I used to think that stories only took place in books and movies. Now I know that stories are everywhere.
I have always loved stories. When I was little, my parents bought me all kinds of toys. My grandparents bought me toys. Pieces of plastic that always seemed strangely fake and empty. I preferred my books. All I wanted was more books, more stories, more adventures to be had while never leaving my childhood bedroom. By the time I was seven, I had two towering bookcases full of books. I relished the stories in them. I loved getting lost in the stories. Seeing all the pieces fit together, watching characters go on journeys full of adventure and self-discovery.
As I got older, my feelings toward the books began to change. I would turn the last page of the book and snap it shut. The whole world I had just been immersed in collapsed and stayed trapped inside the binding of a book. My books began to leave me strangely empty.
I struggled with losing the magic of my stories and became bitter. I longed to experience the wonder, excitement and enchantment I had felt when I got lost in my books as a child. But those stories didn't live in the same world I did.
Then, I heard my grandfather talking about his days during WWII. I heard my Mum recounting stories from her childhood, tears rolling down her cheeks in laughter. I heard my cousin telling me about her adventures in China when she lived there for a year. I heard my professors talking about Woodstock and the Civil Rights movement in the sixties. Story after story began to materialize before my eyes, their characters coming to life, not bound by any pages, living in full color in front of me.
It became my dream to capture and collect as many of these stories as possible. I'm not entirely sure what that looks like right now; I'm just getting started. But if I know one thing it is this: I will work and strive and push and mull and lose sleep and smile exuberantly on this journey.
Because all of us have a story to tell.