My past self holds the keys to my imagination


Paulina Diesen

An old yearbook photo of me—this was during my long-lasting addiction with reading and books.

I’m a writer. 

I’m telling you this as you’re on a website that perfectly documents my thoughts and the little events in my life. 

Writers are action-takers; they step into the world, and they expose the twisted nature of our universe through the simplicity of words. 

I could be considered an action-taker, someone who wants to bring injustice to light and who likes to have her thoughts heard, but in my past, a ten-year-old Paulina sits on a rock at her bus stop and is focused on one action: reading. 

Throughout my elementary years, I was known to have a book in my hands at all times. My best friend’s earliest memory of me is when I asked her to hold my book, and she was berated by my sister who insisted that she had stolen my precious paperback. 

To put it into perspective, and I fully mean to brag, I finished my sixth-grade year having read over eight million words. 

I used to be an observer, someone who only longed to see the world through another’s eyes but never took the small step to weave my own views into a reality. 

That has since changed, but recently, I’ve found myself longing for the simplicity of reading words. 

I could instill whatever meaning I wanted into the pages of the hundreds of books I read, and I never had to worry about the repercussions of a hidden passage in a story or the regret of revealing parts of myself in a period of passionate carelessness. 

Being an observer has its own magic. You are able to fully appreciate the intricacies of those around you. I was able to walk into a room and instantly create a storyline—usually involving dragons and magical beings—that revolved around that room. Now, I enter a room and instantly criticize the atmosphere to create a logical overview of the whole room. 

My best friend’s earliest memory of me is when I asked her to hold my book, and she was berated by my sister who insisted that she had stolen my precious paperback.

— Paulina Diesen

I’ve been praised for this ability, but I long for the magic and ignorance of my innocent reader self. 

I’ve taken the steps into becoming the writer I am now, a writer who spends hours trying to create the jumble of observations, thoughts, and emotions whirling inside her small body into a tidy set of words that others can read and relate to. 

As much as I am regretful for letting go of my non-action-prone self, the Paulina whose only goal was to continue the fantasies she found in between the pages and bring them into her everyday life, I’m thankful sometimes for my ability to share my inner thoughts with others. 

The Paulina of words found it hard to be herself, to be proud of her accomplishments, or to share her feelings without changing them to be congruous with others. Now, I understand the beauty and the importance of revealing pieces of myself. 

If I had continued timidly with my life as a reader, I might have left this world with no one knowing my true self. 

But because I took the step into my insecurities and took the time to knit them into a readable story, I now know that my biggest fears have been abated and that I will leave my mark on this world simply by being uniquely me through the most beautiful art: writing.