There is an advice that I hold close to my heart, which is – “the path of a great performer is to know thyself.”
I am terrible at knowing myself. I make many mistakes when it comes my own life. I say what I don’t mean, and I am just bad with communicating with humans. After all, I only had books as my friends and I grew up almost like a mute. I had no one to talk to as an only child. My maid accompanied me everywhere but she hardly spoke to me. She told me to keep quiet and not ask too much questions. I could only find answers in books.
Teachers could not answer my questions. My classmates thought I was weird. In between my textbooks I would scribble poetry and stories I had invented. I spent hours in the library, consoled my sadness in the joy of reading. I could get lost in faraway worlds and places that I would never have the opportunity to go to.
In high school, my essays were passed around and read out aloud by teachers. They loved my writings. So much so they got them duplicated to be read by the teachers in the humanities department. When I dropped out of completing arts college, I buried in my old identity and renamed myself to prevent anyone from recognizing who I was. For years I kept this blog and did not wish for people to find it. I continued to write, publish and submit my essays for circulation under different pen names. I went by different names in social settings till I lost who I was. I took the most unordothox route to study business and abandoned my education in humanities to seek a different path of redemption. Maybe I am not a writer, I a business person. Maybe I am not a starving artist, but an independent artist. These conflicts plagued my soul and I was further and further away from who I was.
Still I did not know myself, and I am so afraid to say it but actually I hardly have a clue who am I. I had tried all sorts of ways to try to find out my family ancestry, travel, spend time with my grandparents. But this is something I could not get. To me, I am a shadow of myself. There is a blankness when I try to dig out who I really am. My visions turns blank and my voice is silent. In my dreams there is a shadow self that tries to kill me every night and it ends in bloodshed. Sometimes I am drowning in a deep sea with a rock tied on my ankle. Sometimes I am in a dark alley way and attacked by multiple shadows.
On sweet blissful nights I am on the beach with my lover under the stars. The waves are crashing on our feet. We are rolling in the sand, our tongues entwined. The sea sweeps us in under and we are submerged in the ocean depths. No one knows who we are. No one knows where we were. It was just the two of us in this embrace. The next moment, he is torn away from me by the forces of gravity that sinks him into the abyss. He disappears and I am left alone in this universe. I was not defined by having a lover, and having a lover did not allow me to know who I was. He had to leave me for me to discover I am whole and complete as I am.
Why am I tearing at this point? In my realisation it is true. I am born alone, and I will die alone. I will never be understood no matter how much I wanted to be understood. I will never be who I want to be, time will consume me before I could accomplish my life work. I will never know who I am. I am evolving each day and the person whom I knew I was yesterday is gone today. Like a butterfly that takes flight, I am flying without a clue of what I was in the past.
It struck me today – there is no fixed way of being. Who we are each day changes and grows and evolves as experiences colour and coats our actions and speech. Who am I today is determined by one thing only – a declaration of who I am to the world.
I used to have a self-defeating conversation that says, “no I can’t do it” whenever I have to take up a position in an organisation or be part of a society in any form of leadership. Even today I am strangely media shy. I am shy of appearing in public places as myself. I am shy of publicity. I am shy of being identified by fans on the streets. Sometimes I have a spider sense that someone knows me on the street. But I brush those thoughts aside and say, “it can’t be.” Although my YouTube Channel has 100 000 views a month, I wonder in the grand scale of the universe if that’s any impact at all. Probably not.
In my next step to elevate my artistry, I have another conversation which is, “I don’t think I can do everything I want to do before I die.” When this conversation takes hold on me, my shadow self emerges and cripples my creativity. It slithers like a python and suffocates my being before the darkness sets in my eyes and becomes black and white. In the black and white world, there are no emotions. There is no colour. There are shadows of shadows. The shadows have no faces. The faceless shadows roam the black and white world aimlessly with no direction.
