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Woops! Still not consistent about sending these weekly, or on time. But you know, I’m human writing these to connect to people that I care about, so maybe consistency isn’t as important as sending something with heart.

Origin Story

With the recent and controversial release of Joker, I’ve been thinking about origin stories. According to Wikipedia, “an origin story is an account or backstory revealing how a character or group of people become a protagonist or antagonist, and it adds to the overall interest and complexity of a narrative.” Even though you’re the protagonist of your own story, you’re also the author writing the story, to some degree. No one knows your story or can faithfully tell it without your personal telling of it. For something like an origin story, you have a lot of control. Any of your life experiences can be woven into an origin story to explain any aspect of your life. 

For example, designers love to share their origin stories about how they got into design. For most, it was some version of downloading an illegal copy of Photoshop to make forum signatures or learning HTML to make Myspace themes. For me, I can point to my time making Digimon fan art in Microsoft Paint or trying to make Dragon Ball Z music videos to Linkin Park songs. I could go further, crediting the hours I spend making terrible masterpieces in Kid Pix 4 or drawing stick figure flipbooks. We can even bring up my origami phase and all of the cranes left in my wake. I went into one of my old newsletters and found the origin story I focused on when I was a budding designer. “In retrospect, I can say that my childhood inability to stick with activities actually revealed a proclivity for testing and iteration that I think will make me a great designer.” I’d probably write it a little bit different today.

I love the idea of being able to write your own origin story. Life’s more fun when you can add in a narrative, especially when you can choose to imbue it with whatever qualities that appeal the most to you. I choose to make my origin story as funny as possible since I value that quality above basically everything else. So, if anyone asks, I’m only a designer so I can fulfill my childhood fantasy of making Digimon fan art professionally (at least until I can re-discover those Kid Pix drawings and make it big as a professional artist).

Figuring out your origin story forces you to evaluate where you’re at, and to reflect how you reached that point. It’s easy to make things seem more intentional or smoother than they really were, but that can also have its benefits. By defining your origin story, you can figure out where you’ll go in the future, regardless of how accurate it is. One version of my origin story is one where I finally achieve my goal of getting a stable and challenging job after years of studying, but that’s not that interesting. A better story is one where I develop from someone only focused on school to someone who finds value in making things. I get a job where I get to make things, and that’s just the beginning of my lifetime of making interesting things. This framing completely changes the power of this story. By framing my own experiences in different ways, I can see the possibilities for what direction my life can go. It makes reflecting on the past into a creative act to affect the future.

Since you have the opportunity to be an author in your narrative, how will you write your origin story? And where will it take you?
Drops of the Week
where I *drop* recommendations of cool things this week
"Frank Ocean Makes Moves Like Nobody Else” by Diane Solway - cool interview with some cool guy
Promare - crazy anime movie is fun to watch
trap city - constantly missing Atlanta and trap music, so I made a playlist of trap music from Atlanta.
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Nikhil · 325327 Georgia Tech Station · Atlanta, GA 30332 · USA

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