It’s always bothered me how little I know about the people around me. Their experiences, beliefs, feelings – the things that have built them. For a while it was okay. The usual pleasantries worked, and I had no real reason or idea how to change the way I interacted with people.
When the idea for this project first came to me, there was a handful of people I spoke to about it. In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t have gone forward with this if it weren’t for them. The outpouring of encouragement I received early on is what pushed me to keep going. Along with support from those I first told, the willingness of people to let me interview them gave me a motivation I had never felt before.
The idea to interview and write about people came from two places. One was frustration. I was so tired of people failing to see things from more than one angle – myself included. Too often, we shut out anyone or anything that might challenge our own beliefs. The second place was desire. Desire to learn. Desire to tell stories. Desire to change the world, even if in the smallest ways possible.
I’d like to mention that not everyone I interview is perfect. Most of them are far from it. In truth, I disagree with many things I hear. However, I’ve realized that it would be hypocritical not to share everybody’s story. I’ve concluded that I should simply tell the truth. Sometimes it’s ugly; sometimes it’s beautiful. But I truly believe that the people I’ve written about have good in their hearts. Whether we agree on certain things or not, I know they all believe that they’re doing the right thing. I hope that reading their stories can help others choose listening over ignorance.
The people I’ve interviewed have given me hours of their own time to let me do so. They’ve opened their hearts and their minds to me and answered my questions exactly as I’ve asked them to. This is why I’ve decided to tell their truths as they are, regardless of my stance. It’s perfectly okay to disagree as long as we’ve heard each other. Beliefs shouldn’t be set in stone – they should expand and evolve as we educate ourselves further.
I’ve interviewed co-workers, family, teachers, and friends. In the future, I hope to progress to people I don’t know. Each person I’ve met with has significantly influenced my life. At the very least, they’ve taught me new things and helped me grow as a person. I hope that in sharing these stories I’m giving others the opportunity to be impacted in the same way. I don’t think these (extra)ordinary people have gotten enough credit.
Thanks so much for reading! First interview will be up Wednesday. This person means a lot to me and I’m so excited for others to hear his story!