Wrote this entry last week when I was feeling really down. Didn't quite have the courage to post so I thought posting today will be better as I'm leaving for my 2-month Europe trip tonight.
Been back home for a probably an hour half now, just didn't feel like doing anything and decided to listen to my playlist. My entire playlist right now is pretty much 80&% filled with sentimental songs and 20% slow acoustic songs – not the best to perk you up but definitely help you think.
Writing has never been my forte, nor exactly am I good at expressing myself so I tend to struggle when it comes to situations like this when I wish to pen down my thoughts. And if I understand myself well enough, I can be quite random and I'm not exactly a coherent person at times – my thoughts are all scrambled up and am not proud of that. So I was told before that writing without thinking too much on its structure might just get the thoughts flowing.. so here am I – instead of heading into the shower I suddenly have to urge to jot down what's on my mind. This post might be full of messy incoherent thoughts but I just wish to share the thoughts just as how they flow in the mind at this particular moment.
I have been nothing but a troubled person for the past two years, and more so since the start of this year. I think I've lost the energy I used to have, the positivity, the confidence and myself.. somehow things just fell apart. I never really understood the meaning of losing yourself nor what does identity crisis really mean but after struggling for two years, I think I might have just gained a deeper understanding of what they mean. Sharing out this way is not exactly my most comfortable way nor do I do this often but I've been troubled for too long and too much. This whole troubled feeling has been consuming me and doesn't seem to be released at all. Sharing this way shows so much vulnerability and perhaps I just wish to keep that little bit of pride I have in me. Or perhaps I just refused to admit my weakness but it reached a point where I can't go any further with the struggles I've deep inside me and it's getting quite out of hand. Really don't know how to elaborate right now so let me try my best.
Yes, I was engaged last October after being in relationship with Ethan for about 3 years and yes, we broke up a few months ago. The breakup was the most amicable one I've experienced and probably a logical one as well. We both talked it out calmly, faced the fundamental issues and realised that we have both tried our best to work out our differences. I guess it's a whole different story when it comes to the topic of marriage – we both know that, we want to address that and we did.
Just like others, I think marriage is a permanent commitment and it really doesn't evolve around just two people. It's a lot about the extended family, a lot about your (future) kids, basically a lot about the "after". Some said marriage is like a new job, but I beg to differ because marriage is probably like the start of a new committed journey which you can't just back off when you don't like your 'job'. Am no expert but somehow am glad that our local marriage law makes divorce terms strict and those terms help us to carefully consider before stepping into a whole new phase.
I don't think anyone is in nature bad in anyway, but it's just a matter of compatibility. A matter of whether this particular character suits the other, so as the lifestyle and many other things. Besides these two, we know timing plays a big part but personally, I think having similar values together is of utmost importance to me when it comes to being together. Not saying that some values are right, wrong, but it's just whether my other half shares the same values because values create thoughts, thoughts shape behaviour, behaviour shapes lifestyle. And to have the same core values are so important to me because it matters a whole lot when it comes to building your future family. Call me traditional or even stubborn, but I do have some values that I firmly believe but that doesn't mean that we have to be on the exact same line on the same page for all values because circumstances change. Being on the same page for those few core values will be good enough to ensure that we move on the same road with no major bumps.
Ethan taught me a lot over the years, he treated me very well and I know we are still friends, no shunning away when we see other on the streets or so. We had a thing and I shall keep the memories close to my heart. We spent a good three years together, I do miss his family, his two big dogs and it's was so heartfelt to the extend of sad when I texted Ethan's mom to give a proper closure and she texted this back to me:
Some readers could tell that Ethan and I had broken up and actually emailed me to share, encourage and I really appreciate that. I'm sorry I didn't manage to reply because I don't where to start from. On the other hand, I do have keyboard warriors dropping comments asking me to stop pretending, or saying that I've too much vanity hence Ethan broke up with me etc. Felt really spiritless after because I was already down in the dumps for work and all and everything just seems to be going against me. I know the frequent saying is that you don't have to care what others say etc, I know that very well and I just need to know what's true and that's all I need to care. But it's just really hurtful at the moment when you saw/read those comments.
I'm much better now at dealing with those abusive comments that pop up once in a while and it doesn't take too long for me to recover from those unnecessary hurt the keyboard warriors have intentionally provided. Ironically, it was because of them that recovery time became faster and I would like to think that as a good thing. Sometimes I just wish these guys will put down your authentic email addresses and names instead of being anonymous because I might take the effort to address whatever unhappiness with me you are facing. I just wonder how were they feeling when they actually submitted such comments, hurting people when the person is considered a complete stranger to him/her still.
Now, comes the part that I find it so difficult to share.
I've previously shared about leaving LB and started Klarra and now a year half after I've done it, it unknowingly led to another issue – I've received comments that I'm trying to be a carbon copy of LB's first founder, who has already left the company, who is a dear friend of mine and she is fully aware of this issue I'm about to share, just in case you are wondering.
It actually sounds pretty silly talking about a topic like this and I thought such situations don't really happen as we grow older but somehow, in this industry, it matters, it is a topic of concern. And I'm actually getting quite affected and weary by it because it's making me doubt myself so much more, destroying the last bit of confidence I've and I just can't ignore it further. I always believe there must be a basis in every comment and even in jokes, so I actually went to study the situation.
I have been with the owners since 7 to 8 years ago (when I was about 18 years old) and that was before there was a proper social media scene or even when facebook and instagram existed. I saw them almost every week which was even more frequent than the times I've met my partners or so and close friendships were very developed quickly. Looking around me and looking at friendships, I would think that we all hang out with these people we call friends because we share similar traits – we might either share the same thinking, have similar values, similar interests, similar lifestyle, similar religion, similar attitudes. Maybe just one, two or even all of the mentioned. We got to know each other during our prime time, a stage whereby we were exposed to so many new things, tried many new things, had very interesting changes, getting to know and explore different sides of us, had different experiences or similar experiences together. Hence, forming similar lifestyle, interests, shaping similar outlook etc, creating us to how we are today. I do think we might overlap in certain ways in terms of interests but I do think we are quite different in many other ways and we are completely two individuals with different personalities.
What I'm doing for a career right now is ambiguously separated into two areas – main being Klarra, and other being blogging. These two jobs have a very thin line drawn in between so it's perfectly normal that many link them as one. With us being good friends, we also joined the same social media agency where we get opportunities to attend events together, to do campaigns together, to share about our work and exchange view/tips on how to help each other. With that said, I'm really glad to have a familiar face to be doing all these things with.
We always spend most of our time catching up on serious personal matters such as family, relationships etc and at times, we do exchange views on our so called social media work such as things related to photography, composition, and outfits. Not too sure what's the reason, but perhaps because I started out much later doing Klarra (and doing Klarra makes me more active in posting outfit shots), I guess the similar art direction of the visuals or working with the same pool of clients/brands created the impression that I'm trying to be as similar as I can as my friend. I really don't know.
My style is formed through the years I was modelling for LB. It's quite logical because I was put into clothes which the styling team thinks I fit best in – which was also how I grew closer to the my friend (who used to be the main designer too) as she was the one styling me. And doing this modelling job for 5 years inevitably created a particular style and therefore, I won't disagree that my style is probably similar in some sense to her or we even have the same taste buds (be it fashion, or food) because that interest was one which connected us over the years.
Honestly, the situation of being called imitating the my friend didn't come across my mind until I received comments and like I've said, I went to think.
I was also clearly aware that I can't stop these people from comparing because in actual fact, we do have quite some similarities, nor can I stop them from commenting because they might not know we are friends to begin with, nor will they need to even consider that. It just doesn't feel good for me because it's a fact I chose to do fashion, it's a fact that I started out much later, it is a fact that this whole industry is all about figures and accomplishments. It's superficial but it's just how the industry works and everything is judged from the surface. No one is obligated to find out what's the story behind the each picture or individual and they don't need to as well.
