This weekend, I read the follow-up to one of the most bizarre stories in recent memory. The story involved a young Ivy League student, by the name of Nayla Kidd, who went completely off the grid for about three weeks.
Nayla’s story caught my eye originally because we went to the same small boarding school, and after she was reported missing, there were a number of people sharing posts looking for any details on her whereabouts. Fearing the worst, I also shared her story in hopes that her family would have some closure one way or another.
Nayla recently resurfaced and this is where things start getting a little weird. As it turns out, Nayla wasn’t missing so much as she was hiding, and her explanation for what happened left me with more questions than answers.
In her essay for the NY Post, Nayla tells a story of high-pressure academics and a life without passion. It got to the point where she felt she needed a Break. I use a capital “B” there because she went all in.
Nayla didn’t just need a break from the stress. She needed a break from her entire life as she knew it.
What’s odd is even after recounting how she moved out randomly into her new apartment, deleting her Facebook account, opening brand new bank accounts, and seeing the missing person fliers of herself online, she describes the situation as “quitting school”:
I wanted the time to make sense of my situation alone and have the space to comprehend it. I felt like sharing would force me to explain something I hadn’t even figured out myself. It wasn’t normal to just quit school. But I never expected it to get so out of hand.
This is more than that, though.
A friend of mine said he could relate to her experience going from Thacher to college and that he needed to take a semester off himself.
I’ve never been a fan of the taking time off – for travel or anything else – during college. It always felt like someone spending money they didn’t really have available. Even if I were pro time off, though, taking a semester off is way different than using prepaid phones like you’re in an episode of The Wire. The only thing she didn’t do to create a new identity was try to change her name. At least I don’t think she did.
The measures Nayla took to create a new life scream desperation and it makes me truly wonder if there’s more to this story than currently shared with the public.
On one hand, I keep thinking this is another story proving you can’t outrun your problems. They’ll keep coming full speed even when you stop to catch your breath.
On the other hand, I respect Nayla for taking control when life wasn’t shaping up how she wanted it.
Then there’s the elephant in the room – Nayla may actually need professional help. (I kind of think we all do at some point.) Maybe it’s a life coach or maybe it’s a psychologist, but talking things through with another human would probably be helpful.
Nayla and I do agree on one thing, though. She doesn’t owe anyone an explanation for how she chooses to live her life.
I just hope finds whatever it is she’s looking for and that it brings her some much-needed peace of mind.