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#Ferguson Has Changed My Career Path

12 Sep

ACTIVISMIf you’re like me and a lot of other people with emotions, you’ve been upset by the events in Ferguson. Yes I’m still talking about Ferguson one month after the murder of Michael Brown. There’s still a lot going down in Ferguson right now.

Now that the police are no longer wreaking havoc in riot gear, citizens are now filing lawsuits against the Ferguson Police Dept. and the city, community members are demanding answers at city council meetings, and the state government is looking into cases of police brutality all over Missouri.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting comfortably at my desk wondering what I can do.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I want to be more than a writer. I love writing, but I want to do more than raise awareness. I want to be at the center of the change.

So I decided to get off my ass, leave my computer screen for a while, and rethink how I can better participate in the change that is so needed in our society. Lately, I’ve felt called to community activism.

There’s a myth that young black people don’t care about our communities, and that we are too lazy to work for justice and peace. I used to believe that too—until I was introduced to several community organizations ran by mullenials.

They are the ones who will make a difference. They are the leaders—the ones who care enough about devastating racial divides in our nation to do something about it. And with enough care, support, leadership, and hard work—maybe we’ll see a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement (Lord knows we need it).

Sure, I may sound a little idealist—but no one creates any type of change without first believing that it can be done. I mean, if we all thought the situation was hopeless, no one would try.

I want to be among the people that try. I want to be among the people who give a shit and do something about it.

So I’m working toward building the necessary skills to be a successful activist: I plan to join an LA-based community organization, attend Toastmasters meetings (gotta work on my public speaking), study the civil and women’s rights movements in depth to draw inspiration and ideas from their successes, and maintain my eternal optimist spirit.

Yes, I’m a dreamer. But I’m a dreamer with a plan to succeed.

 

P.S.: I want to apologize for the fewer posts. I’m working full-time and going to school in the evenings. It hasn’t been easy. Yet, I do have new writing goals: I’m aiming to publish in bigger publications, like Ebony, The Grio, Salon, The Root, and several other places. My goal is to publish an article once or twice a month. I’m truly sorry about the infrequency—It pains me to even miss a week of publishing on A Womyn’s Worth. But this is only a temporary situation. Soon I’ll go back to publishing once or twice a week. You all can hold me to that.

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7 Things That Happen When You’re the Only Black Person at Work

24 Jul
First job out of college and I’m the only black person in the office. It’s been interesting, to say the least.  Here are some of the funny and offensive moments I’m sure a lot of us solo black folks have experienced:
1. When you forget to code-switch your language at work.
GIF Oops
2. When your hair becomes a frequent topic of discussion. 
GIF hair
3. When you want to turn down your music in the office parking lot but this Kendrick song is EVERYTHING! GIF Car dance
4. When you’re at a loss for words because your white boss rolled his neck and snapped his fingers in an attempt to act out an “angry black woman.”
GIF 8
GIF Lord
5. When you don’t want to be a stereotype but you’re like “fuck it” and heat up your chicken in the office microwave anyways.
GIF oh well chicken
6. If your parents were a little creative with your name, people feel the need to ask and comment on it.
GIF So 2
7. When you frequently encounter microagressions at work and don’t quite know how to word your response.
GIF 9
Hey Y’all. really need your advice. At work, I’ve had to deal with some semi-racist (aka just plain racist) jokes that aren’t funny.
The thing is–there used to be one black woman in the office before I got there. Given the openly racist things that happen, I don’t think she said much about it. But I cannot be that person. I cannot let this go on while I’m at work and it certainly cannot continue after I’m gone. Then the next black person that comes along is going to have to deal with the same shit and will be stuck in this same awkwardness.
Some folks need to be told up front that what they’re doing is NOT okay. However, given the very casual, always-joking climate of the office, I’ve found it difficult to switch gears to a more serious tone and voice my opinion.
It’s easy to be outspoken with my keyboard, but in person I am sometimes more shy and reserved. I’m new to this office and don’t want to create any tension or drama, but I have to do something about it because it feels wrong not to. I can’t be that person who talks tough on the internet and becomes spineless in person.
How should I handle this?

I’m Tired of People Saying I Need Practical Career Goals

13 Jun

Dream8Follow My Dreams… Or Nah?

Since I’m trying out this whole “responsible adult” thing, I’ve been reading all these career advice articles for young adults with titles like “20 Things You Need to Accept in Your 20’s,” and “Things They Don’t Tell You About Your 20’s.”

The recurring theme in most of them: Life is shitty, student loans will suck you dry, and there are hardly any jobs out there so you should settle for whatever job you can scrounge.

Oh, Thanks y’all. I feel pretty encouraged. -__-

So, follow my dreams… Or nah?

 My life goals are, by most people’s standards, very impractical— I’m like Lynn from my favorite throwback show Girlfriends: I have several passions I want to pursue, I do all I can to avoid becoming a corporate slave, and if I could, I would stay in school for a while and get a few master’s degrees.

While some people can (or have to) put aside their life goals, that is simply not an option for me. I cannot function without writing. I literally write for my health—for now. Somewhere down the road, there are a few Oprah’s Book Club novels published with my name on the cover, I’ll have several by-lines in my favorite publications, and I’ll eventually step into the title of Editor and Chief of something fantastic.

But for now, I’m living on a blog and a dream.

For us dreamers, it’s easy to get discouraged—especially in a society where we expect everyone to make “practical” decisions and get “sensible” jobs. It’s difficult to hold on to your goals when people say that you’re too much of an idealist, that you won’t be able to support yourself, and that your dreams are hobbies, not careers. Sometimes, I even say those things to myself.

But “practical” doesn’t always work when idealists feel called to do creative work. And in answering that calling, we have to be resilient against the Naysayers and negativity.

Dream1So I created a 7-point list of things I’ve committed to doing in order stay on the right path of my vocation.

  • Stop calling my dreams “impractical.” For me, impractical can sometimes be a synonym for impossible. I gotta let the word go before I can fully accept that I’ll be successful. Instead, I’ll assume that under the right conditions, all of my goals are possible.
  • Look at all of the success stories of other people. If other people have done it, I can do it too. I have an editor friend over at Ms. Magazine in her early 20’s and loving her dream job. One of my favorite bloggers financially supports his family of 6 using his blog. Maya Angelou’s life journey, where she went from sex worker to waitress, to dancer, to actress, to award-winning author, is nothing short of amazing. These awesome examples give me hope.
  • Dream bigger. My friends often come up with the coolest ideas for my blog and my career. I usually think their ideas are too hard to accomplish, but I quickly realize that it isn’t that they are too hard—it’s just that I don’t believe I can do them. Thinking about all of their ideas I mentally shot down, I realize that I need to break out of my “I cant” prison and believe in myself a little more.
  • Keep making moves toward reaching the goals. I’m committing to writing more often (so look out for my posts y’all) and pitching to publications as often as I can.

Dream6

  • Celebrate small victories. I treat myself to something every time I publish an article. I celebrate when my blog stats are higher than usual. These accomplishments bring me closer to my ultimate goal—so I’ll drink to that 😉Dream5
  • Support other people’s dreams. What goes around definitely comes back around. So I’ve began supporting other writers and artists in whatever ways I can. Sometimes just showing up for people goes a long way.
  • Talk to God. My spiritual foundation is what constantly rejuvenates my desire to write. Sometimes prayer and my church music really get me through difficult days when I’m questioning my calling. Thank God!

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If you need a little more motivation, check out this article from the Daily Muse:
10 Quotes That’ll Inspire You to Dream Big

Got any advice for me? What do you do to stay on you path to reach your vocation?

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