Those who know me know this: when asked “What do you do,” I’d mumble “Nothing” to avoid further conversation and walk away. On a good day, my answer stretches to “I stay at home to cook and clean,” throwing in a smile to lighten the mood. On the other hand, those who know me also know that ‘nothing’ is not true.
I do more than cook and clean. (Do I?)
Growing up, it was decided for me, by my parents, that I was to read Science. I fared better at Art, ironically. But Art is a waste of time, isn’t it? When I fell short of becoming a future doctor or engineer, not to disappoint, I signed up for what I thought was the next best thing: Animal Biology. With no interest in books and statistics, it’s a wonder I managed to graduate while being terribly idle and finding time to make silly little things for myself and friends, like a “typical teenager.”
It never occurred to me that one could go to school to learn to make things; one just does, right?
Having never taken a class in design or fashion, all JuanitaTortilla jewellery and sewing — even the graphics you see — have been created by me in my “idle fiddles” and learning through the process. It is a longer and windier path I take, but the personal satisfaction I get is the reward; my full marks to each challenging test I set for myself.
Therefore, every ‘yay’ and ‘like’ from you is a vote of confidence that goes a long way.
I am constantly scratching my head for original ideas, making things from scratch out of my time “staying at home” — what’s stopping me from calling myself a Designer, Maker, Founder or Creator? Artist, too.
At TED Global, when I saw myself sharing the same space with high-profile folks, intellects, and celebrities — in my self-crafted dresses and handbag — I thought I felt something different. Was that a tiny bit of pride? There was, however, a weighty sense of Shame: my job title of “Homemaker.”
Nothing wrong with staying home to cook and clean, I firmly believe, and I am fortunate enough to be on this life path’s trajectory. Yet sadly, I feel it downplays what I do and feel about my lifestyle. Or, it’s all in my head — to believe others think less of me. How this single word can provide such discomfort…
“So, how do you spend time at home,” one would typically react to my ‘nothing’ response. (Always preceded by “Any kids?”). I was made to think again; I need fancy answers.
The art of spinning is something I have yet to learn, even though that makes me squirm. Who knows when the metamorphosis will happen: the day I shed all the weight of Low Self Confidence and start valuing my self-worth and capability.
But, do I really need such an ego?