That's what happened to me when I Googled my name (Yes, I'm admitting that) and rediscovered an essay I'd written a decade ago for a Hispanic Journalism contest. It's so full of innocence and hope, I just had to share it with you.
Xiomara Andrea Maldonado (16)
"In that crack I heard reality" I announced to the group of mingled adolescents and mentors at the Creating Future Journalists conference at the National Association for Hispanic Journalists convention. In attending the tour of the Today Show studio on June 28th 2003, most of them also heard Feliciano García's voice crack in answering the question posed before him. "During crises such as the World Trade Center tragedy how are you able to keep your emotions from interfering with the work of relaying information to the public?" I had inquired. Regret befriended me the moment his voice cracked as he responded with the fact that sometimes one cannot disregard emotions when relaying events such as the death of NBC News correspondent David Bloom.
As the day progressed, however, I understood that the crack in Mr. García's voice represented more than pain and grief. That crack represented the reality of holding a challenging job and becoming intertwined with it as well as with fellow coworkers. It explained to me that the world of journalism is full of "families" who find joy in their work and in each other. Several speakers at the conference announced love and appreciation for their jobs, but I believe that in Mr. García's voice I truly comprehended such love. In coming to this realization my remorse dissipated, and appreciation took its place. Although I am not decided about pursuing journalism, I definitely desire membership of such a family in the world of writing.
Writing is a phenomenon meant to be shared with the world, but I have rarely shared my words with others. The conference has encouraged me though to impart my passion, which is poetry, more often to the "public." I have contributed to the literary and political magazines at my school, but my courage increased so much that I was able to endeavor on my own journey. When one of the lady speakers explained that in high school she taped her articles in the bathroom stalls, I decided to create my own form of "Flush." My project has grown beyond the pages of the reporter notebook given us, and I intend to invite my classmates' poetry as well.
I desire to present poetry that will encourage people, move them emotionally and mentally, and contain words that they can connect with or perhaps disagree with. I have found a link between journalism and poetry in such freedom and power and am excited to further explore both worlds.
Before the conference, I would not have given a short presentation before dozens of people, but a speaker there said that one should never say no to a request. Therefore, in heeding the speaker's words, I stood before many faces and explained that "in that crack I heard reality." It was my first form of public expression grown from newfound confidence, and I expect to mature still from the seemingly small but valuable lessons learned at the Creating Future Journalists conference.
Sometimes, I feel like I've lost that girl, but I care so much about my future. I want so badly to succeed.
This essay is a good reminder to start saying "yes" more and taking risks again. We'll see how it goes.