• Julian Crosby

Bonding Through Vulnerability

Childhood trauma, teenage angst, and the fear of failing expectations of adulthood, are all things one might experience in a lifetime. With that comes a necessary need for a safe space to be vulnerable in. 

Whether it is singing, poetry, or none of the above, the Speak What You Feel organization at UM can provide any student of any background the safe space to freely express themselves.

Speak What You Feel is a club on campus that focuses on all things poetry. In a world that stigmatizes and neglects mental health, it remains  important to create opportunities for students who want to escape the harsh realities of being a college student. With open mics on campus, Tea & Poets, writing workshops, Sip and Spits, and various competitions, Speak What You Feel gives students the freedom to share their work with other people.

Jada Antoine, the president of SWYF and a senior at UM, explains how she never thought she would grow so much as a writer when she first joined. Coming into the organization as a singer and songwriter, she didn’t expect to become so invested in poetry. Antoine said that she “came to Miami as more of a singer than a poet but now [I] am more of a poet than a singer.” 

Toni-Ann Farquharson, the vice president of SWYF and a junior at UM, credits the organization with helping her physical and emotional growth as an individual. With all of the support she has received from her peers and the other members in the group, Farquharson was able to break out of her shell and, ultimately, become less introverted. Now most people on campus recognize Farquharson by voice, not face.

Multiple members of the organization have expressed their immense gratitude for this organization because of the positive and supportive environment it has created for them. This organization has served as a “rock” for most members. Speak What You Feel gave a lot of these members enough space to grow as writers, but most importantly, people. Everyone in this club stays eager to help one another in more ways than one.

Hearing “you got this!” and other words of affirmation from members of Speak What You Feel is what prompted Antoine and Farquharson to stick with sharing and performing their poetry. Through this, they have performed at multiple CUPSI (College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational) competitions which occur every year in a different city where they have made semi-finals in 2018 and 2019.

If you want to speak what you feel and for more information on this admirable organization, hit them up on Instagram @umswyf. No experience necessary, just DM them and they will add you to their GroupMe!

Prioritize your psyche folks,


REPORTER: Naima Shotonwa

THE CITY, Gravity Magazine, 2020

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