The overwhelming sound of applause echoed throughout the old coffee shop as a smiling, passionate high school girl finished reciting a beautiful poem.
What the audience did not know was that this was the very first time young Mikaila Taylor had ever shared her poetry in public. It was the very start of a passion she would continue to develop and use to inspire those around her.
“My love for poetry definitely stems from my love for music,” Taylor said.
Freshman Mikailia Taylor was introduced to music at a young age by her mom. She recalls countless great memories of freestyle dancing in the kitchen with her mom and four younger siblings.
Her mom had a great influence on her love for music and poetry because she was incredible with lyrics and words.
“She’s a mastermind,” Taylor said.
Taylor described her mom as her best friend, someone she could always lean on. Her mom has always been supportive of her poetry.
She is thankful to her mom for consistently encouraging her to read, write and pursue her dreams.
“She never tried to dim my shine,” Taylor said.
Taylor explained that growing up, she moved around a lot and had to become accustomed to switching schools in the middle of a school year. This led her to become extremely gracious for what she had.
Growing up without a father was also a struggle at times for Taylor. Her father did not know she was his daughter until she reached age 8. He then did not come into her life until she was 16 years old.
Taylor said there were times it would have been nice to have a father figure in her life to love her unconditionally. She said sometimes she feels like she missed out on that during her childhood.
“(However,) my mom did a really good job of teaching us how to love ourselves as women and respect ourselves without needing the validation of a man, so I wouldn’t change it,” Taylor said.
Taylor writes poetry about many different topics and feelings. She explained that most of the time, her poetry is based on her thoughts or emotions at the time. Other times, her poetry is about topics she hopes to learn more about.
As a student at Taylor, she has been able to use her poetic talents to inspire and engage her community. She has received the opportunities to perform her poetry in chapel, at ‘I Gotta Sound’ and at Mosaic Night.
Taylor spoke about the influence she hopes to have on her younger siblings. She wants them to understand the many paths life can take them and hopes that she can be a good role model for them. She wants her siblings to view her as someone they can look up to and trust.
“I've been really trying to find a way to honor God in my life,” Taylor said, “and for a while, I struggled with being myself with God.”
She tries her best to utilize and incorporate her faith and relationship with God to write poetry and often prays over her writing, asking God to give her the words He wants her to write.
Taylor explained that she believes it is important to bring your true self to God and force yourself into more uncomfortable situations. She has learned that God will meet her wherever she is and will do the same for everyone else.
“I can never say what God wants me to say, and I’m pretty sure he knows that,” Taylor said, “But I try to match it in a way that is like ‘This is my voice, but this is God’s truth.’”