Giant Ladybugs and Lady Journalists
I’m not sure how old I was for this one, maybe second or third grade, but I remember my third grade teacher used to set aside time for us to explore our interests by setting up stations around the classroom and allowing us to rotate through them. My personal favorite was the writing center; our teacher took the time to create little books, with covers and room for pictures, and we would create our own short stories. I distinctly remember one story I spent days on, about a giant ladybug that terrorized the town and a journalist-turned-super hero that saved the day.When we were finished, she would collect the stories and laminate them and then put them in the “student library,” and told us we were all officially published authors, and how could we not believe her — we had our books in a library, after all. This was the first time I remember feeling like the things that I created had value, and that the things I wrote down could mean something to other people
This moment (or rather, series of moments) I remember very clearly; my freshman year of highschool, my English teacher (aka the teacher that inspired me to become a teacher myself) had us keep daily journals called M&Ms in which we would write for ten minutes at the beginning of class — the only rule is that we couldn’t lift our pens from the page. I wrote about everything, from home and family life to my thoughts about what we were reading in class. This is the first time I saw clear growth in my writing, and consequently learned that the writer I am is not the writer I have to be or will be even a few months into the future. Seeing this growth all in one journal made it easy to see myself growing even more, and eventually becoming the writer I wanted to be.
My junior year of high school, I attended a conference with the nonprofit Invisible Children called Fourth Estate, and it ended up quite literally changing my life. One of the most important things I realized during this conference is that I loved to write creatively; after returning from Fourth Estate, I had so much emotion to process, so I wrote a poem about it. The rest kind of fell into place — I’ve been writing spoken word poetry ever since. I performed in public for the first time in October of 2014, and have been performing ever since. This was when I really began writing creatively, and developing my voice as a writer outside of academia, which in turn helped me create a more well rounded voice for my academic papers.