A Nervousing Abolitionist

I’m new to Medium. When I learned that my colleagues at CUNY J-School and I would be posting on this platform every week, I was terrified. I’m afraid of being judged, especially for my writing. Ironic for someone pursuing journalism as a career, but hey, we all have obstacles to overcome. I just never expected it to be the fast and furious way.

My first post on Medium was written on adrenalin and nerves. I was scared, but also buzzed from the challenge. After posting my 500 word reflection “Rethinking Journalism,” I celebrated victory. I posted something for the world to see and I wasn’t reaching for the Xanex. Progress!

The next morning, I woke up to notifications from Medium that someone had not only read my piece, but shared it on Twitter! I was surprised how good it felt. People were reading my stuff and sharing it. Maybe this guy might even come back for more. The possibility provoked a swarm of butterflies in my gut. I haven’t had to write on demand and for public consumption in ten years. While some kinds of pressure are prompting, this kind is paralyzing.

There is no time for paralysis. It’s time to be brave. I keep reminding myself why I am in CUNY’s Social Journalism program. After contemplating what direction to go in for my graduate degree for more than a decade, I came across this program that takes everything I am passionate about — community engagement, making a difference, writing, innovation — and made a career path out of it.

There is “a new breed of journalists who see themselves as participants and work to build authenticity by opening up about who they are and where they come from. By standing for something, even if it’s just their community. By meeting people where they are, and participating in conversations they didn’t start.” (Joy Mayer)

The community I am standing up for are children vulnerable to being exploited for another’s gain. Child trafficking is in our neighborhoods, happening to our children and it’s our problem. Yet the more I listen to the conversations in the news, on social media and from the people working to impact it — the more it seems there is a widespread illiteracy of domestic modern slavery.

So I type through the fear and pangs of self-doubt because this is undeniably my purpose in life and it might not come easy, but then that’s a life lesson many know too well. I am certainly not going to let being a little rusty and self-defeating perfectionism get in the way.

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