What is death without life

“Nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death.”
~ Angela Carter

Last week I attended the funeral of my cousin’s wife. Her death was totally unexpected to me. She was a brisk woman and always active. Although she was much older than I am (my mother took a gamble for a daughter after three sons and the result is an age gap of 18 years between me and my eldest brother) and we don’t see each other very often, but there was always some sort of connection between us. After all we are family.

Death is something that we don’t talk about much. People from my culture are superstitious. It’s bad luck even by mentioning it. But just because we don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean it won’t affect us. Even though my cousin’s wife was in her seventies she was still a very active woman with a lot of friends and busy social life. But one day she was hit by a cyclist and fell on her head. The accident didn’t take her life immediately. She suffered nine months before she past away.

One accident can change your life and the lives of your loved ones drastically. Life and death lie closer to each other than we think. So, live your life to the full. Stay positive even if life is hard at some times. Be grateful with everyone and everything in you life. Love your family, friends and even your enemies. For a feud has no meaning when life comes to an end. Right or wrong, love or hate, rich or poor, all of it doesn’t matter when your time has come.

Do the things you want to do. Don’t wait and think that you have plenty of time. Say “I love you” to your loved ones as often as you can. You can never show too much love, but you will regret it at the end when you’ve shown too little. Choose wisely when life hits you hard at some point. Remember that nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death. Make every minute of your life count, so you can leave without regrets when the end is near.

Carpe diem!

My heart goes out to my cousin and his family. I wish them lots of love and strength for the hard times they have to go through right now.

Live or survive

“If there’s no struggle, there is no progress.”

~ Frederick Douglass

It’s been a few months now that I’ve been jobless. Last October my boss gave me the news that my services weren’t needed anymore after 1st January. At first I was very surprised. The news hit me like a thunderclap because I didn’t see that coming at all. After the feeling of surprise was gone, the feeling of fear showed up. Finding a new job is just a hard thing to do nowadays. There are so many people looking for work, the competition is huge. But I do also realise that I can not give in to fear. All the fear I have is just about money. No income means trouble. Especially if I still need to pay off some debts. But I can not let that fear control my life. And to be honest, I didn’t really mind that I lost my job. Long before my boss announced the termination of my contract I have already thought about quitting. But I didn’t quit because of…money.

As of today I still haven’t found a new job yet. At least, not one in which I get paid. In the past few months I’ve been struggling with the well-known problem; lack of income! But not just that. I also struggled to be myself. The constant fight between my heart and my mind makes me crazy sometimes. I know I have to find a paid job to survive life. But stubborn as I am, I don’t want to give in to my ego. My heart tells me that I won’t be happy if I have to go to a boss on daily basis doing the things I don’t really like to do. And that is true. It would kill me slowly. But I need to survive! I just don’t want income coming from a daily job behind a desk at a boss’ office. I wan’t to be my own boss. Doing the things I love to do. And there comes struggle number three! I have quite a few things that I love to do and that I want to use to earn my money with.

I love to write, to construct stories all day long. I love photography. I want to take photos all day long if possible. Filmmaking, another thing that I would love to do on a regular basis.  And last but not least, making my own graphic designs, I just don’t do it, because I don’t know what use they have. I love to do all these things and I can use them to earn money. But somehow i just don’t know where to start or how to start.

Something is holding me back. But what exactly is it? If I dig deep, the answer takes me back to where I started; fear and ego. Although I have practised these skills for many years, I’ve never done that on a professional level. My biggest problem: lack of confidence. Ego 1 – 0 Jessica. The chance to earn an income with these skills and establishing a career from this point just seems impossible to my ego. It keeps telling me that I need money and I need it fast. To be honest, worrying about money and struggling to get bills paid do really keep me awake at nights. The best way to solve this problem: find a job, any job. Just not the one I want.

Is it the right reason to give in? Am I too stubborn? Maybe. But it just don’t feel right to do things against my will just because I need money. I’ve done that for the past twenty years. There has to be other ways! I just refuse to give in to fear. So, as stubborn as I am, I will keep finding a way to earn my living by doing things that I love. And I found one that might just work.

I started a webshop selling t-shirts with prints that I design. My photos, my designs! Two things that I love to do. it gives me an opportunity to show my work to the world. It might work, it might not. But I won’t allow my ego to win. I will try with all my heart to find a way that works for me to earn my living doing things that I love to do!

If it succeeds, and I do believe it will, then after all those struggles, progress will definitely show! And I don’t have to work anymore. Because I will be doing things that I love to do.

