Making Her Own Happiness

By Katie Fitzgerald (07)

Jazminia Griffith ('06)

Jazminia Griffith ('06)

Jazminia Griffith ('06) published her poem, Ode to Happiness, in Essence magazine’s October 2005 issue in the “Personal Space” section. “It was so surreal. It is something that happens to you, and it’s almost as if it didn’t happen at all,” says Jazminia. “When I read my poem in the magazine, it seemed as if the words were someone else’s. ... People around the world will give birth to my words every time they read them, and they’ll feel the same thing I did as I wrote them. It is a blessing to have the world read your heart.”

Griffith has been writing poetry since her senior year of high school. Her first poem, which she published online, was about the first time her heart was broken. “Something in that experience enabled me to articulate a spectrum of emotions in a way that I could not do through artwork,” she says. “I began to write to express my opinions, most of which encouraged young women like myself to be strong.”

Personification of happiness

Griffith wrote Ode to Happiness in her sophomore year, after she had just completed a series of “not so happy" poems. “I started writing about everything that made me happy,” she says. “The feelings of nostalgia expressed are memories of my childhood and adolescence. They’re thoughts that are universal and ones that everyone can identify with. They are thoughts and memories that make me smile when I think about them. It is my personification of happiness.”

Internship with Essence Communications

Griffith worked as an art intern with Essence Communications, where interns were expected to present their projects to the entire company at the end of their experience. Jazminia’s group was assigned the task of designing a prototype for a prospective magazine. The group asked to feature one of Griffith’s poems in the back. An art director read the poem and suggested that Griffith submit it to the poetry editor. “I was too shy to approach her at first, however she approached me before the end of the summer and asked me to submit five of my poems after she read Ode to Happiness,” says Griffith. “I was later informed that they wanted to commission three of my poems, and the first one would debut in the revamped October issue.”

Dream come true

To have three poems published in a magazine that she used to read as a little girl is a dream come true for Griffith. She plans on publishing a compilation of her work sometime in her future. “I like that poetry, like art, is what you make it,” says Griffith. “I also enjoy the fact that once a piece is composed, it is open for interpretation. Of course there is the initial understanding or purpose, but as one explores the use of words, the poem can be made personal by anyone who reads it.”

Ode to Happiness
By Jazminia Griffith (’06)

This is my ode to happ-i-ness
This is my ode to being blessed
This is my toe tapping,
Hand clapping,
Finger snapping,
Playing outside on a stormy afternoon,
This my ode to singin loud in the shower even when I’m out of tune
This is my wind song, my “glad to be your friend” song
My love song too

This is my “I’m so glad to be alive, and I’m so glad that God blessed you”
This is my screaming at the top of my lungs, just tryin to have fun poem,
This is my no need to fight, make everything right poem
This is my “I’m gonna love you, until you feel it to the bone” poem,
This is my “I just want your company, don’t want to be alone” poem

This is my ode to happ-i-ness, This is my ode to being blessed
This is my lucky seven, my lil piece of heaven, right here on Earth
This is my delivery to you all as though I’m giving birth
This is my self esteem, my candy dream, my peaches and cream
This is my tear jerking, silly smirking, ear curling scream

This is my Harlem shake, my heel-toe, my rocking the Reebok,
This is my snake swirving, hip curving, freak while I’m doing the “whop”
This is my hop skotch, Etch-a-Sketch, playing Jacks on the sidewalk ode
This is to trying hard not to laugh too loud when your mama told you not to be on the phone
This is my ode to having a crush that makes you blush and makes your stomach start to flutter,
This is that rhyme that clears your mind so that it’s no longer cluttered
This is my piece of art right from the heart as though I’m painting on a canvas,
This is my girls’ night out, so I can scream and shout, and just dance and go bananas
This is that gaze in your eyes that can hypnotize you when you’re on that first date
This is that first kiss, that moment of bliss and feeling like that person is your soul mate

This is my ode to happiness, My ode to being blessed
No more pain, no more drama, no more shame, and no more stress
This is my peace,
This is my love,
This is my joy and nothing less
Aaaaahhh, yesss ... ode to happiness