Archive for October, 2014

A Letter From Cleo

My daughter Cleo, who is 21, had a 5th birthday celebration/fashion show for her Brand Clee Clothing, which she started when she was 16. This is the letter she enclosed in the goody bag she gave her guests:

Dear fellow humans,

Please read this letter when you have a quiet moment.
Like really quiet moment.
Like at home.

THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. For coming out tonight, for taking the time to read this, for being a part of Clee Clothing’s journey. I’m truly honoured and grateful. YAAAAS.

I hate the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. I’ve always hated it actually. So instead of answering that, I’m going to work backwards. I’m going to look back at the past 5 years, and write for 16 year old me: “This is where you ended up 5 years later”.

WARNING: I don’t have a plan before writing, I just sort of write and then stuff happens, so please forgive if it’s fragmented or random at times. I just want to give you my thoughts as raw as I can do on paper. I am not much of a writer.

I recently found the letter that I put in the goodie bags at the LOST event in 2012. Reading it back was a weird experience. It was an experience of both seeing how much you’ve grown, but also shock at seeing that the feelings you described at that point, you still feel very acutely now.
I’m going to quote parts of the letter below and then mark it like it’s an essay. Obviously the BOLD writing is today Clee. YAY! FUN FUN FUN.

“[LOST] is my expression of the place I was at when The Rebirth came about – I didn’t know where I was going or what I was aiming for. I couldn’t see any of my achievements, let alone appreciate them. I felt like I was wasting my time, making no progress, and generally putting all my efforts into something that had no real meaning. A big problem that I hadn’t realised at the time was that I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing. My reason was “I don’t want to prove those who don’t believe in me right”, which I can now see is not good enough. Don’t worry, you come so far from feeling like you have anything to prove to anyone but yourself.

Second problem was that I had no way of measuring success. I didn’t (and still don’t) (and still don’t) hold money as my aim, so sales/finances couldn’t be my measuring stick. I had to think a lot about what I cared about, and my reasons for working on the clothing line. I found that what I care about most is personal growth; developing and challenging myself, and testing my capabilities (YESSS ‘LIL CLEE! MI HEAR YUH!). I still have no means of measuring my success though (I know, gaddamn it ain’t easy. What are we going to do, Clee?). It would be personal growth but that’s like the most obscure thing to try to measure lol, especially when I can only see it in retrospect. Why you lol’ing to yourself, bro? But yeah. I hear you. Believe me. Reading this does make me see it though, maybe we should write more? Due to this, to an extent I am still lost. I still can’t see my achievements most of the time and I definitely still belittle them. Sometimes I feel like giving up but I carry on in part because I know I still have so much to learn. Wow this is weird, get out my head. I still haven’t studied business or fashion so I still don’t really know where I’m going. I hate the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” because I really have no clue. Haha, yep no change there. But I think it’s good that I don’t know, there’s no way I could have anticipated where I’d be now 6months ago, let alone 5 years ago. This is mad creepy. I don’t want to dictate my growth, I want to try things, take opportunities as they come and grow organically. I think what I’m trying to say is that I was lost. I got to know myself a little better and found that I am still lost, lol. But now, it’s less of a negative feeling, now it’s an acceptance of where I am, and using that to better myself.”

OK Clee, grammar and sentence structure wasn’t great but we can work on that. I’ve got some good news though, it’s been 5 years since you started Clee Clothing. You have changed so much, but you are actually happier than you’ve ever been now. Clee Clothing is actually pretty good now. The clothes, the designs, the meanings… it’s all well thought out and the time and effort that you put into it actually paid off. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got loads of work left to do… but I have a strong feeling you’d be happy if you could see what you’ve put together. In fact, I don’t even think you would believe it. Clee Clothing was 100% rubbish when you started it, and you had no clue what you were doing, but you know more now.. and it’s actually not rubbish at all anymore. You turned it around. Some actual real life humans have described themselves as ‘fans’. People actually wear the clothes that you make. You’ve been out in public and seen people wearing your stuff! So you creeped them out and hugged them and then cried like a baby! Hahahahaha. YOU are more confident in who you are, you’re still awkward but you’re less shy. You went through a period of caring what people think, but luckily you are back to your old ways. You have learnt a mad amount. You have amazing people in your life. You nearly explode at least once a week due to a feeling of overwhelming gratitude. Basically you are in a really good place, so thank you for making the choices that you did, and for pushing on always.

2 multiplied by 10, plus 1! CLEEBO DONE.

PS. Please don’t take anything I’ve said as encouraging anyone else to not have goals – if you have goals and a passion for something and you know exactly what you want to do then that is amazing. Treasure that gift and make your journey but don’t forget to stop and evaluate then re-evaluate. But for people like me who didn’t have a particular passion or who don’t know what they want to do.. I think the point is that IT’S OKAY. It’s fine. You can still move forwards, you can still grow and get yourself to a place you want to be, even if you don’t know where that is yet. I think it’s about running with ideas, and fighting the fear and self doubt that comes so quickly after you start to give your ideas legs. It doesn’t matter if it flops, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Just do you, open doors for yourself and keep moving forwards. I’ve learnt that fear will hold you back 100x more than any ‘lacks’ you perceive in yourself: like a lack of talent, creativity or ability.

Also, briefly. 5 years from now: I don’t think of a place I want to be or a house I want to own, I think about the person that I want to be, and that’s what I take steps towards. This means I can be directed by my values and what I care about, because I’ve made the decision to let that be my foundation and my framework.

PPS. here are some questions for you that were at the end of the old letter. I’d recommend writing down your answers so you can look back on them later and basically have the experience I had reading my old letter back. This is for you not me, so you don’t need to send me answers or anything.
1. What are you doing with your life and why?
2. Are you happy where you are, why?
3. What is it that you care about?
4. What motivates you?
5. What are you afraid of and why?

PPPS. I hope you had a good time tonight, thank you again for coming. Any feedback is appreciated. Tweet me @cleoforstater.


October 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

From: The .99c Guide to Enlightenment

The Art Of Nourishing Life

Yen Ping Chung asked Kuan Yi Wu about nourishing life.

Kuan replied, “It’s enough to give life its free course, neither blocking nor obstructing it.”

Yen said, “How do I do that?”

Kuan replied, “Let the ear hear what it likes, the eye see what it likes, the nose smell what it likes, the mouth say what it likes, the body to enjoy the comfort it likes, and the mind to do what it likes.

Now what the ear likes to hear is music, and prohibiting that is what I call obstruction of the ear.

What the eye likes to look at is beauty, and if it is not permitted to view beauty I call this obstruction of sight.

What the nose likes to smell is perfume, and it’s not being permitted to smell I call obstruction to scent.

What the mouth likes to talk about is right and wrong, and if it is not permitted to speak I call it obstruction of the truth.

The comforts the body enjoys is to have rich food and fine clothing. And if this is not permitted, I say this is obstruction of the senses of the body.

What the mind likes is to be at peace. If this is not permitted I call this obstruction of the mind’s nature.

All these obstructions are a source of the most painful irritation.

Morbidly to cultivate this cause of irritation, unable to get rid of it, and so have a long but very sad life of eighty to a hundred years, is not what I call nourishing life.

But to stop this source of obstruction and with calm enjoyment to await death – for a day, a month,a year or ten years – is what I understand by enjoying life.

Now that I have told you about cherishing life, please tell me about the burial of the dead?

Yen said,
Burying the dead is of little importance. What shall I tell you about it?

Kuan replied,
I really would like to hear it.

Yen answered him,

What can I do when I am dead? They may burn my body or cast it into deep water or bury it or leave it exposed or throw it wrapped up in a mat into some ditch or cover it with princely apparel and embroidered garments and rest it in a stone sarcophagus. All that depends on mere chance.

Kuan said,
Good. Both of us have made some progress in the principles of life and death.

October 2, 2014 at 8:52 am Leave a comment

The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.