Tuesday, December 8, 2009

'Who Am I?' '我是誰?' 徵文比賽得獎作品(一)

Author: J Tran from Australia, currently finishing her MBA at RMIT University.

Let’s begin by rephrasing the question from 'who am I' to who is that girl? She’s a woman with mad thoughts and we shall begin with the various ramblings of a woman lost in a world of words, emotions, dreams and thoughts.

Physically she is not very tall, not overly thin nor overweight, not too dark and not too light, glasses, scars, moderately deaf and not pretty nor cute – but charismatic. She’s overall rather average looking and she compensates this with her quick thinking, witty remarks, and at times outrageously bubbly personality which can quickly turn very dark if crossed, straight posture of confidence and attitude.

She was once told “you compensate your slight physical build with your words and your temper…” It is the one defense mechanism she has to bring down those who look down on her (literally).

This woman grew up in a poor family with a father who to this day is a heavy gambler, a mother who is a “victim” (“the Parents”) and an older brother (“the Brother”) who means the world to her and more. Unfortunately, the Parents continue to live through the Welfare cycle and question “why don't I have money?”

Growing up in what people called “junkie town” in welfare housing (“the Flats”) with people shooting up heroin outside her front door and childhood friends who became dealers, junkies, mothers and thieves was an express ticket to becoming a shifty streetwise junkie, lying in the gutter, in jail, pregnant at 15 years of age and/or dead, but for some strange reason this woman did not go down that path – she chose to walk the other way to prove to her Parents, her Brother, her Teachers, and the World that she could come out a Bigger and Better person from the Flats.

This woman was surrounded by many negative role models at a young age and unfortunately suffered severe depression. It was her life sentence which she still deals with on a daily basis. Every day the black void threatens to suck the life out of this woman. It is unclear when she first cut herself, nor ended in a pool of vomit from swallowing bottles of painkillers. It is obvious though that she intended to harm herself and is reminded daily from the scars left behind. This story however isn’t about this woman’s defeat – she may have lost many battles, but she definitely has not lost the war. What are her thoughts on depression?

It's no joke, nor something that will just go away by building a bridge and getting over it. It can have serious effects on a person’s life, but it cannot be used as an excuse for being spiteful, mean, bitchy, and violent. This woman is aware she has this illness and needs to deal with it rather than use it as an excuse because that’s just taking the easy way out. This woman has learnt to not question why nor has she regretted what has happened in the past, simply because there’s a life lesson in every event, experience and moment.

How did a woman of such mad thoughts, who was willing to jump out of her window from the 9th floor managed to survive all of this and more? Was it sheer luck (or bad luck, however you may see it); inner strength; supportive friends and family; or God? She wonders herself each and every day. Maybe deep down inside she wasn’t ready to lose the war. Maybe she still had so much to give back. Maybe she still cared enough to live out her life sentence. Maybe.

This woman has read many books and immersed herself in the world of others. Here is an extract from two books which rings true for her:

“Getting close to someone, anyone is very, very hard for me. It is easier, safer for me to watch from a distance. Sometimes I feel so lost. I’ve never been able to experience things like normal people; like being held as the sun goes down or feeling safe and ‘carefree’ with (somebody)… A sensation I have yet to experience. So, I watch others and smile for their joy. Sometimes that’s enough. I’ll make eye contact, bow my head in respect, and stroll off feeling a little warmer inside, thinking I would never be able to share moments in time like other couples.

Somehow lately I believe this is the springtime of my life. I’ve worked hard, planted many things, and soon they will blossom and grow before my eyes. I’m still scared, but no longer terrified. I can live with that. In an odd sense, being on the constant mental defensive is a comfort zone of its own. But one day I would like to be a real person. A person who is able to let down his guard and let someone in. Before I die I would like to experience that. I want to shelve my former life’s mistakes. I would like to live in total peace, in every sense of the word.

If I have to remain alone, I will. Above all I know not only can I survive, but I can trust myself. And I feel secure with that premise, as well as knowing I will not cause anyone else anguish.

I still dream of a home - my home: clean and fresh and open… As always, I dream. I always will. I’m trying to give up control, but it’s hard because for so long I was controlled by so many. But maybe if I surrender, I’ll find my answer. I’ll find peace.

Maybe, one day, I’ll have a home. Then maybe one day I can come home… home to you.”- Dave Pelzer

"Sometimes I feel like I’m a pair of eyes and ears, and I’m just trying to stay safe and make sense of what’s happening. I know what to avoid, what to worry about. I’m like those kids who live with gunfire going off around them. I don’t want pain. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to see other people around me die. But I don’t have anything left inside of me to figure out where I fit in or what I want. If I want anything, it’s to know what’s possible to want…" - Jane Elliot

This woman has grown and achieved more than she ever aimed for. She has fallen, risen and learned to live everyday with a new attitude. She laughs more, loves more and lives more. She gives back as much as she can and takes very little. She no longer uses her life sentence as an excuse nor does she blame anyone for the upbringing she has had. She looks back over her shoulders occasionally and no longer cries, but smiles looks up to the sky and thank God for his blessings and the life ahead of her.

She’s frightened of course of what may hold, but this does not stop her from moving forward. She has her mask of strength and when that crumbles, she hopes to have somebody hold her whilst she slowly makes her way up again.

She is a woman with mad thoughts and looks forwards to the day when those thoughts become crystal clear.

Author’s notes: This essay is meant to reflect the thoughts of a mad woman. It is deliberately cluttered and random. No attempt was made to make the essay flow, but just written as the thoughts came.

Why she won?
- great confidence in herself that is much bigger than her physical built
- admirable because she is opened up to public, not afraid to share her 'unfortunate' childhood and experiences
- she knows what she wants based on her past
- she knows herself well along with a very high standard analysis

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