Photo courtesy of Raymond White Photography
Story by Rachael Anne Keisling / Contributing Writer
Although Chanekka Pullens currently works as an assistant manager in the retail industry, it’s her talent of putting thought on paper that truly allows her to stand out from others. To date, the 2015 MTSU graduate has written two books with aspirations of writing more in the future.
In her time at MTSU, Pullens focused on political science, the major in which she soon graduated from, with a double minor in history and international relations. Though she earned her Bachelor’s degree, she was faced with many hardships along the way, causing her to graduate a year later than intended.
In preparation of her senior year, Pullens enrolled in and confirmed classes for the upcoming fall semester. These classes would catapult her to a college degree. But, these classes, and the diploma, would have to wait due to Pullens decision to take some time away from books and lectures.
“Since I had confirmed my classes, I had to pay (my tuition balance) out of pocket before I could go back to graduate,” Pullens explained.
Before long, Pullens had found herself regularly attending court hearings and meeting weekly with a probation officer, which led to legal fees galore, all while being homeless. The reason for attending these hearings and meeting with a probation officer is because she was charged with misdemeanor theft two weeks after her brother’s untimely death.“The visitations with my probation officer was mandatory in order for my case to be dismissed,” Pullens said. “The court appearances (were) to make sure I was up to date with all mandatory requirements. I had to make court appearances up until all requirements were complete.”
Despite her school debt and troubled past, within a year Pullens reclaimed her student title. She worked hard to wear the MTSU cap and gown, and that’s just what she did as she was handed her hard-fought diploma. Tragically though, her eldest brother was shot just one week following her graduation. On August 18, 2015, Pullens was forced to part with her brother as his gunshot wounds ultimately lead to his death.
“Imagine working to pay off tuition while not taking classes, trying to accept the unjustified murder of your only big brother and handling the consequences of legal trouble that you basically voluntarily got into because you were so angry and confused,” Pullens said. “Could you imagine that? I lived it.”
Pullens’ first book, “The Book About M.E.: Mind Elevation,” was published in February 2015. This book particularly focuses on improving strength through experience — something Pullens understands all too well.
“Although the contents of the book share many dark and horrifying memories, it is a motivating book,” Pullens said. “My words and my thoughts: a reflection of my soul and nothing less.”
Writing served as a coping method for Pullens. Thought by thought and word by word, she worked through her own demons and struggles.
“The mind is powerful,” she said.
Her days of writing were far from over, and before she knew it, she was publishing book number two. She titled this one “A Poetry Book About M.E.: Melanin Experience.”
As a continuation of her first book, her second book also contains content pertaining to her experiences she went through which allowed Pullens to grieve in a way that would help others in trying times.
“The title ‘Melanin Experience’ can be defined as the black experience,” she said.
Not only does this book pertain to her own life, but she also includes what others have experienced in the black community. With these two books, Pullens inspires people of all ages and reminds them, regardless of the environment they are in, to stay positive and defeat the impossible. Dreams can be accomplished this way.
Pullens plans to continue inspiring others through her words.
“I am currently working on my first Children’s Book Series (titled) ‘Nice to Meet You, Princess Lu!’,” Pullens said.
In attempt to encourage girls to recognizing their self-worth, Pullens titled her persona “Princess Lu” to inform her readers that they are all princesses who will soon transform into queens — something society chooses to ignore because women have been disrespected by society’s judgemental standards due to their beauty, height and personality.
“I am planning (for the) first book in my series to be free,” Pullens said.“The more girls this will be able to reach, the absolute better.”
Through experience and carrying herself with strength and dignity, Pullens made a difference in her life and hopes that young kids and teens can follow her positive role model advice by focusing on the good out of a bad situation in order to strengthen their mind and remove themselves out of a toxic environment which can affect them on an emotionally and intellectually.
“With these books, and all the books I intend to write in the future, I hope to elevate the world, literally,” Pullens said. “I hope for ‘Mind Elevation’ to become a common household name. It may seem impossible, but I truly believe that once people focus on the art of living a positive life, they will not desire otherwise.”
“Never stop writing,” Pullens encouraged.
If you are interested in her books or need any additional information, click here.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Wesley McIntyre, email firstname.lastname@example.org.