KANSAS CITY, Mo. — She's soft-spoken and carries a gentle spirit, but her message is loud and clear.
Comfy Stennis doesn't only speak her poetry, she lives it.
Her motto is to "Be the power to influence. Stay beautiful, think beautifully, speak beautifully."
The 28-year-old from Kansas City first put pen to pad in middle school. Back then, the inspiration for her first poem was Duke Ellington. She says it all started when another KC poet, Glenn North, went to middle schools in the city and picked students to write poems for a program with The American Jazz Museum.
Today, her inspiration is different.
"He told me that I was pretty for a big girl," Stennis said.
Stennis is speaking of a pivotal moment in her childhood. She was just 11 years old when a boy gave her the backhanded compliment.
It's those words that pushed her to write about overcoming adversity and send a message of empowerment in her poem, "Pretty For A Big Girl."
Her favorite line: "If your words aren't kind, please keep them to yourself. They are an insult to my progress."
"I want people to be influenced, not necessarily to do what I do, but to be the power to influence," Stennis said.
Today, she hopes her poetry will empower people who feel voiceless or who have faced similar situations as herself.
Stennis is the founder of Comfy Creations, a business for beauty, style and decor.