Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Dream That Was.


Walking up the entrance of the old house, memories of plans and dreams unfulfilled comes gushing through like a floodwater. Pictures of yesteryears pulled at my heartstrings, left me wondering if once upon a time, a long time ago, we were indeed happy and in love. I find myself nearing the end of the road. I can't go on anymore. Not another step. I've come to realize that I have been living in my idealistic mind. I believed myself to see things the way it should be rather than what it really was. And now, I grieve.

How did I come to this? Why couldn't I see things as what they were? Is it wrong to dream and strive to achieve the best I can attain in life and love? After all, my needs are simple. Love. A sense of security. To have someone to take care of me for a change. I am not one who would ask for a diamond ring for my finger, a silk carpet for the living room, a fancy car or expensive holidays. Is it so difficult to give me the things that I need? They don't cost a thing. But your currency of love expressions is the price tags on material things.

You've had your breaks. You've had your chance. You've been given your lot. And you made it clear that only you decide what to do with what is yours. And you did. Now look at the nothingness that's left in your life.

Whatever I have done and given goes unappreciated and ignored. Its never enough. Now, I have nothing left. I gave my everything. You may account your losses in terms of monetary possessions. I gave you my life.

Now I am ready to take it back. I reclaim my life as my own. I don't need anything from you anymore. Once upon a time, you were the perfect one for me. Somehow, along the way, a few years ago, you died. You are no longer you. You are a stranger to me. Someone I no longer recognize.

I may have about a quarter of my life span left. Let me live it the way I want it to be. I'm done doing things your way. I'm broken. I am broken. Let me have what's left of my life to put myself back together again. Who knows who I will become. Because I know, right now, I am no longer the me you knew. Have mercy on me. Let me go.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Most Precious Ones.


Its 12:15 am and I'm still awake. I'm away from my babies and I miss them terribly. Its been a while since I last left them for more than an overnight's work trip. I should be resting. I should be focusing on healing my injured shoulder. I truly appreciate the warm hospitality of my hosts, for they treat me as one of their own. But as I close my eyes to allow sleep to overcome my consciousness, my heart aches for my children.

They have always been the most precious and significant souls in my life. Their births made me into a much better human being to begin with. Dear God! My stay away from them is just for three nights. How am I to find the courage to let them go when the time calls for me to set them free? I may be brave. But I am the first to admit that I am NOT the strong one.

To say that I am proud of them is really an understatement. My heart swells with loving pride even when they do the smallest things. They have a wonderful sense of humor, albeit a quirky one; they are intelligent and matured beyond their years, their empathy would shame many adults. Mind you, I'm not saying they are perfect human beings. There's no such a thing. But they are perfect for me.

Being away from them for just one night has made me realize something about myself. All these years, I was a woman carrying out the expectations, responsibilities and duties of a mother. But tonight I finally feel what being a mother truly is. Without my children, I find myself feeling incomplete.

I'm not sure exactly what I have done over the many years of bringing them up but now I know that I must have done something right. Because when I am crying at the end of a trying and tiring day, my daughters will be the ones who will be stroking my back, wiping the tears of my cheeks, gently coaxing me to rest and sleep, while softly ensuring me that I will feel a lot better in the morning. When I am overwhelmed with self-doubt, they point out my strengths and achievements. When I'm unsure of what to wear for an evening out, they will render their services as image consultants and wardrobe managers. They give me the will to push and improve myself so that their future will be brighter than yesterday.

I'll be the first to admit that although I do miss them as babies, I do not miss the sleepless nights, the nappy rashes, the potty training, the first day at school anxieties, the measles and mumps and whatever else that comes with child rearing. However, I know for sure that I will miss them when they go out into the world and need less and less of their mama.

But meanwhile, while they still want a hug from me, I will not be the one to end the hug first. I'll be the best mama I can be for as long as they need me. And when the time comes for them to venture out into the world, I will hope to have enough confidence to believe and trust that I have taught them well enough.

Precious Gift
by Sherri Lawrence

When times seem too hard to bear & I feel like giving up
I vision your beautiful face, the twinkle of your eyes and things of such
The bond we created from my womb to the day you were born
Is a mother and daughter bind that can never be torn
With the strength and guidance of God and the blessings he pours down from above
I want to be the best mom I can be to you and embrace you with all my love
You are as precious as a flower and as gorgeous as a rose
You have been specially made to the very tip of your nose
You are as sweet as honey; such an innocent young child
You are brighter than any star in the sky every time you smile
I want you to be proud of who you are and strive to be the best
Put forth your efforts to achieve your goals and let God do the rest
I will always be your mother first, but I'm also your friend
Your are the most precious gift, that I've ever been given

With All My Love,

Mommy


Jazelia and Jelissa, I love you both very much. Don't worry about making me proud of you. I already am.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Virtual Reality - The Great Escape!


Its almost 4 am and I'm still awake. The house is quiet, except for the whisperings of the television with no audience. What is keeping me up at this ungodly hour? Obsessive worrying over everything and nothing at the same time. Anxiety over things that are beyond my control. The uncertainty of the near future. The stress of not sleeping during the hours when other mortals are walking through the realms of dreams and restful slumber.

This has been a problem that has plagued me since my early 20s. Must've been my lounge singing days, when its a norm to come home from work in the wee hours of the morning, only falling asleep as the sun comes up and waking up just before noon. Surely, after 15 years of hiatus from my singing career, you would think that I would be cured of such a disorder. Apparently, no amount of child rearing years with the many sleep deprived nights could reform me from a night walker into a daylight lover.

When the internet became easily accessible to almost everyone that can afford a modem, I began using the virtual world as a way to pass my sleepless hours. It helped to ease the anxieties of not feeling sleepy when normalcy expects me to be snoring happily next to my also snoring hubby. Of late, I feel there has been a shift of sort. A tilt of balance. I seem to prefer losing myself to the virtual world rather than live my life in reality. What am I running away from now?

Its not difficult to NOT be sucked into this virtual reality world. After all, with just a push of a button, I can delete or undo any mistakes, typos or errors. Unlike real life. Even if I were to be able to forget my mistakes and bad choices, there will always be voices around me, reminding me constantly of all the wrongs I have done. Pretty soon, my future is predicted based on my past mistakes. As the saying goes, "You do many good things, and no one remembers it. But you make one mistake, and everyone remembers it for the rest of their lives." Sheesh!!

In virtual reality, I can also alter the way I choose to appear in my profiles. I can paste my face on photos of stars. I can adopt their looks and yet retain my lil old face. Bliss! Well, as they say, " When there's no hope, denial is all you have." My denial may be thick. But my need to escape my reality is a lot thicker than that.

Its pretty obvious that I am unhappy. I also realize that talking incessantly about my misery will not make me feel any better. Is this entry my way of trying to explain myself? No. I find it hard to believe anyone would be interested to know the whys, whats and hows that's contributing toward my unhappiness. Consider this entry as a channel for venting out my frustrations. Its also another resource for my psychological well-being. Its my little corner of personal space. To be or not to be me. That is my choice. And I have the privilege to change my mind whenever I feel like it.

