Lessons From Outside The Comfort Zone

I have been working for 20 years. Two days from graduation, I trudged through the doorways of my first job and I haven’t stopped ever since. I love working. In fact, a lot of people used to say I was a workaholic and that it was my priority in life. True and I didn’t deny it. Work gave me a sense of fulfillment, not to mention financial gratification. I just love being busy and productive.

A few months ago, my husband and I decided that I should take a break from my corporate life. There were many reasons behind it. Most people would probably say, “That’s awesome!” but it wasn’t an easy decision for me. You won’t believe how many motivational quotes I had saved on my phone just to push me to do it and get perceived fears out of my head. I can keep painting but what else would I do, right? What a dilemma.

I just told myself that I will just allow God to surprise me.

I did it anyway, and had my last day of work a couple of weeks ago. It has been an extremely busy 2 weeks filled with, you got it right, surprises!

Busy And Productive Outside The Four Walls Of An Office

img_20160820_203612My friend has been asking me to help her with the events business and I wanted to do something fun, so I did. I’ve been doing corporate events all my working life anyway. It was one flurry of corporate events after another and I had worked and met with wonderful people – the production teams, clients, talents and suppliers. I have missed the adrenaline rush of running a show and being part of a good team. I even got to meet up with friends in Cebu (yes, I ended up in Cebu for a day).img_20160831_204924

Getting to know my neighbors is something I have been missing all these years as well. I never really did get a chance to meet or interact with my neighbors. I’ve never been a social animal and my schedule has always been terrible so I actually do get a chance to talk to them and know more about them.

Being out of an 8-5 job has its perks. I finally get to be part of special events and milestones in the lives of good friends. I never would have been able to do this if I had work.

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Because I just had to take this picture.

Last August 17, Cecil a.k.a. Chuvaness launched the ChuvanessXNBS line. It’s a must get line of products not just for the quirky, cute and adorable design but the quality of the products. It’s still available at National Bookstore and hoard now because they would be great gifts in the future and I don’t know if it will be a limited edition thing. Cecil is one of the most talented, warm, thoughtful and generous people I know. She has always been ready to help and there at my lowest. I look forward to her “Zee, how are you?” calls or messages (in the sweetest and most distinct malambing tone). I love her and her style to bits!

 

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Available at selected National Bookstores!
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Know more about Daphne through CHIC

Last week, another friend also had a milestone and I’m glad I didn’t miss that too. Daphne Osena-Paez launched her new book entitled CHIC. She has been working on this book the whole year and I know she worked so hard on it. I just couldn’t miss it as well and I didn’t. I had the time. Daphne has always been one to push the envelope, from her linens, furniture, jewelry, Daphne.ph, endorsements, hosting, now her book. She’s quite an admirable entrepreneur and silly to boot. She makes me laugh so hard and face palm as we exchange mundane issues in life.

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These two are inspiring people and very different from each other. I am lucky to have been part of their milestones. They are both very encouraging and give good advice all the time. They are supportive and encourage me to keep pursuing my art and writing. They hustle and work as hard as anyone in the corporate world. It’s heartwarming to get support from people you admire.

My take out from the last two weeks is that it’s not easy to be an artist/stay at home mom/entrepreneur. You have to work twice as hard, search for opportunities, motivate yourself daily. You have no set KRA’s that guide you or a company mission-vision to follow. You create your own on a daily, weekly basis. Your mission-vision is for yourself and your family – to be a better person, mom, wife, sister, daughter. This is a challenge for me. Heck, choosing the dinner menu is a challenge for me.  I can’t hide behind a desk, my schedule and my laptop anymore. I am exposed to the world and the wonderful people around it.

The good thing is that despite its being hard, I can be myself, I can wear what I want and can freely think and create.

I’ll make most out of this opportunity, just have God surprise me some more and yes, write about it. Maybe one day, it will be useful to someone going through the same thing.

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Zee

 

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Marriage: Always A Work In Progress

It has been quite a while since my last post. In fact, almost a year has passed. I left everyone hanging while in the middle of packing my former life to move on to the full fledged life of a newly married (again) woman. The move to the new place didn’t go to smoothly and I’m sure some of you have experienced some condo turnover blues. In fact, I think we have the entire People’s Republic of China on the floor right above us. We have learned to live in peace the past year.

