This poem was inspired by the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender, which I loved when I was younger, but as an adult began to bond with in a completely different way. This past June, as I was preparing something to read for an open mic event at my graduate program, the theme song began to play in my head: "Water, Earth, Fire, Air".
I had been planning to read a different poem for this event, but began to wonder how these elements would sound in the form of a spoken word piece. More importantly, I wondered how I could make them relevant to the themes that I already loved to write. As someone who also writes creative nonfiction, trauma, mental illness, and especially neurodivergence are important topics for me as I believe that everyone deserves to feel safe discussing them openly.
I began to think of every emotion that I personally experience and compare them to the elements: water as grief, earth as stubbornness, fire as rage, and air as fear. When I had this list running through my head, I realized how much of these emotions come from trauma. I then remembered the four trauma responses: fight, flight, freeze, and fawn. For the next few days, the poem began to form in my head, and play on repeat until I had no choice but to get it out on paper. This ended up being the poem that I would read for the performance, and the reactions to my reading would make me realize that this was the correct decision.
Biography: Cassidy is an autistic and ADHD writer whose genres include creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry; but her most notable work is in the performance art of spoken word. A native of Swoyersville, Pennsylvania, Cassidy will soon earn her Master of Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Wilkes University; where she had also earned her Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Science and a minor in Spanish. She can be found working on her debut essay collection, taking care of her abundance of houseplants, or training in mixed martial arts at her neighborhood dojo.