You know why I post here? Because every time I hear a person over the age of 50 talk about my age group, I get a little twitch. I post here because I feel like we got a real bad rap for no reason. The biggest one of all? That we Millennials can’t seem to collaborate and create… that for some reason, we’re the most self-centered generation that ever walked the earth. (I think that’s our parents, frankly, but that’s another story for another time.)
And you know why else I post here? Because Arielle and I were Freshly Pressed on the same day, and when she offered the opportunity for a collaboration between two like-minded people, and I realized just how big her ambitions are (what she has managed to do already and what she has the opportunity to do in the future) , there was no way I was going to say no!
I have found in these days a real appreciation for collaboration. I relish this opportunity to write on another blog not only because it gives me an extra opportunity to write about race and motherhood every week, but also because I feel like the best thing we can do as Millennials is look to each other, lock arms, and move forward together. We’re our own best hope for making the kind of world that we want for ourselves. It’s also warming to look at someone else’s passion and dream and say, “I believe in that. I want to help with that. I’m going to spend my time on making that happen, too.”
But I’m not writing this to give each of us Millennials a pat on the back. I’m writing because I feel like this might be a bit of a radical notion… or it least it is for me. I learned and reinforced for myself, for years, that the only person I can really trust to propel me forward is myself. “No one is ever going to love you (or your work, or your stuff) as much as you love yourself,” I used to say. But the thing is, while “love” is sort of subjective, the objective goals that each of us as individuals have are much more likely to be obtained through a collaborative viewpoint rather than a competitive one. Sometimes I wonder about the opportunities I missed because I saw someone as a competitor instead of as an ally.
Being a bit of an old fogey, I proudly watch PBS NewsHour every night, and this week they featured a story about the new “artisan economy” that is popping up in cool hip places like Brooklyn, New York. Young people who turned around, saw an economy that wasn’t going to help them out, and decided to step out in faith and find a passion as well as an opportunity. I appreciated the story and so many others like it because they always seem to feature a partnership or a small-group collaborative of dreamers who are willing to pledge their intelligence, tenacity and fates to each other in order to create something different and special for themselves. Some (most?) ultimately fail, but others thrive. Those who do fail often take the leap again, with others, or with the same people. Isn’t that amazing? I feel like that’s the story that is never told about us as a generation.
There is something about this story that does bother me though—I wish I heard more about the Black artisans of the world. I wish that we, as Black Millennials, would uplift the crafty and creative among us. In our clamber for the opportunities denied to the generations before, many of us push for academic achievement and the building of our brains but forsake the beauty that our hands and hearts can create. Where are the Etsy shops where I can find a beautiful afghan knitted by deft brown hands? The fine painted ceramic Black Santa to adorn my mantle with this Christmas? How can we make our own incubators and establish (or bolster?) our own artisanal economy? I’m happy to give my money to the strawberry blonde in the beanie in the
To reach my own dreams of someday being a published novelist, I began a collaboration with two other Black women last week. The energy emanating from these two other women (who happen to not be Millennials, but strong of spirit just the same!) has already driven me to rethink my writing habits, push a little harder every day, and elevate my game (because, Lord knows, they got skills!). Responsible for the weekly announcement email, I decided to title it “Publish or Perish!” just to remind us every week what we’re here for.
And for us Millennials, I imagine a different twist: Collaborate or Perish! Team up, learn together, fight for each other, dream with more than one brain, lock arms and push forward to raise the tide for all of our boats. Look to your left, look to your right, and decide that another person’s passion is worthy of pledging your energy, talents, and fate to as well. When we dream together, we slowly (but surely) take over the world.
K.C. Wise is a married Millennial Mom raising two bi-racial (B/W) boys in suburban Massachusetts. You can find out her thoughts about mothering, homemaking, writing, renovating a 100 year-old farmhouse and other musings at her blog:blackbunchedmassmom.wordpress.com.