2016: The Year of Birthing a Vision

2016.  This year was really something.  This year, I did not do a good job of managing everything—this blog included.  For that, I sincerely apologize.  I was doing a lot.  At times, I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I couldn’t juggle it all. Then I would feel guilty and beat myself up. But I realize now that, sometimes, you just can’t do it all.  Or at least you just can’t do it all well.  And I have come to accept that that’s okay…

2007. Nine years ago, I was tasked with carrying a vision that was bigger than myself: I was commissioned to write a children’s book.  It was something that I had never done before, but for some reason, the people who sought me out thought I was capable.  I worked on that book while I was pursuing my law degree and had gotten to the copy-edit stage (with an expectation to publish in 2012)…

2011. Five years ago, during my articling year (after a long period of silence from the publisher), I found out (in a very roundabout way) that my book deal, along with all others at this publishing house, had been canned because the company had been bought out. So, after a couple of failed attempts to pitch the manuscript to other publishers, I shelved the project.

Maybe I wasn’t a writer, after all, I said to myself.

And, in any case, I had a blossoming legal career that I needed to attend to…

2014. Two years ago, I found myself newly married…and out of work.  As the Type-A person that I am, it wasn’t long before I was going half-crazy with nothing (thought-provoking) to do while spending time at home.  Until I felt God telling me to “go back to the project”.

God, don’t you know I need a JOB?! Who has time to publish a book?

After wrestling with the idea for months, and with the encouragement and support of my husband, I decided to acquiesce: I went back to my manuscript, updated it, and then fielded it for feedback from some authors and teachers…

2015. A year ago, I made the difficult decision to re-write the book, on the advice of a few of my friends who work in education—who did not hesitate to let me know that “the kids aren’t going to read it” (thank God for real friends who will tell you the truth!)—and I also made the equally difficult (at least for me) decision to self-publish.  I then began the process of seeking out the “right” people to help me bring the vision to life, which came with its own set of difficulties and headaches…

2016. This year, nine years later, I gave birth to the vision.

Though I’ve never birthed a child before, I feel like my experience has been what I imagine a pregnant woman must go through (based on the accounts of friends and relatives).

Nine years ago, I was nervous but also curious about what it might mean to write a book. I thought about what it would look in the end and whether people would like it. I knew it was going to be a long process, but I had no idea how long or hard it was going to be.

Sometimes your baby is born earlier than expected, sometimes overdue, but always at his or her appointed time.

During my journey, I learned so many lessons about people and about myself.  I’ve learned that others will not care about your vision in the same way that you do.  I’ve learned that while it is important to devote your everything to your vision, you also have to take care of yourself given that you are the vessel through which it will enter the world; the healthier you are, the safer the delivery will be.  

And then there was the emotional rollercoaster.  There were times throughout this process when I was so excited about the potential of what I was carrying; there were other times when didn’t think I was going to make it and was ready to abort it; there were times when I wanted to jump for joy because things were going great; and other times when I wanted to bawl my eyes out in anger and frustration (and I did—several times). And by the time I got to the end of my “gestation period”, if you will, I was completely exhausted and just ready for the vision to finally be birthed.

So, here she is, my first-born child: 

what-are-you-gonna-do-with-that-hair

What Are You Gonna Do with that Hair? A book by Ndija Anderson-Yantha; Illustrated by Kaela Beals

I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I did.  Thank you, Jesus!

 

If you are carrying a vision of your own, trust and believe that it will come to pass!

If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time (Habakkuk 2:3 MSG).

May you birth great things in 2017 and beyond! Happy New Year!

 

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One year strong!

Anniversary meme - logo
birthday-cake-152008_1280 copyToday marks the one year anniversary of The Natural Hair Advocate! Woot woot! And it’s been an amazing 12 months!

A BIG thanks goes out to all of you for following, reading, and commenting on my posts over the past year- I really appreciate your support and engagement! Through this blog, I have met some really amazing people; learned a lot of new things, not only about hair, but also about myself; I’ve ventured far outside of my comfort zone; challenged myself in many ways; and, most importantly, I have revisited two of my passions: natural hair and writing.

Having said all that, the truth is, I really did not think that I would get here…

 

At first I was afraid, I was petrified!

Up until January of last year, if someone would have said to me that today I would be a “blogger”, I would’ve laughed in their face.  Sure, as a litigator, I was constantly writing for my job at the time; I have written numerous papers for various reasons throughout my years of schooling; I’ve had a couple of opportunities to have my opinion published in the past; I’ve even written for a blog as member of volunteer organization; and, believe it or not, before blogging became a “thing”, I had even started one for my Watson fellowship (the key word is “started”, because I only posted about 9 times)! Nevertheless, I did not think I could launch a blog that people would actually want to read; I also didn’t believe that I had the drive to maintain one.  I mean, I like to share my thoughts (just ask my husband or my siblings, lol), but I didn’t think that I could be consistent (or persistent) enough to keep a blog going.

 

The paralysis of analysis

Back in 2014, during what was a not-so-great-but-oh-so-necessary season in my life, I decided to go back to a writing project about natural hair that I had abandoned for a few years because I was too busy pursuing my legal career.  It was then that I remembered how much joy I found in championing natural hair, research, and writing.  Observing my rekindled excitement, the people around me-namely, my husband, siblings, and close friends- started encouraging me to start a blog.  For some reason, they thought I could do it. I, on the other hand, was not so convinced:

Me, start a blog? Nah! Why would anyone care about what I have to say?

Okay, if I start one, who’s going to read it? There are so many natural hair bloggers already!

Hmm…maybe I should start one; but I’m probably gonna write like 2 posts, and then get tired of it. So, really, what’s the point?

I went back and forth for a good 6 months before I finally decided to take the leap.  The first few months was me questioning whether I should, and also doubting my ability to, blog; and then when I did resign myself to do it, the next few months was me spending (wasting?) a lot of time researching how to start a blog/what makes a blog successful/how bloggers get followers/why blogs are popular/what time and what day you should blog/what separates good blogs from bad blogs/the history of blogging- you name it, I read it! But it was ALL a distraction from actually doing it!

A few days before I launched this blog, I had a long phone conversation with a good friend and fellow blogger, Simone Samuels (check out her blogs, if you haven’t already: Simone Samuels, Life After Oxtail), and she told me that I needed to overcome “the paralysis of analysis”– that I needed to stop stalling, under the guise of getting prepared, and just do it!  And, so, I did it!

 

Do it afraid!

When I published my first post, I was nervous and scared as heck, but I did it! And today, a year later, I’m still doing it! So, my encouragement to all of you is to do it afraid– whatever IT is for you!  If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting a business, heading across the world on a missions trip, going back to school, or even starting a blog, please do not let fear hold you back! It’s better to do it afraid than to never attempt to do it, at all!

 

Coming stronger in Year Two

After a year of blogging, I realize now that a lot, if not most, of things that I was concerned about before I started have not even been issues! Mind you, there are other things that I’ve identified as issues that I will be working on improving.  This year, I plan to post more and to cover a broader scope of topics.  I’m also working on some exciting natural hair projects to be announced soon, so please do keep visiting for more information.  And, as always, please don’t hesitate to give me any feedback or suggestions you have about my posts or topics in the comments section!

Thanks for a great year, everyone! This is only the beginning!