Friday, February 12, 2021

After nearly 15 years of updating this virtual diary of mine, I've come to realize that blogs aren't meant to be read—they're meant to be written in... or at least that's what I tell myself.

Back in March of 2006, I was still a college student living at home with my parents in Flushing, Queens. I was closeted, depressed, and about to hit the heaviest weight I've been in my life so far. I initially started this blog because I felt extremely isolated with no one to talk to. For many reasons, I had a hard time maintaining any social media accounts back then because something about it just didn't feel like a suitable fit for me. So, this became my exclusive outlet where I could feel like I was contributing to and participating in our world's rapidly growing virtual realm. In the beginning, I kept this blog anonymous in order to be as honest as I could with what I wanted to share. But then I did eventually start telling my friends about it and slowly started to write more personal things, to then start posting photos as well. 

Over time, this blog would remain my only online presence until I started an Instagram account in 2013. But even for Instagram, I've used it mostly as a place to stay in touch with people, and it's not my preferred way of genuinely showing who I truly am. Anything important I've ever had to say in the past decade and a half, this blog is where I shared it. All the struggles and good times I've gone through, this is where I documented it. Throughout the years, I often sought escape from everyday life by immersing myself here on this blog. Even today, from the moment I wake up to when I fall asleep, all I do is think about how and with what content I can post here. I mean, that doesn't mean I've updated as much as I wanted to, but still—it's remained my only constant during so many seasons of instability, uncertainty, and at times, downright fucking terror from not knowing how to process or tackle things. 

To count, this post will be my 3,923rd since I first began. With that sheer volume in mind, it's no surprise that I view this blog as the only place outside of my actual self that even comes close to portraying an accurate reflection of my character and who I am as a person. This blog is my heart, my soul, and the best way for anyone to get to know me. It's my proudest personal accomplishment to date. Reading back on all my entries, I can really see how my writing has evolved and matured over the years. From refusing to capitalize stuff in the beginning, to more recent posts where it feels easier to communicate via rhymes, I appreciate every phase, struggle, and lesson that helped shaped me into the writer I am today. I mean, the countless hours I spent writing and editing in it alone definitely taught me things I could've never learned anywhere else, or from anybody else for that matter. 

After starting this blog, I basically just kept at it because I loved doing it, and still do. Although no one reads this blog, I was always okay with that because I was doing it more for me and my own personal reasons. It's become my only means of expression that's absolutely necessary for my sanity and survival. I never really ever thought about stopping blogging until an unexpected thought hit me a few months ago: This March 3rd will mark its 15th anniversary, and suddenly, that feels like the right time to end it. Fifteen years is a long time to dedicate to one project, and I feel like it's time to move on and put my energy into something else that could possibly see me through for the next 15 years.

This might sound cheesy, but on my way to becoming a writer (or whatever I thought that meant), I actually sort of became one. To me, I always used to think that being a writer meant being a novelist. That's because the career of Haruki Murakami was the only thing I aspired to. But over the years, I've come to expand this definition and my professional goals. And while it took some time for me to sincerely accept it, I too have become a writer. Even to this day, I find it unbelievable that I've accomplished this. All of my close friends know that my dreams of becoming a writer first surfaced in the 5th grade after I read The Diary of Anne Frank. Anne's writing spoke to me and moved me to the core. For the first time ever, I just felt like the I completely understood someone, and this was simply from reading her diary entries. I couldn't get over how awesome it was that written words could do such a thing. Even at that young age, I felt different from everybody else but I didn't understand how or why. And after I read Anne's diary, the life-changing realization that transformed me was: "Holy shit, Anne felt alone and wrote in a diary to make herself feel better. Maybe I could write in a diary to make myself feel better!" And ever since, I've always maintained a diary or journal of some sorts. By high school, I knew the only thing I wanted to do was become a writer. But by the time I started this blog, I had no idea how to even start that journey. 

Back then, I didn't know of any straightforward paths for writers who looked like me. I wasn't aware of any gay Korean-American guys from Queens who had similar dreams like mine, and becoming a writer just seemed like some farfetched idea. However, by some stroke of luck and with the help of this blog, I stuck to my gut and aspirations. And now, after years of working so many random jobs that were unrelated to writing, I have a job where I get to work with words and write/edit all day. I feel like especially now, with so much anti-Asian racism that's become somewhat normalized since the onset of the pandemic, it's more important than ever that Asians continue to show up and do our thing. And I definitely don't plan to stop that anytime soon.

If there's one major lesson blogging for 15 years has taught me, it's that all the good things in life worth striving for are truly a long game. So for anyone out there who is working towards a goal, stick with it and enjoy the ride because that's when all the interesting stuff happens.

On this day that is my 38th birthday and the start of Lunar New Year, I wish everyone a safe and healthy new year, Valentine's Day, and long Presidents Day weekend. And please continue to check out my blog as it will still be updated until March 3rd.

This blog is my first draft. It's my mix tape. I'm just getting started, and I hope to see you along the way.

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