Writing Found Me
By Yisel Dejesus
What makes you, you? I found that I always asked myself that question. The journey to self-discovery is not an easy one. However, the journey itself is worthy of every single second.
When I was 5, they asked us in school what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wanted to be a ballerina, Of course, no one took me seriously. I always dreamed of becoming a dancer. My parents could not afford dance classes and they mostly focused on my basic needs. In the fifth grade, I encountered a new school and new people. Among those people, I found a friend named Gigi. She was and still is a dancer. She showed me so many new things. I immediately started dancing on my own every single day at home. After school, I would come home and either go on YouTube to watch videos on flexibility and pirouettes or watch Dance Moms and Bring It. After the fifth grade, I went to a middle school that offered dance. Now, here I am in high school majoring in dance.
I always thought that I’d be a dancer and that was it. I love doing other things. I was interested in science, writing, reading, social justice, etc. I never really paid attention to my other interests. That was until two years ago. I’ve always loved reading. Aside from reading, writing has become my favorite thing to do because of all of the stories that I need to tell. In the seventh grade, I noticed that I could really write but I never put much action into doing so.
I started to push myself more because all I had to do was reach for my journal and a pen. My journal is like a mirror to me. My very own self-reflection. Uncovering my truths was so difficult. One day, as I jotted down on my journal and re-read what I wrote, I realized that not everyone can be a writer. Not many can use words the way I do. Moreover, I have my own unique testimony, just like everyone does. So now, that is exactly what I do. I am a writer. I will always love dance. I can always dance and I will forever continue to dance. But my heart has expanded to make writing its home. Writing took me with open arms and accepted me for who I am.
I was attending my very first writing event at Girls Write Now and we were asked to write about anything we wanted. We were given writing prompts to get our minds thinking but we could still choose what we wanted to write about. I started to think about how I’ve been dancing my entire life and the fact that I also love to do other things. While thinking that, I had a vivid memory from pre-school. My teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up and they asked us to decorate a paper that was carved into a little person. We had to decorate it to make it look like what we wanted to be. I decorated mine as a ballerina. She was perfect, even though I am not so good at visual art. That memory brought me joy, and from that point on, the paper in front of me was filled with words. I then remembered when my friend Sam got me my first journal on my twelfth birthday. I loved his gift and I took care of that journal and I wrote in it every chance I got. I knew I had to talk about the fact that writing changed me. Writing shaped and continues to shape the person I am today, due to self reflection, my surroundings, etc.
Yisel is a mother, activist, writer, dancer and is aspiring to become a published author and anthropologist. She enjoys reading books, watching musicals/documentaries and watching poetry slams. Yisel aspires to one day build schools outside of the U.S for young girls that are not granted a free education.