At twenty (20), an age when most young adults are trying to figure out who they are, my mother gave birth to me. I grew up as an only child, being raised by a single-parent. My mother was a young black woman from a huge poor family. She had thirteen (13) brothers and seven (7) sisters. My father on the other hand, who I later discovered had other kids, was a much older man. He came from a small, well-off family, had a Ph.D. and travelled often. In a real sense I am the product of two distinctly separate worlds. At a very early age, I began to wonder who I would turn out to be. I was a talkative child, an inquisitive child, always curious about everything around me. I was an observer, an over-thinker and my imagination got the better of me most times. I had many cousins and was the youngest amongst them. As the “baby”, I often felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously. I decided then that in order for my voice to be heard, I would write my thoughts down and so began my dream of becoming a writer.
Both my mother and grandmother would stress the importance of gaining an education so school became my focus. As a practice and something I would look forward to, my mother would buy me a new book every time I did well in term exams. The further away these stories were from my reality, the more I enjoyed them. I soon gained a great likeness for authors such as Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters and William Shakespeare. The way they made their characters come alive and the construction of their words evoked a strong emotion of amazement in me. I was captivated by the fact that these books took me to a different world. Playing outdoors was short-lived. Instead I stayed indoors to write stories and poems. My adventures were penned and my joy came from reading my stories to whoever would spare a listening ear.
I discovered myself in my writing. I observed my mother closely: how she struggled with self, relationships, family and career. I saw how hard she worked to provide for me and ensured I was not in need of anything; so I wrote about strong women. I watched how often my grandmother prayed so I wrote my views on religion. I listened to my girlfriends and their relationships with males and then I wrote about love and sex. I examined how my country developed over time, so I wrote about politics and culture, how I often reject my own culture and how disgusted I am at how everyone uses the term “culture” as an excuse to get away with murder, rape, paternal absenteeism, drop out of school, or become teenage parents. I wrote about healthcare, parenting, entertainment, and the dynamics of human life.
The more books, magazines and news I read the more I realized that there was so much more to life outside my tiny island, and so my love and desire to travel began. When I discovered the likes of Anna Quindlen, Helen Thomas and Barbara Walters, my dream to become a writer transformed into becoming a journalist. I realized that journalism would not only allow me to write but also investigate, report and most importantly give a voice to the voiceless.
As a journalist, I want to capture the expressions of different individuals all over the world. I want to interview persons who live in societies in which they feel trapped, or where their voices are not always heard. I want my stories to shape a conversation about change, because I understand how it feels to be trapped in one’s country or without a voice and how books can help an individual change the way he/she think.
I want to be an advocate for literacy because I believe that illiteracy is a death sentence. I believe that reading books helped me to become who I am today and as a writer I can not live comfortably knowing there are millions of children who can not read. I also believe there is no better time to be a journalist than now. Writing, exploring the dynamics of human life, discovering truths untold, being ethical and innovative with my ideas are what I live for. I want to make a career out of journalism because I am curious, passionate, and believe it is my personal responsibility to reveal stories worth hearing.