Last week I sought the advice of a lawyer regarding my concerns about pursuing a career in law. I told him about my desire to pursue a career that meshes together my interests in fashion, art, journalism and law. He told me that he could tell from our short time together that I was more of a journalist than a lawyer. I wouldn't say that it was an earth shattering revelation, but it did put a tiny dent in my ego. He said he saw a gleam in my eye whenever I mentioned journalism or writing. I still intend to follow the plan I mentioned in my last post. It took me all of 21 years to come up with it, so I might as well give it a shot, right? Now don't get me wrong. I am not a journalist trying to feign an interest in law. As much as I appreciate the law you have to admit it is not a very inclusive field. I will not truly understand what it means to be a lawyer until I am in the trenches of a court room, or at least when I find myself drowning in a sea of torts during my first year of law school.
Technology has made the field of journalism more inclusive. So inclusive that anyone with a few ideas and an internet connection can call themselves a journalist. It's easier for me to call myself a writer or a journalist than a lawyer because writing is something I have always practiced whereas law is not. The gleam that the lawyer saw in my eye when I spoke about writing came not from a lack of passion for the law, but rather a lack of experience in it.
All writers have reasons for writing and I am no different. I can trace my love of words back to when I was in pre-school and my mother would take me to the library every Wednesday evening for story time. It got to the point that eventually I knew my local library like the back of my hand. My parents have always been advocates for education. My trips to the library were supplemented with trips to museums and "Camp Mommy" during the summer. My mother feared that over the summer I would not retain everything I learned during the school year, so many of my summers were spent brushing up on old lessons and learning new things for the upcoming school year. I always got special attention at "Camp Mommy" because I was the only camper.
As an only child I tended to keep to myself. I also had a bit of an accent due to spending a few years in Nigeria as a child. That along with my shy nature made me hesitant to speak out in certain circles. So, I would write. I would write stories, poems, short essays, and diary entries. You name it. It was not that I didn't have a voice, it was just that I kept it to myself.
My brain has always worked faster than my mouth so sometimes when I spoke two distinct thoughts would come out jumbled into one causing people to say, "What?" and me to reply "Nevermind" and go back to my books.
I wrote because it gave me a chance to organize my thoughts. I wrote because it allowed me to say the things I didn't get a chance to say out loud. I wrote to fill time. I wrote because I could.
The thing about writing is that eventually you want people to read it. As much as we writers don't like to admit it, we are fairly egotistical people. Just because I never posed myself as the brightest star in the room didn't mean that I did not want a chance to shine. Eventually, people began to validate my writing by telling me that it was good (whatever that means). So I began to write more and more still not seeing it as a career, but as a small part of a larger plan. The plan has changed over the years, but now writing plays a much larger role.
While I have developed my own voice and am no longer afraid to speak up I am not that different from that little girl with jumbled thoughts. I still write to organize my thoughts. I still write to fill time. I still write because I can.
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