For years, sometimes decades, and even lifetimes we walk behind the smoke and mirrors, delusional to thinking that we are happy about ourselves. We judge those around us, compare ourselves to others, and envy those happier in life. But in actual fact, I’ve learnt that everything is a balanced. We all go through situations that test our integrity, our characters, and our sense of the world. But the defining factor is just that; we only need to make ourselves happy.
I grew up under very privileged circumstances, I went to a private school, I enjoyed travel every year, I got pocket money every month and a whole lot of other things, none of which I take for granted but take it as you do, it also played a part in how my thoughts became my own destruction.
In Asian culture, children were reprimanded by physical punishments. That’s just how we were brought up. When we did bad things, we would be physically disciplined. Hard as this was at times, these lessons were nothing compared to what I went through psychologically.
Going back to when I was young, my mum and sister never got along. They had similar characteristics that resulted in fiery exchanges, tears and hatred. Throughout the years this continued which eventually caused a huge rift in the family and this put a lot of pressure on the family and inadvertently led me to support dad however being mindful at the same time, to not take sides. I felt responsible yet helpless at the same time. Over time I came to resent my mum for what I thought was her fault.
Coinciding this, when I was in Grade Two I was bullied almost every break. There was this one occasion, which I remember very clearly. It was during lunch and there were a group of five guys who always picked on me, they had chased me around the playground throwing anything they could find, until finally I tired and backed up against the fence. Some were taunting me to fight back, others jeering, calling me names. At that point I felt completely and utterly destroyed.
Long story short, the school didn’t take action so I decided to move but the damage had already been done, I was already psychologically scarred by the age of 8.
These two occurrences caused me to roll into my first dark experience. I felt depressed and helpless and wondered why God was leading me down this path. I would go to sleep in tears not knowing how to deal with the situation. I had to blame someone. I came to the conclusion that it was all my fault. There was a point during this period where I felt like there was only one way I would be at peace, only one way to rid myself of the defenseless thoughts running through my mind. Fortunately, this period was only one moment long, and it passed.
After that, I knew that I had to be strong for myself and for the family. From then I became a figure of support.
Growing up I had pressure to become successful; to follow in the footsteps of my family. I would continuously compare myself to others while beating myself down afterwards. More recently, this turned into a struggle within myself of my worth. I turned to substances to help cope. I was very fortunate to have a few close people to confide in and support me during these stages of my life, and I will always be thankful. You know who you are.
During this time, a good friend of mine recommended a book that I would forever remember; The Happiness Trap. This helped me persevere through those difficult times and provided reasoning for everything that happened around me. I developed an understanding that we need to make room for difficult situations and too often do we overthink and let that control how we feel, see, and do.
So, how did I fall into menswear?
Coming from a very fortunate background, and having the foundations of a family-owned business in property development, I had originally jumped on-board to help out which developed into a full-time position after finishing university.
After being in the company for a few years I stumbled upon a realization that I had lost the motivation to learn. I felt lost in myself. This created a void within and I was dragging my heels each day, until I realized that I was destined to follow down another path.
Back in 2011 a friend whom of which I shared interest in for menswear with suggested I check out an event in Collingwood called MENSKE . From there I met one of my inspirations, C.K. Thanks J.L.
This led me into the retail world.
From then that inspired me to do what I love and this opened the door into a whole new realm, the opportunity to meet other influential and like minds in the industry. I also won’t forget the moment I was invited to an event through Saibu no Akuma. That in part, changed the course I was going to take.
I initially started my journey at MJ Bale, which lasted almost 18 months until I was pushed by my partner Helen to get a move on with my life and future projects.
I then had moved back into the family business with a whole new level of fire.
It was then at the same time Geoff approached me, asking something that I’ve never looked back from. From then onwards I have been on a huge journey, meeting so many inspirational people and great friends. Through my time at Saibu, the Boys whom of which I had not known more of than a name before; guys, each in your own way have taught me so many valuable life lessons. The adventure has just begun.
Behind every person are an even stronger partner and one of the biggest reasons for my growth as an individual and where I am both physically and mentally today is because of my beautiful partner Helen. Without her, I would still be drifting somewhere that was comfortable. She pushed, motivated, questioned and inspired me to get out, live for myself and learn for the need to always do better. You’ve been one of the best things that have happened to me and I will always be grateful for your investment.
Lastly, I would like to make a special mention to my parents. Both in their own ways have they taught me the most vital things in life. Through this long journey, I look up to both of them, especially my mother.
Despite all that has happened over the past many years for her, she has only just recently taught me that resilience and standing for who you are and what you believe will always prevail. You are amazing. Thank you Mum.
Keep inspiring those around you and motivate each other to better themselves. We make our own choices in life, and everything happens for a reason. It’s what meaning we want to put behind it that makes the difference.
Focus only on yourself and your well being, and through those guides, you will live a happier, more fulfilled life and everything positive will follow.
Trust the journey and lead by example.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
This is my story.