I haven’t updated my blog recently…mainly due to the heartbreaking events that have been happening over the past few weeks. It didn’t feel right to post novel updates or do character collages. I felt that it was better to amplify the voices that needed to be heard at the time.
These events also made me reflect on my work, and how I can use my platform (although it isn’t very big), to educate people on the importance of diversity in the media.
I have been complaining about the lack thereof, for a couple of years now and before the tragic death of George Floyd I had been writing and planning post regarding diversity in books. I noticed that within my older work, despite having mainly white leads, there have been themes of injustice, not feeling like one fits in, prejudice and racism. Topics that I unintentionally included, and was writing about as a teenager…that I never thought to reflect on until becoming an adult. I think that in the back of my mind, as a visible minority in my community, and being mixed race, these were things that were constantly happening to or around me, that instead of speaking about them openly, I ended up expressing them through my art. A lot of my older stories explore things that I sometimes struggled to understand…emotions that perhaps at the time I didn’t know how to work through.
Do I put myself into my stories? No…I don’t think so. However, I cannot deny the correlation between things happening in the world around me and themes that appear in my books.
Injustice and racism play a huge role in my debut novel…along with discussions of police brutality. I wrote this when I was in high school. I have cops in my family…however, I am a POC. I am fully aware of how people view black people. I have had family members racially profiled. When I started this novel, I was being bullied at school and called all kinds of derogatory names. I brushed it off, but it still hurt…and somehow those emotions manifested in a place of creativity. It actually made me realize how deeply racism affected me growing up.
At seventeen I unintentionally wrote a series where one of my main characters is a visible minority, who is profiled and mistreated because of he’s different. He is forced to change himself to fit into someone else’s standards in order to “protect” himself, and has to act a certain way so people don’t “fear” him.
This series has definitely grown up with me in many ways…but I can’t deny that this character and his experiences are a reflection of how I felt at the time, when I was made to feel…different because of my hair, and my skin. Things that I couldn’t change or control. I understood and related to his frustrations while writing because it was something myself and many other people of colour have and continue to go through.
Realizing this…makes it a bit painful to write. I’ve been working on another novel while my debut is off with my editor, but everything in this series seems so much heavier than I initially thought…I had no intention of writing a story like this…but it seems I’ve been telling stories of injustice and cruelty my entire life. Somehow…pain seeped into my space of creativity and transformed itself through fiction into something that I could handle. In a way…it’s almost a blessing that I’ve been able to use my creativity to express these types of emotions…despite being fully aware of it.
The world is definitely changing…and I think this change will be good. I don’t want my children to have to bury those feelings of frustration and pain so deep that…years later they realize it manifested in their art.
On a less…depressing note…I’ve been working on some really fun voice over projects lately, and I’m really enjoying myself. I’m also finally able to buy makeup, which I haven’t done in…wow…I have work, so I actually want to use some concealer and what not. I’ve liked taking a break from wearing makeup, however, I also miss playing with all the beautiful colours and seeing what types of looks I can create. Honestly, I think Valentines day was the last time I did my makeup. My skin was really clear at the time, so I only used a bit of concealer. Being single on Valentines Day was so fun. I’ve been single every Valentines Day…so far though? I don’t mind honestly. Most of the time I was either in school or working, and I just like the holiday because I have an excuse to wear lots of red (like Christmas).
I’m rambling now, but I really just wanted to end my blog post with something a little less gloomy. I’ve been on and off social media as well because I’m finding it’s been taking a bit of a toll on my mental health, and because my job requires me to be very energetic, I don’t like to feel sad before I get in the booth.
Please remember to take care of yourself, stay safe, wash you hands, and be kind to yourself and others.