"How many times have you told yourself 'no'?"
That's the first of many questions posed in "Untapped," a motivating, emotionally-charged poem written by spoken word artist Ashlee Haze, born Kiera Nelson. The 25-year-old poet was commissioned to write the poem by the Brothers Young Productions and Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, as a means of promoting their upcoming feature film of the same name.
Haze's poem chronicles her own experiences with self-doubt. In it, Haze says, "I've known the feeling of thinking that you're not enough... I used to tell myself that no one wanted to hear what I had to say."
Haze, who has been doing spoken word art since she was 10, wrote the poem for teenagers having a similar experience today. In an email to The Huffington Post, Haze said that she "wanted to write something that they could listen to on the way to class or a dance recital and truly be reminded that they are their own best masterpiece." Executive producer of "Untapped," Mac Maguire, told HuffPost that the poem and film are about the "hope, inspiration and empowerment of young people."
Indeed, Haze knows firsthand the freeing power of art; she calls poetry her "saving grace." She says, "Writing a poem about feelings of negativity and self-despair is an act of bravery... I take the burden from myself and let the poem carry it. That's how I get free."
Haze will be among the 72 women performing at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in New Mexico this March.