Not Your Ordinary Year-End Blurb

No, this is not your ordinary year-end essay writing contest entry.

2016 has been a pretty full year for me. I got my fair share of ups and downs and who would have thought I’ll make it ’til the end. Well good news is — I’m here! I’d like to say I survived the hell out of this year and I was hoping my photos are great ensembles of how it went.

They are — somehow, but not quite. 

Honestly, I’m afraid my life doesn’t look as great as how my photos on Facebook and Instagram appear on your feed. The glitz and glamour somehow did a good job in concealing what has been a drastic moment of depression and anxiety. This is my year-end monologue and while this seems like an “over personal” post, allow me to share with you my goodbye-2016 parting thoughts. Maybe some of you could relate, others may not. But experiences when shared, teach us something. So we begin.

This is the year of so many “first times”.

This year, I had my first runway walk, my first endorsement, my first commercial, my first series of shoots, my first blog entry. I can’t believe that instance when I first received a thousand likes and a round of overwhelming comments on a certain Instagram post. I instantly felt kilig when one of my followers approached me and asked if we can have a photo together. Am I happy? Of course, I am.

Or at least, I thought I am. 

Behind this hyper personal feed is a girl who has been through a lot of inner battles and has almost given up on life. When people say life is tough, they mean it.

While things went out generally well (online), my inner self was losing its soul. This is the year when I first experienced a terrible heartbreak. A time when I thought death is not just a convenient but also a smart form of escape. I had to validate myself a number of times. Was’t I good enough? Wasn’t I lovable enough? What have I done to deserve this?

This is the year when I thought my social media self is my real self. I got too conscious about taking good photos and choosing the right filters. I orchestrated trips, invested on fur backgrounds, invented a few happy moments and left some people just to take that instagram-worthy shot. I missed a lot of genuine things as I thrive to look good online with the hopes that people will like me more. I did a lot of things to please my Facebook and Instagram audience. The likes sound like loud “here-heres” and praising comments are like money bags that hit home. I got that sense of social value as my followers increase, as my friends circle got bigger, as I get more event invites and recognitions.

This is the year when I value image more than self-worth. My daily goal is to please others because I thought this is where I find real “happiness”. The first time someone hit me with a negative comment, I got lost. My insecurities swallowed me and I lost my self esteem in just a snap. Am I ugly? Am I not charming?

2017 is a new book

Yes, 2016 has been tough but I’m happy I learned a lot. I tried to recover from all that has happened and today, as I look back, I’ve realised one important thing – cliche as it may sound but this new year marks a new beginning, an opportunity for me to be better and to be stronger.

This year, I’m doing things for myself and pleasing other people is the least of my concerns.

This new year, I’ll stop living the filtered life and focus on being the real me. I’ll stop mingling with people I do not like and doing things that are not aligned with my values.

I’ll try my best to veer away from the daily dark holes and promise to live a more fulfilling cap. It doesn’t sound easy but I know I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna take chances in love and in new friendships. I’m gonna explore places and surprise myself with all the big and little stuff. I’m gonna take snaps of people and landscapes not for social media but for my personal art. I’m gonna try new things and I promise, I’ll find more meaning in life this time.

This is my personal wish and this is my wish for you too.

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15 comments

  1. It sounds like you had a real struggle inside you! The good thing is that you came out with a victory and now you face the future with an optimistic view! That ‘s good for you, you are a winner of the life!
    Congrats and I wish you have the best year!

  2. Bravo to you, Shai. I’m sorry you had a time of depression there, and that you experienced pain: I totally get you. Having been a blogger full time for six years (not in the same niche, of course), there come several times when we are forced to look at ourselves and assess ourselves, if we are truly happy with this lifestyle. I must admit, in the beginning I relished in all the opportunities, but as my kids needed me more, and as I began to grow my business, I began to do less and less of the events, branded gigs, sponsorships, and the whole “curated” life. When life hands you moments of self-reflection, just be all there in the moment, learn all you can, let go of what isn’t essential to your growth as a person, and commit to be your best, your authentic self. I wish you the best this new year, you deserve it!

  3. I hope our 2017 will be friendlier to us. Your 2016 may be a little tough but you were able to project such a brave soul we never had an idea of such depression. I wasnt there during your blog launch but I was happy for you. I dont know. We may not know each other but it feels like your success makes me hopeful. You inspire others the way you inspire me. Keep on inspiring us.

  4. Contrary to what most people say, I think experiencing depression and going through emotional roller coaster are the best thing that could happen to you. For it is in moments of vulnerability that you could know yourself more if you chooses to. It is during the weak moments when your character takes shape. Decisions made based on reactions and emotions may not always be right, but used as a guide, it is powerful in forming your path.

  5. My 2016 was full of challenges as well. But it was also filled with many blessings and amazing achievements. I started the year with a lot of dreams and goals (as usual). Then, our maid left. I had to delay my goal of finishing another book or mounting another live event. Yet, at the end of the year, when I listed my blessings for 2016, I was amazed that I have achieved a lot still, even without a maid and 3 kids to care for. We even got to cover a lot of topics in our homeschool and went to a number of field trips. Amazing grace! I wish you more firsts this 2017 and many wonderful memories to make you truly happy. 🙂

  6. There were a lot of new things that happened for me in 2016 as well. Happy for your firsts!! I’m sure your 2017 will be filled with more adventures. It won’t be smooth but it will be fun. And yes, do what makes you happy.

  7. I can totally relate. Our situations are totally different but depression and anxiety hits us just the same. I’ve been there several times, I’ve also have thoughts that ending it all will be very convenient. I’m sending virtual hugs to you now and I hope that this year will give you so much strength and faith to reach new heights. Cheers! 🙂

  8. Those questions you asked yourself, I asked them to myself 4 years ago. It felt really heavy inside like I want to stop breathing, always questioning myself why am I not enough? But believe me when I say someone will always come by and make you forget all those. Having read this made me see you as a strong woman. So keep your hopes up for this year and happiness will come to you. xoxo

  9. Wow! I’m sorry you went through this – there are some nasty people that jus like to steal people’s thunder! For what it’s worth, I love your photography and the look of your blog. It’s absolutely chic and stunning.

    Best wishes to 2017!

  10. Congrats on realizing you need to put more value in your self-worth rather than your self-image. I love the honesty in this post. You don’t have to please everyone, your real followers will always stick around even if you use random filters! XD

  11. Wow! I didn’t expect that you considered death at one point amidst the heartbreaks. That’s quite heavy! I thank God for giving you strength to rise above it all and for being able to recognize the countless blessings you’re receiving. I’m excited for you this 2017 as you show your true self. I’m sure it will create more opportunities for you and more followers too. It was a pleasure meeting you last year in person. Hoping to see you again Shai! 🙂

  12. It’s easy to get swept up with fame but always remember that at the end of the day, it is the people around you who love you for who you are, messy hair and what not that truly matters. Cheers to your realization.

  13. I totally get the frustration about getting the pictures rights for social media, when you’re a blogger, you always want everything perfect, and it’s okay, and I’m going through this. But when you’re struggling it’s okay to change perspective, and sometimes it’s interesting to do so. Furthermore, you’re right, 2017 should be more about yourself and less about what people think, and it’s all that matters. Definitely, we should stop comparing ourselves to others, because it doesn’t bring anything goof either! Happy New Year! x

    http://tomboychronicle.com

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