I am Digi. I know a lot of you don't really know me even if you've been watching me for a while now. I don't speak much because I have social anxiety and a lot of the times I am scared to post something, whether it's a journal or even art itself. There are a lot of times I catch myself staring at the submission page with my mouse hovering over the submit button, and I just delay posting my work for hours.
Right now I am bringing myself to post a journal because I've been keeping this in for so long that I really need to talk about it and just let some emotions out. You're totally free to not read though of course. I also apologise if it's hard to understand, my English is not the best. I've tried to organise and paragraph everything well.
I wish to start at the beginning.
First off, I come from a poor family. Ever since I was young, it has been very tough and hard to get by. I remember when I was a kid, my mother and I used to try to save a few cents everyday throughout the year so that when it comes to Christmas period or Chinese New Year, we would be able to have some extra money to spend on ourselves and buy some things we couldn't buy before.
However, my father is a weak man and every year without fail, he'd be in and out of the hospital several times. This means all the savings every year naturally would go to important things like that.
Fast forward to when I was 18 years old... I was still in school and taking an animation course. But that was one of the worst years for me.
Basically, my family and I were forced to move out of our home because we couldn't afford it anymore, and we were shoved into a really, really small apartment. However, this new apartment (and the whole building) was still in the process of being built and we were told that it would be completed in April of that year.
I cannot remember how long we had to pack up, but I remember it being a rush. And when it was basically times up, we had to leave, we found out that our new home wasn't even done yet, and it was already April. And we couldn't extend our stay in our current home because the new owner was moving in. Apparently from what I heard, the new owner didn't have a choice either and it was an urgent thing that they had to move in.
We managed to rent another apartment for the time being while we waited for our new home to be built and ready. And we were still in the process of packing and moving all our stuff. But the new owner couldn't wait anymore and he simply threw our things away before we could collect them. We lost irreplaceable sentimental things like family albums and family heirlooms that was passed down from our ancestors. And my dad especially treasured the albums that contained pictures of my sister and I when we were babies, and of his brothers and sisters long ago.
So anyway, we were at our temporary rented apartment for about 3 months, before needing to move again. And guess what? Our new home that was supposed to be built back in April, was still not done.
Again, we were being forced to leave, because the apartment we rented was seriously temporary. It was just rented to us because the original owner was on vacation or something and now that he's returned, we had to leave. That day was very stressful to us because it was very last minute. And we haven't had time to find a new place, nor have we had the time to get movers to help us move our stuff.
Desperately, my mother called her brother and asked him to at least take us (my sister and I) in. Because we were still schooling and my sister was having examinations at the time and needed a proper place to study. We also had to decide to move all our things into a storage area because we really couldn't afford movers all the time to keep moving our things to several places everytime we find out the new home still wasn't done. Besides, my uncle had his own things in his home and he had his wife and my grandmother living with him, so he didn't have a lot of space either to take in our stuff, just the really important basic things like textbooks, laptop and clothes.
My parents managed to find a room for themselves where they had to share the apartment with another family.
A few weeks went by, and eventually I got into a fight with my uncle because he was being very unreasonable and ridiculous. He was treating me like some 7 year old who needed 5 curfews on the computer in a single day. And did I mention I was schooling and taking animation?? I obviously needed my tablet and my computer and I needed to keep in contact with my friends on projects almost all the time. And then he even set up some weird ass rule that there needs to be "underwear checking" before I use the computer. Basically I needed to show my underwear. :/
So, he just grew angry from my so called "rebellious-ness", and when my mother came to visit us, he told her that he wanted me out. But I had nowhere to go that was a good place to be able to study and what not. My parents' rented room was a very lousy place with no Internet that I need, but I'll get to that in a bit.
I called up my good friend at the time to ask if I could stay with her for a while and she agreed to. So, I packed up my things and left my uncle's place to move into hers. But I ultimately also had to leave. I know it's kinda sounds ridiculous right about now... About how I am basically kicked out of every place I stayed. Apparently my friend's mother didn't like my face or something and I think she was superstitious of the things I drew and the black shirts I wear. I like to draw monster's and creatures just because I like them and it's fun. Not because I'm some kinda satanic person or what have you. Ugh. And seriously if you look in my gallery, it's honestly very varied on the things I draw.
So I had no choice but to move in to my parents' rented room, and let me tell you... I see why they didn't want my sister and I to go there. That place was a dump, in all seriousness. Firstly, it was just a small room for the two of them, and now three because I'm moving in.
Secondly, remember how I said a lot of our stuff was moved into storage? That means we only had the very bare necessities with us. We didn't have chairs or sofas or tables or Internet or beds etc. My parents and I just used thin mattresses (so thin that we might as well be lying on the floor itself) and basically stare at four walls all day. Seriously, there was nothing to do there, and it was so empty. Sometimes I'd just play solitaire and free cell on my computer just to keep myself occupied because there was nothing else to do.
Thirdly, the place was very, very dirty. And the toilet.... Oh god it was so narrow, that if I raise my elbows, they'd hit on each side of the walls, and the toilet bowl itself.... It wasn't even a bowl. It was a hole in the ground and you just do your business there, and the whole area in general is very dirty and disgusting. And to top it all off, the other family that was living with us were smokers and we absolutely hate the smell of smoke but yet we had to tolerate it.
