I was told by my writing mentors that, in order for your blog readers to understand what you write, what you do and who you are, they have to know where you came from and what lead you to decide to live the life you live now.
This version of myself was something I am very proud of and I will never ever forget who I was and the lessons I learned with this experience.
I worked in Fashion.
Everytime I say this, the people I meet on the road barely believe me unless they see old photos of me on Facebook. They would say, “OMG, is that you?! No way!” Fine. I don’t look as presentable as before but I am living in a backpack at the moment and I really couldn’t believe this. I look back into my life and it’s bizarre. It’s funny how people’s life change for a very short time. Mine was like a whirlwind! How long has it been? 17 months? Barely two years and I am totally different.
Warning: If you don’t know me before, these photos might shock you.
I worked in one of the busiest industries in the world. First, I was an intern for over 12 International fashion brands and I did the things that most 19 year old did — dress up, be pretty, put huge amount of make up and splurge on expensive shoes and bags. That was the trend during my time and I believe it’s worst today. 12 internships, yes. I was a supergirl. My superiors loved me because I worked very hard as a very young age. I think it’s about being interested in something and finding a world where you really fit.
Today, those energies are diverted to blogging/writing.
After finishing my studies in Italy, I came back to the Philippines with a stellar resume. A lot of fashion houses offered me jobs, so much that I didn’t know who to pick. I had 3 different jobs:
- Fashion Stylist
- Fashion Writer
- Trends and Communications
I jumbled three different things at the same time and I grabbed every opportunity I had. I was like a beast hungry for more jobs. With that, my lifestyle got worst. I was as thin as a stick, I slept 3 hours a day, I didn’t exercise for a long time and my eating habits were bloody disgusting. 24 hours weren’t enough for the day. There were a lot of work that I had to do.
At present, I am eating healthy and exercising daily. I am in-charge of my own time so I have the pleasure of watching over my health.
The salary was overwhelming. It was something steady. I was very proud of myself the first time I stopped asking financial support from my parents. I was never out. I rented my own place, I had the luxury of travelling every once in a while and going out with my friends almost every night. It was a life of high society, parties left and right, shoulder to shoulder with the biggest fashion icons of the country and so on.
As time went by, I felt different. I was happy for a time and there’s nothing I could ask more. My career was good, life was rolling well, but there something that I couldn’t take about the industry. Fake friends, people talking behind your back while they’re nice when they needed something, a life of not repeating your clothes for a year or so — it was very tiring. I started to fade slowly and away from fashion.
It’s about a journey of discovery that becomes one of self discovery as well. It’s about bigger decisions that we have to make in life in order to be happy. It’s about finding friendships, love and it’s about solidarity. Finally, it’s about finding one’s place in the world — the one that is worth fighting for.
How did I have the guts to leave everything behind? I don’t know.
It just happened. Most people who reach that point on their career goes on and on regardless of how tired they become. I don’t want to belong to that group. I wanted to be different. “You left your life in the fashion industry to travel? What for?” So what. I didn’t want to be one of those people who are still doing something they don’t like because people might say this, might say that, etc. I read somewhere that in order to be happy, you should do something you like and you should surround yourself with positive people.
I did just that.
Do I ever regret anything?
Never. There was not a time in my travelling life that I said, “I shouldn’t have” nor question what I am doing now. My life is simpler. I have less clothes but that doesn’t make me feel less nor do I pity myself. I don’t have much money but still, I am living a life that I love. I was once asked if I ever settle down, would I still work in fashion? I don’t know. It used to be the only thing I know how to do well but travelling taught me more about myself. About my capacity to do things. About not limiting myself to a certain “I know how to do list.” I am not really sure. Maybe I’d make a hostel business? Maybe I’d live in one of the islands in the Philippines with a nipa hut but it has to have wifi so I can continue blogging. 🙂 Maybe.. Maybe.. I don’t know. Who knows anyway? I stopped thinking of the future and started to live in the present moment. So, whatever will be, will be.
Of all the versions of myself that I left out, there was one thing that didn’t change — I am a writer. And I will always be.
I know I’ve always encouraged you to travel the world but I just realised that there are some people who work in the office but still, they are happy about it. So, I’ll put it this way — do something that really really really makes you happy. Don’t just say “Yeah, I’m happy,” believe in it! Whether it’s travelling, a 9-5 job, cooking, having children, getting married, JUST DO IT. Don’t listen to what other people will tell you. You will always have negative remarks from others when it comes to changing your life. They’re used to it! It’s like growing your hair to your hips and then shaving it — that kind of drastic change. What do you expect people to say?
The only approval you need is from yourself.