My Third Work Anniversary

Deciding to write this is one of the most impulsive tasks I’ll ever do, only because I never write about these things anymore. Is it because I’m busy? More often that not, yes. As much as my job requires me to be on social media 100% of the time, I find myself keeping a lot of thoughts private in an attempt to get the “balance” that I’m looking for.

But that’s not the point of this post. I’m sitting here on a Friday night (8PM), skipping social things (sorry, friends!) and working on deadlines while I keep myself busy with music and a liter of water (I love drinking…water. Haha!). My table’s a mess as usual—I did some brush work earlier and now moving to digital work with a bit of administrative tasks in between. Probably in two hours I’ll start to slow down as my energy depletes, and I’ll change into sleepwear and wrap up the last few minutes of the night with some reading and (hopefully) relaxing, because it’ll be my last free weekend for the summer.

Work has been toxic these past few months. After surviving December last year (and getting a good vacation out of it, unexpectedly) and turning a year older (with an extra AF pre-quarter life party to make way for the real QLC) in January, 2018 surprised me (wow, what’s new) with an influx of things I didn’t see coming. And it’s been the kind that’s exciting me and scaring me and getting me all uncomfortable about my current state. Life’s been always glitchy in a sense that I am always unsure of my next “move” (not literally…but ok). I always try to segment my career into months because I don’t know how next year is going to look like for me. Usually, towards the end of every year, I have a rough idea of what the next year will look like. But most of the time, these circumstances change and I end up experiencing entirely different things.

So getting this far into my creative career is some sort of milestone. Well, I’d like to think it is? Okay, I’m claiming it. It is a milestone. I’m quite proud of myself, and that’s a very rare thing.

Looking back, the years that led to the present felt like such a blur; did everything happen so fast? Did I see it all pass by without blinking. Let me try to remember.

2014 was my “growing up” year. Being twenty one gave me the freedom to go partying, take on freelance work, start venturing into new things (such as putting up my first website!). Oh, and finally finishing college and getting a headstart into the ~corporate life~.

2015 was my “transition” year. After struggling to try to stay where I am, I decided to question my own actions and found answers in the process. I gave a TEDx talk, passed my resignation letter, and wrote my first book. And tried to justify that maybe being an artist was a possible career.

2016 was filled with self-doubt. Am I really an author? Am I really going to make it in this industry? It was also a year of realizing I am weak, and in weakness I can find my own interpretation of how it is to be strong enough to take on this career.

2017 was dramatic a wake up call I never knew I needed. I worked on dream projects, continued writing books, traveled a lot. It’s safe to say it was the year I finally told myself there are more things out there than what’s in front of me right now.

2018 (so far) has been very eye-opening. Suddenly, new things are starting to unfold. New things I never would have imagined to transpire in my career. My dream to study abroad is coming true in a few months. I’m finally writing a book that talks about how everything (all of this) came into the picture. I’m also in the midst of figuring out what else I can do with this career, in my attempts to help make art accessible to more people.

Side note: My good friend Mikka interviewed me about The ABCs of Adulting on her column at Preen online: click here to read. I’d like to say this is the realest interview I’ve done in my (quarter) life.

***

I started to flip open a copy of Hand Lettering A to Z earlier (as I’m currently doing a workbook that will be an accompanying material to my book) and realized how everything started to make sense after three long years. I’m bad with committing (lol) in general, and that’s probably why my multi-hyphenated job keeps me on my feet 24/7. Today I can be shooting content, tomorrow I can be curled up with my laptop watching a movie for “research”, and the next day I can be locked up in a cafe writing a chapter’s worth of text for my next book. The week after, I’ll probably be catching a flight to see an exhibit overseas (which really just happened last February, lol). And you know what, I like it that way. Despite getting eye rolls for being a millennial twenty-something young achiever, I realize that the important part of this whole journey is finally getting to a place where I can be complacent and telling myself I’m actually doing good. I’m still here, and I don’t think I’m quitting anytime soon. 🙂

I won’t bore you into the whole “how I got here” story since I’ve done that many times. Yes, I’m that girl who decided to quit her 9 to 5 advertising job in an effort to pursue her passion. But that’s not the only reason I ended up here. A big chunk of it is hard work. Hard work that never sees the light of day (because not everything needs to be proclaimed on social media). And maybe, a little bit of luck. But I’d like to think everything just deliberately happened in the right timing.

Behind this so-called “success” is a multitude of people who have believed in me and brought me from point A to point B—friends, people I’ve worked with, family. People who’ve come in and out of my life and left a dent in it. Behind it is also a series of chance encounters and opportunities that led me to where I am today. And behind it is a series of decisions that could’ve gone in different directions…but now that I think of everything that has transpired in the past few years, maybe it was meant to be. It just didn’t manifest earlier than expected. Heck, I’m still stuck in this bubble that everything is just a dream. I need a good slap in the face and realize this is all real.

Happy third work anniversary, self! You’re doing okay. You’ll be fine. Here’s to more years of making art and sharing stories.

<3

PS: A little before and after, because I still stick to this mantra every day of my life. 🙂