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How A Spoken Word Poem and It's Poet Inspired Me To Change My Life

Updated on January 26, 2014

To This Day

Shane Koyczan may not be as well known as a lot of celebrities, but this man spins words into beautiful works of art. He started me off with "To This Day" the story of his childhood as an adopted child, including things about his hopes and dreams, and bullying.

When I first watched this presentation on a TEDtalk, the first impression was:

Here is this larger man with a huge beard, this is going to be poetry? Is this labelled wrong? This has to be some talk about something else.

He mixed together this beautiful series of experiences, good and bad into a study in humor and pain in one poem. I realized as I watched this video that I had made a snap judgement, the words coming from this man's mouth and the accompanying music melded together. His voice was made for this! His message was even more beautiful... life is hard, but it is not impossible, life is beautiful despite the struggles... and don't forget to love someone important: yourself.

This Performance Is A Thing Of Beauty

A Man With a Heart to Match His Beard


Words From a 19 Year Old To Live By

Before you think that I am any kind of professional at anything to do with spoken word poetry, I am not. I had not paid attention to any other spoken word poem in my life. This one caught and held my ADD brain a happy hostage for the duration of the entire twelve minutes and four seconds (if you suffer from ADD you know exactly how difficult that can be).

I became an instant fan, and I share To This Day on my social media pages on a regular basis, just to be sure that the people who know me are aware that they need to love themselves and that life is not as hard as it seems at that moment.

The truth of the situation is that I have been bullied my whole life, and often hated myself.

The line "I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean towards the opposite" changed a big part of my self perspective. This man, a man I had and have never met, said all of thirteen words and changed how I saw myself. He got my mind into the motion of coming out of a depression filled with hurt and pain and helped me to see my way towards the happier side of myself, a woman who realized that I am worthy of love, and that to get there I had to love myself first.

About a week later, I bought my last pack of cigarettes and bought a vapor kit, I have had maybe six cigarettes since then, and only when I had an issue with a battery or being out of fluid. I began to stand up for myself with more confidence and I began to see myself as worthy of my own love, and I started idly writing again, and suddenly, I realized that I really can love me. My life is still on the upswing, and I cannot credit the beginning of the upturn of my life with just myself. This one, simple poem, a little over twelve minutes of my life, is where it started, that one line.

"I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean towards the opposite." These truly are words to live by. I wish everyone could watch this video at the hardest point in their life (so far). I say this, because it just takes the right words to realize that there is nowhere to go but up if you're at rock bottom.



After hearing a standalone recording of the poem I realized that the line "I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean towards the opposite." was actually a separate poem. When I find out which one I will also share a place to find that one.

Have you heard of Shane Koyczan before?

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      Jane Arden 3 years ago

      I have to echo Jodah and phdast7

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      Jane Arden 3 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I had never heard of this man before but he truly is an inspirational talented individual. I watched the video and was so motivated. He tells it 'as it is.' It can be a cruel world. "I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean towards the opposite" will impact so many people as a lot of us tend to veer towards the opposite. I will be re-sharing this and hopefully we can spread the word together.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow this is an inspirational hub. I watched that amazing video. Shayne Koyczan is the most amazing poet and inspirational speaker. Thank you for introducing me to him. I'm glad that one line helped to turn your life around. Voted up.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Talk about serendipity. I just read about (and heard him speak) Shane today on FaceBook. I was so impressed and touched. I cried and then I made sure all my friends and family know about him. So glad you discovered him and that it has improved your life. Yours is an important hub. :) Blessings. Sharing.