Many of us have needed that extra reassurance over the last year from our friends and/or loved ones because of well…this past year’s events (of course, most of that interaction has been virtual). Careers and livelihoods have been affected due to the pandemic, which has forced people to change jobs and/or industries. Some have wanted to have their career for years and are now using the pandemic as an excuse to do so. People may have doubts about making such a big change, and that’s when a friend or loved one’s wiser and more experienced encouragement can come into play.
Bevelations: Lessons from a Mutha, Auntie, Bestie by Bevy Smith is that wiser, more experienced friend in the form of a book. This memoir and self-help book details the story of its author working as a fashion editor at several magazines, including Vibe and Rolling Stone, and not feeling fulfilled despite the glitz and glamour of the jobs. Smith even has a breakdown in Milan while on a business trip; her gut was telling her that this job was not fulfilling to her. However, she didn’t follow her instincts until several years later when she pivoted into the entertainment industry with eventual appearances (and a show) on Bravo and syndicated television. Smith worked her way up the ladder from a receptionist to an editor, and then into the entertainment industry, never forgetting what drove her as a little girl (what she calls “Little Brown Bevy” throughout the book). These traits helped her not only find success and happiness, but also maintain her integrity in the process.
Ms. Smith teaches several lessons to her readers throughout the book. A large takeaway for me was that you can have big dreams and fulfill them, no matter your background. If you have the drive and the passion, can work through many rejections, and utilize your resources accordingly to achieve your goals, it can happen for you. More importantly, you can fulfill your dreams while also staying true to yourself. It is apparent that many in the media and entertainment industry try to fit a certain mold and have given up their values for fame. Ms. Smith is a prime example that you don’t have to; you can be yourself and be a well-liked and well-respected figure.
Another lesson that was apparent for me was that the glitz and glamour can be fulfilling, but that can only last for so long (it can last a lot longer depending on how superficial you may be). Accomplishing your goals is more rewarding. Putting in the work and seeing your goals through to the end feels so much better for the psyche than an all-expense paid trip to Milan. Don’t get me wrong; I would love that type of trip, but the work that I completed to get there feels just as good.
I listened to this book, and it felt like I was listening to a motivational speaker or just a more experienced friend. Ms. Smith is so relatable in her recitation of this book (I’m sure I would have enjoyed this if I read it the old-fashioned way, too). I laughed at her wittiness and became emotional when she discussed her family. I don’t want to ruin the book, but there is a specific part in which she discusses loss, and it’s heartbreaking.
If you are feeling stuck, whether this be in your career or personal life, I highly suggest that you pick up (or listen in my case) this book. Seeing the example of Ms. Smith moving forward without a plan and still finding success, despite a lack of experience, is what I needed to hear to motivate me to fulfill my dreams, no matter how big they may be. I hope this can do the same for you.