I consider myself a very sociable person. I like to hang out with my pals and meet new people and make new friends. That's how I am in reality. However, that is not the case recently. I find myself feeling more and more anti-social of sort. Maybe because I don't feel like sharing my misery with others. Maybe I don't want people to see the unhappiness in my eyes. My unhappiness is about me. I have to bid my time to regain my sense of power, belonging, fun and freedom to be true to myself.

Facebook has been my 'home' since 2 years ago. Its a place for me to reconnect with old friends, keep in touch with family and relatives near and far, make new friends, networking for my business and career promotions and have a virtual life. In Fairyland, I can plant flowers and trees and not have them die on me. I can keep a puppy and a kitten and feed them daily without having to smell and clean their poop. I can run a restaurant rather professionally and not have to worry about labor strike. I can send 'luxury' birthday gifts without spending a single cent. I can fish for sympathy when I needed it. I can share my joy and triumphs with friends and receive motivations and cheers from people whom I have never met because they live on the other side of the world. I can block people who annoy me and disappear from those who I never want to meet again.

So, forgive me if I spend more time online and on Facebook than I do in real life. Life is too painful for me now. With a daily dose of ear bashing and emotional abuse, even the strongest warrior will throw herself into a bottomless abyss. This is how I cope. I may be brave. But I am not strong. Forgive me for my weakness. This doesn't happen often. It usually comes in waves. Most of the time, I am fine. But when the tidal wave hits, the only thing I can hang on to is virtual reality. And for this, I pray fervently that my modem never breaks down or gets hit by lightning.

It only takes one moment of weakness to destroy you for life. So...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Sparkle That Was Raya...


The year was 1975. I was 10 years old while my two younger brothers were aged 8 and 1. We were living in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar Park. It was a the eve of Eidil Fitri. The house was a buzz with activities: frantic last minute spring cleaning, putting up the new curtains for the living room, ketupat making and rendang cooking in the kitchen. Mom would be making last minute fittings for the dress she had sewn for me to wear on Raya morning. Dad would be in the back yard, supervising my brothers playing with sparklers. I would join them whenever I could, between helping my mom with all that needed to get done before the crack of dawn.

The sparklers. They bring to mind many memories of my childhood years. They were magical in my eyes. Inspiring awe in me. My brother, Eri and I would spell out our name with the sparklers. Dad would also have those that would shoot little balls of colored flame with parachutes attached to them. He would shoot them skyward and we would watch them come down with our mouths open in amazement. Nahar would shriek with excitement at the wonder of it all. Although far from being storybook perfect, it had its moments that always conjures up happiness and smiles on my face. Nostalgia...

My eyesight is blurring now. Tears of sadness and melancholy. Missing those tiny bits of happy moments. I was 10 then. Now, I'm 44. Raya for 2009 is a few days away but the atmosphere at home is far from what it was back in 1975. No new curtains to hang. No ketupat or rendang to cook. Maybe some last minute frantic spring cleaning. But it has definitely lost its sparkle.

I miss my childhood when things were simpler then. I may have not had autonomy that I have now, but at least I had an illusion of happiness. Oh my poor heart. I can literally feel it breaking. I grieve for the lost joy of Raya. It has never been the same since. It never will be 1975 ever again. I grieve. I grieve.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Little Orphan Spiky



About a week ago, just as my daughters and I were about to enter our front door with both arms laden with grocery shopping bags, we heard a frantic mewing of a kitten. Quickly, we scanned the surrounding area, only to land our eyes on a little white furry ball, teetering around aimlessly. Lissa immediately went to retrieve the abandoned kitten and took it in. After giving it a good bath and feeding it warm milk, we found that it had cat flu and we took it to the vet on the very next day. When the vet told us that the kitten is a male, we changed its name from Vanilla to Spike. Seven days later, this name has evolved to Spiky.

The last time our house had a feline member of the family, it was also a white tomcat named Salty. He was borne in our house by his mother Bubbles; and he lived with us to his final breath in May 2006. It broke my heart when Salty died. He tried very hard to hang on to us, although his body was already ravaged by illness. I spoke my last words to Salty, telling him how much we love him and that its okay for him to let go. That he will always be in our hearts. Those were my last words to him. And then he died, as if he had gotten the permission he needed to leave us for heaven.

I cried for months. I grieved for years, not wanting to replace Salty with another cat. After a few years had passed, my daughter, Lissa, began begging me for a pet to love and care for. A kitten. And although I said no, I know she quietly prayed for it. Her prayer was answered when Spiky mewed his way into our front door and into our hearts.

Spiky is such a playful and loving kitten. He spends his days and nights eating, drinking milk out of a bottle, playing and romping around, exploring all the dusty nooks and crannies in the house, and sleeping in the crook of our arms, snuggling for warmth and a sense of belonging.



I love to watch Spiky sleep. Sometimes, I'd catch him in deep sleep, jerking his head now and then, probably having a little cat dream. But recently, I noticed he seem to burrow his face into the soft blanket swathing him, making suckling noises with his mouth, with his little forearms out and paws kneading, like as if he's dreaming of snuggling and suckling at its mother's teats. It brought tears to my eyes. I wept like a baby, grieving for his loss. He's missing his mommy. I can feel my heart break for him. Poor little baby.

From that moment on, I decided that I am not going to hold back my love for him. Spiky is not Salty's replacement. But I truly believe Spiky is Salty's way of making us open our hearts to loving again. Spiky gave me the courage to let go of my fears. I have nothing to lose by loving Spiky. I have Spiky's adoring love.

Spiky entered our lives on a Thursday, in the month of Ramadhan. I believe Spiky is Allah's blessing on us.



Not forgetting all the other feline family members of ours, I'd like to take a moment to mention some of their names below:
Scamper
Snowy
Blacky
Ashley
Ginger I
Duchess
Bubbles
Ginger II
Scamper II
Spicy
Sugar
Salty
Coffee
Naboo
Mogwai


We are eternally grateful for the many years of happiness and love they have given to our family. We know they are all in Eden.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Was A Dancer, Too...


According to stories about my childhood in my father's memoir, I was dancing before I could walk properly. I guess this explains why I've enjoyed dancing from the earliest of my memories. While I was in school, teachers would find me missing from my desk because I would be on the school stage, dancing and jiving to Michael Jackson songs. When I was 16, I was already well trained in traditional Malay dancing that my experience and knowledge was sought after to teach adults to learn Asyik and Zapin.


As I made my way through college, I would participate in every showcase available to fully take advantage of any opportunity to experience the joy of dancing. While studying in Swansea, I took up Modern Jazz dancing to further learn ways to express my emotions through body movements. All these knowledge and training I had gleaned helped make me into a better performer, as I would rigorously learn all the choreography for the songs that I would sing, wanting to synchronize my movements with my back up dancers. Needless to say, Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul were my idols back then.

