May 2, 2018

Greetings, fellow humans!


My name is Casey, and I'm currently serving as a Youth Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps Thailand.  I arrived in the "Land of Smiles" (as it is so aptly referred) on Sunday, January 7th, 2018, and was officially sworn in as a volunteer on Monday, March 19th.  I've never written a blog before, but I've been blog-curious for quite some time now...



You see, I've journaled since I was a kid and have always enjoyed the catharsis and insights that can come from reflecting and writing about my lived experiences.  Additionally, as someone who's struggled with obsessive thinking, I sometimes find great relief in just writing down the thoughts that cross my mind, without judgment or censorship.  And when I say "writing," I mean the paper-and-pen variety.  There are several benefits that can come from writing by hand (it's worth a quick internet search).  To this day, I carry around a paper planner and journal wherever I go.


Then, there's the experience of reading my journal entries at a later date.  This can elicit a variety of emotions, from titillation to mortification.  My reaction to the writing often tells me more about myself than the actual writing (what can I say, I'm all about that metadata).  Sometimes, I'll notice a little growth and development and give myself a slow, self-congratulatory nod.  Other times, I'll find self-destructive patterns and quickly rationalize them away, so that I can repeat said patterns and write about them in perpetuity.  What can I say, I'm a (piece of) work-in-progress.


Regardless, I appreciate being able to look back on my journey and read about my life at particular moments in time.  It's like a little time capsule, and because it's in tangible form, it will most likely become part of the archaeological record.  Sometimes, I imagine people in the future digging up my old journals and reading through them.  And because all digital data will probably be wiped and/or obsolete by that time, they will generalize from my writings that all people in this era were obsessive, fun-loving, self-sabotaging, hopeless romantics with refined senses of humor and impeccable penmanship.  You're welcome.


The main difference with a blog is that I won't have to imagine a future audience, because it will be accessible to the public with the tap of my touchpad.  This, of course, poses a unique set of challenges and opportunities.  When writing in a journal, I don't really think about someone I know actually reading it.  I mean, they easily could, as I don't store them in a lockbox, but that's besides the point.  A blog is expressly written for other people to read.  The content is curated and the message crafted (some more meticulously than others).  And once it's published, there's no turning back.


Releasing authorial control means that others will take your writings and make sense of them based on their own experiences.  It's both terrifying and exhilarating.  What if I trigger someone with my words?  What if my words comfort someone in need?  What if someone misconstrues my meaning or intention?  What if I inspire someone to start the revolution?  It's impossible to anticipate how others will experience my writing and what they will glean from it (if anything).  All I can do is write from my own experience and hope that it resonates for others.  I will try my best to avoid making generalizations and to choose my words carefully.  Language matters, and if I make a mistake, please let me know, so I can rectify it.


As far as the content goes, I'm going into this like I do most things in life--with no expectations.  One day, I might want to write about social justice and systemic oppression.  The next day, I might want to write about a cool ceremony I attended in my village.  Another day, I might want to write about a childhood memory that I used to be embarrassed by, but now I think is pretty badass.  You see, I have a wide variety of interests and have seen and done a lot in my 35 years of existence, so strap yourselves in (ooooh, another potential topic) and subscribe to my blog, because I have a lot to say, and you won't want to miss a single word of it!


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