Creative Outlets in our Professional Journeys

One thing to make clear about my writing and who I am as a person: I am honest and sincere.

In our quest to learn, develop and grow as professionals, we are informed to be careful of what brand you chose to emulate.

And I will be honest, it has taken me more than a year to get the courage to begin sharing this blog with anyone, even my family. It had started from my sisters that offered me feedback and slowly I started to develop some courage. We have to remind ourselves that our writing and apprenticeship is all an evolutionary process and it is a never-ending journey.

I not only enjoy the art of expression, but I recognize a critical freedom it brings. The liberating emotions, especially on topics that we have immense passion, that we feel obligated to be involved and engaged.

I began a personal blog back in 2009 I think, after my Masters possibly, and decided to remove it from online. Finally, last year, I was able to get the strength to start writing in a blog once again, realizing that I can do more with my voice, than simply journal writing and occasional Facebook posts. Something that could support not only me, but perhaps eventually be a service to others as well. And I also began to understand that I will never be perfect, and I will never get there unless I was proactive about my creative writing ambitions.

I believe it is great to have this type of creative outlet alongside whatever professional journey we embark on.

I chose one that would allow me to not only explore my creativity further and help me develop and hone my creative voice, but also something that could help me grow at a personal level that could also translate to my professional life. I have come to firmly believe that blogging can support our growth, and on our growth within our many diverse professional goals.

In my case, I am a doctorate student of public policy, aiming to become a scholar of international development policy. I am earning my degree to develop expertise on issues related to fragile and conflict-affected states, expertise on the regions of South Asia and Middle East, and expertise as a social network analyst, to name a few. An activist-scholar voice is the type of voice I am aiming to develop.

Mental health and well-being is just one issue and cause that I feel I can contribute to, largely due to my personal experiences. And I feel I am, and can be, in a unique position to contribute to this important conversation, and at the same time, be of service to others on this pertinent topic.

I believe it is possible to have a voice here, and to use it to support my own mental health and well-being and offer some support to others, while I pursue my other professional dreams in public policy. And I hope to use this space as my creative outlet to help me get through the challenges I know I will experience, on this journey to complete my doctorate and going forward. I already got a taste of the types of challenges that people with the various intersections of identity that I embody, experience.  And I know this will continue to make me stronger on a very difficult road ahead.

So don’t be afraid to take that plunge and do the things you love to do, no matter what professional journey you are on. Don’t be afraid to talk about the things that matter to you.

Surely, it is difficult to do everything you want to do. But your day to day profession and professional goals should not stop you from living with versatility and doing the things we love to do. Talking about mental illness and sharing your story, can potentially impact your professional life in a negative way, with the ongoing unfortunate stigma against mental health.

But I believe it is important to be courageous, nonetheless, and embrace those passions we enjoy, and take risks wherever we can. Because that is where and when the magic can happen.

We have one life to live, so follow your heart and do what is best for you, and don’t limit yourself no matter the norms and cultural standards of our surrounding environment.

As I reflect sometimes, I feel I may have been possibly embarking in the “defying norms territory,” simply by trying to exercise an outlet of expression on mental illness and mental health awareness in an atmosphere of many “conditionalities”, as a student and professional in Washington, DC. I do see the risks there. But I believe, that vision of “Elsa, the Warrior Queen,” outweighs the risks, and will only make me even more successful on what I plan to do with my PhD in public policy. It will only help me improve my character, and make me a better public servant.

I hope we can continue to encourage each other to break barriers and overcome the boundaries that create limitations and prevent us from doing what we love to do.

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