I had appeared unannounced at open mics in London and New York to read my poetry on stage, the reception from the audience is great. And when I am not on stage, there is a decay going on in my soul. Although I am an independent artist, there is a part and longing of me to be part of a group of well-established artist. To be part of the mainstream media and recognised for my efforts. But my shadow pulls me away and throws me back into the black and white world. The world of colour is nowhere in my reach, but a mirage of a dream that I aspire to be. In the shadows, I could only say to myself – maybe it is not meant to be.
I want to belong, but I will never belong. I want to be understood, but maybe there is no need to be understood. There is a void within that can’t be fulfilled.
Maybe I am indeed a swan amongst the ducks,
and only by leaving the ducks I can find my tribe.
I gave birth to a baby boy, after embracing his warmth in my arms I fell asleep.
I woke up and his head dropped from his body like a doll and it became lifeless.
I cried my eyes out and realised that the baby’s body had turned gray.
I met my shadow self. My dark identity. It was a shadow, with no face.
She was as tall as me, but instead of the shadow on the floor, it was a shadow facing me.
She was full of dark energy, full of hate, full of violence, full of anger.
She offered to take me to the shadows, not to wake up in colour but in a world of black and white.
I said I am not ready, I don’t want to die. I want to live. Don’t take me. I know you had controlled me, you had cursed those who had hurt me, you had protected me. As the shadow, as you are, you had followed behind me since I had a physical self. But I am not ready to join the shadows. I want to live.
I had been reading content on transformation. That transformation is a new way of being. By shifting the context, new actions and new possibilities arise. A declaration I would like to undertake is to be a world renown author. In my invention of this new possibility, is to take new actions to make it happen. It means publishing more books, going to more events, talking to more people in the industry. I would undertake this project from March onwards. I will reach this milestone by 2020.
It has dawned on me most of what we do does not really matter. No matter how much wealth, fame, and resources I could possibility accumulate in my lifetime, it would be the quality of relationships around me that is most important. My books would be read and enjoyed by millions of readers around the world. That what people on their deathbeds regret most is not to pursue their passions and dreams, and invest in their friendships.
I realised at this point I had been working so hard on my business that I am losing sight of what I am really passionate, which is writing, dancing and acting. I dread the start of any creative endeavor, there is a resistance that seeps in and prevents me from taking the first step in the heavy rain. Once overcoming the resistance, it becomes fun and I flow into the joy of creation. Of course, the next day the resistance comes back again and I am banging my head against the wall. But I know by doing this daily, I am evolving and breaking out of my old self to my new invented self of who I aspire to be. Soon, my creations will be enjoyed by the world as it’s beauty takes flight.
On days that I feel lost, alone or misunderstood, I imagine what life is like in the ancient past. I imagine what my ancestral homes may look like in ancient china. How they would life out their lives in ancient times and the joys they had over the centuries that result in the conjoined fusion DNA of the me today.
Ever so often I would imagine of the karma they had accumulated over successive generations. I would imagine the lives and influence they had over history, rise and fall of kingdoms. Were they peasants, scholars, merchants, dancers. What houses did they live in? What secrets that they had? What did they do for the society?
Ever so often I find solace that my family has accumulated good karma over successive generations. They had contributed to schools and hospitals. They had contributed to associations. They had contributed to the needy. With that knowledge, it protects me, as I know their love for me exists as they did what they can to create a better society and reality for tomorrow with small actions they took over the centuries.
With this knowledge I continue my small actions daily in contributing love and beauty and knowledge to the world. By writing a blog, writing my books and my videos. By meeting people, being there for others, and empowering them to take on big things in life.
Each small action of mine multiplies outwards and reaches to the galaxies and cosmos in the ever expanding universe. I am so small, so insignificant like a speck of dust in the passing time of billions of years. Who knows if the reality we live in may be a hologram.
On days like this I ponder and wonder and reflect if it is my last day today, what will I do today? It powers me and fuels me to live life with no abandon and to pursue life feverishly like there is no tomorrow.
For this I write a question to the world today. If it is your last day today, have you thought about your last moments? Have you said what you wanted to say, and do what you wanted to do? Do you have profound love in your life?
