Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Saved from Drowning


For those of you who landed here to find a light short read, I must warn you that this post will not be one. It's quite a long, personal snippet of my life that made me who I am today....


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Have you ever experienced a dark period in your life when you wake up in the morning knowing that today will be the same as the day before, and that there's no chance anything will change tomorrow? As if life is a permanently repeating cycle that eats you alive even as you breathe? I did. Not too long ago.

Being a diligent student since childhood, my parents had always expected a lot from me. They encouraged me to do the best I could and I must say that most of my hard work did pay off. The applauds and expectations went on all the way to my adulthood, and they had me believing that chasing success will be a piece of cake. After I finished my education, I was fired up and determined to put it to good use. I just couldn't wait to carve my own success on stone. But then, I was also in love, and to no surprise, I got married two years later.

That's when everything changed. Don't get me wrong, we were happy. We still are. Going through life together was a different kind of excitement back then.  We had high hopes that building our family was going to be a wonderfully rewarding journey, and when our daughter arrived, life was nothing short but perfect. But little did I know that life had a different plan for me. So many things happened so fast. The economy went downhill, we worked hard, made some bad choices, worked even harder, and one day I suddenly realized that I was no longer that woman who wanted the best out of herself. I was just a wife and a mother of two little children who had only one thing in her mind... and that is to survive. What's even more sad was that at this point I was so faraway from my dream. I no longer drew, no longer painted, used most of my time taking care of the children and working on any kind of project just to put extra money in our pocket. I was miserable and lost.


This is a sketch I found just yesterday. One which I drew one night when everything felt so heavy and hard to bear. I remember feeling numb, wondering who I was, what I wanted and why life had been so cruel. I was mad at life for taking away my dreams, and turning me into an empty shell with a hollow heart. As much as I tried to hide it from my family during the day, I knew that the night would always come to take my mask away.

One day, after the children were asleep, I sat on the dining table and began doodling on a piece of paper that was lying there. What had started as a doodle became a sketch and before I knew it, I had drawn on a number of papers all the way to dawn. Something had set me free and it was an incredible feeling. After that night, I started to draw again. I used the spare time I had, waking up as early as 3 in the morning just so I could draw. It was something I looked forward to everyday and I remember feeling so fortunate to have seen light again after such a long period of darkness.

And so it was clear to me. That my passion had saved me from drowning. After all the things I had been through, I was liberated by the one thing that has been living in me all my life. It never died and now I know that it never will.


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Dearest friends,

If you're wondering why I decided to share this with you, it's because I know that life is precious. And that no matter how hard we try to live life as planned, sometimes you just end up so far flung from it. I have learned the hard way that passion is the key to living and to never give up on it whenever you feel let down. It's essential that you stick to the one plan that does actually work perfectly. And that is to believe.

Thank you so much for sticking around all the years I've been here in blogland. Your friendship is one of the things I am truly blessed with. This blog has given me a drive to keep trying and running after my dream. And to see that life is sweet, even when the sun hides behind the clouds.


Warmest hug,





34 comments:

  1. thank you for sharing this mbak Lia *hugs*

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  2. thank you so much for that words of wisdom and hope. your art is truly amazing, and so are you.

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    1. Thank you! That's very kind of you... oxx

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  3. Oh my goodness... You have just echoed the unexpressed thoughts inside my heart and probably the very same thoughts inside the heart of every woman who has always done that which was 'expected' of her, and wondered why it wasn't making her more happy, and feeling guilty because she wasn't completely 100% contented with her life. But you've discovered the key and you've opened the locked doors for yourself, and your daughter will grow up knowing the secrets to true happiness and fulfillment because of you! Well done, my friend!

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    1. Thank you, dear Katherine. I realize that there are plenty of women who might be going through the same thing I did. My biggest problem then was "believing" that the situation was part of the package. That getting married was my own doing and I just had to accept whatever condition thrown into my hands. I'm glad it was just temporary blindness. :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing this - I have often felt this way, and haven't drawn for a long time because I'm too busy existing, and life can be depressing (and you can lose your self, your individuality). Even though I may sometimes have the time, I often feel too gloomy to draw. I hope to see the same light and get back into creative work soon, but it's difficult once you're out of that routine and into day-to-day existence mode. It's not even that life is hell, just that it's difficult to find the right balance and the right way of looking at things, I suppose. But I feel more optimistic already and this post is encouraging too!

