Saturday 31 August 2019

I've been meaning to write this for some time now, and I often thought how I should apologise for not being around, or for leaving this space empty. But at the end of uni I figured I got sick of apologising, I apologised, apologised and apologised for everything, even the smallest darnest things, things that perhaps were out of my control. I realise now I shouldn't be apologising for just living my life.

I started this blog when I was 18, and as I look back at some of my posts, it caught me emotionally off-guard. It was like a book that almost hurt to read, the way it hurts to read the journal you kept when you were 15, something that reminds you of who you used to be and who you thought you would become.

This place has taught me many things, things that developed my love-hate relationship with it. I intended it to be a creative escape, where I could express myself, to share snippets of my life, and what I learnt, to be 'inspiring' and authentic.

I've since outgrown the 'words of wisdom'. Reading some older posts here made me want to crumple up inside. I realise now how it was a place where a naive girl in her late teens and early 20s believed she had so much power to inspire the world and dreamed about where she could make the biggest difference. It was an idealistic, feigned optimism that deserves its dose of reality.

It kills me how I didn't forsee it - how starting a venture to find myself also led to a rabbit hole of losing me. It started all innocent, clean and dandy, doing it for a cause, something I found meaning in. Maybe it was fueled by my desire to be independent, to earn some side money, to see where it would go. I didn't realise how this decision had led to compromising and betraying my principles, prostituting my blessings in the service of commerce.

A lot has happened in the last couple of years. I've been severely thrown into the depths of harsh reality of adulthood and endless rejection for the past couple of months, and I've questioned my own identity and who I am. This blog, for one, is named happy, as if demanding positivity and neglecting suffering. I don't believe that was my intention. As I've once said, happy was a tribute to my twin's name which means happiness in Arabic (though I'm now questioning this as I've found nothing online of its proof). I've been too disappointed with myself to be called 'happy', I've been too content to be called 'sad', right now, at least, it feels like I'm somewhere in between.

Yet I leave this place feeling blessed: what began as a passion project led to an inspiring community, of which I met such encouraging and genuine people from around the world. As I embark on the next phase of my life, I've decided to close this chapter here to rediscover myself and focus on my journey, while keeping that element of self-expression to the ones closest.

I think there's still value in happiness, joy. It's really easy to say how happiness isn't an emotion or a state, or a destination - yet I find myself constantly falling back on this, trying to find who, or what's missing that could possibly make me..a little happier. A good friend once reminded me happiness isn't about landing the next job, the next partner, the next anything. Coincidentally, I came across one of my old posts that reminded me of what it is: happiness isn't about having that constantly plastered smile, it's taking stock of your blessings and learning how to embrace who you are.

Dear readers, thank you so much for being part of this journey. It's been such an amazing adventure for the last 5 years, and I'm truly grateful for everything, alhamdulillah (thank God). And while I leave here with bittersweet memories, in some ways this has become a time capsule of 18 year old me, and on days I felt discouraged, it felt like letters to myself to remind me of what I was capable of believing. I hope, at least, in one way or another, it would do the same for you too.

♥, Dian

Tuesday 1 March 2016

They were gone - everything - past lettering work, future lettering and illustrations I had intended to showcase, logos and headers from upcoming collaborations, styled photographs, family vacation photographs, school assignments.

In the last couple of months of 2015, the portable hard disk containing all my design and personal files had become faulty, and the price for its repair and file recovery was far too costly - more than ten times the original price of the hard disk itself. As a college student who was still studying, I was had no means to afford the four-digit repair cost.

The loss of my diligently-organised folders in the hard disk (which I had previously committed much of my time to construct) had upset me so much then that it came to a point where I wanted to throw in the towel.

I subsequently subjected myself to the deplorable state of remorse, lamenting how I should've opted for cloud storage, or used other methods. Returning to the one therapeutic activity that could take my mind off things, however, inevitably called for the labourious task of put the remaining, salvageable files back in order.

So during the last semester break, I had undertaken the arduous challenge of rebuilding the library of all my lettering and design work. Re-organising, re-editing, re-scanning any physical copies that were left. It was time-consuming and labourious, but without any reason, the only way to circumvent the problem. 

