“We truly believed in something back then, and we knew we were the kind of people capable of believing in something - with all our hearts. And that kind of hope will never simply vanish.”
― Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Saleah found me because she found the project that I am working on, Si Malakas at Si Maganda. She called me a few months ago, asking me about the work, and then asking if she could interview me for Kollaboration, an awesome organization whose mission is to "build bridges, out-create negative stereotypes, and promote diversity. We are a global platform to discover, empower and connect the next generation of artists and leaders to reach mainstream media prominence and change culture." You can learn more about Kollaobration here: http://kollaboration.org/. After we spent a bit of a while talking, and after exchanging emails, however, Saleah asked if she could instead write an article for her other work place--NBC Asia America. Naturally, I was honored at both requests, and her desire to bring attention to the work that we are doing at Invisible Storybook. You can find the article that she wrote about the work here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/invisible-storybook-tells-relatable-tale-si-malakas-si-maganda-n607216
When I met her in front of Chelsea Market last week, it was the first time I had ever met her in person, although we had exchanged emails and phone calls many times over the past few months. I was so honored to meet her, learn about her and her passions, geek out about theatre, in particular about Ali Ewoldt's casting as one of the lead roles in The Phantom of the Opera, the first woman of color to ever take that role on Broadway--and she, like Saleah and I, is Filipino! Saleah recently interviewed her for Kollaboration, and I was so excited to hear about their conversation. It made me want to watch Phantom again!
We met mostly to get to know one another, but I could not help but ask to snap photos of Saleah, who I hope will become a lifetime friend of mine! We have so many passions that we share, like the passion to write and the passion for theatre.
Something that I found myself reflecting on as I walked to the train home was how much we have to be grateful for. Currently, I am teaching 2nd and 3rd grade and there are days that this gets frustrating and difficult. It is never not challenging, and I don't ever know what to expect when I get to school. Saleah was such a lovely reminder that there are so many things to be grateful for. It took us a while to finally meet between both of our busy schedules, but I will forever be grateful for Saleah, who believed in me and my art without ever meeting me in person. We can spend our lives trying to do good in the world and trying to create and sometimes, we, or at least I can feel that this work is unimportant or is going unnoticed. Saleah is a reminder to me that sometimes, people do notice. And not only do they notice, they send you love and they let you know that they see you in the world. Sometimes, they'll believe in you the way that Saleah has believed in me. Let's believe in ourselves enough to create. And let's look at the world with bright, open eyes so that we can believe in others too.
Enjoy the photos of Saleah below:
"The opposite of war isn't peace. It's creation." ~Rent