Every now and then when my thoughts are still and quiet.
Before I sleep, and the moment I wake up.
I will visualise the aroma of my grandmother’s homemade coffee.
She brewed a fresh metal flask of coffee every morning.
She will scoop five tablespoons of freshly grounded malaysian coffee beans into a sock.
Pick up the handle of a kettle, and pour boiling hot water into the sock filter.
She would pour out the brewed coffee into a metal container before pouring it back to the sock about three times,
then she would cover it and leave it on the countertop for five minutes.
All this time, I would be sitting on wooden chair by a circular marble table in the kitchen, watching from the distance.
She walked with a slight limp on her left leg towards me and open a tin of biscuits and put some biscuits onto my plate.
Then she would pour a two full mugs of coffee. But she would serve my coffee while she left her mug covered on the countertop.
I would dip the large squarish yellow biscuit into the coffee to soften it before chomping it down. The coffee was sweetened with condensed milk and had a bitter aftertaste like dark chocolate. I would savour each bite slowly as my grandmother washed the dishes. After I finished my meal, I would run to watch television for the usual 10am cartoon show. Then, my grandmother would sit by the marble table with her coffee and biscuits while watching me from afar.
Years later, she is still with me in my thoughts and memories, and everytime I feel down or upset, I would go to a malaysian coffee store and purchase a cup of coffee. But no coffee tasted like the one my grandmother made, they made me think of her, but nothing in the world could replace the love and care and dedication she made to serving my meals every morning before herself. She made sure I was taken care of at every step of the way, and placed herself second in everything she did in relation to me.
I never saw or realised this when I was younger. I used to think she was annoying when she called seven times a day to ask if I would be visiting her, and she would be dead soon. I never understood she had dementia and could not remember if she had called just before. I never understood her love, nor did I see that I was her favourite grandchild and I was female, she didn’t care if I could not carry on the family surname for my dad only had one descendant.
Sometimes I want to write her a letter to express my gratitude, and I am lost for words as I could not speak or write in hokkien as fluently as I could in english. I wonder if she could read my heart, or hear my song as I write these words. That I miss her so much. I miss her coffee, her touch, her expression of love towards me. There are only so few people in the word that I would ever meet in my lifetime that would show unconditional love. She was my grandmother, and my one and only grandmother. If anything at all, she saved me from the blink of disaster during my dysfunctional teenage years, for her love was constant like the waves of the sea.
Slowly, she lost her mind. She would stare blankly into space while she lied in bed from day to night. She could no longer recognise my cousins, me or my relatives. She only recognised her caretaker and my uncle. She would call for help like a child to be fed and bathed. She jerked her body when she was cold. It was painful to see her deterotiation over the years as she became frail and skinny. We lost her to dementia.
When her coffin entered the furnace, it struck me that the very person I was running away from was now the person I wanted most in the world. I wanted her hug and to see her jovial smile once more. I wanted to hear her laughter and her voice as she spoke loudly to my relatives. I wanted her to call out my name. It’s been three years since she had passed on, but my heart longs and pangs for her love. Although I could not understand a word she said, all her actions communicated her love for me.
I miss her coffee, and no other coffee could ever replace the one she made.
The very first role I got as a lead actress was when I was 14 years old in a school play production. It was a grueling intensive that I spent my summer holidays reciting lines and doing exercises in front of large groups of people. The coach would reprimand me on the spot in front of others, “if you forget your lines, we will replace you,” was the echo of his words that haunted me in my sleep. We dedicated hundreds of hours to perform at Victoria Theater. I was finally on stage in a lead role at a young age. The school play was advertised in the news as the theater could seat a few hundred people.
My mother watched the performance. This time, she was the audience and I was on stage. She was usually on that very stage I was on, performing her classical piano pieces, leading a choir and being a prominent musician in the scene. This sudden reversal that my mother was now at the audience supporting me was a revelation that I am all grown up. I had taken my baby steps on stage by giving flowers to musicians after they played their piano pieces. The musicians gave me a hug and carried me off the stage mostly, as I barely crawling and half walking. The audience clapped for the musicians and my mother. I was a tiny little flower girl walking next to their knees. I enjoyed the shared attention they got and relished in it.
When the play I acted in ended, the audience stood up to give a round of applause. This time it wasn’t for any musician, it was for me and my troupe. It was deeply satisfying I was now performance ready. I lost my stage performer virginity that night. My mother drove me home. She commented my make up was thick, and that I could make improvements to my hair. Nevertheless, she was beaming in happiness. She shared with her friends, “Oh, my daughter was the lead actress at Victoria theater. She is a dancer too, and appeared on television.” None of her friends could believe my mother, looking like she was barely in her 30s had a daughter, let alone a daughter who was established in the arts scene, like herself.
