Hey, Free Agents! Let's party! Today is the one-year anniversary of this blog! Thank you for your support. For those who are new to the site, here at iamfreeagent.com, we pull upon the resources of history, African American Studies, Religion, womanist, and feminist thought to critically evaluate our past, present, and future. The goal of each post is to provide you with the tools you need to creatively resist whatever systems of oppression you might face in your life. We all carry burdens of varying weights in this life, and we all require the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional resources to thrive in a challenging world.
When I began this blog last year, I was in a space that that was unfamiliar and uncomfortable to me. Let me explain. Since I was two-years-old, I was, first and foremost, a student. By the time my birthday (July 27) hit each summer, I was feeling happy and confident because I knew that within one month’s time I would be back in a classroom, which was, even at my lowest emotional points, my happy place. Going to school has always made sense to me. It feels safe to me. I enjoy reading books that I would have never opened had they not appeared on my syllabus. I like watching my classmates pretend they have read those books from cover to cover by waxing poetic about a sentence they saw on the first page. I like the stress of writing papers and taking tests. I love wrestling with perennial questions and coming up with fresh answers.
But, last summer was different. For one thing, I was getting older. I had officially lived outside of my parent’s home for eight years. My expectations for what my life would look like by age 26 were not my reality. I did not have the wardrobe, living arrangements, financial security, or love life I had dreamed of in my teen years. Furthermore, I was facing the “real world.” For the first time I could remember, I would not be a student in the Fall. The real world had more bills than I remembered and fewer job opportunities to pay those bills. The real world could be unforgiving, especially to an overeducated and underemployed young black woman in pearls.
I had spent the previous academic year writing a well-received Master’s Thesis about a nineteenth-century black woman named Maria W. Stewart who somehow managed to overcome the desperation of being black and female in antebellum America. However, what I learned is that my obsession with Maria was mostly selfish. I thought studying Maria's life was an intellectual project; in reality, it was a spiritual project. I needed to develop her resolve. I needed to determine how I was going to thrive as a young, black woman in ministry in 2016. So, with the encouragement of some of the people I love, I started building in the dark. Inspired by the spirit of the creative resistance of the black women of our collective past and present, I launched this blog.
As I round the corner and celebrate the one year anniversary of I Am Free Agent, I have been considering why I undertook this project in the first place. As I reflect, I believe that my goal was twofold.
First, I started my blog because I wanted to be a little bit more whole. For a million different reasons, last summer I felt broken. I had lost track of who I was, and frankly, I needed to get a grip. The community I have started to find in the past year is saving me. You are helping me to find my way by calling out the potential that was lying dormant within me. “I Am Free Agent” is my new mantra. It reminds me that I am free. I possess every tool I need to creatively resist.
Second, I started my blog because I wanted to share my light. My parents live in Northern Virginia. When I was in Divinity School, I would travel home to see them a few times per year. When I would return to Connecticut in the wee hours of the morning, I would take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The parkway was pitch black, especially in the winter months. I would not have been able to see the road without my headlights and those of the other cars who were on the journey with me. I learned from those trips that we must share our light. On our own, each of us only has a small glint of light, but together, we shine bright, and our light overcomes the darkness. I only have a little bit of light, but if I share my light with someone else, we create a light too vibrant for darkness to overcome.
Today as I celebrate the one year anniversary of this blog, please humor me as I share a few of my lessons learned from this past year. These are lessons I will carry with me as we continue to grow in the year to come, but I also believe that God gave me this year for a reason. This year has revealed to me just how perfect God’s plan is for me. This year has also prepared me for the year to come as I return to school this September as a Ph.D. candidate. Please keep following the blog. I can’t wait to do more building with you! In the comments, please let me know something you have learned over the course of the past year or what you are hoping to build in the year to come? Keep creatively resisting, friends. See you soon!