It started out like any school day. I dragged myself out of bed at six and performed my morning routine with one eye open. Before I realized, the bell had rung and students were trudging through the hallways, trying to avoid another tardy.
The sixteen of us – fourteen TeenPEP educators along with two teachers were already settled down in a circle of wooden chairs in the library. A gust of crisp wind blew in through the squeaky hinges of the old windows and our teacher spoke.
“When do you feel most alone?” At once, the sound of tired brain gears whirred through the eerie silence.
“When I’m not with my friends.” Answers slowly came in a clockwise direction and everyone nodded.
“When I’m by myself.”
Then, it was my turn. Without even realizing, words slipped out of my mouth.
“When I’m in a crowded room, but no one understands me.” An ovation of claps sounded through the air and many solemn nods were seen.
I grinned sheepishly.
I never had an accurate perception of myself. I never took the hints into account, but that day, I found myself.
I grew up watching my photographer father surround himself with visual aesthetics. I have spent my life immersed in art. I am just like everyone else, but at the same time, I am not. I am an artist, often misunderstood. A creator. A producer. An activist who is not afraid to speak up and to stand out. I am a filmmaker.