“He’s coming,” I told my mom as we looked out of the glass patio door at home, waiting for my dad. “He’s just running late.”
But I was lying to my mom, and I knew it.
When my older brother and I were little, my mom would get us all dressed in our winter coats, hats and mittens so that we could visit our dad. I would be excited but anxious to see my dad because I saw him only a couple times a year.
Five minutes turned into an hour late, and I knew my dad was not coming. I sat on the couch, fully dressed with tears rolling down my face, not understanding why he never showed up.
After years of this reoccurring, my mom stopped telling us he was coming, knowing he was not. As I grew up, the trust and love I had for my dad slowly turned into anger.
By that time, my parents’ divorce was finalized. Everything changed for my family once my dad left. My mom instantly became a single mother raising two kids on her own.
The constant struggle to put food on the table and pay the rent on time showed in the bags under my mom’s eyes. No matter what, my mom worked hard to take care of us because she was all we had.
I couldn’t talk about my dad with anyone, fearing that I would start crying or get angrier. I needed to tell someone how I was feeling about my dad and the struggles I was going through with my mom.
That’s how I got the idea to start writing.
Because I went to a Spanish immersion school, I didn’t have an English class until I was in the fourth grade. When I walked into the first day of English, it was an instant connection. The 45-minute class every other day was filled with reading and writing. I couldn’t get enough.
When the school day ended, I would get off the bus and walk the two blocks to my apartment building. Reaching my bedroom, I slid open my sock drawer and, digging all the way to the bottom, I took out my green composition notebook with smiley face stickers plastered on the front. Grabbing a pen and finding the perfect spot on my bed, I started to write until my hand throbbed. First about my dad, but then I began to write about everything else.
Writing became my escape from the real world, and it helped me find new passions. My sophomore year of high school, I decided to apply for the school newspaper, the Echo, ready to embark on a writing adventure.
To my surprise, I got on the newspaper as one of the new writers. I had taken a journalism class but did not know if I was ready for this fast-paced environment.
At the beginning, it was a challenge to get myself to open up. I felt like I was not getting my point across in my first story, and I was frustrated.
“If you knew everything about journalism, then you wouldn’t be on the paper,” my newspaper adviser would tell me whenever I made a writing mistake.
She was right. Everyone makes mistakes and there was no need to be down on myself. I just kept trying.
After long nights and countless revisions, my story was done and published in the newspaper. Seeing it in the paper was one of the happiest moments—my heart filled with joy as I thought about my future as a writer.
Being on the Echo and writing in my notebook as a child helped me deal with my anger toward my dad and the hardships at home. Writing is something I want in my career. In college, I know that I want to major in news or broadcast journalism. I want the opportunity to let my writing influence and help people who need a safe haven to cope with their struggles.
Just like I had.