I was peculiarly mesmerized by Greek mythology when I was a kid. My mom used to take my brother and me to the Gwinnett public library in Norcross every other week, and I swear to you, I read every single book on Greek mythology in that library within the span of a year. I came across the above excerpt from Plato's "The Symposium" in 2013 when I was in my fourth year at Georgia Tech where I was studying materials science and engineering. This was around the time I was having doubts about my career choice and trying to decide what to do after I graduated. Naturally, I slowly fell back into writing, taking photographs, painting, digging for new music, basically any form of art to cope with the onset realization that I was going to have to get a "big girl" job very soon. I was terrified.
People are always asking me: What's a Mikkoh? Is that your real name? How did you come up with it? I'm finally addressing these questions that even I couldn't find answers to until recently.
Let me preface with this (warning, heavy stuff): the most important relationship you have is with yourself. For the longest time, I was constantly trying to make sure everyone else was happy and wanted everyone to love me when I didn't even love myself. Somebody once said that depression is anger turned inward. When you have this war inside of you, it's hard to see your path clearly, keep healthy relationships with friends and family, and it makes you question everything good in your life. I self-sabotaged, undervalued myself, then hated myself for being emotional about it. I had panic attacks where I'd just start hyperventilating at the Tech library. I would break down and start to cry during lab research. Guys, it was not pretty.
This was around the time I actually started going to a lot of concerts and festivals because at the time, I just wanted to drown out everything. But I ended falling in love with the sense of communion that music brought forth in those rooms. That moment of peaceful connection in the loudest spaces. The warm embrace from a stranger, albeit drug-induced but genuine and palpable in its nature. I was free to be my true self. Here I found all these people accepting me as me. And for the first time, I discovered that I was worthy of love.
Mikkoh came about because I literally didn't want to be Sharon anymore. I subconsciously made up this alter ego and created her in the image I wanted to become. I nurtured her, manufactured her to be confident and headstrong, and most importantly gave her some TLC. I started doing things I'd never done before like pursue a music career and be more involved in my community. Somewhere along the way, I realized that Mikkoh is me. Mikkoh is Sharon. Sharon is Mikkoh. These two halves make up my being, my consciousness.
I'm still learning how to love Sharon, and I have in no way, shape, or form reached enlightenment. I used to always think that it was an end goal. Now I've realized that the journey is the enlightenment. Sounds cliché, I know. Bear with me. After all these years, I finally understand that I can best help others by making the most of myself. So in conclusion, self-love is f*cking important. Everything that I ever wanted and dreamt of was on the other side of this river of self-hatred. Maybe you think I'm crazy. Maybe like I did, you need to birth this whole other persona to find your supreme Self. Whoever you are, I hope you read this and it encourages you to love yourself more. You are worthy of everything you desire. You are valuable to the people around you. You already have power and greatness in you. You can do it. I believe in you. Remember, where you are in life is not who you are.
Sending you all my love,