This week I’ll be at the RESOLVE (The National Infertility Association)’s “Night of Hope,” and it got me thinking…
Many people go through life trying to figure out exactly what they want to do for a living: I have always known – as if nothing else made sense.
I have always wanted to write. Always wanted to tell stories.
I remember the exact moment I knew I wanted to be a journalist.
I was in 8th grade. The newsmagazine “Focus” sent two women journalists over to write a profile of the first IVF baby in the United States now that she was a pre-teen.
My parents and I had been down this road before. We figured it would be the same routine it always was: Host the writers for a few days, give them a snapshot of what our life was like, answer some silly questions, pose for silly photos and they’d be on their way.
But it wasn’t like that at all.
The writer lived in Germany and wrote for a German magazine, but was born in France and spoke impeccable English. She asked questions in English, took notes in French and then translated them in to German.
She was gorgeous and brilliant.
She asked insightful questions and had what seemed like the most glamorous job in the world to me.
The photographer the magazine sent over was from California: She had long blonde hair, didn’t shave and had photographed war zones. And here she was, this award-winning photographer, taking photos of me in the barren wintertime of New England and shooting me with the same zeal I imagined she would have photographing the Queen of England.
Together they were a force to be reckoned with – and I was fascinated.
They spent a week with my family and I.
Maggie, the photographer, took me rock climbing for the first time, while Anna taught me the perfect way to tie a silk scarf around my neck and make it look flawless – as if it took no effort at all.
They were the first writers who really took the time to get to know me: they didn’t just ask their questions and get their answers. They watched my behavior, met my friends, saw me cry.
After just a week, I came to realize they knew me better than most of my close friends did.
It made me want to know people they way they knew me.
I wanted that job. I wanted to know people on a level so intimate that I could just look at them and have an idea of what a certain movement, or intonation meant.
So, I started to interview my interviewers: What kind of school did you need to become a journalist? Why do you love it? Why do you hate it? Where have you been? What have you seen?
When they had enough material to file their story about me, they packed up and left. And while they weren’t friends, I couldn’t help but think that it was sad to know these powerful, amazing women were exiting my life and I would likely never see them again–and I never did.
That was one of the best experiences I had as a child in the spotlight.
But there were terrible times, too.
There were times people wrote things that weren’t true about me; times ugly words were printed about my family.
Times I wanted to crawl in a hole and curl up and not see the light of day because of photographs an awkward, pre-teen girl should never see print or be blown up on printed pages.
And yet, that’s my life.
From day one it’s been documented.
In a way, it’s hard to imagine that I would have a career as anything other than a journalist.
What else would a byproduct of the media do?