Please check out my first step of combining two things I love do: DL3 store.

Do what you love

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”

~ David Frost

Have you ever felt like you don’t know what you’re doing? As if you are lost on the road of life? No? Great! You’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing. Be grateful and enjoy every moment.

For those of you out there who do struggle with your jobs sometimes; I know how it feels. Sometimes you just got the feeling that you’re doing it merely to survive rather than enjoying it. You want to change that, but you’re too afraid to change the steady life that you’re living. Because every change will cause insecurity and you don’t know what it’ll bring. It’s okay. I get it. It is scary. But do keep in mind that it’ll always stay the same way. If you don’t change it, it won’t change itself.

But why giving up something that is safe and start doing something that we can’t predict the outcome of…

Let me tell you why: because you won’t be happy if you keep doing something that you don’t really enjoy. Imagine something that you hate to do and you have to do it the rest of your life. For instance, I really don’t like vacuuming at all, but I have to do it, otherwise I get a dirty house. I can make myself comfortable by listening to music while I vacuum and that’s okay. I can survive it once in a while. Even when I have to do it twice a week, it’s still be fine. But now let’s assume that vacuuming is my job, I have to do it day in, day out…. It’ll drive me crazy in no time. If that is what you feel about your job, then it’s time to change! Because if you don’t it’s not only affecting you but at some point it will also affect your surroundings; your family and friends. People you care about. So, step over your fear and start doing the thing that you love. So you can be really happy.

One of the reasons that we’re not eager to change what we’re doing, is the fear that it will be not successful. We tend to think about the outcome instead of the process. That’s because we live in a material world. Bills need to be paid, mouths need to be fed. But when we think that way, success will not come. We all know some stories about successful people. If you compare those stories they will have one thing in common: they didn’t think about the outcome when they started to do the thing that made them successful. They just did it because they believe in it. Sometimes we need to be bold and just start. Deep down in your heart you know what you have to do. But instead of listening to our heart we let our minds overrule.

Now, you don’t have to quite your job or change your life drastically in order to do the thing that you love. But you have to at least make a start and do it. Make time for it and pay attention to it. If you want to be a painter, start to paint! Do it in the mornings, the evenings or at night! But just start picking up a brush and dip it in the paint and make something cool! If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is pick up a pen and a notebook and start doing it. Jot down your thought, your ideas, start a blog, share your stories. If you believe in it and you believe in yourself, you will make it successful!

Believe in yourself, believe in the thing that you love to do. Pay attention to it and let it grow. Baby steps at a time, but give it a chance to let it grow!

 

I finally did it!

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”

~ Tony Robbins

111.

11 January.

Today I’ve finally uploaded my first vlog on Youtube! I didn’t pick the date on purpose. It just happened to be this day. I already had a story and shot the footages in early December. But destiny seems to want me to have everything ready by this day. So, I can launch my vlog on a memorable date.

This is my journey to fulfilling my dreams! In September I posted a blog about what I wanted to do the most. I’ve told everyone I love to be a screenwriter and that I wanted to start a vlog on Youtube. In the mean time I have made a lot of new writers friends and even joined a film team to assist their script team. And with my first vlog online I’ve gained another mini win. I very much enjoy creating the contents and I intend to make more of them.

I’d like to create different contents about diverse subject matters and I would love to hear from you what you think of it. I love to capture every day moments of life. Moments that happen, because they happen. I urge myself to enjoy the little things that cross my roads, things that we see but might not notice. But if we pay a little more attention to it, it might make us very happy.

To me, life is about following your heart and do the things you want to do. Although it might be a bit scary, but when you dare to loose your footing for a short moment you can gain so much satisfaction when you found your balance again.

Live your life with joy and remember your dreams.

Dare to laugh even when the road of life is a bit rough.

Do the things you love the most and do it with all heart.

I invite you to come along with me on my new journey. It’ll be a very exciting one!

 

Enjoying the journey

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
~ Lao Tzu

It’s been more than a month since I’ve attended the London Screenwriter’s Festival. Time really does go by too fast.

I have enjoyed every bit of this wonderful event! Starting from the opening speech till the last drinks with fellow writers at the Globe, a lovely pub. I’ve met a lot of new friends, fellow voyagers on the writer’s journey. I learned a lot from well-known speakers; heroes of every screenwriter. Above all, it provided me exactly what I was looking for: acknowledgment. Fellow writers who treat me as writer too.

