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Meet Trailblazer Maresja Ariel Bray

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maresja Ariel Bray.

Maresja, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always enjoyed writing. When I was in elementary school, other children would play during lunch and recess; I would sit at the benches and write. I would write my own thoughts and feelings in a diary, and I would write fiction stories in spiral notebooks. In high school, writing got me accepted into extracurricular programs such as the Disney Dreamer’s Academy and free college tours. I was not always the strongest candidate, but I could write my way into anything. My major in college, suitably, was Journalism.

I enjoy reading the dictionary and thesaurus learning new words. I have always wanted to write a book. It was something my mom encouraged me to do, but I was afraid. I did not know how to start and I did not want to fail. One day, I just committed to doing it. I was tired of thinking about it all the time and not executing. I quit my job, bought a new laptop, and started writing. It was the scariest, most exciting, most rewarding thing I have done. I self-published the book through my LLC, NINE.XVIII Publishing, on September 18, 2019, a very special date to me.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My journey has had its ups and downs to say the least. I am very adamant about taking my own approach with everything, which often results in me learning the hard way. Writing a book was something I had never done before. So, I would research steps to take and I would start executing only to find out there was a step before that I had missed. I printed the book way too large the first time. I was late registering with the Library of Congress for my copyright. I almost ran out of money, and I was stubborn about not asking anyone to help fund me during this time.

Through the process, though, was how I discovered my passion. It was frustrating, but I never wanted to quit. I was always excited about the end result and that excitement that passion was something I had never experienced before.

My advice would be first to find your passion because your love for what you do will motivate you to keep going when the journey gets rough. Second, life truly is an evolution. Wherever you are now is more than likely not your final destination, just a stop along the way. Remember that it is okay to start over; it’s okay to try something new. Even if everyone around you thinks it is crazy and tries to talk you out of it, those usually end up being the most worthwhile adventures.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I refer to myself as a wordsmith. I am an author, a journalist, a poet, a songwriter; put simply, I write. I wrote and published my first book Under the Weather in September of 2019. The book documents my journey with depression and anxiety, what led to it, and how I overcame it. I tell the story poetically and vividly paint the picture of my thoughts and emotions during that time.

My ability to be vulnerable is what I am most proud of. I was ashamed of myself for a long time, but I have embraced who it is that I am and I am building a brand on authenticity. As long as I continue to be authentic, I will always be distinguishable.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
I am inspired by my mom. Though we are different, she has taught me core values that have shaped me as a young lady. She was a young mother, so in a lot of ways, I watched her grow into a woman. I have watched her make mistakes and recover. This inspires me to never be afraid of failure. She faces difficult obstacles head-on. This inspires me to be courageous. She hustles to make her dreams a reality and never makes excuses. This inspires me to be determined. Over the years, I have witnessed her evolve and change habits that no longer served her. She inspires me to be committed to personal growth. While I am surrounded by many inspiring women, my mother continues to have the greatest impact on me.


  • Under the Weather – $16.00

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Image Credit:
Meron Amahayes, Clara Jackson

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