Perhaps I'm just not cut out in this industry. I tried so hard to try to think of how I can differentiate because my humble business, Klarra, links to my personal platform very closely.. Klarra is a major part of my life because it's a career I've chosen. I can't believe silly thoughts like like a different photo composition might help etc but then it just made no sense and I don't quite agree trying so hard for such superficial matters. Why am I trying to change to be a person I'm not? Being different should be in a way that we should be comfortable in and this whole trying-to-be-carbon-copy-of-my-friend issue is just forcing me to become who I'm not, spending unnecessary time trying to create an image when I should spend the time on things that are more important. It's so frivolous and unnecessary I know but yet for the longest time, I feel so trapped in this position and somehow it's affecting me. I started to feel unworthy, so lousy, dejected, demoralized and made me doubt myself so much. And because of such similarities and comparisons, I'm probably deemed as a follower and do not have much to be admired in anyway. I was also conveniently neglected at times out there during events, dropped out of a couple campaigns last minute because I was told we were too similar and the client only had budget for one. Feeling really disappointed and dejected, my self-esteem is just getting from bad to worst.
It's not easy admitting to this because I have no courage and it's not something to be proud of. It seems like I'm living in the shadows of my friend and not having an identity of my own. She has been very open about this and I'm thankful for such true friendships. The harsh truth about the social media industry is mainly about figures and it's understandable. It's really not about vying for being miss popular but if I were to break down in logical reasons, I believe those people who have a substantial figure of followers must have done something great out there – they have earned it themselves by being recognized for their strong personality or by their accomplishments. They have a strong identity which is backed up by their accomplishments. It's not about having a great deal of followers but I think that an identity is a combination of your career, your personality etc. Klarra still needs more time, and right now I feel so lost, negative that it's beginning to snow ball.
I probably hold one of the most boring social media pages and I know I don't have exciting content to share like many others. It's really fine with me but I do have my dreams which I'm working hard to make them come true. Somehow it feels like without concrete accomplishments, surviving in this industry might be tough and that links to Klarra as well.
Yeah maybe my friend was right. Maybe I have confident issues which led me to this very lost and troubled state right now. Mommykins used to say I'm an introvert and I know that myself. I didn't have an exactly good secondary school life nor do I have any close secondary school friends so you don't see me posting pictures – somehow we all lost touch. I didn't feel like I was accepted much during secondary school and I remember not wanting to head to school so as to avoid all friends. I always think looks are secondary and personality is the priority and so I thought I must be bad at both hence I was outcasted in secondary days. The lousiness went with me throughout the years but life just went on. Then I went to polytechnic and had the opportunity to participate in this campus competition on national television which my mom thinks it helped me to open up a great deal and that I became to be more comfortable with myself.
Modelling for LB probably helped to build up my confidence further and for that, I can't thank the owners/friends enough. It's not about being recognized as the face of LB but it's really meant so much more deeply that it gave me the confidence to have more positivity in life and think that I can actually be someone. Someone that can do much more for herself, her family, her future family, her life. Then when I thought things went well and I thought I was really in control of my life, I might have taken a wrong turn and now I'm trapped.
Now everything is making me feel that quitting my full time corporate bank job, stepping out to do fashion was a wrong move.
I don't know how people perceive friendships in the social media scene or do they even think there is such a thing called friendship because many just perceive the industry to be full of competitors than friendships. Maybe it's true because it can be quite a superficial industry to be in but doesn't mean there isn't any possibility to develop real friendships out of it. Yes, maybe one will see the other as a competition but it doesn't mean you have to react the same way. It's perfectly normal for competitions but doesn't mean it can't be a friendly one. Business aside, we are all still human beings and we all need love, kinships, friendships for us to make our lives complete.
It's really so ridiculous that going on my two months Europe trip is deemed as imitating my friend too. But many didn't know that I was supposed to head to Europe last year instead and this was a delayed trip whereby my tickets were pushed back till this month due to commitments and other personal reasons. Sharing about travel experiences is a common topic between friends and yes, I got to know of the interesting stuff to do in London through my dear friend as well and she also recommended me certain courses to take to maximize my time there, knowing that I'll be heading to Europe for two months. And so I did more research andI signed up for a mix of business and fashion summer short seminars at various schools which I think might give me more insights for Klarra and also, not spending my time just doing nothing. I actually felt a little hesitant to share about this because it will definitely create the impression that I'm following the footsteps of my friend again. i really no reason in explaining to anyone at the start but I'm starting to feel really misunderstood.
