I believe that life’s defining moments occur when we take risks. A deliberate decision to respond to the uncertainties of the future creates an invigorating , yet sometimes frightening, energy that has the power to sustain revolutions. And regardless of the scope, we are all experiencing revolutions- the newness that pervades spaces of change.
When I graduated from NYU in December 2010, I was unsure of exactly what type of change I needed. As an undergraduate student, there were clear boundaries that defined my world. Even on my most maddening of days, I had the security of classes or internships or close friends to help maintain my peace of mind. As I walked across the stage to receive my diploma that winter evening, my security blanket unravelled, forcing me into a new phase womanhood.
I was terrified. The media told me I would become an old spinster. The economy told me that there was no place for a recent graduate with a liberal arts degree. How did I expect to earn a living with an Africana Studies and Creative Writing degree? Is graduate school the right option for me? The existential woes stung; I was knee deep in the post graduate blues. I sulked and groaned and attempted to avoid the inevitable growing pains of adulthood. It was easy to bask in ” the creative” as a student because I had never clearly defined the expectations I held for myself as a writer. I blamed the “student” in me for my lack of refinement, for my inability to revolutionize.
About a month after graduation, a mentor passed along information about a fellowship opportunity in Chicago. The program was seeking out mentors to work alongside a cohort of high school sophomore men at a developing charter school on the south-side of the city. Her advice: Shaking the post grad blues is a choice. Step out the funk or be swallowed by it. Her words challenged my angst. And my momma didn’t raise no punk.
Granted, I hesitated to leave New York, clinging to a shallow belief that I would somehow miss out on something, but I also knew that a move to Chicago represented a chance to re-ignite the fire that fear had extinguished. I could refocus my energies while inviting new relationships and experiences to refine my creative purpose. More importantly, I would be able to re-visit old ventures with a fresh perspective- ventures like Zora Magazine!
Just as I begin anew in a new city with new friends, Zora Magazine relaunches with a commitment to its creative purpose. Throughout the past year, the publication has been blessed to serve as a sounding board for many black women as they shared stories of triumph, love, isolation, and heartache. We were able to remind ourselves that we are not alone.
So as Zora gears up for another year, join us as we share the stories of four postgraduates who are taking risks and revolutionizing. They too have decided to shake the funk and git to the git with a bit of pain n’ spit n’ spunk!