Six summers ago I’d just celebrated my birthday in NYC, I was closing out my fourth year as a middle school English teacher, and as they say in Philly, I was feeling some type of way. On the outside, my life looked pretty good–I traveled during breaks, I had a “good” job, and I was getting ready to enjoy yet another summer off. Inside, however, I felt stuck and on the verge of depression.
Then I went to therapy.
And while I spent those first few sessions (ok, month) in tears, soon, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do something else with my life. My therapist asked what I had in mind, and the only thing I could think about was to write.
Writing had alway come easy for me and, way back before I became somebody’s mama and was bogged down with student loans and Visa bills, I would daydream of writing for the Source or Vibe or Honey. But writing didn’t pay the bills–or so I thought–so I put it out of my mind as an option.
Until that summer. Desperate and looking to do anything else besides spend the rest of my life teaching kids how to write five paragraph essays, I told my therapist about my desire to be a writer.
His only question: What are you going to do about it?
From that moment on, I tried to break into writing solely because I wanted to have something to report back to my therapist. I wanted him to be proud of me, and to think I was making progress, so I worked on getting my first clip.
By August, it happened, and as they say in films, the rest is history.
These last few years have been amazing. They’ve been filled with tremendous highs (hello cover stories) and super challenging lows that made me question my decision to quit teaching to pursue writing. But no matter how difficult things got, I knew they would eventually work out. At least I hoped they would.
As fate would have it, I rang in my birthday recently not just celebrating a new year of life, but also a new job.
After nearly six years in the freelance trenches, hustling up (literally) thousands of clips and robbing Peter to pay Paul, I now have a full time job: Senior Editor & Writer, Entertainment and Culture (digital) for EBONY.com and JETmag.com.
While the whole thing is super exciting, I won’t lie, I was also a bit nervous about accepting the job.
Let me keep it 100. The prospect of a regular, every two weeks, paycheck was a huge factor. Freelancing is hard, some months I’ve been flush with cash, and others, I’ve been barely getting by. So having regular income is a huge plus. But beyond that, and more importantly, taking this job helps me hit another of my goals: being on staff at a publication I’ve read my entire life.
Moreover, aside from the venerable history of EBONY & JET, this position comes with way more responsibility and is just further confirmation that I made the right decision when I walked out of my classroom, turned out the lights, and never looked back.
I’m still learning the ropes of the position–and believe me, I have a lot to learn–but I’m excited about this next adventure, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.