A Guide to Making History
By Gyana Guity, Writing 360 Mentee
“A Guide to Making History” shares the inside thoughts of a young girl who loses her way and doesn’t know how to find herself again. In this piece, I wanted to have a conversation with myself where I ask what determines whether or not history is being made. Any listener would find this piece relatable. It offers an opportunity to dive into the mind of someone who just wants to make a difference in the world. This represents my best work in Girls Write Now this year because it’s the piece I have the strongest connection with. I have a genuine love for how it came out.
Before I graduate from high school and move on to the next chapter of my life, I wanted to think back to my final year of high school and explain how I see myself, my future, and the idea of making history.
I spent my last few weeks trapped in a never-ending cycle. I woke up late in the afternoon, stared down at my phone screen, and let myself wither. I watched my passion for writing fade away, my social life dim, and thought that it was more important to watch reruns of old Disney shows instead of finding my voice again.
To keep it simple: I lost myself in 2019, and felt my insides breaking apart. I was standing alone on a battlefield, my grip on the world so frail and too weak, and it wasn’t long before I was drowning in my own sea of guilt, fear, and zest.
In the distance, I saw the signs on Times Square: Gyana Guity…the new J.K Rowling. Gyana Guity…more out of this world than Stephen King! I was in a place where my scripts weren’t hidden anymore, my stories no longer a secret, and instead brought to life in the most beautiful of realities. I could see my dream. I could taste and touch it—practically dance with it. I was living my fantasy.
I don’t know what went wrong. I couldn’t even pick up a pen or a pencil, let alone type my thoughts in the notes of my iPhone. I was empty. Out of fuel. Lacking a heartbeat and a rhythm. Where was the Gyana everyone had such high hopes for? I didn’t see her. I didn’t feel her. Did I not have the same dream?
These negativities scared me more than anything. It felt like thunder knocking right at my door, and demanding that I come out and face the storm. The world was waiting for me, waiting for me to take my first big steps and walk down that road with signs that read HISTORY MADE THIS WAY.
But…what exactly was history? Was it what we read in our textbooks in school? Or was it about the women of color who stepped up and fought back against the inequality that attempted to suffocate them? Did I have to be the first to do something? The best to do something? Because
when I asked myself these things, if I was truly ready to face the world, I felt like I was nowhere near ready for something as drastic as that. I felt small, and with this gloominess hovering over me like a cloud of rain, I felt smaller and smaller until I couldn’t even recognize myself in my bathroom mirror.
Making history was just something I couldn’t figure out. I didn’t have the slightest idea about what was good enough or what was too lame—and never came close to knowing what would be accepted by those around me. I was worrying about everything else. Like trying to fill the shoes of famous writers like Toni Morrison and Victoria Aveyard, rather than worrying about what I liked and what made me happy.
I was looking at everything wrong. History didn’t have to start after I surpassed someone, and it especially didn’t have to be me doing something that was world-changing. History, to me, is going to college. I would be the first in my family to achieve a goal like this. History, to me, is being the first of my grandparents’ grandchildren to graduate from high school. History, to me, starts right inside of my home, right inside of my family, and even right inside of my group of friends.
It seems hard to find—that hidden passageway that led you right into the shining, gold street that guides you into the unknown. That was what history was, what it still is: being brave enough to step out and chase something you don’t even know yet. History is about finding yourself in a crowd of people who have gotten used to the norms of today. History is all about what you make it, and what you see in the distance when you step onto that pavement, spread your arms wide, and breathe in something completely new.
History, to me, is standing out in the smallest of places, and gaining attention when the people around you notice that you want to stand as tall as yourself, without the labels or standards or stereotypes. History, to me, is me. What I make it, what I see of it, and it doesn’t stop with me. It continues with you, and all of the other history makers running down that beautiful, foreign road.
Writing always comes easily to me. I focused on the theme of “taking our place in history” and decided to connect the piece to what I thought history meant to me. This piece took me a while to write, since I don’t usually write about myself or my feelings, but was just as fun to create. It was just another day of writing for me because I personally don’t feel challenged or stuck when it comes to doing what I love. When the piece was done and submitted, I was so, so, so excited and relieved. I’m very happy with the final product.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE GYANA GUITY & MENTOR SARAH GOUDA
Gyana’s Anecdote: My relationship with Sarah has seriously grown over the past year. We have just gotten more comfortable with each other, and I feel like I have known her even longer than the two years we have spent together. Girls Write Now gave me the opportunity to meet such a special and amazing individual where I can’t even imagine my high school experience being the same without Sarah in it. I talk to her about the smallest things, from my favorite BTS member to bigger and more serious topics like my friends and family. I love her more than anything, and I hope to know her for a long time, even after Girls Write Now.
Sarah’s Anecdote: Whereas I was an exceedingly timid teenager, Gyana is a force of nature. I’m so impressed by Gyana’s fearlessness— she’s always the first to raise her hand, volunteer to help, or offer up a wild idea. I love spending time together—whether we are seeing the latest anime movie or working through a draft of her college essay, we always manage to make whatever we’re doing fun. She knows what she wants and she’s secure in her voice—I’ve learned so much from her about speaking up and being an active member of my community.
Gyana Guity is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Bronx, NY.