cait +tiff


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T / perpetual hyphenate

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Just a tiny glimpse of the chaos that’s being thrown into my bag. Travel tip: charcoal pills in tummy-risky countries are a must.

When I announced to friends this week that I’d be flying off to Myanmar for the rest of July and most of August, the general reaction was “I thought you had kissed public health goodbye?”  My response to that question has been, well if someone is going to pay me to go somewhere really cool, then why not?  So when an old boss asked me if I could be in Yangon, stat, my response was an unwavering YES!

Seven (slightly stressful) days after that fateful email, I’ve got an Airbnb waiting for me, a smattering of pals who moved there from Phnom Penh that I can’t wait to see, so many tips from Cait, and this wonderful lady (in the most beautiful of coinky dinkies) is holding a Disappearing Brew Bar at Port Autonomy in Yangon this weekend!

Plus, I hear that Burmese creatives are the coolest.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”

On one hand, it’s like that quote from The Godfather.  Paid work from a very large international body has its benefits.  And if it’s going to satisfy a part of me that spent seven years invested in a topic, and take me to cool places that I can share with you here, I’ll say yes to that.  I don’t mind staying hyphenated because it somehow opens up so many more opportunities.  But there are some key rules that I’m following: only if it feels right.

And I can’t wait to pop my Myanmar cherry.


Photo by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.

 


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C / Professional Puberty

hold-on-pin

Changing careers is incredibly easy, and you will never once be filled with suffocating self doubt. I’m just kidding, thats happens everyday.

I haven’t talked about it in much detail on cait + tiff, but I have decided to leave my career in public health, and move toward a career in design and fashion.  It even makes me nervous as I type it, like saying it on the blog will mean I will never be allowed back into the Public Health Club, which I never really felt like I belonged in to begin with. I loved public health when I studied it, and after getting a masters degree on the subject, its hard to walk away. A part of me feels like I failed in my old career, like I wasn’t smart enough or good enough somehow. I am fully aware that those thoughts are a destructive waste of time, but we are all friends here, and I over-share like a boss.

I love the mission of women’s health work and development in general, and I want the work that I do to make things better for women in the world. But I could never connect with the work the way I hoped I would, and that made me feel selfish and stupid. I felt like what I was doing wasn’t helping anyone and I spent a lot of time looking at design blogs and pretty stuff, wishing I was doing that instead. I felt like I was letting people down.

This year has been a doozy.  There has been lot of sadness, a lot of change, and a lot of anxiety, which has lead to a number of poorly-timed meltdowns and far too many romantic comedies.

As much as it sounds like it so far, this isn’t a post about how sad and hard my life is, it’s not. The very fact that I can change my career means I was born lucky. I am insanely fortunate to be able to make this shift and have the support of the amazing people that fill my life.

The intention of this is to record the process. I have a lot of faith in this change, and I think I will be good at it. I don’t know exactly where I will go with it…maybe textiles, maybe fashion design, maybe styling, maybe writing. I know that whatever I do, I want to do it on my own terms, and without the intent to please anyone but myself.

So this is what it feels like to be a few months into a major career change. It’s hardly advice, and I have no clue what I am doing, but I do know that its the right move. I am now doing what I love, instead of the things I think I should love, and it feels like the right direction, but still a bit awkward. Its my own professional puberty.

That’s it for my clumsy thoughts today, thanks for reading.

caitsig

Photo: Bri Emery