My friend, Natalie, once took me to eat at Tito’s Tacos in Culver City, Los Angeles. That was when she introduced me to this amazing dish called, “chilaquiles”. For those of you who don’t know. It’s tortilla chips covered in a delicious red sauce, freshly chopped green onions, sour cream, queso, and if you want you can even add an egg on top. Of course, we had to add the egg.
During the meal, we talked about life and artistry, which is something we often talk about. I like talking to her because she is very understanding, and as an artist herself, I feel she gets me in ways that maybe other people don’t.
And as the conversation weaved through seemingly inappropriate topics like sexual organs and other disgusting things to life purposes and goals, (we’re weird like that), she asked me:
“What’s something you wish people knew about you?”
My answer: I’m actually trying to help.
This was a question no one had ever asked me. And this was a truth I noticed I never expressed.
I’m here to help.
I want to help.
As cheesy as it sounds, I want to leave this world a better place than I found it. My desire to help informs everything I do. From my seemingly lazy days where I appear to be doing nothing. To my angry rants and frustration when I feel like things aren’t quite going the way I’d like.
I travel because I want help. I create because I want to help. I write because I want to help.
Maybe it comes across a weird way. Maybe it’s a little too abstract. Maybe it sounds too uppity or preachy. But from my experience, it always served to put myself out there and share my perspective than it was to stay on the sidelines, hoping, wishing, and praying that I would get picked.
I create, I share, I put myself out there because I picked myself. I decided not to wait. I decided to fail and embarrass myself in the hopes that I get better, and that by getting better, I can help even more. That’s something I wish people knew about me. Because I know sometimes as an artist I may seem self-indulgent. I struggle with that sometimes too. But through it all. I’m here to help. I really am.
Thank you, Natalie, for creating the space to bring that out of me. And also for introducing me to the most delicious meal of my life.
I love chilaquiles! =)
by Jason Lam