Journaling was not good self-therapy

Not for me.

It worked for a while. I’d get up early in the morning or staying up late at night. That was my time alone. And when I’m alone, the voices in my head get stronger.

So I journaled.

I wrote down what I dreamt of last night, what I thought about today, how the things were not going my way, and how I blamed myself for everything that happened and didn’t happen.

I wrote down the solution, the resolution, how I’m going to improve myself, building up a system and sticking to it. And I also wrote that I should stop being lazy and a disappointment.

Because EVERYONE can do it. Whatever that “it” means.

If I CAN’T do it, it’s my fault and my fault alone.

That was what I journaled, every day, for a year.

Then I got depressed. Who wouldn’t?

Journaling serves as a way of looking internally, of saying the truth, of self-reflection.

But when things — those negative things — started to repeat, I should have stopped writing and notice that pattern.

I was so busy with self-reflecting, I didn’t see that I was trapped in that negative, self-blaming circle.

Journaling not only let you express yourself, it also helps you discover the truth that’s hidden behind your consciousness.

But there’s a vital step to do beside only writing, writing, and writing — you have to actually read what you wrote, in order to see much about yourself that you didn’t know.

And this if step is missing, journaling is not helping you as the way it should be.

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A rock and a river

I used to think that I was a rock with sharp edges. And the world around me was like water and wind. The only thing they’d do was to change me.

All that I wanted to do was to resist that change.

Resisting was the main thing I did. It’s the first reaction to anything that made me uncomfortable and wonder.

I thought I was surrounded by “the norms” — how I was supposed to be — and I was trying to get out of those boxes.

So I rebeled. I kept resisting.

Until resisting became a part of me, my identity, a self-designed box.

When will I be ready to set myself free from that box?

When I finally realise that I can choose not to be a rock that’s almost hostile toward the world. And when I know that I can choose to reconcile and let myself be enriched from the good and the bad, the happiness and the tragedies.

I’m not a rock.

I am a river.

Kraft paper book covers

I thought that was… paper. Thin, wrinkled paper. But it was the wall.

Like one of those chairs that look deceptively comfortable. But when you sit on them, you’d say, “Oh, it’s made of plastic.”

This paper looking wall reminded me of the Kraft paper my grandma used to buy for me. He used them to make covers for my text books and notebooks, so that my books would remain as tidy as possible.

After putting on the cover, my grandpa would use a blue pen, write my name and class number on the cover in perfect Chinese calligraphy.

Some children used to take pride in having tidy textbooks with no rolled-up corners. And I was one of them. It showed how much I took care of those books. With neatly written notes on every page in different colours, my books told people how much I was learning, how much thoughts I got from those pages.

I was a proud kid in school for most of the years.

But I was not proud because of having a well-used and tidy textbook collection. I was proud because my parents and grandparents were proud of my exemplary textbooks and my good scores.

And putting on the Kraft paper cover is the first step of getting there. It’s the ritual towards a deep dive into that book and some learning experience and results that would make my family proud.

This first step is serious, solemn, full of hope and loaded with expectation.

It’s one of my favourite school memories.

More time and more money? Pay attention to this

Guess what it is.

Grand goal? Endurance? Persistence?

They are all important… but there’s something that are in front of our eyes the whole time, but we sometimes choose not to see them.

When we talk about our work, our encounters with our clients and partners, what always seem invisible but crucial?

You have your goals set, plans made, ideas validated and you have started working on achieving them.

You encounter roadblocks and you overcome them; you have problems and you solve them.

You generate new ideas despite it’s difficult and frustrating as hell.

Still, something still so small are still causing troubles. They are everywhere and they really frustrate us.

Because if we fail to see them, we’ve got to redo our work, and the setback can mean days, weeks, or worse.

They are called “details”.

No matter whether you think you are a “big picture” person or an executioner, a dreamer or a producer, you are a fool if you say that you don’t need to care about the details.

Even for trials, details are significant indicators to whether something might work or not. Every designer should know that.

Some details might really don’t matter that much. But the ability to pay attention to detail is a must have. Because you don’t know which one detail is more important than others when you are in the flow of creating.

Time is the most valuable currency. Lacking of attention to details turns out to be extremely costly.

So if you want to be productive and rich, you know I’m right.

The name

Give it a name so that it can be seen.

Give it a name so that it can have a voice, can be heard.

Give it a name so that it can be understood.


Strip away the name so that it can stay how it is since the beginning.

Strip away the name so that it can go anywhere.

Strip away the name so that it can be anything.

Strip away the name so that it can be free.

The only thing on my New Year’s Resolution list

Happy new year.

Something popped into my mind last night before I fell asleep: I am longing for an honest life. 

