How My Love Of Stories Made Me Into An Activist
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

How My Love Of Stories Made Me Into An Activist

I made a world to survive. I don't want others to have to do that, too.

How My Love Of Stories Made Me Into An Activist

I've been a writer for just about my whole life. I've always written these incredibly elaborate stories. I created a world in my head with politics and characters to rival Tolkien and Lewis and even George RR Martin. The worlds I have made are complex. They allow me to interpret the things I have been through in my life. I don't remember much of my childhood, but I do remember those stories. I once made up a being called a Creature who could transform into humans and had some sort of ray come out of their hand/paw/hoof/foot that may or may not have correlated to a system similar to Pokemon types. My protagonist was the daughter of a Creature and an evil Sorcerer. She had lots of names: Katherine, named for Katherine the Great (one of my heroes as a child); Ivy (that one didn't last long); and even Via (the name my sister, who couldn't say "Christi" when we were very young, would call me). She could become a Phoenix, a wolf, or a Raven, and had eyes of bright green. She could become pure light or pure darkness, read minds, become invisible, or even a spirit made of pure fire. She was what I wanted to be.

These stories dealt with the social justice issues I saw that were immediately relevant to my life. My characters would fight against evil, but I always made sure my villains were complex. They had families; sometimes they had good intentions but not-so-good morals or ways of going about those things. Some were possessed by demons, free only when there was a sword in their bellies. Those were my favorite villains, perhaps because they were the ones I was most familiar with.

Now, these social justice issues I mentioned: what were they? Simple: violence against women; racism; LGBTQ+ rights; education; healthcare; fascism; imperialism and empire. I was a smart kid, and I read multiple books a week. I read James Joyce's Ulysses when I was ten, an age far too young to read Ulysses but nonetheless, I got the gist of it. But I would hear my friends tell me stories. My friend Sandra told me once, crying on the playground, that her undocumented uncle was being deported, and she was scared her mother and brothers would be next. My friend Madi told me of the kids who came to her mother's daycare with bruises, but child protective services would find nothing at the home when her mother called them. And in my own home, my life was falling apart like a sandcastle in a rainstorm that started as sprinkling and became a typhoon.

It was times like this where my stories, my worlds, gave me hope. There are moments in my life where I have become the Katherine/Ivy/Via persona to not only save myself but others. Over time, the person I created in my mind and sometimes on the page became a part of me, and when I was Thirteen I gave her a title: Protector of the Invisible.

Over time, I guess I became that, too.

Sometimes, when I dream, I'm back there, this Land of the Invisible where the world is made of forests, cities that look less like Chicago and more like the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi. The evils of this world seeped into the world in my own mind, only there I could defeat them. Not here.

Until I realized, many years later, that I could.

As I came into my own, I tried to abandon my stories. And then I accepted my bisexuality. And then Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner. And then two girls began attending my church, undocumented women who were always afraid of being deported. When I was a senior in high school there was a #blacklivesmatter protest run by some college students that my friend and I spontaneously joined, an act that largely influenced my decision in coming here to Goshen to study.

I realized I had a voice. These injustices I saw, that I defeated in my own mind with superpowers and the like, could be defeated here, with my own human hands. So I got to work. I am learning. I am discovering so much about myself. I have seen trauma; I am a survivor. But I have decided to spend my life as a Protector, not only for myself but for those who will come after me. No one should have to know the trauma I knew. I made up stories and worlds because my imagination saved me from becoming a shell. No one should be afraid of coming home. No one should have to make up worlds in their mind in order to survive. And that's what I want to do. I want to stop that.

And yes, I know that's impossible. But if I can stop it for one person, even just one, then I've done something right. I can still try the impossible. What matters is that I am going to try.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments