This year, I embarked on a new creative journey with ideas that began this month, last year. Through it all, there were many moments of anxiety, imposter syndrome, borderline panic attacks, stress, and plenty of crying (much due to other happenings, e.g., the pandemic, anti-Asian hate, and personal life matters). Alongside it, there were also many moments of excitement, laughter, lightheartedness, joy, and gratitude. The beginning of The Mealea Collection marked a fresh chapter that I needed and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Through The Mealea Collection, I taught myself a variety of new skills. Not really sure where I was going, my earrings took off and next thing I knew, I was thrust into the limelight. As someone who’s used to and feels comfortable being in the background, I didn’t know how to feel about it all at first. But I soon understood that the growth of my project and ideas meant I needed to grow too.
As I reflect on this year and part of last year, I can see how much I’ve grown. There are some things that no longer makes me that nervous. Opportunities that I previously would have turned down, I said ‘yes’ to. I feel more at ease with expressing myself and simply being who I am (especially in online spaces). And as someone who often suffers from becoming bored of new creative pursuits after a period of time, continuing to make earrings for this long is one of my biggest personal surprises of all.
The Mealea Collection opened up new ways to express my creative self, allowed me to grow, and helped carve out my own distinct space at the proverbial table (that being the online creative/small business community). I also connected with a number of amazing people, namely with other Khmer artists, writers, etc. I loved growing alongside my community this year and want to continue growing together in 2022 and beyond! We are all doing imperative work and bringing various forms of creativity to the table — a table that is truly our own.
I’ve come to learn that success can be defined in different ways, so I can positively say that 2021 was a successful year for me all around. Thank you to everyone who supported me on this creative journey of mine. May 2022 be filled with more wins!
Happy New Year!