I’d seen a couple of Franchesca Ramsey’s (Chescaleigh) videos but I didn’t get familiar with her until last year when Shit White Girls Say About Black Girls came out. I loved it, just like everyone else because we all identified with it and it was so doggone funny. And I think I started talking about it and we followed each other on the Twitters.
Then, we ended up on a panel together at BlogHer, with Dr. Goddess and Issa Rae. That panel was so fun and we kicked it afterwards. And then a real life version of Shit White Girls Say happened to us. Since then, Chesca has been the homie. We’ve been on another panel and we even roomed together at SXSW.
But I didn’t realize how similar Franchesca and I’s background was until I just watched her “Draw My Life” video. She used cute drawings and spoke about her journey to becoming who she is and where she is today.
It was amazing. Watch it below.
She straight preached my life. PREACHED IT, I say. There are many parallels in our stories, from the separating parents to the going to a new middle school and being teased for being a nerd. Not only was I a nerd but I also had a Nigerian accent to boot so all the “LOVETTE MON” jokes got tired really quick.
In high school, we both learned that humor disarms people and used it to our advantage once we found out we were funny. Also, like her, I had to cut all my hair off sophomore year because of a bad perm so I was rocking a TWA (teeny weeny afro) ALLLL year. I even identified with the part where she became a bitch and lost friends. In college, I lost a lot of friends from my own self-centeredness and some from theirs. Growing pains, I guess. We both went to Big Tens (her to Michigan and me to Illinois) too.
At that point, I was all:
She did, though.
Our paths got REALLY different after college. She pursued standup and I got into… NONPROFIT MARKETING! Social justice and nonprofit work is one of my passions for sure. But I started blogging while I was in college and she started making YouTube videos. The main difference is that she was committed to making the funny work and I thought it was just a hobby.
But when I watched Chescaleigh’s “Draw my Life” video, I really was like “GIRL SAY THAT” when she started talmbout how she’s basically at this fork in the road. When your creative work barely allows you to pay your bills and the prestige is bigger than your pockets, sometimes you think maybe your dreams should be put on hold. But you know you have the support of those closest to you no matter what.
Franchesca is at a point where she’s wondering whether she should get a regular job or keep pursuing her dreams. This is a cycle I’m perpetually in. Being self-employed is incredibly hard, and doing what you want on your own terms doesn’t always come with beaucoup bucks as compensation. So you wonder if you should just be a regular adult with a 9-5 and health benefits and a steady paycheck.
I don’t think a week passes where I don’t check LinkedIn for jobs. In case I’m tripping and there IS a job that is EXACTLY what I want out there, allowing me to do what I want when I want. 3 years after my last fulltime job, I can say there isn’t. Because I want to do a lot (write, make folks laugh and teach about technology). And I’m good at a lot. And I want to do a lot of it while in pajamas. And red pumps.
Our problem is that we get overwhelmed and feel like failures because we KNOW we’re so talented. When that talent doesn’t bring in money to let us LIVE, we’re like WTF? I should go work at K-Mart. Womp. I already wrote about the Quarterlife Crisis and how it has us in this loop but yeah.
When you want to be successful on your own terms, you take a lot of losses. When you insist that your work will be good, instead of cheap, you spend more time on it than most. And to be honest, quality isn’t always appreciated in the world we live in. So our rewards for our work don’t always measure up to the effort we placed in making them happen.
Thanks to Franchesca for sharing her story and in turn, helping me to see mine clearer. I think it takes guts to be that open.
I respect her work so much and her videos are always great (and hilarious to boot). Shoutout to the fact that she actually has a camera that isn’t the one on her computer. And she uses more than iMovie to edit. Some of yall wonder why I don’t do video more. It’s because I hate editing. And I don’t wanna buy a camera. So if I do video, expect it to look bootleg. This is your warning.
Franchesca, your commitment to what you do and the hard work you pour into it doesn’t go unnoticed. Don’t stop what you’re doing now because your voice in this space is important. As a writer and comedian, you’re reaching so many people with your words, and inspiring them just like you’ve inspired me. The road to success might be long and zig zaggy but stay on it. It shall be well, Chesca!
Did ya like her “Draw My Life?” And to my self-employed peeps. What keeps YOU going?