Finally Emma Lattin

I remember sitting in my 2nd grade class in Brentwood, CA, writing. Everyone else had already finished the assignment and had moved on to the next activity, but not I. I sat, my heart racing, my eyes alight with wonder, and my hand furiously scribbling the words to my first story. While the others played, my wild imagination soared as I translated my 7 year-old thoughts onto paper.

From that fateful day at Loma Vista Elementary, my love for writing was more or less forgotten. Other things consumed my life. As an avid athlete, I played lacrosse, soccer, football, did skiing, snowboarding, dance, and even had short-lived stint as a high jumper (I'm 5'2"). I think I can thank the English Department at Arapahoe High School for bringing a love for writing back into my life. That love soon developed into a passion, and I realized that besides just turning in an assignment, writing became a means of expression. It was a reflection of who I was, what I felt, my desires and passions, my story.

After graduating as a proud AHS Warrior in Centennial, Colorado, I became a BYU Cougar. I explored different majors, and I mean that literally, I took a Career Exploration class, because I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. For some reason, writing was never a viable choice in my mind. I would tell people that my dream job was to write for something like National Geographic and travel the world and write. Dismissing it as impossible, I convinced my self that writing was a good skill to have, a side love, but not a career option.
I wrestled with a decision that I felt decided my destiny. I worried and stressed over it constantly, slowly slipping into somewhat of an identity crisis. Eventually accepting the truth, I would answer honestly when people asked what I was studying. "I don't know yet," I would say.
After a year of school, and after the missionary age change, I left to serve in the Arizona Gilbert Mission.
"Hola, somos misioneras de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Días..."

For a whole year and a half, I didn't have to wonder who I was, because I knew. I said it every day and it changed my life completely. My love for Jesus Christ and my love for people bloomed. Their examples of faith, courage and humility touched my heart and motivated me to bring them Christ's love and mercy, so their lives could change just as mine had.

The day I ran back into my family's arms, I thought I'd never have to wonder who I was again.
Over the next couple of years following my mission, I struggled. Taking off that tag was like taking out a chunk of my heart. The moment I thought I had found myself was fleeting, and I soon felt that swirling confusion of insecurity and self-doubt. I clung to the gospel principles I had learned on my mission with white knuckles, hoping that the doubt and turmoil would pass. And it did.
In my search for myself, I found solace in being an MTC teacher. The familiarity of it was exactly what I needed to remember that God was still God and I was still His child, missionary or not.

From there, I decided to delve into my interest for Latin culture and began to study Latin American Studies, with a minor in Non-profit Management. My ultimate goal was to help those I had come to love dearly while serving in Gilbert. Helping people was what I wanted to do, and, thinking my mind was made, I went to Lima, Peru on an internship with the LDS Self Reliance services.

In Peru, I further discovered my love of people, learning their stories and helping them reach their potential.

After the internship, I went on to work at a non-profit organization called Mentors International. I did just about anything they asked me to do, things like running their social media, filing, shredding paper. But what I really loved was writing their success stories. I would take their success stories and translate them, in the process embellishing them and making them actual stories, not just listed information. As I did, I felt a familiar spark reignite.

Images from Mentors International

Within the next semester, I sat through Accounting 210 and my Intro to Latin American Studies class and I began to panic. I knew I was in the wrong major, but with just about 3 semesters until graduation, how could I change it this late in the game? I attempted to push away the thoughts, but my mind kept going back to writing during the summer. Yes, I loved to write, but beyond that I loved telling stories. The more I thought, the more I felt it. Stories have the capacity to inspire and soften hearts. They can be a call to action, they can give hope and inspire change. "Why did I not see it before?" I asked myself. "Of course I want to be a journalist." After weeks of prayer, fasting, temple trips and talking to a career advisor, I decided to change my major.

"Why did I not seen it before?" I asked myself. "Of course I want to be a journalist."

Finally. Finally, I found the perfect combination of my passions and I could make it my profession. Now, I am working as an content writer at A More Good Foundation, where I get to write for their website, Mormon Hub. Not only that but my Intro to News Media class is by far my favorite class I've ever taken, and it's only week three. And on the horizon, I see a bright future in traveling the world to tell the stories of people that will inspire and change the world. Because, why not?

The journey here has been bogged down with stress, self-doubt, insecurity and a ridiculous amount of fear. And I am 110% positive that there will continue to be trials and difficulties along the rest of the way. But it will all be worth it. How do I know that?

Because for the first time in a long time, I feel like I've finally found myself.
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Emma Lattin

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