Ever since I was little, storytelling has been the essence of my imagination. To this day, my mom still laughs at the memory of me begging her to recite Cinderella over and over again until I memorized the entire book before even knowing how to read. The simple act of writing words on a page can affect individuals in all sorts of ways—it can provoke emotion, resurface memories, and inspire creativity. Through the writings of others, I have been fortunate enough to encounter all of these reactions at various points in my life. In the future, I hope my words will both captivate and inform people in the same ways that I have experienced.
Two summers ago, I traveled to the Middle East for the first time. In fact, I have never been anywhere so culturally dissimilar from my home in San Francisco, California. Even though I live in one of the most diverse cities in the United States, everyone respects one another equally. Whether you’re straight, gay, black, white, wealthy, or poor, uniqueness is embraced and accepted. However, after flying sixteen hours across the world, I received an entirely new perspective regarding the ways that people of contradicting ideals treat one another.
During my travel, I gained the once in a lifetime opportunity of touring a village that also doubles as a bomb shelter, located near the border of two conflicting countries. Never before have I seen groups of individuals so prominently separated. As I gazed off in the distance to find the tall, chain link fence containing large coils of barbed wire at the top, I realized the separation of these opposing worlds is much more than a physical barrier, as the history behind these divided states dates back hundreds of thousands of years ago. Although weaponry and technology has advanced, the common argument of land ownership remains constant.
As I stood on the sandy, arid ground, I realized the surface beneath me has come to be defined by those who inhabit it. Acceptance and appreciation of diversity is crucial to be able to embrace the countless varieties of races, ethnicities, and cultures that surround us. At that moment, it became apparent that providing honest news to Americans, not to mention citizens all around the world, would be my primary goal in striving to inform and better future generations.
As strange as it may sound, a newsworthy story and a renown fairytale share a common theme, in that they are both made possible by protagonists who act contrary to expectation; who would have ever thought Cinderella would have the guts to oppose the projected life of being a maid for her abusive stepmother, and instead, attend a royal ball where she meets her prince charming? Whether it is an enchanted myth or an article in a newspaper, a story is worthy if it draws the reader’s attention. People are the essence of storytelling—nothing would be communicated if there was not a daring individual to create a momentous headline and an eager watchdog to relay the occasion. Although I may never partake in actions that will allow me to star on the front cover of The New York Times, I hope one day I will be fortunate enough to write about a daring individual of that sort.