I wanted to write earlier to be absolutely honest; but between a trip to Mendoza for my friend Charlyse’s wedding; food photography for a new client, plus meet ups with different groups of friends, this post somehow got postponed until today.
I’m at my neighborhood Bonafide café, where I’ve come to in search of a change in environment and hopefully inspiration. The subject that’s been on my mind for a few weeks has kept me thinking; but I’m still struggling to put it down into words. It’s something very dear to my heart, and that makes it even harder to articulate. Today I will try however to share my thoughts with you.
Throughout most of my teenage years and my twenties, I’d always sought to please others in return for their love and acceptance. Whether it be my family, friends or boyfriend, I would always live to meet the expectations that others had of me.
I never liked to stand out or speak my mind – hell, no. I wanted to be part of the crowd; blending in with groups and people that I admired. In raw honesty, I’ve always avoided confrontation for as long as it was possible. I’ve found and still find it difficult to tell someone else what I feel, particularly if it’s not something nice or pleasant to say.
Over the years, from continued practice of smiling and pretending to agree, I’d somehow lost my voice, metaphorically. I always aimed to be what people expected me to be; to say and do what was considered appropriate and accepted by the norm.
Growing up, I dressed up like the popular crowd and tried to assimilate myself as part of them. When friends argued over differing viewpoints on sensitive topics, I’d keep my mouth shut, sitting on the fence, even if my butt hurt like hell.
At Singapore Management University, I chose to study economics and finance because hey, that’s where the money is, and hey, we need money to be rich and well liked! When our finance professors stressed that having a job in an international bank was the way to earn big money and rising up the ranks, I applied to Standard Chartered and got accepted into its international graduate program, so incredibly happy to officially be a banker on my way up the corporate ladder.
Essentially, all I’d done up till that point in time of my life was be a reflection of what society demanded of me. I didn’t have my own voice or character, or guts.
The first time I defied society’s expectations of me was when I moved to Buenos Aires for love in April 2010. At that point, I did it because I wanted it more than I was afraid of it, but little did I know that this was a fundamental move that would push me in the direction of what I really wanted.
I’ll admit that when I first took the decision, I still cared very much about what people think of me; and when people questioned my decision to give up my job at the bank and uproot from Singapore to live in a country whose language I couldn’t speak, or where I didn’t have a job waiting for me, I found myself fighting internally with these comments.
Buenos Aires has taught me many things over the past 6 years, and fast forward to today, to keep the long story short, I’ll tell you that I’ve learnt to be more vocal and unafraid. Unafraid of what so-and-so would say or think, unafraid of being different, and unafraid of asking for what is mine.
In the last two months since 2016 started, there’s been a subtle but important shift in my mindset. Up till last year, I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d forever be an employee with a fixed monthly pay check. After all, that’s what most normal people do, right? I’d been wanting to work independently for quite a while already; but was held back by thoughts that I wouldn’t be able to earn as much doing what I really loved (writing, food photography and recipe development.) Plus, what would people think??
When my former boss informed me that the company I used to work for had closed down, I knew it was time for a change. I could either send out CVs and apply for another job working for somebody else’s dream, or I could take the risk and do everything to make my business work out. When I finally decided on the latter, I felt a shift in the way I thought.
The very fact that I am now an entrepreneur working for my dreams and doing what makes my heart beat is more important than whatever opinion other people could have of me. I’ve also come to realize that there will always be people who have differing opinions, and I will never be able to please everyone. But more importantly, it’s my life, and I only have just this one.
So instead of worrying about frivolous comments from people who aren’t supportive, I’ve decided to surround myself with people who are encouraging, inspiring and positive. Life’s simply too short to be bogged down by negativity and bad vibes. I’ve also learned how to be a “non-stick pan” in Jane’s words, to let negativity slide off me and simply shake it off.
I’m still a work in progress – but learning to be real and not put up a front just so others will accept me is the first step in achieving my dreams – among which include inspiring and impacting others positively. Plus, being true to what I believe in is liberating and such a wonderful feeling.
(If you’re one to always try to be what others expect of you, let me tell you this – try being yourself for once! It’ll set you free of unnecessary expectations!)
Life is always full of surprises, and this year I know I’m going to grow in all areas of my life. Character-wise, career wise, and personally.
I’m so hyped to see what the rest of the year will bring; I know it will be the best year yet!
This grain-free coconut flour pancake recipe was one that I experimented with back when Juan and I were still in DC. I’d never used coconut flour until then, and the texture of the pancakes and distinct taste of coconut make these pancakes a great way to start your day. Best of all, the pancake batter is easy to handle (which isn’t true for many pancake batters).
I recommend eating these amazing coconut flour pancakes with a generous serving of fresh fruit maple syrup. Oh, yes, and accompany them with a cup of steeping hot tea.
So. Crazy. Good.
- ¼ cup of coconut flour
- ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup of almond milk
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter or vegetable oil
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- Fresh fruit and maple syrup for topping
- In a medium bowl, combine coconut flour, baking powder and salt, and mix well
- In a large bowl, combine almond milk, butter, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract, and mix very well until you get a homogeneous mixture
- Sift dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, and mix well with a hand mixer until a consistent pancake batter is achieved
- Heat a little butter over low heat in a non-stick skillet, and pour ¼ cup of batter in the middle of the pan
- Let batter cook for around 1 minute until bubbles start to form on the top and top starts to dry a little, and bottom is golden brown
- Use a non-stick spatula and gently flip pancake to the other side, then let cook for another 30 seconds until bottom is golden before removing
- Repeat until all the batter is used up
- Serve pancakes with fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup.