The clouds outside are all fifty shades of grey with some threatening to leave the grey camp for black. It is an almost daily routine of the sky here in Kuala Lumpur. I, for one, love it. It cools down the heat. Granted, just little but it is still most welcomed. Holed up in my bestie’s condo, which has the enviable and rare view of a forest reserve (which used to be an aboriginal settlement), I have been granted sights of a yellow bird swooping down through the verdant trees, right before the clap of thunder heralding the arrival of rain. Rain that has caused so much chaos in some parts of this country – floods, mass evacuation and a few lives lost, some in the floods, others while helping the victims. Babies in plastic baskets, floating down pop-up rivers running through housing developments or town streets ala a modern day Moses. The rain also fills up our dams and reservoirs for the dry season. For those unfamiliar to Malaysian weather, we do get some rain even then but the heat is strong and we need it for agriculture. And the gazillion and four golf courses and resorts! Eye roll.
Rain also cleanses. And in this new year that’s begun, it seems fitting. To wash off the dust of the old. To be refreshed and renewed. It is something most of us are familiar with and associate with the new year. We make resolutions, we plan. What don’t we usually do? Face what scares us. Light allows us to change the external, self awareness changes us from within. We don’t have to fit in to find home. Is that not the whole purpose of a home? Perhaps the less we try, the less likely we are to lie to ourselves, to others. There can be no untruths when making roots. Is it time we gave ourselves the home we have been denying ourselves? Is it time for us to come into our own? To allow that for which we’ve longed for, craved and needed for years, decades? Are we able to show up with less armor and more amour, not just to others but more importantly, to ourselves? Can we love ourselves enough to allow the unmasking of our original wound(s)? If we don’t heal that, how will we truly be able to live?
These are my own lessons. An art teacher in high school, Mr. Lau, told me to embrace the fact I drew outside the lines. That most crucial advise became buried under constant admonitions to behave and think ‘correctly’. To people please. Then came my Addison’s Disease diagnosis. More recently, Dercums and others. Brushes with death. Losses beyond count of those who share my illnesses. I am no longer ashamed of those experiences. Battle scars. I am stronger and tougher because of them. I have not given up hope of living a full life for however long I have. I choose to see beauty even in the unwanted, the discarded and the shunned. I heard the Dalai Lama on a panel shown on telly say something this morning: There is a Tibetan saying that tragedy should be utilised as a source of strength. He went on to say no matter what difficulties, how painful the experience is, should we lose our hope, that will be our true disaster.
Likewise, I returned to being one outside the dictated line. Where I am comfortable being. Not to say I am uneasy inside the line. Preference, baby! I tell you who and what I am honestly. If I am struggling, I will tell you. I will no longer apologise for who I am meant to be. I will not be sorry for feeling. I know I am no emotional fool just because I learnt to embrace the fact having feelings is a part of our DNA. Feeling does not make one weak. Instead, it makes you emotionally intelligent. You’ve probably heard how close to a psychopath a CEO comes to mentally? What do you think tampers that? EQ!
Creative self expression helps us with the process of unmasking. I have returned to it, I am happy to report! I have been writing, researching, reading, drawing. I am writing a lot more. I realise now it is very much a part of me. I become antsy if I allow the seed of a story hang around in the ever simmering cauldron of my mind. I have also let go of self doubt. Well, as much as I can 😉 I accept now that as a writer and artist, I will always have those dark nights of the soul. Darkness lends its own purpose towards creativity as does light. The yin and the yang. The daemon, demon and angel as Edward Hirsch describes. To deny it’s existence will be to deny a part of that particular muse that’s been given me. I also acknowledge not many can accept the mirror my words may hold up to their souls. I admit I still struggle with the wall I built up last year. I took chances, let the wall be taken down brick by brick. It went back up albeit with cracks in the stone where the cement seems to have gone in thicker and stronger. For now, it is necessary. It will eventually come down because I do not want to live in isolated exile. Since arriving in Kuala Lumpur, I am meeting and being reunited with people who remind me of my passions and strengths, who inspire. Doors are opening, collaborations being talked about. It is exciting! And after years of being unable to dance, I am ready to kick up my heels and shake what the good Lord gave me!
I am thankful for the past. The past brought all of you to me. You have shown me love, friendship and in the case of many of you who are friends I have known for years, we have shared joys and sorrows together. We have wiped each other’s tears and laughed at the silliest of things. We have sat in silence and we have danced. We taken long walks through dark, dense woods, at times stumbling over fallen tree trunks or wily vines to arrive at this point. I thank you for being on this journey with me.
May light and love wash over you this year. Here’s to 2015!!