I hope you don't mind if I take this moment to reflect with you all. I haven't really had the opportunity, and I'd much rather do it with you all instead of just on a sheet of paper that will get crumpled, lost and awkwardly stepped on at some point when I'm rushing to get out of the door.
SO...to avoid that, I'll say here that.the past year brought so much change. Prior to taking this leap, I was sitting at a cramped desk, hunched over a computer, taking over anywhere between 40-80 calls a day about finances, numbers and retirement accounts.
Yeah...it was as not fun as it sounds. Thank God I loved the people I worked with.
In short, my wallet was satisfied but my heart was not. I knew that I had something bigger to do. Instead of sitting in my misery, however, I decided to make a change because I knew I was worth it. I didn't know what lie ahead of me after quitting that job and pursuing my Master's, but I knew that taking a risk and not knowing was better than staying safe and knowing full well that my unhappiness would be my reward. I'm SO glad that I did. Since the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I've: been on TV, radio, newspapers published my first children's book, won the 2017 Best Indie Book Award, run workshops, visited countless schools, listened to children and parents thank me for my work and tell me "I love you", and so much more. With that journey came sacrifice too, though. I have no shame in saying that this year was incredibly difficult. I've been on food stamps to supplement my income. I've struggled with finances and making sure that I was able to stay afloat. I've been told no or ignored more times that I'd like to admit. But it's all been worth it. I'm impacting people and giving love in the best way that I know how. People are flooding me with opportunities that are now PAID. People are recognizing me and loving my work. It's all manifesting in the most beautiful way. If nothing else, 2017 taught me that being your most authentic self and staying true to your own heart is the best way to go. Even if you fall on your butt with every try to reach the stars, you'll know that each leap is proof that you've tried and you're that much closer.
To take it back from the beginning of December...
I had the opportunity to vend at Grace Cathedral Fellowship Ministries yesterday and had an amazing time connecting with new friends and artisans. I love seeing how the #community supports itself so wonderfully, but the recognition for these talented folks just isn't there! Hmm.. .
Thank you Robin Moore for the opportunity and thank you Tina L. Dent for the initial connect :)
I was invited to the Access Health Fair hosted by Trenton Central High School West, and it was amazing! I'm so eternally thankfully to: Micah Freeman, the former mayor of Trenton, Douglas Palmer, and the organization that he represents The Trenton Literacy Movement, Inc. for sponsoring 50 books for the community.
Thanks to them, I was able to give the gift of reading to children and adults alike. They were all so excited about me and my project, one woman in particular visiting just to stop by and meet me because she liked my work so much! I Didn't stop talking to people from 4:30-7pm when I had to leave, and I gave away all 50!
Incredible night :)
Sankofa Video Books & Cafe in Washington, D.C. is a truly magical place. I've never been in a bookstore that felt so comfortable, warm, and inviting. It was also the first place that I've been to in a long time that normalized the African diaspora and didn't feel forced. I walked in and some people were speaking Amharic, some with a West African bass in the voice, others with a Caribbean twang and others otherwise sounded like they came straight from where my family is from in the Deep south. It was a beautiful reflection of our global experience, and I couldn't have been happier to share in it.
The book reading itself was so much fun too, kids really engaging and becoming a part of the storytelling experience. They shouted, waited in suspense, made the anticipatory drumroll for the story's climax and so much more. So grateful for the opportunity and can't wait to come back to share more. D.C. was just amazing in general haha.
Also ran into my friend Maria Luisa completely by accident as I ran back in to pick something up! So glad to have seen you and your two awesome students. :)
Impostor syndrome is such a real thing as an artist. I spend about 50% of my time thinking "Man I can't wait to get to the next level", instead of enjoying where I'm currently at. This event, however, really helped me put that in perspective as everyone who stopped by marveled at the artwork and the color. Those who read the book loved the story as well! As long as people enjoy what comes out of my head, I'm happy and will continue to push for more.
Thanks to everyone who created and ran the Winter Wonderland Artisan Market event! Especially Mark! It was an incredible time.
All in all, 2017 was a seismic shift in change, but I'm so glad that I trusted myself enough to take that leap. Most importantly, I'm so glad that you're all here along with me for the ride. :)
Here's to an incredible 2018 too!!!
Lots of love,
Rashad Malik Davis