Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.
I’m a college student, a feminist, a lover of the arts, a hopeless romantic, a madwoman, a child of God and a writer. I have one more year left to go before earning my bachelor’s degree, I’m majoring in English-Writing with a minor in Philosophy, and I have my own hopes and dreams for the future. I’m an independent young woman who is worthy because of something more valuable than beauty or talents. I love everything creative and expressive: movies, poetry, books, short stories, paintings, music, etc. I may be a hopeless romantic, but I’m also realistic; that is, I see the darkness, but I can also see the light at the end of the tunnel if I look hard enough. I call myself a madwoman in the sense that I’m a bit crazy; I like making people laugh. Sometimes I succeed, other times I just come off as strange or slightly mad. I’m a Christian who’s always asking questions, always searching for answers, and always learning something new every day. And I write so that I may speak.
Though I don’t remember a lot of my childhood, some memories that stick out the most involved daydreaming about certain stories, and I still have old keepsakes that remind me of those times. If there was ever a story that I got really into or a movie that I particularly enjoyed, I’d want to be a part of the story myself. As a child I could spend a whole day dreaming about it, and if I had the opportunity I’d write about it. Once I collaborated with a friend of mine in elementary school and we wrote our own version of one of the Harry Potter stories, adding certain characters and laughing at how much we made fun of Draco Malfoy.
Once I got into middle school, it ended for a while. My friend moved away, my other friends and I drifted apart, and I was becoming a teenager. It was a very dark time. I didn’t take up writing again until eighth grade, after I was diagnosed with a disease called Ulcerative Colitis. It was the first time I had ever heard of a sickness that wouldn’t go away, so when I was told that I’d have it forever I was completely devastated. To make a long story short, I picked up writing again after getting into more stories, even getting close to writing my own series of books based on fan fiction.
Once I started high school I learned that, if nothing else, I could write. My favorite teacher gave me an A on a speech I wrote—even though the oral presentation itself was less than mediocre—and told me that I could really use it. I was embarrassed to share it at first, but thrilled to know that I could be good at something if I wanted to be. Writing became a safe haven for me; a temporary sanctuary in the middle of the storm, the eye of the hurricane to my life. But after a life changing event, I’ve been learning how to use my sanctuary and make it into a way to fight back against the darkness.
Four years ago I went on a mission’s trip to an American Indian reservation in Minnesota. I went with my church, and I made some good friends there. One night in the middle of the week, we were singing worship songs when a friend of mine started crying. All of the boys left the room so that the girls could talk, and we shared the stories that shaped us. I had the courage to share mine as well, but what I heard shocked me. Some were suffering from divorce breaking up their families. For another, her boyfriend had died in a car crash barely a week before she left for the trip. Another was suffering from low self-esteem and deep insecurity, thanks to bullies. And one of my best friends had been suffering from anorexia for years. But something that I’ll never forget was the conversation that this friend and I had after we talked to the other girls in our group. She told me that, like me, she too had wanted to commit suicide. But she didn’t because she knew that there were people who loved her, and she thanked me for not going through with ending my own life.
It was there that I found my light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not good with speaking publicly, mostly because I tend to be shy. But that night made me think that I could use my sanctuary and expand it to others who’d might want it; to reach out to other people and say “hey, I’ve been there too. I know others who’ve been there and who are still there. You’re not alone; I’m with you if you want me to be.”
Some friends of mine have been encouraging me to start a blog, so that’s what I’m doing. Unless I find a reason to do otherwise, I’ll be writing my opinions or thoughts on something random or deep, like something I found interesting in the Bible, a movie or a book, or just something else. If you have anything you’d like for me to write about, don’t be afraid to say so. I’m completely open to criticism as long as it’s constructive; any hateful, spam-related or vulgar comments will be deleted. I already have a few ideas in mind of what I want to write about, but again if you want me to write about something then you can.
Until next week, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”