And one day, finally.... FINALLY, our new home was ready to move in. And it was like... Late October, almost November. And they said this home would be completed in April! And the home wasn't even all that amazing to justify taking that long.
When I moved into here, it lacked so many things like a water heater, and a kitchen sink and stove. There were no lights. And when I moved in, it was in November period. This means it's the cold season and I had no choice but to bathe in cold water even then. It was really terrible to me. And for like two years we remained not having a water heater because we couldn't install it due to low funds all the time. Even to this day, we only used simple lamps to light up the home, and we still do not have a kitchen stove or sink. We use a small portable stove instead.
Anyway, when our things came back from storage, we had noooo place to put them at all. It is a small home here, and trying to put all our things in wasn't going to work. The movers, when they couldn't fit the boxes in anymore, they piled them outside our door along the corridor. A whole wall of boxes, and they just left. And neighbours complained because they couldn't walk past and all, and our home couldn't fit in anymore because it was packed to the brim I am not kidding. It was so hard to walk that I'd just kept hitting into towers upon towers of boxes.
We had to toss a lot of things to eventually be able to even live somewhat comfortably. Even now, at this moment, I still have a lot of things unpacked and in boxes because there's simply no space to unpack and place things around. It's almost like I'm living in a box fort. There is not even enough space for 4 beds for each of us. My mom sleeps on the floor on a mattress and my dad sleeps on the sofa which is really bad for his back. Sometimes I take turns with my dad for the bed.
Here's a picture of my home when I first moved in:
I was standing in the back of the room when I took this photo. That brown door you see is the front door. That's how small it is, and the boxes you see here isn't all of it. There is more coming in, as well as a wall of them outside the door. There is a room and a kitchen off to the side, but the room is big enough to only contain 2 beds with some cupboards for clothes. I have photos of my place in its current state towards the bottom of this journal.
A year passed and my dad, during one of his medical check-ups, was admitted to the hospital because of a doctor's negligence during the check-up. And he never recovered from it. Before it happened, he was still able to walk, but after that, his legs couldn't support himself well anymore and had to use a walking stick, but he still tried his very best to work because he was the sole breadwinner of the family and have been for years.
But because of his hospital stay and inability to work as often now, I couldn't even afford to travel to school and I had to do my final year project animation at home. Thankfully the teachers allowed it.
But at the same time, I fell into a bad depression, and I heavily considered suicide. But to save myself from any impulsive actions, I texted my teacher and told him I was suicidal and I wanted help. The next morning, he immediately came to my place with a counsellor to provide me help. I was taken to the hospital and I was diagnosed with depression. I was given medicine and it was free because I was still schooling, however at the time, I was also already almost graduating (hence the final year project I mentioned earlier). So after I graduated I was not able to get anymore medicine. I did not go back for a follow-up check-up because I was afraid of the costs.
I still have depression honestly, and I have "thoughts" every now and then because life just love to throw new shit at me all the time when I'm already at my lowest.
My dad eventually was unable to work anymore and his hospital trips were getting more and more frequent. I've been doing art commissions since I was 16 or so to help with costs here and there, but when my dad was able to work, it was less stressful for me.
But now, with him unable to work, it is considerably a lot more stressful. My mother is unable to work as well because she needs to be at home to look after my father. He is prone to falling and injuring himself and sometimes can't even walk to the toilet. And my sister was still schooling.
I've graduated from school already, and I had to look for a job to sustain the family, but it was not easy at all. Everything was weighing on me and I felt immensely pressured. I was only like.. What, 20? 21? with the responsibility of supporting a family of four on my own. I really wasn't ready. I have no actual work experience prior to graduating. Needless to say, my depression just got worse and worse, but I knew I had to hold on for my family. They were dependent on me. What will happen to them if I was gone?
If you've watched me for a long time, you'd know I have a lot of emergency commissions journals and advertisements.
I got a permanent job last year in August. Before that I was doing commissions and some temporary 3 months assignments kinda jobs in various places. My new job was tough work. I had to carry heavy loads and boxes, I was doing administrative duties, I was doing coin counting and cash reconciliation, stock counting etc etc. The only other helper in the workplace was my supervisor who was an old lady and I cannot allow her to carry boxes by herself. So I often had to push back my lunch hour or even work through my lunch hour to help around or else we wouldn't be able to go home on time. And they did not pay me for overtime.
I worked 9.30 to 6.30, and when I reach home, I hardly had any time to myself at all. After the travel time and bathing and eating, I pretty much only had 3 hours of personal time every evening if I wanted to have sufficient sleep for the next day. But of course, I do not always do that because sometimes I'm just in the zone drawing and I want to complete it. Even though I had a stable job now, I still felt depressed every now and then, because I think about what happened in the past, and how it all lead up to me having to shoulder this great a responsibility. I felt a little trapped to be honest. Most of my money and savings just went to my family, and I didn't have money for myself to buy much of my own things. I mean, it's not really a big deal because I'm doing something good for the family, but sometimes... I just wish that I could afford that dream item or even afford a pizza without worrying you know? I do buy some things for myself here and there, but really it's not often and I always feel guilty after that.
