October 18, 2021

Sometimes, To Make A Move-- You Literally Have To Make A Move


Columbus, Georgia is a beautiful city filled with parks, recreation centers, two malls, and a growing nightlife. It is clean and hospitable and affordable for most young families just starting out in life. The city is nicknamed "the plantation" by black entrepreneurs and others, who have earned a modicum of success and left. Even worse-- the younger generations have coined Columbus-- "Killumbus"-- with an emphasis on the word "kill"--  due to the rise of violent crime and gun violence that has made the city the target of national news. Yet, beneath the headlines and the lackluster reviews-- Columbus is a beautiful, growing city filled with amazing talent-- from writers to rappers to young entrepreneurs; it's an untapped goldmine of marketable people with wonderful stories. And yet, I can no longer call this city my home.

"This city is the city I've called home for over half of my life-- a city that has given me tragic memories, but also so many fond memories of growing up and growing old. So, with a heavy heart, I say goodbye [...]."

It's the city that nurtured me as a child-- from Dawson to Dimon elementary school-- the city that birthed me-- at Fort Benning Hospital-- the city that held my favorite streets to ride my bike early on summer mornings and pick plums out of my neighbors yard while the leaves were still wet with dew-- Hitahatchee Street and Yuchi Ave; yet this city is not the city that can help me find my final success. It's the city I've called home for over half of my life-- a city that has given me tragic memories, but also so many fond memories of growing up and growing old. So, with a heavy heart, I say goodbye to the place that I adopted my brothers and daughter, that I birthed my first child, that I bought my first home, that I started my career as a teacher-- and that I wrote and published 5 novels. Instead, I move to a place that has fed me and nurtured my dream as a writer. I move to the town where I published my first story, Happy Birthday in Hear Our Voices Magazine at 14 years old. I move to the town that let me do my first book talk the STEM Book Awards with Dr. Heflin, that introduced to me television producers, Reality Television-- and that let me on a studio lot as a background actor in television series like Star and the Love and Hip Hop Atlanta

No matter how beautiful a city is sometimes you have to leave to grow, and what looks like a step backward is really a step forward. During the process of my departure, I will lose the title of homeowner for a season-- but it worth gaining the tile of Best Selling Author. Remember, a prophet is never respected in their hometown. So, just like I advise my readers in Your Story Matters: How To Become the Author of Your Own Destiny-- I am embracing "Opportunities." I received the opportunity to work in an environment that better fit my talents and my enthusiasm for success, and I arose to the challenge. I received the opportunity to move to a place that valued my entrepreneurial pursuits, that valued my skills as an author, and that valued my story of success. So, I took it. 

"No matter how beautiful a city is sometimes you have to leave to grow, and what looks like a step backward is really a step forward."
I quit my job. I packed up my home. I took my daughter-- and left. And already, I am getting more opportunities than I have ever had in my former home. On my first week of my new position, I met a another author, university professor and substitute teacher. Instead of competition and comparison-- we discussed ways we could benefit each other. I could help her with her book cover, interior designs, and editing. She had access to a group of writers that are performing around the city. She included me without hesitation, introducing me to her group and bragging about my accomplishments. The first opportunity in my new home was a networking opportunity, and this led to a my first performance piece of my novel Brains Not Included  which will take place on October 29, 2021 (more details forthcoming). I have never performed my novel for an audience, but this person is willing to show me how and include me in her journey toward success.

Although, I received opportunities to share my personal journey in my hometown-- my former home wouldn't allow me to grow from what they knew me as. I wanted to be an author, I wanted to be a success story, I wanted to sit beside Oprah Winfrey recounting how I came up with my book ideas. Instead, my family and the people I called friends wanted me to stay down and depressed and an overworked teacher. Many of them never accomplished their dreams-- so, of course I couldn't accomplish mine. The harder I worked to build my image, to create my brand, to grow my company-- the harder they worked to tarnish everything I was building-- even going as far as to lie. 

"Many of them never accomplished their dreams-- so of course I couldn't accomplish mine." 

