By Aundréa Murray
I’ve officially been in England for a month and it is nothing like back home.
Many people want to see Connecticut become a place for Creatives from different cities to connect with each other, inspire others, and flourish all together. But I learned early on how difficult that would be in a place so conservative and so traditional.
I really discovered my passion for writing during my time in Hartford. My elementary school proved to be creative and innovative with their teaching, but could never get enough money to support it. When we moved to the suburbs in Windsor, I knew that I would be attending good schools in a nice neighborhood. My high school was incredible at highlighting our phenomenal sports players but my reading and writing skills weren’t getting too much attention. Sure, there were a couple of book clubs or robotic teams here and there. We even had our own closed-circuit television network. But over the years when those groups became smaller and our sports teams grew larger, I started looking elsewhere.
College wasn’t much better.
We’re expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives at 18 years-old and deciding where to study in a state so small gets tricky. Not every university is going to offer Creative Writing as a B.A or Masters programs in Illustration. Even though studies for Creatives feels limited, you just learn to adjust to the system. But after five years in college “adjusting” myself, I graduated still thinking that my only options were to be on a local news station or to work at entry-level for 40 hours a week (and pray for the energy to keep making art).
Back home, being broke and talented isn’t really something that you praise either. People want to see what you can do for them and less of what you can do for the creative culture. Even when valid efforts are being made to bring these communities together (shameless plug alert*), the state is still lightyears away from granting Creatives with the attention that they all need. I can feel the weariness among those around me as they struggle to find lucrative ways to be happy and simply do the things that make them happy.
I did not pay attention to how unnecessarily hard most Americans are still working until I spoke with more Europeans.
Being a millennial in Connecticut has already proven to be difficult. You may be able to find job fairs and networking happy hours to attend but finding a vendor to support your hip-hop music showcase? Not as likely. The Internet has become our largest platform for promotion, but even that is hardly enough. You might get a lot of people viewing your LinkedIn profile but getting others to share the links to your personal portfolio is like pulling teeth.
Leaving somewhere you have so much pride for is hardly ever easy. I always knew that Connecticut would have good food, interesting people and beautiful scenery but I had to learn that the world had so much more to offer. I quit searching for comfort from my hometown and took an important leap of faith and certainty.
And that’s not something I learned how to do back home.