I have lived a couple of lifetimes this month. Death has come to me in many forms, but so has rebirth. If you are to weigh my heart, it is in equal parts of anger and love. Both born of the same fire, but one gifts light while the other just burns.
You don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.
But as someone named in relation to the daystar, I should know better. I would not have existed if there is no sun. I should have known right from the beginning that I have always been and will always be meant to burn.
A moth drawn to a flame, not through temptation or seduction, but responsibility and circumstance.
Song of the month: God is A Woman – Ariana Grande
Ever since the most recent incident that has occured and still is occurring, I find myself questioning the idea of family responsibility. What should it entail, and when does it tip from being reliant to just toxic? Should blood really matter when it threatens and holds you back? When does familial responsibility end and individual agency begin?
I am sure they can both coexist and ideally, go hand-in-hand, but when this is no longer an option… What then?
All these questions have been weighing on my mind for a while now, but increasingly so, with a newfound sense of urgency and discomfort. There are no answers and it is such a tough space to navigate. What is fairness when everyone feels justified and entitled to prioritising their own experiences and perspectives?
Late Night Texting
It was a privilege on my part to be invited and be a part of this year’s Late Night Texting programme with the Main Tulis Group. I rediscovered the joy and the exhilaration of performance. To lend my physical person to somebody else’s voice and being for those moments.
Thank you to the team for the welcome and the trust in what I can do. I was lost and uncertain for a long time ever since graduation about my place in theatre, and if I was a complete fool to think that I can carve my own space in the scene and make work. And be hired for work.
But this experience has been a reassuring one and one show that has really put a smile on my face throughout the whole process – from rehearsals to stage.
My thankfulness knows no bounds.
Onward to the usual hustle of auditions, crossing of fingers and working hard!
Still in the research phase since I got preoccupied with all the other aspects of my life, honestly. But I am back at it again! The worst thing I can do to myself is to completely cave, give up and just stay angry.
Yeah. I can blame my lot in life but what would that serve to do in the end? Exactly. Nothing. And nobody owes me a living so here I am stubbornly trudging on to get this project going.
Basically this is about the idea of womanhood, memories and objectification. I am gathering responses from as many people as possible to widen the experiences and the representation. Also, if more people participate and want to contribute in some way – performance, installation, etc. – I am all ears, so just hit me up.
I created a simple TypeForm to find out more about women’s memories so if you would like to share with me, click here.
This is the link you can share with others as well: https://dawn247.typeform.com/to/HG42vx
Aware Revolution Ball
Last month, I took part in a video interview with other women on a new campaign by AWARE that is to be rolled out later in the year. It is about the #MeToo initiative and would be a series of videos to raise awareness, educate and to keep the conversation about sexual assault/abuse/violence going in Singapore.
Most of us participants attended the ball on 25th August with the kind invitation of AWARE and our table was sponsored by the directors of the video. It was a very sweet gesture, and one that I am going to appreciate for the rest of my days.
All dressed up and sat together, the vibes were great and we all had big smiles on our faces the entire night. Through this experience, we found each other and bonded. There is so much trust, love and strength even though we all met only for the second time that night. It was amazing to witness everyone looking radiant, confident and comfortable in however they dressed and carried themselves.
I remember thinking, this is what healthy empowerment really looks like.
The first video was launched that night, and after having wine, we looked up and sat through the video with the rest of the ballroom. It was quiet and all the focus was directed towards the screens on either side of the stage. Hands were held, tears were shed but there was no loneliness. There was solidarity and power. Everybody present and just, there. Listening to the words that we said and have them echo throughout the entire room. Our truths there to be heard.
It was emotional and I was still feeling slightly unsure if I did the right thing, since vulnerability in the age of the internet is a double-edged sword, but all those worries vanished in that instant. I did what I wanted and thought was right, alongside all these other women who felt the same.
My hands were holding and being held by the women next to me. I was not alone. And even if I was, I believe in myself. There was joy in the newly found sense of fulfilment, pride and beauty. There was a glow around the table from encouragement and understanding. No words needed to be said, just smiles and that twinkle in all our eyes.
I felt beautiful.
And the first night in a long time, I laughed unapologetically. I smiled with a quiet confidence. I danced to music without subconsciously subscribing to a certain gaze of how I look like.
I just moved, felt myself and did whatever made me feel good.
I think I found myself that night, and this is most certainly love. The best kind.
Since I was typing about the Ball, thought I would articulate a couple of my thoughts on sexual assault as well.
Women aren’t the only ones who experience and survive sexual assault. There are men, non-binary and queer folk who have such experiences as well, though they tend to be less visible.
Less visible does not mean that it does not exist.
And there is no such thing as a perfect victim. I do not have to be crying with mascara running down my face, not eating and sleeping for days, refusing to shower, staying in bed all day or closing myself off from the world to be a victim of such violence.
Sometimes life has to go on. And life becomes a distraction before the confrontation within the self happens. Everyone copes differently, and the worst thing you can do is to deny somebody else’s experience when they open up about it.
Suffering takes on many forms – seen or unseen, in tears or in smiles.
It is also difficult to speak about, especially when a lot of the times, it is through words and trust that these incidents are being shared. There might not be tangible proof like bruises, scars or a sticker to say that I have been violated before.
And because of that, it is so convenient to dismiss or shut down someone sharing their sexual assault experience. Perhaps the media has built your expectations on how assault, perpetrators and victims should look like. What a scenario should be like. How this whole conversation about sexual assault should go.
But sometimes words are all we have. And all we ask for is trust.
For you to believe us and to be there so that prevention can take place instead of the constant back-and-forth of damage control.
On that note, no perpetrator is a perfect villain either. Just because you know someone and they are nice, does not mean that they are not capable of abuse to someone else. Just because they seem well-adjusted does not mean they might not make that mistake of assault.
So listen. Take time to think about these things. And know that things have to change now. It can change.
I am back to reading since I went to the library last weekend, just to get other people’s words to speak to me instead of my own. Tiredness is an understatement at this point.
But I can confidently say now that I am calm, I am okay and I feel a lot of love. For my friends, for the world and for myself. This tiredness is from the daily grind but not a sense of defeat or anger.
Perhaps turning 24 has shifted something in me.
Anyway, if anyone would like to share or speak to me about anything at all, I am all ears. Be it topics on The Arts, womanhood, rights, philosophy, sex, sexuality, assault and abuse. Really. The rest of my months are open and I would love to sit down with people and just have conversations or sing or dance or write or make work. Anything.
Being alive has been good. Difficult but good. And especially good when there are people to share it with x