Friday, April 22, 2016

thank you

dearest readers,

some of you i know and some of you i don't but i just want to thank you for leaving comments for me to read. thank you for not giving me solutions and thank you for just listening to me vent. in this age of social media where everything is packaged so nicely it's very easy to mistake 'this' for reality. nobody sees the hard work behind every perfect post that is shared. nobody sees the intent behind these images of joy. nobody really know what the other is going through.

i am just like you, i'm a mother, a wife and a woman who is struggling to come to terms with these roles. i started dancing professionally at such a young age but at the same time i never really had the chance to live and grow to become my own person before i had children so i am basically growing and maturing alongside my children and husband and most of the time i really feel like i am drowning because i don't know if what i am feeling is right or wrong. i feel useless on so many levels but at the same time i have to be strong and accept that this is my life, which really isn't that bad. so many other people have it worse than i do and i get that but it doesn't mean that how i feel doesn't matter.

i grew up to believe that the worse thing to happen to a woman is getting married and having a family because what happens is that you become ordinary and that the glamourous life of the dancer gets lost. but now that i am here i have seen so many incredible women with families living their lives intertwined with their art.

perhaps i am being to hard on myself as my children are not even 3 years old. i am sure things will get better as they grow but these feelings right now, this sense of sinking is all part of the journey we call life and i hope to look back one day on these feelings, acknowledge them as they will form the person i am going to be and hopefully jade will also come across this post when she is feeling at her lowest and understand that to be a woman is indeed an incredible gift.

as you can tell by this post the previous rant has already made me feel heaps better.

thank you for reading. thank you for making me feel that i am not alone. thank you for making me feel like what i have to say is important. thank you for your trust. thank you for not judging me.

thank you.

january

Thursday, April 21, 2016

rant

it's been a long time since i've written anything, not because i haven't tried. everytime i type something i end up deleting it because i feel like it sounds too much like i am complaining or that it sounds too narcissistic. trust me, i've tried and tried but i've noticed that if i don't finish a post, i usually never come back around to finish it so i don't end up posting it.

here's the thing, after tepak tari, rathi and i performed at the snake temple in bangsar for navaratri and a couple of months after that it was time to pack up and relocate to jakarta because the husband got transferred here. he started work in september but it took awhile to process our visas, find a house, find a school, sort out the move, etc because i wanted the move to be as smooth as possible for the two little ones. moving is already so difficult, imagine to a different country plus two toddlers without help. so end of january this year we packed up the house and moved all the way to jakarta, indonesia.

before we moved everyone kept asking me how i felt about the move and to be honest i didn't really think much about it. i mean my husband was moving so it was only right for all of us to be together and the environment in muhibbah malaysia didn't really make it THAT hard for me to want to get out. plus both hubs and i have never lived abroad ever so why not. i had never been to jakarta prior to the move but if all everyone complained about was traffic then i knew it wouldn't be too bad.

so we got here, set up house, kids started school and we moved in and so far things have been really great. but that is not why i wanted to write this post. i wanted to write about how i've been feeling ever since i have become a mother mostly because i am not sure if all mothers feel this way and i've also noticed that i always feel a million times better after i pour my feelings out into this space. so let's try and see...

the first 12 to 18 months since the babies came are a complete blur. i don't remember a single thing, fleeting moments perhaps but nothing solid. i watch videos of the babies and i don't even remember recording it. so i don't really remember when i started feeling these feelings, which were mostly anger, a lot of anger, frustration and loneliness, all i know is that these feelings have become stronger and i feel this way on more days than less.

if you follow me on instagram you would scoff at this and say, 'what do you mean? you have everything' or 'but your life looks so perfect, you're dancing, you have such an awesome family, what would you have to complain about?' and perhaps that has been why i have been so reluctant to write about the way i have been feeling but my feelings are my feelings and i have a right to feel this way.

this could easily be blamed on my stubbornness of not hiring domestic help but i highly doubt that the problem could have been solved that easily. i've wanted to raise my children on my own from the very beginning and that is motherhood right? making a decision and sticking to it, staying true to your principles. yes, there could be someone at my beck and call to wash my children's butts or layan them when they want to play or listen to their songs and push them on swings but why would i want to share those experiences with a complete stranger? i am lucky to be able to stay at home and watch them grow, they grow so fast and that really isn't why i am feeling this way.

hiring someone to watch over my kids could mean that i could participate in any production i wanted, attend any residency in the world and focus on my dance but would that really solve my problems? yes, i would be able to dance but what would take away my guilt. this fucking guilt is the problem really. i went to bed one day and woke up with this guilt that i can't shake off. that's what happens when you become a mother, you have this guilt and that guilt eats you up. i would rather be sitting in the house watching peppa pig for the millionth time than feeling guilty for not being around at home cooking, feeding, bathing and putting my kids to bed. every mother feels guilt, especially working mothers, i am not judging, not even one bit. i'm only talking about my feelings here.

