I used to write letters to my uncle when I was younger. I’m not sure which one and I cannot remember what the letters were about. What I do remember the most were the envelopes.
I spent hours with my colored pencils drawing the most elaborate and colorful birds on the front of one envelope. At that moment, I wasn’t thinking about all the what-ifs. “What if the colors don’t coordinate?” “What if it begins looking deformed?” For that matter, I never used an eraser. I just let my art be.
Back then, I never limited my creativity to the envelopes I sent to my uncle. I was a lover of colors and so observant of the world and space around me. In third grade, I drew a 16x20 inch version of the cover of Charlotte’s Web for an open house with Ms. Lopez – and it was spot on. I experimented with colored pencils, markers, crayons, pastels, watercolor, and whatever else I could get my hands on. For a glimpse, I wanted to keep creating, I wanted to be an artist or work in creative spaces.
As I got older, and more exposed to societal limitations, I felt like being an artist wasn’t a space worth exploring – it was my hobby. When I got to college, I shifted my creative space from creating art to new writing – and I wrote a shit-ton.
Despite my enjoyment of writing, I attended Fresno State with my intentions set on becoming a dentist. Why? I have no f*cking idea, but part of it was because of pressures to pursue a secure career in the medical field. Little did I know that the “D” I earned in Biology 1A would push me down a different path.
I took on volunteer work at a museum in downtown Fresno – the African American Historical and Cultural Museum. From the day I trained as a docent, I gained so many valuable and unique experiences. I landed my first television segment, I cohosted on the radio and even managed to freelance my writing.
I loved my day-to-day work, it was different, it was for a greater cause, and it helped the black community. I never felt so secure in myself and with what I wanted.