Letters to Stories: Behind “Escape”

By Simon Heywood

Am I still original if most of my poems are inspired by songs I’ve heard? I certainly hope so. Worry not readers, this time, this poem, “Escape” was not inspired by a Gabbie Hanna single. Actually, it was inspired by the music producer who produced her first ever single — Out Loud — Bruce Weigner. Weigner is not just a music producer, but a song-writer and a singer as well. One of his debut solo singles, “I Don’t Know (IDK)” actually inspired this poem.

In a behind the scenes video Weigner made to show the process and creation of the song (one of the videos which inspired me to start the “Letters to Stories” series in concept), he stated that this song has a reoccurring theme of the overwhelming desire and necessity to to be distracted and escape from our situations, thoughts, and emotions. Sometimes, that overwhelming desire to escape becomes an addiction to escaping itself, because once we’ve temporarily fled from the storms and complexities of our situations, we want to keep finding other ways to keep escaping and keep distracting us, and that overall central theme stuck with me and prompted me to create this poem.

As I began this poem in my phone notes, I kept reflecting on basically my entire life. People outside my family, even when I was younger, told me that I was mature for my age. As I began my “soul-searching journey” in the later half of middle school , I was always on some sort of technology, taking personality quizzes and reading up on all these articles, trying to figure out why I wasn’t like any of the other guys in my school; come to think of it, why I wasn’t like any of my peers. Why were they always able to smile, and why were some able to get a rise out of putting others down? Why were they always so carefree? As I kept reading, I found this saying that I might have an “old soul” inside of me, and that’s how the first line came about.

Most of my grade school experiences, especially after I moved to a new town, was marked by different types of sadness and pain, all because for most of the time I was in grade school, I was either bullied, mocked, or gossiped about by all those who found me undesirable and annoying (so basically, almost everyone but the select few who actually wanted to be my friends). All of the emotions that were bottled up for all those years I was able to begin expressing through this poem.

Feeling pain after pain, there was always a race between my sanity and my emotions. Could my sanity maintain, or would my emotions catch up and break through and my being would ultimately just shut down? This poem goes back and forth with that battle, that race. To this day, that race and battle still exist. As my daily life gets busier with the work that comes with being a college student (and barely being able to afford that education) I had to learn how to cope, but I’m still learning how to heal.

I’m still learning how to heal, but that’s okay. While there’s a race in my mind, my heart, my soul, life itself isn’t a race. And whether we’ve started healing or whether we’re learning to heal, or even if we already have, what we have gone through and what we are going through, we can overcome it. Our pains and burdens are our own, but the people who truly love and care about us can make it easier for us, because once we make room for their love then we have no choice but to push out that pain so we can let that love fill the void and heal the wounds. To healing, and learning how to heal.

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