Eleven years ago, I opened up the iMovie app on my computer, pressed the record button, and began to tell my story. It was a Friday night, and I was supposed to be getting ready for a fun night on the town with my girl friend. Instead, the anxiety of planning for my first trip back to Korea since my adoption at 3 months old was weighing on my heart and mind.
I had been contemplating the decision of searching for my birth mother, and didn’t have anyone in my life who I could turn to for guidance that understood my perspective as an adoptee. So, I uploaded the video and sent it out into the abyss, like a message in a bottle tossed out to sea.
A decade later, I can’t say with certainty what I wanted to accomplish by sharing the video on YouTube. I think I was hoping it would find its way to someone else in the world who understood something that made me feel out of place my entire life.
These confessionals became their own form of therapy. I began receiving messages and comments from fellow adoptees and adoptive parents. I wasn’t alone. The support I found in this online community gave me courage to begin the search discussed in that first video. A search that led to a reunion with my birth mother, grandmother, sisters, and brother.
Eventually, feeling more comfortable writing than being in front of the camera, I took my storytelling to another platform. The rise of social media and blogging created a new career pathway for me that hadn’t existed at the time I uploaded that first video. Through photography and digital marketing, I found my purpose in helping others feel seen and heard.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” (Maya Angelou)
For the past few months, I’ve been part of The OpEd Project’s Public Voices Fellowship, whose goal is “to dramatically increase the public impact of our nation’s top underrepresented thinkers, and to ensure our ideas help shape the important conversations of our age.”
Being part of the fellowship has given me invaluable insight into the process of pitching writing submissions to editors for publication. One of the most eye-opening parts of the fellowship has been witnessing how difficult it has been for the women in my cohort to get their pieces accepted. These are prestigious, well-respected leaders in their field and experts on the topics they’ve chosen about which to write. And still– they are asked for more credentials. It struck me… if barriers are keeping their voices from being published, imagine the infinite number of other stories we are missing?
I remembered a phrase from a leadership conference I photographed earlier this year. Why wait for a seat at the table, when you can build your own table? Master carpenter, I am not, but I do know my way around the backend of WordPress. And so, VISIBLE Magazine was born.
VISIBLE Magazine is an online publication committed to making storytelling accessible and inclusive. We actively privilege the work of those from underrepresented communities whose voices are often overlooked by traditional media outlets.
We welcome submissions of all mediums, word counts, styles, and subjects. There is no criteria that makes someone more qualified to tell their story than another person. We are holding space for your stories- whenever and however you want to tell them.
You belong here.
Your voice matters.