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I'm a 16 year old Junior in high school who loves to write!
As a biracial teen growing up in the south, I struggled to find my place. I never felt like I fit in with my Chinese side or my Panamanian side. Even worse, I struggled with fitting in at school.
I found that so much of my identity was seen by others as just my race, and I felt like my personality wasn't being seen. I escaped through reading, but as I read more and more stories about the same white women, I felt unrepresented in the media and began to wish more and more that I could change my ethnicity and the way I looked.
Writing helped me to realize that you get to choose your own narrative. After growing sick of having no representation, I decided to write stories about girls who looked like me. I felt my confidence grow and I was able to express myself in new ways.
Now, at 16, I'm writing and starring in my own films and even winning essay and short story awards! I finally feel like I've found my place and I'm ready to continue on this journey.
As the world outside collapses into chaos, thousands take cover in the safety of their homes. Daily responsibilities and social gatherings fade into a distant memory. I retreat into my hiding spot: a small cozy room on the top floor of my childhood home, isolated from others and oh-so-familiar. I sink into my bed with the knowing that it will be a long time before I leave again. Within the week I have found an escape from the global stand-still. Though all remains quiet outside, my mind is loud with fresh ideas and new thoughts, filling my head with make believe worlds in which adventure is still a possibility and home is just a place to go when it's over. As I write, my mind is messy with concepts, one thought stumbling into another as each word spills out of my head and onto the screen. Though it makes little sense, my writing space is just as cluttered as my mind. Multitudes of blankets and pillows, all different shapes and sizes, lay scattered across my small bed. It's a melting pot of textures: soft, warm blankets blending in with scratchy throw pillows and thin sheets, the sharp prick of my pencil tip every time I lay back, the cool metal of my water bottle against my skin. Torn pages from an old notebook are crumpled into each corner of my workspace, discarded notes and outlines long forgotten scribbled onto any nearby paper. A stack of books lean against the wall, taller than I am standing. Each story looms over me as I write, both intimidating and inspiring me. My most treasured item nests in my lap. The bright white and blue-ish screen of my beloved laptop gazes up at me, illuminating my face in light. Tattered stickers and old post-it notes cling to its sides. The letters on the keyboard, as familiar as the back of my hand, await my next move, as excited as I am to finish the story. Just to my left, the door to my room buzzes with excitement. The faint sound of my brother and sister playing outside pulls me away from my work for just a moment, teasing me with the thought of fun and games. Peace and quiet isn't much of an option anymore, no matter how much you wish to not be disturbed. My phone, pushed to the furthest corner of my room for the least amount of distractions, lights up with new notifications. Against my better nature, a part of me aches to get up, to walk across the room and grab that little box of instant gratification. Another wants to skip out of the room and enjoy a fulfilling game of tag. An even smaller part of me glances out the window, at the empty streets that once danced with life. A twinge of nostalgia squeezes my heart, reminding me of what used to be. Of days out on the town, of early morning rushes out of the house, of late night parties I once loved. But the more sensible part of me knows that this is for the better. For now, the confines of this room are enough, and wherever it is I want to go, my imagination will take me. I look back at my laptop. It still waits patiently to hear the end of my story; It would be cruel to leave it unsatisfied. Muscle memory pulls my fingers to the keyboard, and before I know it, I'm back in the excitement of the world I created.