I had always assumed - or more accurately, I hoped - that one day I would grow up, bury my past dramas, and emerge with buckets of wisdom I could sprinkle in my writing and send it off into the world. I would grow up, then write about how I did it, and what I learned. I always thought it would just happen, like maybe at 16 you learn to drive, at 21 you're old enough to go to comedy clubs, and then 26 hits you're instantly mature and wise. Granted I'm not 26 yet, but I have a feeling it's not going to pan out that way.

I'm not certain, but I think a lot of young people feel this way. We feel afraid to speak our minds, to contribute to a debate or even a conversation. For years I've documented various experiences I've had, thinking one day I'll share what I've learned and maybe it will help people or entertain them, or maybe they'll hate them. But for years I have refrained, never sharing anything I've written, closeting my stories, locking them behind a very intense padlock. The only piece of writing I've ever shared has been intended strictly for a professor's eyes, in a paper I probably spent a miserable hour writing. For years I've felt that I lack the appropriate wisdom, or rather, the appropriate experience, to write anything that can be perceived as remotely meaningful. Maybe when I'm 26, but certainly not now.

So many of us hold back, refrain from having an idea or opinion — we conceal our opinions assuming they're not as important as those of a real adult. In fact I'm not sure I had a real opinion — certainly not one I would send off into a debate and actively defend — until fall of 2017. Our ideas may not be perfect or spoken with the confidence only years of experience can account for, but they demand to be said. Of course, there are those few young adults, the angsty and headstrong ones who spout their ideas with the confidence only years of praise can allot for, but in my experience, they come few and far between. For lots of us, it is terrifying and sometimes seemingly pointless to express our ideas, but I am beginning to understand how very important it is. Sure I may not have a ton of life experience yet, but I can't expect to gain anything while waiting in the wings with my mouth locked shut. We all have ideas, stories, and opinions, and it is becoming increasingly important that we share them.