Asia Williams is an English teacher turned assistant principal for NYC. For 15 years she has dedicated her life to building and uplifting children while raising two of her own. Her son, Kamari who attends Howard University and her daughter Khloe that is beginning her school career as a kindergartner. Asia was very reluctant to share her story, but she believes that being transparent about her life has the potential to help millions of children and adults who are going through a similar situation.
Purchase Delayed But Not Denied 3: Real People Sharing Stories About Healing and Growth
Website to Purchase: http://www.delayedbutnotdenied.info/asia-williams
Intimate Conversation with Asia Williams
Outgoing, nurturing, and particular.
My full time career is in the field of education. I am an assistant principal. I carve out 3 hours a week for writing.
My first published book is a collaboration with 15 other authors sharing stories of growth and healing. It was an interesting journey because I was given the opportunity twice before and I did not take it, however with the third request I felt that it was time that I share my moment of healing. I did it hoping it would have a positive impact on someone else.
My first and only book so far is Delayed But Not Denied. The women that wrote with me all have something to share. My story shares the trauma I experienced associated with my father’s consistent incarceration. This is something I kept masked and bottled up for 20 years.
In spite of my father’s imprisonment he has managed to build a strong relationship with my daughter who is 5 years old and my son who is 18. I think this is an additive to the trauma knowing now that this has an impact on their lives as well.
In my older age I realized that the absence and longing for my father had adverse effects on so many parts of my life. It impacted my choice in men and how I dealt with people keeping my guard up because of the constant fear of disappointment. It is also the root of the way I deal with conflict, which is to escape it or act like it is nonexistent even when it comes at me head on.
From writing about this experience I learned more about myself and the way I deal with my emotions. My biggest takeaway is that writing this book pushed me to be reflective in the way I handle conflict, my emotions and trauma. It also helped me examine my relationship with my ex husband and identify mistakes I made and how to make those same mistakes moving forward.
I am inspired off the cuff. My writing is usually based on an emotion or experience that I am overwhelmed by or elated by. The setting doesn’t impact or drive me creatively.
I usually think about the message I want to convey and the audience I want to reach, then I generally focus on the characters/people and my actions.
I enjoy writing about the characters, I wish I could have developed my father more to not paint him in a negative light, but as someone who just had a lapse in judgment.
When I write it always begins in the Notes on my iPhone. Mainly because my phone is always handy and as an avid texter it is more natural than typing on a computer. I don’t like the idea of pen to pad because in order to share my ideas with others and to publish I need to type it eventually. Efficiency is key!
Usually I’m in a creative mood already when I start to write. I generally journal and write about something filled with emotion so the words tend to flow naturally. I often put myself back in that space and tend to feel the emotions all over again whether it is positive or negative.
In my line of work self care is essential and writers always tend to have things moving around in their head. I love fun activities where your mind is in that activity, like exercising, bowling, going to the movies, or even playing with your children. I have recently began traveling more, going on mini vacations as a get away.
I have learned to feel the emotion when I am writing. That is the best way to make sure my writing is authentic.
Before writing takes place I think about how the world will receive it, but most importantly I think about my students. Over the years I have had students that have shared some interesting things with me about themselves. They were braver as middle school students than I was as an adult to share their truths and stories of growth. When I was an English teacher, it was one of my greatest joys to share special moments with my students. So I think of them when I write, their bravery and how great the world would be if we all shared that strength and displayed bravery.
I most often write about real life experiences that we can all learn from. Experiences that many people don’t tend to share so that they know they are not alone.
It’s funny because in my excerpt I wrote about my feelings towards my dad’s incarceration and my sisters were not happy that I decided to share that part of my life. My father was also a little upset. I know he disagrees with what I wrote, however what I say to him and others who may have the same views is that you cannot disagree with my reality. You cannot get upset with me for feeling the way I do about a topic, my emotions belong to me and if you make them about you then we have a problem.
Sharing my truth was the most important part of my journey, not only sharing it but living in it. Allowing the situation to not become me. My journey is my journey because I had to go through the valleys and hills of emotion to get to the peak. The peak, the highest point being that I now understand my emotions.
The major challenges I faced by sharing this story was how it would be received by my father, because he is incarcerated I didn’t want him to feel attacked or “air out his dirty laundry” But I had to realize, I am not telling his business, I am sharing my feelings and my life.
While researching this book I met a woman who was also an educator and her daughter’s father was imprisoned for years. She hid it from the world, but had to support her daughter simultaneously. She talked about how difficult and emotionally draining that was for her and her daughter.
Writing has allowed me to be free from ridicule and not worry about judgement. Writing has always been a vessel to share and push forward. I have millions of notebooks with writing in them, but the fear of sharing kept me away from publishing but it’s time for me to be brave like those middle-schoolers I taught to use proper grammar and to share their truths.
Literary success looks like me not just selling books, but helping others. Letting them know that the shame and embarrassment of having a parent who is incarcerated is not your burden to bare. Letting them know the statistics surrounding their success rate so they can fight that much harder so succeed in spite of the odds. Fatherhood.org has some great data on that topic.
Currently, I am working on a book outlining the 10 most important factors in raising a physically, mentally, and emotionally strong young black man.
Please follow me on:
Twitter: @awillteach or https://twitter.com/awillteach
Website to Purchase: http://www.delayedbutnotdenied.info/asia-williams