Fame came too quick and I was too young to handle the attention. I was mostly stalked in public to the point I had no more privacy in my life. Everywhere I went, unwanted attention from my fame followed me like a shadow. I got bullied in school for being an actress and dancer. I acted on some side roles on television, and after the shows were aired, my schoolmates would make fun of me and call me nasty names and whisper behind my back with suspicion, “Oh that girl is an actress, she was on telelvision.” They distrusted me for being a public figure and I sat mostly alone during recess time and no one wanted to be my friend. I fell into a deep depression and was sent to the school consellor, who initiated a transfer for me out of that school.
After transfering to another school, I excelled in humanities and developed an introverted personality whereby I spent inordinate amount of hours dedicating myself to writing essays and reading books after books. To the point my teachers would read my essays out aloud in class and set them as example essays to follow. Although I no longer appeared on stage or danced, the attention now shifted to my writings. I registered averral.com in the year 2007 and this blog is now live for ten years.
My writings were mostly filled with sadness, despair and I channeled most of my energies into and poured my heart into my words for I could no longer dance or act and be accepted for who I was. I avoided attention, the stage and the public. I am now making a dramatic return to performing live on facebook to overcome my fears and to conquer my past – which continues to attack my mind. I will eventually move into the direction in performing live in front of large audiences, and finally embracing who I really am – a performer in theater arts.
It is possible to fundamentally change our way of being at any moment to suit different context, dance, music and all areas of life to explore multiple talents and interests. The human potential is largely untapped. We tend to limit and constrain ourselves to a fixed identity – our identity is actually fluid like a child. A child knows no boundaries, is infinitely curious and probing the limits of the universe. A child knows no fears, only happiness in exploration – there will always be an inner child in us and all we have to do is set it free.
Objective: To get the individual to get in touch with themselves through the use of a painting.
Coach: There is no AVERRAL in your previous assignment, you have impersonfied Venus, but there is no you. We want to see AVERRAL coming out from the paining you chose. You have to do this assignment again.
AVERRAL: It is true, I don’t know myself. Hence, in my works there is no me. I disappeared myself completely. It is indeed my biggest flaw that I don’t bring myself out in my characters, in my works or anything. I take on the personality of another but there is no me in it.
Coach: We want to see you AVERRAL. Bring it out, use your natural voice and your story through the use of a painting.
Once upon a time, I was a little girl running on the beach towards the sunshine, leaping and jumping in joy while my parents were holding hands behind me. For the first time in my life, I tasted happiness in freedom in nature. Ever since then, I found refuge near water. When I am down or upset, I would be drawn to nature, the sun, the sea and the waves of the ocean.
When I was eigtheen years old, I gave tuition for pocket money. Outside the window of my student condo complex, I dream about how nice it would be if I started a business so I could travel and explore the world. When I graduated from unversity, I had my own business. But I was trapped. I had no life, except to work from day to night almost everyday my phone rang non stop and I replied to thousands of emails.
Inside me, my soul was dying. My soul was dying from the lack of dance. The lack of music. The lack of leisure. I was lacking the song and dance in my life as I pursued logic and reason throughout my university years. I was killing my soul song, killing my dance. I was smothering the flames of my passion for life by focusing on the digits and numbers of reports and maximising returns. I was headed towards the death of my soul as I delved in deeper into my endless materialistic needs for more shopping, more travel and more luxuries.
In losing myself to the material world, I ran to the far ends of the earth and travelled a few thousand miles but I found no answers to happiness. I wondered, what was happiness? Why don’t I feel happy? Why, why do I feel so numb inside? In my sadness, I sang a sorrowful song. I did a dance and leaped into the ocean, fully nude. In the ocean, I was finally free. I was embracing myself and feeling my body for the first time. That I had flesh and bones. I had eyes and a nose. I had ears and… I had emotions. I can feel my emotions once more as I twirled in the ocean depths. My soul returned to my body, and I finally am connected to the first state of my experience of pure bliss – happiness and freedom in exploration – of my soul song.
I emerged from the ocean depths as the Goddess of Love and Beauty. I am here to bring forth eternal sunshine to mankind. The world will worship me at my feet. Humanity will never know what is love, till they have met me. They will never know what is beauty, till they experienced love. For this, I dedicate the remaining years of my life to my artistry and community to spread love and beauty far and wide.
Pole Digital Art – Pole Dancing Abstract by Manos Kolaras
I watched a movie scene about a mafia boss who owns a nightclub and was talking to a visitor in a VIP room overlooking the main event hall. He told the visitor to look at one of the pole dancers. He confessed that pole dancer is his daughter. She got down the poles and went up to a man to ask if he would like a lap dance. The mafia boss, wearing a gold necklace and Rolex watch, was looking at the whole scene, smiling in joy. I could never understand why he was happy that his own daughter was trading her flesh for cash. Why wouldn’t he support her financially as a rich mafia boss so she could pursue a decent job? The movie disturbed me for many years before I slept each night, I would think back on that scene and his half sinister half overjoyed smile. It is the smile a father gives when his child gives him a birthday card.
