We had the good fortune of connecting with Janae Aiken and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janae, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
One of my favorite quotes that I use as a daily affirmation is, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” written by T.S.Eliot. You can only make things happen and test your limits when you take risks. Playing it safe, staying comfortable, and dwelling in a familiar environment isn’t a risk to me. Stepping out of your comfort zone into the unknown is when you can really see what you are capable of.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started reading and writing at an early age. Growing up, my grandfather encouraged me to read and write as often as I could. This translated into my passion to be a high school English teacher, wanting to make a direct impact on our youth.
What sets me apart from others is that I am transparent and vulnerable with anything I do. This carries into my work as an educator and a soccer coach as well, the ability to connect with people on a personal level is an invaluable skill that has helped me throughout my life. It was not easy to publish two bodies of work that were very close to my heart, but the one thing that encouraged me to take the risk is that my words would help someone that was enduring similar situations.
An important lesson that I learned, despite me being stubborn, is that you have to be very selective with your energy and the individuals you want in your space. Often times, there are people that do not support what you are doing and drain your positivity. Although you may want those people around along for the ride, it is better to love them from a distance.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I loved being a military brat growing up because I was able to experience so many cities and countries at a young age. If my best friend were in town to visit, I am definitely going to see what events are poppin’ off in the city for sure looking particularly at food and drink specials, pop-up shops, activities, and hands on things we can do. I feel that every city that has an arts district has the best hidden food gems so that would be on my list for the week.
I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina and my favorite spots to go out are definitely Lost and Found, Stats, Tattoos and Booz, and Slate. You can get into anything you want at those spots and 2 out of the 4 have good food.
We also have some cool things to do if you are feeling more adventurous: National Whitewater Center, Carowinds, Frankie’s Fun Park, etc.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give flowers to the CEO of BlackLit, Nia Tayler and The Arts Council of Fayetteville team located in Downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina. In March I was selected to be a part of the BlackLit Book Fair as a vendor and performer to promote my two poetry books, “Bloom” and “Growth”. This is the first event where I read select poems in front of an audience and the first event where I was able to showcase my written art. This gave me the confidence I really needed to put myself out there as a published author.
Instagram: Business: @bloom.growth