Most people his age would never guess that the buoyant, friendly Kendall Patterson they brush past on campus is likely walking around with a notebook full of handwritten poetry exploring feelings of depression and loneliness.
Patterson’s poetry is honest. His words are brave and unashamed of the attention they may bring him. Whether writing lines about heartbreak, misunderstood identity or deep sadness, Patterson seldom shies away from facing the human experience head-on.
What began nearly six years ago as an outlet for Patterson to vent and confront his emotions has now evolved into a full-fledged passion. Through writing this intensely personal poetry, he’s been able to better communicate his thoughts to others and identify his own emotional tendencies.
“You’re reading poetry, and then you’re thinking. It has a rhythm that you only have in your head. Songs – yes, you can sing them – but poetry is a song you can’t play out loud,” Patterson said. “It gets the ideas across better than anything else, in my opinion. It has the emotion. It has the depth.”
Patterson likened writing poetry to other ways people care for their mental health, such as opening up to close friends or seeking counseling. For him, writing poems provides that conversation.