Hello everyone! Good evening!
I'm in the middle of doing kawaiifund.org work (which is launching very very soon, too!). As you may have known based from my posts through my social media accounts, my dear friend Ashley & I have finally launched "OurKawaii.Tokyo" already. I have soo many things to share about what really happened behind this website + book idea.. and how we made it happen. We still have bigger dreams about this and I'll share it with you guys on my next posts. Please look forward to it! :)
Actually, I really feel tired now. I have a lot of pending shipments for both JLM Store and Rainbowholic Shop. The apartment and our office are still in a mess. If only I could hire someone here to help me, I would.. But I guess juggling everything and finding balance (sanity + work + enjoyment) are the challenges I should face first.
As I was doing Kawaii PH duties, I realized that I have changed a lot. The way I approach things, the way I think.. and how much this community work has changed me to become a better person. I actually teared a little when I read Mica's testimony about kawaii and how our little community in the Philippines has given her that "push" / "boost".
And because I feel like listing again, here are my learnings during my journey as the team leader of Kawaii Philippines.
I don't feel like being called as a "Kawaii PH founder" now, for some reason. I just think of myself as someone who was given a gift to gather people. And again, titles are just titles unless you give meaning to those.
I am no angel or saint. I swear too much and I am so unlady-like in so many ways and for this one, I will be in my true blue Kailaroo, lolol. The "Kaila Kardashian", as some of my friends in real life would (fondly) call me lololol.
The things I learned while working my butt off in Kawaii PH.
1. It is NOT always about me, me and me. When I started to go out of my way and sacrifice a lot time for Kawaii PH, I learned to give a shit about the world, about these girls and women who just want to be confident in their own skin. People usually raise eyebrows whenever I tell them that yes, "Kawaii can change the world". Who would have thought that kawaii can become a cause as well?
If you think of it more, you can see kawaii from two perspectives. As a girl, kawaii can either make you feel empowered, or feel that you aren't enough. In Japan, when I first learned some of the reasons why people wear masks (girls do not want to be seen without make-up...), I was really baffled (make-up = manners ?). I have to admit though, I felt that I should follow them too. There was a time that I felt that wearing mascara was still incomplete, and does not make me "kawaii" enough. Until one day, I realized that I can still be a beautiful girl if I have that innate confidence (I go to a nearby mall just with moisturizer now lol). And that is what I want as the team leader to promote within our community. Kawaii is more than those "you can look cute with this fake eyelashes" campaigns or whatnots.
We have TOO many how-to tutorials about how to look prettier, and the like.. you see a lot of those from the magazines, youtube videos, etc. already... yet, we still feel like there is something missing. If we can use kawaii as a means to promote what people really neeeed to be enlightened about, then that would be much, much better!
2. I learned that as the team leader, I should be brave enough to protect our VISION / mission. I learned how to stick with my principles. And boy, doing this involved a lot of tissue boxes. It's tough, you know.
Honestly, there had been a lot of companies who wanted to work with Kawaii Philippines. However, I had to turn down some of those because they just want to make money... and they do not even believe in our vision. I would rather have my team sell shirts and earn little something from those or create a fund-raising campaign than be involved with so-called big corporations / initiatives who want to promote kawaii / Japanese culture in PH and they GAINNNN a lot from those.
I have simply lost interest in working or being affiliated with such, if they are just gonna use "the Kawaii PH affiliation". We have worked so f----- hard on building this from scratch and pooling people, and I am more than thankful for people who believed in us before the idea actualized & created waves. That is why if anybody / any big business wants to be part of this cause, "heart" or "puso"... is really the basic requirement. I do not care if somebody offers us 1 million yen or any amount of money. If it would be only advantageous for their interests, I would turn down that offer politely on behalf of everyone. Politics is everywhere, and I'll do my best to not get Kawaii PH (myself personally too haha) involved in this.
3. I learned to be (extra) STRONG.
There are days when my motivation level is super low or my anxiety is taking over my sleep. Sometimes, I feel like I am actually overwhelming my teammates / our interns / friends ... but I guess, you just really learn how to cheat yourself and be your own friend who's cheering for yourself too.
Working in this community has made me strong in a way that I learned to not give a damn about the little things (personal and work-related) and be more focused about the essentials in life. I'd be a hypocrite if I tell you that I already know the equation for this.. but I am willing to learn.
