Tia Trammell – Currently, there are only 10,000 residents in the small town in Alabama where I live. The next town over has 6,000 residents, and the closest ‘big city’ has 30,000. It’s one of those small towns that you read about in books. Everybody knows everybody, and that means everybody knows everybody’s business. Yet still, I’ve managed to stay hidden in the shadows, quietly observing.
I’ve spent my 22 years on this Earth being more of a witness than a participant.
I’ve witnessed my parents’ tumultuous yet resilient love power through the hardships that come along with lay-offs, lights turned off, bankruptcies, and foreclosures.
I’ve witnessed my sister, nine years my senior, make life-changing mistakes and bear the brunt of insistent trauma.
After my high school graduation, I watched all my acquaintances go off to college, buy cars and houses, and start families.
It was right around that time when I began wondering if I would ever start to live my own life rather than always observing others.
At the start of the pandemic, I felt more lost than ever. I wasn’t in college. I didn’t have a job. I was still living at home with my parents, and I had never felt so worthless.
Previously, I had been comfortable with observing. I was happy to cheer other people on from the sidelines when they achieved success.
When my family struggled, because I was a child, I accepted that there was nothing that I could do.
But this time was different. I was twenty years old. The previous twenty years were nothing but a complete blur, and I was acutely aware that it was time for me to finally start living my life on my terms.
I thought getting a job would be a good start. It was something that would make me feel like the adult that I was. It would give me a purpose and allow me to help my parents out of yet another financial crisis. Being able to help would make me feel a little less useless.
The only problem was that, at twenty years old, I still didn’t have a license, had developed zero social skills, and had never wanted a single job or career, aside from one in writing, which I thought was impossible.
I was a twenty-year-old Black woman from a predominantly white, close-minded town in Alabama. I doubted anyone would want to read my stories if I wrote them.
I didn’t think anyone would care to hear anything I had to say. I’d spent my whole life thinking that way.
But with my mother’s encouragement, I powered through my self-doubts and pursued a dream career that I had never thought plausible, especially not for a Black girl like me. In doing so, I realized that even introverted Black girls from small towns in the deep South have stories that deserve to be told and voices that deserve to be heard.
I also learned that plenty of people are willing to listen to my stories because there is power in my voice.
For most of my life, I’ve felt as if I was completely alone as I watched from the sidelines, drifting aimlessly as other people seemed to actually live. But in pursuing my career, I’ve witnessed firsthand how many people feel the same way and how wrong they are.
I’ve learned that for every story waiting to be told, a large group of people are eagerly waiting to listen and lean in.
Tia Trammell has been writing since she first learned how to spell. A shy kid turned introverted adult; she’s been using writing as a way to express herself for as long as she can remember. Whether building her own intricate worlds and crafting kooky characters or diving into the captivating universes created by other authors, Tia’s passion for books always manifests itself in some way.
Tia also has a passion for learning. When she isn’t writing or studying, she can be found watching anime, listening to her favorite group, BTS, or playing with her beloved cat, Zarah! Connect with her via LinkedIn.