Some people ice-skate. Some people dance. Other people find themselves through music. As for me, I write. From cinquains to short stories, writing has always been something I love, because it allows me to hear the inner voice within me that I don’t always get to hear when I’m around others. Whether it’s for an essay or poem dedicated to a friend, once the tip of my pen impinges on paper, it ceases to halt. It’s as if the pen I’m holding becomes a bow to the Stradivarius violin that’s my paper, and instead of mere words, there’s music that doesn’t just sing but actuate. To me, writing is a work of art that not only screams marked individuality but complete mastery over the English language itself. It’s like opening a window that introduces fresh air and sunlight into a convoluted environment that’s my mind, bringing my thoughts to life in way that no other medium can. And for that, I’m extraordinarily grateful.

From unexpected flashes of lightning to the rumbling sound of thunder, it’s not difficult to see why most people frown at the sight of thunderstorms. Plans are cancelled, the sky’s veiled in a somber grey color— leaving you with no choice but to stay inside until it stops. Maybe it’s the nostalgic feeling of warmth I get when I see rain droplets rolling down the side of a window, but instead of feeling exasperated at the sight of thunderstorms, I feel invigorated. It’s as if the storm brewing outside were a metaphorical depiction of the inside of my mind, from the howling wind to the flashes of lightning symbolizing the birth of a new idea. I can almost picture myself at six years old, cocooned in a mountain of blankets with a pen and a journal in hand, eyebrows furrowed as I furiously scribbled away every train of thought, dream, or idea that came to mind. Many years have passed and yet I still find myself with the same intense expression, as if time was of no existence in the world of only words and reveries.

What do I write about? I write about the times when I felt sad, ecstatic, hopeful, angry, or even pessimistic— everything that I’ve always wanted to say but never actually had the chance to say aloud. I write about the savory aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the beating of my heart set to allegro right before I’m about to run a race. But most of all, I write about the people around me. I write about the earnest expression of a young boy I see outside of a supermarket, offering to carry an elderly women’s bags. I write about the frustration of an overachiever who’s constantly been told all her life that she’s not “smart” enough by her family of doctors. I write about the forced smile of a classmate as he desperately tries to hide the depression that’s eating him from the inside. I write about the rush of adrenaline pulsing through a football star’s body as the crowd erupts into cheers during the final touchdown. It’s amazing how blind you can be to the world in front of you, until you stop to take a moment to absorb everything that’s happening in the distance.

Writing makes me feel as if I’m transported into a place where instead of a billion voices talking simultaneously all around me, I can only hear one— my own voice. A place where I can really process my own thoughts and not be influenced by another voice in the distance. And after all these years of writing, I’ve realized what I’ve wanted: For other people to hear that voice. All I know is that one day, I hope that people will want to hear what I have to say.