As a writer, I want to tell stories. Big, grand narratives that move and shake and receive attention. I want my words to light up the page and pour out like liquid gold – little gems dropping out of the ever-rambling jumble of thoughts that dances around in my mind.
I want you to read my words and have them resonate.
If I’m honest, I want to get likes and hearts and comments.
I want, like everyone, to be validated.
I’m selfish that way.
Because at the end of the day, despite my best intentions to train my brain otherwise, I do indeed care what you think.
I spent seven months globetrotting, telling stories. And while that trip started out and remains as something that was very much intrinsically motivated, I’d by lying to say that the attention of “oh my goodness, what you’re doing is so COOL” and “I wish I had done that/could do that/etc.” didn’t feel pretty dang good.
It did. It still does.
But two weeks ago, I hit the road again, this time with another purpose. This time, the trip isn’t for me. And it’s not for you, either.
It’s for them.
This time, I don’t want to tell big, praise-worthy stories, I want to tell stories that matter. I want to turn the spotlight away from my own face and onto those that are so often ignored. Forgotten.
I’m traveling on behalf of one of my favorite organizations – Opportunity International. And in my role as a traveling storyteller with them, I’m being invited into homes and schools and farms, into the inner places where people live their daily lives. I have been given the opportunity to glimpse the truth and I want to do my best to reflect that to all of you.
And fair warning, sometimes the truth is hard.
Just yesterday, I sat across from a woman as she cried recounting the violence and guerrilla warfare that drove her family away from their home and forced them to resettle in a new community. I met an adult couple, neither of whom has been to a day of school ever in their lives. They are completely illiterate. I listened again and again as clients described their lives and communities as hard. Hard. Hard.
Yes. It is. So hard.
But then I danced and laughed with a man as he posed with huge yucca plants and balanced his bucket of fish on his head. I waited as a woman went to change her shirt so that she could look cute as she model-posed in her photos. I giggled with little kids as they saw their own image, maybe for the first time.
Because life is hard. But it’s also good.
And that’s why I’m here.
To capture both. To tell the stories that so often go untold. To catch little glimmers of the real and share them with you.
The irony, of course, is that I’ll be hoping for likes and comments on these posts too. But I’m ok with that, because it means that attention is going to the people who deserve it. The people whose stories are so beautiful and so valuable and so wonderfully worth telling.
So I invite you to follow along.
See the hard and see the good and see the stories that I’m honored to share.