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Chairs from Craftsmithliving

A new home requires new things and finding the right pieces (that we could afford) and trying to “marry” the home ideas of two individuals was a bit of a challenge. In fact, during my last move to Makati, the house was up, running and decorated in 4 days..all from scratch (See post on: Ngarag Central ) Of course, I had to be confined at the hospital for 4 days after that ordeal but my place eventually looked like this: The Impatient Patient’s Place . it was easy because I had full run of the house, budget and the entire hullaballoo. I want a floral rug, I get a floral rug! Now, I have to consult and remember that this is not a temporary abode but something more permanent, our home. Plus, I have to consult..and consult and sometimes that doesn’t really work out too well and to think my husband and I have pretty much the same taste. We just wanted furniture that made us happy like this table and set of wrought iron chairs from Craftsmith Living or have a TV rack and a wonderful Bomb chair made by LongLive Upcycled things.

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TV Rack from Long Live Upcycled things made from vintage windows and recycled wood
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Bomb Chair by Long Live Upcycled Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The past year also required a lot of purging and giving away of old things and furniture. You can only fit so much in 100 square meters. Seriously. Throw, clean, give away..haggle over what to keep and what not to keep, have cabinets done and just making sure there’s a semblance of order. We are far from done, actually. We just needed to pause for a bit to put up artworks of love. Our own works and ones collected through the years. Art at home make us happy.

We are literally still building up our home. Adjusting, purging, making sure everything is perfect and working like finely-tuned machinery. It has not been easy but building a home and marriage has never been easy. You just have to keep going and trying. It may take months, years, even a lifetime. When things get tough, we pause and do things that make us happy. There are some things that just cannot be resolved so, we create our own rules and practices that just make the family happy. Every home is different, every family is different.

Marriage a year and a half later, is still a work in progress.

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Banyo Art: A reminder to the toilet users at home
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Knowledge: Signage for our study (acrylic on canvas)
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Le Carnivale: A family portrait of my different, happy, funny family. Acrylic on Canvas 4′ x 6′
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Art adds so much colour to our home.

Packing Emotional Bric-A-Brac

IMG_20140622_165108Here I was taking a break after an afternoon of packing what I call emotional bric-a-brac. In truth, I was packing books and tons of art supplies. I’m used to moving but packing will always be an emotional experience, especially this time around. IMG_20140622_165146

I love my place. I moved here as a single mom with my daughter with so much hope and dreams. We wanted it to be a little nutshell of art. I spent hours painting while she watched or drew beside me. I packed all the drawings I saw today. I don’t have the heart to throw out any of her cute doodles. Like me, she puts so much heart and soul into them.

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She does her thing, I do mine.
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It was just you, me and our fake poodle, kid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art was always something we both anchored on to cope. It made me cope with the rigors of a single momhood and it paid for some of our monthly needs. I love my place because I spent hours, days of just being lost in painting and writing. I was who I felt I was meant to be, and not just a working mom and now a wife. Those two roles have the habit of taking over one’s life and you really have to pull yourself back and say:

“That’s not me. I’m not just a working mom and wife.” In my head, those are just roles and not the end all and be all of my whole being.

As time goes by, you have to pull harder..or you get lost. I look at the empty canvasses and I know I was lost for a while. I had all sorts of reasons: too busy, have errands, no space, too sick, too tired, mom duties, wife duties, too lazy. Basically, everything under the sun.

I found myself again as I packed every memory filled painting, every single acrylic, brush, watercolors, invites to do exhibits and published articles.

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So much paint, so little time.
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Good Housekeeping, March 2010
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Paintings and empty canvasses.

I found myself as I stared at the empty canvasses strewn at the hallway. I cry and tell my husband “Don’t allow me to be just a mom and wife, okay? Don’t let me be just this. It makes me sad.”

I have to start all over again and this time around, I’m not alone. I’m packing with my daughter, husband, a poodle and a pomeranian puppy (our new baby). We’re moving to a better place full of love and art. More than this place will ever have.

We better get those creative juices going.