Credit: Off-WhiteCredit: Off-White

Growing up, I was always about sharing my work: I shared things I drew, things I wrote like blog posts and essays, things I designed like posters, MySpace Pages, and websites, and even things I made like beats. I even shared skateboarding tricks even if I didn’t feel particularly good, but at least I felt like I was doing all of these things from the heart and out of pure curiosity.

It was about self-expression.

And yes, while much of that had to do with me trying to find my identity with a little bit of ego involved—I wanted to show I can do and show people I was good at it—there was still fear involved. Fear of embarrassment, self-doubt, and criticism. Who did I think I was to be sharing these things? But at the same time, I used my youth to shield myself from these fears. I was young and experimenting a lot, and felt like I had the freedom to make mistakes. If anything, my courage would bring me exposure and respect. I was willing to just give things a try because they piqued my interest. This continued on till college where I continued to explore my potential and what I could do. There was also definitely a superiority complex because I felt like I was better at a lot of things than my peers.

But overtime, this prolific nature got clouded by other things. Now, because career” was on the line, I felt impostor syndrome more deeply. I became more aware of what I couldn’t do and how far I was from where I wanted to go. I felt Ira Glass’s The Gap” in a way I hadn’t before. And it felt like if I show what I’m doing, it would reveal how much of a fraud I was—that I wasn’t really who I said I was nor was as as good as I thought I was.

And because I lived a very public life before that was very much fueled by ego—I wanted to look cool and sound authoritative, this eventually lost its appeal. I felt my insecurities deeper. Now, each thing I shared—all the good things felt like it was disingenuous. Or at least, it felt very showboat-y to me and I just didn’t want to be that person because I do not live a perfect life. There are a lot of things I’m afraid of, a lot of things I feel are holding me back, and going out into the public life felt like it was not authentic to these things I’m feeling deep inside. Overall, I just wanted a more private life so I can keep my private thoughts to my private self. And there was a sense of freedom in people not knowing what I’m up to (especially things in my personal life) and I no longer had this obsession about other people’s validation.

I think this had its time. I needed this in order to mature. To recalibrate at a personal and a subconscious level (therapy helped with this tons). And to just take control of my life because so much of it felt like it was not in my control. I had a lot of stresses at different parts of my life and I wanted to keep them close to the chest. And in a way, maybe I needed to in order to process.

But now, I feel a newfound hunger within me. I’m creating a moodboard and so many of the inspirations in it are creatives who are very public about how they work. They are prolific people who are constantly creating, collaborating, and sharing their process. Because of this, they are constantly inspiring people and making them think. This got me thinking a lot of Virgil who worked non-stop and just shared so much. Its superhuman levels how prolific he was. His process was chaotic, and no matter what people thought of his work, he at least had a point of view and wanted to put it out there, like he was running out of time. It turned it was because he was.

This speaks to me because if I really want to explore my potential, and be a vessel from which my purpose is to be delivered,” I likely would have to get back to my mode of sharing: sharing my work, my thoughts, my inspirations, my lessons learned. And not for the sake of ego or for other people’s validation. But purely to help even 1 person out there to believe in themselves and pick them up from tough times, as I was picked up by the people that inspired me. And do it in my way, totally authentic to who I am, and not making myself to be something I’m not.

In Virgil’s words:

Everything I do is for the 17 year-old version of myself.

I should think about 17-year old Jomi (maybe even the 14 or 15-year old Jomi) and think about how much energy, passion, and emotion he had. He wanted to put so much love and creativity in all he did. He wanted to get better everyday and try all the things. He would share things that he felt helped express himself. He wasn’t afraid—or he was, but he still did it anyway. And I need to do it for that person, but I also need to channel that same energy. I need to do it for him. And I need to do it for others like him.

Dreaming is powerful. And trying to reach our own dreams helps liberate others. And that is why dreaming in public is even more powerful. It might just collectively help us make our dreams a reality.

December 4, 2022


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