It makes me swell with pride to see my daughters have taken on the same interest in dancing and music. They are blessed with both talent and grace of movements that reminds me of my youth. My only regret is that my aging body is no longer as agile or nimble as before. I no longer look good in leotards and tights either... Hahahaa..


Regardless, I am glad I had the opportunity to express myself in more than just one medium. Although my body is not able to bend and spin the way it used to, I still remember vividly how beautiful the feeling was to move to the music and let it take over my body. I would lose myself to the music and movement and ceased to exist. What a feeling!

I was a dancer. I used to dance all night. Dance disciplined my body. I miss it. Very much.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lesson of Ramadhan Nights.

Anyone close to me would know how much I love the holy month of Ramadhan. For others, this month represents bazaar feasts of traditional food and cakes, of breakfast invitations, of charity, of shopping for new Raya clothes. For me, it is a month of contemplation, introspection, self-assessment and evaluation, taming of the lowly desires and progression of the soul.

I may have had the privilege of experiencing Ramadhan for 44 times already. However, I only began appreciating it in too few a times. And each time it arrives, my anticipation and expectation grows with the number of gray hair sprouting out on my crowning glory. Given, it is easier to achieve peace of mind when we are left on our own devise without the temptations and seductive whispers of iblis. But then again, not every day is Ramadhan and Ramadhan does not last the whole of our lives. For as long as we breathe, we will desire. And for as long as we desire, peace of mind is far from reach until the object of our desire is attained. Even that is no guarantee. Such is the nature of desire and avarice.

I came across a quote from an old favorite book of mine entitled Essential Sufism and decided that it describes perfectly the emotions I am experiencing at this moment in time:

"At the beginning I was mistaken in four aspects. I sought to remember God, to know Him, to love Him, and to seek Him. When I had come to the end, I saw that He had remembered me before I remembered Him, that His Knowledge of me had preceded my knowledge of Him, His love toward me had existed before my love to Him, and He had sought me before I sought Him."
- Bayazid Bistami

And I lie to myself everyday, believing I have done enough... Yet, He thinks me as worthy of His love and mercy... There's no bigger blessing than that. Somehow, I feel my utter gratitude is like an insult. I bow in humility. I bow in submission. I bow. I surrender.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Finally Did IT!!


For those of you who have been following my blog entries over many years, you may be able to recall my blog entry entitled Resilience of the Ice Age Squirrel; how I struggled to keep my courage around me when the obstacles I was facing seemed insurmountable.

Going back to school, paying my own way through university fees while working creatively at earning enough just to keep food on the table and the family afloat was no easy task. Each day I beseeched God for strength and stamina of the soul and mind. He was the only place I lay my head down to cry my heart out and to rest my weary bones. He was the only one who would really hear what was uttered in my heart.

And when I finally succeeded in getting myself qualified to do my Master's Degree, I struggled with my grey matters. I poured out my frustration in my blog entry What's My Name Again?I even questioned my decision to further my studies in the ensuing entry entitled As Time Goes By.

During my academic journey, i discovered a few things about myself which was very enlightening and became my north star and this was mentioned in To Be The Best.

2008 began with the passing of my soul brother. I spent the whole year and a month just struggling to overcome grief. The worst crunch inspired me to write Along The Way.Tears of grief streamed like a river in the rain. Visible but ignored.

When I could apply my knowledge in my healing process, I shared it with my readers in Goodbye 2008. But even that wasn't a sure thing. Early 2009, I found myself still struggling with the loss of Mad in my life. I guess knowledge I had was not enough to heal myself. I knew I needed to keep on going. And I did. Until I found a book that was like light at the end of the tunnel. Doing What I Can Do was the entry I wrote to share the knowledge I learned from a book that my mom bought for me as a birthday gift. Alhamdulillah, through that book, Allah guided me back to emotional balance and psychological stability. I really thought I was gonna lose it.

Today was my graduation day. I finally made it! Walking up on stage to receive my scroll with my family watching in the audience was the biggest moment of my entire life. 30 years ago, I would never envisioned myself being a University graduate. Now I am a Masters degree holder. And no one can take that away from me. I have finally become ME. I am ready to move on and soar to the sky... embracing the limitless....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Happening....

Ok! I'm sorry I have not been blogging for a few weeks already. But the above is my reason. Yes. I have been busy with work. But I have also been busy doing what gives me joy... singing!

This weekend will be my second consecutive weekend stint at Delucca. Its such a pleasure to perform with talented musicians like Zailan Razak, John Sani, Gigi and Gman. Nope. This wondrous thing has not hit home yet for me. I'm still in a denial of sort. Kinda like an out-of-body experience. Am I happy? Yes. Am I joyful? You betcha!

Gotta keep this entry short. Have loads of lyrics to memorize... again. I am back... to stay!! Alhamdulillah...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pausing for Benjamin Button.

I know... I know... I'm a little behind in my movie watching schedule. I've been so busy with work. Giving counseling services, doing talks for government bodies, and singing for my joyous supper. Only yesterday was I given a golden opportunity to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, courtesy of A.B.A.H.

Several quotable quotes from the film stuck in my mind and has been prodding my thoughts and emotions. Such as:

"Along the way you bump into people who make a dent on your life. Some people get struck by lightning. Some are born to sit by a river. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim the English Channel. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people can dance."

"Your life is defined by its opportunities... even the ones you miss."

"It's a funny thing about comin' home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You'll realize what's changed is you."

"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."

"Benjamin, we're meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us?"

"You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go."

"You never know what's coming for you."

"Everyone feels different about themselves one way or another, but we all goin' the same way."


After the movie ended, these quotes played themselves over and over again in my head. But while I was watching it, several things came to mind. Mad, my late soul brother. My life: how I've lived it so far and how I will be like at the end of it. My own mortality. The significant people in my life.

I understand that there are things in my life that had happened for reasons beyond my logical comprehension. I also realize that no matter how long I wish I can live, I wouldn't want to be a burden onto anyone due to the inevitable failings of an aging body. I wondered if I am capable of letting go. I also wonder what are the things that I will have difficulty letting go.

Bottom line is that I now appreciate life in all its splendor and shortcomings. My consciousness is now drawn to thinking about how my ending is to be. How I want it all to end. Will I leave this life screaming and kicking, resisting death right up till the end? Or will I simply surrender and go peacefully? I don't have the answer to that question yet. However, I do wish for the latter. I want to be able to live my life to the fullest, with the least amount of room for regret and guilt. I want to be looking forward to a better place than where I am now.

Recently, the world had mourned the death of the King of Pop. I've also lost a few friends in the past few months. I wondered if they were ready for it. I wonder if anyone has enough courage to be ready for it. I remember the first time I experienced the term "Peace of Mind" while performing my umrah in Mekkah.

