Hi! I'm Amanda.

So I've Decided to Share My Journal

Published 3 months ago • 7 min read

Content or a Journal?

Lately I've been feeling like making content is this huge mountaintop to climb, like I need to Make Something Worthy of being content and it increases the pressure to simply create and I give myself writers block. I sit there thinking what could possibly be worthy of spending hours of my time on to create something? Something that you’d love to see, love to read, love to consume. But I think I had a revelation, and maybe this is too vulnerable (I guess that’s what newsletters are for rather than more public essays), but I don't want to be here simply to be consumed. I want to share my thoughts with you, learn things alongside you, encourage you to keep growing so we can all grow together. I feel like Ive always said that its about sharing your life, but I think that’s actually so much harder to do than it sounds. It’s so much more personal and so much more vulnerable to really share with you and so I think I’ve been stopping myself. I’m trying to work on it.

And as I think deeper about this personal conundrum I’ve put myself in, I can’t help but think of my own hypocrisy. I spend so much of my time talking about how the hierarchies that we place on art are crafted and fake and white supremacist and then i turn around and think my content has to be Content, Art, Skilled, Practiced. But the thing about that is that when you don’t have all that from experience you end up losing the most important part of art, to be Real, Honest, and Genuine. To open up a discussion with someone who you may not have reached otherwise. When the art needs to be perfect doesn’t that mean that I'm putting myself in the exact same trap that I’m fighting so hard against?

So I've decided to share my journal with you. Or maybe I've decided to write to you in my journal. I haven’t quite decided but I’m writing and it's directed toward all my friends who also want to keep learning. And maybe I’ll never share it, maybe I only need a muse for my journal, but I’m writing to you anyway.

Ocean Vuong once said at a speaking event I attended that writing isn’t about the writing. That writing is simply the medium with which we use to understand the world. I'm sure he said it in a much fancier way than I ever could, because he’s surrounded by academics, but thats rather the point right? It doesn’t matter the medium we use to communicate and learn and create. It doesn’t matter the precise language that’s required to be summed up into the complex function of "prestige." What matters is communicating a message and discovering something on your own while doing it. And I guess what I’ve learned— well let me take that back. I guess what I’m working on learning is that the real point of creating online is to share what I learn so that we can learn together. To share how I see the world so we can gain new perspectives together. To reach out my hand to yours to grow in community with each other.

I guess what I’m saying is that I want to be done with the trappings that I made up for myself. Or the trappings that white supremacy presents us at every waking turn to tell us that certain forms of creating are superior to other forms of creating. If I truly believe that creating can change the world, then what am I doing trying to make it perfect? It’s not the final form that matters in the end, its the act of creating and the act of sharing. It’s the act of flexing our creative muscles. It’s growing something out of nothing because that is how we start to learn how we can build a world that is far greater than the world we live in today. It's how we start to learn how to build the world that none of us have ever seen but collectively we know is in our future. I mean, how else could we build it if we don’t start to dream?

And how can I continue to dream as much as I want to if I sit behind my computer screen and stare at an imperfect essay or an imperfect newsletter? Or clips of film that I recorded but can’t bring myself to start editing because I can’t quite figure out how I want it to end? How do I know that the journey itself won’t reveal the ending for me?

Or actually, I’m realizing now that if it’s about the act of creating and not about the final product, how do I know that an ending even exists? And shit, how would I have even thought of that if I wasn’t imperfectly writing to you? (Do you think since I’m telling you this that I’ll finally get my next YouTube video out soon?)

I guess they always say that art is never complete, there just comes a time where we let it go. There is just a moment where you have to let it stop being yours and yours alone and let it be shared. Because while the act of creating is the point, I think sharing it is also equally the point. After all, what is the point of having all the wealth in the world if you aren’t going to share it? Which, if you know me, is a sentence with two meanings.

If you don’t know me yet, because hi! I have a ton of new subscribers and I’m so happy you’ve joined us and I’m so proud of you. For all of you who don’t know me yet, I meant that in two fold, I mean that true wealth is in our art, our love, our hope, our empathy, and in our resistance. And I also mean fuck the rich. Welcome. 🩷

So while I don’t quite know what all of this means for this newsletter or my creating journey, I hope that it means I can push myself to be imperfect. To let go of my work before it’s "done." To share my work when it’s ready to be shared, not when I’m ready to share it. Because our creative journeys last for our entire lives and if we can’t move onto the next project when it’s the right time, is our creative journey even really progressing? The knot in my stomach that has felt empty from not creating tells me the answer is no. So here’s to being imperfect because bad art is absolutely, unequivocally still art.

In Our Lifetimes

If you follow me on any social media platform this is probably an expected section, but I’d be remiss to not give a section of my newsletter to Palestine, so here it is. If you find yourself feeling like you don’t know enough or like it’s too complicated, please take some time to read some resources. I always recommend as an incredible starting point. There’s easy to follow histories, book recommendations, and so much more there, it’s an incredible springboard.

Just as I want to work on letting go and being visibly imperfect, I also want to emphasize that it’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to have looked away for 138 days as long as you are willing to look now. It’s even okay to be wrong. The society that we live in is so deeply dependent on you looking away from the millions of people who suffer around the world so that we can have our comforts here. It's so deeply dependent on it that they will do everything within their power (and it's far too much power) to make you look away or believe that the slaughter of an entire people is justified. And when you stop looking away it fucking sucks, but we are here with open arms, ready to hold your hand.

Please consider donating eSims to Gaza to keep Gaza connected or donating to UNRWA so we can hopefully help some people not literally die on the street from being forcefully starved.

Don't Worry, There's Always Books

I haven’t been reading much fiction lately (for my new subscribers, I promise this is really quite unlike me) but I have been reading a bit, just nonfiction. So don’t worry, I still have recs for you. 🩷

  • They Called Me a Lioness by Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri is a nonfiction for people who love fiction. It reads like a YA novel with a sprinkle of Palestinian history. I’ve been recommending this as a first read about Palestine for people who don’t like non-fiction.
  • Be a Revolution by Ijeoma Oluo is one that I’ll admit I haven’t quite finished because it was returned to the library on me and now I'm waiting for my hold again. But this is sectioned off into shorter stories of everyday people doing revolutionary things to change the world. It’s grounding, comforting, and inspiring.
  • Let This Radicalize You by Kelly Hayes and Mariame Kaba is my new comfort book. It’s positioned as the feeling of a car ride home after a protest when you’re most inspired and bubbling with hope after being surrounded by people who share your values, and let me tell you it delivers on that feeling beautifully.

Expectedly, I’m caught at the end of this newsletter trying to figure out how I’m supposed to close it out, but I think for now I’m going to continue to work on sharing things when they are ready to be shared, not when I’m ready to share it. So, wrapped up with the feeling of sending something out that is woefully unfinished, thank you so much for being here with me.

With so much love,

Consider keeping up with me elsewhere:

Hi! I'm Amanda.

Decolonize your bookshelf with me! Amanda (she/her) is a mixed Vietnamese American writer who firmly believes that stories can change the world and that protest happens in small everyday disruptions consistently over time. She's based on unceded Tongva land and is the Chief Editor at Bookish Brews and an associate editor at Cast of Wonders and GigaNotoSaurus. 🤍

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