Unapologetic: A Year as a Writer

The craziest thing in the world is when someone comments on something I write. Even after a year of being a full-time blogger and writer, it’s still hard to get used to the fact that people care enough about my work to read it, share it, and think about it.

This time last year, I was at my desk sneaking peeks at blogs like For Harriet and ESSENCE Online and the Thought Catalogue (today, I’ve written for all of them). This time last year, I was sitting in a cubicle at a tele-sales job that made me hate life and people. This time last year, I was dreading the alarm clock that would wake me up with just enough time to make it through traffic to the cheesily decorated office building which I loathed spending 10 hours of my day in.

This exact time last year, I quit that job.

I left my benefits, my apartment, my friends, and my freedom behind and moved back in with my mom to pursue writing as a full-time career.

Smart? Some would say hell no. Crazy? I would say oh yes, ma’am. Worth it? Absolutely.

Getting through the past year has required that I be honest about who I am, what I want, and how I want to live my life. I’ve been made vulnerable to critics who don’t understand what I do and don’t think blogging is a “real job”, and I’ve been made vulnerable to my personal fear of failure.

This year has educated me on how strong the human experience can make you. I’ve endured the side eyes, the family meetings to discuss what was “wrong” with me, the endless phone calls from Sallie Mae, and some severe sessions of writer’s block.

It has been a year of tears, disappointments, empty bank accounts, empty stomachs, confusion, prayer, questioning, and asking for a lot of help.

And I’m not sorry about any of it.

This journey has often times required that I make people uncomfortable, including myself. There are times when I can’t explain to people what I do, where I work, or even where I live. Many people will say I’m reckless for risking my financial freedom and security to chase a pipe dream.

But I believe it would be more reckless to let that dream go deferred.

I’ve long believed we should be tellers of our own stories. People may not always understand it, or appreciate it, but your story is yours to tell. This is MY story. When I couldn’t find the work opportunities I wanted, I created them for myself. And by doing so, I’ve been exposed to other opportunities I could never have imagined for myself. The same places that rejected my resume now follow my blog and some ask me to write for them.

As I continue growing and learning more about myself and how I operate, I hope to encourage everyone who I encounter or who reads what I write to live life unapologetically. Unapologetic for the way you look. Unapologetic for the way you feel about something (or someone). Unapologetic for what you may think or say. Unapologetic for what you believe. Unapologetic for what you want.

I hope that once we decide that we’re not going to apologize for wanting something different out of lives, we will all pursue our goals with reckless abandon and watch life unfold in unexpected ways.

Am I rich? Far from it. Am I broke? Eh. Aren’t I always? Am I happy? Absolutely.

As failure filled as this year has been, it’s also been a year of success. I’ve had the freedom to travel, meet and interview really inspiring people, work with great editors and teachers, and be inspired every day. I hope I’m helping redefine the definition of success.

I’ve learned that satisfaction in this career choice will not come from a salary. But it will be derived from the relief of getting a gnawing thought out of your head and onto a page, from the heated conversations in the comment sections, and from the freedom of living in my purpose every day.

I am a writer. I am a transcriber of thoughts and opinions. I am a teller of stories. I am a sharer of ideas. Even now, it’s hard to admit that this is what I do. But I know I am in good company of other strong black women authors before me. I believe in their stories and their struggles. And I’m thankful for everyone who believes in me.

There’s still a lot I want to do as a writer and as a professional and I’m excited to pursue those dreams in the next year. I no longer fear failure. Every failure helps me appreciate my successes more. And in failure, there is satisfaction in knowing that I tried to do something others said I couldn’t or shouldn’t do. And I didn’t die. In fact, I’ve never felt more alive.

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