I want to be able to achieve that mental state of mind again. Peace of Mind. I hope by having that, I will be able to let go... more easily, insya Allah. And since right now I am so far away from that, I need to bring all my focus and attention on regaining that state of mind as soon as possible. I'm running out of time. Pretty soon, it will be time for me to let go. Maybe I should practice letting go of things from now on.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Desperate Search For Strength


I'm in Penang tonight. Arrived here this afternoon. I'm here to give a talk at a counseling course for a governmental department. Its just a work trip; if it was anywhere else. But its in Penang. And the last time I was here, it was to pay my last respects and say farewell to a very dear old friend. My soul brother. Mohamad Abdul Rahman Zubaidi Al-Hasawi.

The days nearing the date of my trip were filled with anxiety. Will I be okay? Am I really over grieving his demise? All these questions were haunting me like the sound of his laugh and the hilarious jokes he used to crack at the moment we least expected him to.

As I saw Penang Island as the plane approached it, I was still okay. When the plane landed and I made my way towards the airport exit calmly. I waited for my ride to take me to my hotel. After a little unpacking, my friend Yasmin picked me up and took me to Masjid Jelutong, Mad's final resting place.

I made a beeline towards the graveyard situated behind the mosque. And then suddenly I realized I can't remember where his grave was. I called Zubair, Mad's younger brother, to ask him Mad's grave site. Through his description, i found myself standing at where he was laid to rest. I sat down, recited Al-Fatihah for him and all who were buried there. And then I started talking to him.

"Mad, I miss you. I never realized how much you were my pillar of strength until you are gone. Please pray for me. I need strength to move on. I need strength to do what I need to do for my future. Please help me. I feel so alone and weak..." I sobbed years of tears.

In my head, I heard Mad's voice talking to me. Consoling me. Motivating me, Accepting me without question. I heard his laughter. I heard his jokes. I saw his face. I saw him smile...

Yasmin suggested we prayed maghrib at that mosque. I left the place feeling a lot stronger than before. Because Mad's voice in my head stayed with me from then on... "Ana, I am always with you. I never left you. I never can. I never will. Don't ever forget that..."

At 4.33 am, I am still wide awake. The reason for my sleeplessness alludes me. I don't know why. I miss my girls who are at home in KL. I love being in Penang by myself and enjoying the quiet and solitude. But it also pains me that Penang is no longer with Mad there.

Yes. Mad is no longer in Penang. Mad is always with me. Has always been there for me. Only I was too blind to realize that. I've regained my strength, somewhat. I know I have. I just need to remember never to forget him. I had never misplaced my strength. I only forgot I had it. I am strong. I am strong.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Death of a King, Birth of a Legend.


I was a child of the 70's era. When the great rivalry between the Osmonds and Jackson 5 made headlines in pop magazines such as Tiger Beat and the likes of it. Although Donny Osmond's colgate smile always melted my heart when he sang Puppy Love, it was almost impossible to ignore the extraordinary vocal and dance talent of Jackson 5, especially Michael. Yeah, we were on first names basis back then. At least, that's how it felt like back then...



It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why Michael's career skyrocketed throughout more than 3 decades while Donny's died a slow death after he married and had children. Michael was focused. He wanted to be the best. But most of all, he wanted to make a difference in the world. And that he did. When he died, the world stood still. His presence was felt in the music world and his absence changed the music scene forever.

When he came to Malaysia for his concert, the locals here got the opportunity to be in the presence of greatness. His talent and charisma touched our hearts and made us cry in awe. No word to describe what he was blessed with. He sang to huge crowds and audiences but always managed to embrace our hearts... Amazing... Truly awesome!

No matter what others may have thought of him, I only had, still have and will continue to maintain only good things of him. I truly believe he was a boy who was forced to grow up so fast that he had no chance at being a child. And when he finally had the means to enjoy his life and have friends like he would have had if he had not been too busy touring and performing with his brothers, he was seen as quirky, weird, strange and perverted. The tragedy was that this man was trying to hard to recapture his lost childhood. He was sincere, straight, innocent... and maybe occasionally naughty... as anyone would expect of a 11 yr old boy. His need for friends was twisted to look abnormal and even sexually perverted. I question the people who fling these false accusations and cruel names. Who is the one with the dirty mind?

Its sad to see how human beings are so skeptical when they are confronted with innocence and sincerity and goodness of a person and yet gullibly believe all the lies and tolerate cruelty, sadistic remarks and wily schemes of opportunists and extortionists.

Here is the proof of Michael's innocence. He died young. He died on a thursday. He died in the month of Rejab. He died barely a year from the date of his conversion to Islam. Only the good die young. As for those who continue to utter cruel remarks and hurtful jokes of a man who no longer can speak up in his own defense, your time will come. Let's see how many people will attend your funeral and cry over your deaths.

Speaking ill of others is a dishonest way of making yourself look good.

Mikaeel Jackson Abdullah. May you be among those who reside by Allah's side.



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Unconditional Positive Regard


Unconditional positive regard, a term coined by the humanist Carl Rogers, is blanket acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does. Rogers believes that unconditional positive regard is essential to healthy development. People who have not experienced it may come to see themselves in the negative ways that others have made them feel. By providing unconditional positive regard, humanist therapists seek to help their clients accept and take responsibility for themselves. Humanist psychologists believe that by showing the client unconditional positive regard and acceptance, the therapist is providing the best possible conditions for personal growth to the client.

David G. Myers says the following in his Psychology: Eight Edition in Modules:
"People also nurture our growth by being accepting—by offering us what Rogers called unconditional positive regard. This is an attitude of grace, an attitude that values us even knowing our failings. It is a profound relief to drop our pretenses, confess our worst feelings, and discover that we are still accepted. In a good marriage, a close family, or an intimate friendship, we are free to be spontaneous without fearing the loss of others' esteem."

Unconditional positive regard can be facilitated by keeping in mind Carl Rogers’ belief that all people have the internal resources required for personal growth. Rogers' theory encouraged other psychiatrists to suspend judgement, and to listen to a person with an attitude that the client has within himself the ability to change, without actually changing who he is.

The concept of unconditional positive regard also has a simpler meaning outside of the therapist's goal to elicit change. It is the simple act of one individual accepting all traits and behaviors in another individual, as long as is it does not entail causing significant harm to oneself. The key word here is "significant". If one states that "This person's behavior annoys me, and thus is causing me 'significant' harm", then unconditional positive regard is made subject to so many objections that it cannot exist. Thus, finding a person's behavior/beliefs reprehensible when they pose no threat of harm to oneself or others, is incompatible with unconditional positive regard. To treat a flawed individual's otherwise harmless behavior or beliefs as cause to reject the individual's worth, morality and right to merit interaction with oneself, is a violation of the unconditional precept.

- Wikipedia

Now, you may wonder why I have decided to write about this topic, considering the series of previous blog entries I have made over the past few weeks. All will be revealed in good time. Meanwhile, let me begin with my expectations of acceptance and understanding.

The winds of change has begun swirling around me again. Only this time, its just about me and my life. Nothing to do with anything or anyone else. But being a mortal that comes with relatives and relations, its only fair for me to expect some kind of understanding, acceptance or at the very least, a tad of empathy for what challenges me in my daily life. When I say I can't take it anymore, please believe me. After all, no one knew of my years of silent suffering and patience for I had not allowed a single squeal escape my lips. I also had not asked for assistance or support from any of the significant people in my life who are called my family. Until now.

