There were a lot of things happening inside my mind in the past days, I don’t even know how to start writing about them. I feel confused, but also happy and, for some reason, unusually energized.
PART 1: REALIZATION
I’ve been saying since the end of last year that my interest in hand lettering was slowly dying out. The thought of having to admit that to myself, and moreso to others, made me feel miserable about my creative state. For one, I didn’t know why or what triggered it. I moved to urban sketching, then typography and graphic design. While I was (and still am) having fun with these things, the thought that I’m jumping from one thing to another frustrated me because what am I doing with my life? Why couldn’t I just stick to one and work on it?
This train of thought led to “I’m nearly 30 and I still haven’t figured shit out” and was the theme of my conversation with Dave, a 20-something millennial with the mind of an old soul (LOL hi, Dave!). He told me something very cliché, but at that time it was the most insightful thing I’ve heard — that you shouldn’t beat yourself up for switching hobbies frequently, because people really have to try different things before they find their place in the world. Basically, what I’m going through is not a sign of failure; it’s just the way life works.
So if there is really no rulebook telling me that I should be living my life’s calling when I’m 30, what’s stopping me from doing what I really want to do, then?
“I don’t want to be seen as indecisive.”
Emilie Wapnick recently gave a TEDxTalk titled, “Why Some Of Us Don’t Have One True Calling.” In essence, she was saying that there is no shame in picking up a hobby, trying it, dropping it, trying something else, and dropping that one, too, because it is all part of the journey to self-discovery.
I know that I’m the type who doesn’t stick to a niche. As a creative, I am bound to be the same. I must embrace who I am so as not to be encumbered by other people’s opinion.
“I will lose followers.”
Honestly, this reason has more weight than I would want to admit. I put so much value in Likes & Follows because I lack confidence in myself and my work, so I needed other people to validate it. Because I saw Follows and Likes as virtual pats on the back, it became the stick by which I measured my talent and worth. Yes, I fear that people will no longer like my work if I deviate from what they originally followed me for. I know how petty this sounds, and I’m currently working on myself to change this mindset.
(It seems that this bigger fear is all in my head. It is not until I’ve written them down that I finally see it for what it is.)
PART 2: A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.
Of course, these realizations are nothing if I won’t do something about them. Hence, I’m deciding to take my creative journey in a different direction — not a new direction, just a slightly different one. Handlettering is still going to be a part of that journey, but that’s exactly what it’s going to be: a part of a much larger sphere, along with other forms of art I’ll pursue.
Starting today, I will not be The Lettering Junkie on Instagram and Facebook anymore. That title no longer fits the type of creative I decided to become. Instead, I’ll be Hey It’s Odee across all platforms. I want to simplify my identity and also be reminded that I am not just a lettering or sketching or design enthusiast; I can be all of those, too.
To borrow David Levithan’s words: it’s goodbye to some things. And hello to others.
Yesterday, I was watching this old-school boxing animé and got so worked up on one episode, I felt like I needed to channel my excitement somewhere else. I went to my desk and did a quick brush pen lettering, and would you know, it was the first decent lettering piece I was able to do in the last five months. 🙂
A comment on Instagram said: “I miss your letters, friend!” And I thought, yeah, I’ve missed it, too. (Thank you, Jera!)
I did say that I’m still confused as I haven’t yet figured things out completely, but I’m happy to have come to terms with some. And right now, that’s enough. It’s always one step at a time. 🙂
P.S. I’m almost 30, but it’s barely noticeable. (Hahaha
but I’m not kidding)