KAITLYN BORYSIEWICZ ON FINDING HER VOICE
Behind #KaitlynCreates: Unearthing a Passion to Help Others Find Their Voice
I lost my voice around the time I was in sixth grade. It was likely a culmination of circumstances that led up to that point, but the straw that broke my 11-year-old back was during one homeroom where, in front of the entire class the teacher told me and her students that I was dense, stupid. The timid kid I was, I didn’t go back telling my private school teacher off; I didn’t even tell my parents. I accepted her judgement quietly, because in my heart I believed it to be true.
So, I lost my voice. I self-isolated myself from making friends, from forming connections because as it turns out people are horrible and will find every way to hurt you. I left that private school, went to a new public secondary school and the cycle of isolation began once again. My favorite person to hang out with was the guidance counselor. When I could, I snuck into the career center to eat lunch, or in desperate times, the bathroom. As much as I tried to shrink in, I still couldn’t escape the awfulness of pubescent children. One time, a girl named Irene accused me of stealing her necklace and told all of her friends – voiceless, I accepted the accusation. Another time, I fled out of a classroom as the teacher silently allowed one of her students to make fun of my stutter. High school, truly, was a terrible time and I couldn’t have felt more alone.
Through all of this voiceless-ness, I could at least escape on paper. I loved writing as a kid. The first book I ever penned was a 4-page tour de force about Sissy and her budding friendship with an outdoor flower. At my parents’ home I still riffle through collections of old first grade writing journals, filled with small doodles and funny insights into the thoughts of an elementary school kid. Even today, I was pinged by a reporter at Vox who wanted to chat with me about a blog I wrote for an upcoming story. If I had lost all of my confidence and willingness to speak out loud, I could at least find comfort and validation through my writing.
Trauma aside, writing is one of my best skills, probably the best if I am honest with myself. Rather selfishly I never thought of using my skills for others because for so long, it was my outlet, my space – if you know what I mean. It was the only safe place where my voice was not lost; why would I open it up for others?
But then people started asking. Wow, I wish I was good with words. You should write for me! Ijust don’t know how to explain myself – help! And for the first time I realized this skill I had nourished out of loneliness was something other people could benefit from.
What I began to gather, sorting through requests and samples of drafts, was that the same voiceless-ness I had consumed in my speaking voice was just as nearly present in so many of these written words sent over to my inbox. People, on paper, were struggling with their voice, as I had struggled with mine. I could feel that people were second guessing themselves on paper, capriciously going back and forth between finetuning a single word while the substantial essence of their message floated away. I knew deep down what that felt like.
And so, I started to accept copywriting requests. I sat down with people to hear their stories and their experiences. When they talked, they weren’t second guessing themselves or filterinG out their experiences. They were honest, unconcerned with finding the best word to use to describe a feeling or situation. All I had to do was take that substance and churn it into written narratives that matched their feelings and voices. In the midst of all this, I am slowly starting to share more and more of myself through my writing. But, maybe a bigger accomplishment, I am trusting myself to gently handle the stories that are shared with me from others. I am letting myself explore another person’s life without fear of retaliation or rejection. When my therapist asked me to summarize my life mission in our last session, and I knew writing and giving people a voice had to be intrinsically part of that mission. And here’s what I came up with:
My mission is to unearth and strengthen your truest voice and self-image through writing, bringing your stories to the forefront of your being.
Kaitlyn Ramirez Borysiewicz is the founder of Kaitlyn Borysiewicz: Content Creator, a copywriting and Squarespace design consulting venture. She is also the co-founder of The Melanin Collective, a community-building platform for women of color based in Washington, DC. Her life revolves around her dog, Hershey, and you can see his adventures on @hershey_thelab
Follow Kaitlyn on IG at @_kaitlyncreates