there's a post-it note on the side of my table that says 'comfort ≠ stability. it is a sign of warning.' it keeps my mind and heart aligned to not feeling complacent or pure contentment that it leads to laziness. it keeps me going.

i pause to re-examine this word today: comfort.

i understand the danger of being complacent. i simply cannot picture my life sitting at the same spot, being happy with doing the same thing. i want to live. i want to be uncomfortable, to seek for a discomfort that will keep growing me.

today, i find myself feeling happy. comfortable, almost. 

friends of mine will know that i cannot stop talking to them about my work. i work in Mossery, a local stationery startup that pushes and drives me beyond what i've ever imagined myself doing. (my friends are probably sick of me talking to them about this by now, so if you're a friend who fits this description, read no more)

i like being here. i really, really like it. and it scares me a little because i've never liked being at one place so much before. i've never felt like i could connect with a physical place, not even home. and i've never known myself to be a nostalgic person, but being in this company has made me more vulnerable and stronger all at once. 

allow me to explain.

1. the people
the essence of my love for Mossery is the people i work with. for almost all of my life, even my closest friends have half-joked with me, telling me not to 'think so much'. i've never felt all happy about this. i've always felt like 'thinking too much' was a horrible, unacceptable thing. and that it destroys me. at Mossery, i was actually told to 'think more'. well, of course, there's the doing part, but i'll talk about that a little later. being here gives me the freedom of talking about the weirdest possible topic. from aliens to Elon Musk to educating the local market on design, it stirs up my mind and lights up all of my neurons like you would see in a movie sequence when a character gets a brilliant idea. i feel like i belong here. (also, something i don't often feel.)

2. the work
i graduated from majoring in English Literature and minoring in Gender Studies. all i knew when i graduated, was that i wanted a job at a company so i could experience the corporate life and working with a team. but the truth was this: i hated any form of corporate jobs, yet i still knew that i had to learn how to work in an office setting to become a normal working person. i wanted that kind of an experience. i also knew i was setting out to write a book, but i didn't know what yet. the work at Mossery is extremely rewarding. i get to do what i love (which is to write, and sometimes, draw too), i get to talk to people (online or at bazaars), i get to have human connections with amazing artists all across the world, and i get to learn a million new things. it's a steep learning curve. it still is. but i love every bit of it. being in Mossery has taught me to not take work for granted, but be so clear and conscious about wanting to be excellent at what i do. 

3. the vision
i love people. five years ago, you may not ever hear me utter these words, but now is now and i will say these words again: i love people. the vision of me being at Mossery is essentially to bring people closer. closer to us, closer to each other, closer to strangers and friends galore. i hope to be able to fulfill this vision every single day. and i love being able to fulfill this vision every day as well. 

maybe the word isn't 'comfortable'. but i'm happy. and i'm scared. that i'm too happy. at one place. that scares me sometimes. like everything's going too right, and although they do go haywire at times, i still feel happy. i've just never felt such a strong feeling of being at a right place in the right time as being in Mossery right now. don't get me wrong, i'm scared for my life every day too—the sensation of never doing quite enough always comes back to haunt me. perhaps i'm living on that strange edge again: where everything can seem quite right even when it isn't.

nonetheless, it scares me. 

but it's alright, i suppose. being happy should be a thing. i just hope i'm not living in my own reality and being stuck here. if i am, please tell me. i would appreciate that a lot. 


Sunday musings.

two things today:

 1. it's easy to focus on results.

in a time when highlight reels of other people's lives carry the immense possibility of obliterating joy and inducing envy, it's really easy to just focus on the results. it's easy to hear good news and react like this: why do good things only happen to others? we lose sight of the grueling processes that people go through to achieve these results. we play ignorance to the fact that the friend who suddenly looks attractively fit is because they had been paying off the hours at the gym every single morning. we place all of our focus on the singular outcome that is seen by the eye. we subconsciously or consciously pretend that the people around us never had to go through stuff we do to achieve their wondrous results - whether it's scoring an A or getting to travel halfway across the world.

it's easy, so, i had to mentally slap myself this morning for focusing on the results.

empathy is an important tool in these situations. put yourself in the other person's shoes. experience what they've experienced to have come down to this single point. a gold medal was not earned from being happy and comfortable all of your days - hard work, pain, injuries, sleepless nights, emotional breakdowns, long chats about dreams and hopes and passion and desires, and more, are the ingredients to a gold medal. same to everything else. nothing just happens. everything comes in a process. be aware of it. your process will carry results too. you're just still in the process right now. focus on your process. give your best. your time will come. and even if it doesn't, acknowledge all of the lessons you've learned in the process and apply them to future processes. rinse and repeat.

2. breaking down big tasks into smaller ones. push yourself.

i went running/jogging/walking with my friends these evening. i had come home from church and was dozing off multiple times in the afternoon while i was typing on my phone. (literally nodding away and to the point of even almost dropping my phone) so i took a nap with incredibly restless sleep - i knew i was dreaming the moment i lied down. i woke up late to a number of missed calls from my friend, but pushed myself to get out of bed (in spite of being late) to go for that run anyways.

during the run, i knew i was not physically fit at all, so i ran for the first 1.5km and slowed down to a walk. halfway through, i was really tempted to give up and just walked the whole way. it was something i knew i could do. strangely enough, i began to set small goals for myself and pushed myself to go back to that slow jog anyways, however long i was able to keep that up. i was telling myself things like "if you could run to that bush, you can run to that streetlight. if you can run to that streetlight, you can run to that bench." every milestone was only a few steps away from each other, but i found it much easier to push myself like this than looking at completing a 4km run.

