Saturday, June 18, 2011

Upclose and Personal 1.

In my world, colors can be delicious,
and flowers can be handsome.
In my world, fairies can be ugly,
and wheat can be everything but wholesome.
In my world, raw garlic can be aromatic,
and flour can be sweet.
In my world, perfection can be a disaster,
and boiling water can be neat.
In my world, the sky can be any color it wants,
and a chameleon can be no other color but green.
In my world, sugar can be sensitive,
and butter can be a drama queen.

In my world, I am everything but me.

I like to believe I am still five at heart. I still get excited over a bowl of ice cream, and the sight of Hello Kitty makes me smile from ear to ear. I have once been told that such actions and characteristics were perceived as a lack in professionalism and that I should stop. Those were not the nicest and easiest words to hear, but it made me reflect back on myself. (I honestly think it's good to hear such criticism from time to time.) Perhaps, it was time for me to grow up. Perhaps, it was time for me to wear a more serious hat and face.

And then I realized, wait, my personal choices, my likes and dislikes, have nothing to do with professionalism. I mean, others don't get judged if they absolutely hate brussel sprouts or peas. Why should I change what I like? Why should I act perfect when I am not? Such small, but fairly harmless, coiled lies will soon unravel itself and make me seem like an insecure, lost soul.

Then, there was a time when someone told me she doubted my passion because I was hesitant to take an unpaid internship position that was completely irrelevant to cakes or wedding planning. Huh?!

I graduated both university and culinary school two years ago, and I am learning so much about the real world these days. Truth be told, I grew up in a bubble-- a bubble where basically the whole town had successfully achieved the American Dream. The whole city was so perfect, almost cookie cutter perfect. All the houses had perfectly mowed lawns and well-pruned trees and shrubs. The shillings on most houses were chipless and clean, the paint on houses always fresh (regardless of age) from consistent upkeep. The residents were nice and everyone seemed to be living stable, happy lives. And, seemingly, almost every student in school was excelling in academics. I was deeply and heavily blessed to grow up in such a clean and positive environment.

College (University) was definitely an eye-opener, and studying abroad in London for a semester definitely changed my perspective on things and has attributed to my growing maturity. However, I think moving back home has opened my eyes the most. (Yes, I am a Boomerang kid of today's Boomerang Generation.) It made me realize how narrow-minded I have been.

At one point, influenced by the environment I grew up in, I thought money = success. Success was all about the car one drove, the number of designer bags one had, the square footage of one's house. To me, success was so number driven. Thankfully, today, I think otherwise. As cliche and as corny as it sounds, I think true success is doing what you love and not caring about what other people think. The former is quite easy to do, but the latter is, well, a long battle with Me, Myself and I. But luckily, the battle has an end and with the fall of the walls new opportunities arise.

I have emphasized this a few times before, but to those interested in starting a career in this field: it is not easy. You have to realize that majority of the cake-related television shows are based on successful, thriving businesses. (And by saying this, I am in no way saying that those not on television are not successful.) Reality is, there is a lot more to this industry than just success and money. The road to success is long and hard, and in the words of my wise and talented cake designer friend Roxanne, "... people exaggerate their success and underplay the challenges of starting out."

Everyone has a humble beginning, and those who succeed do so because they do not lose focus on their passion. Well, more importantly, as I have come to realize, they succeed because they do not lose their personal identity.


  1. Well said! I've been going through a similar experience myself. Its amazing how many people around you can be quick to judge and tell you to change who you are and what you are about. Your definition of success, do what you love and not care what others think, is perfect. Really identifies with myself as well. Good for you putting it out there. Stick to your guns! ;)

  2. Way to go! Well said and so grateful for your saying it as it is! Its always good to be reminded about what we want to achieve. Reading your post inspires me to keep going!

  3. the real world . no such thing . i like to believe :) . keep going strong Stella .

  4. Preach on sister! Success is being able to ignore the nay-sayers and press on with your hopes, dreams, and goals. Sometimes my ambitions sound outlandish even to myself, but you have to keep believing you can achieve it. Speak it, believe it, and receive it!