One year of Bless This Mess: How writing helped me survive adulting

Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess

This weekend, I celebrate with a grateful heart, my first full year writing for Preen. I remember, 365 or so days ago, I found myself at wits’ end at my previous job, jumping on a video call with my editor Jacque at our office pantry to finalize my arrangement. I was down to my last few days at my previous job, and I had a ticket to Bali waiting for me as well as a trip back to Manila. I needed some time to figure things out.

What a lot of people don’t know is that the opportunity to write this column, Bless This Mess, came during a very dark period of my life. I was at the crux of wanting to move back to Manila and trying to stick it out one more time in Singapore. It was complicated, as I was getting married soon, and I knew that escaping was not an option. While I am told that most people who have moved to Singapore seem to enjoy it, the reverse was what I experienced. In my first two years living here, I have never felt my mental and emotional state reach an extremely toxic rut. I’ve had several breakdowns too many, crying myself to sleep, always triggered by the impulse to quit. I am good at hiding what I feel, so on the surface I looked A-okay, but we remove our masks when no one is looking.

I had a few days to think about what I wanted my column to be about; what name it should have; what purpose was it going to serve. I mouthed the words “Bless This Mess,” as I thought out loud in a coffee shop.

Adulthood could be messy, and the Tricky Twenties are full of making life-altering decisions, sometimes-reckless decisions, but for the most part, it’s about figuring ourselves out. I moved to Singapore when I was 26, and my adulthood experience so far has been quite an interesting one. Being catapulted out of the comfort of my friends and family, really forced me to learn self-sufficiency and self-reliance. I was also in a long-distance relationship, and if it weren’t for my roommates, my husband’s parents, and the Internet, I would’ve been extremely lonely and miserable. It was heart-wrenching knowing I couldn’t hug my dog Rocket, my mum, or be with my friends when I needed a familiar soul to be physically around with.

I questioned myself a lot. I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore. I’d like to think that the opportunity for me to write this column came at a very ordained time. I was at the cusp of leaving my old job, and I was heading to Canggu to get some breathing space. Because I would’ve been already unemployed by the time I came back from Canggu, I had to fly back to Manila (while still paying for Singapore rent, mind you), so it was a very liberating yet perplexing stage. It was an uncomfortable mix of freedom, anxiety, yearning, peace, and need for security.

And sometimes, it’s during these messy stages that one could only hope for the better. For the first time in a really long time, I found myself praying, and it’s funny how writing these articles became some sort of therapy for me. My first article here entitled “5 Tips on Surviving the Jungle of Adulthood was written on the 7th of October 2017. I guess, because of my background as a food editor, a lifestyle topic was way more challenging to write about, especially since it involved a lot of vulnerability and honesty. I am not someone who likes to talk about touchy topics, but I found myself peeling layers and layers of myself in this year of writing.

Creating my content plan and thinking of what to write each week could be challenging, but it is always great, as it provides an opportunity not only to strike a conversation with other women, but it also allows me to get to know myself better. One of the best things I’ve learned in this job is that vulnerability is not overrated. This life reel is not meant to be lived within the confinements of a perfectly-curated Instagram feed. This life, from what I am learning so far, is meant to live with courage, humility, and hope.

There are days when we feel as if we’re on top of the world, and there are crappy days that force us to drag our feet out of bed. I hate to say it, but it’s really part of the mix. That’s life; and it’s either we take these challenges head-on or succumb to failure and quit. It isn’t easy for sure, but one thing we constantly need to remind ourselves is to trudge forward because one day, some day, this will all be worth it.

The adulting muck can be stinky, thick, and extremely messy, but it could be beautiful, and I promise, we’ll get through it together. Bless this mess, indeed.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.


Art by Marian Hukom

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