how can i be away for a month in india? hubby says just go and we'll manage. manage how? it's a month. it's a month of the kids wondering where the hell is mommy. i remember very vividly as a child hating every moment my mother wasn't physically present. perhaps because my father used to work all the time and usually far away. i remember always being very uncomfortable when my mother wasn't around. i remember never liking any of the maids we had and from a very young age i remember telling my mother that i would clean the toilets if it meant that we could live without help.

so hiring help to jaga the kids is not the answer. loneliness is definitely another problem for me. my husband works long hours, travels a lot and my parents do not live in the same country as me. for the longest time mum and dad were in bangkok, then phuket and now bhutan. now that mum is in kuala lumpur most of the time i am in jakarta, so life gets very, very, VERY lonely. have you ever had to go three days without having an adult conversation? try three years!

social media has not helped me in any way whatsoever. everyone looks like they're chasing their dreams, everyone looks so busy and everyone always tells you that there is no excuse not to.

i've come to a point where i resent being a woman. urgh, people are going to hate me for saying that but really, at the end of the day who is the glue that holds everyone together? who has to ensure that everyone is feeling settled and stable before even entertaining the thought of taking care of her needs? who cooks while she is hungry just to feed the family at all meals? who sits back to support every family member so that they succeed before even thinking about her own success? it's the mother. just take a second and think about your mum. every need you or your brother or your sister or your father had was supported by her and she did everything she could, sacrificed what she wanted to do so that you could get a chance at what you wanted to achieve.

so forgive me for saying what i am saying. i am not boasting, i am just saying that i am angry because i have guilt, responsibilities and i am sitting back and doing the bare minimum to keep me happy. perhaps when the kids leave to uni i may be too old to do a masters in performing arts or maybe i won't be. but yes, we do get angry and then we feel guilty. but why should we? we should have the right to feel angry because at the end of the day we are letting you do what you want. yes, husbands do as much work because they are working like dogs to earn money to ensure that the kids have a better life than we ever did. but i have a right to feel the way i feel and i am angry. i am angry that i may never get to do my masters, i am angry that i can't drop my things and fly to india for an Odissi summer school, i am angry that i feel so trapped.

i am angry because no one has asked me to do any of this. i am angry because i feel like this is the right thing to do. i am angry because i feel like i am being suffocated. i am angry because i feel like my world is shrinking. i am angry because i am not even expecting anything in return. i am angry because i don't even know why i am feeling this way. i am angry because i don't even know why i feel like i have to do these things. i am angry because i don't think men feel this way. i am angry because i will never feel carefree again. i am angry because i will never not feel guilty again. i am angry because no one told me to expect this. i am angry because i have wanted to be a mother all my life. i am angry because i shouldn't be feeling this way.

i am angry because so many mothers are angry too and take it out on me/you but they don't realise that i/we am/are angry too.

i am angry. i am so so angry. but i don't know if it's right to feel angry. will this anger pass? is the this rite of passage for all mothers? is this why my mother was angry?

i look at jade and i feel so so sorry for her. is this what she is going to feel in 30 years? i sure as hell hope not. is this what it's like to be a wife? a mother?

don't read too much into this. at the end of the day i am a mother raising twins. i've never had the experience of raising one child. perhaps other mothers feel differently. i don't know. but this is how i feel and how i have been feeling for a long, long time.

...

i just don't know why i am so angry.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

catharsis

It's not even been 24 hours since tepak tari finished but last night after i finished ketuk tilu i had this unexplainable sense of loss, emptiness and despair. I held it together until i closed my car door and the tears started running down my cheeks. My mind was clear but i had no idea where i was driving. Almost as if on auto pilot i took a slow drive home alone, crying all the way. As more tears ran down my face i started sobbing. Sensing distress, a dear friend called me and i declined the call. I felt bad of course but he called back and i choked a couple of words and the sobbing became more intense. I was trying to understand these emotions and trying to go through them. Trying to just be in the moment and allowed my body to do  what was needed to complete this entire month of pure, intense, uncensored dance.

I came home and the moment i walked through the front door the tears stopped and i was transported back to reality. This normal life of a family. The mundanity of everyday chores, children, husband, life.

Without sounding selfish, these past few weeks have been all about me. All the hours spent in the studio I got to be me and remember what it was like before all of this happened. You don't realise that you lose a part of you when you are busy caring for everyone in your life. Not that my family takes me for granted but being able to immerse yourself in your passion and forget for a few hours about cooking, washing milk bottles, hugging and kissing and loving little beings that need you and answering to everyone's needs and realising that you don't even have a single moment for you. You see, all this while rehearsals have been in my home, which never really gave me a break away from the family.

So yes, these past few weeks have been incredibly magical and i gave it all i had. Today, tepak tari is over and i woke up still feeling empty, hollow and deflated. I wondered why and another friend sent me a whatsapp message and like a lightbulb i realised why i was feeling this way.

I danced with my heart and i think it may have left my body, split into a million pieces and went home with all of you that has shared this experience with me. Which i am fine with, i will now take this time to soak up all the love that is being reciprocated right now and recuperate and heal. There won't be dance for awhile and that is fine by me. Through this production i have been showered with so many blessings, grace and love and i will take them all and fill back up my empty self.

Thank you once again. I know i have said it a million times but i will say it a million more. I am so so blessed by all of you.