Category: thoughts

a mind split into uncountable fragments, thinking of everything and anything in infinite instances ?

21

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Elaboration to come soon, maybe.

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About five years ago, at sixteen (fuck), I wrote a looong letter to myself about how I thought 21 was going to be the end. It still might be. I am still so far from the person I imagined myself to be, even if it feels like I’ve had centuries to work at this.

I am learning how to see myself in the worst of things. To enjoy sulking in my misery and excessive gluttony. To speak and be silenced during days that were never mine. To feel nothing when everything is happening and vice-versa. I control my own life. I end it when I can. No gods exist in this world that could possibly take this level of control from me. For that reason, this existence and consciousness that is an extension of the world can be forever destroyed––my misery that connects me to everything, my nothingness that intertwines me with everyone else’s fate––the sixteen year old in me knows that the only form of power I will ever have is the choice to end it all. I destroy everything inside of me and around me. It is my duty to be incredibly aware of this.

Kind 21 thoughts

  1. If I can’t be authentic, I may as well be nothing.
  2. Physical proximity with those you love matters.
  3. To measure for myself in time is meaningless, but everything for others.
  4. I am not obligated to bear the weight of everyone who had come before me––but die trying, anyway.
  5. I am no savior.
  6. And I must lean into love, gentleness, kindness, and softness more––resisting a world that has long refused to equate this with strength or progress.
  7. I carry a piece of everyone I’ve encountered with me, and because of that I too, am loved and holy.
  8. I must write because I forget. I must write to document, and then to reimagine.
  9. My (and everyone else’s) effect on both systems & individuals is far greater than I can possibly fathom.
  10. Signs are merely signs. Things must be spoken.
  11. Things that bring joy and truth are rarities, and are as meaningful to pursue as anything else.
  12. After giving, living for myself can also be living for others.
  13. Gratitude over fear, anger, disgust. Affirmation in an age of silence.
  14. Repetition rarely diminishes.
  15. My life does not need to be story. Every act I do is novel and grand, ut also mine.
  16. Every distance consequence is still a consequence.
  17. It is a time to be prolific. It is time to consume & love & crate, without fear. I leave behind only what I am able to show and let others feel.
  18. Resistance, every single day. Radical acts & beliefs, any time. I act against a world & what others have built that threaten it all over again. This is urgent.
  19. Technology can be a human thing. “Only the human invents tools to make tools, and has always used its own artifacts to reinvent itself.”
  20. Nothing I lose compares to the everything I have to gain.
  21. The love I have to give and have yet to give is far from a finite thing.

Less kind 21 thoughts (to myself)

  1. You already know that nobody cares after you die, or when you want to die. What are you going to do with your life knowing that now?
  2. Live the rest of your life as dangerously open and online as you have the past. Be an experiment for its effects.
  3. Am I going to be one of those people that exist better as an idea –– with no tangible representation or thought?
  4. Everything you wish for will never come true. Your mind will never be able to grasp anything real. Every desire you have is destructive.
  5. How utterly selfish of you to not spend every possible waking moment for betterment that will change other people’s lives drastically, instead of meager things that barely mean anything to you incrementally.
  6. Fall Out Boy lyrics are still so true even if people think they’re stupid just put them in your fucking bio since you want to do it so badly anyway
  7. It is always too late and too early.
  8. Likability matters a lot, so start sucking up a bit more.
  9. Warning sign after warning sign, nobody has cared. It is pointless to ask for help. Do everything else you can to live.
  10. Anger and rage are valid fuels.
  11. Most of the time, it will be the only fuel you ever have.
  12. You will regret everything at the end, anyway.
  13. Everyone just wants the best for themselves. Nobody cares about you.
  14. Only your own consistency can salvage you from a chaotic world.
  15. Love is infinite. Love is also very easily tested.
  16. Everything is only as unkind as you make it seem.
  17. You are running out of time. Especially at this state.
  18. Nothing matters, and as such everything does.
  19. I am only what I leave behind. Every thought unsaid, every quiet non-response… it’s like I have been existing to erase myself and my being. Do you want to be nothing?
  20. I do not deserve a single thing that has ever happened to me.
  21. It will never get better. You destroy yourself and then it becomes nothing. What will you do about it?

The future is a tiny internet

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Being written in public and expanded on.

There’s no shortage of talk on how audio is the prevailing future of the web. Clubhouse especially is bringing rise to this future, but so is Roadtrip, Capiche, DialUp, and even Omegle. We have long sought to use the limitless internet, unbounded by geography, to transmit ourselves and being long and far––for work, play, sex, attention, and the sake of longing.

Facetime and calls bind one generation, and I can’t help but feel like I’m an internet native boxed to another end. It was hard for me to feel safe in many spaces and I was accessing the internet late at night where I was desperate to distance myself but explore the world in hushed tones. Instead of raucous laughter over tangled earphones or the love of displaying myself all over an iPad, the internet felt most intimate to me when I was with people over long drabbles of text and chatlogs now irretrievable. I communicated and built culture around trends in text, because Americanizing myself in voice was difficult and the internet as a place of escape made me dread hearing myself. I was utterly unconfident, more of a lurker, and treaded amongst many communities at once –– only seen if I wanted to be.

Our current social tools make this kind of ghastly lurking a lot less possible––and I get it, it’s undesirable. On Discord, I have to go Invisible, but my name still treads in every community I’m in. On Twitter, it’s maintaining private lists and reading through them instead of following people. Reddit and 4chan are still the best places where I can maintain this behavior since you only are seen when you truly want to be (though they are the hardest to monetize). While ghostly, they are still the most tight-knit communities that exist. The cultures, trends, and inner knowledge present within a subreddit easily rival the sense of community in smaller Discord groups. It manages to feel “tiny” and welcoming, even if numerically it’s far more than that. While there’s sections like RPAN that allow for unfiltered livestreaming, new user subreddits that let you broadcast every single thing you feel, it’s still one of the truest spaces there is that product people are frantically trying to unbundle.

Peach’s usage of “magic words” presents new modes of interaction

Most Discord servers and subreddits don’t require a voice for you to be embedded in the culture. Your voice and sound is a sacred thing, easily identifiable––something I struggle with when meeting up with people. I know, it’s ideal for meetings and quickly getting rid of the tension and miscues from text––but there’s something special and comforting with instead navigating relationships and cultivating them through text.

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Garena Talk was a SKype/Discord-like client for League, used by clans and friends

I played League of Legends for years with the same circle of friends, never really speaking to them in voice. We would get together without fail every single night, even more in the weekends, literally playing 12+ hours straight for around five years. Some of my closest friends in the world are people I’ve never heard. Out of timezones and hecticness, my best friends are people who I share voice conversations with (and we went to the same middle-high school together) that only comprise a tiny sliver of all our conversations––the rest happen in online logs. Mentoring and teaching people, I also come to understand how advice through text is more meaningful and permanent (things I desire, even if the internet exists to resist them) than spoken words. Disconnect and connectivity make it harder to speak to people I love back home, but the words we exchange through text are never any less real. I like to think that I also exist more as a person to be known in the written form, never heard or seen by the vast majority of people who will know me. I dig that idea.

So here’s a case for tiny, intimate internet spaces. “Tiny” does not have to exist in numbers, it can also exist in cultures. Little forums and groups tucked away and servicing friend circles and niche interests, virtual avatars that act as extensions of ourselves without the labor of presence, the ability to weave between circles with many pseudonyms (as done on archiveofourown), concentrated updates and dialogues that prioritize safety, immediacy, and privacy.
Letting people craft and segment their identities to fit different online spaces essentially mirrors what we do in our real life bubbles. Decentralizing identity and anonymizing ourselves is a powerful thing.


As younger generations become increasingly onlineTM, we’ll see the needs for spaces like these to safeguard the experience of internet exploration. Where we explore our identities, touch on global issues, and uncover global frames of knowledge––we do so in chat, learned cultures, and soft conversations––not radio and the out loud.

Houses Prop Pack | garrysmods.org
Putting together messy 3D worlds with friends on GMod as a quintessential Steam kiddie experience

It’s easy to read social media as a place where young people are constantly vying for social capital, but the class of people who perform for an audience is a small fragment compared to the hundreds of people who dwell, watch, and later depart to go to their own spaces –– if they have any. And even if safety and privacy aren’t immediate, obvious needs for the masses wistfully surfing the internet today––is it a cruel thing to want to offer this as we approach a decade of retracted deference to our data?

Things are obviously a lot different now. I’m unafraid to stream games live (and annoy my friends in doing so), have my face plastered across dozens of loosely interlinked social networks, and am one of the most easily investigable yet completely boring people you may find on the internet. There’s simply a case to be made for spaces where we can cradle ourselves in, carving out universes and spaces and shared languages through text and image and memes and all the glory of the infinite mediums we have at hand… these days, I know I am all for it, as I have been built by it.

In defense of disorder: on career, creativity, and professionalism

Reading Time: 15 minutes

This post is a draft, and currently being written in public (as you can see). This block of text will be removed when it is finished.

Professionalism is a lie, build what you love, explore everything. In today’s age of creation, anyone who attempts to tell you otherwise is lying. You’ll end up seeking what you traded for the rest of your life.

My friends are starting to think about the job market. These are the most talented, selfless, and energetic people I know who will drop nearly everything in an instant to respond to something they deeply believe in. At the same time, my circles are deferential and somber; they’ve never been one to loudly put things on view. Putting together a portfolio is soul-crushing work, looking back – it’s as if nothing is worthy, and there is so much to do.
At Developh (which I started as a high schooler myself), I’m constantly listening to high schoolers dreading college applications, putting their whole selves on pause for a misjudged, glorified persona worthy of the academe. Trying to tell them about worth is a futile thing, since it’s something that can only ever be learned through lived experience. Warnings are the best we can offer. That the world is a vacuum, your whole self is incredibly more potent than you can ever imagine, and like the rest of the life we all will live––this will be a game of luck and chance, skewed for those without privilege.

I grew up in the age of platforms and tooling, of forced loneliness and the internet as a place of respite. Newgrounds to DeviantArt which became Twitter and TikTok, YouTube as a constant yet ever-changing as the top names became less familiar and I skipped out on phases (namely the creepypasta/indie horror game Slenderman/Until Dawn phase). To satisfy my existence, creation was a necessity. The most meaningful community I had was a group of fourteen or so teenagers from all over the world, each other’s affiliates and friends creating Pokemon fansites that offered icons, graphics, tiny pieces of writing, and maybe a Javascript game or two. Playing through Pokemon Pearl was less important than the creativity I could strew out of it: thinking about character pairings, fantasy team compositions and gamemodes, indulging in creepypasta and refining lore. My goal then was to meet a content and fansite standard that could potentially get me affiliated with my favorite site, The Cave of Dragonflies. I never did send an affiliation request and get my 88×31 gif button up there, but it was the anchoring quality marker I had––and I am the builder I am today because of it.

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So I became a designer because of a fascination with a verbose, mechanical Pokemon fansite creator from Iceland. Then I became a graphic designer because I loved one pairing from the visual novel Dangan Ronpa so much that I committed to creating 365 pieces of content from it. Then I continued making fansites for Minecraft, learning how to make texture packs and hosting the tiny mods I would make as I administrated servers filled with friends of friends, learning how to be a shitty leader. Somewhere in between I learned how to make flash games out of a love for Pacthesis dating sims, picked up editing on a cracked version of Sony Vegas to make anime music videos, made a website to host mathematics reviewers I wrote for school, wrote a shitty novel influenced by a love for Terry Pratchett and Daniel Keyes. Everything a result of things I loved.

Then I realized that the real world was coming faster than I had expected. I did everything I could. Sign up to conferences for things I didn’t understand, set up a LinkedIn on junior year of high school, go to events. In college, the same happened with job applications as I tried to craft myself into the ideal mold dictated by Medium articles–absolutely terrified at the prospect of coming to America and leaving jobless–I would be a failure.
A greater disservice would be becoming something I wasn’t. I tried to recruit for software engineering and miserably failed, realizing that I wasn’t in love with the games of optimization and translating specs and wanted something that could work better in spaces of ambiguity and scale with direct interaction with people––something that I was already good at, that I didn’t believe was valid. I returned to design. Then I had a terrible time recruiting again as the pandemic hit (check out my failure resume) until realizing what spaces truly meant things to me.

I’m going to spend my whole life yearning for truth. I wasted two years in college following unproven paths from people with far more privilege than me that I was doomed to follow from the very beginning. If I were honest at the things I loved in high school, I would have gone farther.
And everything I love, if I followed, would be tended further and gloriously. I dropped games because they were illogical then and now, see college students making millions off games they made in high school, establishing game studios that would put the crap that “founders” searching for problems recklessly to shame. Now, there’s a surfeit of people with the most resources and funding poking around issues that aren’t theirs to solve, infiltrating them in the name of false good.

All I needed to hear when I was younger that the things I love were worth something. We live in the age of tooling and creation. There is no shortage of platforms and resources that make it easier for us to build, but there’s also a lack of cultural understanding around that turns young people off things they’re ridiculously good at and love, along with the impending dystopic barrage of people who can tell you that there is a “right” way to build––that there is a “right” path to success.

Building is easier, but creativity is harder

We live in a weird time. Early 2021: a huge rise in the no-code movement and automation tools. It’s the time to build, they say. Individual makers are given more leverage than ever to operate on larger scales with the amount of automation tools and platforms that make tasks easier, and the number of lines of code we have to write to make everyday products have drastically been cut. People put together conferences for thousands of people, gauge traction for platforms, and build audiences of millions all without a line of code written.

This happens on social media, on WordPress blogs, on video editors that let people make fancams in minutes. We now have a collaborative, minimal Photoshop that works on the browser (Figma), and we have a literal open-source Photoshop clone too (Photopea). Cracking software and programs is easier than it was when you had to dredge through Limewire and limited websites––if you know how to do it. It’s ridiculous and only going to get better and easier.

At the same time, it’s a very confusing era to be a technologist. Talking to young students, there’s more confusion than ever about getting started with the act of building.

As software has scaled up in complexity and the amount of toolchains, we’ve mistakenly tried to shift ridiculous processes meant for larger organizations to individual learning. I don’t mean that Git is unnecessary (because I do exist with many computer science majors who know the way to game office hours and come out with perfect pset scores––but have no idea what a repository is), but the act of learning how to build a website is a bit ridiculous.
Frank Chimero’s “Everything Easy is Hard Again” details this perfectly from the perspective of a web designer. Like him, I made a Radiohead website (well, Fall Out Boy) at one point in time and still don’t know how HTML tables work. The issue that senior, experienced technologists face is the burden of unlearning and learning to follow the simultaneously cyclic and chaotic nature of web development––where often, they’ll be relearning methods that were seemingly deemed mispractice years ago. For the beginner, they face their obliviousness and lack of experience.
Now, it’s very rare that you get to open up the source code of a website and see anything meaningful from it. Styling and scripts are minified, content and all the rendering obfuscated from the eyes of a reader. Creating a website is no longer opening up a .txt file, you need to download these command line tools and work from the terminal––or, you give up on all of that and use a website builder like Squarespace that severely restricts the potential of what you can build, or leaves you to master whatever template is most manipulable.

The current generation of product designers likely started with folks who were tasked at moving things around the company website and liking that more than touching back-end systems, moving to the role with their cracked Photoshop in hand. They remain as product designers because they’re excellent at working with systems, understanding people & metrics, and influencing culture––even if their personal visual languages may not be as aligned with what trends today. Now, there’s more designers who are only designers––it’s more acceptable, really. Less potential communication with developers, but folks who can do all the Pinterest styles: the large, blocky playful illustrations that ran rampant on every homepage for a while (now inching to the 3D trend), brutalist design plastered on your favorite y2k clothing brand’s Shopify webpage, colorful stickers on black and tapered plastic wrap textures.

But so much innovation only serves a few, really. Learning and tooling drastically disservices those who truly need it: learners from countries with limited infrastructure or ecosystems. No code tools seem more trendy for the FAANG Product Manager building a gig on the side, or for anyone who already has access to tools that did this––but worse. Webflow prices are a nightmare for Filipinos––which makes me hard to recommend no matter how flexile and lovely it could theoretically be. These movements often seem like they’re lodged to support places where technology is already most pervasive when we must be creating tooling and spaces for those in most need.
Other initiatives like Codecademy, freeCodeCamp, or Harvard’s CS50 reduce this gap for free. Bootcamps are also doing this, though can oftentimes be exploitative with profit-sharing models or exorbitant pricing models with lofty promises of six-figure jobs. Still, the good parts still fall into the same traps of curricula that doesn’t match desire. Unless you know you want to develop websites and go through the same tutorial path that every other fCC participant does, you won’t get into it. I knew I fell into this field accidentally. The complexity around technology worsens this for young learners. Looking at charts and coding roadmaps is paralyzing; people fight over what programming language you should first learn instead of simply going for whatever and actually getting started.

Issues around tutorial purgatory or newbie paralysis ensue because of these. Although the common practices around my time weren’t perfect either, what I appreciated was culture and as Frank Chimero describes, general legibility over the web. Things were decentralized and documented in detail in individual blocks or over trusted documentation sites like W3Schools if additional reference were needed. I could find any interesting site I loved and take a peek into its source code, reworking things into haphazard imitations until they were uniquely mine.

If we live in an age with both accessible-but-not-so-accessible tools and structured, sometimes wishy-washy tutorials, what can we do? We compensate with creativity––the core of design practice that seems less and less mentioned the deeper we go into education or practice.
Any maker knows that no ideas left are new; everything that has been done is done. What is more important then than creativity for the present? While we’re navigating the battlefield of tooling, there’s a constant that remains: less time is needed on the actual act of mechanically designing or making. We’re adopting new theoretical models and frameworks for passing over designs, articulating changes, and making things meaningful to the responsive creator at the right stage; advances made by companies like Figma, repl.it, and Glitch make it easier than ever for us to build things.

Fresh from Dribbble | Dribbble Design Blog
Image from Dribbble

A good example of why creativity matters is the much-complained about Dribblification of design. Everything looks the same. Design patterns and recommendations are literally just imitations of one another, especially on mobile products when their interface offered us a whole new realm of play. How can things look so stagnant when they’ve existed far shorter than the browser? People joke that the developments with design systems have reduced the job of designer into playing drag-and-drop with pixels, similar to what the Visual Basic editor might have been for programmers over a decade ago.

Finding original thought, meaningful sources of inspiration, and communities that reward creativity instead of subscription to the norm are also more challenging. Process and repetitive methods of thought will come, but creativity is innate and built. Creativity is relentless, but also easy to slip by.

In Against Creativity, Oli Mould states that for the nebulous concept it is, creativity is a power, not just an ability. Instead of an inert force, creativity is a proactive task that blends both institutional and pre-cognitive knowledge, agency, and desire to create something that does not yet exist. Creativity is then better thought of as an agent of desire: what do you long to create and have the power to create, and what is something that you can create? These should be your guiding questions. We live in the age where life’s biggest uncertainty is not how we can make something, but should––and for all the limited “shoulds” we have––create something that matters to you. This is the greatest thing that people want to seize. They want to capitalize on your time, effort, and creativity: not just the mechanical means of putting something together, this is repetitive and replicable and easy to get outdone in. Rather, the original thought, creation, and work that you do that unwittingly sets new trends and movements. You wield this power, shaped uniquely yours. Be a force of reckoning.

So then: build what you envision, the tools for it are out there. Resist norms and patterns, but feel free to imitate them as you learn. Remember that building is easier than ever, but creativity is harder than you think.

Professionalism is for dummies

With the job hunt, one of the worst things I did was try to fit in the mold of a perfect applicant. The same thing happened with my college application. The essay I wrote that got me into my present university was my most heartfelt, sentimental one. Sincerity is something you can feel from even a glance, I believe. I know it from rereading the words I wrote at seventeen.

I don’t mean abandoning all etiquette when I say that this whole act is for dummies, I mean that genuineness is a virtue and rarity and matters far more than anything I know. Tweet about the things that matter to you, the things you love behind the screen, be more than a robotic presence articulating successes––we’re moving past that, if you’ve been keeping up. When our mentors are genuinely goofy or open about their fascinations, it’s easier for us to realize that 1.) your entire being doesn’t revolve around your career, and that 2.) many things in life can simultaneously be important, if not, are more important than the work we do in these temporary companies. Seeing seniors talk about their children, obsess over niche musicians, and share meaningful pieces matters.
I had grown with the assumption that you should hide your entire internet presence while jobseeking when it has only benefited me––also, it was kind of unavoidable. My life is completely traceable with a quick full name Google Search, including this blog, and I remain unapologetic about that. With it, the things I built, believe in, and share are out there. (Of course, this only works if you’re not an asshole online. Hopefully you aren’t.)

Culturally, Filipino employers are unafraid to add you on Facebook. It’s almost an expectation. People can celebrate their career accomplishments while sharing their last Facebook Gaming stream. We know how to draw lines, and the people I’ve worked with share memes and exchange banter in familiar places. Humanity and empathy matters.
Spending this journey of my life as a design student in North America, I feel ridiculously blessed and honored to have met so many incredible designers from around the country on Twitter. They’ve donated to fundraisers put up by Developh, follow both career wins and inner thoughts, and I see their takes on social justice and equity in an increasingly tense climate. Real conversations and moments are shifting from people who put their face next to their company; making career decisions feels a lot less alone. Trends spin from one place to another, many non-design. Humanity and advocacy matters.

We’re likely to not find a workplace that perfectly aligns with everything we want: any inner advocacy we might have with a perfect salary–and extra–for the lifestyle we dream for. The few who do are very lucky, and very vocally so where it frankly gets annoying. What matters instead is to optimize for growth and happiness, the actual non-negotiables in our quest of staying alive while doing good work.

What we can instead do is maximize our reach and desires so that we’re most likely to fall into places that allow us to have close to everything we want. This is why people assert what they seek, why we must talk about the things we are passionate about and invest in them, and know the people we do. The more we talk about how a place is our dream space, the more likely will people aligned with that area think of you for it. Dreaming can never happen in a silo.

More than anything, letting go of the expectation to be professional means that I am much less narcissistic. Provide, give back. My turning point was when I realized the system was so broken that I just had no energy to put up a facade; realize that the most decent people are also tired and that we’re about to go and rebuild this entire process, anyway.

There’s a distinction between self-centered ambition and shared ambition. It’s impossible to collaborate holistically and meaningfully when you fall into the former; the most meaningful and inspirational things will be built by people, together. Especially so as a young creator/technologist/student/person should we understand that our peers––even if they don’t present and have no LinkedIn profile and are living life normally and not decimating it by doomscrolling on a career website––are no less or better than us.

The biggest lie is thinking that you excel at any one skill, or special. You are terrible and likely a burden to any professional, capable team you’ll be in. More likely than not, believe that you will be a waste of money. You are an investment.
Your personality, learning ability, and growth mindset are far more meaningful in the career search. This is why creativity and genuineness matter; they’re presumably built up, and are “unteachable” compared to technical skills that will be ever-evolving anyway. Tone down with grandiose descriptors; it matters more what you wish to be and how you’ve proven you journey into things that you’ve desired before––no matter how unacademic or unprofessional they might seem.

But this doesn’t mean that you’re worthless. It means the investment placed into you (plz don’t think I mean salary is bullshit or whatever) is more on how you build, strategize, grow––abstractions that come untaught and exist at different levels of lived experience. Like how we must treasure creativity, we must try to let go of inevitably measuring ourselves with technical markers at such early points in our careers.

All you do is all they dream of

All this leads to this thought: – holy shit, just do what you love. They’re worth something.

All these people so badly want to replicate the skills you have.

When you load up a Minecraft world you’ve been building for months with friends, spend hours exchanging fiction pieces with the most bizarre tags on Archive of Our Own, successfully set up the second largest fan group for (Sandy) Alex G, know how to Photoshop yourself into a shitty selfie of Robert Pattinson, or have played around with ROM hacks even if it was only as far as to change up the first dialogue screen of Emerald, you are creating. The commissions you do on the side turning vague screaming into gorgeous pieces on tight deadlines, Discord the posters you make for fun, the anime edits and fanart animations you produce that seemingly have no professional value––keep doing it. Break the internet and build things even if they’re ridiculous to describe on paper, make things that you are genuinely fascinated by. Running a fansite propelling constant updates on Saoirse Ronan to tens of thousands of followers consistently is a better signal of grit and potential than a fake nonprofit started in high school that will soon die out (even if everyone is doing it). Put together that fanzine and die over logistics and merchandise together, overexert on the things that you want to see become beautiful––less on the ones that mean nothing. Impact is also a measurement of what you yourself are personally proud of and love. Your body of work starts as early as now. You will remember the things you made out of sheer love far more than corporate products you’ll be forced into.

Grow with your friends, we are all creators. Take harsh feedback and criticism, or mold a space where you don’t have to do that. Immerse yourself in the internet’s spectrum of beliefs that you will forever be pondering about from now on. Embrace levity, don’t take things too seriously. You are the most powerful generation in existence, but the world also has barricaded itself denser than ever before you.
You will be more than fine.

Be creative. Share that creativity with people. The resurgence of tutorials delivered bite-size on TikTok leaves me ridiculously optimistic for the future. The people selling month-long subscriptions to paid professional program at a percentage of the cost make me chuckle; you can even get the full thing yourself for free, or walk into the mall and get a full Photoshop package for a dollar––once those are back up, of course.

The most prominent, meaningful thing I learned this year was that love and passion matter. Your interests matter. The things that make people laugh and love and shine, proven by numbers even if they’re unconventional, stand true. If I told my high school self to continue building projects and telling stories that mattered to me, I would have been far happier than I am today––and more successful at a craft that I’m ending up pouring all my hours to, anyway.
The biggest challenge at this stage in your life is resisting the norm and inventing your own. You are cultivated by communities that people are trying to unbundle and understand; your long reddit threads and tiny communities that have long tended close connections that these older systems and false learning systems dare of. It seems like this shouldn’t be revelatory, but it unfortunately is. Austerity is unnecessary, the pious are most chaotic. For years I knew what I wanted and discarded it in the name of something that was more feasible; the world has let the most unnecessary of things thrive––what you believe in, someone else does too. And in the name of kindness, laughter, joy, and the arts, an advocacy doesn’t have to be visible in the “sustainable development goals”. I believe that many of the people who have mattered to you at one point or another exist with significance without that constraint.

While walking a superficial route of professionalism, I realized the people I want to work with and will be working with were really the kinds of people who mirrored who I was at sixteen. You will be falling back into it. It’s only human nature for us to want to love the life we live.

This is a generation of unyielding talent with so much against it, a natural result of years of making building easier––and cultural thought on matter and value is and will always be delayed. Be yourself. Talk about what you really want to do. Personally, I’ll be living in pursuit of building better spaces for the kid I was when learning all that about flash and code. If only in the work of making creation more ubiquitous will we find people who naturally are invested in the problems they’re most suited for.


I wish I kept to what I loved earlier. I wish I had someone tell me that was a completely viable path.

I redesigned my website last week to feature mangacaps and anime. It’s the most fun I’ve had with a portfolio I’ve probably spent dozens of hours working on over the past months––and it’s the best it has ever looked.