“Indiana’s boring, there’s not much here, I definitely don’t see myself here long term.” These are all things I hear regularly and for a minute I almost believed the notion that Indiana does not have much to offer for creatives was true.
This summer I was given the opportunity to work as a journalism intern for PATTERN and my entire outlook on what Indiana provides and what Indiana is capable of completely changed. I went to eye opening events, entered creative spaces I didn’t even know existed in Indiana, and met a plethora of incredible people starting with the team I worked with every week.
Throughout high school and the majority of my time at IU, my brain was ingrained with the idea that in the beginning of my journalism career I would often write about things that didn’t interest me until I reached a plateau where I would have more autonomy over what I could write. At PATTERN it never felt that way. My voice was heard, I was free to pursue my interests, to cultivate my own ideas and to express myself freely.
One of my very favorite stories over the summer was on the Indianapolis Drag scene. Even before my time at PATTERN, I always had interest in shining a light on the creativity, innovation and overall authenticity of underrepresented, oppressed groups who are often overlooked. It comes natural to me being a Black woman and a writer. Drag is art, it is expressive, it is queer inclusive and it is solely generated and driven by the creativity of the Black and Brown LGBTQ+ community. Exploring that was incredible to me. Speaking to the Haus of Stoner, a house that is both trans inclusive and has representation of Black queens was game changing for me.
After seeing it published and seeing how much the queens loved it, I thought to myself, this is what I want to do, this is me, this is who I am. I came up with an idea and with the help of PATTERN I was able to bring it to life. Interview after interview this summer, I was able to hear captivating stories and reconstruct them in a way that would be meaningful and purposeful and the majority of them were all stories that interested me.
I was also able to attend the very first Indiana Fashion Week and it was invigorating. I even met Yemisi Sanni, an incredible fashion design artist, who I went on to interview for another project. She had a light in her that was so bright and so inviting. She was also reflective of the greatness of Black women and all that we can achieve. I couldn’t have gotten that experience anywhere else in Indiana. Seeing myself in other people and seeing the many connections and the growing foundation for Indiana’s creative class made me realize it was here all along.
We don’t often look at what’s around us and see what’s actually there. We don’t have ideas of our own anymore. We hear that something is boring enough times and we begin to believe it and regurgitate it. Did I believe Indiana was boring, because I went out to see what it has to offer and then decided nothing here was new or exciting? No, I never explored here, I just went along with the general consensus, naively believing that was the reality. I never even gave Indiana a chance. However, PATTERN put an end to that for me. It challenged me to develop my own opinions, to explore beyond and within, and to feed my own creativity.