I’m Saleen, a reporter based in Norfolk, VA.
I’m from Norfolk, Virginia, or Hampton Roads. I’m stuck in the middle of two sisters, one is four years older and one is ten years younger. My parents have been married for more than 20 years, and during most of my childhood, my mom worked in insurance and my dad was an auto body man (hence where my name is from). My dad named me after the Saleen Mustang.
I grew up running, bike-riding, or rollerblading around my neighborhood with my older sister, only returning home when the street lights came on. We’d spend the entire day with our cousin or friends. If we weren’t outside, we were with my mom, running errands, going to parks, or spending time with family.
My fondest memories as a child are with my mom. For a long time, I felt a lot of things: happiness, anger, sadness. That’s tough for a little kid, especially when you don’t have the vocabulary or confidence to express what you’re feeling. My mother paid close attention to me, and when something was wrong, she knew.
She’d ask me “Does your heart hurt,” to which I’d respond “Yes” through tear-filled eyes. We had lots of talks about how I could always tell her when something was wrong, and that I needed to remember that no matter what happens, she loves me. My mother taught me that feelings are not meant to be kept inside. I think, if anything, this is why I love writing so much.
When I went to Virginia Wesleyan College (now known as Virginia Wesleyan University), I wanted to teach, and to help other students experience the joy and liberation that I did through writing. Studying at Wesleyan was an awesome experience, but I soon realized that teaching English isn’t what I was born to do.
I wanted to go back to school to study journalism, but I was afraid I wouldn’t get in because I didn’t major in journalism for undergrad. With my mother’s love and encouragement, I mustered up the strength to apply anyway, and sure enough, I got into four schools, the University of Georgia being one of them.
I was nervous and I was scared to come here. I was scared I wouldn’t be good enough, or that I’d be behind everyone because I didn’t know anything about journalism. Plus, I had never lived away from home before, so this is difficult for such a family-oriented person like me.
Despite all of that, I did it, and I’m so glad because I’ve accomplished so much more than I ever could’ve imagined in these two years. I learned that other people in my program came from different backgrounds too, and since then, my confidence has skyrocketed. I’ve written stories about women who have been in mental hospitals, families whose dogs have battled cancer, and election day. I’ve had work published by news outlets, I’ve worked at a news station in my hometown, and now I’m about to graduate and find my permanent home as I start my career.
When I’m not writing and daydreaming about the future, I like to hang out with friends. I’m a very family and friends-oriented person, so my favorite kind of night is staying in and watching scary movies, eating Chinese, and posting embarrassing snaps. I love eating at new restaurants, and meeting new people. I like to write Yelp reviews, and post photos of my food (because food is art, seriously).
I love watching YouTube videos ranging from family vlogs to ear wax extraction videos (so satisfying), and I love live-tweeting my favorite TV shows. I’ve made some pretty cool online friends based on common interests like the CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” “American Horror Story,” “Married At First Sight,” and the list goes on and on.
I also love singing. I’m no Aretha Franklin or Anita Baker, but karaoke is one of my favorite things to do. I’m always down to go to a baseball game too!
I love blogging, mostly about mental health. I’ve struggled with my own over the years, and I’m very candid about it because it needs to be talked about, especially in the black community. If you check out my blog, you’ll see that I’ve written a lot about overcoming mental illnesses and how valuable support systems are throughout this process. I want to be an inspiration to others!
If you explore my site, you’ll find my work that has already been published, footage from my study abroad trip to Prague, and articles I’ve written as a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia. I hope you enjoy reading my work, and getting to know the people who were kind enough to let me tell their stories.
If you’d like to chat, you’re a huge TV or movie fanatic, or you just need someone to talk to, feel free to connect with me via my social media contacts at the bottom of this page. You can also e-mail me at Saleen.email@example.com.
Thanks so much for your time, and for checking out my site!