Stories are my passion, and I hold the firm belief that everyone has a story that deserves to be told. Through the sharing of diverse voices and perspectives, we are able to create a true sense of community and belonging.
I have always had an unwavering love for stories and storytelling. My parents always encouraged reading - my mother teaching me English and Korean in tandem by the time I was one and a half. From my earliest memories, when I wasn't lost in a book, I recall complex narratives unfolding between toy animal factions, each led by their respective plasticine hero. An painfully introverted child of a single working father, it was my creative outlet - the way I engaged with a world more overwhelming than I knew what to do with. It was my siblings, my companions, and way that I developed methodology and understanding to shape my reality.
When I was old enough to understand the house rules my dad built me a PC, and I would spend late nights cross-legged on my forest green carpeted floor clicking away on a cheap keyboard channeling stories - stories about the powerful women who secretly lived in kelp tangled ponds tucked in deep black forests or dapper werewolves slipping through the blue tinged streets of English-flavored colonial America, trying to escape the persecution of small minds. Then I'd print my tales onto long sheaths of paper that, in those days, had to be delicately torn into individual sheets before I would staple them into booklets and draw pictures all over the margins.
As time passed, I focused my professional sights on illustration followed by performance, modeling, singing, and a whole slew of other activities. However, the desire to tell stories remained a consistent. Throughout each of my pursuits, I began to realize that from the images I conjured to the movement of my body, my goals remained tied to narrative. I still wrote, and I participated in the National Novel Writing Month, but it was taking to the stage as a live storyteller that really lit the spark for my passion.
Beneath the misunderstanding, the lack of inclusion, the fear, the whitewashing, and a slew of a hundred other problems that divided us was that we weren't really hearing or really listening to each other's stories...
The first storytelling event I spoke at was themed Origins for a local event called Second Tuesdays. A night to celebrate the creation of the event itself, the storytellers had all been invited to tell a personal story that spoke to their own origins. There were some who spoke of their childhood through the lens of socioeconomics, some who spoke of world-view defining moment, I spoke of my name and paralleled my coming into adulthood to a Korean folktale that I love.
After that, I would tell several more stories under the themes of local music and women's bodies before starting to host my own storytelling events for the nonprofit I helped to lead, Super Heroines, Etc. - a 501c3 with the mission to empower women and those who identify as women to embrace their inner nerd. Of course, it became so much more than that...
During my time with Super Heroines, Etc., I began do more active work in deliberate education and empowerment developing and facilitating events, workshops, and comic convention panels on topics such as Geek Feminism, the importance of diversity and representation in media, creating safer spaces, the history of Villainesses, women in the video game industry, and so fourth. As I dove deeper into this work, I began to connect the pieces between storytelling and a much bigger social picture. Beneath the misunderstanding, the lack of inclusion, the fear, the whitewashing, and the slew of a hundred other problems that divided us was that we weren't hearing or really listening to each other's stories - stories that bridge the gaps, that represent diverse voices and perspectives, and, in my experience, that's how we learn.
So, in February of 2017 I hosted the very first SHE Stories with the theme of Body Positivity.
My goal has been to create an inclusive space in which all stories and perspectives are encouraged to be told and everyone has the opportunity to come together as a community and listen.
SHE Stories is a recurring open mic style storytelling event in which personal stories are told under the theme for the evening. Some of the themes have included: Body Positivity, Galentine's Day, Mixed (stories from multi-racial backgrounds), Serendipity, Travel, Gratitude, Misbehaved Women, and Mental Health Diversity.
My goal has been to create an inclusive space in which all stories and perspectives are encouraged to be told and everyone has the opportunity to come together as a community and listen. All topics support Super Heroines, Etc.'s visions and values but also feed into community dialog. Through events, panels, and conversation I've found so many are so hungry to talk about these things and want so much to share their experiences. We can at times feel so isolated and are so desperate to connect over what truly are difficult subjects. Mental Health, for example, while slowly coming out of the shadows of social taboo is still an incredibly hard thing to broach despite the fact that so many deal so closely with it either themselves or through supporting a loved one.
Having - and continuing - to run SHE Stories as well as various workshops, panels, and telling my own stories, I have only found my passion storytelling as a lifestyle/calling/form of activism/worldview increasing over time. I'll be honest, I don't think it's going to slow down any time soon.
From folktales to fables to comics to films, stories teach us lessons about the each other and ourselves. They help us understand and shape our world, share our hopes and dreams, and the more we are able to use storytelling for the powers of good, the better this world can be.
the STORY BEE
The Story Bee is a storytelling incubator in which participants are trained in a variety of focused workshops that include: walking individuals through the guided process of picking a topic, writing a story, and learning to tell that story live; storytelling as a way to bridge small group dynamics in organizations and the workplace; methods of self empowerment and acceptance through the practice of engaging with one's own story; and so fourth.
Visit The Story Bee for more information! Workshops, blogs, resources, calendar, ways to book, and more are available.
Storytelling training to make a difference.
For workshop inquiries, live storytelling requests, event hosting or moderation, other questions, comments, stories, or just to say hello please send me a message!
I am happy to answer any questions you might have and share any insights that may interest you.
Thank you for your interest in storytelling, my background, and how the practice can make an impact on the communities in which we live.