So, Miss Floreta is a new friend. She has a blog over at solitarypanda.com and it’s quickly become a favorite of mine. She’s an American that is currently going through her “quarter-life” crisis, as so many of us lovingly call our early-mid-twenties nervous breakdowns. She’s been staying in a Zen monastery for a while though, and it shows in her writing. The first thing I notice when reading her blog is that her writing is very straightforward and very soothing. Reading her words is like taking an oatmeal bath. And so, I am grateful for her writing. And I have further gratitude that she has agreed to do a guest post for me here, unwittingly realising she’ll be used for “Attack of the Super Rad Women!!” So if she didn’t know she’s SUPER RAD before, I guess she knows now.
Here’s the piece she sent me. Sit back, and enjoy the prose of Floreta Cui…
Success is Overrated.
I love creativity. Creation. Destruction. It’s all part of the cycle, baby.
When I was little, I had a how-to draw dinosaurs book that I loved. I loved drawing dinosaurs like t-rex and triceratops (I can’t believe I spelled that right the first time). This would translate into a love for drawing dogs, and soon faces. People. Way beyond the stick figure, I loved drawing the human figure. I was an artist, and it wasn’t a surprise when I went to college to become a graphic designer. I had Potential! I had a boyfriend and I drew him naked and he said it gave him goosebumps, like I was seeing him like no one had ever seen him before. Like I was seeing his soul.
The way artists see is different. It’s beyond form. A tree isn’t just a tree. It’s the shapes and textures. Shades and shadows. Lines and contours. It’s everything and nothing. It’s kind of Zen like that.
Maybe I’m just making excuses but going to art school made me a blocked artist. I couldn’t create anymore. It’s kind of like musicians who learn music theory and it ruins music for them. My whole identity of “artist” paralyzed me and crushed me. The real world sucked me into a nine to five that sucked my soul and I lost the inspiration to motivate myself to create. If I wasn’t drawing, painting, *creating* who was I? The disintegration and lost identity of my self mirrored the disintegration of my relationship, and I broke it off so I could grow. Change. Become who I was meant to be. Which is to say, discover me, all along.
You have to lose yourself to find yourself.
I hate status-quo. That nine to five killed me. So did that house we bought. I realized I’m not a traditional gal so I did the only sane thing I could think of. Plan my escape and move to the Philippines, where my family is. Volunteer in India. Travel Asia. Have crazy adventures. Take a fucking career break. Explore.
Success is overrated. Americans are always on the go. It seems they can’t even relax to breathe. It hasn’t always been easy, but I dare to slow down. I’ve been at a Zen monastery for three months practicing meditation five times a week and what I’m learning here will help me through professional and career goals. I have no doubt. But is the fact that I’m taking a year long break making me unemployable? Is that a bad thing?
I’m a later bloomer, and I’ve learned to accept that.
I despise the nine to five. The man. Corporations and mass consumerism. I hate conventionality. Things like that don’t have room for freespirits like me. But there’s a whole breed of people discovering their dissatisfaction with status-quo. They peddle “get out of the nine to five!” “Work from anywhere!” “Travel!” And they are loosely clumped into the categorical mess that is “lifestyle design”. The “radical” idea that you can live the life you want NOW. You don’t have to wait for retirement, or live the conventional life of college, career, marriage, house, kids.
This all sounds good in theory. Finally, a group that thinks like me! Or not.
Lifestyle designers are a bunch of pretentious overachievers with their individualistic “bucket lists” trying to become larger than life on the internet. Instead of rejecting the American Dream, they’re shifting it into an “American Dream 2.0”. Instead of rejecting the rat-race, they’re joining another one. It’s the same shit I hated about art school. The idea that I had to move to New York to “make it big” and live the high life. The idea that all my peers wanted to make 50k right out of college. The idea that “lifestyle designers” can make six figure passive incomes online.
I. Could. Care. Less.
Fuck success. As much as I love art, I hate the culture around it. That bourgeois white shit. The pretentious pricks peddling “high art” and looking down at “low art”. The fact that there’s even these distinctions.
That’s really it. It’s the culture around creation that I hate. The cavernous culture vulture critics. I’ve never made over 35k in my life, but I have never lived paycheck to paycheck either. I don’t care about materialistic wealth and monetary success. Forget the idea that you have to make a lot of money. The only thing I care about is living comfortably. Who cares if I’m not accomplished by age 30? Success is overrated.