“Oh, so you want to be an English teacher?” is the response I normally get when I tell people that I’m going into the writing field or that I want to write. At first, I just used to nod my head and say yes because I didn’t really have it figured out. But honestly, now whenever I say that it feels like I'm lying to myself because I can't see myself being an English teacher. (Maybe an elementary school teacher but who knows where the future will take me.) In all honesty, there’s no specific job title for what I want to do, or at least I haven’t seen one yet.
If you ask me what I want to do with my life, my answer is simple: I want to write. And when I tell people that their face always changes. They always try to match careers or a job position to that statement. You have no idea how annoying it is to hear “oh so you want to be a journalist?” It’s mind-boggling how people think that being a journalist or an English teacher is the only thing you can be if you’re a writer. (No shade thrown at English teachers or journalists, I just don’t think that’s for me) And besides, there’s so much more to writing than those two jobs. I want to push the boundaries of what my writing can do, take it to new heights, explore my artistry.
Even though I say I want to write, I do have a bucket list, a list of life goals, things that I want to accomplish. I want to create a platform for Black girls and women AND write. I want Black girls to feel seen and heard through my writing. I want to own my own publishing company AND write. I want to write a cookbook. I want to open my own Bed and Breakfast AND write. I want to travel the world, meet new people, create new memories, AND write. I want to do community work AND write. I want to host my own talk show AND write. (or maybe a podcast?) I want to build a bridge between dance AND my writing. I want to be a visionary, inspire people with my writing. So when I say I want to write, this is what I mean and so much more. When I see myself in the future, writing is always present. Whether I have my own publishing company or I’m working for some magazine, I will always be writing.
Now would I say all of this if someone asked me, probably not. Why? Because someone always has something negative to say and there’s this stigma of how writing isn’t a real career. How are you going to pay the bills? Are you going to be a freelance writer? Granted, they’re all valid questions but the last time I checked, I’m 17 and I definitely do not have my life figured out. For the most part, I know that writing is what I want to do.
I’m so used to accommodating people, especially family members by trying to make them understand what I mean when I say I want to write. But no matter how many different explanations I give people, they’ll always paint a different picture in their head.
It’s moments like those where I’m reminded that I don’t owe everyone an explanation. And if I have to explain something multiple times, I’m just not with it anymore. At the end of the day, I alone am responsible for my happiness, my peace of mind.
I say all of this to say that there is always going to be that one person who comments on your life choices, your decisions, career paths, and so on but it’s up to you whether or not you listen to them. I’ve learned it’s okay not to have your life together. It’s okay to go with the flow. It’s okay to take it one day at a time. And that being said:
Stop letting outsiders influence you on your life decisions. Stop shrinking your dreams and life goals in an effort to make people understand.
Mark the date in your calendars. Black Girl Diary will be making its way to your homes on November 12th. We are officially one month away!
That's it and that's all.
Words by Miah