Bonjour à tous!
I just took my last final exam of my undergraduate career yesterday and I honestly cannot believe that it’s all over.
It’s 4:00 in the morning in New York right now and I haven’t slept all night. I’ve been lying in my bed reflecting on how I’ve gotten this far and the reason is simple, yet not so simple: I’m stubborn.
Now, bear with me. This is a post that has been about six years in the making. I am about to let you into some of my life’s deepest experiences in 700 words.
As a young woman growing up in a traditional impoverished Caribbean household on the island of Dominica, asking constant questions or having a piqued sense of curiosity was considered obscene, rude, and seen as a form of blatant disrespect. After years of battling anxiety and innumerable obstacles under a family who never appreciated my hunger and devotion for knowledge, writing was the only way that I could speak without being silenced; my escape from the deceptive shackles that bound my free speech and intelligence. “Stubborn” is a word that I’ve been called many times growing up. As a child, I was called stubborn because I wanted to be one of the boys. I did not desire the anatomy or the attire of the boys. I desired their freedom. I desired to play without being told that I must “play like a young lady,” I desired to eat without being told to “sit like a lady,” and I desired to ask questions without being told that as a young lady, I must “speak only when I am spoken to.”
Being a child who challenged the beliefs of those around me played a large part in the journey to find myself. My curiosity and defiance towards many of my family’s traditional norms was the beginning of a new-found courage that paved the way for many opportunities to become available to me. Because I have objected to, or rebuffed certain rules that I felt prevented me from discovering myself, I have created possibilities that would have otherwise not existed. Today, as a young adult on the edge of receiving my baccalaureate degree in Journalism, I look back and realize that my childhood obstinacy has gotten me farther in life than any other characteristic used to describe me.
I strongly believe that every person is unique, but life’s obstacles and society’s definition of “normal” can cause us to conform to the beliefs, habits, and ways of life as the people who are amongst us. Hence, preventing us from finding our place in the world without social interference. Jotting down short stories about my life and the world around me, which were usually just a series of anecdotes, was my only sense of peace. These small descriptive pieces of writing in a soft-covered black and white composition notebook made me discover my passion for telling compelling, impactful stories which sparked curiosity in others who may feel silenced in the world as well.
Through this curiosity, the freedom that I so desperately craved came about. Intellectual curiosity and seeing the world through other people’s eyes has shown me that absolutely everyone has a story. But many of their stories go untold and are buried with them. This is why I have decided to dedicate myself to giving others who have been silenced a chance to tell their stories. Stories of the downtrodden, the misunderstood, and the forgotten; I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless.
As a young woman of color, whose parents come from an underprivileged country, it is no secret that I have to work twice as hard as many other people. But I am okay with that. Because of the many obstacles and misfortunates that life has thrown my way, I have acquired a gift for caring for others and seeing people in ways that the world does not, which is evident in my writing. My stubborn desire to answer unanswered questions and my passion for others has always been my strongest attributes, despite being taught at a young age that women should learn how to “stay in their lane.”
My own journeys have led me to write stories of people who have felt left behind or who have found that small beam of light in their world full of darkness; similar to my life in the past. Through possibilities abound, like many stubborn people, I have goals that I’d like to accomplish and I refuse to rest until I get there. The world of journalism can never have too many fashion-loving advocate journalists trying to raise awareness or attempt to influence others one nut graph at a time.
Fun fact: The majority of the information in this story was told in my Ivy League college essay. Being stubborn got me into one of the best schools in the United States and all I did was turn my worst flaw into my strongest attribute. And so can you.
Thanks for tuning in! Look out for more posts every Thursday!
À la prochaine!,