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  • Writer's pictureA'Leeyah Ponder

It's IN YOU, not ON you

Hello Family,

One of the latest TikTok and Instagram Reel trends I’ve enjoyed is, “I’m a (insert what you identify as), of course I (insert what people traditionally do when they identify as that THING).

Like this, for example…

I’m a journalist, of course I use my nonverbals (non-verbal communication) to make sure the person who’s sharing their story with me knows I care about what they're saying.”

I’m a big sister, of course I act like a second mom to my younger siblings

So on and so forth… Whether a journalist, big sister, or believer, there are things I do that feel like “no-brainers” because of the title I hold.

What do we do when what we have on the inside doesn’t match the title that we have externally? What do we do when what we believe about ourselves doesn’t align with what others believe about us?

I’m a journalist, of course I get excited about writing” — but since I’ve stepped away from the broadcast journalism industry I haven’t felt like a journalist AT ALL. Yes, I’m still writing OFTEN. My primary motivation for writing is rooted in my passion for storytelling and documenting truth (for what I know it to be), which may not be seen as "true" journalism to some folks. Although my passion for journalism hasn't changed overtime, the lack of title, could make me appear as less of "a journalist". Do you see what I'm saying?

It can be hard to believe in yourself, dreams, goals and identity when the labels you ascribe to don’t fit within the framework of what you know in your heart you ARE, or posses.

During the B.L.M. (Black Lives Matter) protest back in 2020, I wasn’t able to march downtown. My parents simply weren’t going for their daughter being in the streets of Atlanta marching (Side note: And this is no shade to my parents, because they did what they felt was best). I remember my journalist mentor asking me weeks later had I gone out to document people's stories and write about them in my own time. Y'all I was so ashamed because I hadn’t. He encouraged me and told me the best journalist get out and GET IT. They’re willing to go where other people aren’t willing to go to document what others won’t where stories can be told and lives can be changed. Unfortunately, I didn’t believe I was a journalist BECAUSE I wasn’t working at a news station at the time. I was thinking to myself, who am I to think that I’m a journalist knowing good and well I’m a FULL-TIME student NOT working at a news station?!

To my surprise, his message hit me like a ton of bricks days later. Being a journalist isn’t about the title, it’s about the passion that lives on the inside of you to story-tell and advocate for others. So, now, being a full-time student in a ministry-based Master program I’m faced with the reality that my title doesn’t match all of what lives on the inside of me.

Now, I am deciding to walk out of the box and parameters I put around myself to simply be what my label says I am

Being a journalist is IN ME, not ON ME.

Being a dreamer is IN YOU, not ON YOU. Being an entrepreneur is IN YOU, not ON YOU. Being a singer, dancer, motivational speaker, artist, teacher, preacher, mentor, prophet, Dentist, Physician is IN YOU, not ON YOU. You don’t have to have a label nor title to walk into the fullness of what you’re called to be. Sometimes working in your passion without a title will open doors to gain titles that you’d never imagine having. So, start there.

What is IN YOU? What are you willing to do FOR THE FREE-PIECE? What is it that sets your soul ablaze and causes your eyes to LIGHT UP? THAT THING IS IN YOU, and you don’t HAVE to have a title to tap into it.

Do yourself a favor and start there. Start with what is within and begin to find ways to live a life all poured out… what if God is preparing things for you? But, you must prepare yourself and your mindset to do it when no one is watching in order to run into that opportunity?

Let this be a reminder that YOU CAN and WILL be all that you are meant to be. You can start walking in your calling by loving what’s within and not worrying about what you’re


I love you. Jesus loves you MOST. Love and BE LOVED

Hang in there. Keep your head up, and if you can’t that’s okay too.

Stay encouraged. Be Fruitful.

XOXO Miss Ponder

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Belangel Garcia
Belangel Garcia

A’Leeyah, thank you for this wonderful reminder to just do it. I love you even more for pursuing your dreams your way!🫶🏾

A'Leeyah Ponder
A'Leeyah Ponder

Thank you sister! I appreciate you. Grateful the message encouraged you too <3 I love you!

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