I've taken longer than usual to write this post. 2012 was a tumultuous year—a stark contrast to last year. I've had a hard time trying to find the right thing to say about it, and the truth is, there is no one right thing to sum up the year. It was emotionally and mentally challenging, and I am still exhausted. It has drained me in every aspect, in particular, creatively: something I've never experienced before, and it certainly is discomforting. For the first time in my life, I have been lost. I am so used to being put-together and knowing what I want that it took me some time to even realise that firstly, I was deeply unhappy, and secondly, I had lost sight of what I wanted, and what I truly loved.
I was stuck in-between the life I was setting up based on low expectations of what I could achieve, and the life that I could have, after now realising with eyes wide open, that at some point, I had shut myself down and made myself small.
All the big dreams I was determined to achieve for years when I was younger, I let go after I entered the "real world", became successful within a stable job, and let myself be comfortable with all that was presented to me. I became part of that expected "system", did all the right things, lived a life that was "safe". Gone was the girl that made goals, confident that she would achieve them, knowing that she would do whatever she could do get there. Unknowingly, I had started living with the belief that I was not good enough to be successful in my career—I knew I was good, but I stopped believing I would be great. That I would get where I had always dreamed I would go. I produced so little new work this year because of this.
In order to let more doors open, I need to let go of what I've become comfortable with. The life I was just beginning to set up is now no longer the life I am satisfied with living. It's been made clear to me, by others undoubtedly wiser, more experienced, more successful, and more liberated than I, that I give myself far less credit than I should. That I have so much more potential than I know; that I could, in fact, get to all the places I wanted to go, if only I could believe in myself. It surprised me that I had lost so much faith in myself, and that others seemed to know more about me and my own abilities than I did.
I have been brought to many a moment of confusion, in this year of the in-between. In 2013, I'll be getting to know myself and where I want to go again. I will make the plans I had been wanting to make; plans I let go in favour of things that were safe, and known. I will push myself to do the work that I thought I couldn't do. I want to continue to create work with substance; work that speaks of me, of the things that hit a nerve, or tug at a heartstring. I will devote all my focus to all my big dreams, and let go of all the small stuff that weighs me down. I will become a truer version of myself.
In typical fashion, you won't see any signs of the year's hardships in the "highlights" photos below. But this year, I'll be making an effort to change that: our lives are so full of constant contrast, of good and bad, that it would be a disservice to the entire idea of being human not to capture both sides of the story.
I hope you grab life by its metaphorical balls this year, too—but just in case you forget, here's something to remind you. Dream big.