Greetings to all, it's a pleasure to reconnect with you. I'm Mandi, hailing from Thailand. If you'd like to delve deeper into my background, feel free to check out the preceding article at https://shorturl.at/notER.
Today, I'm thrilled to discuss "Genesis," the piece that has been chosen for the latest issue (A big thank you to Goddessartsmag for their appreciation of our work; it's a joy to be back here). Moreover, I have the pleasure of introducing my talented collaborator, Jisara, who is an exceptional illustrator working alongside me this time.
This project (Genesis) has posed numerous challenges for me, to the extent that I made a surprising transformation from being a staunch atheist who only believed in myself. I've encountered many difficulties throughout my life, and I never placed my faith in any higher power or divine being to rescue me. However, I am now inclined to share my personal journey and confession with you.
In the past, whether I meant to or not, I've hurt others, and I feel really sorry about it. It's strange, but even when people hurt me, I find it hard to understand their feelings. But I can't help feeling sorry for strangers who might need help, even if I can't do much for them. I've always been the type to forgive my enemies, even when they hurt me over and over again.
This stuff keeps happening in my life, especially trust issues and betrayals. People often don't trust my intentions, even when I mean well. I try to be nice and give helpful advice, but sometimes, folks just don't get me. Even my close friends have let me down, and it's made me feel really alone.
All of this has brought suffering and sadness, but writing is what helps me cope. It lets me express my feelings, deal with business stuff, and maybe get some recognition. Through writing, I can share my thoughts, even if not everyone appreciates them. Throughout my school years, I took charge of various events, from art competitions to traditional football gatherings, aimed at welcoming new students. I organized over 25 of these events, earning recognition for my outstanding organizational and managerial skills. However, what most didn't realize was that lurking in the background was my constant companion, fear.
But it wasn't just in event organizing that I confronted the profound impact of fear. Simultaneously, I embarked on a journey as a freelance writer. Using different pseudonyms like Queen B and Mandi, I authored nearly ten books and had my poetry featured in over 8 magazines worldwide. Among my most personal works was "Depression Diary: It's Not as Sad as You Think," which delved into my personal experience with depression, a topic often clouded in fear and stigma. Writing this book allowed me to confront and break down my own fears while helping numerous Thai people gain a better understanding of and address this complex illness.
Over the past decade, I've been honing my storytelling skills, crafting a wide range of content, including short and long fiction, and articles optimized for search engines. A recent collaboration with LINE NAVER, a prominent Korean media and lifestyle corporation, has opened doors to exciting projects, including manga, novels, and articles. These opportunities have pushed me to confront my fear of the unknown, embrace new creative avenues, and push my own limits.
I've become increasingly popular and well-known in my career as a creator, writer, and curator. Surprisingly, my unique "creative talent" has been my saving grace, despite facing challenges along the way. In fact, I've been honored with more than 20 awards for my writing skills.
You know, in my 34 years on this planet, I've never really felt truly happy. Life has thrown its fair share of curveballs my way, and it often left me questioning my purpose, especially when the people around me didn't seem to trust or believe in me. It can be pretty lonely at times.
Back when I was just 8 years old, I started learning about God at a convent school. I'd pray before school, have lunch, and dive into Bible studies, always managing to get those good grades. Even when I moved to the USA, I stayed connected to the Christian community. I played the violin and sang at church, but I'll be honest, in the beginning, it was more about school stuff than anything else. Still, I've stuck with God for over 20 years now. Looking back, that's quite a journey.
But it wasn't until a few years ago, during a really tough time in my life, that I truly realized it. I was struggling with drugs, even tried to end my own life, and got really sick because of a bad reaction to medication. It's been rough, you know?
So, I started getting into tarot cards while preparing for an art exhibition. A friend who is a tarot reader brought me comfort and reassurance. So I began to try to read tarot too. And as I researched their history, I found out that Christians used these cards to spread God's word back in the 15th century, although they had to keep it on the down-low to avoid trouble. It got me thinking about God again, and I realized how creative Christians have been throughout history. I'd been missing out on that aspect. I even stumbled upon a deck of cards that caught my eye, so I bought it just for fun.
