[dropcap]T[/dropcap]en years ago, I made my very first YouTube vlog. With nothing but a webcam, iMovie, and lots of lots of angst, I documented my feelings about returning to Korea for the first time since infancy.
These were the early days of vlogging. I wasn’t thinking about advertising, views, or video quality (as evidenced by the 240p resolution of the file and piercing microphone feedback). It was a Friday night, I was supposed to be getting ready for a night of clubbing with my friend, Lizette, but instead– I went down a rabbit hole trying to decide whether or not to search for my birth family.
A decade later, I can’t say with certainty what I wanted to accomplish by sharing the video on YouTube. I think I was hoping it would find its way to someone else in the world who understood something that made me feel alone my entire life.
These video confessionals became therapy sessions. I began receiving messages and comments from fellow adoptees and adoptive parents. I wasn’t alone. The support I found in this online community gave me courage to begin the search discussed in that first video. A search that led to a reunion with my birth mother, grandmother, sisters, and brother.
Eventually, feeling more comfortable writing than being in front of the camera, I took my storytelling to another platform. The rise of social media and blogging created a new career pathway for me, and brought me to where I am today… doing digital marketing for an organization that encourages youth to share their own stories.
This week, I’ve been busy promoting a screening for a film created by teenagers in our Artivism program called, WE ARE. The depth of these young people’s creativity and courage continues to astound me. They give me hope for the future and a world where the power of storytelling can be harnessed and used for social change on a scale I couldn’t have dreamed about way back when.
As I rewatched this horribly awkward video tonight, I wondered what it would have been like to have been part of a program like Artivism. Although I lament the lack of finesse in my filmmaking skills back then, I feel more certain then ever that I’m right where I’m supposed to be today, and this video somehow started it all.