Emily Shinde, NY

Junior Writer

Emily is a New York based writer who began her career in mental health before completing a Master of Public Health from Boston University and working in communications for several healthcare and creative companies. She’s interested in mindfulness and finding lost creativity, and often writes about these topics for various wellness and culture outlets, as well as on her blog. As a writer, brand strategist, and copywriter, Emily believes that every individual has something to contribute to the world, and she’s passionate about helping others craft their own thoughtful stories.

As a StoryTerrace writer, Emily interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Remembrance in the Smallest Piece

“I’m going to save this for you, when you have a home and family of your own someday,” my mother exclaims as she touches pieces of furniture around her home, holding up a glass bedside table lamp or fabric footstool that needs reupholstering. “It was your great-grandmother’s, and then your grandmother’s, someday you’ll use it too.”

I roll my eyes, wondering where in the world I could find a place for all these family relics.

I live in a one-bedroom New York apartment. And while I’m able to hear the incessant passing of trucks on a distant highway when the window is left open, I am content with this life. It is difficult to imagine living anywhere else.

From the earliest memories of my first bedroom, I had the freedom to paint it any color, and when it was time for college, my mother helped me shop for new bedding and towels, plastic containers to store my knick knacks and books, both of us unsure of what this next chapter would hold. I knew she didn’t want me to move a flight away for school. But she walked me through it, holding me up in the best way she knew how even through my own self doubt.

“Don’t you want to take your grandmother’s bronzed baby shoes and use them as bookends?,” my mother asked as I moved from one city to the next after college graduation. “Or how about these portraits of an actress your great-grandmother loved? Wouldn’t these look nice in your living room?”

After a nomadic existence in my early 20’s, I’ve now settled into a life of over six years in New York. I look around and notice that I’ve let in the smallest pieces from my mother’s heirlooms. A few tiny glass animals are placed on a bookshelf above my couch and a petit vintage-cut vase rests on my nightstand. It’s funny how we can so easily forget the past when it is not standing glaringly in front of us. We declare that who we are as people are original beings, only created from the here and now, not some combination of the past, infused with centuries of ancestral history.

But I’m who I am because of my mother, because she gave me the freedom to head out into the world while never letting me forget there was a safe place to return. As I look around at these artifacts I’ve subconsciously let slip into my little home, I no longer see them as a burden or something I’ve taken on to please my mom.

What a privilege it is to carry something with me, wherever I may go, that was touched by the women who made me.

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