This blog post was written by mentee Angely Morel on our past December column writing workshop with writer and former mentee, Romaissaa Benzizoune.
I was sitting in a room full of powerful women front row with my mentor. I was awkwardly front row waiting for the monthly speaker to come up. As she walked to the front I was surprised because she was so young. That night I caught myself laughing and relating with a Girls Write Now speaker. Her name is Romaissaa Benzizoune.
At the workshop she spoke about her column writings and opinions. A column is a repeating feature in a print or online publication that follows a theme. Some column themes are current events, politics, culture, and opinions. Romaissaa read to us some of her column pieces.
One piece she read was about her experience at the beach in her burkini. She felt that she and other woman who wear burkinis were unwelcome. I thought she had a fair point of view and a strong voice. I could relate to what she was saying and feeling. She said everything with so much love and emotion.
After she read her work to us, Romaissaa talked about writing for the New York Times and going to school at New York University. It amazed me that she could do both. After the workshop on my way home in the car I was ranting to my parents about how great she is. She goes to NYU, writes pieces for the New York Times, and still acts and likes to be treated like any other person — how genuine! My parents told me that it was good that I found someone who inspired me and opened my eyes. I even asked myself “is writing something I want to pursue in the future?”
The next day out of the blue straight from the shower on my bed with my PJs I put Netflix aside and started writing. I wrote two stories, and while writing it I was thinking that if it weren’t for Romaissaa I would be watching videos instead. It felt so great to finish writing my own piece on my on time, not because my teachers or mentors expect me to do so. The fact that Romaissaa was a mentee at Girls Write Now, that she was almost my age, and that she came back to speak to us is what really inspired me to write more. I started off being insecure of my writing but now I am motivated to share my work and to let people read it. I want to write more because I thought to myself that there might be a possibility that one day I might be like her.