Happy 1 year anniversary, Faith.
& to many more years to come.
I think what is both beautiful and dangerous about penning down your thoughts is, it is somehow constraint. In another words it is always bounded by your understanding of the situation and your knowledge of the world at that point of time, until you move on to the next phase of your life or you learn something new. You look back and see how much you have grown and how your thoughts have changed overtime. Last year this time I wrote a blogpost talking about my 'job' back then and it has the highest hit out of all my posts..because I literally poured out everything you need to know running a cake business. One year later I learnt so much more- So here comes the time of the year I talk about my cakes again, my yearly reflections on what is going on behind the scene.
I never really had the intention to pen this down but as the date draws nearer I felt complied to write this, because after all, its an impactful chapter of my journey of life. Working with Maggie Austin has got to one of my BIGGEST dreams come true, and though I missed out on other things in life, I never want it any other way.
To digress a little, somewhat 2 weeks ago, we sent my brother off at the airport today and back to the UK he went for his last year of school. Sending off at the airports are never easy, though you know you can always see the person on screen again, I'm usually not so emotional with sending my brother back but this time it felt different. Not too sure why but I guess his presence back at home this year felt stronger than before. Or maybe I've grown older and we've grown closer. Or maybe most of the time I felt he can relate to how I feel most of the time since we are 2 siblings who actually lived away from home before.
Every time I stand in front of the departure gate the thought of leaving this place still creeps into my mind. Maybe because it is indeed a bigger world out there.
The day Faith took over Fear.
One year ago (or should I say I'm 1 month late, things that happen when you open your own cakes studio, got no time for nothing else), on that very night, my heart was pounding. I clearly remember- at around 10pm I was pacing up and down my house, I couldn't sleep, I was eagerly waiting to board the plane all the way across the Pacific Ocean to Washington D.C. My family woke up with me at 2am in the morning and drove me to the airport. I hugged onto my back pack and it pretty much silent all the way. I hit the airport and my bunch of amazing friends woke up at crazy hours too and sent me off 4am in the morning. I wasn't expecting to see so many faces, it wasn't a big crowd but a crowd enough to fill my heart's content. Before I flew, my mom gave me a big hug and ended with, "Please take care!" I tried to ignore how worried she will be because I never really left home for this long before. I was pretty lost for words so I turned around and hastily waved goodbye because I remember I was rushing for my plane, of course I uploaded a photo on Instagram too. The gush of comments that flooded on that picture when I touched down in Narita for transit gave me more strength and courage, it amplified a kind of affirmation that this is the choice I should make. Thank you to all of you that left a comment.. It means a lot, even up till today. Don't belittle what words can do.
I have had an amazing time there. It seems almost too good to be true. I can go on and on about how happy a soul I had in me when I was in the U.S. and it never ends. I was doing cakes and I was traveling, how can life get better when you get to work your 2 passions hand in hand? To the point that almost at no time I felt any amount of negative emotion (except for upon returning home), it is good and bad in a way. It was a tough transition coming back home.
One year down the road, after the internship, many things happened, many things in my life has changed, though i'm still unclear if its for the better. Stepping out to a bigger world entirely changed what I used to think. One year ago there I was in my little bubble and 1 year later everything changed. It has been a journey of unfolding situations & surprises. I met people who hurt me but also I met many new people who influence and inspire me in a way I never thought. As cliche as it sounds, everything does happen for a reason; one day you will figure out why things turn out this way, and why some things didn't turn out the way you wanted it to be and why that was necessary. Looking back, I regretted doing a business degree when I could have set my heart on what I wanted to do earlier (but didn't have the courage to stand out from the crowd at the age of 19), but because of the 3 years I've lost to time, I want to work harder to make up for it, and I will not waste any opportunity to pursue this burning passion of mine. Who doesn't have regrets?
Like what Tiffany Mitchell said,
"If any part of your heart has fluttered at the thought of doing it... it needs to happen."
Now, the hard truth.
"Trying to make money from doing what you love is really the first step to killing your love for it. "
I have always love Kaysie Lackey- for how she always managed to pour out those words of mine stuck in my throat. Last year this time (before I flew) I wrote about how she points out all differences between a pastry chef and a cake decorator (read it here), which many put behind as a 'not as important' as pastry chef job, this year she did it again; "Welcome to the Real World in running your own bakery/ custom shop."
Contrary to the popular belief amongst homemakers- running your baking business sounds like the perfect idea to life...how about maybe not? Running from home and running it from your studio makes a world's difference. I know everyone has different thoughts but hey since you're reading here, you read it from my perspective. So now you may think churning it into a full-time business is the dream job, setting your own working hours, having a place- which actually is a huge responsibility to carry. Entrepreneurs who work with passion, work a million times harder and requires hell a lot more disciple than you can ever imagine, we don't do 9-5 or 9-6, we do 24/7. It is all about constantly facing your fears. It is..about building mental strength within yourself.
