A Moment of Honesty

February 20, 2023

Nylah Watkins is a fun person who loves to dance and write stories. She wants to become a great choreographer with her own dance company and have writing incorporated into what she does in the future. She is vegan/vegetarian (she just can’t give up cheese!) and one of her favorite hobbies is finding new ways to turn non-vegan foods into vegan foods.

This story took place in United States

Pledge to Take Action

This story is part of Girls Write Now and Channel Kindness’ Kindness Collection. To learn more about Girls Write Now – a nonprofit organization dedicated to amplifying girls and gender-expansive voices – visit girlswritenow.org!

Five short monologues that unpack the intimate questions that reveal bits of yourself, but show who you are in sharing them with the world.

What is the shape of your body?

I am shaped of the world.

The long rivers twisting and turning up and down my legs.

The little Black stars splattered across my back.

I am shaped of the highest mountains; tall, strong and unbending.

And of the clouds, shapeshifting by the hour.

I am formed of those who came before me—a little piece of each one upheld in the intricate map of my face.

And of the universe, filled with so many wonderful yet mysterious things to which I don’t think I’ll ever find the meaning of.

I am shaped of the world, round and round and round, forever spinning into what my next shape may be.

What would you say if you could? 

As people, we tend to lie. To never say what we truly feel for the sake of being kind, not appearing blunt, or in attempt to appease others’ simple mindedness.

Yet, I’ve always wondered.

What would happen if I told this boy I like him instead of running across the hallway to avoid him like he was the flu?

If I stopped worrying about what other people thought all the time, and for once said NO.

I would give my opinion—not the sugarcoated, half-baked, unseasoned one, but the juicy, delicious one. You know, the kind that will find a way to live in others’ minds for a while.

I would tell my friends how much I love them and how they have changed me even if they’ve never known it.

I would  finally say: ”I know we just met for the first time in 6 years, but I think I’ve always loved you.”

If I could, I’d probably say anything—No, I would say everything I’ve ever felt. The problem is, those words are so far in the pit of my stomach, and yet, they are stuck in the back of my throat, itching to come out. And though it pains to keep it in, I am far too scared of the truth for when it comes out.

For the year

If I had the year to live, I wouldn’t waste my time.

These long days and longer nights are filled with expectations, stacked with piles of homework, topped off with the haunting fact that I’ll have to do it all again tomorrow.

I would love nothing more than to see the world.

To drop everything, and just run. I would run and run, sprinting like Bolt, and running straight to the airport, never looking back. I’d wait anxiously, excitedly, for the man in the speakers to say, “Flight to the rest of the world—boarding now.”

I would board that plane, taking in my spontaneous sense of adventure, induced by the knowledge of a limited life that I  always had. Breathing slowly and steadily, preparing for the first and last year of my life.

30? 90? 

It has always been said that the youth is wasted on the young. This is a strange thing to hear, when you are young, but it makes all the sense when you are not. To be 30 at 90, or to be 90 at 30?  To live in an old body with a fresh mind, or to be in a young one, with memories of a lifetime. If this were me, the latter would be more appealing. Using my old soul to charm the world, while having the energy to do it. Mingling with everyone, but not accepting anyone’s foolishness: there is no more energy to be wasted on such things. To be 90 at 30, would allow for a second chance to break the cycle of the young; never going for the crazy things in life out of fear. Whether it be calling that old friend, auditioning for that school, admitting to  someone you dig them,  boogieing to the music in a public park,  always telling those you love how much you do, or simply not caring what people think.

Yes, I would be 90 at 30, never taking my momentous life for granted until I am old and fragile enough to do so.

Waking up with…

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey, I wonder what they’re thinking?”, or have needed to know anything or everything, when you catch yourself staring at people like they are the world’s most intriguing movie?

The power to read minds, I admit, is intriguing. Seeing inside someone’s thoughts, taking in the what, who, or why they are would be amazing. But it would be too much. Way, way, too much.

Instead, I wish I could heal, ease the soreness of the mind and soul, and walk with someone’s emotions to connect them with my own. I would not only ease, but show them the way to their own healing. Almost like a messenger bird, delivering  joyful songs of their journey to their future.


Responding to questions posed by Bhanu Kapil and the New York Times, my mentor and I wrote and shared short essays—Sarah trying to incorporate Nylah’s poetry, and Nylah, Sarah’s detail. This piece is a selection of Nylah’s most revealing passages.

Pledge to Take Action