School: Florida State University
I vividly remember the day I lost my voice. My father was at the house that night, and I sat directly across from him at the dinner table as my mother paced across the kitchen, mumbling words in Spanish that neither he nor I could understand. I do not remember what we were fighting about, but I do recall my dad attempting to reason with her, “she just wants to tell you how she feels.”
That night, like many others, my mother dismissed not only my tears, but also my voice. I persuaded myself that if the very person who gave birth to me did not care about what I had to say, then nobody did. Disregarding my feelings proved to be destructive; my emotions were bottled and my relationships lackluster. Some people could express themselves, whereas I thought myself to be simply incapable. I thought I was just different or misunderstood. I foolishly listened to an inner voice and assured myself that I did not need anyone, so I never sought consolation.
Those were the loneliest years of my life, yet I have neither anger nor resentment. I would not trade those years for anything. The comfort I found in those who understood what I was going through overshadow the nights I felt completely alone. I know when I am experiencing true happiness because of my familiarity with depression. My vision to inspire those who are struggling is solidified when I remember the years my heart ached.
I am a firm believer that every voice is important and that everyone has a story to tell. In April 2014, I decided to start a video series of my own called Tell Your Story: Tallahassee (TYST).
Stories of our lives have the potential to engage, educate, and inspire an audience. The beauty of stories is that every single person has one. Everyone has gone through something that has made them who they are today – and they are all equally compelling and complicated as the next. My hope is that sharing stories will humanizes people and encourages us not to just tolerate, but to make an effort to truly accept and understand one another.