Collective Rising Internship Personal Statement
By Nathalie Cabrera
This piece expresses my aspirations to advocate for abortion/reproductive rights and how writing has been fundamental in social impact.
I remember my fascination with reading coming at an early age. I was in middle school and had spent most of my time in school devouring books and going to the next one with the same insatiable hunger. I’d daydream in the classroom and constantly immerse myself in alternate realities. I felt that reading was an escape to my otherwise mundane world … except the books I read were overwhelmingly white or male. I couldn’t relate to any of it and there was a lack of diversity in these books … something felt out of place. Nobody had written about my experiences, or at least the reality I get to live every day as a bisexual woman of color.
I distinctly remember the day I found that writing was a passion of mine. I was in the 8th grade and I was writing desperately onto a piece of paper for an assignment in my English class. “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl … I remember that vividly and I remember writing a sequel to that piece. It was a euphoric feeling just being there and writing with such freedom. I just had more to write … I had more to say.
That fondness stayed with me because I tried to involve writing in my everyday life. In high school, I surreptitiously applied to a writing program I had been eyeing for more than a year. I knew that my parents wouldn’t approve, but I did it anyway. I wanted to share my writing and I wanted to grow as a creative. I wanted a community and I wanted to be heard.
Two years later, I had written a poem called “Lion’s Mane”, a piece I had written over my struggles with my coiled hair that is tied intrinsically to my African roots as a Latina. Through the program, I had the opportunity to perform this poem and I barely remember any of it. It all happened so quickly — I had wondered if it had happened at all. I heard the round of applause followed by a deafening silence and I had to quickly shuffle to my seat to let the next participant share their work. After the event ended, a few people had congratulated me and had praised my work, but the most memorable part, however, was seeing a woman that looked like me look at me with pride. Nearing the exit, she had told me I did a great job and nodded in approval. “Yes! You did such an amazing job!” It looked like my work had reached someone and they could relate to the words I said earlier with so much conviction. I inevitably felt the smile creeping on my face and I couldn’t help it.
That day, I realized that my work — my writing — had a purpose. I realized for the first time that my writing had an impact outside of myself. In a world where the writing world undeniably has a lack of diversity, it is without a doubt that a voice like mine and millions of other women, those of color, and queer writers, need to be heard. If I had known of the myriad of diverse writers when I was younger, maybe things would’ve been different. I would have found solace, a home in the author’s world. I don’t recollect ever feeling as if I helped someone like they do in heroine movies, but I do have a glimmer of hope that I can be for those girls like me that don’t see themselves in the words they read.
After hearing the alarming news of the Texas restriction on abortion that would essentially limit the care pregnant people may need after six weeks of pregnancy, it reminded me how much of women’s and trans rights that our predecessors had fought so hard for, hang by a single thread. Reading those headlines months ago made me fearful because lawmakers are toying with women’s and trans peoples’ wellbeing and what they can do or not do with their futures. Some may never know what it is like to be a woman — to have our lived experiences.
One of the reasons why I aspire to be a nurse is because I will have the opportunity to be part of a field that can help women and trans people. In my case, I aspire to serve underrepresented groups, such as low income women and women of color. There is no denying the medical misogyny women also face in hospital settings, so for me, it is just another incentive for me to get in the field. Every person, I believe, should be given the dignity to have access to abortion no matter their race, sexuality, or religion. Women and trans people having access to abortion is the key to us having power over our futures and it is something I’ll always firmly believe.
Writing this piece was interesting because it encouraged me to be introspective. For the first time, I wondered if my writing had a purpose outside of myself. I insinuate throughout this piece that writing is a way to connect to the voices that often go unheard. The second portion of this writing piece expresses my interest in advocating for reproductive rights and my aspirations to become a nurse for that very reason. Even though this piece was meant for an internship supplement, I genuinely had a great time writing this.
Nathalie Cabrera is a first-year college student at Borough Manhattan Community College and is super grateful to be part of the GWN community.