Placing Purpose Behind Your Pursuits
As the years go by, I am learning that purpose is not a guaranteed promise set at the end of a streamlined path. Purpose is simply a continual commitment based on what our experiences have called us to contribute to the world. My work and the voids I have been called to fill are a direct result of the personal vacancies I have yet to satisfy. From managing and creating content for social media platforms, strategizing methods to increase consumer engagement through enticing forms of media, to eventually desiring to create and facilitate platforms that allow for the art of storytelling to occur, I have begun this process of achieving true fulfillment through many different mediums.
Avoiding the excess labels and fluff of professionalism, my work is simply centered around providing a voice to the voiceless and a spotlight to those who were never center stage, making me a vessel of this truth through journalism by default. Being one of the youngest keynote speakers to hundreds at the Atlanta World Congress Center, a quarter-finalist at a Harvard University international debate tournament, and being selected as a high school intern for Essence Magazine, I am simply a young woman who has an endless desire to advocate for avenues of change through the power of speech and communication with others across all walks of humanity. Reigning from the city of Atlanta, I had a front row seat to the abilities of the black community, in particular, to evoke evolution of the media and entertainment industries. Because of this, my desire to contribute a fresh, youthful twist to the traditional standards of media has never ceased to exist. From building up my level of experience through holding numerous leadership roles to always establishing my brand in every digital and physical space, the platform that I earnestly desire to create for the current generation is burgeoning every day.
However, in order to truly acknowledge the fruits of my labor, I must direct my attention back to their roots. Growing up in a single-parent household, it wasn’t uncommon to find the loudness of my potential being immersed in complete silence. Being a “latchkey kid” and not wanting my mother to have to juggle another aspect of her life around me, I was known for being the quiet, soft-spoken girl, often feeling more secure from solitude than from actual society. Lacking tangible experience of communicating with others outside of myself, I ironically began building up a hunger to master words at a young age. From memorizing random dictionary definitions to imagining complex stories, I found myself resorting to writing the thoughts I could never muster up the courage to say aloud. Alas I soon realized that my best friend was only a piece of paper. I was only holding a pen not a microphone. The voice that was attempting to write my life story could only go so far and be so loud. If the primitive purpose of communication is to connect to others, why did I keep on writing letters that were destined to have no address? Attempting to write a new scene into the narrative of my life, I decided to audition for a public-speaking group, called the Miss Media program. From this experience, I earned my first speaking engagement at the Second Century Luncheon, where I got to interview R&B singer Keri Hilson. Only when I saw the reflection of myself in the lens of the camera was I able to truly grasp the spotlight that my shadow had dimmed for so long. I was once known as the girl who was too scared to raise her hand, to hear the sound of her own voice, and to make connections with others.
Now, I am known for my acceptance into the Communicative Arts Governor's Honors Program 2019 cohort, my ambassadorship for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, alumni presence with People2People travels, being an alumna to the Disney Dreamers Academy, an ambassador for the Miss Media Program and National Calls Board, and for holding a multitude of connections with Atlanta media experts, such as Francesca Amiker on 11 Alive News, Rose Scott on WABE, and Maria Boynton on V103. The void that I thought I needed to fill in my childhood was actually the origin of my very essence.
Because after all, how can one expect to plant a flower without first digging a hole for it to take root? How can we, as a society, expect to build bridges to connect people when we have failed to recognize the need for a gap to actually crossover?
Undeniably, my purpose was found in my debts not in my wealth.
I bring up the beginnings of my story to note that this initial spark of curiosity had to be nurtured into a fire that would provide everlasting warmth and light to keep me actually content with what I was called to do. The love for what we do comes naturally, but the commitment to being the best at what we do does not. While I am directed towards delving into my craft as a broadcast journalist, my purpose is not bound to what my work title entails. Whether I am experimenting with podcasting or shifting my talents into sectors of videography and content curation, I depend on my skill sets in various areas to provide assets to my line of work. In the age of child stars, viral sensations, and the perpetual grind associated with the Gen-Z wave, I believe that my desire to spread knowledge instead of my desire to be known influences the impact people feel from what I do. I am separated by my climb instead of the clout. I am separated by obtaining familiarity of what it truly takes to succeed instead of being enthralled with the mere taste of fame. Simply put, I am separated by the factor of authenticity in my actions.
Along my pathway to purpose, I fell into holes of unfulfillment instead of just taking strides to reach my goal on the surface. What I thought was a downfall or disadvantage in my past actually allowed me to know what rock bottom felt like, feel the grit underneath my nails while trying to climb out of my own pit of despair, and rise to the occasion to put one foot in front of the other. My path wasn’t always planned, but it was always purposeful. My entire story is centered around digging into the depths of who I am in order to fill the spaces of where I am called to be. In that plot, the theme of an existing dichotomy has always been present, teaching me that every downfall will also be met with a moment of levity. I have learned that our weaknesses can be turned into strengths with discipline. I have learned that we shouldn’t deny ourselves of an accepting future just because our past was full of rejection. Most importantly, I have realized that the boldness of my story will rebound off the walls of a quiet room with another young girl in the middle of writing her story.