Þórhildur Vígdögg Kristínardóttir, 18
Þórhildur Vígdögg Kristínardóttir, from Reykjavik, Iceland, started writing when she was 10 years old. In 2016, she contributed to a book on poverty, published by Ordskælv, a Copenhagen-based nonprofit youth writing and publishing center. Kristínardóttir, alongside 24 other writers, narrated personal accounts that illustrated the effects of poverty. Primarily a short story writer, Kristínardóttir writes to express her opinions about controversial topics.
While Kristínardóttir says she knows she can never change people’s opinions, she always strives to have a constructive discussion about issues that interest her, including environmental science, equal rights, and alleviating poverty in hopes of understand differing perspectives. She believes that empathy this is the key in enacting change, to creating more open conversations and appreciation of diversity and cultural nuances instead of conflict and greed. Kristínardóttir would like to see more diversity in elected officials in order to broaden the scope of government efforts towards environmental change and poverty. She says everyone deserves to be heard, and when politicians fall into a narrow category, not all voices are being heard.
Kristínardóttir’s purpose in life is to help others and find ways to change this world, whether it is in politics or as part of an aid organization. After finishing high school, she will attend university to study international relations, politics, or law. She says that her stubbornness can be an asset—she refuses to give up once she sets her mind on something.
By Þórhildur Vígdögg Kristínardóttir
And the melody whispered in leaf and bark,
in leaf and bark.
If the boy listened, it ran away,
then it ran away.
"I feel like the autumn."
She looked at me focused and full of seriousness.
Just for a few seconds.
Then she walked towards the mirror and kept twirling in circles.
The deep blue skirt, white and tight sweater with the collar, the birch-colored scarf and an archaic jacket that belonged to her aunt fit her perfectly. I sat on the bed and gazed at her. Love at first sight could not describe exactly how I felt. I was no Romeo. I was only a puppy. Admiration and fascination. Whether it was her magical uniqueness or daring honesty, I didn't know.
This strange curiosity stirred up desires in me. Desires I didn't know existed.
Her sweet appearance could change in a moment. Her soft curves became stone. Her hair ruined and nails bitten to its core. Then I became scared. Then I had to change it. Flipping her to the opposite side like a pancake, as I used to do on my grandmother's old stove.
Sometimes I felt like she was the piercing cold winter, but sometimes like the delightful summer, so I just called her autumn. Her tears, her beautiful vibrancy, and the rushing toughness. So I thought it was appropriate to name her that.
I hummed quietly, like an obedient bird. Our past truly had a long history. We hadn't known each other for long, but what had been crammed into these past few months could easily stretch onto a few years. The excitement, the complications, the fearlessness, and complications. She had that kind of effect on people.
I laid my head on the pillow and stared. I was well aware that she was magnificent, just as she was well aware that I was a loser. Her confidence radiated off her, and that was what made her so beautiful. Not her high cheekbones or deep blue eyes, but what lived behind this untouchable body cover. But I also knew that with all the good that lived in her, there was also bad.
I saw her walk towards the record player and carefully pick a vinyl record. Soon the classical tones vibrated through the room. They played around the air, with it, like she played with me when she laid down closely next to my body on the bed. There was nothing I could do, I was hypnotized by her charm. I felt good, I couldn't deny it. I also couldn't help but feel a little bit of gratitude. She had chosen me. Me? The unimportant kid who sat most of the time in class half-sleeping. The kid people turned their back against, and betrayed. Maybe that was why she liked me so much. Easy prey. But it couldn't be. She was good, she said lovely things and condemned the bad ones. Still I felt some pain. Pain so strong my thinking changed. Now everything was about her.
By Þórhildur Vígdögg Kristínardóttir
The pitch-black fractures rose up to the top of the house, up until the roof. With the following outcome of tearing down the building slowly, breaking apart chip by chip into the dust scattered dirt of the outer limits of the village. After a few years the rest of the houses would be half of what they are now, the other half present on the other side. The ends burnt by the flames underground. Swallowed whole by ash and smoke, and their history with them. The rich history that is entailed in the texture of the walls, their pale colour and of course in the fractures themselves. I was standing in a bright alley and you could barely hear anything besides a gust of wind from time to time that passed by, its arrival surprising for such a warm place. It was midday and more quiet than generally. My footing unusually stable for my taste, because I did not fall rarely in life. In all honesty I thought it was rather suspicious. I watched the sun above me and wondered why the fractures were still so black. Considering how bright it was the houses should be a little bit more lively, but they weren't. I was like an idiot, standing in the middle of the alley with not a place to call home in this unfamiliar town. I stood there with an almost empty backpack hanging off my shoulders but to the opposite and lying neatly on my stomach, because my mom had always told me to have my belongings in eyesight. And that thieves could be hiding anywhere. I looked swiftly at all small hiding corners I could see around me, like someone could jump at me out of nowhere and take what little I had left from my former life. Mostly worthless objects but something that reminded me where I came from. And that was important. I then involuntarily started to clutch onto my backpack and hold it tightly to my chest. I remember clearly the evening I decided to go. To pack for the journey ahead and leave what I knew. I had been lying in bed, thinking of the future. I had been asking myself all these uncertain questions, that nobody should really ask themselves. What should I be. What I should do. What I wanted. And then the most known of them all, who was I. At that moment I jumped up, threw my duvet to the side, grabbed a few things and threw them into a bag. Tore the hair tie out of my hair, took the last sip of juice sitting on the nightstand, looked in a mirror, and said, "Bye." It was that simple. Then I ran out of the door without as much as looking at my dad in the kitchen or my mom watching tv. Without saying, "You won't see me again." They has seemed so unimportant at that moment, like a bad painting hanging in an even worse art museum. Poor place, poor setting, poor everything. A bird suddenly flew quickly over my head and brought me back into reality, my body jerked and I took a deep breath. Then I remembered what I was going to think. The houses here were really beautiful. Yeah, very. Pale pink, yellow, and orange colors were distinctive for this town. The innocence unfolded in all its glory. The heavy air took a little bit of a toll on me, heat wasn't the only thing lurking in there. I felt it right away. It scared me a bit but was at the same time freeing. Everything that had been full of life had now become lifeless in the warm climate, and my vision didn't notice any movement around me. I stroked my forehead and the sweat dripped off of it. I was still not moving, alone in this alley with the fractures. I didn't expect to feel this way. Finally here, and not sure if I should step backwards or forward. Not knowing what to do. To be here, finding my purpose in life. I had dreamt about this for so long. When I bought a plane ticket in the airport. When I sat in the airplane. When I arrived and wandered into some random bus. When I sat down with no one there, except a middle-aged man snoring in the back, but could hardly count. When I was driven towards what I had been waiting for, in the middle of the night or early morning. Doesn't matter which one it was, it was in the dark. It all started with the plane ticket though. I had been unstoppable, I had passed everyone in the waiting line to the front desk. I had pushed people and yelled at the it to get out of the way, because living was a priority. Not family travels or business trips. I was going to live. Not them. But in reality I had just been standing there calmly trying to find my wallet, because causing a scene was not something I did.