When I called to open up to you, you promised that we will talk soon. But when the time arrived, I felt really let down. I did not receive the acceptance, understanding nor support that I need most at this present moment. Don't bother offering it to me now. I don't need it from you anymore. Once bitten, twice shy.

Stop and listen to what you are saying. Do you realize who it is you're preaching to? I am not ignorant nor deaf. I am not unlearned nor incapable of logical reasoning. Have you checked the facts that you've adopted as your pillar of truth? Funny how you can be so understanding, sympathetic and empathic to others but not to those of your own blood. Really weird.

Please believe me. Please let me do my own growing up and maturing. I am no longer 4 year old. Forty years has passed since. Please see me as an adult that you are as well. I will have your perspective on life when I reach your age. But meanwhile, what I have is all that I have to work with. When I know better, I will do better.

Now, after a long journey of self-acceptance and years of struggling self-doubt, I need to rely on myself. I realize now that I can't rely on anyone else. I don't need blessings or permission from anyone to fight for what I believe is crucial in ensuring my past mistakes and bad choices will not be a part of my future. Forgive me if you don't understand why I appear distant. Please do not take it personally if I stop asking for your opinion or thought on what I need to do. Excuse me if I cease to care anymore. I need to focus on my own recovery now. You've lived your life. This is mine. I need to do it my way. I know what is best for me. Only I know the ins and outs of my life. No one else does. This is why only I can do this. I need to do this.

You may deem my decision as a mistake in the making. But I am no longer afraid to make mistakes. I've learned a lot from all the mistakes I have made in my past. No regrets. No regrets. Only lessons and maturity, I have earned, through tears and heartache.

This is who I am. This is what I am. This is what I need to do. Accept it. Or else just shut up and walk away. I'll be ok. I'm a student of life, with God as my Teacher. I have lots to gain and nothing left to lose. So be it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Mother's Love

Mak and me.

Allah is my Creator, but my mom gave birth to me. She endured pain and discomfort, just to deliver me safely and made sure I was as perfect as can be. She fed me, bathed me, clothed me, showered me with love and tender touches that only a baby would recognize it's mother.

It wasn't easy for mak to be the best mother in the world. Her own birth mother died at a very young age, leaving my mom at the age of barely 3 years old, with a little brother, at the hands of two extremes. Her maternal grandparents were too relaxed in their approach to caring for my mom while her paternal grandparents were too strict. Growing up with an emotionally distant father and a jealous stepmother must have been very painful for her. But that somehow, did not make her bitter... That is my mother. She may not have been the touchy feely type of mom, but she did her level best to show her love for my brothers and I in other ways. Regardless, we felt loved and cared for. We never doubted that we were her top priorities.

I've seen her sacrifices. I've witnessed her undying devotion to protecting her offsprings. Bringing up three children single-handedly must have been very challenging for her, especially during those days when divorcees were treated like second class citizens. She smiled in public and cried in private. We were her closest confidantes. She knew she could trust we would never judge her.

Throughout all the trials and ordeals that rained on her, nothing pained her more than to see others hurt her beloved children. She becomes the fearless lioness that guards and protects her cubs from predators and opportunists alike. She thought nothing of pawning her fine jewelry just to make sure there's enough food on the table during tough times.

When I became a mother to my children, I looked to her for guidance, tips and cues. I remember when I was in labour with my second daughter, Jelissa; my mom was at my side, holding my hand to lend me her strength. I looked to her and asked her to forgive me for all the sins I may have done unto her unintentionally. I realized then how hard it is to be a mother, tougher still to be a good one at that. My plea for forgiveness made her cry.... She stroked my forehead and said there's nothing to forgive.

Nothing can ever sever the ties that bind between a mother and her children. No amount of medals or awards can replace the pride and honor of being a mother. Now that I have my two precious daughters, Jazelia and Jelissa; I understand that its a no brainer. A mother would die for her children, give up her life for the health and happiness of her beloved babies. It wouldn't even be considered an effort even, what more a sacrifice.

I learned how to be a mother from my mother. I hope I can pass down this wisdom and experience to my babies who are growing beautifully by the day, becoming confident, stylish, intelligent and virtuous women to be respected and admired.

With my baby who first called me Mama: Jazelia Jasmene

With my final and precious baby: Jelissa Jasmene

Ya Allah, please protect my babies from harm and hurt. Guide them to your path until they reach their home in Your Presence. Fill their hearts with sincerity, love, compassion, kindness, and strength of faith. Furnish their minds with intelligence, wit and spiritual knowledge and understanding. Allow them to be as successful as any women of faith can be. Provide for them the opportunity to be of great service to You. Forgive them their sins and transgressions. They are as pure and innocent as You first blessed me with them. When my time is up, I know You will have them in Your best care; for You are The Most Loving and Most Merciful. Ameen.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Once Upon A Daddy's Little Princess


Once upon a time, I was daddy's little princess. Just like all the other little girls in the whole wide world, my father had the super hero abilities to amuse and make me laugh until tears of utter joy moisten my eyelashes. I had him around my tiny little finger tips. And he, in turn, had my heart. I wanted to grow up and marry someone just like Dad.

As I grew up, my reliance and expectations of him increased exponentially. In my eyes, he was perfect. Strong, funny, reliable, trustworthy, understanding and protective. Everything a young girl could ever ask for in a father. Everything any woman would want in a man. I fashioned my ideal man according to my father's virtues.

And then, one day, my world collapsed. Everything around me fell apart. Everything inside me died. Betrayal from the person I least I expected to violate my trust. I became the reason for all failure. I became the informant. I became the source of all accusations and blame. My voice was too small to be heard. Adults never listen. They just turned their ill-based assumptions into a pillar of dogma. Unshakeable. Irrefutable. End of story.

My wish came true. I married a man who fits the very description of my father, perfectly. Happy ever after, right? That's what I thought. Until the rose colored glasses I was seeing the world through broke into a million tiny shards; leaving me with bare vision of the ugly reality of my life. The imperfection of man. Smashed idealistic denials. Stripped to the bone to bare naked pretense. All the while, I was busy picking up the little tiny shards of perfections and idealism, trying desperately to piece them together as my very sanity relies on this effort.

I had to be punched across my face by someone, who has no place in my life to begin with, in order for me to grow up. That day, I became an adult. In the midst of my 44th age. Does this mean I have been childlike in my thinking? Or just denying the truth in order to maintain some kind of normalcy in my cognitive processes. To just pretend, even for just a little longer, that I am still the precious little daddy's princess.

I called out to my hero. I believed that he would rescue me from harm and apprehend my attacker. But then, instead, he just turned on his heels and walked out the door, leaving me wounded and alone. I heard what sounded like shattering glass. Only it wasn't glass that was broken. It was my heart. It was abandoned. But the abandonment didn't happen on that day. In fact, it happened 30 years ago. When he walked out and left my brothers and I with just broken and empty promises. And because my childhood wish was granted, I found myself being married to someone who is exactly like my father.