Even though I was working, I only brought home $1040 every month. And that's in Singapore dollars by the way. That is roughly $730 in American currency for comparison purposes. It was very hard to support a family of 4 people with that kind of money, honestly. Besides the bills, transport and food, I still had to pay for my school loans. The bank sends me letters every month to remind me (and they are still sending) and I could no longer postponed payment because I've postponed it long enough according to them. And it was not like the prices of food and what not is lower to make up for the low wages in Singapore. No. It's actually more expensive when I compare them to American prices and trust me I've compared prices with several of my American friends. For example, I know in America you can get 20 cans of soda for $5 or $6. For that kinda money, I can only get 6 cans of soda here. I often still had to cut down on costs and eat cheap instant noodles or canned tuna for a few days in a row, or bringing bread from home to eat at work for lunch.
But let's pause all these sad things for a bit... I would like to give a shout out to my friends for being there for me and to listen when I needed to talk about my problems. I really appreciate you guys, and the dA community as well and all my watchers. The comments I receive really makes me happy and I appreciate each and every one and I do read. I try to reply to all, but I can't sometimes.
Also, here's a tiny shout out to my beloved character, Rufus, whom I brought back from the dead around the same time when I started my job last year. He was pretty much one of the only things that kept me going. He makes me feel so happy I can't even explain. Working on his story and his universe was the thing I would think about at work to help with the mundane tasks and just helped to keep me sane and just happy. I know it sounds stupid but he really does make me happy as well as giving me more purpose as an artist which is important to me. Seeing some people who like him as well gave me great joy. Of course, this really goes to all of my characters. I love every single one of them.
Back to reality, I lost my job this year towards the end of July. And finding another was, again, not easy. I've been trying to live off art commissions while looking for a job these past 4 months or so. I did get a small part time job as an art teacher early this month, but it is not stable because lessons are just sometimes 1-2 hours a day and I do not earn much from it. And right now, it is school holidays for primary schools here so there is a bunch of downtime. I currently am trying to earn money through commissions and looking into other options. My dad recently has been admitted to hospital again as well but he has been discharged now. We're still worried about him though.
About a month ago, I found a suicide letter from my dad which severely terrified me. He felt useless and a burden to the family, and he's sad he couldn't work, and he's sad seeing me work so hard. The suicide letter scared me so bad I found myself guarding the front door and watch him all night to make sure he doesn't leave to do stupid things. I felt terrible; and I was sad I was not good enough to be able to earn a lot of money and give my parents the life they deserve.
Something happened just today, a few hours ago, which prompted and fuelled me to write this journal in the first place. I had a power outage in my home for hours now and I am writing this journal on my phone in the dark and using mobile Internet. Basically some electrical parts need to be replaced and it will cost money and I've just given the last of my money to the family for food purposes, but we have to spend some of it to have electricity back up and running.
I am honestly very worried, and the stress is very much taking a toll on me. I know telling all this is kinda useless, which is the reason why I mostly keep things to myself because these are issues that people mostly can't help with and I understand completely nor do I expect it. And I honestly feel bad all the time if I talk about myself, especially knowing my problems are probably not the worst case out there.
I do feel very bad and I apologise... I dislike asking for help, especially donations, but I feel like I have no choice at this point.
But a big part of the purpose of this journal was just simply for me to rant a bit to get things off my chest that I've been holding for years, so I thank you for lending a listening ear if you've read this far or even if you've read a bit. I've only listed the major events in my life and I list them because it still affects me to this day. But what you're seeing is really just the surface. There are several things I've left out. I also kinda want to let people know more about myself because I always feel like I'm hiding away and I wish I could interact more with my watchers. If I simply sought pity or attention, I would've posted this a long time ago. Hell, I would have posted journals more often in general. But I didn't because I hate troubling people with my problems, and my anxiety gets in the way. It is seriously taking a lot of effort for me to post this because I am scared and afraid. But this is for my family and not for me. I would start a gofundme, but it is not available for Singapore.
This is my home in its current state, taken just yesterday and today (after the power was up again) These pictures are for comparison to the above:
In the last photo, the bottom left corner there's a sorta light mint green mattress, that's where my mom sleeps, and the sofa on the bottom right corner is where my dad usually sleeps.The whole place is still really cramped and hard to move around, and very dangerous especially when you're carrying hot food across the room. I usually have to cross over my sleeping mother, and sometimes boxes fall down randomly.
We're currently attempting to clear things and throw away things we do not use or need, but it's not going to be easy because it's hard to find space to take things down and search through boxes. I have cleared most of my desk area (not shown well in the pics) recently, so there's that. My little area is in the last picture, tucked away towards the top right corner. You can see my keyboard there, and it is very cramped and small. I tend to get a lot of back and leg pains because there is no space for my legs to stretch while sitting there. I wish to have a decent workspace one day ;v;
Thank you again dear reader for listening. I do appreciate it and I hope you are well.