~ Passionate creative and lover of the arts who believes once you’ve got the right mindset, everything follows ~



Marissa Ong, a creative spirited and talented 21-year-old Filipino~Malaysian sushi chef and soon to be tattoo artist, residing in Denmark.

Lockdown ~ The upside

Quality time ~ Marissa had time for herself, her hobbies, friends and family. There was no rushing about to get to places or to do things. “I didn’t have to worry to get out of the house at a certain time to reach work half an hour earlier”, she explains. Time developed a new pace. It invited reflections of possibilities; the what if’s and what could have been, leading Marissa to view life with new lenses. A firm believer of the phrase “everything happens for a reason”, Marissa knew that no matter how hard the lockdown and its effects, there was a silver lining ahead and reminded herself of this.

The flipside ~ Lockdown

Financial challenges ~ Lockdown severely challenged the restaurant business. Despite government support, with reduced or zero hours of service, the depreciated monthly take home escalated stresses “will I have enough money for my bills and providing for my dog”. Additionally, the continued postponement meant delaying pursuing her course as a tattoo artist for over a year and a half. Restlessness in the face of uncertainty also severely impacted her social skills. Marissa lives in a town where English is not the primary language. She polished her broken Danish by conversing with customers and shop personnel. With lockdown, these communication channels disappeared. She shares that “my confidence to converse even in the smallest and simplest conversation has dropped. I sometimes find myself whispering, instead of replying to people.

Daily routines, books, music & podcast helped

A solid daily routine, without self-pressure or fixed time commitment guided Marissa. She admits the beginning was hard but she pushed on. Rising early, she started her day with a mindset podcast whilst getting her coffee. She meditated, concluding each session journaling her growth, sharing gratitude and identifying areas of improvement. To this, she added long walks with her dog and a 30-minute workout. Equally important, she nurtured herself creatively alternating between drawing for her portfolio and painting. She ended the day with leisurely strolls in the evening with her dog and partner.

What’s the best self-talk you have had or are having with yourself?

It is what it is. It’s ok for plans to derail but make sure to get back on track. It doesn’t have to be the same track. There are different routes and different estimated time of arrivals.”

What would you say to the earlier you?

Don’t be pressured by the norm of society. There’s no need to fit everything into a time frame. Go at your own pace.

What would you say to the new you?

I’m proud of how much effort you’ve put into becoming a better version of yourself. But, don’t stop just there yet. There’s always more room for growth!”

How would you summarise your growth during lockdown?

I’ve developed a healthier relationship with myself. I’d like to emphasis mentally because the other things would follow along once you’ve got the right mindset.


Photographs captured by Hari Jr Harichandran, #thestreetshutter


~ Growing in Lockdown: Real Stories by Real Women is an inspirational account of women around the globe who grew in strength, skill, self-belief and spirit; both sensationally and soulfully during the Covid 19 Pandemic lockdown. The messages of these women serve as stimulus for our soul as we step into and beyond the new normal. ~

Category: Growing in Lockdown: Real Stories by Real Women