Your Story Matters tells you to not let other people create their vision of who you are and who you can become. Other's don't have the power to stop your dream. Every author has a complicated past-- Maya Angelou was a prostitute, Saki was a homosexual (punishable by death if anyone knew), Edgar Allen Poe was a drug addict who married his 13 year old cousin, Lewis Carroll was an alleged pedophile, Dr. Seuss was a racist-- yet, they are all accomplished authors. Although, I am not advocating lascivious lifestyles, racism and definitely not pedophilia (not that homosexuality is a lascivious lifestyle), I am advocating the ability to rise above tough backgrounds, misinformation, lies, hate and other people's narratives. Other people cannot define or measure your success. You control the life you lead-- and when they try to put you in a box-- when they try to change your narrative-- remember your vision. Remember, who you are. Remind yourself of your talent. Ignore the naysayers-- and keep moving. You define your story. Use your past as your foot stool, let your tragedies move you upward, and watch their view of you change with each moment of success. The same people that said-- "Oh, she can't make it-- look at her Mama! Look at her siblings! Look at her family!" Will be the same who scream, "Oh, I always knew you could do it! I remember when she was _______ ! I always knew you would become somebody! Take a picture with me!" 

"Use your past as your foot stool, let your tragedies move you upward, and watch their view of you change which each moment of success."

In fact, networking opportunities rarely presented itself in Columbus. The first time I tried to join a group of writers, I was belittled and told that I was trying to make myself "look bigger than what I was" and that I felt I was "too good for the Southside." Although, I was partly raised on the southside of Columbus. Then, I was stalked and slandered. The plantation had manifested in ways that were ugly and harsh and cruel. Even though, I was just another writer who was always honest about my success and my failures, there were those who felt the need to "put me in my place" and that place was beneath them-- no matter their lack of accomplishments. So, just like in Your Story Matters-- I decided those writers were not for me. I reevaluated my relationships-- and moved away from those I considered toxic. It was lonely, but I worked through it. And now, I am fellowshipping with writers who want to see each other succeed. Not only was I given the ability to work with other writers, but also to network with high profile people in the entertainment industry like Cece Winans. I have been given the ability to vend with Cece Winans on October 30, 2021 at the Trade Center in Columbus, Georgia (ironically, it is a group of people I met in Atlanta that is traveling down south to vend).  They work with the honest belief that if one of us makes it-- we all make it! If one of the authors at our table eats-- they pass the plate around so that we can all eat! This is the type of network you want to surround yourself with. Surround yourself with people who want to see you win because they understand that winners flock together. 

Growth takes sacrifice. We have to be willing to sacrifice who we were, who we use to be, to become the person we want to be. We have to be willing to shed our old skin, our old relationships, and even our hometown-- to grow into something better and more recognizable. If the caterpillar never leaves the ground, and climbs up into the tree, and succumb to change-- it can never become the butterfly that soars through the skies. We have to be the butterfly. I have to be the butterfly. I have to be willing to change, and grow, and reemerge into something completely different. 

"We have to be willing to sacrifice who we were, who we use to be, to become the person we want to be."

The journey into your dream is an arduous one, but it's worth it. The day that I carry the title "Bestselling Author" after my name is the day that I realize that all the tears, sacrifices and hurt was worth the struggle. So, I follow the advice I give to my students, I give to my audience, and I constantly am giving to myself-- seize the day, don't let opportunities pass you by, don't be afraid to step out and be different. For those that are watching my struggles and my hurts, for those that are watching my fears and my tears-- I hope that as you watch me and as you go through your own personal journeys as authors, screenwriters, novelists, journalist, and entrepreneurs that you will look back and say-- it was worth it-- too. I hope that we all win, and become the butterfly we are struggling and fighting to become. Don't be afraid to leave "the plantation." Just, do it. Take hold of the opportunities that come your way, and don't look back. Don't worry about the things you may lose along the way, whether it's your first home or familiar relationships, because the things you gain will be worth the sacrifice. 

 "Take hold of the opportunities that come your way, and don't look back. Don't worry about the things you may lose along the way, whether it's your first home or familiar relationships, because the things you gain will be worth the sacrifice." 


Dawnell Jacobs is the author of The Shade of Devotion, Brains Not Included, Black Magic, and The Monsters of Within: Heart of Darkness. She has also published a self-help book Your Story Matters: Leaning How To Be The Author of Your Destiny. You can find all of her books on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and Barnes And Noble. She is also a motivational speaker to young audiences. She uses her personal journey to inspire hope and change. All pictures and entries in this blog are subject to copyright laws. ©Dawnell Jacobs 2018. 




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©Dawnell Jacobs 2021 Author of Black MagicThe Shade of Devotion, Brains Not Included, Your Story Matters: How To Be The Author of Your Own Destiny and The Monsters  Within: Heart of Darkness. Now on #Amazon, #Kindle, #Nook & #Barnes And Noble. Buy your copy of The Shade of Devotion and Brains Not Included today!

 

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