I liked and favorited each one, but there was one that stood out, hidden in my inbox from a friend, an anonymous reader of the blog, who wanted to start her own. She had questions that I felt I couldn’t answer, but I did. I told her that that if she had a story burning in her spirit, to let it out. I took back my “if” and told her I knew she had a story. We all do. Somewhere buried in the back of our heads, in the forefront of our hearts, in the deepest parts of our souls, itching to be told. Waiting to be given a life within words. She stopped herself, doubting that she could do it, worried that no one would read, wondering if she could put her thoughts together using the right words. Behind the screen, I smiled – I wish she could see me. She sounded a lot like myself a few years ago and to comfort her, I told her that five years into blogging, I know little to nothing about SEO. I don’t know which titles work for Google, I hate having to think so hard about keywords and meta descriptions and all of this other blog shit. I just want to write. That’s all I ever wanted to do – and I did it.
And slowly but surely, it paid off. I’m starting somewhere. I’m expanding my voice outside of everything EnJ. And it’s scary as fuck, but I love it. I apologized to Rob at least 72 times since Monday. He’s been helpful, picking up my responsibilities with the kids and chores around the house. It’s an adjustment for us both and he hasn’t complained once. He tells me at night while we’re in bed and I’m fighting to keep our conversation alive but sleep is managing to win, that he’s proud. He’s seen the sacrifice. He’s made sacrifices, forking over his computer in the middle of what he’s doing to calm my anxiety – it’s evident when I need to write. I squirm and get antsy in my seat.
Don’t apologize for following your dreams, he says. Don’t be sorry for listening to your intuition that this is what you need to do, he reiterates. The Universe is paying you back for listening. The Universe is having its way with you because you gave in to your calling.
And in his arms at night, I’ll cry right to sleep. It’s surreal. I’m entering into a whole new ball park and although the world is unfamiliar, I feel at ease. Like I belong here, doing this. Being heard through words. I remind myself each day something I told my friend that night. You have to start from somewhere. We all have dreams but we all don’t work. Work. Go hard in everything you do. It won’t make sense sometimes and you’ll have moments of feeling like you’re going nowhere. Push. Keep on keepin’ on. Keep writing, dancing, singing, designing, creating, painting, planning. Do. Do the work when people don’t believe. Do it when you don’t either.
I promise you it all pays off. I’m a walking testament to that. A Black girl who didn’t finish school and started a blog, now writing for VIBE Vixen and a finalist for Best Personal Blog. Start from the bottom, start from the middle, just start somewhere.