A few years back when I finally had the courage to take a step onto the writer’s journey, I was pumped with energy. It felt good! It still feels good. Like I’ve finally found the right path. I started with a blank screen and now I can call myself the writer of a feature screenplay and several short scripts.

But as the journey advances I started to feel lonely too due to the lack of fellow travellers who understand what I’m doing and what I stand for. I have no one in my surroundings with whom I can share my struggles and discuss about writing. It’s like being lost in the ocean holding just a raft. While I was trying to keep my head above water, I started to lose my motivation. Slowly procrastination became a habit.

Fortunately, somewhere in the ocean there is an island called LSF. And I started to swim to it. When I’ve reached it, I found out that it is a very big island. I felt a bit tense stepping onto this island for the first time. But tense faded away immediately when a fellow writer reached out to me. And from that moment on I’m reassured that this is a safe haven for writers!

Everyone is welcome at LSF! Whether you’re a novice writer or a seasoned master of the craft, LSF greets everybody with a warm embrace. Complete strangers would make contact with each other and it doesn’t feel strange, because we all have one thing in common: the passion for writing. It’s like one big family and I am grateful to have found this family.

Although I started this journey many years ago, it is not until now that I finally feel to have leapt one big step forward. With so many fellow travellers around to share my adventures with this trip can only get better and better! And I can safely explore the ocean without feeling lonely again!

You too can be part of this big family! LSF is offering an early bird ticket now. Go to the website HERE and grab this deal!

What do I want?

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.
~ Mary Lou Cook

I have been struggling for a while with what I really want to do. For the past 5 years I’ve worked as an importer of Chinese herbs, a caterer, promotional employee and receptionist and I can’t quite find my way in all these jobs. There was even a time that I was a software engineer and I have owned a restaurant. I can’t say my life is boring. But non of these professions gave me satisfaction. I just can’t find peace at any of them. I started to wonder why.

I took a pause and asked myself, what is it that I really want? The answer was quite clear: I want to be a screenwriter and filmmaker! I’ve always knew but I I’ve never told the world.

The reason I have not told the world earlier about my dreams is because Fear and Ego were controlling over me. I was scared that people will laugh at me and think I’m silly. And then Ego will tag along with Fear   and tell me I have no talent. A little voice in my head keeps screaming at me that I’m better off doing something else than to pursue my dream. It’s very annoying! Fear and Ego dominated my life for a very long time. It caused me to gave up my dream once. I won’t let it happen again.

So, now I’m yelling it to the world: I WANT TO BE A SCREENWRITER AND FILMMAKER!

I’ve always wanted to work in the film industry. Once upon a time I’ve even taken acting classes. But due to circumstances I did not persevere. Deep down that dream didn’t fade away. It’s like an itch underneath my skin that I have ignored for too long. And now it has turned into a wound. The wound is open and it has to be healed. It can only heal if I nourish it and be gentle to it and use the right medication.

Three years back I started to write my first screenplay. It took me six months to finish it. All the scenes were so vivid in my head and I just wrote them all down. I know it’s not a masterpiece, but at least I can put my name on a finished screenplay. And maybe it will never (well, never say never…) get produced, it gave me satisfaction creating it. It made me feel alive, it charged me up and pumped me full of energy. I’ve used the energy to write more stories and now my name is on two other screenplays too. That’s the power of creativity! It provided me the right medication to heal my wound and the best weapon to fight against Fear and Ego.

My next goal is to start a vlog channel on Youtube. I’m preparing for it and I’m watching (and learning from) successful Youtubers to see how they do it. One of them is Peter McKinnon. This guy is so funny and full of energy and he has soo much fun doing what he does. It just makes you happy watching him. In one of his latest episodes he gave tips to his audience on how to start a vlog! That can’t be a coincidence! Just as I need the courage and support soo much, this guy decides to make a vlog about how to vlog! It’s amazing!

And there is another photographer called Sean Tucker. He also has his own vlog and it’s quite artistic. He is all different from Peter, but his channel is even fun to watch. Sean is more timid and shy where as Peter is all funny and active. And they both have their own audiences. Both of them have said that the main thing about creativity is to have fun. Step out of your comfort zone and do the things you love to do. Enjoy doing it and don’t bother what other people think of it. Because you are the game changer.

So, I decide to follow the advice of these two men; have fun doing the things I love to do. Step over Fear and give Ego a punch in the face. I might take some risk walking down the road of screenwriting and filmmaking, make mistakes, even fall down a few times, but I’m sure that every time I get up again I will know more about that road and it will only bring me more fun walking on it.

