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.