“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

 Maya Angelou


They say that life is a journey; therefore everything takes time.  If they said that life was a sprint, then everything would seem to happen overnight.  Good, lasting quotes reflect the experiences of people; it resonates with them.  So when people say that life is a journey and not a sprint, they are reflecting on the time that everything takes to develop.  And during this development, one tends to “encounter many defeats.”  It is the inevitable part of life and the more one breaks out of the traditional path and try to new paths, the more the defeats.  The key is not to avoid the defeats; they are part of life. Rather we must learn from them so that we do not just give up and walk away.


When I was young, I was an impatient, driven fireball.  Fireball meaning bad-tempered.  I remember this one meaningless and telling episode in my childhood.  My parents operated a small motel in a very questionable neighborhood where prostitutes, drug dealers, and vagabonds frequented.  I use to help my parents after school, weekends, and all the school breaks, cleaning rooms and working in the laundry room.  Well one day, I had run out of detergent. And there was this large plastic container of detergent in the corner of the dinky laundry room.  I tried to pry the container lid off but it wouldn’t budge.  My hands were too small and too weak to wrestle the lid.  But I was too stubborn to ask my father for help; I had prided on being self-sufficient. So I grabbed the hammer and then the screw driver.  Soon I was beating at it furiously and there were dents and holes all over the lid.  At that moment, it was either me or the container.  I refused to admit to and accept my physical limitations. I was determined to open the container and it was not going to stand in my way.  Suffice to say, I was not able to open the container.  Eventually, my father showed up. My father looked at the container and just shook his head.  He knew my fierce temper, my inability to step away from a challenge.  And as always, he did not say anything but just opened the container for me.


I hate defeats; I don’t like realizing and accepting my defeats.  And if my father had come later, I would have probably gotten a saw or the axe.  It was my Mount Everest.  To be honest, I don’t think I learned anything that afternoon because I was overwhelmed by my feeling of defeat. I was defeated.  I should have accepted my limitations and sought out more effective ways to open the container.  But my anger got the best of me, my refusal to accept that I was physically weak.  You see, I did not have the maturity to reflect on my strengths and became mired in my inabilities.  Yet over time and after many more significant defeats, I’ve learned to step back and find another way, like simply asking for help.  I had to or else, my body would have fallen apart.  And believe me, my body did rebel and forced me to really pause several times. Once I ended up in the emergency room at the hospital.  I thought I could do it all.  


If I was still that young woman, I would probably be grabbing a blow torch by now to get my way with Platform. Yes, I am that frustrated with the development of the organization. But thank goodness, I have matured a little and have learned much from the “defeats” in my life journey.  And what my journey has taught me more than anything is that everything takes time.  EVERYTHING.  I just need to know my limitations, remember my resourcefulness, and focus on the goal.  This has not been the first time and definitely the last time, I will face difficulties.  I just need to shake off the defeats and be more creative.  But I might allow myself to be angry for a little longer before I go back into the race.


We at Platform are still facing the problem of funding.  Yes, that ever-present challenge of raising funds to support our work.  I do not question the vision of Platform but I am having a difficult time convincing others of the need for this organization.  I know I will come out of this challenge with a solution.  I usually do but sometimes, I wish it just happened without any effort.


Founder. Executive Director

February. 01, 2019

Samantha Joo