So here I am. Finally did my growing up at 44. Life has not been a cruel teacher to me. Life left me many signs to read and learn. It was I who stubbornly chose to only see what I wanted to. Believe only what I needed to believe. Deny everything else that wasn't consistent with my ideals. But now, I see things and people as who, what and how they really are. I don't care so much for the whys of it. That will only open a jar of excuses and more lies to justify the original sin.

I am no longer daddy's little princess. I was never a princess. Once upon a time, I had a daddy. But now, all I see is the shadow of an exiting father. No one else is left for me to rely on except for myself. I need to be my own super hero. I need to have super powers. I have two precious little princesses of my own. I have to be there for them. I want to never let them down. I want them to trust me that I am reliable and dependable. Should I ever find myself depleted of strength and stamina, I shall lean on my pillar of dogma and hold on fast to my responsibilities.

This is what I learned on my own. I CAN mould and shape myself in order to show my precious princesses how they can be strong and able as well. We can only rely on ourselves. Others may disappoint us. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, except in the eyes of a 2 year old child. Fortunately enough. She's all grown up now. No more room for lies and denial. She sees it all clearly now. For the first time in her life.

Happy birthday to me. I'm 44 years old and I was born 2 weeks ago. Congratulate me. I can see clearly now. What a world! What an ugly world...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

True Lies


I've been brought up with certain values and beliefs, reflected precisely by the quotes below:

"The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception." -Hietzsche

"Truth exists, only falsehood has to be invented." -Georges Braque

"It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies." -Arthur Calwell

I have accepted the givens in life: No one is honest all the time. No one is loyal all the time. No one is loving all the time. No one is anything all the time. But lately, the evident lies that had been uttered with or without my knowledge has begun to irk me to a point where I find myself depleted of tolerance.

I believe that I have conducted and behaved myself with the best integrity and honesty as I can truly muster. I've dedicated my life to helping others sincerely, without expecting anything in return. If I can't do something sincerely, then I'd rather do nothing all together. This holds true even in my speech and expression. Unconditional acceptance has been taught and ingrained in me by my training as a counseling psychologist.

But when the lies people tell themselves in their heads everyday begin to hurt me physically, mentally and emotionally, that is when I decided that enough is enough. I mean, although we are all encouraged to practice patience and tolerance towards others, how do we know where to draw the line that separates us from being a person of high integrity and tolerance to an enabler for others who choose falsehood over truth?

I understand that people lie to themselves in order to keep uncomfortable cognitive and emotional pain at bay. I mean, no one can stand to live with themselves if they can't like themselves at the very least. But when the lies they choose to live by are acted upon and used to assign blame and accusations to others, we need to stand up, state what we would and would not stand by, and just walk away. Some of these lies are the root cause to murders and personality disorders.

For those who have never had a chance for introspection, a moment of tranquil silence to evaluate their beliefs and the opportunity to differentiate between what truly is and what is fabrication of the dark side of their creative minds would make a huge impact on their perspective on life and reality.

Although at this point in time, I have wounds of hurt to heal from betrayal and lies uttered about me, I'm ready to move on. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but hard words cannot hurt me forever. I may reel from the punches of false accusations. I may trip and fall as I stumble upon lies and falsehood built up against me. I may have had no choice in being a victim for one moment. But I refuse to prolong that torment for ever.

"There has already been published by the bucketfuls such brazen lies and utter fictions about me that I would long since have gone to my grave if I had let myself pay attention to that." -Albert Einstein.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When My Own Words Fail, Music Fills In The Gap.


THIS TOO SHALL PASS
In the middle of the turbulence surrounding you
These trying times that are so hard to endure
In the middle of what seems to be your darkest hour
Hold fast your heart and be assured

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass

The Father knows the tears you cry before they fall
He feels your pain, His heart and yours are one
The Father knows that sorrow's heavy chains are strong
But with His strength, you'll overcome

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass

So set your eyes upon the mountain
And lift your hands up to the sky
And let His arms of love surround you
And take you to the other side

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass...

Open Up My Heart: A Prayer...


Alone in a room,
It's just me and You.
I feel so lost, cause I don't know what to do.
Now what if I choose,
The wrong thing to do.
I'm so afraid, afraid of disappointing You.

(Chorus)
So I need to talk to You, and ask You for Your guidance.
Especially today, when my world is so cloudy.
Guide me until I'm sure, I'll open up my heart.

My hopes and dreams,
Are fading fast.
I'm all burned out,
And I don't think my strength is gonna last.
So I'm crying out, crying out to You ooooohhhhh
Lord I know that You're the only one, who is able to pull me through.

Repeat Chorus

Show me how, to do things Your way,
Don't wanna make the same mistakes,
Over and over again.
Your will be done, and I'll be the one.
To make sure that it's carried out and in me I don't want any doubt

That's why I wanna talk to You, yes I do
And ask You for Your guidance.
Especially this day,
When my world seems so cloudy,
Lord guide me until I'm sure
I open up my heart...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The More Loving One: A Tribute to W.H. Auden


I had the pleasure of finally watching "Four Weddings and a Funeral", a movie that I had always wanted to see but never had the opportunity or right timing to catch in on Astro. Finally today, I sat through the film and discovered there was a lesson in it for me. The following scene sparked my interest in the works of W.H. Auden:



The above poem tweaked my curiosity to find more of Auden's work. I found the poem below:

The More Loving One
by W. H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.


______________________________________________

These words resonated within my soul and I was baffled by the mysterious reason for it. Why had his words move me to tears? I've never heard of his name until it was mentioned in that movie. And yet, I feel he spoke words out of my own lonely heart.

Am I at fault for my current circumstances? If I had been more loving, the more loving one; would that have sufficed in making my life better than it is now? Are my expectations of those whom I have invested emotionally been unrealistic? Have my unawareness made me blind to my own personal faults and shortcomings?

If the only solution to my situation and challenges is just by being the more loving one, will things improve? Or is the size of my ego has blinded me to the very object that should be my focus in point?

Maybe I am jaded and just too discouraged. Maybe this poem came to my knowledge a little too late. Do I want to be the more loving one? Yes. But only to those who deserve it. No more wasting time on people who don't appreciate me. No more waiting around for people who keep on taking me for granted. I need to focus on me. Because my children need me. As far as they are concerned, I am the more loving one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Search of the Pure Love


Mothers Day wasn't much of a celebration for me. Unfortunately, I was down with fever and all I could muster was just enough energy to send a text message to my mom to convey my love for her and my gratitude in having her love in my life.

With a wet towel wrapped around my head to keep my fever down, I chatted with a couple of friends online. Suddenly, as if on cue, the topic of the chat swerved to talking about our emotional needs and the possibilities of having our needs met perfectly. This got me thinking about what had happened over the past few weeks.

