From Good Grit Magazine’s 2018 Heirloom issue—what an honor it was to be published throughout such an incredible publication.

Introduction to the issue:

We all have heirlooms. Sometimes they’re pearls rattling around in a jewelry box, or pretty plates, high up in a china cabinet. Sometimes they’re traditions carried on, or examples set by generations past. Most importantly, they represent our past selves, and the people and ideas that came before us. Whatever they take the form of, they affect us very deeply, and shape not only who we are, but who we’ll be. We always strive to be a tangible representation of progression and positive change, but we also know that the South—or anything for that matter—wouldn’t be what it is without the things it’s gone through. Mixing vibrant, new ideas together with timeless Southern heritage is what we do best. And the end result is something really special. Flip through these pages, and you’ll see what we mean.

Letter from the Good Grit Family:

Each year when it’s time to curate our Heirloom issue, it’s natural—and essential—that we reflect on the things that tie us to our past. They mold us and shape us constantly, whether we realize it or not. Realizing it only gives us more control over who we become. We try to strike a certain balance in our stories within each issue; equal parts Southern tradition, and notorious grit. The result is a beautifully accurate depiction of where we live, a testimonial of heritage we are all proud to be a part of, and a brilliant spotlight pointed at our bright, bright future.

Brian Patrick Flynn is scrappy. He speaks bluntly, but with the warmth of a close friend, even if you’ve just met him. He has a soft spot for travel-inspired color palettes and handed-down furniture. He is a man full of bravery and grit and an overflowing humbleness. He is a world traveler and professional inspirer. He is an absolute expert at what he does, because he can do what so many can’t—he embraces those moments of imperfection that are essential to growth. He allows them to teach him something. He’ll take your least favorite color and do beautiful, innovative, divergent things with it. When he’s done, it won’t be your least favorite color anymore. You already know him as an incredibly creative and vivacious designer, but that’s only scratching the surface. On the journey through these pages, we’ll show you what’s underneath—the same authentic guy you see on TV, plus all the things that set him apart (if being authentic on TV isn’t enough). We want to show you his world, his life, and what inspires him, because it inspires us. We think you’ll feel it too.

Heirlooms, both personal and cultural, color us. We use them as step ladders to life’s glass ceilings so we can shatter them ourselves. They enable us and inspire us to leave our comfort zones and our prejudices behind (p. 18). They prepare us for when the opportunities we dreamt of as adolescents who up at our door—or in Brian’s case, we show up at their door (p. 28). They instill is us the passion necessary to create things that transform us, and those around us, for the better (p. 80). It can be tempting to forget the past, and easy to cherry-pick experiences remembered, but if Brian and his impassioned story are any indication, it only nourishes your own growth. Whatever your heirlooms are, they have a place at Good Grit.

Start Anywhere

Starting anything is a little scary. There’s always some unknowable-ness to it, even if you have all the information; the map directions, the instructions, the know-how — it’s still scary. Sometimes the fear is enough to stop you from starting at all.

But the funny thing about starting is that once you do, it’s really not so bad. Once you take the first giant leap, the other jumps don’t seem so far. It’s all logical of course — with each step you know a little bit more, you chip away at that unknowable-ness. And Newton’s first law of motion and all that. But it’s a gut thing too. As people we want to know that the ground beneath us is stable. If it isn’t, we can sense it.

The fear side of things is where I’ve lived for a long time. I wanted to create something that was just mine, something to showcase my passion, to express my opinions, to stand up in the middle of the world and shout “I AM A WRITER.” But I was too scared to start. I didn’t know how or when or where.

But I’m starting now. Via this post, at 12:03 a.m., on my parents’ couch in Montgomery, Alabama.