Runs on food and music, will sing for chips and pasta.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Letters number one hundred and thirty-one: The days go on

Dearest J,

It's been too long.  Since my last letter here.  More than a year.

I took my parents on a beach holiday last week, with the great help of my sister in hand.  I don't know if I have ever told you, but I grew up at home never knowing what a family holiday was like - we never had any.   It didn't seem like I missed anything - I mean, you don't miss something that you didn't know anything about, right.

It dawned on me that I'd better take mom to the beach while she is still reasonably fit enough to move about.  So I went through the trouble of planning it.  I'm not one who does many things for my family, but I knew I had to do this.

Well, it was worth all the trouble.  In fact, halfway through booking all the logistics for the trip I even manage to start getting excited about the trip for myself.  Mom was really really thrilled with the experiences - she said it many times over that her wish really came true: the beach dream.  Nervous and frightful as she was, she survived it: getting in and out of boats, putting on life jackets, the boat rides, learning how to walk on soft sandy beach (both dad and mom were unstable walking on soft sand, at first), walking to and fro from rooms to meals, getting in and out of buggy rides, etc.   She took it all in, the things she was wishing for: walks on the fine sand next to the sea, playing with sea water, dipping her ankles in the water, posing for photos, sunset sightings...etc.

We actually really hung out, as a family.  For once, we just sat around and chatted, and ate without rushing off anywhere for the next appointment.  4 days 3 nights.

Dad is 76 now, mom is 71.  She told me she was never given that beach holiday since married dad.  I mean, I know them well in the sense that they have not had the chance to 'learn' to 'enjoy life' as how I know.  There are too many things that are too late for them to pick up at their age, with their background.   As limited options I have to 'make them happy', I just had to try to service their wishes.  I am glad we took the trip to Redang.  I booked a really nice resort for us, everyone was happy with the space.  It was sister's first holiday away from her kids and hubby, my first with my family, mom's first beach's first too.  All of our firsts.

I try to cook for them at home as much as I could, showing mom new recipes of simple and delicious dishes like pasta options.  My impatience with them remains, I still can't wait to get back to my own routines of life, and having the pad to myself.  I've learned to control it better, my mind seems to get into this "service-mode".  I want to do the best I can (given my limited patience) to provide my care and services as a daughter to mom and dad.  I cannot yet see how our future will pan out, their wealth conditions and the way they live out in Taiping stress me a bit but I am determined not to let that ruin my days.

I'm 40 now.  I don't know how to describe this but it seems, I feel that I've never really grown up - inside me everyday I have many moments of surrealism....the memories of that really young, insecure, feels ugly, un-clever girl - she lives in me still, everyday I see her - even as I am doing big, clever things like taking care of business, making things happen.  I am 40 but I feel like a 8-year-old who has grown used to getting round to do things she's never thought she would one day could.

Can't put my finger on this feeling - what you call this...

I've recently - just a couple of days ago - got re-aquainted with my old diary, the 1996 one.  I was 19, left Taiping to live in the city with sister for the first time.  The city, the new home, new life - it was also my sister's big new life that year: marriage, first born, a new house, a husband...she was only 24.

There were so many entries that shocked me, for I couldn't remember the things that happened.  I stayed shocked and feeling messed up for two days.  My thoughts when I first read the diary: maybe I am really messed up as a person, and maybe I don't know how I got here but maybe the past had something to do with it.

I feel much better now though.  So many things happened this year.  I managed to cough up my second album, Cinnabar Rouge; managed to produce and stage another was bigger and grander - I went through hell with all the work (stress, as the leading lady and as the producer).  It was a challenge to find a moment to feel proud with the work/achievements of this team - of Janet Lee.

Really, I cannot complain.  I wanted to do all that: another concert, to dance, to entertain and to work with the people, the music - to give a good show.  I guess I just wanted a shoulder to lean on.  I cannot even imagine how it would be like if you were still around.

Post concert - post album launch depression came.  Things are different this time round, times are harder, ticket sale took a while.  I had 80% attendance.  Album sale is slow now, I work from day to day to figure out what is next step to sell the next album.  I paid off everyone, having savings helped. The low-down isn't in the fact that I dig out savings to pay for things - it is in feeling inadequate to market this piece of work better, the fact that I am not getting as much attention from people as before - it is just my feeling.

I understand, as my work matures and the higher I climb - the higher the expectations and the bigger base I need.  Yet I haven't a bigger base - fan base hasn't grown big enough, I still work alone...

And I am just tired, and lonely.

Strangely though, after I was done making a check list of all the downs and feeling bad about feeling bad - I have a surreal sense of excitement.  I wonder where all these emotions are taking me next.

While I am sorting things out - or waiting it out - or just floating along - I am hooked on Alain de Botton's work.  I got addicted to watching his The School of Life videos and his talks on YouTube every night/day.  His teachings on pessimism calms me.

And back to basic - I am allowing music work to excite me and to ground me once again.  Forget the shits of life for a moment, I shall face the music and let myself get whirled into its magic once again.

I am inherently grateful to be alive.  I think of your kindness.

The pad is quiet again, it's back to just me here.  I love it here.

Love you much,


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