We’ve just started 2018, and already we are hopeful and excited for what this new year will bring. In addition to our print issues, online exclusives, live events, videos, and other thrilling projects, we are developing Honeysuckle Girl, a platform where kids and teens can share their experiences. It’s a place for entertainment, education, and encouragement – where self-expression and creativity are boundless. Throughout the next months, we’ll be posting some of our favorite HS Girl stories here so both the young and the young-at-heart can join in the fun. The first of these belongs to our amazing Team Honeysuckle member McKenzie Schwark, HS Girl‘s new Associate Editor. Read her mission statement below, and keep checking our site for updates on this great adventure!

By McKenzie Schwark

The other day I went to water a plant that lives on my windowsill. It’s a beautiful plant, but it was never meant to survive. Our apartment gets very little light, and I am not the best at remembering to water it, so the odds have really been against this thing from the beginning. Every time I go to water the plant I expect to find its leaves shriveled and brown, and scattered across the windowsill. But to my surprise it is always standing tall, with its green stems pointed toward the small bit of sun that comes through our New York City alleyway. When I pulled back the curtain to get at the pot, I was pleased to once again find that the plant was alive. As I began to shift its leaves to get at the dry spots of soil, I found something: a brand new stalk with budding, bright green folds about to sprout entirely new leaves. Not only has our plant survived 2017, it has managed to bring something new into 2018. It has created an entirely new part of itself, and despite the odds, it is thriving.I have been thinking a lot about what I want to see in 2018, and what I want to put into this new year. Truthfully, I want something like what my plant has given me. I want new life, resilience, and a fresh start. I want to create against all odds, and breathe fresh air into a year that once seemed impossible to make it into. In a way, Honeysuckle Girl is my fresh stalk.Growing up I felt like I lived in a bubble. I grew up in the Midwest, in North Dakota. Even though I love where I grew up, I felt stuck there a lot of the time. I was always throwing the latest copy of Teen Vogue or Seventeen onto the conveyor belt at the grocery store. Reading was a window out of my world and into entirely new ones. I read as much as I could, mostly magazines with their glossy, colored pages. I learned about religion, feminism, relationships, politics, and so much more by getting to read the stories of other people. I think it made me a better person. It made me more empathic, and I want to give that to a new generation of young people.What kept me going during an especially hard year were the stories I got to read. It was an incredible year for poetry, fiction, and all kinds of artwork. I want to see more of that in 2018. I want stories and artwork from all kinds of young people who feel like they have something to say. I want to see what you are willing to put into the world when you want to see that world made better. I really believe we can create more than can be destroyed, and in the coming new year I want to put those creations somewhere where they can be collected and shared. I can’t wait to see what we can all do this year, and all the good we can put back into the world. Let’s grow and thrive together.

McKenzie Schwark is an intern at Honeysuckle Magazine and Associate Editor of Honeysuckle Girl. A graduate of DePaul University’s Creative Writing program, she currently writes and edits in New York City. Her work is published or forthcoming in Bustle, Bitch Media, BUST, Storm Cellar, Cherry Bombe, and more. Visit mckenzieschwark.com to learn more, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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