The other day, someone said to me, “Taya, you’re going to be famous one day.”

The moment I heard those words, I expected to feel joy and excitement. I thought I’d be thrilled by the idea of having people see me that way. To be believed in, for someone to put their bets on me and my future. But as I looked into her eyes, a pain shot through my chest. I tried to laugh it off. And she told me how she ‘just had this feeling’ deep down that I’m going to be known by the world.

I attempted to hide my sadness as she said, “don’t forget about me.” I couldn’t even picture a universe in which I could forget about the people who have shown me kindness, compassion and respect. And I wanted to reply with “c’mon you’re going places too… right?” I felt so lonely in that moment. I felt it in my chest and legs. A weight I had never experienced. I was smiling outwardly but something was breaking inside.

As you keep going on your journey, the crowd thins. The noise ebbs away, slowly and then all at once. And that can be peaceful, but also painfully sad. Because you won’t notice as first but it can get to be so quiet. You lose so many along the way.

In that moment, when she looked at me, I felt a sadness I couldn’t quite explain or express. Because the more words that were exchanged, the more I began to dread the day I would leave behind all I’ve known, all I’ve cherished, so that I could reach for greatness.

It all hit me in a single instant, because when she looked at me, she looked at me like I was already gone.

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