It’s 7:20 PM and I’m sitting in my 2000 Saturn station wagon. As the rain falls on my currently disabled vehicle and the “Recently Added” playlist (ranging from What A Time To Be Alive to TRAPSOUL) blesses my ears, I’m in awe after reading an amazing piece of work by one of my favorite writers, Yoh of DJ Booth. Actually, this vent session was inspired by that article, which paints the portrait of a young man yearning for success. Though he’s many miles away in Atlanta and I reside on the west side of Baltimore, Maryland, I connect with him for one reason and one reason only: We’re broke writers in America. I’m sure his pockets are looking a bit better than mine, and I’m hopeful Dame Dash isn’t ashamed of this statement.
When I finally found the piece through plenty of tabs of interviews and articles in my iPhone that I never get to, I began to read, only to be interrupted by my mom. Of course she would ask why I would be in my car with no place to go on a rainy day, and to which I replied, “Because it’s quiet.” Trust me, trying to coexist and work on your art in a home that shelters four other people (which includes an energetic one-year-old child) and possibly seeing a double digit amount of people daily is rough. And maybe the worst part is that I’m 23-years-old and no one in my family really knows or understands what I’m good at. But, one thing’s for sure: they do not understand why I would give up a consistent paycheck to chase my dreams of being a writer. Maybe I’ll send them the link of this as soon as it sees the light of day….or maybe not. We shall see.
Over the past four years, I’ve been in positions of working for minimum wage to seeing anywhere from $400-$600 every two weeks. From working in grocery stores to cleaning the kitchen of a nearby hospital to even working at the Safeway gas station, I’ve surely seen the ups and downs as well as the ins and outs. Seeing that paycheck was always nice, but I never felt fulfilled by the disgust of the 9-5 life leading up to payday. As for my family, our biggest strength is knowing how to survive and having enough money to get by. I’m almost certain that a lot of days weren’t easy for my mom, but she somehow would find a way to make sure my older siblings and myself had the best she could give us. But, for me, my heart has always been in creating and learning for better purposes than to know how to work the old school registers at The Fresh Market.
I’ve known since my sophomore year of high school that writing or broadcasting was the dream I wanted to chase, but I chose other paths to satisfy everyone else. As I grow older and taking risks that I was once hesitant to pursue, a lot of things have changed, although my spirit and dreamer ambitions continue to push me forward. Quitting your job alone with no real plan and only enough money to last for two-three months is a big enough sacrifice alone. Somehow, this dream of mine has become sort of like a drug, of which I am currently addicted to. An addiction to the point where the return of filling out job applications, wearing a “uniform”, and punching away my freedom at a clock almost seems like the last resort. The bow out to failure and the “I told you so” moment from my family and friends if you will. They don’t get it cause they don’t live it.
I’ve run my own sites, collaborated with friends, even worked with women I’ve dated on the creative side to no avail. Granted, those times were great, but they never quite worked out because I simply wasn’t ready or didn’t feel good enough. I’ve accepted opportunities that were sold to me as potential paying gigs and never seen a dime from doing something that I love. To be quite frank with you, if you’re reading this, I’ve still yet to see a dime from writing. It’s really not about the money, it’ll always be about the art of touching people with precise words and sharp metaphors to make folks smile, laugh, debate, and understand me. BUT, as I proceed to get better as a writer and study those I idolize, there comes a time where you have to question how much are your skills worth. It’s a pretty important question to ask no matter what field you’re in. In this case, I’m hoping the tide will turn in my favor.
My biggest fear is that I won’t make it as a writer. Well, my biggest fear is that I won’t make it, period. My heart is with the music, regardless of what role I play in it. Do you want to know another big reason as to why I chose this path? Simply because I want to able to look my future children in the eyes and tell them that I lived my life on my own terms. To throw a Drake reference in the mix, I want to tell them I was “Harlem Shaking through the pressure.” Okay, that was so worth it. Ha! Seriously though, I hope to inspire those around me through the battles that I’m currently facing in order to see the life that I dream of and show them that it’s more than possible.
As Yoh said it best in his article, “When you don’t have any guidance or goals it’s easy to be lost in your own disillusion.” And maybe at this point of my life, I’m probably insane and arguably the poster boy for what the “rebel child” looks like to my mom. Sometimes, someone has to be the target of a specific conversation, good or bad. That’s not to say I’m an important figure by any means, but once again, if anyone who knows Ryan Chance and find themselves constantly debating to take their own leap of faith, I’ll be proud to be the one they look to as a source. Your pockets may be empty, you might not know how you’ll eat or put gas in your car, but there should always be a sense of hope in your mind and in your heart. Scrap for what you desire as if it’s the loose ball in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Again, I don’t know if I’ll make it in the music world, but I know that I won’t go down without a fight. If it just so happens that I lose, then maybe I’ll find a regular job and go back to school as Rosalind wants me to do. 2015 has beat me down and brought me back up in so many ways, and this is the time where regrets are nonexistent. My bank account is in overdraft, I go through days of looking like a bum, I have no idea when I’ll get my car back on the road with no problems, but you know what? I chose this life. And I’m prepared to keep facing the challenges that come along with being the broke writer whipping a station wagon.
The dreamer in me is slowly fading away and reality has taken over. There’s plenty of days where even the sunniest of days feel dark and doubt searches for me as if we’re playing a game of “Marco Polo” at the pool, but I find ways to smile through it all. Though times aren’t the greatest at the moment, the only way you’ll find peace and happiness within your struggles is if you strive for it. From an ex-girlfriend telling me that I should be on to the next level already, my family telling that *inserts company* is hiring, and trying to turn my hopes and dreams into a reality with little support, I’m alright in the end. You ever wonder how many people live a life of comfort in misery? Like, have so much money with no joy? It’s a scary thought, right? Well, I can’t allow that life to become my own; a part of me wishes you won’t either. But hey, don’t mind me… I’m just a writer with a dollar and a dream.