100 Year Old Words
Robert Frost has a poem. Well actually, he has many, but one of my personal favorites is: “The Road Not Taken.” I had first heard it when I was in fourth grade with Mr. Belcher. Mr. Belcher was and has remained, one of my most favorite teachers. I think because that year I faced a lot of seemingly daunting tasks, (writing everything in cursive, memorizing one poem a month, long division, etc.) yet he made them seemingly possible, which, I believe, is an important lesson to learn at a young age. Daunting tasks are indeed possible if you work at them. But back to the poem, it was one of the many that we memorized that year and it’s one that has stuck with me the most. It’s interesting what sticks with us even ten years later.
If you are not familiar with “The Road Not Taken,” it talks about two roads that the author stumbles upon in wood. One looks more grassy on the sides and worn in the middle where other wanderers would walk, and the other seems a little less traveled, overgrown, and goes deeper into the woods. The last stanza in “The Road Not Taken” reads this:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I remember after nervously reciting that and listening to my peers recite it; the idea just stuck with me. The idea of the road less traveled and how it has made all the difference. It just seemed to hold so much power, so much potential. The road less traveled, that’s the one I want to take. What powers words have in shaping our lives.
When Matt asked me to write a piece for his blog, I was first beyond humbled. You, my dear reader, may or may not know me. I too am a dancer. One that moved from my hometown to Austin, TX in 2015 to pursue a career as a ballet dancer, as an artist. That’s when I started my blog. It was just a simple way to for me to share with my friends and family what was happening in my crazy life, to share what I experienced, learned, and was challenged by. I never expected to fall so much in love with words: both how we use them and what they can do. I never expected to have people reaching out to me because of what I was writing and sharing of myself. I never expected someone to trust my writing enough to have me write something for their public website. So in turn, my first reaction was incredibly humbled. My second reaction was a little bit concerned. What would I write about? Would it be engaging enough? Would I fit the right “mold” (whatever that means)? All these questions, (or more doubts,) raced to my mind. I asked what exactly I should be writing about and I was given two topics that would literally describe me as a person: “something I love about life”...friends, I freaking love life, or “something I learned from childhood”...well, I’m kinda still a kid at heart and still learning. So that left me right where I was, what would I write about?
On top of thinking of both of those ideas, I’ve also been thinking about the power of words lately. How words can build us up in a few short seconds but how they can tear us down even faster, how some words stick and how some words fade, how some words hold more vulnerability than others. Words just matter. When I started writing more, I realized that I love words and how we use them and these past couple weeks I’ve been pondering on and wrestling with words, both good and bad, that have shaped me.
So what does this fascination with words have to do with the poem that I still dwell on from fourth grade? Well, those last two lines, “I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference,” has been, in part, what has shaped my life, a life that I truly love. The words that Robert Frost wrote in 1916, that I recited in 2007, have stuck with me until 2017. A hundred years later, I’m still wrestling with those words... tell me that isn’t a bit mind-blowing?! I guess what I’m trying to say is, I learned early on that words make a difference. I learned early on that loving my life, will require me to take a different path than most. I learned early on that the best things in life are worked for, carved out, hiked through. I’m still learning a lot of things, but I do know this: the road less traveled is the one that I took. While I’m figuring out where it will lead, I want to be the kind of explorer that will mark her trail with words of light, kindness, and joy that come from Jesus alone.
If I could look back to my short, brace-faced, fourth-grade self, I’d tell her that she would take that road less traveled… the one she was so inspired by, the one she imagined.
I think words are vital and I have seen how powerful they can be in my life. I was never a massive writer until I moved away from home after high school and started this website. Little did I know that three years later, I would be writing about some of the darkest parts of my life. In writing about my life to you, I have found a self-love for myself. Kayla has a beautiful view on life and on writing that I appreciate. It is not easy to be vulnerable through writing- so Kayla, thank you!
I believe everyone has a voice and a story to tell. If you want to share your story, contact me so we can talk about sharing your life.