Q&A personal life, art, small business, and youtube!
hi friends welcome to my first q&a video. I got a lot of good questions on instagram and youtube and I'm going to break this video into 3 parts. It's going to be personal questions, questions about art/shop, and questions about instagram and youtube.
I'm originally from Thailand. I grew up in Bangkok my whole life and I moved to the US in 2018 for my master's degree. I lived in New York for around 1.5 years, and because of the pandemic, I relocated to Massachusetts (where I am now). My birthday is on May 24th. My sign is Gemini sun, Scorpio moon, and Cancer rising.
I have no idea what any of this means, but a lot of people have told me that I don't look like a Gemini. If you know what these signs mean, please let me know because I'm really curious. I have one older brother and he is 6 years older than me.
What is your biggest fear? I am deathly afraid of losing people I love. Especially suddenly, out of nowhere, like the uncertainty of it gives me so much anxiety that I find it hard to fall asleep at night because I'm so scared that someone I love will just...d*e. Being abroad and being away from my family has certainly made that worse, and the pandemic isn't helping either. Logically, I know it's a part of life, but emotionally, I find it very difficult to cope with.
I'm also scared of trusting the wrong people. It has a lot to do with my personal history. I'm very wary of people and it takes a lot of time to open up to someone new.
It's very difficult for me to get to know someone new because I'm scared of trusting them too soon and getting hurt in the end. Thank you so much to everyone who asked this question. I think it's so important to check in with other people! Lately, I have my good and bad days, but I'm becoming more self-aware of my feelings and emotions. I'm getting better at recognizing intrusive thoughts and feelings of hopelessness early on. I know that in a few days I'll feel down and depressed.
When I notice the earlier signs, I'll push myself to do things that help me feel better. Sometimes my boyfriend and I will go for a walk, sometimes we'll just drive to like a supermarket or target or something just to get out of the house. Being outside, getting a change of scenery, looking at the sky, stuff like that helps me feel better.
I think I have 2 quotes. The first one is "good things take time". I'm a pretty impatient person (to myself) so with things like youtube and art shop, things that take a longer time to work on to achieve something, I think it's good practice for me to be more patient with myself and not to expect too much of a result when I first start it. And the second quote I live by is to take things "one day at a time". Especially in quarantine, it's very easy to feel like you're stuck in one place and you're not being productive "enough", not keeping up with your tasks, work, homework.
But if you think about everything you have to do, it can get very overwhelming. So for me, I take it one day at a time, or one task at a time. Especially before a shop opening or something when I have 5 different things to do in one day, I try to tell myself that it's not 5 things, but just one thing at a time. So I allow myself to take my time with tasks and to feel okay with spending a little more time on certain things.
I think I was a pretty good student as a kid. I read a lot of English books growing up and I took kumon (rip) for the longest time. So classes like English and Math I did well, I got good grades.
I've always liked music, art, dance, all those more creative classes and I did well in those too. But in middle school (junior high) and high school I think I focused my life more on dancing, and ballet, so I didn't really care about my academics anymore and my grades kinda plummeted a little (a lot lol). And for college I didn't really know what to study, so I entered into a program where I was just cruising along. My focus was still on being a dancer, performer, dance teacher, so at school my grades were never really good. They were pretty average. Academically, the best I've ever done was actually for graduate school.
For my master's program I got really good grades and I think it's because I'm finally studying in a program that I care about. And because I care about it, I put a lot of time and effort into it and that's why I got better grades. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats back home, they are family pets. One of my dogs actually passed away earlier this year, and when I think about her I still get a little sad sometimes. I haven't seen them in a while but every time my mom video calls me I see them in the background so that helps with missing them. Someone also asked if I liked any other animals aside from cats? I love all animals.
They're so non-judgemental. If you see a squirrel and you tell the squirrel you're depressed it's not going to look at you like "get over it", "it's all in your head". Animals are so nice, and so precious. My family and I traveled a lot while I was growing up.
My parents are really adventurous and outdoorsy kinda people. So we would always go snorkeling/scuba diving at the ocean or we would drive up to the mountains and camp. And on those road trips my dad would listen to these old Thai songs and he would sing along sometimes. Nowadays, when I hear those songs it still makes me tear up because I miss those memories a lot.
Who is your BTS bias? (JKKKKKKKKKKKKKK) I like Day6, Mamamoo, Gfriend, but I don't really follow them as closely as I do with BTS. I just kinda lie on the couch and watch videos. I would go to YouTube, TikTok, Netflix, I just do that for hours without looking at my phone without talking to anyone without eating anything and it might not be the most healthy way to unwind after a stressful day, but it just really helps me to lie down and dissociate for a moment. it takes my mind away from all the stress that I’m feeling and just like focusing on the videos and whatever I’m watching it helps me escape for a while.
In quarantine sometimes I'll also call my friends and play online games together like among us, animal crossing mario kart and one of those pictionary games online. As I mentioned, I moved here in 2018 to pursue a masters degree in creative arts therapy specifically dance therapy and what are my thoughts on living in another country... I didn’t expect myself to have this much difficulty adjusting to the culture here in the US.
I went to an international school my whole life so until I was 18 I was studying in English and I had teachers from all around the world. I think our education system will based on the American education system, but for college I studied in an international program but in a Thai university so the education system is very different. And without going into it too much basically what I’ve read in a research paper on Western versus Eastern education systems is that the one I experienced in high school was more of a horizontal system ( students and teachers are more equal) but when I went to the Thai university the education system was more of a vertical model.
Teachers are up here and students are way down here and during my time there I experienced a lot of teachers who would abuse their authority and abuse their power on the students because they were in a position that was higher up and that’s just something that I wasn’t used to because I grew up in a different kind of system. After being in that University for five years I’ve had to adapt to myself to fit in and before I even realize I had gotten used to that vertical system. When I moved to the US, we were sitting in class one day and having a regular discussion. The teacher said something that one of my classmates didn’t really agree with and he spoke up to explain why he did not agree with what she said and I just remember sitting there frozen in fear because I thought the teacher was going to get up and hit the student for talking back at her and that’s when I kinda realized that I have gotten so used to the Thai education system that I will have to rewire my brain again to understand that it's not like that here. Here, students and teachers are equal. Can you say more about dance therapy? So Dance Therapy is what I majored in for my graduate degree.
It's basically an alternative form of psychotherapy which utilizes dance and movement to help improve psychological wellbeing and mental health. When you think about traditional therapy, there is a therapist and a client and they use verbal communication to talk to each other, to allow the patient to express their thoughts and feelings and the therapist will ask questions that promote critical thinking and allow the patient to self-reflect. But with dance therapy, instead of using verbal communication, we use nonverbal communication instead (movement). So something that is very common with people who experience mental health issues is you feel a disconnect between the mind and the body. And this is because a lot of the symptoms of mental illness tend to *trap people in their heads, and because of that it's very important for us to guide patients towards reconnecting with their bodies.
There is a lot of research on how memory and trauma can be stored in the body and sometimes the mind doesn't even realize that something bad has happened, but the body remembers. For example, if you've burned your fingers on a hot stove before, the next time you go near a stove you will redact your hand even before your mind realizes that the stove is hot. And that is a very very (very) small example of your body remembering trauma. With dance/movement therapy, the goal is to help people learn to express these feelings without having to put them into words.
A lot of the times, it's a challenge for people to put feelings into words (even for me, I don't think I could ever put all my thoughts and feelings into words, that is way too difficult for me) Sometimes I just want to show it through my body. If I feel sad today, I just want to sit like this, and hope that someone will see and understand that I'm not doing okay. And that's what we do for our patients as well. My teacher in grad school said that people become therapists or psychiatrists based on one out of three reasons. 1. if you climb up high enough, you will make a lot of money. 2. you have had a good experience with therapy/mental health counseling and you want to pass on
what you've learned. 3. you've had bad experiences with therapy and mental health, and you want to change the outcome for someone else and for me, it's the last one.
I grew up in a part of the world where there was not a lot of knowledge or research about mental health...or therapy. It's a very stigmatized topic, even growing up, I did not know about depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders; I didn't have a name for any of that. Even in my native language (Thai) I don't think there is a direct translation for "mental illness". Back home, they just use the label "crazy people" for anyone who is different or seems not-normal mentally.
I hated that so much because it puts a negative connotation on people who are suffering from illnesses that are the most difficult to work with. And after coming here and having the opportunity to read a ton of research and learn about the science behind mental illness and mental health, it just really validated my feelings and helped me understand that when people brush off mental illness as "it's just in your head", "just suck it up", "just think positive", that's not true. Some of these conditions are very serious medical illnesses that need to be treated with proper therapy and proper medication. And that's the reason why I became so interested in dance therapy specifically, or creative arts therapy as a field.
It's because traditional therapy has been stigmatized for so long, and if I can offer something different, an alternative form of healing, healing through art, healing through dance, then that might help someone feel less burdened by the stigma and feel more safe when they want to reach out and ask for professional help. Now we're gonna move on to questions about art and my shop. So, as far as I can remember, I think I've always loved art. Drawing was one of my hobbies growing up and I would always be doodling little bunnies and flowers on my notes and worksheets. My mom even took me to art lessons outside of school and I have a lot of good memories associated with those.
I've always loved being creative, and I dabbled in many different forms of art. I did dance, drawing, painting, photography, I even played around with video editing and filming for a while. I've always loved being creative but I never considered it as a possible career, and I think it's because of how I've been taught to do art in the past. In high school, I did 2 years of IB Visual Arts Higher Level, and the IB is like the British equivalent of the AP in the US. By the end of the 2 years, we were expected to submit 2-3 workbooks (sketchbooks, art history, research) and 32 pieces of art. So with that big of a requirement, I had the opportunity to play around with different mediums and see what I liked the most.
At the time, my style was very monochromatic. My mediums of choice were graphite and charcoal because colors intimidated me (haha). I was so scared to use colors in high school because there's so many to choose from. I didn't understand if this looked good with this, and how do I pick colors? where do I put colors? are highlights always white and are shadows always black? It's just so confusing to me, so I stuck to black and white because it was my safe space. A lot of the classes were more technique-based, so the teachers would teach you how to do a perfect drawing of a water bottle, perfect drawing of a lightbulb, how to draw a bicycle as realistically as possible.
And if you couldn't achieve that, then you weren't "good enough". That was my mindset for the longest time that I wasn't good enough because I could not achieve realism. I remember one of my projects was to make a self portrait. I decided to do a sculpture for that.
I made a plaster sculpture of a ballerina and she was posing with her hands in fifth, feet in a pique, and she was wearing a pink tutu and pink leotard. It was very pretty, on the outside. But underneath her pretty pink tutu, I added words like worthless, fat, ugly, not good enough, stupid, just things that I truly thought of myself underneath the facade of an elegant pretty ballerina that I tried so hard to be.
And at the time, I remember my teacher saying that this doesn't qualify as a self-portrait. And I just took it, because as a 16-year-old, I didn't know any better. Now, looking back, I could see that the teacher wasn't necessarily right. The piece and the message that I was trying to send out was actually pretty powerful for 16-year-old Malin to do (lol) It was just unfortunate that I easily believed the teacher's criticism and didn't know how to stay true to my voice.
(I kind of went off on a tangent there didn't I lol) Back to the q&a! the next question is "did you go to art school?" No, I did not go to art school. I remember applying to over 10 art schools across the US, and I actually got into a lot of them, including Pratt Institute, which is the university that I ended up graduating from for my Master's. But I ended up choosing to stay in Thailand because I psyched myself out of pursuing an art degree. The stereotype of being a broke artist really got into my head.
I thought that I wasn't good enough to make it as an artist, and I didn't want to spend my parents' money on a degree that would get me no where in life...which is not the correct mindset!!! Now that I'm older and looking back, that's not the correct mindset so don't listen to 16-year-old me (lol)