“When the ego dies, the soul awakes.” 

Mahatma Gandhi

Lately, I have been asking myself, “Why do I commit to any of my non-paying jobs, especially writing these newsletters for Platform?”  It takes some time to pause and reflect on the progress of our projects.  And since I never really liked writing though I spend most of my free time writing and editing, I wondered if I was wasting my time.  Then I realized that I wrote the newsletters for myself.  It’s sort of a journal for me.  I share some of my most intimate struggles in developing Platform and in doing so, my vulnerabilities, my doubts, my frustrations.  It is not easy starting a new organization.  I believe it took me 3 years of visualizing, planning, and endless meetings (in a language that I am not fluent-Korean) to just get DdingDong, queer teen safe space, launched.  Now, it’s one of, it not the top service LGBTQ organization in Korea.  I wish I had kept a journal to remind me how much of a roller coaster ride the whole process can become.

Since the newsletters are public, displayed on a website which very few people visit, not on the pages of a diary, you probably think that I have an audience in mind as I write.  I do and I don’t.  I write for a particular person in my mind.  This person is well, part of my fantasy - someone who is avidly interested in my journey.  So in reality, such a person does not exist. Maybe they do but let’s be serious, no one is really interested in another person’s life that intently.  Perhaps my Benji but he can’t read and if he did, this topic would not interest him that much.  And so I don’t have a real audience in mind when I write.  This is good because I don’t care if anyone reads the newsletter.  My ego is not affected if no one reads this newsletter.  I write for myself to help me understand the journey I must travel to reach my goal.  It is a diary, an inside look into my journey of my growing awareness of how I am part of the whole.  

Why am I sharing this information?  Well, like the newsletter, I never really needed people to affirm my mission.  I don’t. Just like DdingDong, I started Platform because I wanted to serve the needs of my community.  I believe in my mission; no one can believe for me or make me believe.  If there is anything that can define me, this is IT.  I am very ambitious for my mission/passion so that absolutely nothing can get in between me and my goal.  Not even my mother who happens to be this unrelenting force that has tried to break me so that she could mold me to her image.  Ain’t happening soon, definitely not in this life.  So most of the times, my ego is not affected when people do not support me or outright reject me.  But being human, I must admit, my ego does get in the way when I think that I cannot make MY plans happen, whether certain facilitators reject ME or when I think that I cannot market MY product.  I get depressed, frustrated, and yes, anxious.  In those times, I pause and try to remember why I started Platform.  It is not about me, my ego, but about the daring women who need access to resources so they can grow into leaders for our most vulnerable populations.  Yes, my Buddhist Christianity comes into play.  Letting go of the ego for the larger good.  Platform was and will never be about me.

And this is where the similarities diverge.  My newsletter is a time for me to reflect, but Platform is for others.  I may not care about what people think about me at the end of the day but I am very much invested in the success of Platform.  Not because my ego is involved; I try hard not to make it about me.  I want it to succeed so daring women can effectively grow into their destiny.  Our communities NEED them. Almost everyone involved in DdingDong now do not know who I am.  But that never mattered.  It is serving the needs of queer teens in Korea.  That is the reason why I started that organization.  Not so that I could have bragging rights.  I will be dead soon and forgotten.  Rightfully so.

So where are we in our progress at Platform?  We are continuing to reach out to key people to join our team of facilitators. It is not easy finding these hidden gems in our community.  They are very rare.  But when we find them, they are worth every second it takes to find them.  They are that precious to our organization.  Once we form our team, we will be marketing to every organization and every single person we know.  We are here for them, the daring women.  If they come, then we as a team will transform our world.  We just need to reach out to them.  And most importantly, we need financially-able people to support them.

Founder. Executive Director

March. 01, 2019

Samantha Joo