IN “A LABOUR OF LOVE: 2 Years in the Making,” I delve into one of the most significant lessons I learned in 2022 and how I’ve dedicated myself to spreading the word about my newsletter. The first year of The Decoded involved numerous cold mailings to gain access to people’s inboxes, which eventually resulted in a small but supportive community of readers.
As an artist it’s the only reason I’m here. It’s my sole purpose to share what I know, learn and go through with others. Through my personal essays on The Decoded, I aim to do exactly that – to share my journey in search of meaning and the reflections I’ve collected over the years, aiming to inspire and uplift my readers.
As I’ve mentioned before, I‘m grateful to have you reading.
Powerful, timeless, and timely stories
A compelling story connects with you and stays with you long after you’ve consumed the narrative. I love stories that are timeless and timely in their message and at heart, offer deeper meaning and bring people together.
An example of an engaging story I still remember is the one of The Angry Man; a story that my parents shared with me when I was younger. It’s a tale of someone who used to be a familiar face in their neighborhood, his inexplicable behavior is a poignant reminder that context is crucial, and that merely paying attention to isolated actions can never bring us to a reasonable level of understanding.
Another story I remember is a woman at the Oprah Winfrey Show. Even though I was a little too young to watch the show when it aired, I’ve watched the majority of the episodes in retrospect. During the show, the woman would share intimate details about the abusive relationship that she was experiencing, when at a certain point Oprah Winfrey replied something along the lines of: my darling, if you’re strong enough to stay in this relationship, I’m very sure you have all the strength needed to leave.
It felt as if a light ball went off for all those women who were watching in the studio or from home — specifically the ones in a similar position. It was a memorable moment.
Another inspiring story that recently touched me is the book Our Women on the Ground, which includes 19 essays by Arab female journalists sharing their experiences of reporting from dangerous and oppressive countries in the Middle East and North Africa. I loved reading and getting a glimpse inside the lives of these courageous women, and I believe it appeals to readers of all backgrounds and genders who want to broaden their understanding of the Arab world.
Therefore, I have learned a lot by immersing myself in narratives like these, allowing me to explore the depths of human consciousness and gain a better understanding of both myself and the world around me.
The memories of our time
In my view, art and storytelling possess the extraordinary ability to encapsulate fleeting moments in time, preserving them for generations to come. Each of us holds the power to live out our truest expression and there is only one of us in this world, at this specific time and place, having experienced what we have experienced.
If these expressions are not fulfilled, something profound is lost.
Just as Joan Didion‘s personal essays, which left an indelible mark by portraying pivotal events and figures that shaped American culture, James Baldwin‘s essays resonated powerfully as he delved into the lived experiences of people of color in the United States during the 1950s. Those portraits are the memories of their generation that have been left to us and that we can still access today.
Literature becomes meaningful when it has the power to deeply resonate with us and, for reasons unknown, remains etched in our memory. There are examples in literature and film where revisiting the same book or movie yields a different experience.
A perfect example of this phenomenon is the movie “Peeping Tom” directed by Michael Powell in 1960. Initially, it was met with a negative reception and deemed disturbing, much like numerous banned books of that era. However, as time passed, the film gained recognition and admiration. People began to acknowledge Powell as a visionary ahead of his time. Remarkably, even today, when we revisit such movies, they continue to evoke a strong emotional connection, transcending the passage of many years.
Finding meaning in a fast-paced world
As the world keeps getting faster, I find there’s actually a shortage of thoughtful, timeless stories and ideas that are worth sharing an hour or even a week later.
While the web can be a crowded place of anonymity, clicks, self-exposure and sometimes bullying, it can also be a destination of unity, real conversations, and bringing people together.
The personal essays I’ve published for The Decoded, basically explore what it means to live a meaningful life. I endeavor to capture my personal search for meaning in an unique and genuine manner, using the art of the literary personal essay to ultimately trigger conversations. There are always areas of vast silence in any culture – subjects we don’t like to talk about. Many extraordinary initiatives by locals we easily forget about. I like to go into those areas and come back from silence with something to say.
I want the stories that I put out to mean something, but most importantly, let other women see themselves in the stories of others. These exclusive insights are for deep thinkers, women, sharing their experiences with eachother. That’s when we ultimately learn and thrive.
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