My whole life, I had set myself up for something big (brace yourselves, this is a long one).

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Looking for the great wide somewhere

“I’m going to be a writer.”

When I was 12, I decided I wanted to be a novelist (still do, frankly). I turned 12 in 2009, so you have to remember this was the time where the shining, sparkling dawn of Stephenie Meyer and her army of equally shining, sparkling vampires blew up on all the bookshelves and movie posters so writing a novel didn’t seem like too big of a task for the me who had yet to figure out the difference between you’re, your, it’s and its. I mean, how hard could it be to write a cheesy story about beautiful, supernatural creatures? I’m not even trying to be sarcastic, I was genuinely obsessed (House of Night, anybody?).

I had it all planned out. I had the fancy title, the main character’s name – the works. It was going to be about beautiful bloodsuckers training together in an epic elite school and falling into forbidden love (sound familiar?). I could already see its acclaim – New York Times, Washington Post – it was going to hit #1 on all the bestseller lists!

Then my mom discovered my drafts and laughed – and I stopped.

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God bless satire

“I’m going to be a star.”

Right after the writer phase, I somehow got it into my head (for quite some time) that I was an extremely talented singer and songwriter. I had no stomach to do it all on my own so over the course of several years, I got together with and disbanded several of my friends and I. The only productive thing we got out of it was a YouTube channel that one of us currently uses as a personal method of perusal.

When my band/duet dreams died in the plenty of afternoons we spent starting a cover and not finishing it, I got a new idea into my head. Why couldn’t I go solo? I could sing and play the piano and I had a phone with decent recording quality – what else do you need to get big on YouTube? Furthermore, the K-Pop craze was peaking. What could be a more perfect musical assemble/marketing strategy than emailing all the contacts of recording companies I could find online about my brilliant idea of a “fusion” group and getting picked up for it (I got no replies, obviously)?

I had all the concepts for our albums ready, including how many we would release. I posted a total of TWO videos on YouTube, waiting for them to explode.

But when I got only 40 views in a couple of weeks – I stopped.

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How could you not want to be part of this ensemble? 


At 18, I looked back and felt just a little bitter, and not to mention disappointed at how I hadn’t been given the things I promised myself in my stage mom frenzy. Now at 19, I look back and I laugh, but I also learn.

It goes without saying that nothing comes without hard work and dedication, but there are also things you should continue to pursue whether or not you have the validation.

Just like this blog – WordPress just congratulated me on hitting 10 likes. A few years ago I would have deleted this entire blog out of the shame, “I’m not viral enough!”, or consoled myself blogging wasn’t what I was meant to do. But I’m not about to do that right now. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be a big thing. Sometimes, it’s just for you.


3 thoughts on “It Doesn’t Have To Be Big

  1. As someone who has picked up various hobbies, ambitions and goals over the years and consecutively dropping them for other activities, I can say, most of the fun is not in “achieving”.

    Nope, the bulk of the fun I had was the late nights staying up building a ping-pong table out of scrap wood after I had convinced myself that I was to be Malaysia’s First Gold Medalist at Ping Pong.

    The fun was hanging out with Andrew at the pool trying to not drown while Scuba Diving or writing proposals of how I would run Penang when I finally become Chief Minister.

    Or yelling, screaming a horrendous rendition of Linkin Park into a microphone while strumming gaily a guitar that belonged to someone else!

    All in all, what I’m trying to say is, keep it up! Write that cheesy vampire novel. Sing! Sing terribly and freely! Act without remorse!

    I shall exit with a line from Rudyard Kipling’s If:

    “If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;”


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