, to do again.

Honestly, to me, this is one of my less creative works that I am not as proud of because almost every stanza begins with “Here we go again,” and that’s because that lyric was just sticking to my mind. I also really dragged out the nature-esque metaphor at the end. While I wrote this poem with such raw emotion, I also couldn’t help but think I was trying a bit harder with this one, trying to make it appealing to my wavering audience.

This poem, more than any other poem so far, sheds on the themes of my life of being an outcast and being forced to be someone I’m not. It brought out more emotions of angst and almost anger, however, towards the end those feelings resolve into what is inevitable; that I will find a way to break free of those cycles of suppressing my emotions and personalities to appeal to everyone else’s comfort.

A little message to whoever may be reading this: I wrote Encore for anyone who feels trapped in that cycle of people-pleasing, trying to be great when good isn’t enough, and always trying to reach impossible standards only to have been drained and unable to reach anymore. Remember that you are all good enough, even if you deviate from the wishes of your family. If your wishes to be who you fully are, to be a person that you love, is different from your family’s wishes, then it’s okay to deviate and defy their expectations and desires. They don’t get to decide who you are; you do. And just because you defy, it doesn’t make you any less good. Goodness does not equal obedience to family standards and vice versa. Be the best version of yourself that you can be, and only you know how to be that. No one else can define that for you.

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