Tracy’s Year in Review

Photo by Kleigh Balugo

By Tracy Fuentes

Dear Kindergarten Mag readers,

I have never been very comfortable sharing my writing with anyone other than my professors. In fact, I even hate reading over my own work. I’d crank out a five-page paper in a single night after weeks of procrastination, skim the doc to make sure there were no red squigglies indicating a typo, and then submit it. I’ve never willingly asked someone to proofread or review my papers. And that’s for my academic work – my personal creative projects? God, never

I guess this stems from the fact that I’ve never been very confident in my writing. Sure, I aced every single English class I’ve ever taken, getting good grades and feedback on my papers. But I chalked that all up to my ability to follow my teachers’ instructions. I simply did what I was told, so of course, I was praised by them for it. 

Yet I fell in love with the act of putting words on the page. Reading books, watching movies, it all makes me want to put my thoughts and daydreams onto the page. I would write here and there, words that I could not keep in my brain anymore. But I never dared to show it to anyone. I believed with my whole heart that I was nowhere good enough as the people whose words I read and loved. So no, I would never call myself a writer and show someone my work.

All of that changed when Kleigh and I began Kindergarten Mag. Sure, I wrote for another online magazine and for my campus newspaper, but it was not what I really wanted to write. My voice was flattened out by what I thought was expected of me. Even though I feared to put my writing out into the world for anyone to see, there was something in me that was so passionate about this idea of starting my own magazine. Hearing Kleigh say that she wanted to start with me boosted my confidence. So I forgot my fears for a second, and we launched our magazine. 

This year with Kindergarten has been so amazing. My younger self was obsessed with magazines and always dreamed of working for one, but the decline of print journalism squashed those dreams quickly. I never thought I’d be starting my own magazine, and I think that my younger self would be so proud of how far I’ve come. 

Now, I feel so comfortable writing my monthly pieces for Kindergarten, with sharing my work with others. A year ago, I would have never thought I’d share all these personal thoughts and feelings with people, let alone the internet. I’m still hesitant to give myself the title of “writer,” but the title of “editor” is warming up to me. Almost.

It is really, really scary to put yourself out there. Whether it’s your personal thoughts on a page, your idea for your group project, or simply introducing yourself to that cool girl you sit next to in class. 

One of the biggest lessons I learned from Kindergarten is that putting yourself out there is almost always worth it. I made so many friends and connections this past year by putting myself out there and sharing Kindergarten with people. I always felt weird saying, “Hey, look at this cool thing I’m doing!” But with Kindergarten, those fears and weirdness started to melt away when people began showing their support and their excitement. 

I never really cared to become a famous writer or editor through Kindergarten. My main goal was to help other people like me feel more confident in their work and ultimately, themselves. I wanted to create a creative community. I wanted to showcase the talents of people around my age from all backgrounds. And I think over the past year, we’ve managed to accomplish these goals.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this past year. I am truly grateful to anyone who has read a single piece of our magazine, who has liked an Instagram post, who has clicked onto our site. Anything genuinely means the world to me. We gained much more contributors and followers in this past year than I ever expected. 

And to our contributors – I heart you! I hope you enjoy working with Kleigh and me, and that Kindergarten has helped you in some way. Your enthusiasm to write for us and your passion for your work inspire me every single day. I am constantly in disbelief that so many talented individuals have chosen us as a platform for their work.

And of course, a million thank yous to Kleigh, my partner in crime. None of this would be possible without her and I am forever grateful to have her in my life.

Here’s to one year of Kindergarten Mag! I’m so excited for another year of amazing work and welcoming new readers!

All the love,

Tracy

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