Whenever I'd reminisce how crazy the morning was in Kawaii in Manila 2 (all problems were being addressed.. and in my mind, I was "Shit, shit shit"), it felt that I should be the least person to panic / lose my focus. Being strong when there are many problems / challenges is difficult.. but sometimes, it also means responsibility. It's tough, but I'll try my best.
4. I learned that as you grow bigger / you rise up.. not everyone will like you, and that is PERFECTLY okay.
For the past years, I had to bid some folks goodbye or give them some distance. I have tried lifting people up as I rose, and some just want me to stay where I am, or just drag my spirits down. I'm sorry (but not really sorry..? *_*), even if it hurts, I have to fly off to somewhere. I just have too many things and work to achieve and accomplish. I have a lot of people looking up to me too and a community to protect and look after to, and I cannot be bothered with the petty things (drama, gossip, and the like).
For me, for every friend or every person that I've come to know even within a short period of time / long time, I still believe that they are blessings. Even if they are learnings, I am still grateful. Even if things weren't resolved or we just drifted away, I am still thankful. I've come to accept that fact that.. that's just how life is. You meet various people, you become friends, you fight, sometimes it gets fixed or sometimes it doesn't, you accept, you forgive, you move on..
I used to take things personally and life too seriously. Right now, I am just "F--- it, let's just make this life a meaningful one and stick with that purpose."
I may be young (but I do believe I have an old soul lol) to share my thoughts in such way but I'd always put myself in a situation wherein I have timer and I only have this ONE life, one shot with everything. And every idea, every thought (positive / negative), every shit that I put up with, every single day.. they count. There are many things that I can only do within my age & these might not be applicable when I have more responsibilities in the future. I say such because I've been in plenty situations where I've felt the near-death experience type of pain (remember the gallbladder disease I had 2 years ago?). And getting a painful wake-up call (and a lot of wake-up calls later) made me realize that I should only care about what matters. What really matters.
And getting EVERYONE to like me is not part of my to-do list in life. If they like me, thank you. If they don't or they'd rather compete / make me as their own threat / think bad things about me, that is fine too. That is not my problem.
I'll just do my own gigs the way I want to, and I will still be happy as ever. : )
5. I learned that reaching your dreams / some of your dreams will not automatically make you a happier person. Happiness lies on the person, not on the actual result of hard work / achievement. And indeed... sometimes, success can either make or break you.
I can say this because there had been dreams of mine / bucket list goals that I have achieved.. but they did not make me happier. Maybe because during those times, I was SOOO blind about enjoying my journey / how to get there.. that I had a tunnel vision.. making "happiness" as a reward / destination. Dafuq, I realized that I can be super happy with all the struggles, actually. And it is a definitely choice!
Before, I skipped to enjoy the thrill of reaching le dreams. I chose to sulk about my failures and only thought about how my life was going into a rollercoaster craze when in reality, I was already on my way to reach this one.
Until I learned to be appreciative & be patient. And be committed. Sometimes, I do have mental battles here and there and I forget how blessed I am but I'd always slap myself to get me back on track. In Tagalog, I would probably tell myself- "Ops Kaila, strine-stress mo nanaman sarili mo." (You're stressing yourself out again, Kaila) -_-
Have you ever encountered people who have let success get into their head? And even if they have achieved much, they are still.. unhappy (been there). I think that it is because they focus on the negatives, "conditional statement" of happiness, that is why they hunger for more achievement & that temporary feeling of happiness (found at the finish line of dream #__) .. yet not feeling really okay inside.
My point is, it is okay to be a hard-worker, an over-achiever, and a goal-oriented dreamer. But never let success as your means to feel validated or happy. Do not let success get into your head to the point that you will forget your roots, how you started, how people helped you where you are right now.
And this is me, giving myself a lecture too, lol.
And lastly... the best thing that I have learned while working in Kawaii PH is that...
I learned that personal success is not the only success in life.
I learned that reaching dreams does not stop when you've already built your own foundation or discovered your own light.
It gets pretty lonely when you're the only twinkling star in the night and people are just looking at you from afar.. and there are folks who are also wishing to live their dreams brightly like you.
Wouldn't nights be prettier & more magical if you can share your sparkle our shine with other stars too? That is what is on my mind.
Some would ask me where the hell do I find passion or inspiration to do all the things that I am not required to. Kaila, how do you find joy in service?
If there is one legacy I would leave, I'd like to be with hundreds and thousands bright stars.
Creating beautiful constellations, and igniting fellow stars together.