...to the never-ending journey of my ever-evolving self.
With this blog, I hope to introduce people to who I am through my words. I also want to use this as a way to help hone my craft as a budding writer. I've learned that this is the new medium for journalists and I've followed enough blogs to have an idea of how this thing works (one of my faves being A Belle in Brooklyn by Relationships Editor, Demetria L. Lucas, from Essence magazine).
Just yesterday (July 9th), I turned 23 and I've been feeling a need for a change. As cliche as it sounds to desire a change at the start of a new anything, it holds true for me. I have always been somewhat of an introvert, especially in unfamiliar spaces but with the desire to be a journalist, I know that can't be the case forever. At 23, it's long overdue for me to come out of the shell that I've grown comfortable in. Not to say that I need to become someone so over the top that people can't stand to be around but still make myself seen.
About a month ago, my pastor hired me to write different assignments (is what we'll call them) for the church, one of which were three short 5-minute essays. He told me they were for a speaker but did not specify who. My job, since I just graduated with my Bachelor's in English in the spring, was to structure the mini lessons so that they would flow smoothly because, whomever I was writing this for, had a problem formulating their thoughts coherently. Cool. Seemed easy enough.
But in the back of my head, I had an uneasy feeling.
My pastor can be somewhat zealous and my personality can't deal with a lot of that. He's the type that if he wants something done, it WILL get done, by any means necessary. In the time that I've been a member of his church, I've seen him pull many a person out of their comfort zone and I would sit in the congregation with my I-wish-he-would-look-at-me-face, praying that he wouldn't get the notion to have me do anything involving a microphone and/or me having to stand at the head of the church. He learned through a few conversations with my mother that I was a behind-the-scenes type of person and I was under the impression that we had an understanding, hence me not having to deal with his antics. He successfully "pulled it" with me once and I vowed to myself, NEVER AGAIN!
This is how I knew he was up to know good when he assigned me the task of these mini sermons. As soon as I was out of earshot, I turned to my mother and asked her, "He's not gonna make me read these aloud, is he?" She played the dumb role but I knew better. Obediently, I wrote and turned the assignment in on time. He did the proud "father" thing and framed my work, posting it on the wall in the church and I was proud, for lack of a better term, because he can be hard to please. Sat down and got ready for praise and worship and here comes the usher, passing out the responsive reading and offering envelope, as usual, and, lo and behold, one of my "assignments". He comes up behind me.
"Ok. You ready?"
"I'm gonna have you read this after praise and worship." He assured me that I'd do fine as I openly refused. (No one refuses him but I was not going to allow him to yank me out of my comfort zone...not today!) By now, I'm fuming and he can see it. I mean, throwing a full out, not acceptable for a 22-year-old, tantrum. This man has completely detached me from my previously pleasant mood and ruined praise and worship for me. I'm PISSED!
Needless to say, the deacon read my work instead of me. I had won! Tantrum aborted. I was perfectly fine with the essays being mounted on the wall for everyone's viewing pleasure. My name was signed so if they wanted to know who it was behind the work, they'd see right there in plain sight. I didn't see the need for them to be hanging there AND me having to get up and read them too!
On the ride home, and maybe even before then (during my tantrum throughout praise and worship), I realized that I could have very well read the essay. Yes, I would have been nervous but I would have gotten over it. I just wanted to be stubborn and prove a point. I thought about how I would react if, at my dream job (working as a staff writer for Essence magazine), I was asked to make a presentation. If I objected, I'd be on my way to the unemployment line. And the semester I took that speech class. If I would have refused to do the assignment, I would have failed the course.
This year, I plan to step out of my comfort zone, and make myself seen. And not just with speaking to a crowd but with more informal interactions as well. In the book written by my fave blogger/journalist, Demetria Lucas (noted above), I learned that, in a cliched nutshell, a closed mouth doesn't get fed so I can't continue to be "scared" to speak up or out. I need to take the first step in getting what I want because, clearly, NOTHING is simply given to you. There's work to be done and/or a price to pay.
So consider this my birthday resolution. Hopefully, unlike the infamous resolutions of New Years, this one will come to fruition.