Hey there. Happy New Year. Let’s do this. Let’s start a blog.
I’ve always liked the idea that when the clock strikes midnight, we all get some sort of second chance, a clean slate, an opportunity to kick bad habits and become better versions of ourselves. In the past, I would make lofty, generic goals for myself that I would completely forget about or give up on by the first of February. I’m not doing that this year. I only have one thing I want to do this year: I want to start blogging.
That’s why tonight I had big plans of sitting down at a Starbucks with some mint decaf tea to finally write my first blog post (I know writing in a café is kind of lame and cliché, but I have family visiting and it’s impossible to focus at home). But instead, every seat in the Starbucks was completely full because life in upstate New York in the winter is clearly very exciting. So I sat in the Subway next door and reluctantly purchased a sandwich for tomorrow just to have a reason to be there. I had no idea how to get started. I write for myself and for professors all the time, but the idea of putting myself online is a little daunting.
The Subway was pretty much empty and I sat in the far corner of the room so I could have some privacy. Moments later, moments after I wrote the first sentence of this post, two girls who looked about fourteen sat at the table right next to me. I watched my cursor blink and they stared at me while they ate Cool Ranch Doritos. Just as I was starting to wonder whether or not this whole starting a blog thing wasn’t meant to be and if I should just head home, one of the girls stood up and started running her hands over her stomach. She kept saying to her friend “look how much it puffs out.”
I was about to give up, but then I was reminded of why I write in the first place. I was reminded of what gave me the idea to start this blog. You see, I write to give voice to social issues that most people would otherwise never talk about. I write to give voice to the problems that we think are personal and specific to just us, when in reality, these struggles are pretty common. Sure, seeing those girls tonight was pretty random and almost insignificant, but I see instances like that all of the time, little moments where I’m reminded of the social pressures that women and young girls navigate through every single day. These experiences that are also compounded for anyone who identifies outside the gender binary, anyone who is not white, anyone who is not straight, and anyone who is not able-bodied. I’m very aware that it’s going to take a lot more than some blog posts to overcome the systematic power structures in place in our society, but I really want to create a space to have a conversation about these issues. Let’s start talking.
If I learned anything in 2014, it’s that my voice matters and the things I have to say and the stories I have to tell are worth sharing. 2014 was full of many personal achievements and growth, but when it came to the challenges, many people tried to get me to shut up, to keep my thoughts to myself, to not let my voice take up too much space. Words and personal narratives carry quite a bit of power, and when we share our stories with the world, it reminds others that they are not alone in their experiences.
So here is my first message to anyone who comes across this webpage: use your voice because you never know who might be listening and you never know the impact you might have.
This is a brand new project for me and I’m sure I have a lot to learn, but I’m going to work through it and I’m going to keep writing!
Here’s to many more posts in 2015.
All the best,