Hey there! My name is Teresa Mettela and I am currently a sophomore at the City College of New York with the Macaulay Honors Program. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a concentration in Culture and Communication. My expected minors are Journalism and Economics. Through taking classes at CCNY I have become immersed in writings by bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Sylvia Plath. They inspire me to think big and bold. When I’m not writing papers for college, you can probably find me binging Chopped on Food Network, writing trashy poetry, or getting lost on the MTA.
Something that really defines me is that I am the first in my family to be born in America. In that sense I have always felt like I don’t belong — whether that be within my culture, education, or career. Despite feeling like an outlander at times, writing was and still is the one aspect of my life that keeps me grounded. As a child growing up in a traditional Indian household, I was always encouraged to pursue a career in STEM. However, even as a young girl, I knew that my passion for liberal arts was undeniable. I was constantly scribbling poetry and short stories on diner napkins and in notebook margins. My older sister, Swathi, is my biggest fan. She introduced me to professional opportunities which helped me develop my craft, through which I honed my skills as a writer.
It was with her that I found my literary niche. I love wandering around New York City and writing about its hidden treasures. Most days I end up at art galleries and ice cream shops, consuming the busy-body NYC culture. It was on one of these wanderlust-y days that I stumbled across the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS). This gem-of-a-museum expands on the history of urban space activism in the East Village. It aims to celebrate local activists who have helped transform abandoned spaces into community centers and gardens. It’s a humble museum with few permanent exhibitions but all the charm. I could write a million poems detailing its rustic feel and groovy atmosphere.
And maybe one day I can! In three, five, or ten years I see myself writing for the Arts & Entertainment Section of the New York Times. I know it sounds pretentious and haughty, but it doesn’t have to be. Being Asian-American, I rarely see representation of my community in the press. Asian-American writers, actors, and even politicians are never given the recognition they deserve. Hopefully, I can get the ball rolling.
I see similar discrimination when it comes to females entering the literary and digital world. For example, it probably shocks you to learn that Mozart had an older sister, Marianne Mozart. She was also a musician as her father Leopold Mozart started teaching her how to play the harpsichord when she was only seven years old. People say that Marianne was so talented that Leopold took her touring to several beautiful cities such as Vienna and Paris.
However, after 1769, she was no longer permitted to travel with her brother, as she had reached marriageable age. Wolfgang went on during the 1770s to claim many artistic triumphs while Marianne remained at home in Salzburg with her mother. I’m suggesting that if someone had encouraged Marianne’s music, we might be celebrating her pieces rather than her little brother’s.
Although Marianne’s story may seem outdated, its sentiment remains a significant issue for women in the 21st century. The lack of encouragement and enthusiasm regarding women entering the humanities field hinders the progression of our society as a whole.
Through my current internship with Girl Museum I hope to continue to shape the pedagogy surrounding women of color entering the literary and digital world.
Girl Museum Inc