March has been crazy. April has been chill… or some would call it the calm before the storm that will be May. I’ve been working on the details to my upcoming Asia trip and slowly decluttering the house to move from a familiar haven that’s been home for the last thirteen years. It’s a bittersweet time for me; I’ve lived in this house since grade six. I don’t really want to leave, but I’m also anticipating a new beginning. Which would be a welcome one if the move wasn’t conflicting with my busy May schedule. Fate has a funny way of throwing everything it’s got at once.

I’ve been working on a project since early February. The vision has changed throughout the process, and the final details were worked out with my good friend J. over coffee and pistachio cake. We named it #unlace.

#unlace was inspired by the Postsecret show. The show began as a community art project where a Maryland artist Frank Warren invited people all over the world to anonymously mail in their secrets on a postcard. He had never expected the volume of entries. As he received everything from lighthearted quirks to the dark depths of the human mind, he felt motivated to share them with others. Postsecret began as a website, which later on developed a short-lived mobile app. The shows, despite the small-scale notoriety, has a dedicated following. I became part of that community in the autumn of 2014.

Presenting #unlace was intimidating. I’ve tried not to script my thought processes and speak from my journey and passions to connect all kinds of people together. Luckily for me, #unlace was well-received and I received lots of positive feedback, and from that feedback, a mentor remarked that I could pursue counselling to be immersed in people’s stories. I don’t think I’ve ever been so mesmerized over a single remark. I’ve taken Counselling Psychology courses in my past and while I don’t want to apply theoretical principles to people’s multifaceted lives, I’ve come to understand that it’s beyond simply fixing a perceived problem. I’ve consulted that same mentor and a career counselor later on about this potential new career change.

I love what I’m currently doing. I’m involved in a foundation tracking project in which I research a list of donors and inquire to see if they are interested in funding future projects. Before I came upon this area of non-profit social work, I’ve never developed a passion for research and writing proposals. However, with the skills I’ve developed through my academic years, I’ve used these acquired skills to provide social services to those who are in need of such resources. Everyday I have people coming up genuinely thanking me for my work. It’s so rewarding when all I do is sit in front of a computer all day. I’ve never thought that learning to write research and thesis papers could make my heart swell with so much pride.

But I’ve always craved to be more hands on. I wanted to feel a person’s humanity through my fingers. Help someone find their smile again. The career counselor suggested I do some travelling and immerse myself in diverse social services and cultures, then base my Master’s Degree off my experience instead of textbook knowledge. Then, I can choose to practice counselling in a clinical setting — apparently a Master’s Degree in counselling relieves one of liability issues.

As of this moment, I’m not 100% sure that clinical counselling is what I’m looking for. However, I still can’t say for sure that I know what I’m looking for; maybe that’s not a question everyone should have an answer for. But I like the idea of working in the social services of different, vibrant cultures. I’m sure it’ll be overwhelming at times, but I’m really looking forward to it.

One of the best analogies I’ve received this year is that light and shadow coexist. Without light, there wouldn’t be shadow. And if there was just light, there wouldn’t be anything occupying that space. It’s a little artsy-fartsy way of saying that there is always more than what is perceived. Darkness can scar and destroy the foundation we build ourselves off of, but from that destruction comes regenerative growth we could’ve never prepared ourselves for. If we’ve never faced conflict, there wouldn’t be anything anything to push us to mature and wake up wiser every day. Since my timeline post, I’ve been thinking about my journey. I fell in love with fine arts just to have it ripped away after three years, sending my life direction into a spiraling tailspin. Then, I came across my branch of social work which I never could’ve imagined would make me so happy. If it wasn’t for everything good and bad that’s happened upon me, I don’t know what kind of person I would be today.

It can be depressing to come across a dead tree, but it takes a few steps back to see a vast forest. That space will succumb to decay but in time it will be inhabited by a new, strong seedling.

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