4km sounded big to me. running to the bench/street lamp/rocks was not. small tasks and goals work. just keep doing the little things and soon, you'll realise that you're getting big things done.

(i completed the run with a lot of hiccups and pauses in between, switching from running to jogging to walking to jogging and walking again, but i made myself finish it nonetheless. bonus: having supportive friends really help too.)


let's go, 2017.

the last time i wrote here, it was about the difficulty of adjusting to a working adult's life. four months have passed since i last posted here, and it's the new year now. since then, i've officially landed myself a full-time job; aged significantly (mentally, as that's what working at Mossery does to you) yet somehow still retained my rather annoying (to others) energetic self; felt far away from the church, missed it dearly, came back and still felt a bit of a distance but am eternally thankful for friends whom i can pick up a conversation with at any given time; and got into no relationships (no duh).

so, here's a brief list of what i've done this year. not because everyone is doing it, but because i want to document it and look back at it one day. also because i have pretty awful memory.

in no particular order:
  1. worked with Sketch Post. from smaller, private functions to massive illustrated boards sent to the US for a convention, and having eaten at Nobu KL this year plus a few other fancy places without actually realising the incredible quality of food at the given moment. (also tried quinoa for the first time. i quite liked it.)

  2. interview with Mossery for my academic internship there and eventually interning + working with them. 

    • spent four days pre-actual-internship at Penang with Jun, Vivian, and Saloni. it was definitely the most interesting way to start my internship experience.
    • learned heaps over the course of 6 months (internship + probation) - from the creative to the technical sides of everything at work.
    • hung out way too much with my colleagues talking about death, outer space, aliens, among other things.
    • learned a little bit of everything: coding, illustrator, photography, etc. hoping to learn more this year and master some skills!
    • three times to Singapore this year with the team, and every time was a unique experience.
    • brought the entire team to watch Esther, and the supper that followed after was a very interesting conversation i can never quite forget. (:
    • had (and am still having) incredibly up-close and honest relationships with people at work. if it wasn't for people who are brave enough to be honest with me, i would not be a better person, nor would i be consciously working on myself. grateful.

  3. worked freelance very very briefly and earning my first thousand bucks from a single job.

  4. first time going to Indonesia to attend my first international wedding (:

  5. The Sam Willows concert at The Bee, watched Into The Woods (live musical), saw Saturday Afternoon live a couple of times, went for The Impatient Sisters' music video launch, etc.

  6. directed a full-fledged play on campus. incredibly grateful for people who are talented, teachable, and infinitely helpful with all things. even when i didn't openly ask for help, the community just came to assist. also performed a song live at the end of both nights of the show.

  7. volunteered to teach 6-year-old kids graphic recording / sketch-noting over a period of 6 weeks during their once-a-week after-school extra class.

  8. lost my grandpa (mom's dad).

  9. chalked an entire wall in my church premise, also chalked my front porch. fell in love with chalk quite a bit. hoping to explore this medium a lot more this year.

  10. The Last One Awake's intimate album listening party. i was surprised why i was even invited. gasp.

  11. talked about priorities and responsibilities in church towards the end of the year and decided to let go of some stuff i had taken part in. it was tough, but i knew i had to let go before everything went to ruins with me not focussing on helping out at all. 

  12. met amazing talents in person whom i never quite thought would come across - Angelyn, Marissa, Christian, Kevin Hagino, Si Hui, Shannon, just to name a few.

  13. graduated from university, after 4 years of studying Literature and Gender Studies. i miss the ever-enriching discussions in class about all things human. 
  14. worked with Idea Ink briefly as well - the Millenial 20-20 event was a definite eye-opener to graphic recording and honing my skills in that area particularly.

  15. brother got married. woohoo!

  16. got my first ever fountain pen from Jun and Vivian for my birthday this year. also got mutiple-layered surprises from my friends who knew i hated large crowds. i felt immensely loved this year on my birthday, and was grateful for every single person who bothered to wish me well.

2017 is a year of seeking discomfort for me. i've been running away from many problems in the past years, and though i tell others to be honest, i haven't been quite honest with myself entirely. we choose things to talk about, to see, to hear, to process, and we filter the rest to be archived forever. this year, i want to live an unfiltered life. i want to be straight-up honest with myself - whether it's in how bad i write, or how much i want to buy a silly thing because it makes me happy - i want to be completely honest. i want to make things because i want to, i want to be happy because it makes me happy, and i want to follow God because He's given me life.

some things i want to focus more on this year:
  1. identify problems and solve them head on, instead of pretending that they're not there.
    • i realised towards the end of the year that i had a terrible habit of pretending that problems aren't really there, especially if they're smallish problems that doesn't seem to be causing any harm or damage. i'm going to learn to speak up on these little things, because i've said it myself so many times that the little things matter the most.

  2. believe in others and your(my)self.
    • give the benefit of doubt to others. love my neighbour as myself. stretching on love rather than passing judgment. 

  3. be involved.
    • another bad habit i noticed is that i tend to shrink back and do nothing when i see others be involved. this is true in leadership terms. i'm the kind of person who balances out the atmosphere, so if someone else is loud, i'll speak less. if someone else is leading the team very apparently, i'll stand back. i think being less involved made me a passive leader, and as much as i believe that every leader has a style of their own, i also believe that if i push myself to get involved in different activities, i stand an equal chance in growing as well.

  4. don't hold back.
    • this one's a dangerous one, because it might wear me out. another habit to kill is the spirit of procrastination. i tend to avoid doing things that require more effort than i had expected, and i want to go against that current this year. be extra bold, extra courageous, extra crazy, and push myself all the way. rest is important, but this year is about getting productive (not busy!) in everything i am called to do.

change only happens when action is taken.
no empty words this year. embrace change.