I never understood why people described themselves as being ‘lost’ in a story. As a teen, this is the only way that I could find myself: through others’ words, through art, and through putting my pen to paper.
Despite my ever-present love of all things books and magazines and newspapers, becoming a doctor was my main priority. Then, I turned fourteen, and using my left brain no longer seemed the right path for me – I had to find something else, quick.
My right brain romanticizes this time period: the searching, the meandering about in my imagination for a fulfilled version of my older self. The things that made me happiest were as follows: reading, writing, music, and movies. My experience with math told me that to solve the problem I needed to add these things together. I needed to find a way to write about the things I cared about most. Gone was the desire to heal people, and here to stay was the need to tell them stories.
I didn’t know much about journalism as a career at this point, so I began my search for guidance. My parents gave me the wonderful advice to email as many journalists as I could and start looking for mentorship from them. I contacted journalists from my favorite publications and waited for their wonderful tales of working in a busy newsroom and interviewing influential creators for a living.
That’s not what I got. I received messages back appreciating my spunk, but warning to proceed into the world of writing with caution. All the advice I received from career journalists seemed to reflect a once passionate group, now jaded beyond repair. Yet, I didn’t listen. I thanked them and proceeded onward.
My relationship with writing, and with those things about which I write, has always been deeply personal. Their experience would not be mine. I decided to finish out my STEM-focused high school career, but on one condition: writing as much as I could, about music, movies, or whatever else made me stop and pay attention, for the rest of my life.
After I decided to write, I haven’t doubted it for a second since. I haven’t felt lost, since.