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  • Itzel Santiago Pastrana

Owning It


Downtown Seattle, Foot Traffic

It is time. It is time to have our voices heard. It is time to stick the landing and own it. It is time to clock in mentally with our own selves and take ownership of who we are and what we are capable of and are already accomplishing. Voice, body, and mind, must come together to own it, because it is time.


I’ll be 26 years of age this year and like many my age we feel like something is looming around us. What have I done with my life so far and where am I going? Will I make it? Am I worthy enough of the opportunities that I have been blessed with? Why do I feel so out of place?

I’ve been fighting to make my passion a reality. I want to be a photographer with a voice, and all at the same time I feel like I’m doing as much as I can to make it happen, but that it’s not enough. There are days were I feel like a fraud. Just another aspiring individual that almost made it and might not move forward. The truth is the majority of it is in my head.


I know I’m not the only one that has doubts at this age. Many others in my age group have

been feeling the same thing. They’re doing it, they’re starting to get the ball rolling, or they’re creating their own path to their passion or goals. They may even be in the area they need to be already, but they feel stuck. Feelings that they can’t move forward, that they can’t contribute, that they can’t voice an opinion, and that they have to be careful where they step so that those who have been there longer don’t feel like they’re getting their toes stepped on. We fear hearing the words, “honey, wait your turn”, you’re too young, or not experienced enough. And, for those of us who have heard these words or something similar, most of us didn’t say anything and just swallowed the words that were spoken as if the words themselves were something so valuable and true that it would come in handy in the future.

Downtown Seattle, Workers Walking to Work or Lunch

It will always be something though, that you’re too young or not experienced enough. And, when it isn’t that it’s that you’re getting too old and the pressure is on to make something of yourself and have it all together. Yes, hi, right here, I’m definitely feeling the pressure to have it all together now. I’ll never figure it out from one day to the other. I won’t magically wake up one day and be old enough, experienced enough, and have it all together.


It’s time for myself and this generation to define ourselves in the crowds. Time to jump into the water completely and make some waves. Let our voices be heard and contribute what we have to offer now to what we are passionate about. Really let our minds dive in with our bodies because sometimes we’re not in it mentally like we should be because we have all these doubts in our own selves. These doubts then fog our vision and our minds so that we don’t realize just how amazing it is that we’ve made it this far and accomplished so much already. Or what great opportunities lie ahead of us with the simple promise of tomorrow.


I find myself in a unique position now. I am extremely lucky and excited to be a part of the TEDxYouth Seattle mentorship program. This program will challenge me not just in finding my voice as a photographer, but also taking ownership of who I am as a photographer both physically and mentally. I’m going to own it! I’m owning the role and position I am in, because I am worthy enough and have something to offer. It is time for our generation to do the same and own it.



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This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.