At some point we all sit down and ask ourselves what we’re doing and why. We all go through periods of uncertainty—about who we are and our place in the world—and genuine self–reflection.
I’ve had this discussion with myself at least a hundred times now, especially with regard to this blog (formerly, and perhaps pretentiously, titled The Virtuosos). In the past, I wanted to engage the world with reasonably–well–thought–out policy prescriptions, activist–oriented diatribes, and posts that could only be described as “looking for an argument.” Truthfully, part of the problem was that I didn’t really know what I wanted to talk about or why anyone should care. After all, why would anyone care about the opinions (no matter how reasonable) of a young, inexperienced, would–be political activist?
I was after the proverbial “tribe”—that group of people who you just “click” with—but ended up only really writing for my own interest. There’s nothing wrong with writing for oneself (unless it is intended only to self-aggrandize; I think I may have been guilty of such a crime), but at some point, if you’re making that writing public, you should probably try to include the audience you’re inevitably broadcasting too in the content of the writing itself. At the very least, you should probably do more than chastise them for not thinking about the things you find relevant or important.
After returning home from a trip to southeast Asia in early 2015, I finally found the courage to “start over,” and rebrand this blog as a self-indulgent exploration of my own interesting (to me) and ever-evolving identity. More than that, I’ve found a medium (poetry, primarily) that my readers might find pleasing. Many years of reflection and the maturity of age have helped me to realize that life is really about exploration of self. Although the world continues on outside of your mind, it is only through your own mind that you ever really discover it. Since we’re all stuck behind the screen of “self,” it makes sense to learn as much as we can about that perception–creating lens.
Awkward Hand Gestures is about that journey of self–discovery. I still harbor political ambitions, and if you know me outside of this blog you know that I still have a tendency to engage in political diatribes when sufficiently infuriated; however, they are no longer the main characters in this never–ending play. The actors are more personal, less involved with the audience directly, and more their own self–contained narratives; the audience, in turn, is anyone who cares to explore the world with me, activist or otherwise.
The name Awkward Hand Gestures was something I came to describe the process of communicating with strangers in the various countries I visited while in Asia. Mysteriously, there is a somewhat universal language of hand gestures and facial expressions that gets the traveler what he needs, despite the impenetrable linguistic barrier. For me, this was evident in everyday actions like ordering food in Vietnam and (awkwardly) trying to determine prices. This blog is similar in nature. It is an awkward attempt at communication with myself and others, and even though much is lost in translation the general message gets across just fine.