It’s official!  Senna and her poetry will OPEN the 2014 Women in the World summit just 24 hours from now - putting the message of Girl Rising and the power of educating girls front and center.  To celebrate, we bring you another video from Get Lit – Words Ignite.

Inspired by Senna from Peru, Jessica from Los Angeles writes of overcoming her own adversity and discovering her voice: “Poetry was the only thing that kept me from drowning.”

A lonely young woman with slipping grades and feeling disconnected from the world around her, Jessica relates to Senna’s struggles, finding courage in her words.

“Poetry saved both Senna and me. It gives me strength, the same way it does her. Even though we live so far apart, we are connected.”

I have never lost a father
I have never climbed a mountain
I have never worked in a mine
I was in the seventh grade the first time I felt myself unfold
The first time I decided to give up
My paper chest began to crumple and started tearing into fringes
I told myself I didn’t care
Loneliness dimmed me until I was transparent and thin
I stopped sleeping
I got better at hiding myself so well like a flower bed
Yet my mother told me my eyes cannot keep secrets because they are too honest and truthful
I stopped looking her in the eyes
I told myself I didn’t care
I lost friends the way flower petals detach in relief
School grades slipped through my fingers and I looked at my failures with pride because I was convinced that doing the wrong thing was the only thing I could do right
I shed what I used to cherish like snake skins, but I convinced myself I was okay because we all wilt eventually
I tucked the last bits of myself into attempted suicide notes and told myself I thought the distance served me well
My acceptance was a quiet surrender to everything that you fought for
Before I buried the rest of myself I allowed words of poetry to slip through and it was then when I began to clip it around me like a life preserver
Poetry was the only thing that kept me from drowning when my sides felt as heavy as stones and Senna
I have never climbed a mountain
I have never lost a father
I have never worked in a mine yet I still will never contain the same fire that burns on token syllables underneath your tongue
Your words are sharp and spiked
Spear from your mouth like a warrior’s arrow, puncturing those around you with a new audacity
Sizzling in our ribcages, Senna
You never gave up so neither will I.