My Revolution: A Reflection of the Open Mic

Photo by Luke Mancari

My name is Maria Navolio. I am an eighteen year old Lynchburg native. I find joy in playing music and capturing my thoughts on paper. Although I love to create; sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes, it’s good to do things that scare you.

Thank you for listening.

Okay, you know that feeling after you write an essay in highschool or college only to
realize you got the true meaning all wrong? You hear your classmates talk and have a moment
of “The hell you mean the poem was about death?! I thought it was just about blackberry

Yeah, hi. My name is Maria; allow me to extend this comparison.

While at the The Listening: Revolution Open Mic Session I presented a piece I wrote--what is to follow is not an apology but an epilogue-- and it was not me. Okay, yes I wrote it. However, stripped of the partitions of someone else’s words, I stood there reading something that only served to further blur the image of my true self.

With passive aggressive nods to modern politics and a call for others to create, I had created something that I felt I “should have" -- instead of something I needed. Much like with the featured prompt of my last in-class essay, I was too scared to take a leap into the deeper meaning. Shaking in my seat all I could think about was how much I failed The Revolution. Not to worry, since then I’ve deemed “fail” to be too strong of a word; but there certainly was and is something to reap from my uneasiness. The many many minutes to follow would serve as the gentle blue ink written on my graded essay to help me grow.

In the art of those who followed me: I saw God, I saw color, I saw suffering, and I saw
victory. These people reached inside of themselves and pulled out the most vulnerable of gems;
clad in emotion, sincerity, and rhythm, their art stood there cosmically like an eclipse shielding
our eyes from the blinding sun. Slowly, like a chick hatching from its egg, the golden realization
of my own revolution chipped away at my anxious, self-destructive mentality.

The poetic revolution is not a closet filled with (at least) eight turtleneck sweaters. It is
not a collection of no less than half as many Warby Parker frames. It is not vocal inflections no more meaningful than hotel revolving doors. It is not a slave to the political climate. The Revolution is personal. It is non-partisan. It is loving. It is fearless. Bloody hell is it fearless! I am currently at the point in my life where almost every other thought-provoking event is destined to
be followed with a great big “Ohhh, that’s what that means!” In this, one thing that I often
unknowingly choose to ignore is the true gracious reward of growth.

What if I told you my revolution didn’t start until I left that downtown building--if I told you
I finally jumped in? I had finally thrown out the last bit of garb keeping me angry and scared and
confused. I pulled my head out of the ground and accepted the gifts He has given me. Is it too
late? Would you still listen to me? Because I can promise you there are others like me:
paralyzed by their self-inflicted false ideas of themselves only thoughts away from the beauty of
a personal revolution.

Thank you, like for reals.