I can confidently say yes to the above questions and I have no regrets to the life I persued to the fullest.
I dream of Gackt very often. Maybe it’s the way my minions dream about Risque in her Scarlet Throne. But I had been idolising Gackt since I was a teenager and watched and consumed all his songs and videos and got them translated and even hung posters of him on my wall.
Ever so often I will get a recurring dream of him. I would be dating him in a cafe. I am in his presence where he engulfs me into his soul and disappears. He is literally everything I ever wanted in a man. He is multi-talented, plays many instruments, sings like a dove and lastly, he speaks to my soul and tugs my heartstrings like a violin as his voice enters me.
I am inspired by him, and his magical performances. Like the crazy fangirl I am, I read his biography and memorised it. I can’t speak Japanese and I will never end up marrying him or even remotely moving to Tokyo. But he still is in my life like an angel behind me and my creations. When I feel down, I turn to him and his music and it uplifts me. I had never dared write in a fanmail. I kept my obsessive feelings for him in a place where no one will see it, deeply buried in my subconscious, I am floating in the abyss of his voice.
At the back of my mind, he is always with me. In times like now when I feel quite down and upset and lousy about myself, I turn to him. He speaks to me and although he sings in a language I don’t understand, I can hear his soul. Through this healing process, I am energised to create again.
Gackt has this power over me I don’t quite comprehend either. Is it obsessive fan girl love? Or is it just the act of disappearing into his soul that makes me feel alive again? I don’t know. No one else in my life has this effect on me as he does. I could probably sing Mizerable in Japanese although I don’t understand a word just because I had listened to it thousands of times till I had memorised the lyrics in a language I don’t understand.
I totally get his misery, his isolation, his alienation. That sometimes being a creator is a solitary, lonely journey in a vast desert. There is no oasis, just mirages that appear and disappears in the desert storm. In this journey as a creator, I know my soul may never be understood or heard and yet I cry and sing a song no one might ever comprehend.
As I write this, my realisation of why I am doing what I do is pouring back to me like a torrential rain. Why did I stop for so long? Why? My existence is based on the feedback of my surroundings. If the calling is for me to create more works of art and beauty – it should be it.
In the depth of the milky way of creative energies, I am finally at one with creation itself.
I am writing the Purple Python, the third book in the Hourglass Series using the tried and tested 90 Day novel by Alan Watts. It has worked magic, and when I read the guide; I get new ideas, new discoveries and new questions that my subconscious wants to emerge on page.
On Day 12 of the 90 Day Novel, it is about Freedom.
“The swan still wants to belong, but it is only in recognizing the impossibility of ever belonging with the ducks that she can find the other swans. Freedom might be the willingness to choose one’s dreams over some idea of security.”
Then a revelation hit me – I am joining the swans! I don’t have to fit into any organisation, or be anything or prove anything to anyone or a group of people. I just have to be me and find my own tribe of independent writers and artists who are out there creating art for the stake of creation and advancing the consciousness of humanity.
It would be nice to feel belonged to an organisation or group of people, but it is not necessary if their ideals don’t fit with mine, and I can’t fit in no matter how hard I try. All I have to do is surrender to the fact that I am just not suited for a hierarchical organisation as it stifles my creativity. Maybe even getting an agent or publishing house for my series is a bad idea as I am doing a fairly okay job being an indie. All I have to do is create and create and create and eventually the readership will come, and my words will resonate with those who feel the same way about life.
I am happy with my results at the end of 2016: 2 million videos on YouTube for the Scarlet Queen Channel with 48 videos released, publication of Blue Orca and The Chase, increase in revenue for my business, and spending lots of quality time with family and friends especially my grandparents.
The cities I had visited this year: Hong Kong, Bangkok, Macau, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto. Met and interacted with amazing people from around the world. Attended the Thrillerfest in New York and met great writers like Heather Graham and Lee Child upclose. Set up monthly donations to good causes.