I wondered if my father would ever put me into the flesh trade, and be overjoyed if I am stripping and doing a lap dance for a stranger. It was an underground world unknown to me. For all I knew in the first eighteen years of my life is that I got everything I wanted. My father never said no to any toy or request. As the only child, I was spoiled silly and lavished with attention from my extended family. I was treasured as the firstborn of the 28th generation on my mom’s side of the family, and the only descendant left with the surname on my dad’s side by my grandmother. My father never had a son, so he treated me like one and taught me chess, poker, and how to game the casino. His biggest unfulfilled dream is to write a book, and he never succeeded doing so. He is proud that I chose to become a novelist and he is overjoyed when I publish my books. I told my parents recently I want to perform on stage as I missed that so much. They are supportive of my artistic development and they give me free rein to do whatever I want, no matter what with unconditional love.
In perspective, if my dad was a mafia boss, he would want me to take over his mafia business as his only daughter. From a mafia boss point of view, his daughter has to learn the trade from bottom up. Where else is a better way to start than to be a stripper (in perspective it is like being a waiter of a restaurant if he owns a restaurant). If she does well as a popular stripper, gets contacts from clients, and clients come back for more, it brings in business. In this perspective, I finally understood why the mafia boss gave an overjoyed smile when his daughter managed to convince a client for a lap dance. It was part of the trade, and his wish for his daughter to continue his legacy to take over the nightclub (since he doesn’t have a son).
I was narcissistic, self absorbed and I spent long hours looking at myself in the mirror dancing and touching my body while imagining it is someone else’s hands doing so. I was exhibitionistic and had a few million views on YouTube. I took photos of myself everyday with precise selfie angles. I loved showing off my dance moves and displaying myself publicly uninhibitedly in a way that is empowering to the world who watch the way I move. However I had transcended my artistry from serving my need for validation to the disappearance of my ego by being the mirror of what the world has created me to be. I had chosen to pursue happiness by disappearing my ego into the universe, to find myself in the eyes of others. From the eyes of the universe, I see myself dancing in the cosmos – that is true happiness and bliss – my soul lives forever in the cyber galaxy.
Too famous, too young
Hated myself in the mirror
Became socially awkward
Almost mute, dysfunctional
Was used as a replacement
“Toy” was my name
Destroyed my free spirit
I ran too fast, too far
Till I lost myself in the desert
Plunged into an oasis
I saw shadows of the demons
In my nightmares that haunted me
daily, I wasn’t dead but half asleep
How I wished a knight would save me
From the monsters chewing on my flesh
In my half conscious state, I summoned
the last remaining will to untie the rock
on my ankle that was sinking me down into
the abyss. No one could save me but myself.
I swam up to shore and rose up as the goddess of love,
Venus, to humanity – to fill the world with love and beauty in my song and dance.
In my rebirth, I had chosen dedicate my life to art and serving the community
like a Vestal Virgin tending to the sacred flame in the temple.
This is my ultimate expression of love for the world.
Objective: To get the individual to get in touch with themselves through the use of a painting.
The Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_Venus)
I am Venus, I am born in the ocean, rising out as a goddess of love to all mankind
I am fully nude in the waves of the sea, there is nothing to be ashamed of as we are born and die fully naked
The long waves of my golden hair wraps around my body, it’s a gift from the sun to wrap the world in eternal radiance
Don’t be afraid of love, men, welcome it with open arms and take my body into your strong arms
Let your arms wrap my body, feel my white flesh on your skin.
I am here to liberate you, to welcome to you paradise
You had never known paradise till you met me.
You will experience freedom and a state of bliss, unknown to most as long you surrender your will to me.
In this euphoria, the estacasy that unfolds is far greater than any song or dance can bring to you.
Why be afraid of love, when you can have love?
Why be afraid of women, when you can have beauty?
For without beauty, what is the purpose of life?
I seek to beautify the world around me in glorious light.
Welcome to eternal heaven, for I am the goddess of your one and only heart desires.
You will find home when you give your soul to worship me.
I want to live my life like a bursting spark of fireworks before it dissipates into thin air.
I am one of the many roses in the rose bushes, and soon, you will forget me like all the others before me.
There is a beauty in writing prose that pictures can’t unfold. That it’s the song in our souls that matter more than appearances.
In my dance I want to communicate my artistry in my transient flight on earth.
The poetry in my dance is no lesser than my fight for life.
My love is boundless like the ocean.
The waves sweeps the world under as
We submerge into the depths
in this universal flow of energy.
When pain is transmuted to pleasure,
the sublime thin line between our nerve endings,
flesh to flesh,
in our embrace in our never ending dance
creates new worlds of happy ever afters.
We will wave our goodbyes and soon we may meet again, in this life, our next lives and the lives before.
In this cyclic world of what comes and goes like the wind.