Dear 16-Year-Old Sophia,
You will have made it. You will have made it with flying colors and will be proud to represent the rainbow flag. You will have made it with your dream of being a unique, talented, and published poet come true with your book three masterpieces! You will have made it into a highly regarded Master of Fine Arts Program, and selected for their Teaching Fellowship.
But more importantly, you will have made it as a human being—alive—while living with bipolar disorder 1 for over a decade, and later post-traumatic stress disorder. You were given that diagnosis of manic depression that terrified your future would be ruined. Yet you will have made it, and not tragically fallen into another statistic. You will never have a suicide attempt, but will have seriously considered it several points throughout your life.
To have learned along the way that life can be much more than just suffering, but at the same time this can feel endless. However, for the light to exist there must be shadows. The unseen work you will have put in with many medication trial and errors, with different types of therapy, with a hospital stay, with two residential treatment stays, with two supportive housing stays—you’re now living your dream.
My prayer is poetry and poetry is my prayer.
I want the world to know that we can do it with the right support, care, treatment, and not to overlook the sheer amount of will power and determination. I want the world to know how much effort goes into this. I want the world to know we are not less than. That we can be capable of living out our dreams.
I want to say thank you for believing even when belief didn’t feel there. I want to say thank you for trusting the process and never quitting; never giving up. I want to say thank you for becoming a strong voice to the underrepresented. Ultimately, I want to thank you for being here.
Now 28 Year-Old Sophia
Falco’s third poetry book: Chronicles of Cosmic Chaos: In The Fourth Dimension is forthcoming later this year, and she is the author of Farewell Clay Dove, and of her award-winning chapbook: The Immortal Sunflower all published by UnCollected Press. She is the winner of the Mirabai Prize for Poetry, and she graduated magna cum laude along with the highest honors in the Literature Department from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her Bachelor of Arts degree is in intensive literature with a creative writing concentration in poetry. In addition, she has over 40 individual poems published in various literary journals, and magazines. Now Sophia is in a highly regarded Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program for Poetry along with carrying out a Teaching Fellowship. She is on her way to make her dream job become a reality to be a Professor of Poetry.
Learn more about Sophia—who is a faithful poet since she finds poetry essential to her understanding of the universe—and find more of her writing on: https://www.sophiafalco.com/ and https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/sophia_falco