'Two things define you: your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.' - Imam Ali 

Patience Quote Printable and Phone Wallpaper / Lettering and Photo by The Happy Candle @thehappycandle
Patience Quote Printable and Phone Wallpaper / Lettering and Photo by The Happy Candle @thehappycandle

Version 1 // White

Simple Download
Floral Download

Phone (Andriod/iPhone)
Simple 1080 X 1920
Floral 1080 X 1920

Version 2 // Black

Simple Download
Floral Download

Phone (Andriod/iPhone)
Simple 1080 X 1920
Floral 1080 X 1920

The freebie for this post is just a little reflective reminder I'd like to share after my much-needed test. I've been practicing more each weekend, experimenting with new brushes and brush pens to create a neater lettering piece each time. I acknowledge that it is not the best, and there are improvements to make. Documenting my lettering progress has made this space such a beneficial learning journey and I am ever so grateful to have family, friends and readers to share it with.

As for losing family vacation photographs in the hard disk, it finally occurred to me that living in the moment is far more important than possessing those scenic images. Captured moments in physical form are doubtlessly beautiful, but being present and mindful as each new experience sweeps in supersedes this. The fleeting nature of each irreplaceable second makes it even more breathtaking than we can imagine.

It's difficult to imagine, but losing everything was the best thing that has ever happened in the recent months. Having some patience and a sense of appreciation will certainly shape resilience, and our seemingly innate ability to survive the worst life can hurl towards us.

Until next time ♥ 

Lettering and photo by me

Printables created by Dian from The Happy Candle. For personal use only. Not for distribution or resale. Please link back to original post if shared. Thank you.

Thursday 11 February 2016

It seemed unimaginable that I just spent the last couple of months in university - the institute of 'thriving talent, desire and opportunity'. I suppose time flies while we're bustling through the avid, networking community and endless friends-of-friends introductions. While orientating myself in the fresh atmosphere and joining the pursuit of self-exploration with thousands of others, it was no surprise that some anxiety was involved.

We find ourselves clinging on to the safety of our comfort zones as we commence the year with new beginnings, whether moving to different neighbourhoods, starting in a new school or a new job. It's natural to be intimidated; everyone has reservations to new experiences. It's only important that this doesn't prolong, for each time we turn down the audacity to make new decisions and overcome challenges, we evade the tugging at our sleeves to grow as a person.

The beauty of a garden lies in its cultivation. This especially rings true in self development while experiencing new challenges. There are gardens are in our hearts, filled with various botanical elements, depending on how we develop as a person. It only takes some water and heart to nurture it.

Never mind weeds and setbacks. Adversities build character. Procrastinating to subdue them or avoiding them completely harbours apathy. One should be able to tell the difference between hanging in there, and constantly asking time to hang on. And as much as I'd like to take heart from what is mentioned, admittedly, I've yet to instill this upon myself, so this has been dutifully placed as one of the resolutions for this year. 

What then, would be the grand plan to achieve this? For a start, know and acknowledge that we're not alone - soak ourselves in the relief that these challenges are not only unique to us, then, go through them together. The world is a much brighter with family and friends. I can never be more grateful to God for giving me such supportive and encouraging people who care; we're all given so much to be thankful for.

Hopefully by understanding this, instead of chastising ourselves or surrendering to these challenges, we'll not only have compassion for others who are struggling, but also learn how resilient we really are.

Until next time ♥


It's refreshing to be finally back from my near-three-month break. I'd love to hear updates from readers of how things have been and catch up with everyone. Some might have also noticed that I've put up a little link to a short reader survey. I've received some feedback since - all of which bear the sweetest and most helpful responses. If you haven't attempted it, feel free to do so. All feedback mentioned will undoubtedly be taken into consideration to make The Happy Candle a more creative and inspiring place for all. Your response and time taken to review is greatly appreciated.

This semester is going to be much busier, but several posts have already been planned out for the future, in which we can all look forward to. There are several projects I've been busy with last winter which have yet to debut, so it's going to be a very exciting year. I do realise it's been more than three months since I last posted in this space - winter break was more packed than I'd expected - so much so that I took no notice that The Happy Candle blog actually turned one back last December. (This calls for a short belated celebratory applause!) Here's a jog down memory lane with it's first post