A life that’s light, so that I don’t have to play games. I don’t have to lie to anyone and myself. 

A life that’s heavy, for I will have to take the consequences honesty brings. 

An honest life that I can provide my daughter, so that she knows behind the lightness and heaviness, is freedom.

And freedom is the most expensive thing in the world.

The thing you can’t buy with money, or any other material things. 

The thing that you can only earn with making the right choices.

And the only standard of making these choices is, simply, honesty.

To live as honest as I can — the only item on my New Year’s Resolution list for the year 2022.

If you can only put one thing on your New Year’s Resolution list, what would it be?

Want to achieve something in 2022? Read this. (a letter to myself)

Dear 2022 Clear,

It’s been an exciting year for us. A lot of new things happened that opened our eyes to the world of pregnancy, mothers and parenthood. We have grown so much in terms of creative skills and even expanded our interest to the graphic designing world. 

But you know what you want the most is what you haven’t achieved yet. 

You know that you can experience all the love and peace the world has to offer, but still feeling less fulfilled. You know what’s missing and you are ready to get it in the upcoming year.


These are the things I want to remind you, if you want to finally achieving those professional and personal goals in 2022:

1. Think from your gut. Sounds strange?  This is what I meant: Listen to your gut, but don’t let your emotion override everything.

Keep cool so that you can use your “thinking” to make out a good plan. A plan to achieve your goal, to make yourself feel fulfilled. You can do that. Because you have everything you need in your hands. Just need to make a plan and carry it out.

2. Write, just write. Don’t care about the likes and claps, subscriptions mean nothing to you. If you want to keep writing, forget about checking other people’s reaction to it. What others think is irrelevant to what you write. At least for now. 

3. Keep the setup simple. Use a pen and notebook to write. Or one app. Or one platform. Minimise the distraction of fancy tools and software. Use only everything essential.

3. Don’t be a road block to yourself. You’ve got enough other stuff standing your way. Self-doubt, perfectionism,  big ego and low self-esteem are powerful reasons why you won’t achieve anything you want in life.

4. Stop overthinking and do it already. Take the first step forward and you will know where your second step should be. Small steps, small achievements, lead to bigger things.

5. Tweak your plan, don’t start a new one. If you absolutely need a new plan to reach one goal, your goal might be the wrong one.

6. Write down your goal and plan, even execution calendar on a piece of paper. Read it everyday in the morning to remind yourself of them. 

I know you tend to forget your goal and your plans. They are important to you but you still forget about them. If you have them on a piece of paper, you will remind yourself every morning in the simplest and most direct way possible. 

Don’t put it in an app where you can snooze it away. Don’t write it in a notebook that you can put away.

Stick the paper on the ceiling above your bed, on your fridge, next to your workstation or your TV. Make a poster of it and hang the poster in your living room… Stick your goal and your plan even your schedule in front of your nose. Because you know how likely you will forget about them and then hate yourself for it.

7. Use the power of peers. Find a circle of people who can support you professionally AND emotionally. Find your accountability group. You won’t easily give up if you are watched. Or even better: supported.

8. Help others however you can, as often as you can. Helping others without expecting rewards will help with your own depressive thoughts, anxieties, loneliness… This is how you can truly feel fulfilled. You know that. Helping others is loving yourself.


These are all the advice I want to give you for now. You know your worst enemy is yourself. You know exactly why you’ve given up so often and what really stands between you and what you want to be. 

So tomorrow is a brand new day. The first day of a brand new year. You are on the right track. Just keep going. And don’t forget about enjoy the ride.

2021 Clear

Mothers in a box

I want to say this: “I gave birth to my baby a few months ago. But somehow, I don’t see myself as a mother.”

A strange thing to say.

Let me try again.

“I don’t feel like I am a mother…”

Still strange.

If I describe this feeling very literately, it’s like the following:

There’s a certain way I thought all the mothers are supposed to behave and “be”. I believe, subconsciously I used my own mother as a prototype for the content of this box. And all the other mothers, more or less, fit into this category.

They are loving, strong, fearless, sometimes unreasonable, sometimes simple but wise, gentle, strict, controlling, protective…

I know what you are going to say. “But these are just adjectives to describe people. Anyone can be described with one or more of these words.”

But come on, you know what I mean.

They are not just like one or all of the above adjectives.

They are… mothers.

“Mother” is not a cluster of adjectives. It feels like a huge box that contains much more.

But I don’t think I fit into this category. Maybe it’s just how I see myself. Maybe for others, I am already a mother. And I’m right there in that category box with all the other mothers in this world, including my girlfriends whom I’ve known since we were kindergarteners, and the cat I know who just got kittens.

But what if I’m wrong?

