The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

I’m tired.

I’m tired of writing columns week after week, and never feeling heard.

I’m tired of spending hours and hours debating myself on my word choice and what topic is worth 500 words.

I’m tired of seeing people like myself and my friends and my family be ostracized, criticized and brutalized for no apparent reason.

I’m tired that a column has started to feel like my only source of control.

I’m tired of writing about the same issues that so many people seem unable to grasp.

When I first became a columnist in 2015, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to have a specific space that was dedicated to my thoughts and opinions on a biweekly basis.

The challenge of curating thoughtful pieces was a thrill for me — and it stayed that way for a long time.

Unfortunately, this year is different. What was once a source of joy and excitement now feels like a chore.

I have to drag myself into a certain mentality to prepare to not be a “token.”

In this second year it’s become more and more prevalent that many issues don’t die or go away, they manifest themselves in different people and situations.

Bigotry, racism, sexism and homophobia are draining to be around.

Discussing those issues is even more draining.

When I applied to be a columnist, I thought I would make a difference and change something, anything.

From the emails and responses I received on my columns, it was clear that I did reach people that would not have encountered my point of view otherwise.

But at this point, I no longer feel like there’s something I can do or say to provoke change.

I finally pinpointed the change when I realized that the voice in the back of my head that restrains me from turning in my resignation letter doesn’t say, “You love your column, why would you drop it?,” but, “Someone has to do it, so why don’t you?”

I’ve tokenized myself — in limiting my topics and conforming my voice to what I thought would be the most well-received ­— and the sadness I felt when I discovered that is indescribable.

The obligation I feel to keep writing should never have developed.

I write, week after week, not because I love it, but because I feel that as a Black woman on this campus and staff member of The Daily Tar Heel, I have to.

My voice has merit and my opinions matter with or without a byline.

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I’ve always known this, but I think in my mind I saw the privilege of being a columnist as the sole qualifier for me to share my thoughts and opinions.

I need space and time to write on my own, and not for anyone else’s consumption.

I don’t know where my spark went, but I’m hoping I’ll find it soon and that it will change me for the better.