When I published the first entry on this blog back in April 14th, 2015 I thought it would be the start of a new blogging journey, an evolution and continuation of The Sudanese Thinker. But it didn’t work out that way.
Like the manuscript of a book you mistakenly thought was near ready for publication, it turned out the manuscript was nothing more than a mediocre draft that needed discarding.
Sometimes a story demands to be told in ways and through mediums different from what you initially anticipate.
Sometimes no matter what you do or how you try to force things, you need to give in and allow what wants to be expressed and born through you, even if it’s scary. Even if it means venturing into radically new territory.
For years, I blogged with the pseudonym “Drima,” the provocative voice behind The Sudanese Thinker, the sociopolitical blog I came to be known online for, and which eventually led to my debut book My Isl@m.
But all those years, by day, away from social media, I led a different active existence – a fragmented existence – and was known for other things.
The first, as an early intrapreneurial team member of award-winning EdTech company Mindvalley, working and growing with a brilliant founder and amazing group of people I’m proud to call my colleagues, to build what is now a $100 million brand with a global cult following.
A Peak Into Mindvalley’s HQ
The second, as a freelancer and independent consultant often toiling on a variety of fronts in digital marketing and conversion funnels.
What a Conversion Funnel Looks Like (via Neil Patel)
The third, as a startup entrepreneur with two failed attempts that I was forced to give up on after My Isl@m got banned, and I sought political asylum in Canada in January 2014 and became consumed by the ordeal.
From Blogger to Banned Author to Political Asylee
Now, two years later, after the toughest period of my young adult life, here we are in January 2016, and what an insane ride it’s been.
As I wrote in Breaking the Silence, “Even though exile was at first a bitter experience, it ultimately became a lesson in resilience and in renewed purpose.” And renewed purpose it certainly is. Canada has been a gift in unexpected ways, the most consequential of them, as I write these words, being the end of compartmentalization, or the awakening of wholeness.
Compartmentalization was the condition of my being in Malaysia for 17 years due to circumstance and what in hindsight now resembles neglect.
I was simultaneously many things all at once, but not fully one with myself or singular in my vocational pursuits.
There was the digital activist who was pissed off as hell and spent too much time ineffectually reacting to world events, and the startup entrepreneur who was erratically working his butt off to find product/market fit for a product he didn’t care enough about.
There was the author of My Isl@m who at times was cryptic in his book to avoid the risks of severe offense, and the conversationalist who bore his views with full ferocity in certain social gatherings where it felt safe to do so.
Contrary to the opinions of friends who know me, I don’t think I really allowed myself to live my truth fully in plain sight.
Maybe I was too afraid of it. Actually I was too afraid of it. There was always some degree of compartmentalization going on to appease and accommodate those around me.
Thankfully, in Canada, that no longer became necessary. Wilson Fisk, in the Netflix/Marvel series Daredevil (which I highly recommend), was succinct when he noted “Time and distance, they afford a certain clarity.”
And thus, with a certain clarity came a singular obsession that took a hold of me and now has me preoccupied more than anything else.
A convergence of everything I’ve ever loved and done well – all coming together fused into one synthesized idea and mission.
It will necessarily start small, and it certainly won’t be a walk in the park. Founding and leading a startup never is. But this time, experience has taught me that the pleasure will outweigh the pain, which means the quest can and will endure. And over time, who knows, it may have a chance at making a dent in the universe. I’ll never know unless I make a full go at it, and I couldn’t be more enthralled.
I still want to blog. I still want to write new books. I still want to speak to new audiences and participate in the creation of new culture.
More than anything though, I want to storytell and do all of those things in a greater capacity, as a creative entrepreneur – primarily through the medium of a digital media and education company fit for today’s globalized multicultural age and digital economy.
To that end, I likely won’t be blogging here for a while anymore, and I won’t be nearly as active as I used to be on social media. Not until the prototype, or in startup speak the “minimum viable product” is built.
(To be among the first to learn more about it as we gear up to launch, subscribe for updates below).
I’ve always expressed myself best through writing, and I guess writing and publishing this publicly is a form of therapy, of acknowledgement, of “coming out.”
And so, there it is. The next chapter. The end of compartmentalization, and the awakening of wholeness.
As always, thank you for reading and for your interest in my work, and best wishes to you for a wonderful 2016 of greater growth, wholeness, and awakening. Happy new year!
– Amir A. Nasr | January 4th, 2016