Why I Write

There is nothing that keeps me awake at night more than words. Because of them, I toss and turn ceaselessly, hoping not to disturb my mom as she snores softly beside me. I try to stop the words from flashing through my mind as they build phrases then sentences then paragraphs until, finally, I give in. The words don’t stop unless they become something I can’t wait to put on paper.

“I’ll write this in my next article,” I think to myself. “Maybe, just maybe, I can make a difference.”

And that’s what I can do with words. Every day I walk into my journalism class, though I am exhausted by the strings of words that kept me awake the night before, I choose to use them for good. Some people find freedom speeding down the highway at midnight, but I find freedom in my writing. What I cannot say, I know I can write. I use that freedom not only to express my innermost thoughts but to try and move the people in my community to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.

Whether I’m writing about teenage homelessness in South Florida or the endless bloodshed in Syria, I find great satisfaction in keeping the students of my school and the local community educated about issues going on in the world. Creating conversation excites me. It moves me to write even more, seeking to find local stories in the globality of my writing and, vice versa, scavenging ways to make my local stories more global.

I spend most nights sitting in front of my computer screen, fussing over comma splices and fragmented sentences because I want my message to come across eloquently; I work hard so that my readers can indulge sentence after sentence without interruption as I immerse them across seas and into the battlefields where the greatest violations of human rights occur. Then I shift them back into reality, showing them that there is something that can be done, something that they, themselves, can do.

And so, as my mom sleeps quietly beside me, I rise from our bed and pick up my laptop. I sit in the bathtub so that the click-clack of the keys do not wake her and I turn down the harsh glare of the brightness to a soft glow. I allow my thoughts to take hold of my fingers and I type away into the night where the world unfolds before me, beckoning to be put in words.

Damien Rice in Concert is Magic

On November 8th of last year, I had the pleasure of seeing Irish folk artist, Damien Rice, in concert. When I found out that he would be coming to Miami for the first time, I had just finished obsessing over his third album release, “My Favorite Faded Fantasy.” After a 7 year hiatus, he had come back lyrically and musically stronger than ever before. And thankfully I was able to witness it.

A few days after, I decided to write about my experience but never got around to posting it. When I came across it again, I thought it would be appropriate to post it today, exactly a year since the concert:

Damien Rice knows how to captivate his audience. As the lights dimmed, the sound of laughter and chit chat quickly faded. Damien stepped out of the darkness and into the spotlight of the stage, greeted the crowd, and began to sing.

Right then and there, I was enchanted.

It was just him and his guitar. That’s all. Yet he managed to echo the heartbreaks, grief, and pain of hundreds. He would begin a song with a soft melody and end up bent double, viciously strumming—no, beating the guitar. The lights would suddenly go out disorienting us for a second, leaving us holding on to chord of the last song yet yearning for the next.

Often between songs he would tell a story. He jokingly told the audience about how growing up a Catholic boy made him a guilt-ridden man as a prelude to the opening of “9 Crimes.” He also shared the story of a man who thought he had a chance with a woman he fancied. After taking a few sips of wine, he slurred the lyrics of “Cheers Darling.”

But it was “Volcano” that showed the artistic and creative genius Damien was and still is. He made us a part of his performance by dividing the theater into sections, each with a different verse. At his cue, my voice joined the chorus-like sound of the many who sung along. Damien then proceeded to sing his line, his voice rising above ours.

And in that moment, it was just the audience, Damien, and his music. Nothing else mattered except for the undeniable string that connected us all to one another. 

Wake Me Up When November Ends

On November first, I submitted my first official college application. And later that week I submitted another, then another, then another. And now the wait has officially begun. I still have a lot more applications to go — safety schools, scholarships, regular decision applications—yet it’s so hard to believe that I’m at the point in my life where I’m making decisions for myself, decisions that can possibly change the course of the rest of my life.

Part of me is ready for it, but another part isn’t.

I’m ready to grow up into the person I’ve always wanted to be with the help of my dream colleges, but part of me wants to remain young, naive, and full of teenage bliss.

Nonetheless, the moment that I’ve been waiting for (my first college acceptance) is right around the corner and, quite frankly, I can’t wait. The first week of December is when I start to hear back from colleges, and I’ve never wanted November to end so soon.

This month-long wait is both a blessing and a curse.

I am giddy, excited, and hopeful but the pessimism and worries still weigh heavy on my shoulders. It’s going to be a rough month full of anxiety, self-doubt, and long nights of fighting away my sleep depriving thoughts of what-ifs.

November is going to be all about preparing emotionally for what may come in the future— whether I’ve planned for it or not. It is a month for self-reflection and deciding what I truly want to for myself. Yet, no matter what the outcome may be, I am confident that I’ll make the best of it.