The Dream is Real

A couple of weeks ago, Ankh and I were exchanging emails and she mentioned that she finally landed a gig she’s been wanting for a long time, in a location that she always wanted to be.  She then went on to gush about how she spends her free time doing the things she loves, and then she said, “I’m living my dream.”

I acknowledged how proud I was of her, and then also shared that I, too, was living my dream.  I’m an expat with a doctorate, and I am a published author.  I have a job that I love, and while I am not currently living in the part of the world where I always saw myself, I do know that I’ll get there one day.  That I even made it to Asia is a testament to my faith in God and my penchant for pensive persistence. 

I don’t see, read, or hear about a lot of women who are living their dreams.  I’m not sure if they know what those dreams are, or if they’ve stumbled onto them without realizing, or are indeed living their lives and feel no need to inform the world.  That’s perfectly fine. 

However, I told Ankh that I thought it was important that women who are indeed living the life they chose to share their stories with other women who may not be as close to it as they are.  They need to know that the dream is real and it can be achieved.

That’s not to say that your dreams don’t come with sacrifices, or that everyone in your life will support them.  As a matter of fact, what you can’t do is share your dreams with everybody.  Shortly after I arrived here, I learned very quickly that not everyone was happy for me.  They certainly didn’t want to read about my expatriate exploits on the blog I kept strictly for that purpose, in spite of these same individuals requesting access to read said blog.

Some people will happily purchase front-row seats to witness your demise, just because you are willing to take chances they’re afraid to.  I gave up everything I had and left behind everyone I knew to start a new life, but it cost me way more than I’ll ever ‘fess to.  People tried to derail my dreams with imbecilic comments like, “Ain’t no black folk in China,” or “You ain’t gonna find a man over there,” or “Why are you leaving?  How are we gonna look out for you way over there,” or even, “Why can’t you be happy where you are?”

*rolls eyes*  You know, shit like that.  As if my grown ass can’t make my own decisions, and as if my decisions affect them in any way.  I define my happy.  Me.  Nobody else.  I will not leave my serenity in the hands of others who are incapable of comprehending what it is, much less maintaining it.  I was expected to stay put, shack up with some worthless man, get a job I didn’t want and join them in their misery.  No.  Nope.  Naw.  Na uhn.  I deserve to be happy.  I deserve to have the life I dreamed of when I was a little girl.  Every woman deserves this, but it’s up to her whether to make the tough choices that will get her there.

Ankh’s doing her thing.  So am I.  If you’re happily on your hustle, living your life like it’s golden…please, share your story.  There are women (and men) who need to hear that even though the struggle is real, so is the dream.  And it’s worth it.

My name is Amaya and I’m an expat educator.  I got my PhD, published my first novel in 2011, and my second book is due out this year.  I co-own a publishing house and live in the largest city in the world.  I am single by choice and kid-free. Anything God seeks to give me after all this is just icing on the cake.  I love my life.  I am happy.

Are you?


  1. Awesome, I'm glad for both of you!
    I agree that people, even our own family, can be jealous or uncomfortable and not looking at us in a benevolent way. I can see it around me.

    I'm not happy, not yet, even though I'm grateful for what I already have. I'm back at school to finish my masters, I had a competitive exam a week ago and am doing an internship. I don't know what's worse: the sacrifices to get there or the job. It's just that I don't know if I have what it takes to do it in the long term, for years and years.

    I think that, for me, happiness will mainly come with inner peace and positive development. But I need to make a living, and enjoy what I do as well.

    1. Myra, it took me eleven years to get my doctorate and it was a hell I'd never wish on anyone else. The hardship this coupled with the loss of my mother and other family members in such a close time span (2008), and the constant battle I have with my mood swings got me to a place where I was able to find peace while mired in misery. If the job path you're on is one you question...get off of it. You have to find some sort of way to making a living doing what you love, or something close to it. The sacrifices aren't worth it if you hate your job.

      I'm by no means an expert, life coach, or anything of the sort. If I may, I'd like to suggest that you write down what you want for yourself and what you want out of life. Then give it some serious thought and figure out if you're headed towards it/them or away from it/them. Are there others in your life who are hindering the process? Can you afford to cut them loose? These are hard questions, but this is your life and it's the only one you'll ever have...so make sure to make it count.

      Good luck!

    2. It's great that you managed to overcome it all, yes sometimes time is needed to make accomplishments and heal us and I accepted it. I could be living abroad on my own right now but I chose to finish my degree first, and the fact that if I don't pass my compettive exam this time, I'll have to keep doing it each year which would put my life "on hold". My mental health doesn't help but I try not to complain as there's worse than mine.

      That's good advice, I'll do that! Thank you. The bad vibes I get are from people I rarely meet (family), thank God.
      I'll make sure to post good news when I can. Like someone else said here, you both are inspiring and it cheers me up.

  2. My dream hasn't been realized and I feel like I'm racing against time to reach it. I'm not happy and haven't been for years, but I'm working towards it.