Kaysie Lackey is right, let me pull out some points that really hit the note:
"You have to really, really love cakes to bake and decorate for living."
Yes yes & hell yes. Because that is what you do all day, you do not get to rest on weekends like your peers do, and your public holidays are burnt with events and cake orders. Welcome to the upside down life. "Have I ever thought of quitting and getting a desk job? Yes. Sometimes. But I never want to stop doing cake decorating."
"Prepare to have spirit broken and your life taken over. Seriously, say goodbye to your life."
Another hell yes. "If you think you have pulled through your college mugging late nights, think again." Cake decorating goes late into the midnight, and weekends can start at 6am. That means lose your sleep, people. Sometimes when things get slow, you resurface every few weeks to see your friends (that's ghost festivals for us here, which actually usually happens around my birthday so yay I get to rest during my birthday period), then you disappear again for months. Especially when it hits big festive seasons like Christmas and New Years. Goodbye, all count downs. My friends actually do video them and send it to me.
"You don't get days off."
Because honestly, what is day off? Mondays where I usually get to slow things down, I need to sit down to get the paperwork going too. Registered business don't get you running away from all these. Meetings with clients, quotes, contracts................. they go a mile down the list. These are the things that may not cross your mind when you happily think, "Hey! I want to turn my cake making hobby into a full-time job!"
After saying all these negatives, am I discouraging you from pursing what you love? No. I'm just saying you have to prepare to constantly stand up no matter how many times you fall because this job is not a bed of roses and it will never be. Welcome to life.
Let's do a little timeline here maybe, for your entertainment...and for some self-encouragement!
That leap of Faith.
It wasn't easy managing such a huge leap from being a fresh grad to actually doing it as a career. Somewhat the gap year in 2014 did help a little.. Thank you, Faith for bringing me this far and not giving up even when some moments pursuing this dream got dark. Everyone makes mistakes, it is how you deal with it.
5 years ago, I stumbled across what I am doing now because of not being able to get into a local university, I used to hate to say 5 years ago because I had to look back and see how far I have aged (haha I kid, you grow wiser), I never had my heart set on doing this but throughout the years I have been digging this hole too deep for myself to climb out of it now. So here I am. I actually cannot wait to see where the next 5 years will bring me to.
Sometimes when you lack energy and you feel depleted, look back. It will take you through chapters of your life and make sure you focus on how you have changed and improved for the better, once you get your heart set back on the positive side, you get the groove going again. I'm sure every career has its moments... but you do have to make sure the positive are more and more worth it than the negative, because life as it is, will have its ups and downs, without the downs, you will never feel the full contentment of the ups. (Note to self too)
Within these 5 years, nothing would have been possible without the support of any of you guys, be it you're the one reading silently or the one who stepped up to tell me how you feel. Know that I treasure all of these, because it is, like what I've said, always a two-way street. Dearest friends and family, and you, I do not often say these but really, I just want to say a big thank you. Words either make or break a person; choose to focus on the positive and let that bring you further in life. There're many dark moments in this journey too, but you guys pushed so much further than I can ever imagined myself to go. Thank you.
Never stop learning.
Often it baffles people why I started workshops to teach people as well. Well I can choose to keep all that I learnt to myself but I choose to believe in building a better and more sharing community, I was really narrow minded before I left for this trip and I came home with a (much) open mind. Sometimes you need to.. believe; that the world has so much more for us take in and give as well, and in the midst of giving, we are constantly absorbing, I learnt so much from my students, both local or international students. The words and advices they gave are priceless. Ain't we all happier this way! I met so many new people and learn about so many interesting stories! That is one of my goals in life too, so I'm fulfilling them all :)
I will not stop my dream from learning from my inspirations worldwide. I have had one down, and I will not stop there, definitely not a status quo person. But of course we do have to take realities into consideration. Another world learning trip? Not the right time now but that will be my next goal. Make plans, & work hard to make those plans/ dreams come true. Can't wait to learn more!!!
Who would have expected this?!?!!!! My cakes being featured on Her World Brides magazine (!!!) 2 features in an issue, this feels so unreal. So honoured and flattered. 1 year ago should I not pack my bags and leave to the States I don't think with my previous skill set this will ever happen. I can hardly believe this. I remembered I lost my normal cycle of life during this phase. But, still so really thankful to the amazing mentor Maggie Austin, Jess & the amazing people who made this happen. xx
Mantra for life.
"Dreams don't work unless you do."
Remember, nobody said it would be easy but nothing in life worth having ever is.
Thank you & Happy 1 year anniversary, Faith.
Loads of love,