To be honest, I don’t know what pushed me to write. Maybe it was due to growing up as an only child for most of my childhood years and having spent most of my time at my mom’s job. She was a reporter. So, I was constantly surrounded by storytellers – writers, journalists, reporters, and poets who taught me the power of words. Or maybe, it was due to my uncle paying me to do weekly book reports and slowly becoming obsessed with reading mysteries and horror novels.
Either way, it always amazed me how writers brought to life endless realities through their work. I continuously became curious to what could be. Always searching for answers to satisfy my thirst of knowledge. It got to a point where my mom would always say “Ayah, not every question has an answer.” Growing up, I realized that she would give me that response if she didn’t want to answer a question I asked her. But, as I got older this response only pushed me to find answers to problems that didn’t have obvious solutions.
Despite not knowing the exact reason that pushed me to write, what I do know is this, being a writer is why I am who I am.
As a child, my mom always made me bring my English comprehension workbook everywhere. Her reason, so that I couldn’t tell her I was bored and had nothing to do. At the time, I hated dragging that book around. I would’ve much rather been on her phone playing fruit ninja or temple run. But, she wouldn’t have any of it. Now, I’m grateful for her and her reasons for having me drag that book around.
Growing up answering comprehension questions taught me how some things aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes, you have to dig deeper and look past the surface of things. Which, if we’re honest is a much needed mindset in today’s society.
Another thing, that my mom was adamant about me having growing up was a safe place to be curious and to grow in. Which is why, she always made sure that I knew that it was okay to ask questions and be curious about things regardless of my age. That’s why I love to write about things from my narrative. And why I love learning about the different narratives that are out there.
Writing & Me
I started writing from a very young age. Originally it was a forced habit. Something I did because I had to. Then, in time it became my escape. Writing became my favourite pastime. Something I did when I had a story to tell or when I needed to let something go but didn’t want to say out loud.
I remember the very first time that I had written and shared something. It was a poem about Earth Day. My aunt had taken me and my cousins to a poetry reading at a cafe for Earth Day. I was so nervous standing on the podium in front of so many adults holding my little notebook of poetry. Then before I knew it, I was done.
Even though I was terrified, I also remember loving the feeling of sharing my narrative with others. That was the moment that I had fallen in love with public speaking and using my voice to tell stories, my stories. So, over the years I kept writing. I kept competing in poetry slams and speech competitions. No longer did I hide my stories, instead I shared them with others and watched them fall in love with the power of words.
As I got older, I continued to write until I couldn’t anymore. It got to a point where I not only wrote for myself but for people like me. People of the youth, who were going through the same things but weren’t being represented in the public. The youth are constantly being written about and portrayed by people who aren’t us. Our stories were being told by adults who didn’t understand us or what we are going through.
Which is why I started HAYA. A platform made by a teenager for teenagers. Because who better to tell our stories than us -those living through it today. So, follow me as I document and tell stories of being a youth, from OUR NARRATIVE.