Natalie Mix visualizes the world through her story telling


April Hunt

One of Natalie’s senior photos at Sparrow’s Coffee in GR Michigan

Only senior Natalie Mix has a strong enough passion for the art of words that she would find herself stepping on, over, and through furniture for a good story.

“I have been writing my whole life,” Natalie said. “When I was a kid, I would pick up books from around my house, and I would walk laps through my living room and kitchen, stepping on the couches and all over the furniture, just reading—except I wouldn’t actually be reading the words on the page. I would be the one writing the story.”

Although Natalie’s writing style has gone through many changes and developmental stages before she could reach her current status of impeccable writer and editor of The Central Trend, it was clear that she would make the little girl who spoke her fiction stories aloud very proud.

One of Natalie’s key moments in her journey as a writer was joining The Central Trend her freshman year. One particular memory that stands out for Natalie from that year is her first ever vulnerable column being published.

“I wrote a column called, ‘I’ll be okay,’ and I wrote about my seasonal depression,” Natalie said. “I remember being more nervous to put this story, something so vulnerable, out there than any other story I had published previously. And I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, what if I get in trouble for this?’ but when it came time to do story of the month like we used to, I won column of the month with that story. And I think back to that moment frequently because now I write so beyond that level of vulnerability, but I will always remember writing that one because of how powerful it was for me.”

Ever since freshman year, when Natalie first started pushing boundaries with her writing, she started finding comfort not only with the words she published, but also in the TCT room itself.

Natalie explains having vivid memories of spending her school days looking forward to the moment she could step into the TCT room for sixth hour because regardless of how the first five hours of her day went, TCT was her home-base, the place she knew she could always count on to be there.

“Particularly every single year on the first day of school,” Natalie said, “just arriving at sixth hour and hearing Mr. George say, “Welcome home” as I entered the room, I knew I made it. I couldn’t wait to sit in a circle and introduce myself to all the new students who I could only hope would find a home here just like I did. I remember being the freshman that didn’t know anybody, and I idolized the veteran staff, and I just wanted to be that person for someone.”

I couldn’t wait to sit in a circle and introduce myself to all the new students who I could only hope would find a home here just like I did. I remember being the freshmen that didn’t know anybody, and I idolized the veteran staff, and I just wanted to be that person for someone.

— Natalie Mix

Being the editor, Natalie now gets to experience what it’s like being the veteran staff that incoming students look up to, and although that feeling is amazing, there is a large variety of new responsibilities and lessons that come with being editor.

One of the biggest lessons she learned was how her presence had an impact on the people around her.

“There are a lot of stressful moments being editor,” Natalie said, “and sometimes, being that overwhelmed would put me in a negative mindset, and [Emma, Avery, and I] weren’t always the best at saying, ‘Okay, we’re gonna work past this stress.’ We were just like, ‘We’re stressed, and you’re gonna know it.’ And after seeing how that affected not only us, but literally everyone in the room, we weren’t getting the results we wanted because no one is going to be motivated when the editors can’t even keep it together, and it reached a point where I was like, ‘We can’t act like this anymore.’”

Realizations such as this one are some of the best learning moments that Natalie has had as an editor because at the root of the job, it’s about being a leader for something that she and everyone else in the room are passionate about: writing. Without minor setbacks, no one would learn the ability to adapt and change the narrative in order to have a better experience all around.

Another lesson that Natalie has learned on a more personal level is the ability to be present.

“I don’t just want to remember it all,” Natalie explained. “I want to be here for it all, and I don’t want to watch my life happen to me. I want to feel it happen to me. And writing has helped me do that. I was actively more present this year than I ever thought I could be because I was forcing myself to be like, ‘How am I being in the moment right now? Am I sucking at it? Let’s get better at it.’ And yeah, sometimes I was sucking at it, but I also grew so much in so many ways, and it’s crazy to think how far I’ve come.”

Whether it be sharing stories about being in the moment, like Natalie has been doing every three weeks this entire school year with her editor’s columns, or simply making up fictional fairytales as a child, writing, or more accurately storytelling, has shaped the most important parts of Natalie’s life.

Through writing, she found her passion, her future, her friends, and, ultimately, her home within the small confines of room 139.

“I started writing stories as a kid,” Natalie said, “but when I first started writing for TCT, I felt like I stopped writing stories as much—constantly writing columns that didn’t feel like a story to me and profiles and features that didn’t feel like a story to me. And I don’t remember what point it clicked, but I suddenly realized that everything I write for The Central Trend is a story. Whether you’re telling someone else’s story or a story from your own thoughts, it revolutionized the way I write, and it made it so I was proud of everything I published, and it makes me confident I’ll continue to write in my future because the essence of our world is essentially just finding people to tell other people stories, and that’s what I can do.”