About two weeks ago, I read Angie’s first post for our new website. A nice, reflective piece about her Grandma Barbara. At first I felt connected because I had met Grandma Barbara on a few occasions over the past couple of years. I was also present during the Mexican food memory that Angie shared in her blogpost. Our wedding gift quilt from Grandma Barbara has been draped over our couch for the past two years in North Africa, thousands of miles from its origin in Miles City, Montana. There was something beyond the subject matter that was appealing to me. I reread the blogpost and realized what was hitting me. It was Angie’s voice. Her voice as a writer. It is a voice that I do not ‘hear’ every day. It was like getting to know her even better through a different medium. I was given access to a different part of her mind and creative spirit.
It’s like when you visit a friend or relative at their job for the first time. You may be in for a pleasant surprise when witnessing their professional attire, attitude, or leadership role. It could be quite a contrast from the person that you are used to seeing in a casual setting. It can be fun getting to know the different sides, or voices, of people who are meaningful in your life. This is one of the primary reasons for us starting this site. We had been discussing the loss of thoughts, memories, and experiences when people pass away. So many stories that will never be known. So, how well do we really know the ones we love?
How often do we put ourselves out there, and what value do we place on self-expression? There is that phrase ‘finding one’s voice’ where people discover who they are. Angie and I have begun the journey of finding our own voices on the web. I find myself wishing that people like my maternal grandfather had a similar site so that I could have access to some of his thoughts and hear his voice forever. It would have been great to pass them on to my son, as well. Regardless of the longevity of our site or the development of the internet, we should be able to maintain this content in some shape or form for our offspring to enjoy in their later years.
Sure, the music and photos will be fun for future Wongs’ amusement, but I believe that our words will hold their own weight, too. Imagine having access to your parents’ thoughts, right? Many of us know our parents as just ‘mom’ or ‘dad,’ but they certainly have personas outside of being a parental figure. Who are those people then, as a friend, husband, wife, etc.? Why not get to know people for more than the dominant side that you are presented with? On the flip-side, why don’t we reveal more sides of ourselves to others?
There may be a few reasons for this. For one, you may possess the (increasingly rare) ability to filter your behavior in a manner that is most appropriate to the current environment. You are able to save the loud and obnoxious you for the clubs, bars, and backyard barbecues instead of displaying that in the workplace. Or maybe you work at a bar or club and save the quiet, reserved you for when you are curled up in bed with a good book or binge-watching videos. A second reason may be a matter of circumstance where you don’t necessarily hang out with people from work. Your work and social lives are completely separate, so neither group gets to know the different sides of you very well but receive a fragment of your total self. Third, fear may be a factor. Sometimes we are afraid to share parts of who we are for fear of judgement or rejection. The problem with this is that you may never get to express yourself, instead suffocating part of your spirit in the process.
As Angie and I will be busy learning to be new parents over the coming years, we would like to document some of our thoughts, experiences, and memories for our dearest family and friends. We understand that many of our readers may be familiar with us through just one voice. This site will serve as an open invitation to all interested parties to come and know us better. See a different side of us that you may not have otherwise. Perhaps some will even be inspired to discover and share their own voices.
In light of the attack and killings yesterday at the Bardo museum here in Tunis, I have a renewed sense of purpose for using my voice. There is no better time than right now. That is the ultimate truth. We are all so fragile when it really comes down to it. Even in a more stable environment, we are at odds with many other types of accidents, injuries, or illnesses that can bring us to an immediate silence. What a privilege we have in sharing our voices with the world. I suppose it’s only human to take it for granted at some point, and there’s nothing like a tragic event to highlight the true value of life and freedom. May we all live healthy lives and have our voices heard for many years.