The first time I used that deck, it talked about a specific place. Coincidentally, I was gearing up to work in New York and had the chance to meet up with my friend Jisara because of a contest we both wanted in on. By the way, Jisara and I are close friends, even though we're quite different. She's more reserved, while I'm an open book, sharing all my thoughts and emotions. But we connect on a lot of things like food, philosophy, and life experiences, which makes our friendship strong. I really value our connection because Jisara isn't one to open up to just anyone. So, when she turns down my invites to hang out, I get it. I have another friend who's cool with that. But Jisara and I still manage to have some good chats and catch up now and then.
So, I asked Jisara how she was doing and if she wanted to join the contest with me, and she said yes. We also started having deep talks about God since she was studying it, and I was doing some research for our Bible-inspired artwork. I also shared my plans to go to New York City for work, and while I wasn't sure when I'd be back due to a project, I really wanted to collaborate with her remotely. She was concerned about it but wished me luck and said some kind things, and I did the same for her. Then, I dived even deeper into learning about God because I had to work on poems, and she's better at art. I'm super grateful she's on board with this project because she's quite selective. I've got to give it my all!
But here's the kicker. The USA and this project mean the world to me, something I'm incredibly excited about. I'm hoping NYC is the right place, even though it could be somewhere else. You'd think going there would be a piece of cake since I've done it so many times before. But my last trip was a total nightmare. It should be a straightforward task, yet an inexplicable sense of unease is overwhelming me. Despite having meticulously prepared for my career ambitions, I find myself gripped by anxiety, akin to a hesitant butterfly about to take flight. I feel reluctant and inadequately equipped, even though I've taken all the necessary steps. The source of this fear eludes me, and I've repeatedly postponed this undertaking, leaving me bewildered and apprehensive.
During a particularly stressful moment working on a project with Jisara, I turned to prayer as a refuge. In silent supplication, I beseeched God to manifest His presence by ensuring the success of my journey and work. I yearned for Him to dispel my uncertainty, recognizing the profound significance of this project. I made a solemn promise that if He revealed Himself, I would embrace Christianity.
Even though I missed my last flight, I managed to secure another one with a different airline. The prospect of showcasing my artists' work in NYC is a compelling opportunity for my career as a curator, one that I cannot afford to let slip away, especially at this eleventh hour. Thus, I've decided to forge ahead, although I didn't interpret it as a divine sign. Life's challenges have been relentless, and what should have been a routine trip to New York has been marred by a previous traumatic experience. I endured harassment from the flight crew and immediately landed in New York, where I had to seek medical attention, leaving my project incomplete and deeply disheartened. Though I'd prefer not to delve into the specifics, enduring such an ordeal and missing out on a significant opportunity has left me feeling overwhelmed, pondering the complexities of life and the existence of God.I said, “God, you are B****T”
I faced sexual harassment from the flight crew, and as soon as I landed in New York, I had to go straight to the hospital. So, I couldn't finish my project, and that was a major bummer. I'd rather not dive into the details, but it's beyond tough to go through something like that and miss out on a big opportunity. I'm overwhelmed, and I'm not sure what to do. I've been pondering life's big questions and wondering if God even exists.
During my journey from New York back to Bangkok, I found myself unexpectedly shedding tears. The phrase "this too shall pass" kept repeating in my head, even though I couldn't remember where it came from. It was my way of finding solace during tough times. Whenever despair crept in, and the thought of hurting myself crossed my mind, I'd turn to prayer and say, "this too shall pass" to remind myself that the pain wouldn't last forever.
I texted Jisara to let her know I was coming back, and she was taken aback, wondering why I was returning so suddenly. I spilled the beans and told her everything that happened, and she was shocked, concerned about me. That's when I realized the tattoo with that quote was actually hers, and I faintly remembered seeing it on her arm before. I thanked her for getting that tattoo because it helped me get through some tough times. It's a symbol of our friendship.
Once I got back to Bangkok, I felt lost and confused, not sure how to proceed. I was too scared to talk to anyone about what happened with the harassment, even my family, who kinda put some blame on me. Jisara was the only one who listened and took me to a “special place”. That's why I care so much about her, more than just being friends because she helped me when I really needed it.
The first time I joined the Church, we talked about Jesus getting betrayed on the cross. It hit close to home because it felt like my own experiences. Jesus stayed strong and showed love and good intentions even when He was left alone and betrayed. The missionary from Nepal mentioned that Jesus understands how I feel, and that really struck a chord with me. I didn't expect much when I joined your group, but being around you guys made me think that maybe this is where I belong. So, I decided to stick around, just like the cards suggested. The more time I spent with the Church community and other Christians, the more I witnessed acts of kindness and experienced genuine empathy. It was something I never expected from anyone because it felt like nobody cared about my feelings, not even my own family. So, I decided to be more open and really listen to what was being taught. I started getting more involved, reading more, and being part of this community, all thanks to Jisara who introduced me. I really appreciate everything this community has given me.
But then, out of nowhere, I had a huge falling out with Jisara, and it hurt me deeply. I didn't know how to face her, and I didn't understand why she wanted me out of her life. Initially, I thought maybe leaving the church was the best thing to do to protect her feelings and maintain some peace.
I was really puzzled, so I turned to God for guidance. I wondered if He was showing me a new path and if I was in the right place. I asked why He let Jisara and I fight, even though we used to be such good friends. Was He telling me to leave, or should I stay?
As I drifted off to sleep, I thought about a story from the Book of Revelation. It reminded me of how John and the early Christians faced tough times but stayed true to their beliefs. It made me realize that I'd always promised to follow God. Maybe Jisara was just a part of my journey to Him, and the rest depended on my faith. So, I made the tough decision to cut ties with her because my real purpose was to find God, the fight is just something can happen between friend, so I’m cool with her decision. I can leave her but I will go to church.
But here's where it gets interesting. The next day, Jisara had a change of heart and told me how she truly felt. She regretted what happened and wanted to make things right between us. Even though I'd already decided to move on, her words made me reconsider. It turns out that her own insecurities played a role in her hesitations about letting me get closer. We had a heartfelt conversation and gained a deeper understanding of each other. I realized that my increased presence in our shared church community had made her uncomfortable, even though I hadn't seen it that way since it was a public place. It was her perspective, though, and it made a difference in how we saw things.
As I reflect on my journey, I can sense a connection with Jesus that goes beyond our everyday world. I feel His love through Jisara's words and His compassion through the support and encouragement of another friend. It's clearer to me now why I was so scared to go to New York. It was God's way of keeping me safe, even though I didn't see it at the time; it took me a while to realize. God showed His kindness by using Jisara to save me and change my heart. I chose to turn to Him because of my own conviction, not because of Jisara. Perhaps her return to my life is God's way of testing my faith and seeing if it's truly rooted in a genuine connection with Him.
As a creator, I possess the unique ability to shape my characters' actions, determine their destinies, and craft the outcomes of their stories, whether happy or sad. I hold the creative reins and make these decisions as I write. Occasionally, I find myself compelled to give them less favorable endings, even though it's not my preference; sometimes, it's what editors or readers desire. In the context of Christian belief, we are said to be made in God's image, and He loves us deeply, sending Jesus to redeem us from sin, akin to rescuing characters from a bad ending. However, I recognize that I am not an all-powerful creator like God, unable to alter the destiny of my characters. Nevertheless, I harbor genuine affection for all the characters I bring to life through my writing. When I revisit my own work, I develop a deep fondness for every character I've named in my fiction. This experience allows me to empathize with God's love for us, and it's a profoundly meaningful aspect of my talent, similar to Jesus's forgiving heart.
I've come to understand that my purpose in this world is to create beautiful and inspiring works for people to enjoy. Whether it's fiction, content, art, poetry, exhibitions, or interviews sharing life stories, my journey has consistently inspired others. Perhaps, this is the mission of my existence on this planet.
"Genesis," a contest that I didn't win, prompted me to spread the message and collaborate on a heartfelt project with my dear friend, Jirasa.
I appreciate your time in reading this, and I hope you'll appreciate our collaborative project, which played a pivotal role in my journey towards becoming a Christian, transitioning from a resolute believer to a stubborn heart.
Follow me :@mahhnissa or @mahnissa_officialFacebook : www.facebook.com/queenbxoxoxoSee my previous exhibition I mentioned in this article :https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-AQGg5Ysy4ljDwCJhV0kOgKx-BntPGvsIf you feels like you need support, don’t hesitate to DM me 😊