    But I'm very happy for the two of you. Though I don't know you and don't comment on your respective blogs much, just seeing two decent black women doing well for themselves, being happy and letting no one stop that happiness is inspiring. I think this post is a great idea and I'll be checking back in hopes that there are some great replies.

  3. I agree with your statement. The very people we love are sometimes the very people who don't always support our endeavours.

    I have goals. Some have came to light,others I'm still waiting on if it's meant for it to come out. We love our family and friends but sometimes they don't always know what is best for usOne of dreams is to get my masters degree. My mom just told me that I just should just be satisfied with the bachelor degree that I currently have because of my age and dream of moving... not from my state or city but to a smaller town.
    Another relative of mine was getting to convince me about another home because it was cheaper.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for being as reasonable as possible, but for me cheaper should also mean convenience in every way possible and that I'm will be at peace with it. The problem with the home my relative picked is that it doesn't meet any of those needs. Its just a house and thats it. I wouldn't be near any grocery stores and other shopping places, no public transportation line and the house itself is just uninspiring.

    Although my folks don't outright discourage me, I don't think they realize how their words can be disappointing to others. I could imagine being the kind of person who listened to everything someone say..family included. I've come across people who have gotten too old or have even died not realizing their dreams because of what society says and /or what others have thought . Definitely don't want that to be me.

    1. Yeah, good intentions from people who didn't believe in their dreams, not good :(

  4. Congratulations to both of you!
    I completely agree that sharing our stories of living our dreams is important and much much appreciated by me personally! Thank you!

    I can't say that I'm living my dream as of yet. I got derailed by mental illness, and the fact that I'm living at all is a Blessing and a Wonder that I give thanks for each and every day.

    I AM happy though. I am alive, I am able on the whole to continue striving for my dreams. I am single on purpose, happy, and I'm ALIVE! Did I mention I'm HAPPY?

    There is no ticking clock on your life, there really isn't. Live your life, go for your dreams and they will happen in that moment that is perfect for YOUR life.

    A happy Black woman. Not as rare a thing as some would like you to think it is. And if you are like me, still on that Path to your dreamed life: Don't stop - and realize that you can be happy along way too.

  5. YES TO ALL OF THIS. Other people live their lives small so they expect you to live that way to. I bought my first/dream home in December. Even my own mother thought I was being too picky and wouldn't get everything I wanted in a home but I did. I now walk to work, 30 minutes each way which is a pain in bad weather but I'm getting in shape and the endorphins have completely elevated my mood. The only part of my dream that is missing is travel but I plan on doing that after I pay off a major bill this fall.

  6. I hate to steal from Oprah but I like the phrase God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can for yourself.

    With that said I am living the dream I have for myself, but I know that something bigger will come. I am embarking on my second career. I own my own home. I have traveled pretty much all over the world, but a few places still evade me. I will get to them though. I count my blessings and I'm happy. I also have an awesome guy in my life.

    1. Yes! This, all of this! Please, ladies, keep the stories coming.

    2. Sadly people do not want to hear about good or comment on it. Bring up something negative and everyone comes out of the woodwork to chime in. If you have nothing positive going on in your life then you have some SERIOUS work to be doing on your life.

  7. I've been oddly optimistic about 2014. My goal at the New Year was to get a new apartment, then new job, and then focus on getting healthier. The first two goals were met within the first three months. Now I'm feeling my body slowly shrink at a healthy rate as I watch what I eat, drink plenty of water, and get enough of sleep. Living alone? Does WONDERS for the mind and body. I'm feeling my energy return and I'm going to start writing (a lot) more very soon.

  8. I'm a little late commenting here. I'm a frequent reading of your blog sites but I never comment. I'm so glad I stumble upon this post today. I currently fall into the category of one of the unhappy people. I'm unhappy with my life and I haven't accomplish the dreams I set out for myself. Like others who have commented on this post, I have a lot of personal issues and a lot of them were mental, emotional and physical. I've suffered from depression, failed suicide attempts and physical bodily harm but I'm still here. Over the years, I have seen little progress forward towards my dreams and no matter how hard I want to give up for some reason I keep striving. For some reason deep down I know that I'll get there. I just wish it was sooner than later. (I can be extremely impatient.) I have enjoyed reading the positive stories on this post along with the others who are also still striving for their dreams. I do wish everyone the best. Congrats to Amaya and Ankhesen for striving their dreams. I hope one day when I accomplished my dreams, I'll be able to encourage women I meet in my path as well. Thanks. Telisha P.

    1. I just wish it was sooner than later.

      As do I. It sounds like you've had it rough. I hope you finally get what you want.

    2. Telisha, I have to ask...are you getting help for your depression? My life was a emotional self-destructive cyclone until I was properly diagnosed and began receiving proper treatment for my mood disorder. Once that happened, I made considerable progress...fast...and was able to complete my dissertation. If you have not done so, I strongly suggest you seek professional help.

      Black folk (especially sistahs) are expected to be "strong enough" and that "we ain't got time for mental illness or mood disorders," and so the problem goes unchecked. Sometimes being strong enough means asking for help. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It's there.


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