Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Personal Lesson from TED Global 2013?

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?


  1. Juanita, I can only say I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!!!!!
    You're doing great, Juanita -- glad to be part of the "club" of special people not really following other people's paths but just their own heart :))
    Signed: a passionate, self-taught maker daily fighting her low self confidence and doing better day by day :)

  2. Interesting post - I guess its all about what society deems to be "acceptable" in terms of a career! It must admit when I have a rough day/week at work the idea of being a homemaker is appealing (apart from the fact I'm really not much for cooking or cleaning) - but then in my mind if I was a homemaker I would just sew & do crafts all day long!! As long as you're happy in your life, that's all that matters :)

  3. Oh no! My comment disappeared!! Grrr... I just wanted to say as long as you're happy with what you are doing, what others think doesn't matter too much :)

  4. I love this honest post. Full of conviction and strength! You are doing great Juanita. I also believe that after all, it's not really the destination and the ending that totally matter. What you do and experience along the journey, how to make things worthwhile, how you value and love people and all the happiness you collect along the way are far more important than the ending and what other people would say.

  5. I would love to have your life! You only live once, so you just might enjoy it en do what you really like to do instead of being obliged to do things you don't like. You are gifted!

  6. You should be so proud of what you do, so many people would love to trade you places? Doing something you enjoy is much more impressive then passing days by doing something you dont. I hope that I get to spend a few years of this life being a homemaker in my own sense of the word, we will see what life throws at us.

  7. You'll be surprised that people are often fascinated when they hear you make all sorts of things at home that they can't. :D
    I have the same problem as you and I downplay my own life and that makes me sound less interesting. You need to memorise some new phrases that really describe your life and then you'll be all set for some "oohs and ahhs".

  8. You certainly don't do "Nothing" at home. I too would love to be at home all the time but if I was I don't think I would be use my time as well as you do. You omitted blogger off your job description too.
    Sarah x


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