flow 流 by Jae Ko as seen at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

This is it. This is where I find a home and settle down, where I invite you in for an afternoon cup of coffee or late night sip of tea and we can discuss life and share experiences, where we are open to be who we are so that we may become who we want to be. This is it. No more excuses, no more can’t, no more won’t, no more should’ve, could’ve, but didn’t. This is it. On beginnings.

I have always kept stories to myself out of a fear the words I choose to tell them cannot give the firing neurons of my memory justice, that the experiences I wish to portray will not be the same image painted to the reader. Because of this I convinced myself I was not a writer. I repeated it, adamantly, many times until I absorbed it into my being. I never felt like a writer, never was labeled a writer. I always struggled with accurately expressing myself, with words, with definitions, with interpretations, with sentence structure and flow. But I have always had a voice, and that voice wishes to speak at its fullest breath. I believe in practice and I believe in progress, so I became a person who constantly wrote.

Only now, many years later, after I have tolled over how to give justice to this voice, after I have painstakingly poured my soul into 2200 characters, do I consider myself a writer. The solution was simple — the more stories I told, the more stories I wanted to tell.

I want this space to hold the stories I find meaningful, insightful, honest, and open. I want to expose these stories to the thoughts, inputs, interpretations, and experiences of others. I want a thread to connect us, by our commonalities, and even our differences. I am constantly experimenting with being more willing to share. It was difficult at first, and still is, but I have learned that my fear of judgement and misunderstanding shouldn’t be a fear at all. It is through putting ourselves out there, telling our stories, revealing our thoughts, and welcoming the dialogues they invite that we are able to work on ourselves and learn from each other. It is how we realize we have more similarities than we think, struggles more universal than we feel, and mistakes that should be celebrated as much as our successes. This has always been about growth.

I’ve learned, after many years of coming to terms with vulnerability and writing, that authenticity comes from fearlessly bearing your soul and unapologetically claiming your space. Inspiring others doesn’t come from an intention to inspire others; we must live our own lives and walk our own paths first and foremost. Real, human connection, can only occur if we are honest with ourselves, honest with others, and when that mutually happens something truly magical occurs. So this is where I have come to do what I have always wanted to do, to consistently document experiences and thoughts that have previously been within the confines of a moleskin. It is my release into the world, my catharsis. Let these be a means for me to move beyond my apartment walls, lecture halls, hospital rooms, and find spaces in parts of this world I have yet to see, in minds and hearts far more intelligent and kinder than mine. Let this be the means by which we create bridges between these screens and walk across to whoever we are meant to be.

I appreciate you for choosing to come along this journey with me. Thank you, and onwards we go. Bismillah.