Sitting here going through all the material I can find for the Japan or SPLAT project, I came across some of my old social media activity on another site I post to. For a long time, I thought that the JoS project started with this decision that I made to crowdfund the original project, but I was way off.
It was August 11th, 2014. Just after my life had fallen apart, I woke up to the news that one of my heroes and idols had committed suicide. Robin Williams was known for speaking up about mental health and advocating suicide prevention, and it drove me nuts thinking about what horrors he was going through that led him to such a decision. In some strange and morbid way, that moment is what led me to taking another look at the experience of life and what that meant for me personally.
Over those months between August and January when the project officially launched, I tuned out most of the world as I explored my own existence. It was in that time that I revisited my childhood and my teenage years, putting to rest so much of the feelings that I had no idea I was holding onto for so long. I separated out the negative influences and flooded my life with the positive. I started meditating and eating healthier foods. I went from believing the overwhelming influences that surrounded me to understanding how they had shaped me into the person that I had become.
It was that December that I decided to break away from my comfort zone of extreme introversion and societal detachment and start living rather than merely existing. It was then I acted on that goal I had set for myself back when I was 5 years old, talking with my brother in the kitchen of our old house in north west DC.
Japan or SPLAT didn't start with a crowdfunding campaign. Japan or SPLAT started with my decision that life was worth living; living to the fullest, unapologetically, and with reckless abandon for the opinions of those who merely exist on this planet.