Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Next...!



When I look back at my life so far, I can fairly say that I've almost done everything by the book. Got married at 25, had two beautiful and intelligent daughters (Okay... I'm biased!), stayed at home and became a full time mom while my girls were growing up, went back to school to study Psychology Counseling and now I've completed my Masters.

Professionally, I started off as a lounge singer, became a recording artist and was in the entertainment industry for a good 15 years; during which I also practiced counseling, helping youths in need and eventually graduating to becoming a counseling psychologist in private practice. I am contented with my career path and thoroughly enjoy giving counseling to local and expatriate clients alike.

After all the many years of struggling and juggling and eventually completing everything I've set my mind on, I've reached another cross road. To sing again or not.

Thanks to my dear brother and his wonderful talent for composing songs, I've recorded my first single after more than 20 years has passed since the last time I stepped into a recording studio. And after hours of labour, the outcome was surprisingly pleasant sounding in my ears. This came as a big relief for me after many years of wondering if I truly possess the talent I have or I was merely the daughter of a famous maestro. This has nothing to do with the need for fame but more of my sense of identity. Who am I? What do I have? What am I capable of doing?

The late Sudirman Hj Arshad was a qualified lawyer who turned in his barrister's robe for the microphone and a successful career as an entertainer. I remember his advice to me as a young singer when I was just starting out as a recording artist. He said,"If you have decided that this is what you want to do, you need to set goals for yourself and work at achieving the best you can do." I think I have done that as far as my personal life is concerned. But as for my career as an entertainer, I've realized now that I sang for the love of it and didn't really set out to be the greatest star in the Malaysian entertainment world as I'm sure he did.

The difference between Sudirman and me are just too many to count. But one that really stands out in my mind is his decision to choose which career to pursue: Law or Entertainment. His choice was made and the rest is history. However, in my case, I am greedy, I guess. Because I wanna do it all. Why do I have to choose? Why can't I do everything that I enjoy and love? What is holding me back?

People are very fond of using labels. Not just on others but also onto themselves. They define themselves by what they do and what roles they play. They label others the same way. That's all fine and good. But why must there be only one label per person? Why can't one person have more than one role, more than one career?

God has created mankind with many talents. Some talents are inborn while others are learned or acquired. Either way, talent is nothing if we don't use it. Its as good us not having any. The proof of knowledge is by practicing it. The proof of talent is by using it.

So, what am I going to do with myself next? Do I have to choose just so that others can easily label me according to my choice of career or roles? What if I refuse to allow any labels to be attached to me?

Being an Aquarian Dragon that I am, I have a humanitarian streak within me. I have this strong urge to help others in need, to reach out and touch others, to spread the word of hope and love, to inspire. Therefore, I have decided to live my life to the fullest. Since God has given me a voice, I shall sing to bring His love into the hearts of those who have forgotten Him. God has given me the gift of understanding people. So I am going to continue counseling until the day I die. I believe these two paths are heading the same way... just different in its rendition. One is through music and the other is through therapy.

So, I predict people are going to call me The Singing Counselor? Hahahahahaaa.... We'll just have to wait and see. As someone close to my heart once said, "One step at a time, my dear..."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

In a Blink of Eye, I Turned 44! Yikes!!


On last January 29th, I turned 44 years old. I was uncertain as to how I would survive the day without breaking down. So I decided to take it one step at a time.

First: As the clock chimed at midnight, my husband and daughters embraced me with their love, kisses and wishes. I'm still alright. No tears. Text messages and phone calls began streaming in from early morning; all laden with greetings and wishes.

Second: I went to work as usual. Part of me was grateful for the distraction. I was determined to do my best counseling on my 44th year on earth. I had two clients. Thoroughly enjoyed my sessions with my clients.

Third: I told my sweet husband that I wanted to go to Ikea to buy a new pedal bin for our bathroom. I was also secretly planning to purchase a piece of crockery item or two for our kitchen. But it began to rain heavily and it was almost 6 pm in the evening and hubby went on to order some pizza for our girls at home because they were hungry.

Fourth: As we reached to condo's car parking lot, I could almost see the dinosaurs and elephants coming down in teems from the sky! Hubby struggled to open the umbrella we always have in our car. We squealed and laughed as we ran through the rain, with the brolly barely keeping us dry from the rain.

Fifth: A sense of relief came over me as I walked through the door. My girls, as usual, asked how my counseling sessions went earlier. I had just began to share some of my thoughts on it, I heard a booming sound around me. "Surprise!!" I was gobsmacked!! I flailed my arms in shock with my mouth open, letting out a startled shriek. My mom, brothers and their families began streaming out of their hiding places!! And the only thought I had in mind was, "WOW!! This is my first surprise birthday party!! Yippee!!"

Sixth: We ate dinner together and it was lovely. I felt so loved and precious. The presence of my soul sister was an added bonus.

Seventh: After everyone had left, my family and I slowly began to clean up and settle down to the nightly rituals of going online, facebooking, blogging and chatting.

Eighth: With my girls already in bed, I sat quietly next to my husband and began to share my journey throughout my 44th birth day. I didn't shed a drop of tear today. I still miss Mad but I am no longer mourning his passing. I have managed to overcome my grief and guilt. Hubby expressed his relief that I am okay and that I am no longer grieving.

I am still reading "Overcoming Grief" almost every night and reaping many benefits from it. I feel truly blessed to have found that book. I am moving on. The sadness has been replaced only with sweet memories of my friendship with my soul brother, Mad. I survived the day without expecting a call from him. I'm okay now. But I will still take things one day at a time.