Speaking to poet Arielle Estoria is like basking in a seamless e-book of poetry. On the finish of our interview, I keep in mind considering I couldn’t wait to play it again as a listener. Her words are profound but accessible. Every thing she’s revealed, from her collections of poetry to her inspiring Instagram feed—is approachable even very first thing within the morning.
It’s no surprise we had our photograph session at dawn. I couldn’t assist however discover how the hues of the sky and sea mirrored the fantastic thing about Estoria and her easy phrases. I remarked at her ease with dialog and she or he defined, “My mind responds in poetic kind. It’s how I course of every part I expertise. I hope that my response encounters individuals. I’m not simply talking so that you can hear. I’m purposely making an attempt to create phrases that permit you to expertise what I’m saying in order that it ties again to some a part of who you’re. I wish to provide one thing individuals can take with them to sit down and soak in – one thing that goes past simply me.” She jogs my memory of her motto:
“Phrases not for the ears however for the soul.”
Estoria has shared her poetic thoughts throughout a number of platforms from spoken word to themed keynote talks, annual conferences, and a myriad of workshops. You’ll discover her splashed throughout social affect campaigns the place her phrase stretches additional. However, what impacted me most of all after assembly her past the display was her capability to translate phrases into vitality. The areas of silence between her sentiments had been crammed with hope, pleasure, and surprise. And that’s one thing uncommon.
To soak in Estoria’s brilliance, learn on under, and to hearken to my interview together with her, go to the Woke Beauty Podcast.
After I thank Estoria for sitting down to chat with me, I admit that I never feel like the words “thank you” are enough. We need a better phrase in the English language to express gratitude. Knowing Estoria’s way with words, I joke that she probably has one. Contrarily, she tells me that sometimes there are no words.
She says, “I recently listened to this podcast and they were talking about the art of bowing and the humility and just gentleness of that. And so, I think it’s more so, just bowing to that moment or to that person as a way of paying respect and gratitude. If anything,
gratitude is more of an action than it is a word.”
On the meaning of home…
Estoria was born in the Bay Area. She has a poem that claims, “Overcast and a crimson bridge to remind you of welcome dwelling indicators.” When she thinks of dwelling, she envisions her household, foggy skies, uncooked magnificence, and a melting pot of generational range. Though she’s been in L.A. for 10 years she nonetheless can’t convey herself to alter her space code. She’s a “Bay lady” for all times.
When pondering what it means to outline the place you develop up, she continues,
“For lots of us, the place you had been first rooted stays part of you, regardless of how a lot you uproot as you alter. That place will at all times be the place that ‘grew you’.”
The oldest of her siblings, Estoria has a extremely particular relationship together with her mother and father and her lineage. The extra she evolves, the extra she realizes how a lot she resembles each of them, not simply in her look however in her method. I can hear the significance of her names in her voice as she explains how they had been handed down by grandmothers. She tells me, “Every of our names represents completely different seasons in our mother and father’ life. Arielle imply’s ‘lioness’. It was their season of getting into braveness and going full throttle into ministry. They’ve at all times nurtured the significance of the identify meanings and what it means to hold out the identification of who you’re. It’s not only a title, however an embodied expertise. They taught us a lot about who we had been.”
On how she’s defined her larger purpose…
At first, Estoria just wanted to make beauty so that people could feel things—it was all she knew. As she’s evolved, she’s really sat with the question, “What are my life’s intentions?” In our conversation, she told me she’d written something down (just the day before) that she wanted to read:
“My life’s intention is to write words, create art and cultivate spaces that change, heal and transform lives. And when I say ‘heal’, I mean the process of returning to oneself. When I say transform, I mean shedding what does not serve to become. And when I say change, I mean revealing what needs to be uprooted in order to then heal and transform.”
She says that words have always been a part of how she’s showed up in this world.
“Purpose is: you see a void and everything in you has a desire to fill it with something. What is it? Usually it’s not what we went to school for or what we were told we would become. But rather, this innate existence and ability to fill something that we have been made and designed to fulfill.”
