“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
—Allen Ginsberg, WD
The other night I watched The Rum Diary, based on Hunter S. Thompson’s fictitious novel about a journalist who goes to Puerto Rico to work at a crumbling newspaper in the middle of steaming heat and political upheaval. The movie reminded me of why I wanted to become a journalist in the first place. When I was a child I had nerve and guts and I never did what I was told. As I became older and more socialised I stopped following my instincts and started following the crowd instead. But inside of me there’s still a nervy little child saying fuck you to every social worker who tramples the doorstep looking for reasons to take her away.
I want to be a journalist, because I want to take back my life. And the only way I know how is to write it.
Thompson’s protagonist Paul Kemp says, “I have no voice. I don’t know how to write like me.” Isn’t it how we all feel at some stage? Like we have nothing worthwhile to say, that nobody’s listening anyway.
Then I stumbled upon this Ginsberg quote, and it lifted the fog from my nay-saying inner voice. I am who I am. And I do have a voice. It may be riddled with contradictions and strife, the last dregs of teenage angst still clinging to the edges, but it is there, and it is audible. If only to me.

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