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Tai Humphrey: Student Voices Speech

Tai Humphrey'19

Love is All Around Me...Sometimes...

Or at least that’s How I want it to be.

Today I am going to talk about something that we don’t usually hear about at school: something that is a huge part of who I am as a person and how I was raised. I am going to talk about love. Google defines love as: “an intense feeling of deep affection”, and/or “a great interest and pleasure in something”. Scratch that: love is whatever you want or need it to be.

Most of the time we use the word love to refer to something we really like, or we often use it in ironic or sarcastic ways. I think this has to do with not only our lack of appreciation for the word, but our discomfort with the subject. I am someone who is becoming pretty comfortable with the love I have for myself and for the people around me.

I have mistaken different things for love, such as people taking advantage of my kindness. But at times, love has saved me, and I think it can save others too. A sprinkle of love in everything you do makes life a little better honestly.

A heart without love is a life without meaning. Eyes without seeing. Mind without reason. Existence without being.

This quote is representative of how significant love is in my life. And as I share this collection of poems with you about my journey, I want you to keep this in mind.

Love is essential to my being.

I pride myself upon being the bigger person and continuing to love regardless of what goes on. Of course this doesn’t mean that I am perfect, but this is how I choose to heal myself and navigate through the world.

My goal today is not to make you uncomfortable, but to share my journey and my experience with love. Vulnerable, I know right? This is mostly for me, but I hope to touch the hearts of, or inspire at least a few people in this room. The moments I am going to share are going to be full of emotion and that’s okay. Please don’t brace yourselves, just sit back and relax as I show you love through my lens.


Tell ‘em to record this,

Because what I’m bout to expel

Is something that

You shouldn’t miss

Get into this

Imma tell my story of love

With quite a twist.

I’m gonna tell you how I found love

Amongst the chaos we call “high school life”

At some points it’ll be “deep” and some points it’ll be nice ,

Please listen closely

These are feelings I’ve felt more than once or twice.

No matter what you experience,

Let go of your strife.

You gotta learn to be peaceful within

N as j cole would say, “love yourz”

You gotta love your life.

Love has many definitions that are said to be true,

but the most important lesson you must learn

Is how to love you!

Love isn’t just about just “having a boo”

Who’s job is to love YOU,

Love is raw. It should be in everything you do.

I speak only of love and it’s power, and how my heart is a tower that stands unconditionally, but inside it has faced a war, as most hearts do. However this trauma is the base of its beauty and I’d love to take you on a tour through the heart of yours truly.

These poems represent my journey. From being an innocent little kid who could rule the world, to my first heartbreak, to the love I found in my friends, and finally to the love I found in myself.

Part 1: Giggles and Berries

Giggles and berries

The sweet essentials.

Contributors to my inner and outer beauty


Blisters on my hands from the monkey bars,

And a small scrape on my knee

were the only things I thought could really hurt me.

Invincible I was,

heart pure and gracious like the wings of doves.

On a natural high,

I truly believed that I could touch the sky.

Beautiful brown and my moms reading was the most beautiful sound

Informing me that I should ONLY accept a crown

And nothing less

Because I was the best.

She is so beautiful,

They would tell my mom in awe,

Smiling at me and pinching my cheeks,

Fixing my jaw to smile, because

Those old ladies really were so sweet.

Your eyes are so big and brown,

Your hair, long and strong,

Don’t let anyone EVER tell you you’re ugly

Because they’d be terribly wrong.

My mom would tell me the story of a girl who was a

Beautiful Brown,

And I just knew I was her!

Deep down the rainbows on the cover of

That book reminded me to never frown,

Reminded me that “Colors come from God... Just Like Me!”

And I am a Beautiful Brown.

At a young age I walked with my head held high,

Remembering to keep good posture like a

Sugar Plum Ballerina,

As we would say now,

My drip was severe, I left a puddle

Of water, Aquafina!

All jokes aside, my head was never down,

Because I never wanted to lose my crown.

Part 2: Heartbroken

What good is love when it isn’t taught to you properly?

My first heartbreak came from my dad:

In and out of my life, he made me sad.

Thinking it was all my fault

My growth of confidence, and sense of freedom

All came to a halt.

My sense of self love, was put away and stored in a vault.

Tensing up when you would touch my shoulder,

You never physically harmed me, but you weren’t to be trusted.

I feel like you stole from, me, making me less whole.

An emptiness in my soul,

I asked mommy,

“Why doesn’t daddy love me??”

And she said you DID.

But only God knows,

So I pray. I pray for you

Hoping that you’d finally

Say a word to me that was true.

But your lies came as no surprise:

I went to sleep most nights

With tears in my eyes.

Writing was my way to forgive you,

But it was temporary

Always doing the most!

You were in my life,

And then you were gone like a ghost.

Haunting me in the form of other people doing me wrong.

I have gone through this again and again,

With a boy, because I’ve never known a man.

You got to me

I Started giving the wrong people my energy

These people don’t deserve me

They were far from worthy,

But I allowed them to hurt and take advantage of me before I made changes.

Preying on me while i Pray for them.

I was a beautiful flower but I allowed them to cut me at my stem,

Taking all the nutrients from my roots.

With an apology and a smile,

I let it go because

They told me I was cute.

I lost track of the love I had for me within.

Can’t believe I allowed people like YOU

To surround me

You gave me nothing but


I sought love in the wrong places

I thought I was insignificant,

So insignificant I remained,

Emptiness in my heart was the same

But then,

“I started to remember who I was and the whole game changed”

Part 3: Rekindled Love

Best friend love

Family love

I found love for the man

I believe in above.

Dancing with my friends in the night

Knowing the love between us is

What makes everything alright.

Its to the point where your pain is mine

And I want to be with you all of the time.

I’m all in off the rip

and I’m telling you I love

You and I’m giving you all kinds of tips.

Seeing in you what I can’t find in me

I love you to an outstanding deree!!

I became the honey to your bee.

Love you out loud so that everyone can see.

I push you because I want the best for YOU.

When in reality I should do the same for me.

Friend, you became my sunlight,

Being around you was a sign that everything was gonna be alright.

Brightness filled my heart,

letting me know where my pain should end and my joy would start.

Some came along,

I gave them love and they still did me wrong

But the love i found in my friends

Allowed me to find what I was searching for within.

It gave me the shove

To rise above.

Part 4: The come up

I stand here now before you,

Seeing myself better than ever before.

Remembering Grandma’s unconditional love

And my mom’s lessons on valuing myself,

I am on my way to the top of the mountain to

Reclaim the love that was mine to begin with.

Knowing that I am a Beautiful Brown with a beautiful vibe

Knowing i am phenomenal on the in and outside!

I am learning to walk around with pride.

Ashamed of this journey,

I am not.

I simply loved who i was and then I forgot.

I am on my way back and on my way up

And for those on a similar journey

Be kind to yourself

And know that you are more than enough.

Your value is not to be determined by anyone else.

Never fall in love with someone’s words

For they aren’t always true

The best thing to do is to fall in love with you.

Love and passion for myself is

Something that I will daily affirm,

Making it clear that I cherish me

Until it is confirmed.

The leaves on my flower have now returned

And I will continue to water my plant so I can grow

And grow.

This piece is an ode to me

And all the great things

That I will be.

To my own beauty,

That I couldn’t always see.

Thanking God

And other powers that may be

I’m proud to live each and every day

As me and only me.

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