Not A Starving Artist

Hi I'm Melly Lee. This is my personal blog to hold myself accountable in becoming a stronger visual artist + to prove to my friends back home that I haven't died yet.


3:24am EST random thoughts

Commit to the passion, not the idea of things. Too many people are in love with an idea of something rather than being in love with a passion. Passion requires work, patience, and desire. Ideas are a good start, but with our proper nurturing they are fleeting.

Do you believe in Fate? Chance? or Luck?

I always find myself caught in a periodic introspective reflection. A lot of things have happened and are happening that I have no control over. I have no idea what these things mean or what the outcome would be. However somehow in hindsight everything makes sense. 

I can’t wait for the day when I can completely free myself from personal judgement and worry. 


My mind keeps jumping back and forth. Get a normal job. It’s safer and frankly if you can find anything right now you’d be lucky. Part of me still worries about this, but another part is telling me that I am consciously making the decision to pursue my dreams. And if I’m consciously making the decision then it’s my sole responsibility to follow through. This is the side of me that keeps fighting. And I will keep fighting. 

11:06PM (2013 Reflections)

What’s up Tumblr peeps, 

It’s been awhile since I wrote a personal update. I guess that’s because usually only during the times when I have something emotively frustrating to release that’s when I turn to this blog. My apologies if this isn’t a funny or inspirational post that normally gets broadcasted here, please understand that sometimes it’s nice to have a cathartic release. :)

There’s about 2 days left of this year. And I can’t deny that it’s been a blessed year. Looking back I have nothing but fond memories. I feel I’ve grown so much as an artist. I can’t really describe the feeling in better terms than a sense of freedom. Imagine standing on the edge of a cliff and jumping without the fear of going splat. That’s what it feels like. Everything that I could possibly want is visible. —It’s not within grasps yet. But I can see it, feel it, and therefore anything is possible. I’m happy with that and I think I can safely say that I like the person that I’m becoming. 

Another thing that unexpectedly happened this year that I’m also happy with is the growth of the relationships I have with the people around me. Growing up I’ve always seen people as something temporary. Friends, family, peers, etc. I’ve always looked at them as people who existed out of convenience or purpose. Once location, schedules or usage was completed people would uproot and leave you. In the past I had accept this as an overall generalization and reality of who the people around me were. I think we all know that this is a defense mechanism. If I never shared my life with anyone else, when or if they left I would never feel any hurt —because it was expected. Unexpectedly this view is changing. I honestly can’t say that I’ve fully accepted this change yet, however working towards it is progress, right?

As a kid, teenager, and young adult I’ve always blamed my upbringing for my inability to be emotionally available. Even at home around my immediate family, aunts, uncles, and my many cousins I never felt a sense of belonging. Especially in an Asian American family your expected to always where this strange mask, facade thing. The perception of being on top of everything, being perfect, and everything is always good. Couple this forced faced with a way chill, suburban, beach town upbringing and you get me. You know that scene from Garden State (2004) where Zach Braff’s character is tripping on drugs while everyone else in the room is moving at a fast pace? That’s the sensation I feel among blood related family members. 

That same sensation I carried within myself for as long as I can remember. In college I’d tried to break the habit but my attempts were always half assed. In my mind the people that you thought you cared about would always leave you in the end. 

Thankfully this year I think I’ve made bigger strives at changing. I’ve allowed myself to be open with others. To share moments and memories. You know the ones where you celebrate each other’s success or just simple moments of life. And we can’t forget about the ones where we’re all so broke and poor that you go walking up and down a street looking for coins for the meter. Perhaps this is what it’s like to grow old together. It’s like watching a story unfold except it’s real life. Damn I’m so cheesy, but that’s ok I like that about myself. Of course letting myself be more open also meant that got to experience one of my greatness fears: rejection and heartbreak. Nothing is more painful than being told that you’re not wanted. An heartbreak hurts on a variety of levels, I’m not talking about romanic ones. The feeling being lead on in any type of relationship and then coming to the realization that everything was a lie cuts deep. I found myself discovering people who would call me “family” weren’t anything but your typical “Hollywood” people. It saddens me because I honestly thought they cared. Moving forward though I’m glad I’ve got to experience this. Somehow it makes me feel more invincible. And it makes the people who are actually there for you even more special.

As I continue to look back I’m engulfed in a letting go spirit. Letting go of everything. My fears, my insecurities, my need to live up to everyone’s expectations, and the perception of being perfect. Perfection is overrated, fuck being perfect. Hmm I think I sound a bit hipster, oh well! I’ve noticed this year with any personality who “puts themselves out there” there’s always a seeming need to be perfect with perfect-relatable-flaws, a desire to inspire, and to be on some sort of pedestal. Given the growth of my blog and social media following in some way I’ve felt that pressure of perfection. 

I’m saying now screw it. I’m not perfect, I’ll probably never be perfect. And that’s ironically perfectly okay. I’m never going to know if the friends around be are always going to be around. There’s not a 100% chance that photography will work for me. And I can’t even say for sure if I’m ever going to be more than a starving artist. But I’m okay with that. I’m more okay and accepting of myself than I’ve ever been. A sign of maturity within myself perhaps? Whatever it is I’m lighter than a cloud now. Everyday I get another chance to try and that’s something to celebrate. My situation might not be ideal, but then again not knowing how the story will end is part of the fun. I have amazing people that walk in and out of my life. I have a stubborn drive to do something creative with my life.

It’s weird because back in high school when the teachers would ask you what you’d like your life to be life after college, I would have never expected my life to be like this! In fact as a high schooler I probably would have judged my present self to have failed in life. “Not having a stable job, boyfriend, community, man Melly you suck!” said high school Melly. It’s funny because it feels like everything I’ve experience in the past was all prep. Like preproduction or training. Somehow it feels like my life is only beginning to start —like some bigger adventure is waiting for me. I’m romantic, I’m cheesy, I’m awesome. 

Thanks to everyone who has walked with me this year. Let’s do it big next year!

I can’t wait for 2014 :) 


Some nights you’re sure of things and some nights you’re wondering if what you’re doing is even right. Tonight is the latter. 

My meals today: 

Breakfast: 3 eggs

Lunch: peanut butter, kale, almond milk, blueberries smoothie

Dinner: apricots (2x)

I spend most of my time driving from location to location trying not to fall asleep behind the wheel during the process. Yep tonight I am a starving artist

12:20 pm

I’m starting to feel less towards things or maybe it’s an emersion of letting go of things. All of a sudden trivial things that made such a heavy impact on my daily activities don’t matter anymore. —They sort of just float by unknowingly now. Maybe I’m finally growing up or maybe I’m just seeing a bigger picture for myself. Whatever it is that I’m going through it’s taking into a direction that I’m liking. 


I hope I never grow up. I’d like to let my child like imagination roam freely for as along a possible.

10:22 am

You have to buy the lottery ticket if you want a chance to win the jackpot.

10:01 PM

I’m feeling that urge to become obsessed and drown myself with work and artistic inspiration. I love it. 

Before noon ramblings

There’s no such thing as “I can’t.” “I can’t” is being lazy. When something doesn’t work for you —find other options. There are always other options.