[This post is a 5 minute read]

Ever since I left the comfortable bosom of Network Marketing my focus has changed. I’m heading into a new direction. Unknown territories.

I feel free. In fact the only time I’ve felt this free [as an adult] was when I embarked on a 15mth travelling stint to South America and New Zealand.

This isn’t a dig at my past, network marketing was one of the best things to ever happen to me. It set me on a path that has led me to where I am. On the journey I not only met some truly wonderful people but I picked up an arsenal of skills and read some really valuable personal development books.

Once I closed the door to living my life in that environment, I suddenly felt many of the those books were redundant. I had no interest in how I should ‘Speak about my product’, ‘How to hustle’, ‘What successful people do’ and a plethora of other similar titles.

There was also a void where my vision once was. With network marketing although it hadn’t made a huge dent in my dreams, I knew what the end looked like. I knew what was possible and I knew it would be possible. I’d seen it happen.

My new dream leaves me questioning what my future is going to be. There’s no 5-year plan or step-by-step guide to success. Success leaves clues in many businesses but looking into writing the clues are scattered and what works for one person, dramatically fails for others. Will I ever make it? What does make it even look like? Will I only be a success and be able to live a comfortable life if I reach the heights of JK Rowling?

My reading habits have also changed since embarking on my new path. I’m reading more fiction and autobiographies instead of books that are constantly about enforcing change on you.

I read. I’m in awe. Then I’m scared. Then the doubts scuttle in. The way the authors manipulate the text, play with style, structure and pluck out words that I barely understand leaves me asking:

“What chance do I really have?”

I feel a tad relieved knowing that I’m still at the starting blocks. I haven’t figured out the ‘Author’ in me just yet and there are a lot of avenues I want to visit BUT at the same time I feel a sense of dread. As my ‘perfectly painted’ future has been white-washed over, leaving a sticky unclear residue with fragments of doubt, fears, envy and bewilderment.

But I have my books and I’m getting lost in them. Aside from reading some collection of short stories my focus has been on reading books from black Authors.

The reason I decided to this is because I have never embraced being ‘black’. Yes, I acknowledge I’m black but I don’t talk about it, research into my history, or even have that many black friends. I was brought up in a white family, in a white working class area and watched re-runs of films and TV shows with white actors in the lead and bit part actors in token ‘black’ roles. I talk more about this in my post – Back to Black 🙋🏿

From the top of my head I didn’t know many black authors so the first book I picked up was Maya Angelou’s first volume of her autobiography. Before I could delve into it I had to read a specific book as part of the ‘book club’ I attend.

Well the Universe certainly wanted to help me, as I found out when I started to read the book, the author was a black man. Paul Beatty’s – ‘The Sellout’, is a satire look at racism in the present day and how one man reinstates segregation and slavery. It was a book that was hard to read but nicely broken up with laugh out loud parts. It definitely made me think and question the way some things are.

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I finished Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ yesterday and WOW! It blew me away. With her words I got trapped into her world. The dark side of her growing up, mixed with her adventures and the thorn in my side, which drew constant tears on my commute to work, the out here racism she saw and endured. It made for a hard but a much needed read.

One of the lines that I read over and over again was a conversation Maya’s 13year old brother had with his Uncle:

“Uncle Willie. Why do they hate us so much?”

Uncle Willie muttered “They don’t really hate us. They don’t know us. How can they hate us? They mostly scared”

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Those words made me cry then and typing them out, made me just cry again. Yes, the past is the past but it dictates our future and it’s still got a strangle hold on us. So I’m reading these books to stop being ignorant, to try and understand and maybe just maybe something I write will help dictate a brighter future.

The final book I want to touch on is one that I received for my birthday back in July. Some of my girlfriends chipped in to buy me a few gifts and one of them was another nod from the Universe.

‘Bad Feminist’ – a book by a black author, Roxanne Gay. I just started reading it today and this woman is awesome! In her essays she touches on being black, having immigrant parents [raised in America], being a woman and as the title suggest being a feminist, albeit a bad one!

She talks about things other people daren’t and I can already see that I am going to be a big fan of hers. And start to speak up more about issues that matter. One thing at a time……

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One thing at a time………

One step at a time………

That’s all it takes. Reminding myself of this reaffirms that I’m on the right path, even though that path may be a dirt track, full of talented writers or full of wrong turns with no end in sight.

I am where I’m meant to be.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday 

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Two additional books by black authors that are next on my list.
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