My calendar is fully packed for 2017 and I look forward to visiting more cities, more seminars, more books, more writing, more revenue, and more connections with people. My patreon minions makes it possible for my artistry to continue, and the Scarlet Queen Channel wouldn’t be possible without their generosity and support. More to come in 2017!
I watched Cloud Atlas (2012) four years ago. I know I have a habit of delaying my movie reviews, writing them years after I watched them. But that movie gave me the inspiration to become an author.
My interpretation of Cloud Atlas is that you will never know if you work of creation would indirectly be used to advance the human collective. It starts with a 18th century gay composer, wrote his symphony and committed suicide shortly after although he knew his lover was looking for him. In a dramatic twists and turns of the event, at the final futuristic scene of the movie – it was his symphony that lead to a rebellion and creation of a new world as it passes one time line to the next in different forms.
Cloud Atlas is hard to understand and digest, in fact it would be one of the most complicated movies to analyse after The Matrix and Inception. It fundamentally answers the question – what is the meaning of life, and what is it for the future generation?
In the Hourglass series that I write, I am attempting to contribute to the human collective through my research and writing in the espionage thriller genre. It seems insignificant and even foolish to dedicate my prime years to this task. I could otherwise be using the time to generate more income, assets and material acquisitions to better my lifestyle and travel more. But, to me it makes perfect sense as it would be the Hourglass Series that will stand the test of time and not my videos, audio or blog. It would be in novel form that it will be preserved and last a century or beyond.
But a thousand years? Maybe not. My cousin and I had a discussion that the history that we know a thousand years ago is mostly lost by now. Looking at how insignificant our human lives are, writing a novel is just a small feat compared to the contributions one can possibly make to humanity.
Cloud Atlas is one such contribution, it may not be fully understood now but it would be one of those classic movies that would be referred to be cited as a catalyst to something else a hundred years from now.
I had started writing the outline for Purple Python, the third book to the installment of the Hourglass Series. It will be from Jessica point of view, she is half Vietnamese, half American.
As part of my research into the horrors of the Vietnam war, I had watched Miss Saigon at West End in London. I had downloaded a book called Unwanted – A memoir of childhood by a Amerasian survivor of the Vietnam war. His chilling depictions of the final days before the last planes leaving Vietnam had lead me to shake my mind off it and write this post. My hair stood on ends when he wrote about how the last planes left the US embassy without his family in Vietnam when they lost the battle to the communist.
On hindsight, I am very very fortunate not to experience any horrors of war in my lifetime. My ancestors had made a good decision to depart China during the civil war and migrate to Nanyang and resettle to new unknown lands. They contributed to the community by teaching, volunteering at the clan association and resettling other families. They made contributions to the society at large by imparting Confucius ideology for a civil upright society.
Now, my generation enjoys global mobility and interconnection with the world due to technological advancement in communications and accessibility. I had the privilege to study in Australia and attain fluency in English as my native language. It was only in Australia I discovered about Vietnamese refugees and how they were referred to as “boat people” and how they risked their lives to go on boats to seek refuge in Australia. I was so insulated and I had no awareness that this existed till I traveled and was exposed to the world at large.
I am now using Alan Watt’s “90 Day Novel” as my guide to write Purple Python as it has worked so for my first two books. It examines through the process of inquiry to building worlds and characters. A sentence that really hits me now is that, “the story lives fully within yourself.” I had never believed in that, I had thought that the story is constructed outside myself. But now, I had discovered this sentence is true. The whole universe of the Scarlet Queen and Hourglass Series is existing within myself and through a process of rigorous inquiry, that it would be materialized in this world.
I am now on Day 5 out of Day 90. I will be on a cruise for a year end vacation with my family and friends in a large group including my grandparents. On the four day cruise with no internet connection, I will continue to be engaged in the inquiry as it says to “write daily and not stop”.
She is releasing a novel (Hourglass Series) yearly and weekly YouTube videos. She does experimental flash fiction on this blog, along with song, movies and character analysis using historical and literature references.
One Million Views on Scarlet Queen YouTube (2015)