This week the most amazing thing happened!
I said YES to the person that I haven’t known the longest, but to someone who I trust, love and can’t wait to experience the rest of my life with…
Yep, I’ve decided to finally, reallllllly marry my dream.
My dream of having a career in entertainment started at a very young age. No lie, I was probably six when Ma Dukes realized that I was an avid reader
and talker and writer. I excelled in English and Language Arts but was horrible at Math (later I’d learn that most creative people are right-brained). When Living Single premiered in 1993, I instantly became a fan. Where else would I find a book smart lawyer with razor cut wit, a tough magazine owner, a stylish, but insanely shallow fashionista and a carefree hippie all in one show? And they were black women who looked exactly like the women in my family? SOLD.
I remember telling Ma Dukes that I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up — Khadijah! What I really meant was a journalist. And I wanted to go to Howard University, well, because that’s where Khadjiah went. I’d later to come to my HBCU-senses (hehe) and attend Grambling State University, but even after obtaining my degree
from the best school in the world, I was far from a journalist. In high school I was Editor of the Yearbook and I had two years worth of reoccurring appearances as a High School correspondent on a sports news show on the ABC affiliate in Dallas-Ft. Worth, but I still didn’t know how to make my dream a reality.
While in college I became involved in the Grambling Sports Radio Network where I was the lead sideline reporter for four years. In that role I came across the opportunity to work for the NBA during the 2008 All Star Game in New Orleans. During my time in undergrad is also when I conducted my first celebrity interview. Unfortunately I can’t remember who it was, but it was then, on the 50-yard line, that I realized I had to find a way to transition from sports to entertainment reporting. While I’d miss walking around the Complex gawking at ridiculously gorgeous, half-naked 20-somethings, celebrities and entertainment news felt more natural to me. I was able to go off the cuff without wondering if I misusing all the sports terminology.
*insert wedding music* I realized how dedicated I was to my dream when the NBA called. It was my last year at Grambling and they wanted me as a Talent Escort. However, I’d have to miss a week of school AND find a way to New Orleans (which is about five hours away). I told Ma Dukes, she was cool. I told my Professor, she was not. I went anyway and escorted some of the biggest celebrities around. It was there that I fell in professional love with Deion Sanders’ humility and graciousness and developed a disdain for a popular but arrogant boxer (yes, him).
Fast forward a few months later and I’d graduated (ONLY by the grace of God. No, really. I sat in the wrong class allllllll semester long and didn’t realize it until two weeks before graduation. More on that in another post) but I had no job. I worked at my church for $7.25 an hour in the front office. For a year. With a college degree. I had no car and I was living at home. I was depressed. I wanted to quit and I was broke. I literally made $200 every two weeks. With a college degree. I stumbled upon a job for a nationally syndicated radio host who needed work while he was in Dallas on Craigslist (yes, Craigslist) and I immediately applied. It was only for two days but when would I ever have the chance to work with Steve Harvey ever again? I’d later learn that I’d have three more opportunities, from his team personally. I took off, made $300 for two days of work and was asked to come to Las Vegas a few months later to work the Hoodie Awards, now known as the Neighborhood Awards. Again, I had no idea but that dedication and persistence began my walk down the aisle toward my dreams.
During that time I was also FREElancing for a few popular magazines, still working at my church and taking every opportunity I could. I eventually found a job in HR and would spend the next few years making between $10 and $12 an hour. With a college degree. In 2010 I came across a tweet from a PR agency in Chicago that was looking for an intern. I applied and got it. I quit my job, drove the 16 hours to the city and began a three month internship. I was paid $300 at the end of the internship. I didn’t get an offer to join the company so I moved back home. The week of me moving home I saw a tweet about a radio host needing temporary help while his Senior Producer was on maternity leave. I had a brief interview process (with his Producer, who happens to work at the same company as I do now) over the phone and was hired before I even made it back to Texas.
*turns wedding music up a notch* The position with Michael Baisden lasted only two months before I was randomly let go. *wedding music fades* Thank goodness I learned early on how to properly leave a job, because they hired me back into my old position…only for me to quit again three months later. I was moving to New York! *turns up music three notches*
It was August 2011 and even though I had nowhere to stay and I’d be making $300 every two weeks, I was working for a HUGE name as a Public Relations assistant. IN NEW YORK CITY. Three months later I was fired and broke in the busiest city in the country. I had an interview with BET the same day I was let go. Nothing ever came of it and once again I found myself lonely, depressed, broke and HUNGRY. For two months I only left my apartment to go to the corner store to buy Ramen Noodles. In December 2011 I moved back to Texas. That aforementioned wedding music was completely inaudible at this point.
Although I was still freelancing, now making $35 an article at one particular magazine, I felt my dream slipping away. Real quick. In two years I worked at Enterprise and found my way back to HR as Recruiter at the largest staffing agency in the country. I hated my work life during that time. I was disappointed, mad at God and ultimately felt like a failure. Many don’t know, but I lived at home until I was 28. I just turned 29 this past June. That in itself was embarrassing for me.
So while I was in the midst of hating my work life and sometimes my personal life, I was told that something HUGE was coming my way. If your faith isn’t strong, you may have a hard time with this part of my journey. My Pastor told me on a Sunday in January 2014 that my dream job was coming. I quit my job about two weeks later. Yeah. I know.
I was unemployed for three months. I received an email from the VP of Marketing & Digital Properties from REACH Media, the company that owns the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the Rickey Smiley, Russ Parr and Yolanda Adams shows as well as a few others. That email came on a Sunday. That inaudible wedding music I mentioned earlier was suddenly blaring at alarming decibels. I accepted the position in March 2014 and am now staring my dream in the face, ready to be as committed and dedicated and persistent and fearless as that 20-year-old that left school for a week to work with the NBA, only to quit the same job twice to take opportunity by the horns.
By trusting completely in God. By being able to say out loud and really believe that I’m favored and talented and deserving of good things. By working hard as hell. And I mean realllllly hard. Some of you only see the celebrity interviews and photos with said celebrity, but you don’t see me rolling out of bed at 3:30am Monday through Friday to be at work at 4:30am (along with the other things I can’t discuss. Those non-disclosure agreements are real. Lol). I’m not complaining though, this is the life l chose.
So now that part of my dream has manifested right in front of my eyes, I will continue to go after my next goal. In the meantime, I encourage you to take the path necessary to live for a living. To not let the fear of failure, lack of finances or people limit you from pursuing whatever it is you want out of YOUR life.
…now if I could only drink more water.