ST. LOUIS — Raven Martin, 27 works on Capitol Hill with the U.S. Rep. Cori Bush as her legislative correspondent; she’s also a provisionally licensed therapist with a clinical mental health counseling background.
When people meet her and learn about her career trajectory, she said they often believe she attended college at prestigious institutions with limitless opportunities afforded to her. However, she said her professional path has been everything but how people perceive her.
She said her book, “Lessons From My 20s,” goes in-depth about her professional experiences and how that journey has shaped the woman she is today.
“In my book, I talk about how a few key people in my life told me to go to college, so I just picked a school,” she said. “I used to be embarrassed by sharing that because many of my counterparts graduated from Harvard and all these amazing schools. Meanwhile, I graduated from smaller schools in St. Louis. I know so many people who feel small in that regard and say, ‘I didn’t go to college. I didn’t go to the best school. I didn’t have the best opportunities, or I missed out.’ It's just a testament that it doesn’t really matter. It's truly about your mindset, your ability to fail forward and make intentional steps toward progress even when things don’t look the best or when life isn’t the most ideal.”
“Lessons From My 20s,” is split into three sections: responsibilities, relationships, and realities; there are subsections within each section. She said the relationship aspect touches on love, relationships, friendships, and the relationship one has with oneself.
“I dive into how 20-somethings [and young adults] approach relationships and can make their time and love life better,” she said. “It's about being honest about what you want so you don’t look back on your life and say I should’ve committed to somebody sooner.”
She said she wrote the book in that sequence because a person’s 20s is a complex era of their lives, and she wanted to break down what those years of life look like transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.
“When you’re in your 20s, you have responsibilities to take care of and also have to manage the person you want to be personally and professionally,” she said. “What kind of human do you wanna be? How do you wanna contribute to the world? You have to make conscious decisions if you wanna start a family. The book compartmentalizes the facades of people.”
She said the reality section discusses health and wellness, coming to terms everyone has an expiration on this earth, ourselves and loved ones included, and spirituality, choosing to connect with a higher being that’s greater than ourselves.
Like many 20-somethings, Martin said she admits the life she has now wasn’t always the life she envisioned for herself. She said part of that is because she’s always committed herself to not failing.
“In my early 20s, I always made a conscious decision that failing and being unsuccessful is not an option for me,” she said. “Everything I did from that point early on was about not failing. In the book, I talk about a term coined by occupational therapist Dr. Brittany Conners, which talks about failing forward. That’s how I generally describe it to 20-somethings who ask questions about their evolution and progress. It's about making intentional steps toward your future and being okay with failing forward not left, right and then stepping back.”
She said this next phase of her 20s is about continuing and evolving to become the person she’s destined to be.
“I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, and I don’t mean just monetarily; I mean actualizing who I am, diving into who I’ve become and who I’m going to become,” she said. “I’ve made real investments in making sure that my future self can look back and be proud of what I see and the foundation I’ve set for myself.
She said the biggest lesson she wants readers to take away from the book is that a decision is still a decision even with indecisiveness.
“I’ve seen so many 20-somethings and young adults get crippled with anxiety a lot of times, and it prevents them from being decisive on what they want and how they want to pursue things in their lives,” she said. “You don’t have to be afraid of responsibility. Just go ahead and make a decision because a decision will be made on your behalf whether or not you make it yourself.”
In addition to the book, Martin has a cultural curation brand, “Twenty-Somethings With Raven,” composed of different mediums related to her mission of promoting daily struggles 20-somethings can relate to and how they can grow from it.
The brand includes her book, Twenty Somethings with Raven Podcast on Apple Music and Spotify, and a fitness venture she plans to launch next year.
“Lessons From My 20s” can be purchased at www.barnesandnoble.com and Amazon. She will host a book discussion and mixer on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at Urb Arts.