BC Poetry Profile: Zainab Haque

Photo of Zainab Haque.
Zainab Haque // Used with permission.

Zainab Haque is a student at Bellevue College taking a poetry class with Professor Martha Silano. Featured below is just one of her works of poetry followed by an interview about her piece and her future aspirations.

“Ode to a People Pleaser”

People pleasing, a deadly disease,
starts off pleasant;
then has you begging on your knees.
You put your life at stake,
for one to only betray you.
Gobble up this kind heart;
now they’ve played you.
When I was young no one was proud,
of who I was yet to become.
Flowers and candy,
is what I deserved;
suddenly I found myself at a learning curve.
To this day I reminisce the memories,
bright as the IMALENT MS18.
I would not be me without the temptation of fixing you,
and your neediness.
Standing over me,
a dark cloud stripping me of my happiness.
I feel burdened,
confusing me was a sense of comfort,
a weighted blanket tucking me in.
False illusion,
reeling me in.
Sold my soul to the devil,
yet someone is always
craving for something
It’s been years since,
I looked after me.
I don’t need anyone's approval;
now I’ve got,
just me.

Q: Why do you like writing poetry? Why is poetry important to you?

A: I like writing poetry because it is something that I use to express my emotions. At times where I find it hard to talk about a subject, I use poetry to make it easier. It is a coping mechanism, in a way. 

I have always wanted to become a better writer and taking [a poetry] class with Professor Silano has really done that for me. I went from someone who would write broken pieces for fun to someone who now writes much more professionally and exceptionally… Poetry is more than just feelings. It is more than just beautiful words. It raises awareness on certain topics like social injustice, mental health, society’s expectations, etc. That is why I love it so much! Poetry can be anything you want it to be as long as you have the right mindset. 

Q: What is this poem about and why is it your best piece of work?

A: This poem is dear to my heart because it talks about how dangerous pleasing people can be. It starts off with you wanting to simply help someone out, then leads to it overtaking your body. Almost like you lose all control. Doing too much can cause you to not recognize your worth anymore, it destroys your mental health and the ability to say no to people. This can take a toll on your life, and if you are in too deep it is hard to put an end to the vicious cycle.

This is my best piece of work because I find that a lot of people relate to this issue. I write my poems not just for myself, but for other people to understand how important a certain topic can be. I was a people pleaser for the longest time and while it is a good thing to make others happy, it is only true to a certain extent. I found that it used to consume me and I would always put everyone in front of myself. It is super important to find a balance.

Q: Do you have plans of pursuing poetry as a career or hobby?

A: Although I would love to pursue poetry, I haven’t given much thought to it. Before taking ENGL 247 Writing Poetry I class, I would just write for myself. At times, I would also read my pieces out loud for my voice to be heard. I want my poetry to be more than a rhyme crime. I want my work to be meaningful and emotional. I want my readers to really visualize what my poetry is all about. 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: Poetry takes time, but you learn a lot in the process. You get to interpret the thought processes of other poets and it’s fun! You get stuck at some point, but you get back up and try your best. It is not about giving up, but instead learning what works best for you/what doesn’t and working with that until you are eventually content with your piece.

This series will continue next week as we take a look at another Bellevue College poet. If you would like to submit work to be featured in a future issue, contact Emily Dickinson here.