I am a very impressionable gal. A lot of things feed into my muse and inspire me, but reflecting on this, what really inspires me; my commute. I know, am I bitch for not saying my mom? I love my mom, she is a sharp and loving woman, but for this project, I have chosen to tell you why my commute inspires me. A little backstory; I’ve been commuting since high school. During that time, going from Scarborough to North York was like living in two different worlds. A majority of my classmates were of a higher finical bracket then moi. Not to mention, I was one of six black kids in my year.
Now, I commute to university, like most people who attend post-secondary school in Toronto. While most people hate their commute, I have learned to embrace it. The city is just as busy as I am and I love it. I love my home and love Scarborough, but I cannot stand the fact that I have to budget one and a half hours whenever I leave home. I sit and I think about how someday, I will be living in the Riverdale/Broadview area of Toronto. During that hour and a half commute, I think about entertaining my friends and family at my own place. During that hour and a half commute, I think about waking up at 8 AM for a 9 AM class. During that hour and a half commute, I think about how despite the long commute I’m still happy as hell and involved. I am motivated to keep enduring it, until one day it’s only a 15 min walk.
I’m inspired by real women I meet that are achieving their dreams from the ground up. When I attend a conference or meet a successful professional in my field, I can’t see myself in their shoes—they often joined the workforce before the unemployment crisis or even before the internet took off. It always seems they knew exactly what they wanted to pursue, and their story goes, “I just knew somebody who knew somebody” or “I studied something completely different but they hired me anyway!” In a job market where even the longest resume and most relevant degree don’t seem to get you an interview, these interactions just deflate my confidence.
But then I meet people like Rachel Kelly—who founded Make Lemonade, a co-working space for femme entrepreneurs—or Zoe Arseneau and Sidrah Khatoon, two badass women that graduated from the same Ryerson program as I did and both have killer design portfolios. These women are in my city, in my generation, and come from backgrounds similar to my own. Most of all, they are all so down to earth and seemed just as uncertain about their futures as I feel about mine. The big players in my field help me to see what’s possible, but I’m most inspired by the hard-working dreamer-doers that I know because they make me feel like I could do big things too.
What has always inspired me the most is reading—with every novel, magazine, and essay collection contributing to my overflowing bookshelves inspiring me as a writer and twenty-something-year-old trying to navigate adulthood. As a homebody and introvert, reading has allowed me to explore the world and open my mind to new perspectives. Creatively, I credit my love of reading as my inspiration for writing—with my appreciation for words, beautifully curated sentences, and vivid imagery stemming from my tendency to get lost in books as early as first grade. As someone who has always struggled with self-confidence and shyness, my source of strength and inspiration first came from channeling the female characters in my favourite novels: Hermione Granger, Nancy Drew, and Jo March (to name a few).
Not only did I draw inspiration from these characters and the ideas in these works, but I continue to be deeply inspired by the authors behind their creation—from the challenging works of Margaret Atwood to the writers and artists behind independent magazines. There has never been anything in my life that quite compares to the inspiration bursting from open pages; the opportunity to learn from the materialized thoughts of the world’s bravest storytellers. Working and attending school in a fast-paced city, to get lost in the thoughts of my favourite writers and characters is often exactly what I need to re-center, make the minutes pass slowly, and blur out the things that don’t matter to make room for inspiration.
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