Dare to live

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

I’m sitting here staring at my screen, desperately to write something. Anything! But I got zip inspiration. Nothing. Nada!

So, I’m trying to figure out what I want to write about. Is it about writing? About filmmaking? About books? Films? Kids? Oh, hell, about football then?! I really don’t know. After a while it sudden occurs to me that I just want to write about life. Yes. Life! You might think: “How boring! Again a blog post about life! Don’t people have better things to write about?” Just pause for a minute. Rewind. And think again. Isn’t everything we read and watch about life?

Every book we read, at some point we will relate it to our own lives. Every film we watch there are always some scenes in it that we can relate to our own life. If we play with our kids we will feel life. Why? Because, in my opinion, life is the most precious thing we have.

Life can be cruel sometimes. But I think it doesn’t intentionally mean to harm us. It’s just that we need to learn how to live it. In time you will learn to live a happy life.

I see many people around me struggling with life. I guess sooner or later we all reach a point that we realise the life we live isn’t the life we want for ourselves. But we’re merely living up to someone else’s expectations. Be it your parents, your siblings, your partner. Most of us are living just to please somebody else. And when we realise that, we become truly unhappy. But it is also the first step to awakening.

You just have to make sure you stay awake and change your way of life. Dare to break the circle. Stand up for yourself. Tell your parents, siblings, partner what you really want. Do the things you like. Live the life you’ve always dreamt of.

I know it’s easier said than done. Many of us have experienced this feeling. But how many of us really dare to stand up and fight for life? It’s a scary fight. I give you that. A fight that one must fight on his own. And staying true to oneself is the only way to win. Along the road you will hurt people. You will lose precious relationships. But in the end the ones that stand by you, those are the ones who really love you for who you are.

If you’re feeling life is a burden, don’t bury your head in the sand. Pull your head out and stop for a moment. Think about your life. Don’t let the most beautiful thing be a struggle. Embrace it, face it, live it. Because we only get one life. Dream, dare, do. Live, laugh, love!

Happy life to you all!

Voyage to Aurora Borealis

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

~ Marcel Proust

I’ve always like this quote of Proust. It is true. Don’t stuck on the things you’ve already seen and know of. Try to see something new everywhere you go. Even places you’ve been for a thousand times can give you surprises sometime.

Last year I  went to Rovaniemi, Finland to see the Northern Light a.k.a. Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately, the weather was too bad and I didn’t see any light! But this year I managed to see the Light in Lofoten, Norway. It’s an unforgettable experience. And I have once again developed some new eyes for the beautiful things in life.

Review: The Crown (Netflix)

The Crown started Friday November 4th 2016 on Netflix. A total of 10 episodes.

I have been waiting for this series to come to Netflix ever since they’ve announced it last summer. I just finished watching Downton Abbey then and was looking for another period drama to continue binge watching. But there weren’t many series in that genre that could hold my interest for more than 2 episodes.

I’ve spend three evenings watching all ten episodes of The Crown and every minute was worth it. I expected a high quality show not just on visual aspect but also in storytelling. And The Crown has not let me down. But then, I am a bit biased because I do particularly love English period drama and history in general.

The story starts late 1940s showing Elizabeth in love with Philip. Elizabeth, as any young woman at that time, longing for a loving husband, becoming a wife and mother.

As the series move on, we come to know more about the life of young Elizabeth; how she turned from a princess to heir presumptive and eventually crowned to be Queen of The United Kingdom. What impact that life had on her and her family. And we get to know the rules, scandals and intrigues behind the facade of the Royal House.

Although Elizabeth knows that one day she will become the Queen of The United Kingdom, that day came sooner than she thought. When her father, King George VI, died of lung cancer while Elizabeth was on the Commonwealth tour in her father’s place, she’s instantly transformed into Queen Elizabeth and has almost been denied the time to even grieve.

From this moment on the journey starts for Elizabeth. She is bound by the strict rules and customs of the Royal House, the cabinet and Church. She has to keep up the reputation of the Royal House to her people and the people around the world. She has to be the perfect Queen. That contradicts her life as a woman.

Creator Peter Morgan constructed the story very well and made every characters almost touchable. Completed by the excellent performance of  Claire Foy, you can almost feel what The Queen felt when she has to take yet another decision that is against her own feeling and of harm to the people in her life. You can feel how she struggles to be a Queen and a daughter, sister, mother and wife at the same time. How powerless she is and yet how strong she stayed in the roll. It touches you and you will sympathise with Elizabeth.

