Traci: In middle school, I was teased for being a petite black southern girl. I was not popular as a teenager. I have a love of writing and a gift of poetry, which became my voice and my outlet. When I share, I feel fearless and in control of my emotions. This love for poetry never went away even though challenges made me question my gift. I wrote through teasing in middle school, a violent domestic relationship at 16, and rape at 20. I did not realize it back then, but writing poetry was preparing me for my future.
By age 27, I experienced a great loss. I met a guy I thought I would marry. We talked about plans for the future. The last time I saw him was on my 27th birthday. He died from a brain injury. For the first time, I questioned my faith in God. I was torn inside. I was on an emotional rollercoaster.
For several months, I fought with God, but I finally ran towards him. I gave God all of me. I got closer to God. We grew closer than we ever had before. God reminded me of the poetry I wrote before my boyfriend passed away. The poems were about having a relationship with God. I read those poems during my grieving process. I learned how to be secure in God and in my life. After a year of being single, I met my husband at an open mic at a church. I shared my poetry in front of unfamiliar people. He was there to support a friend and we talked during intermission. We connected on social media. After our first date, we had an instant connection.
Within six months of dating, my husband proposed to me. It was on my 29th birthday. It felt like a fairytale. He proposed to me at a restaurant, and I was dressed in a beautiful gown with a crown on my head! My family and friends were all there. For a happy time like this, I continue writing poetry. By January 2020, I started the Traci Neal Speaker Poet brand. I took a leap of faith and focused on my poetry.
Within six months, I was on 22 radio shows, including iHeart and Voice America Empowerment. God allowed my letter to the editor to be in The New York Times on April 17, 2021. My husband does my videos and photography. We are a perfect match for each other and for the business.
God is faithful. I did not like my life over the years, but I am so glad my love of writing never went away. I am grateful for all God has done in a short amount of time. Trust the process. God knows best!