Last Thursday, my mom and I were invited to We Day Toronto as media.
The day started at 5:00 AM (yes, you read that correctly). Barely conscious, my mom and I stumbled around to get ready, and as per usual in the Wyatt family, left a half-hour late. After the next few hours of coffee and early-morning driving and a Red Bull for my mom and running to catch GO trains, we finally made it.
— Rossana Wyatt (@RossanaWyatt) October 1, 2015
(please excuse the face)
From start to finish, the lineup was amazing. It included musicians like Nick Jonas and Hedley to Hozier and Shawn Mendes (!!!), actors like Henry Winkler and Marlee Matlin and friggin’ awesome people like Spencer West, Silken Laumann, and Annaleise Carr.
Demi Lovato was a great host, despite her jokes to the contrary. Everyone who spoke had a message and a beautiful one at that; Joseph Boyden’s speech was my favourite, I think, because he spoke about how writing helped him out of a dark place, and a part of me can really relate to that. And Annaleise Carr? Man, that takes some dedication. Youngest ever person to swim Lake Ontario. I can barely make it up three flights of my school’s stairs, so that’s even more of an accomplishment to me.
We Day was a great opportunity for me. I had the opportunity to be inspired, motivated; I saw some of my biggest role models and found new ones. I found new strength in all these stories of people who accomplished their dreams—because if they can, what’s to say I can’t?
(I also—and yes, this has to be put in here—got to see Shawn Mendes perform live (!!!!!!!) from, like, a very short distance, which was probably one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. Like:
Seriously. Also, if these photos are shaky, it’s probably because I was freaking out.)
I’ve been to two other We Days before, one two years ago in Toronto and another last year in Kitchener/Waterloo. Both as media. I’m not saying this to brag, promise—in fact, if I’m being really honest, being at We Day makes me feel a little like a fraud.
I’m not saying this for attention. Honestly, coming back from We Day, I don’t feel worthy of having been there. I don’t do much. I don’t campaign for girls’ education. I don’t raise money for homeless. I once tried to run an anti-bullying blog, but I wasn’t in any state to help others out of depression back then. I just sit here at the computer in my basement and write. Sometimes it’s a story. Sometimes it’s a blog post about not harassing female reporters. But it’s not a manifesto for change. It’s not the beginnings of something that will better the world.
But the thing is that writing is all I know how to do. I don’t know how to change the world. I don’t know how to start a foundation for starving kids in Africa or spearhead a feminist campaign. I’m sixteen, almost seventeen. I don’t know much about life—hell, I barely know what to do with mine. But I do know how to write. I’m no James Joyce or Hemingway, but I know how to write, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it. And that’s my way of making a difference. I write stories about depression and mental health and insecurities and hope that someday, someone might read them and like my main characters, want to get better. I write these blog posts about feminism and society and hope that maybe someone will get it, that someone will understand. I bleed angry words into poems so someone who’s angry and bitter and sad too can relate.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. I choose the pen.
Some more photos from We Day: