For me, it’s always been about stability.

The typical academic standards set by Asian parents were never enforced upon me. It was just implied that I follow the pre-designed life set before us. You know – graduate, build a career, get married and have children. Although this seemed dull to me at the time, it also provided a sense of security because it gave me a path to follow. I knew what was expected of me. I just had to figure out how to achieve it.

Eventually I was brainwashed into thinking that stability in life could produce happiness. So I enrolled myself in Rotman Commerce at UofT without the slightest bit of interest in business at all. I did it because the career seemed promising to me. I did it to make my parents proud.

I did it for stability.

As I progressed through my university career, the glamour died quickly. The work became difficult, the competition imposed major obstacles in my life, and the business world felt superficial. I ended up comparing myself to everybody else’s accomplishments over and over again; thus never feeling satisfied with my own. I then realized that the only thing getting in the way of happiness was me.

But I’ve held myself captive in this idea of stability for so long that I’ve been unable to express myself properly.

After this experience, I identified myself as a shape-shifter – someone who constantly moulds herself to fit in with society’s standards. To feel, well, accepted.


In my period of vulnerability I immersed myself in various forms of art – most notably music and it became an escape from the world around me. Whenever I played Chopin on the piano, or made covers of songs I could relate, to I was taken to another universe. The nature of art is so abstract that it leaves no room for comparison.

No filter. No mask. Only creativity, honesty and freedom.

By confiding in a collection of notes that create such beauty, emotion and harmony, I slowly learned that it is OK to take risks; because without them – you miss out on all the life there is to live.

charmane t.

You can find more of Charmane’s music and knitting adventures at her youtube channel and her website