The Crown is said to be the most expensive series on Netflix of all time. If you’d ask me, I’d say it’s well invested. It is a wonderful and compelling show with excellent directing and cinematography.

It is, though, not an action driven series, but more a character drama. The pace is slow and the story sometimes goes into details of an event. If you’re looking for fast paced stories, this is not your cup of tea. But if you love period drama and biopics, I highly recommend The Crown. In my opinion it is a fine piece of art.

And now we wait for season two.

 

httpss://youtu.be/JWtnJjn6ng0

Things I’ve learned from being unsuccessful

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

~ Albert Einstein

There had been moments in my life when I felt myself being useless, even a failure. When I thought about what I have achieved and what my parent’s expectations were, I could really cry. I felt like I have disappointed them in so many ways. Although they are not here anymore it still weigh on me sometimes.

But what exactly is success? Who decides if you’re successful of not?

It took me some years but I finally realise that success is merely a measurement and every person handles a different scale.

Allow me to share with you what I’ve learned over the past decade and how I measure success now.


Self-pitying does not help

It all starts with self-pitying. You see family or friends achieving one success after another. Family and friends always talk about the ONE who has accomplished a big thing. Your head is spinning, thinking what did I accomplish? Why don’t they talk about me? Well, who cares? Today they talk about the one, tomorrow they’ve already forgotten the one.

The point is, don’t compare yourself to others. Because in your eyes they will be always more successful than you. Focus on yourself! Start thinking what you did. Did you start writing that novel you always wanted to write? Did you start baking a three-layered cake you’ve always wanted to bake? Or maybe you want to climb the Mount Everest in a Pokemon cosplay suit? Put on the suit and start training! Just do it!

The moment you start to do whatever you want to do, even the smallest amount of effort is already success. You can now tell people you actually did it! If people know, it will motivate you to finish it. But if you don’t start, you will never taste success. And miss out all the fun of seeing peoples astonished faces when you tell them you’ve actually put on a Pokemon suit and climbed a wall!


Shift your focus to feel success

For a long time I only think I failed because it took me a very long time to finish my first screenplay. Actual writing became the measurement of success. If there are no words flowing from my fingers and hitting the computer screen, I think of it as a failure.

But then I realise that I have done research for the topic I’m writing about. I’ve read books about screenwriting. My head spins thinking about plots and story.

I’m not failing my writing. No words on my computer screen doesn’t mean I’m not writing. Because every minute of the day I am thinking about the story and I jot down notes. That is part of the writing process too.

So, not doing exactly what you want to do, does not mean you’re not successful. It’s the process that counts.


Recognise you successes

No matter how much success you gain, if you yourself does not recognise it you will still be unsuccessful.

Start with the small things. If you have achieved 2 pages of writings added to you story instead of ten, tell yourself that it is okay. Because you have two pages instead of zero!

Learn to be satisfied with even the smallest thing you have achieved.


It’s all in your mind!

Change your mindset! Tell yourself you are already very successful! I might be a screenwriter with zero productions. Yet! But I am a successful screenwriter. Because I have actually finished a screenplay and I’m working on other scripts too.

Hell, I am a successful mother taking good care of my kid, cooking for her, helping her with homework and tuck her in bed.

I am a successful employee as I always give a 100% at work and carry out my duties with great care.

I am a successful friend as I always make my friends laugh and have fun when we’re together.

Get it?


And remember: success is just a measurement

Success does not mean the same to everyone. No matter what you do, there are always people who think it could be done better. But there are also people who admire you for what you’ve done! Don’t lose yourself to the negative comments. Stick close to yourself and listen to what your heart tells you.

So, in the end, what’s my story about?

It’s simple. If, on a scale from 1 to 10 you always set 10 as being successful, I can assure, you will always be a failure.

Nobody is perfect and certainly nobody can achieve tens all the way. If you succeed to achieve a 10 once, twice or maybe three times, well, spread it over a life time, I can really say, u suck.

But instead, why not just set your scale at 3 or 4 or maybe 6, wouldn’t you feel a lot more comfortable and successful?

Life is not just about successes. It is, well, about life! About being alive! Enjoy every moment of it. Enjoy every moment you are chasing success and don’t just fixate on reaching success. Let the ride thrill you as well. Although at the end you don’t succeed in what you wanted to do, you have at least tried and enjoyed doing it.