In my previous entries, from the time when I first began blogging, I have never mentioned my first love until about 3 entries ago. And due to the big havoc that came as a result of paranoia and ignorance of certain quarters, I had to practically slaughter my 'creative writing' to mere skeletal version of what it was originally. My intention was to pay tribute to first love. Puppy love. I've realized now that puppy is love is not pure love. Pure love can never be found there.

I believe that as human beings, from the moment we were born, we have been in search for that pure love. Presumably, the term Pure Love is defined differently by each individual. However, I truly believe that it boils down to the first love we experienced and received when we first looked into our mothers' eyes and have that knowing feeling everything is going to be okay. We feel accepted and loved unconditionally. We feel cared for and precious. And we have never ceased, from then on, in our search for that very same love in another human other than those we call family. We look for it in choosing our life partners.

Our experience with puppy love is our initial introduction to how it feels like to be loved by someone other than our parents and immediate family members. Some may never get over that experience and fantasize about making something which is temporary in nature into something more permanent. Big mistake! Lessons in life is not meant to be made to be life. Lessons teach us about ourselves and how we can learn from our bad choices and mistakes and turn it into something that will benefit us in our future experience.

Life is complicated. Simply because it involves interacting with other people. Therein, lie the elements of uncertainty and risk. Life is a gamble. We won't know the exact consequences of our choices until we've made them. We can speculate. We can try to predict the future. We can even ask trusted friends and confidantes for their opinions and views. But, alas, we have to live our own lives. No one can do it for us. And that means taking risks and gambling with the odds of success or failure in everything we do.


Our hearts know what it needs. We may not know how to articulate it perfectly, but when we see what fits the criteria, our hearts will guide us, drawing us close to those who have the qualities we need in order to fulfill our gaping void within our souls.

Sometimes, we can't help but feel impatient or flustered when things don't work out according to our expectations. We might even feel discouraged and give up our search, quietly trying to shove aside our emotional needs with a silent hope that life will spring us a surprise and we will be fulfilled and live happily ever after.

But, is it realistic to expect someone else to love us the way our mothers do? Is there anyone out there who is capable of giving that kind of love? Are we capable of giving unconditional and pure love? For it ceases to be unconditional when we expect to be loved in return, much in the way we have given it.

I remember the time when my mother's love made me feel precious, appreciated, accepted and valued unconditionally. Regardless of whether I behave well or not, my mother's love never fell short of the first love she gave me the first time I was handed to her in her arms, with my umbilical cord still attached. And although I believed that I have indeed found my soul mate 20 years ago and have been married to him for a good 18 years, why am I still searching for that love in every face that seem familiar to me? Is it not enough? Why is it not enough? What has changed?

I have changed. In the beginning, I was the precious one. And then came my little brother. My first friend. Later, my youngest brother joined our posse. The preciousness became less and less. I began to look outside of my family circle and into my social circle.

That need to feel loved and precious. Is it a bad thing? Is it part of my ego? My pride? Or is it just something that is organic in nature. Just the pure need to feel connected and understood. To feel loved and taken care of. To feel secure.

I noticed the difference in the look in my eyes in two photographs. One when I was less than a year old; and the other as a grown woman. I can see the sense of security in my one year old eyes. Something that is starkly lacking in my grown up eyes. Where did I lose my sense of security? When did I lose it? Is there any way I can retrieve it? Or do I need to search for a new source of loving security that I feel I sorely need now?

Maybe, some might deem me as being ridiculous. Still searching for security and love at an age where I am already a mother of two teenage daughters? What the hell is going on? Mid life crisis or menopausal? But here is where the skeptics have failed to see. I need to find means and ways to fulfill my own emotional needs in order for my daughters to grow up emotionally functional and independent. Am I looking to be an emotionally independent adult? Yes. But life is a lot more wonderful when you can share it with someone who is equally, if not more, emotionally fulfilled and independent as you.

I have come to a conclusion that in my journey called life, there will be times when I feel my needs are fulfilled and I find myself no longer needing to continue searching. But as life goes on and I evolve, my needs go through a form of transformation of sort. New levels of emotional needs will arise and I am not able to disregard or ignore it. And so, my search continues. I don't know where its going to lead me. But I know I can't be in the same place and expect new things to come rolling onto my lap. I have to keep moving on. Evolution is a very holistic experience. Not just an emotional one. In the name of love. In the name of love.

Quotes:

“Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited.”
- Duke Ellington

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.”
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle."
- Amy Tan

"If you have love in your life it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don't have it, no matter what else there is, it's not enough."
- Ann Landers

Poem by Bertrand Russell
Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.

This has been my life; I found it worth living.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek: The Confessions of Miss Spock.

A few nights ago, I was invited by a few friends to go watch the Star Trek movie. All the hard core trekkies have been waiting for this movie for the whole of their lives. I submit an evidence to prove this assumption: the fellow trekkie who was seated next to me felt really nervous as the movie began, claiming that his heart was pounding in his ears. All my trekkie friends were nervous because they were afraid of disappointments. Their expectations were..., well... expectedly sky high! I whispered to my trekkie friend, "Leave all expectations outside the door. Watch this movie with an open mind." Poor souls. And then I asked myself this question, "Aren't I excited too? Am I a trekkie as well? Where do I stand in all this huge excitement?" Let me take you back to my earliest memory. My childhood.

Presenting to you little Miss Spock! Yup! That was what I was dubbed by my dad and everyone else around me. Hey! I had no say in being blessed with Vulcan ears, ok? Yeah.. yeah... Laugh all you want. But contrary to what others would expect me to react, I actually felt special. I could relate to that man in the Star Trek series on TV called Mr. Spock.

Back in those days, there were only two TV channels. TV1 and TV2. All the programs were still in black and white. Among the few foreign series that were aired back then were Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Andy WIliams Show and, of course, Star Trek. Sometimes, I'd ponder for a while and arch my right eyebrow (the way Mr. Spock would do) and wonder if my dad was really my father. Hmm... But alas, as I grew up and got to know my older relatives, I realized that I had inherited the Vulcan ears from my maternal great grandfathers. Lucky for my mom, it skipped a generation. But neither of my girls got the Vulcan ears. Bummer! I really wanted them to be little Vulcans, too.

Anyway, going back to my Star Trek movie treat, I must admit that it felt.... it felt.... familiar! Yes! Just like going home to your parents' house and finding things that would conjure up memories of childhood happiness. The bliss of naivety and innocence. Although I can't really consider myself a hard core trekkie like my movie pals that night, because I don't have that much knowledge and understanding of the whole Star Trek world as all trekkies do, I found myself being reminded of things that I used to know and had taken for granted. However, having myself surrounded by trekkies that night, I was never short of explanations for all the other queries I had. I also couldn't help comparing the original Spock with the new one.

The highlight of that movie, for me, personally, is seeing Leonard Nimoy as Ambassador Spock. The image of the aged Spock brought tears to my eyes. Its like seeing a very familiar and much loved relative who has aged after not seeing them for so long. And as the movie neared its end, I couldn't help but feel a tremendous wave of sadness... that maybe this movie will be the last time Leonard Nimoy will play the role as Spock.

