So this one time, on Google+, I saw a fellow Plusser’s status update and her thoughts were so real and transparent that I knew I had an uncommon chick on my hands! So I reached out to her and voila – we have a new addition to the Uncommon Crew! Through her words below, I’m sure you’ll want to connect with her as much as I did when I was first introduced to her. 🙂
So I present to you…5 minutes with Trelani Duncan. Enjoy!
1. What is your expertise and how does that work light you up?
Storytelling. As a reader, it lights me up to read a story (whether fiction or non-fiction) and watch the character evolve. I love watching patterns unfold, particularly generational patterns. I love reading (and writing) about women who are the black sheep of the family; women who dared to explore their passions and their curiosities, regardless of what others would have to say; women who’ve gone through life’s caves and reemerged to share what they’ve learned with others. As a writing coach, I hold down the awesome role of helping women become storytellers.
2. What does “being uncommon” mean to you and how do you embody that ideal daily?
To be uncommon means to be you. You are uncommon. It took a while for me to fully understand and embrace that. Once upon a time, I was whoever I hung around. I would talk like them and even act like them. As much trouble as I get myself into, I always knew that I would come out of it and “be somebody.” So I decided that I would be the one who proved everyone wrong–they thought that I ruined my life, I would show them otherwise. Fortunately, I caught myself early on. The life that I was designing wasn’t mine. To be honest, I just liked the way that others reacted when they heard that I was studying to be a corporate attorney. I liked how proud my parents looked when telling people that I was in law school. Problem was, those feel good moments only felt good for so long. What excited me was that manuscript that I was typing away at every night after getting off work and school. Attending my first writing conference, self-publishing my first book, reading my reviews, and hearing women tell me that they need to write a book…all of that excited me and I had a soul-level push to go in that direction. I’ve learned that when I’m being me and going in the direction of what feels good to me, then I can’t lose.
3. Tell us why you’re awesome in two sentences or less.
I’m awesome because I quit my good paying job to pursue a passion that statistics warned against. I was deathly afraid to do it, and I still get nervous at times, but it’s working and it’s fulfilling and it’s proof that scary/exciting is a feeling worth following.
4. What do you wish there was less of in the world?
I wish there was no more rape and molestation. Nearly every woman that you encounter, rape and/or molestation is a part of her testimony. In some way, that experience muted her. She shut down and was incapable of being herself or being uncommon. Some heal. Others don’t. That’s tragic.
5. What was one of the big challenges you’ve faced in your life or work and what did you learn from it?
I would like to share, and hopefully this makes sense, but re-introducing myself to my husband. When we first got together, I was still in the mode of doing things and sayings things to be liked. I wasn’t yet comfortable with pieces of my past and verbalizing what I wanted and needed. Even after I acknowledged that something had to change, it was very difficult to do because he was comfortable with who I was. I had no clue how he’d react to Trelani 2.0. That acquiescence was holding me back and was brutally beating my emotional wellness. That infamous “self-preservation” that Audre Lorde preaches about kicked in and had to save me before my marriage. Fortunately, it didn’t have to go there. It worked in my favor and our relationship is now exactly what we both deserve.
6. What piece of wisdom/advice did someone give you that has worked really well for your journey through this thing called life?
One of my worst-best jobs was as a CNA. It was ridiculously hard work for very minimal pay. However, working in a nursing home, I was surrounded by wisdom. One of my favorite patients, Ms. Delores, told me once to “feel my way through it.” I asked what to do next, and she answered, “You’ll know.” It still cloudy at the time, but I got it. It’s exactly what I do. Women are gifted with a deeper connection to our feelings, but we’re taught to ignore them and to choose the mind over the heart. We’re taught that our feelings will get us hurt, but if we can learn to shush life, then we can better hear our intuitions. That that internal, God-given GPS will never lead you astray. It will tell you what to do. All you have to do is be brave enough to act on it.
7. When you were younger, what did you want to be, do or have when you grew up?
I first wanted to be a teacher, then a veterinarian, then a computer software engineer, and finally a lawyer. Interestingly, my daughter (now 4) wants to be “the animals’ teacher.” Family members laugh, but she doesn’t sway. My job is to make sure that, even if she decides not to be the animals’ teacher, that she’ll decide to do what warms her own belly.
8. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
I think teleportation. I want to be able to just go. Right now, I’m missing Jamaica. It’d be nice to be able to scratch my fro and go.
9. An interesting fact about you is…
An interesting fact about me is that I’m always reading about four books at a time. A friend of mine mentioned this on Facebook not too long ago and we had a good ole “me too!” moment over that. It sucks because I can never finish a book in time for book club meetings.
10. Where can we stalk you?
I write stuff that makes you feel. I coach writers who do the same. Trelani Duncan is a married mother of two, writing coach, and author of What the Devil Meant for Bad. Her work has been featured on Examiner.com, LiberatedBitches.com, Execumama.com, and Yahoo Contributors. In addition to writing, Trelani also assists others in excavating and expressing their stories via the written word through both her company, So Fundamental Publications, and as a volunteer of The Deep Center, located in Savannah. Connect with Trelani at www.SoFundamental.com.
Over to you…
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Trelani. Please connect with her further online!
Want to participate in this series as a featured REAL Uncommon Chick or know someone who’d be a great fit? Get at me!