Am I getting old or what? Last weekend was my 20-year high school reunion and I can’t believe that it has been 20 years since I was a high schooler. I was so excited to see everyone and thank God, I did not have the pressure of being fit. Why? Because I am 7 months pregnant so I get a pass. Right? That made the event even more exciting. No starving myself and hitting the gym like a ‘crazy lady’ to get prepared.
I can never really define where I fit in high school. I was very smart and enrolled in AP classes and a member of the National Honors Society. I was also the assistant editor of the paper and the Student Council President. I tried basketball and I was okay but not good, so I quit after my freshman year. Then I decided to try soccer and who knew—my need for speed and quick legs got me a spot on the varsity squad my junior year. I never cut class and always followed the rules. Now that I am looking back, I guess I was not what you would call ‘a cool kid.’ Go figure.
Friday night was a “1980’s Hip Hop and House Music Party” at Linger Martini Bar. It rained the whole night and I dreaded getting dressed and ended up laying across my bed for hours before I decided to battle the storm. I figured since I bought a brand-new dress and shoes that I didn’t want to waste—I would just go. By the time I left out it was midnight and the party ended at 2 am. My husband also decided to give me a curfew and demanded that I be home before 2 am. With about an hour to hang, I proceeded on my mission.
I saw so many familiar faces when I reached the club and it made it all worth it. The DJ was playing all my favorite hits and I was winding and grinding all in my chair as I sat in the cut. I had a blast! I didn’t want the night to end but I remembered my curfew and headed out at 1:30 am.
On Saturday was “The Famous Red & White & Blue Picnic” at Calumet Beach. It was hot and humid and I had the kids with me. I dragged my feet contemplating going several times. I waited until about 5 pm and headed out with my folding chairs and essentials for the kid’s. I drove and drove around the park area until I finally noticed a sign about the reunion. Then I saw someone I knew and finally we could sit down and get some food. I was starving! The music was blasting and the food was amazing. The kid’s played with the other kid’s that were there. They ran and played in the sand and got their feet wet. It was ‘oodles of fun.’
I can’t wait until next year because we will be doing this annually and I have already volunteered to help. My goal is to get the younger generation more involved so that this can continue for years to come. George Washington High, you are the reason that I am the woman I am today. Thank You!
When I was little and someone asked me what I wanted to be—the answer always came easy. A writer. I never knew how I would achieve this goal but I took steps in the right direction any chance I could get. I would always write. I would recite my poetry at church events and school graduations. I was even invited to do a commencement speech for my grammar school. I wrote poetry, essays, short stories, songs and plays. It always came easy for me and I have always enjoyed it.
When I entered high school the only writing outlet was the school paper so I immediately joined and eventually became the assistant editor. I also was featured on television for the NAACP ACT-SO awards for my playwriting skills in my sophomore year. I also wrote for the minority newspaper at my college from time to time. I went to journalism camps and even did an internship for a small newspaper. My majors were English and Journalism. My life had been surrounding and immersed with activities to prepare me to be a writer.
After graduation, I went back home to Chicago and worked whatever job I could find. I never even tried to get a job in my field of journalism or English. I just stopped writing. I landed a job working in financial aid at an online university and the rest is history. Now that I have a family to support and no other real experience I feel bound to a job that I only do out of necessity that doesn’t satisfy me. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
As I look back on everything, I realize that fear is what stopped me from pursuing my dream job of being a writer. I was afraid that I would not make enough money or have a stable income to support myself. Even worse, I was afraid to fail. If I could do it all over again I would take the low pay and uncertainty of writing just to be happy—to be me. Today, almost 20 years later I still don’t have the courage to completely commit myself and quit my job but I am making a start. This blog is my start and I will continue to seek other writing opportunities. I am tired of just existing. I want to start living the life I was meant to live. I won’t stop until I can say, “hi, my name is La’Shon and I am a writer.” Hey, what about you. Is your current job, your dream job and what you have always wanted to do?