Yesterday was my last day at work. My contract ended and I decided not to renew it.
Why would she do that, you might wonder.
Well, it was quite a long process until I came to that decision. It had begun since November last year, when I started feeling rotten all the time. Constant fatigue, depression, hair loss, weight loss, all that. I remember going to Singapore for Christmas and ended up doing nothing there, as I was too tired to go anywhere. Seeing Christmas lights on Orchard Road, or going to the Marina Bay for the spectacular view? Didn’t happen. Basically I wasted my 4 days there by sleeping most of the time, and occasionally walking 300 meters to the nearest Costa to read for a few hours. Not the most festive Christmas, but that’s what happened.
Looking back, I realize I’ve written a lot about my feelings over the past few months. How 2015 was difficult for me, and how I made a new year resolution to be happy. How I started to realize that I had other dreams, far bigger dreams that could make me happy, and I wasn’t living it. And eventually, how I felt SO unfulfilled with what I was doing, which had triggered me to start a photography business.
I’d been at a low ebb for too long, and I also hated complaining without doing anything. My motto is either you change it or you accept it. I couldn’t accept the situation I was in, so I kept asking myself, what can I do? I’ve come a long way until I decided what I wanted to do. As soon as I had my heart set on that, I felt a lot better.
But telling the plan to people was another thing.
When I said that I didn’t want to continue my job as a reservoir engineer, a lot of people (including my parents) cast their doubts, thinking I wasn’t being sensible and rational. They thought I should just hang in there and go with it. They said the economy and industry were bad and this wasn’t the best time to do this. My father even told me to do the business while still doing my job, which by that point, I’d already found impossible. So much work went into planning, preparing, doing shoots, and editing, that it couldn’t be done only in weekends. I knew, because I’d tried that. And the thing is, I didn’t want to stay just because it’s a ‘safer’ option, as many people would say. Maybe it was, but what’s the point of that if I didn’t grow and develop at all? I’d rather take a risk and learn something.
Unlike what they thought, I didn’t make this decision in such a haste, or because I let my anger and frustration got the better of me. I knew what I was signing myself for. I spoke to a lot of people with different opinions, some were supportive and the others were skeptical. A friend drew me a picture of life after resigning, about life without a steady income. I didn’t make this decision without knowing what I got myself into.
This decision comes with a lot of consequences. I’m fully aware that getting money might be more difficult, and I have to work harder to make it successful. I might have to put vacation plans on hold as money will be tight for a while, and I might have to work longer hours, but I don’t mind. It’s so much better than having to work another day for something I’m not passionate about.
To be honest, I have doubts too. What if I don’t get clients? What if it’s not successful, will I have to go back to the corporate world? Those are only some of the many, many what ifs in my head. I don’t know where this is going, how this will be in a few months. The only thing I know is that I’ve set my heart on this and I’m willing to work harder than ever, and hard work will pay off.
This thing is terrifying. But you know what people say, “If your dreams don’t scare you, you don’t dream big enough.”
Throughout all of this, I’m also touched by the outpouring support and love from my closest friends — people who really know me and what I’ve been going through. And that alone is enough to mute others’ negative opinions and my own fear, and to keep me going. When I told Farah about my plans, she said, “I’ve always thought you don’t fit in the corporate world, that you’re better at doing art and writing.” And when I finally decided to go ahead with my plan, her response was, “Bitch, you’ve got balls.” And trust me, that was the most heartwarming response I’ve heard. There are times when I feel a bit daunted, but they always assure me that I’m good at what I’m doing, and they like my work. I can only hope that more people will like my work too.
And now here’s the fun part… a website launch!
For the past few months, I’ve been working on the website for my portfolio, www.dixiethamrin.com. It’s still not perfect and I need to add a few more things, and hopefully a lot more photos as things progress. I also have another account on Instagram for my work, @dixiethamrin, and a Facebook page, Dixie Thamrin Photography. So make sure you check and follow if you like what you see. And also, feedback is very welcome! :)
It’s been a long time since I felt this hopeful. Fingers crossed for this, and for the future.