Everyone has a story
And mine begins in Stone Mountain, Georgia and the year was 1991. I was born to a single mother at 19, but it definitely took a village to raise me. I come from a long line of storytellers. Stories kept my family together. Through the power of storytelling, the memories of those who had passed came alive again, we could travel anywhere in time, but above all stories kept us laughing - even through times when we would have rather cried.
Growing up, I lived with my great-grandparents in Stone Mountain Village. Being a child of the 90's I found many ways to entertain myself when I grew bored. I've always loved books even before I knew how to read. I would look at the pictures and create my own stories to share aloud. My great-grandparents always encouraged this curiosity. I remember sitting on my Papi's lap as he told me stories starting with the line - "en aquel tiempo" - and of our island, Puerto Rico. Though in that time I had never seen it for my eyes, with his words I could see it in my heart.
From an early age, I had an affinity for the arts. Most young children do, until they are made to focus on a hobby deemed more useful.
In High School I fell in love with the stage, and not just with performing, but with the friendships I made through every show. Beginning in my sophomore year, I had the privilege to attend Firespark! every summer. The friendships and connections I made through this camp are still close to me today.
After graduating high school, I moved from Loganville, Georgia to Atlanta for college at Kennesaw State University. By the end of my first year, I declared myself a Theatre and Performance Studies major. I was so hesitant, because I was afraid I would be wasting my time and scholarship on a useless arts education. Everyday I spent as an undeclared major taking my general ed courses, I woke up with a longing so deep, I just couldn't shake it.
Eventually, the fear of never knowing what I could be outweighed the fear that I would fail.
During that first year, I lost my Papi. I found myself riddled with grief, and I would talk non-stop about him and what he meant to me. And all of the stories he shared with me as a girl came flooding back. It was like he breathed a second life through the stories he left behind.
Then I found the KSU Tellers, and I learned how to mold and transform my personal narratives into something digestible and tangible. I learned to craft something larger than myself.
I graduated KSU magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in 2015. I was able to travel. I quickly found a steady job in marketing. I thought my fun was over, I needed to build a career because telling stories was NOT going to pay off my student loan debt. After getting signed with an agency and booking a couple of national commercials, I thought the y'allywood stars had aligned. But there truly is no story in smiling for toothpaste commercials... something was missing.
So I ran away to Ireland - for a visit. I took a bus ride from Dublin to Cork, Ireland where I kissed the Blarney stone and traced my family's history back to Queen Maeb of Northern Ireland - the wrathful Fairy Queen who waged a war over a bull. Now, this was a cool find.
I've always felt like a misfit, but through the power of storytelling - I can clearly see my place in this crazy world. The stories were just waiting for me to dust them off the shelf. And I want to help you find your story, too.