What if there’s no such category? Maybe there are just human beings being motherly loving to their children. Yes, they are mothers. But they are still humans. They are humans before the birth of their children, and afterwards they are still the humans as they were before.

What’s added is just their love for their children.

I expected myself now to be more different than before. To my surprise, I haven’t changed much in the last two months.

I still love food, Pablo Naruda and Viola Davis.

I still like to watch people putting on makeups and outfits but not to do that myself.

I still love torturing myself with philosophical questions, self-doubts, and self-induced existential anxieties…

I’m still me.

I have another person in my life for whom I’m responsible for the next 18 years. I have experienced enormous, surreal love for life and this world. I have encountered the version of myself that is extremely brave and strong.

I’ve evolved in some ways. But I am still a human.

I am a mother now.

But I am still me.

And I don’t want to try to fit in a box.

If you have put yourself in that box. Well, get rid of the box.

Plan for 2022: write a memoir

Who writes memoirs?

I thought only old and very famous people write memoirs. They must have much to say about their experience. And it’d be interesting for the world to know their side of the story. Because their view matters.

I want to write a memoir next year.

I’m not old. I’m in my early thirties. And I’m not famous either. Nobody cares about my past experience. Nobody cares about my point of view on things.

My view doesn’t matter to anyone…

Any one but myself.

I’m writing a memoir for myself.

I’m writing it because I was lost for a few years. I fell off track and couldn’t come back for a long time. I want to look back at when and how it happened. “Face it,” I hear myself saying, “so that you can grow from it.”

I’m writing it because I start to forget about things. Things that I wish I can keep in my memories forever. Like in the film “Coco”, we live to be remembered; we exist as long as we are remembered. I simply want to keep some people alive in mine, in the only way I know how.

I’m writing it because I’m feeling stuck in my own life. There are things I want that I don’t know how to get them; and doors I don’t want to go in but they were wide open. It feels like I’m standing mid-way in my life but I have to start from scratch anyway. I feel there’s nothing in my hand, since the “me” in the past didn’t earned us anything useful for the future.

I’m writing it for my child. I care about her view on me when she wants to know about me. And I want her to know my side of my own stories.

I’m writing it from the earliest memories of mine. I’m writing about my family, my childhood, my school time, friendships, rebellious time, struggles, persistence, dreams… choices, heartaches, hopes, disappointments, the beautiful and the ugly…

As a storyteller, finally I’m telling my own story.

That’s going to be quite a project. That’s why it’s going to be the project of the year 2022. I will keep this channel posted about the exact plan and record my progress.

2021 Keyword: Reflection

I had to take a step back from work this year.

Unfortunately, I had to do so. But fortunately, I got to do that. Because I was told by a health professional that I needed time to heal. And in my heart, I knew I did.

Starting in March, I was on this journey called “healing while being pregnant”. It was chaotic in my head — many thoughts, sadness, anxieties, fears… I didn’t know when and how to start to feel better, what to do to make myself feel a little bit better. Even a painkiller would have done the trick.

But there’s no real healing from quick solutions like taking painkillers.

Pain is part of this journey. It can’t be erased. It can only be transformed.

And transformation needs time.

My instinct was to not think about anything else in my life but focus on my pregnancy. Yet the pregnancy can’t prevent me from thinking about my own mother, who passed away not long ago. 

Life has given me time to work intensively on the biggest trauma in my life. 

Because I needed time. If I kept working and running around in this world, this wouldn’t be possible.

Interesting timing.

So I started thinking about the word “motherhood”. Never pondered on it. Ever.

As someone who never wanted to become a parent, I pushed myself into finding the little hope in my heart, shining through the cracks in a think brick concrete wall called “cynicism”. And that, the “cynicism”, was just fear wearing a mask.

What came with the hope I found was reflection. Day and night.

I reflected on myself. Who am I and who do I want to be? Where does this kid stand in my world when it arrives?

I reflected on my mother. Who she was and how she was like as a mother?

I reflected on my own childhood. How was it and what has possibly caused me to be me today? Both the pleasant and the unpleasant parts.

How do other people raise their children? What kind of mothers are they? 

I watched documentaries about babies and read books on children’s early development. I saved articles on the psychological impact of childhood on people, and mother-child relationship dynamics and their effects on the children’s lives.

I was restless.


Now I’m here. A baby in my arms.

I feel happy and peaceful.

I still relentlessly reflect on everything. I’m here, and still going on the journey of healing.

But I’m proud to say it’s been going well.

I’ve started this journey and been doing well without even noticing it. 

All thanks to focusing on my one and only task: learning about motherhood and parenting through reflection.

And when gratitude comes as a by-product of this process, healing is working in the background, silently.