It’s not New Year’s yet but…

I just finished drawing a portrait that was commissioned to me by our neighbor. It’s a portrait of his grandfather, and as reference he gave me a photo. I drew it many times, impatiently I admit, and failed.

That was the first time.

The thing about drawing portraits it that no matter how good it looks, if the commissioner tells you “This doesn’t look like my __________”, then you gotta redo it.


I felt bad and decided to redo it. But more than that, I felt disappointed and that took a blow to my self-esteem. Maaan, I could hear the doubts and excuses in my head.

Was it the paper?? I don’t draw on Bristol paper often… Was it the size of the drawing? How will I do in the future? Dang this is why I don’t do portraits!! A;KSDJFJ;KASFWADF;KJ

It was more difficult than I thought. And it took so many hours, I thought that I must be crazy, or a fool to be doing this. But I tried to focus more on coming up with solutions instead.

AND I FINISHED IT!! Successfully!! I’m so happy.

In as much as I felt challenged, I learned a lot more from this about myself.

So although it’s not New Year’s yet, I want to write my resolution and make it part of my manifesto, which is: to take care of myself.

I’ve been very bad at this. I would think sometimes that I need to keep going, to keep pushing myself, and not realize that I’ve been running on empty. But I would feel guilty if I treated myself even though I didn’t do anything worth celebrating such as: passing a test or getting high grades, winning a competition, whatever. That’s how it was back when I was in school.

But the thing is: if I’m not happy, it will be reflected to me in many ways – through my attitude, my art, my relationships. It’s not helping me or anyone.

Have you experienced this?

In my quest in figuring out what works for me, here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Using the Pomodoro technique. – Dividing my work into 25-minute increments, and taking breaks in between. This also helped me to just get plain started because I was feeling afraid and dreading to start drawing it. I used my 5-minute breaks to stretch or listen to music that I like, or do some self-talk.
  • Meeting up with a friend for ramen or if they’re not available, taking myself out on self-dates. *TREAT YO SELF!* I’m eating what I like but still within my budget.
  • I thought I might as well use technology to my advantage, so I’m using an app called Fabulous to help remind me to exercise, drink water, and turn off my phone before going to bed which helps me sleep better. WHICH IT DOES!!
  • Talking to a close friend. I’d hesitate to do this because I didn’t want to bother them with my petty troubles…but my friend Michelle told me that there is no need to feel ashamed of it. And then I’d find that that thing that’s been worrying me is not that huge of a deal after all.
  • GRATITUDE. With every little inconvenience that my mind tells me, think, “What am I grateful for today?” It’s like a super, instant antidote. (Thanks Marie Forleo!)
  • ‘I can do this.’ No matter how cheesy it sounds. Of course, self-awareness is important.
  • Not beating myself up, but supporting myself instead. Even if I failed the first time, and I’m still having a hard time drawing the second one, despite my mind bombarding me with self-doubt I just told myself: ‘I’m proud of myself because I put my best effort.”

Thanks so much for reading and I hope this helps you too!

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