My Fresh Start in Foreword Part 2

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My Fresh Start in Foreword (Part 2)

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Me with Grace (the new Head of Marketing) on the secret Santa gift presentation from Kopi Date which I dread about, but became the best one since I got a useful gift from Keith which is amazing. I can’t wait to be part of it one more time.

“Again, I was looking around for a self,” - Christopher Eccleston

This quote from my actor from his memoir spoke to me (I hope to read this soon since I found this amazing quote from Tumblr)  as it has a theme in my journey to getting my place in the world of work in this internship here especially in finding myself. This road in the world of work while being the independent and confident girl I want to be is a long and tiring one with plenty of adventure here. In my transition to proper adulting in work while learning to let go of things which are not in control, I am still working on my personal life. In my time in Foreword, I went through the insane sea of changes especially with the extension of my internship, which is a surprise for me and my mom and she is chuffed that the extension is from the Almighty. I remember speaking to a bunch of teachers in Fairfield Methodist on my internship time during an event there, I was told He showed his wisdom in mysterious ways (well it’s my first time talking about God in the picture in this blog writing). It has been an insane adventure from customer service to the joys of design and marketing for someone who did concept art/fine arts in schooling. One of the glamourous highlights on customer service during the internship to do better marketing was that I got through my anxiety when I met the President during work, which I am grateful for. It’s a little triumphant moment for me as it shows I deserve a life that I can shine for what I give.

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Here’s the lovely Wei Jie opening the snacks that I brought from Hokkaido to eat here :),I normally give cards but this take to the next level and not normal of me to do that and they appreciate it as my sister said that work colleagues appreciated titbits especially when they got the hunger pangs at work.

It’s a season of trying new things from interacting with my fellow human beings to conquer basic design stuff which went extreme and complex along with good photography which is a day and night contrast to my last workplace which are classes. While on the other hand interacting with my colleagues, let alone other humans, is a ride which I sometimes have my way in doing a task. My awesome twin sister said that I was like Kyo in social skills level. I learn to listen and be humble in feedback and help others in tasks that I need for the day. I learn myself the simple joys of giving to my colleagues. I got snacks to thank them for helping me in my time in this internship here while adjusting me to the world of work while working through my challenges that prevent me from moving forward here in my life as I was in a graduate limbo from my last “work”. I was in a regression and denied a chance to have this opportunity to do these social skills in my previous work in a dull space with little human interaction. Along with social skills from simple greeting at my colleagues while having a smile which is not easy for me, to my worst weakness that deny me the chance to have work which is the management of my emotions which is a landmine which is not the easiest especially if you never work in the entire life, I am learning every day and hope to improve more in that part along with understanding my colleagues’ autism. It’s a ride for me in terms of my colleagues and my working relationship with them. It’s hard to interact with them because of my past experience that I felt trapped in a gilded cage because of my regression in social skills and confidence which I am working on.

There’s a weird mantra that with the right support, our fellow autistic people can work, but it’s more than just giving that support as we are very different. As I quote from Canada’s “You Can’t Ask That” episode on Autism, "you don't know what we look like; it's not a face.” So one programme may work for some but not for others. It requires a level of care and support while having space to grow as a person, it’s not fair that my fellow autistic women like myself did not get equal support in a dignified bespoke way and care that treat you like an adult in the terms of employment that let you grow in your own pace (I hope for a tailored support for autistic women in the workforce and their journey to employment with the care that Foreword have). Just that your superpower became the enemy which is my relationship with my autism identity on my journey to work. I put a lot of masking here which is unusual for myself as a woman on the spectrum who is fine in a mainstream world especially in school, it makes me feel worthless that a programme that was supposed to make me calm gave me the quicksand moment that it is mundane after a long time doing the same task repetitively with little excitement for an artisan handicraft. I remember my last few months before working with Foreword was a cluster mess especially on the time of getting my royalty work for sewing which I have this mixed feelings to it especially the dream art gallery job almost gave me the job but ended up making me realise I been masking those feelings that I hate the work which I stay for the collaboration that have its foundation in sand. It’s the A-ha moment they did not see coming with a series of long chats that will be the last that I communicate with the village. It's the penny drop that led me to an intense journey to find my happiness in work.

I get myself in a comfortable self that I can be me in my journey on being an adult in working life. I still have to brush up on my social skills while getting pretty pictures and good content for the adoring fans in Foreword’s social media with tutelage from my mom (and Grace, bless her for dealing me in doing that social media stuff with the dash of dealing with my grammar and spelling). As Tohru quoted “I’m getting swept along” especially being in this transition of how Foreword is with me in that ride especially with the changes ahead (Spoiler alert it looks fantastic here and the new concept is awesome). I have less anxiety nowadays as I am excited to be up in my day ready for what things I can work on with plenty of good stress.

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A candid moment captured by Keith in one of our Kopi dates which he has the accidental moment with the camera XD

Of course, it doesn’t mean it will go away forever as my anxiety still follows me in this new season and will be a part of me here at least it’s managed well with my guardians’ angels if needed. So far I learn new things every day whatever it’s graphic design or even photography I even show my somehow spark of genius in the pictures that I took in my own smart creative way. I was also able for the first time to express my ideas and voice in a space that I felt happy without judgment. I think the Almighty feels I should be a working woman with better things to do in this life and want me to embrace this adventure without restrictions.

I am in this work process to be the happy person in college which will take some time, the good news here is that this place gives me the space to grow which I did in a year yet able to be in a community as I take on more responsibility in the work (that included being open-minded in taking pictures). I am also making the effort to improve myself, especially my speech. My mom realised I want to be free when it comes to working especially now I am using more of my travel money from my SG enable card since my job needs the travel hence the chance to explore new places and food to see the Singapore life differently. I do for the first time enjoy the work break without dreading going back to work for the last time. Every day is a new project while learning new things about myself and adjusting to the work-life balance.

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A selfie with Wei Jie

For Wei Jie. He is still awesome as a boss, he even gave me a talk on my attitude which is truly honest and heart to heart unlike my previous workplace on asking me for a decisions like a child which I need to grow as an adult with the discipline that I never properly get because in my work I was on my own and have more talks with my “job coaches” than being happy in work (part of that it’s the infamous wait for a massive project which I am working on my letting go on that area). Wei Jie took a chance on this broken person traumatised with the lack of social skills. He gives the empowerment to be me again and the confidence in me slowly getting back at my own pace with plenty of discipline which is lacking yet worth it to see this bohemian smart creative person who loves to snack on Lotus biscuits and enjoy the stress with the patience of the saint of getting my art to be in the standard.

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My little picture of the fun Foreword Admin Team over lunch

With me working with Grace, I am under pressure as she has higher expectations for me in design work. The biggest change that Grace helped me in realising is that designing is not easy as what I did for doodling despite going to art school, which is a huge learning curve for myself since I studied fine arts. She told me to do it slowly with good quality while learning to relax at the same time to make the design perfect while making sense since I’m very much an “everything goes in the way I want” kind of person. In the communication book she did beyond the speech which is the plan for mine as she put what I learned which will be new milestones to be a better person into that book which is for the better. In design, my fine art bohemian illustrator self has to learn new things while learning old tricks all over again.

For the captions and social media stuff, I am learning to connect with the audience with some well-placed emojis for social media captions while letting go of my stubbornness to let Grace teach me new skills and seeing me never giving up quickly because I’m doing something that I am happy for. I learn a lot of things about myself, especially equality at my previous employment. In one session with Grace, she taught me about feminism for a social media post in which I shared my feelings to a person I barely know about my placement in my previous place. She offers a strict mentor role for me to learn these new skills that I never imagined I’ll be doing in my previous employment as it had a dull routine of sewing projects. I am adapting to office life which is awesome while dealing with the distractive self which Grace has to deal with to the tea. She herself never went to art school yet has to learn these things and know how learning on these design and marketing things never come easy. At least she gave me the encouragement and something to talk about and learn from.

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“We have a right to have the same opportunities be it work or play, no matter the industry "My “Each for Equal” pose for International Women’s Day which became relevant with my first steps to work here and my wish for every woman on the spectrum deserve equal opportunities especially work that play to their strengths

I have to decided to text my case manager of my previous work before working properly at Foreword to wish a good new years earlier in the year to her which is a bittersweet one and give me a bit of closure knowing I’ll do things in my own adult pace while letting go of the past will be a long road for my personal and work life which will be a long process. One of those dreams of my dream job is to have a structure yet have its zest for the adventure that I give in my doctor’s appointment and mentorship which is being part of a supportive yet fun environment which is a long process which began with a chat with Wei Jie who saw a smart creative human being who is traumatised in the inside which beame medication for my soul and mind besides the good help of supportive family and real therapy which is such healing to me which is a long one to be a better version of myself along with brings the potential in me instead of hindering the potential that I have.

It began as an internship and now it’s a work for me (through it’s part-time) which I put my best and become happier for the first time since graduating college. I enjoy it especially getting cheap lunches on the fly and the interactions with my colleagues while being tired for good reasons which I banter to my twin sister in that area. I even celebrated my birthday at work which is so sweet with the fun eating lunch with company which is still a learning curve for me in the world of work. I felt very understood here which is what I needed and be part of the team while working on grownup etiquette. I look very zen in getting the work done but inside I fall apart in the social skills department that is part of the reason I want a different pace in working life which helps me in growing not only at work but also in social skills. I do have a small victory that I did not have a crying meltdown in work which is a positive step for me which I’ll keep on working on those social skills from here on.

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Here's me in a busy photo session for the products and I pose with the Christmas hamper and I smiled the biggest here in this outtake, I never smiled that wide in my previous work but here I am with that confident girl being back again

Since working in Foreword there’s a lot of changes here, I put my best to the work that I am doing while letting go of my past over time.I finally use my smart creative mind and spirit into something purposefully which I am doing now which have an impact as  I am calmer and happier in my family life. They’re glad to see me happy in the place that accepts me and happy to see me enjoying that work life. I learn new things every day. I was also able for the first time to express my ideas and voice in a space that I felt happy without judgment.Well I am grateful for them teaching me to be a better human being in work because I need that structure with a dash of new adventures that is not boring in my transition to work. I have that bohemian spirit come in good use over here through being quiet in my work is a long way to go with not using the phone for work stuff or chatting with Wei Jie on work tasks.I even want to be back at work when I get the nasty dengue. I have a chance to doll up every once in a while if it’s not a photography day. My social circle is opening slowly as I practice those skills in having social etiquette to the T, especially the lovely security guards at TSH while managing my anxiety. I am able for the first time to finding myself in a place that will accept me, I am slowly not being the burden for my mom paying the fees for work as I am doing my own salary which is a relief for me and a huge weight from my shoulders being lifted.Right now it’s on hiatus cause of the wonderful rascal named Convid-19 put a damper in work.(thankfully I got the work from home after some convincing)

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Me having a Yu Sheng of a time here (I am happy that they have it fresh for reasons) on one of the kopi dates here which I am working on my social skills on these dates yet I have so much fun here.

It’s a season of good change for me. I can even invest in moving on with the bigger ambitions and dreams that I wanted in my life which I am close but surely while planning on giving my mom my salary one day as a makeup for all these years. When I saw the post of Wonderwall on my colleagues’ adventure while I was in Hokkaido on Facebook, I was in a sobbing mess (which my sister help to comfort me in my tears) that I felt that I was comfortable at this “home” at Foreword Coffee and want to be back at work where they are which is a 360 degree change that show how this internship (at the work) change me and my family and I felt at home with them. I may leave this comfortable home at Foreword, I hope to use the experiences to find myself in the world of work here in Foreword and its other realms in the first ever adventure in work. It is going to be hard to miss the folks at Foreword as I transition to a full time work, a new routine as an art teacher for kids who have high support needs on the spectrum. At least I am finding myself again and becoming me again which is important for me.

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