I fought my tears as I heard Leonard Nimoy's voice, narrating the famous opening lines at the end of the movie:
"Space: The final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise
Its 5 year mission
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before".


Hmmm... One teeny weeny self-observation. I believe I am just like Spock. Half Vulcan, half human.

A private message to daddy Spock: I love you. You will always be with me... and thank God for my Vulcan ears.

"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
- Spock in 'Amok Time'

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Light Bulb Moment.


Someone's status update on Facebook gave me a light bulb moment. This is the quote that was cited,

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss

The string of comments that came as a response to that quote was nothing less than astounding!
"How did u know I needed to hear this today?"
"just discussed this issue with my Chairman, he said you must say what you feel..."
"U r not alone. I feel the same too! N yes ppl do get upset n feel offended.... U know what, now I know n realise the meaning of true friendship. Thanks for sharing. I love it!"

The above made me realize that I am not the only one with this issue today! Is it a universal problem? Well, it may not be right up there with global warming, but an issue is still an issue. Isn't it...?

Dr. Seuss also said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” And to think that I almost allowed someone to dictate who I am and what I say. I take full accountability for that. But I refuse to apologize for sharing things about my life and experiences. Yes, in my journey through life, I come across and interact with people. Yes, people. With names and faces. If they were significant at the moment that I am writing, I will mention name. What is wrong with that?

It has come to my understanding that some people made a big deal out of it just because their names were mentioned and their photos were posted here. Again, Dr. Seuss's quote applies. Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

Here's my light bulb moment: You don't matter to me anymore. No more tears because my intentions were misconstrued. As Dr. Seuss said, “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

So, goodbye to You. You are my past. You were never a part of my present. Now, I can embrace my current and my future.

To Blog Or Not To Blog: That Is The Question.

Definition of a Blog: a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies.

FOREWORD BY GEORGE SAND

"Yes, my dear kind doctor, writing a journal implies that one has ceased to think of the future and has decided to live wholly in the present. It is an announcement to fate that you expect nothing more. It is an assertion that you take each day as it comes and make no connection between today and other days. Writing a journal means that facing your ocean you are afraid to swim across it, so you attempt to drink it drop by drop. It means that you count the last leaves of a tree whose trunk has lost its sap.

When you are in the mood to write a journal the passions have cooled, or else they have so far frozen that they may be examined as safely as ice-bound mountains are explored in the season when no avalanches fall. No one should allow himself to solidify to this extent unless he is in a state of such upheaval that all the fires of his being are in danger of eruption. Then indeed it may be necessary to harden the outer crust in order to check the explosion and save the inner flame from becoming extinct."

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"Telling the truth when we feel vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do. We might fear rejection, abandonment, disapproval, disappointment, rage, hurt, or just the raw exposure that's an unavoidable part of the process. Yet almost every time we're willing to tell a hard truth, we grow and deepen in presence, no matter the response. The energy that we previously locked up to maintain a false front is now freed to uplift and enliven us."

- From How Now: 100 Ways to Celebrate the Present Moment, by Raphael Cushnir.

"We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions".

- Ian Percy



"If you desire to live such that your religion is safe and your portion is full and your honor is sound, guard your tongue and never mention another's faults remembering that you yourself have faults and others have tongues. Watch your eye. Should it ever reveal to you the faults of others, say to it, "Oh my eye, other people have eyes too."

- Final page of Purification of the Heart.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eternally Transient.



Azuar was right when she commented that my last blog entry is the most cheerful one after a long time. Her comment lead my train of thoughts to somewhere new... Something I had never realized before.

I've always said that emotion is an unstable variable to rely on in making life changing decisions. I always advice my clients never to make any decisions when you are either too happy or too upset. Its true... feelings of joy or sorrow are as transient as the weather and the movement of the sea... Up and down. High and low.

However, if that is so, then how come we are capable of feeling love for someone for so long? After many years had passed since the piercing of cupid's arrow, our heart still stop at the very mention of their name, still bleed with sorrow at the very thought of not having seen them for so long. How come that love is capable of prevailing? How can it endure the test of time? How can something so immature be so durable and lasting? Is it really a love that exist in our hearts? Or does it really only dwell in our heads? Or is it our soul? Or maybe because its equivalent of a story that begins with "Once upon a time..."

First love. Its like looking up at the sun. The warmth and glow is brilliant and overwhelming. But its just not meant to be owned and taken home. Hopefully in time, it will be forgotten.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Debut Return After 20 years at Alexis Bistro

Let's see.... How shall I begin this entry? How did this all start? Well, it began on 24th April when I was told that my old friend Zailan Razak, was gonna be playing piano for Denise Minifield at Alexis Ampang, alongside John Sani and Lewis Pragasam. My soul sister Azuar, a fellow jazz buff, coaxed me to go for a night's outing. After all, its been a long while since the days of All That Jazz back in late '80s.

It was a fun night, meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Seeing Zailan perform again was an added bonus for I have not seen him in action for the longest time. I befriended a Cuban guitarist named Marco and also the adorable Denise Minifield. She's like a dynamite on stage!! That woman can really mesmerize the audience to do almost anything she bids them to do. Such an enchanting lady!!

Me with Denise and my manager Nur-Ruhizan

Marco, Nur, Azuar and me.

Me with my brother Zailan Razak and the beauties...

Someone had told Denise that once upon a time I was a singer too. And she didn't waste much time after that to cajole me up on stage to join her singing a few songs. I was pleasantly surprised at the audience's reception of the sight of me, all clad in black abayyah and hijab, bopping around and singing Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" like there was no tomorrow! After the performance over for the night, a few of the patrons complimented on my singing and asked if I was gonna be at Alexis on the following week. I was speechless! Marco opened the door for me by inviting me back there to join Steve Thornton & Friends who were gonna be performing the week after!

On the night of my gig with Steve Thornton & Friends, the place was jam packed with friends and fans, all there to support and cheer me on. My adopted brothers with their spouses, my clients, family members were all there, channeling positive energies and confidence in my abilities and experience.

Over all, the gig was a success. In fact, Steve asked me to come sing again on the following night (it was a 2 night stint for them) and that delighted me to bits. I really enjoyed myself and would like to believe that I managed to entertain the audience well enough that they just asked for more.... Well, they were a very polite and civilized crowd...

I know one thing for sure: Although the two nights stint turned out to be tiring for aging old me, I realized how much joy singing brings to my soul. I'm really grateful that night was a debut of my come back to the entertainment world. But I am also truly sincere when I say that I hope that won't be the last of it. May Allah hear my fervent prayers in my heart and grant me this happiness... So that I may survive day to day until the time comes for me to say good-bye.



I'd like to thank Marco Antonio, Steve Thornton, Norman Rahman, Farid Ali (who replaced Marco on the second night) and last but not least, Rachel Guerzo on piano, for all the love, support and quiet understanding they've given me. But most of all, I'd like to thank them for the opportunity to sing my blues away and feed my soul with joy. Thank you to all those who gave their loving support for me just by being there. God bless you all....