I’ve always known that I wanted to create things. Mainly things with words. I’m not much of an artist of any other kind. This is something I remind myself of often when I pull out old charcoal pencil drawings of the ‘ol fruit basket I did in high school. Who knew one person could mess up an apple in so many ways? Words are my thing. And learning how to use them effectively has been one of the greatest joys in my life. But I also recognized over time that many books and magazines weren’t saying the words and portraying the kinds of things I felt were necessary. So I decided I would make and contribute something of my own.
My decision to start my own magazine was not done hastily. I talked about it for years with folks I was surrounded by. I found myself wanting more creative freedom while working and writing for other magazines and was constantly asking myself: what is missing from the publication industry? I also knew the idea of me with my own business seemed daunting and insane. It wasn’t until last summer, while driving through the middle of nowhere on a cross-country road trip, that I voiced what I wanted to do. I’ll never forget that day. My boyfriend and I were driving through some place between Utah and Nevada when I told him I wanted to start my own magazine. There was no cell phone reception, gas stations or even radio frequency where we were for the next 200 miles, so I filled the silence with all of my ideas and thoughts about my magazine. My boyfriend was driving and hadn’t been able to get a word in edgewise as I spilled my guts about my project. He asked questions every now and then, but I’ll never forget the moment when I had exasperated myself with talking and he finally just said, “Okay so, why don’t you do it then?” That’s all I needed to hear. I took out my notebook in the middle of the desert and got to work.
I liked the idea of having my magazine be all about human beings and what our lives actually look like. “Exploring what it means to be human” came from a place of me feeling like we often show the shiny, pretty parts of our lives with each other over the internet and sometimes face to face as well. I like looking at magazines where the homes are beautiful and intricately decorated, but those images don’t always inspire me to go to West Elm and swipe my credit card until it breaks in half. Sometimes they make me feel sad that my house doesn’t look that way, and sometimes the images remind me of how much money I do not have. But the thing is, I know I am certainly not the only person that has those feelings when looking through magazines. I see women’s faces in the hair salon when they’re waiting for a haircut and flipping through the magazines on the table. I see men looking at GQ in near embarrassment. But why are we doing that to ourselves? We are only human, after all.
One of the biggest struggles I had in creating and launching Sapien was the internal battle I had with myself some days. I wanted the magazine, above anything else, to come from a very honest and earnest place. For people to feel included when they read the content and see the art and photos. To build a community rooted in honesty and inclusion. I knew the internet was going to be the way to go about this goal, but I have a very love/hate relationship with the internet and social media. Sometimes I need a break from technology. I'm not afraid to admit that, as no one in today's society should ever be. I feel strongly about keeping much of my life private, to be wholesomely enjoyed by me and the people I choose to share my life with. As a writer I feel this is often a difficult and conflicting task. I want to share, but not overshare. Many people struggle with their virtual identities vs. their real life selves, the ones where we spend time in our pajamas and eat off paper plates. I have been and even still am guilty of this at times. But I would never want the appearance of a carefree and flawless life, whether there are two people who care about what I'm doing or 10,000.
If I’m being honest, I like having a life that I don’t have to try hard to just, well - live. I can be messy sometimes. I don’t like doing the dishes and I often leave them in the sink to pile up. I like to cook and try new recipes, but I don’t have the finances to buy everything organic nor do I have the time to scour the market looking for things with the lowest calorie content. I’ve set off the smoke detector in my building more than one time, and in fact it is currently uninstalled from the ceiling so it’s easier for me to access when I set it off. I like coffee. I can’t drink it black, but I can unabashedly drink it Starbucks from time to time. I still use pen and paper to write most things that eventually end up on a computer. I procrastinate. I have more than a $12 fee for overdue library books that has accumulated under my name at the moment. I have credit card debt, and I still haven’t changed my drivers license from when I moved almost 3 years ago. I live in an apartment the size of a shoebox and I have to scrounge for quarters to do my laundry a lot of the time. I forget to return phone calls to my parents and there are times I get so bogged down in the black hole of my email inbox that I leave things unanswered for several days. I always have deadlines looming over my head and new articles to read or photos to peruse. Such is the technology spiderweb I feel caught in on a daily basis.
Sometimes things out there in the internet world cause quite a bit of controversy, so much anger and many bad feelings. My internal struggle was not wanting to contribute something that could cause those type of feelings. I knew that once I took the plunge and committed to a social media persona with this magazine, there was no going back. The important thing for me to remember is to not complicate things. To keep virtual me and physical me at the same level playing fields. And to not give up on technology or this space no matter how awkward and frustrating it sometimes feels. But I am learning to be patient with others and find the positives, the way technology can enhance and bring us together.
And I’m proud to say that Sapien feels organic to me. It came from a place of honesty and it’s going to stay that way. I was able to overcome my internal battle because I chose to see the good that social media and self expression bring. I have decided to be brave and vulnerable enough to take my dream and share it in hopes that it can be a source of rawness and inspiration. Because at the end of the day, there are just two of us small humans working on this colossal thing in my tiny studio apartment and any coffee shop in the city that allows us the use of their wifi for hours in exchange for a $5 latte. We are fueled by coffee and the desire to make a niche in a corner of the internet and in the world.
I’ve always wished to have the ability to give a gift to everyone in the world, simultaneously. Sapien Magazine is my gift, and my deepest hope is that every person that chooses to unwrap and tear into it, or even sees it as an annoying unoriginal bag with no fancy wrapping paper is inspired or affected in some way. No matter how small I, or my magazine is or may ever be, it will always be enough for me just knowing I did this.