Back in the day, I had this student who totally inspired me with her creativity. She was so confident and optimistic and always kept it real. When we started talking about positive energy and how her mom does everything “hippie style,” I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Which was awesome, since kindred spirits are really hard to find. She’s also an amazing poet and winner of many slams. I was like, “You rock. I’m going to put your writing in one of my books.”
So that’s what I did. Take Me There features an excerpt from Tatyana Fatima Cabrera’s intense poem, “Rebel.” I’m stoked that this increases her exposure and that more people can discover her brilliance. In this interview with Tatyana, she shares her sources of inspiration, the one thing that’s essential for a perfect day, and what’s lacking about high school.
1. What inspires you?
Inspiration is born within and outside of me. Inspiration is trapped deep within the experiences, pain, and wisdom that my soul has captured throughout the many chapters of my life. Struggle inspires me to write my life through the eyes of poetry, reaching others and innovating them with the creativity i was blessed with. My surroundings inspire me to write about truth, sociological and political consciousness, and about still remaining optimistic to the simplicity in life covered in a world of negative complexities. “How can i lay in the future,if i’m still resting in the past?”, is a question that i ask myself daily, and it’s a question that inspires me to keep my mind,ego, and soul in a state of balance. Without balance nothing can inspire me. My words supply me with the balance i need to live the future that i’ve always dreamed of.
At times my inspiration is invisible, and to be honest i prefer not being able to taste, hear, see, or touch it, just the deep feeling of inspiration pumping through the chambers of my heart that keeps my blood boiling with motivation satisfies me. I guess if inspiration was tangible it wouldn’t be the same, it would be overused, tarnished, and discarded as rubbish in a materialistic world. Inspiration is all around me, it can build and destroy me.
2. Please share a bit about your writing process. Do you write better while listening to music? Do you have a favorite place for writing?
I’m very random with my writing. It has no specific place or time, it’s spontaneous. It happens when it happens. Words sporatically pop into my head and i just write on. This is why i always keep a pad and pen by my side, because you never know when my creative juices start flowing. Even i don’t know! However, i do write better when i’m listening to music. Most especially old school hip hop like: Lauryn Hill, The Fugess, Tupac, Big Pun, Erika Badu, and Common.
3. Which experiences have influenced your life the most?
Many experiences have influenced my life. Everyday is a lesson learned, struggle survived, and tragedy turned into triumph.
4. How is your first poem different from your most recent one?
I was still getting to know myself as a creative writer when i wrote my first spoken word poem titled “Breathe”. As years went by i grew a literary backbone by doing tons of research about many successful spoken word poets, viewing tapes in order to analyze their performance style, and attending their performances. It was only then when i gathered all i’ve learned, and was finally ready to show the world what i was about that i actually went up on a stage to bless the mic. To this day i have alot of research to do, and alot to learn. It’s a daily process that i always look forward to. My most recent poem defines intellectual growth not only as a poet, but as a woman.
5. Describe your perfect day.
ok. I’m not going to be complex with this one. Honestly my perfect day would be the day that i actually get good sleep. Seriously! I’m an ultra insomniac! More like a walking zombie. So yea, a perfect day would be just staying home and sleeping under the warm and cozy covers.
6. What was the worst thing about high school? The best?
The worst thing about high school is status. You are either popular or not. I always thought that sucked! It wasn’t important to me either way because i never cared or paid attention to what anyone thought of me. I was always the fearless, outspoken one who would enlighten others with ‘outside of the box’ ways of thinking. I would always stand up for myself full force. The best thing about high school was when my voice was finally heard when i performed my poetry in a crowd of about 250 people. That crowd was full of people who would make fun of me for being different, and little did they know that at the end of the day they would end up going up to me and saying. “Taty you are deep, i really underestimated you.” Going up on that stage meant the end of status, and the acceptance of difference.
7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Alive! Published! Performing! Making a Difference!
8. If you were a shape, which one would you be? Why?
I would be an upside down purple triangle because i will forever fight the rights, representation, and pride of the LGBT community throughout the world.
9. If you could write a letter to yourself at age 15, what would you want yourself to know?
I would want myself to know that it’s okay to make mistakes.
10. I love your T-shirt designs! Which one reflects your identity the most?
Thank you. I love designing shirts! Each and every design is a piece of my identity and who i am as an artist. I proudly design every piece with the emotions i am feeling at that current moment.