To think that I didn't think of going to Europe at the start but am more than thankful for the tickets/opportunity to head there. Now with more things planned, I definitely wouldn't want to miss out on this trip. I don't know why it's not possible to see it that great friendships can help to enrich each other, just the same reason as how partners should be. I'm not widely travelled nor do I have the chance to do so and some of us only know about the existence of certain things only when people around us have experienced and shared them. I don't know why does it seem like a wrong thing to do when I came across opportunities which can potentially help in self and business.. If I were to take the exact course as my friend, then I would really feel very sorry for myself and would certainly to seek help to tackle the serious issues I have in myself. I have nothing to hide and I don't wish to hide.
I have been suppressing these feelings inside me for a year or so or even longer and they have been consuming me… so much. I have always avoided talking about my inner thoughts on the blog because I just don't know where to start with and I don't know if it makes any sense. I guess I didn't want to admit I had such a weak side and I was just really afraid to share about it. Admitting makes me feel vulnerable, sharing shows too much vulnerability.. and am embarrassed to do so.
But I think I've reached a point which I've nothing more to lose anymore. I'm so tired, am so so tired putting up a front that it's all a-ok and it just feels so sick hiding behind it. It's affecting myself too much that I've no control over my emotions anymore. I broke down too many times and I found myself withdrawing. Sometimes I really feel like giving up but thinking about everything that I've invested… I just don't know how. And I really hate that my troubled self is affecting the people around me especially my family.
Not only I've lost myself, I've lost so much over the past two years and gotten wounded too many times that I can't remember nor do I want to – be it relationships, personal and work opportunities etc. I did gain a lot of different perspectives and I did understand certain things better. As much as many things didn't go the way I wish, I suppose having peace in the heart, mind no matter how people think or misunderstand you is all that matters. For all that is worth, I think sincerity, integrity and honesty are still three important values to stick by always.
It's your family who are the ones who will stick with you through thick and thin. They are the ones who give you the best and truest advice and there's no doubt about that. I really needed an avenue to release what's bottling inside me and my dear mom has been my confidant for the longest time. I really feel bad being so troubled around her because I know mommykins feels sorry and worried for me, more so in the recent few months because she could see I felt so lost with myself and everything. It really doesn't feel good inside knowing that your parents are so worried about you. The more my parents cared, the more angry I am with myself and there comes the guilt. You really can't imagine what the guilt can do to you, it makes me feel really lousy..
It was never about the fame and it wouldn't ever be because living a life true to one is what matters. I know many judged the success of social media personalities by figures, fame hence the opportunities and I agree to a certain extend. I don't have a massive amount of followers to begin with and although that limits my opportunities as compared to other influencial personalities, but that doesn't mean that I should compete and it doesn't mean that I don't aim for quality work too. It's not all about the figures to determine how successful you are in the industry because it doesn't mean a higher figure equates to the degree of happiness. Regardless of the following figures, I do think it's important to think about the responsibilities of each and every social media personality has for his/her own followers and how to use the fame wisely and meaningfully. Because some people might follow blindly and i believe each of the personality has his/her own group of supporters (and haters) and for the supporters that we are all grateful for, we ought to be credible, responsible, truly share things that benefit each other be it commercial/personal. I'm thankful to have this platform that led me to go towards my dreams (Klarra etc), and am grateful to the group of supporters who strongly encourage me (even though we might not have met in person) to fight for what I want and who believed in me, and because of these people, they helped me to struggle lesser with everything/Klarra and that's actually a great beauty of this whole industry in a way. So I ought to really step out of this whole unexplainable lost situation and I really want to get back on track.
Although I know my loved ones got my back, I guess this is something I need to figure out on my own and I don't wish to discuss about these issues after this. I don't want to think that I hit rock bottom so no silly thoughts in my mind for sure – I just really need the time, the space in this whole new place. Hope I'll be able to see things in a different light after.. This is my personal space and one which has stored many significant memories and I intend to keep this platform dearly to me with my deepest thoughts and truest content for as long as it goes. There's a choice for you to choose what you read so I hope you will respect my space.
Leaving to the airport now and it's time to do something for myself.
Let this trip be a restart.