On the ebb and flow of unconventional work…
Our lines of work require multiple ‘hats’. We are always having to shift from one role to the next. There’s a stigma around freelance work and the assumption is that we’re constantly hustling to make a living. In some ways it’s true. There is no ‘punch in, punch out’. We are continually punched in. But for those of us who have fallen into a rhythm, the flow looks different.
It’s always comforting to hear from other creatives and I love what Estoria had to say as she described her journey, “At first, I was hustling. I had to grow. With no prior experience, I did a lot of seemingly odd things: running a social media page for a clothing subscription company, going off-site to style models, and make flat lays. And I had no idea that it was building me and preparing me to represent myself.”
Estoria tells me that she’s never really assessed the word ‘freelance’, but now she decides she doesn’t really like it either. She has built a system within the madness that is streamlined and strategic. She has owned the roles ‘writer’ and ‘artist’ and is focused on intentionally carrying out those titles.
On the quote she turns to in times of stress…
Estoria recites a quote that compelled her to write her first poem. What blows me away is that she tells me the quote from memory without hesitation. After I express my respect she says,
“To truly embody words creates a whole different appreciation for them. Being able to memorize and take in words like that is a way of paying gratitude to the word itself.”
After she tells me the quote, she explains that her craft isn’t just a part of what she does but who she is. For Estoria, the quote told her: this is your life.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are light beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves: who am I to be talented, brilliant, fabulous, gorgeous. Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God, and you playing small does not serve this world.” — Marianne Williamson
On contextualizing identification…
I convey up identification as a result of it’s such a focal a part of my work and this column. I’m fascinated by how individuals see themselves and place that perspective of their environment. Estoria begins by speaking about her Enneagram kind which is a 4 (similar as me!). She makes use of the mannequin to elucidate the significance she locations on being distinctive. It helps her keep away from falling into comparability nervousness.
“There’s a mosaic to my identification, you understand? Different individuals can have concepts of who you’re. We have to have our view and to personal it completely, particularly as Black individuals. We needed to resolve and declare our worthiness as a result of most occasions, the world will do something it may possibly to strip that from us. Now, greater than ever, I’m reclaiming my racial identification as an facet of my identification however you will note me for the fullness of who I’m. I problem others to see me, to see Black individuals in my entirety.”
On recovering from failure…
Estoria and I talked about imposter syndrome, ruts, and low places. She told me that when things get tough she does her best to keep things simple. Even just letting herself sleep in can help to aid the blues. She makes a good point that we tend to overcomplicate mindfulness. You don’t need much. She’ll go so far as to challenge herself not to reach for the candle, meditation cushion, or music.
Sometimes you just need to let yourself ‘be’.
She has a unique outlook on failure too. In fact, she’s found a way to take it out of her language altogether.
“The whole process of failure starts with reframing. What is failure to begin with? The moment you said ‘failure’, I heard ‘pivot’. It’s ‘that didn’t work.’ What else could work? Especially in the creative world, if we just sat in every failure, we would be buried by it. The reframing of words is really important. Ask yourself, what is this word? And why do we give it so much power?”
On the book that changed her life…
“Untamed got here on the most on-point season of my life the place I wanted to remind myself of my voice and the belief in her. That e-book wasn’t unlocking and permission slip. Glennon Doyle tells us all of the issues she did and all that occurred after which she provides us a permission slip to resolve what that’s for ourselves—it was simply so life-giving. I cried. I cursed. It was simply this complete expertise. We don’t have to sit down in a cage simply because it’s snug. That was my e-book final 12 months however I’ll speak about it for years.”
On recommendation she’d give her youthful self…
Earlier than we mentioned our goodbyes I requested Estoria what recommendation she’d give to herself 10 years in the past when she was 20 years outdated, on the brink of be a university graduate. On the point of a model new decade, she mentioned she would go away a bit of cliffhanger for youthful Estoria. With a giant nostalgic smile on her face, she mentioned,
“You haven’t any concept… in the very best means… you haven’t any concept.”