    Good luck to you :-)

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    1. Hi Joe. Thanks for sharing too! I can so relate to what you're going through. I felt stuck in this viscious cycle of routinity and having the same priority every single day, somehow my initial goal in life just vanished into thin air. I also went through that gloomy feeling whenever I picked up a pencil to draw and at the end I just gave up completely. I hope you find that vibe soon, I now believe that once you had it, you'll always have it.

      All the best to you! :)

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  5. Thankyou Amalia for this heartfelt post. I have tears in my eyes reading it, not out of pity but out of recognising myself. I always put myself and my own needs at the bottom of the pile. No idea why and it's a pattern I repeat over and again without realising what I'm doing. Yes I had many years bringing up six children so what's my excuse now?
    I will try to live with passion and to believe. Thankyou so much.xx
    Jess xx

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    1. Jessie, I hear you. We mothers always have that tendency to put everybody else' needs before our own, don't we? It's actually something I'm still working at, and seeing that my youngest is just 8 months old, I think I have a long hard drive ahead. Here's to you for raising six (SIX!!) children. I know you will shine even brighter, my friend. oxox

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  6. Art was definitely my life line raising my two girls and now that they are headed off to college it is going to save me again! I see so many of my friends who don't have a passion and are so lost when their kids start to need them less and less. It was a battle to not let the rest of my life take over my art- fight for the time and the space for your passion.

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    1. You're right, Julia. Not letting the rest of my life take over was definitely one of the biggest struggles I had, and still do now. I often wonder what it would be like to have extra hours in the day to just be in my head and let my hand draw away freely, with no interruptions! Unfortunately, I still have years ahead of me until my kids are big enough to know that mommy also needs her time alone. :))

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  7. though everyone's journey is different, I think the emotions are the same. I am glad you've share this and I'm happy that you've find dreams again.

    have a sweet day.

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    1. Thank you, Lissa. I'm so glad I did too. I hope your day is as lovely as mine. oxx

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  8. Dearest sweet Amalia, you courageous woman. I know this took a lot of courage. I am happy that you found a lifesaver. Sometimes only we can save ourselves. I also think we expect too much from a relationship to buoy us when we feel heavy. Relationships are very complex and when two people are in love, everything seems rosy. Yet the truth is, life is a tough path and partners in a relationship have different cycles and are truly separate persons. Keep the love for one another. Your images reveal a very passionate soul. It is not good to contain that, you will burst! And my goodness! What doodle? That is a doodle???!!! It is beautiful.

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    1. True. Sometimes we enter married life thinking that everything will be like fairytale and in the end it's really a ton of hardwork. The kind that is gratifying when you do it right and accept it as it is. I think I got really lost back then and tried too hard doing everything myself. :))

      Thank you Ces, you're always such a supportive friend. *HUGS*

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  9. Ah, sweet Amalia. You echo the feelings that many of us live with. Aren't you brave to put it in writing and share your inner turmoil with us. I stopped painting and drawing for about ten years. Being a wife and mother took up all of my time and energy. I didn't have enough left to create. The day I began to draw again was very freeing, after I got over the frustration of feeling like I couldn't do it anymore that is. Life is so complicated;it tends to get in the way of our hopes and dreams sometimes. ;) I'm so glad you found your light again and that your share it with us!

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    1. Wow. Ten years? Really?? I must applaud you for finding your way back, Karen! It's unbelievably frustrating to be stuck in a place when you can see yourself deteriorating emotionally everyday and have very little energy to get out. It was so hard for me to begin each day, because somehow I kept telling myself that nothing was ever going to change. Thank goodness it did. :) oxox

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  10. Wonderful, honest and true post Amalia x

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  11. Funny how your story resonates with so many of us - especially the wives and mothers. Being a mother can really suck every ounce out of you, and then you get to feel bad if you question your happiness. Thanks for sharing! Hope all the comments make you feel better about not being alone when you feel like this, and it allows me feel perfectly normal when i do!! :)

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  13. Amazing post and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!
    GED Online

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  14. thanks for sharing. saya juga kadang merasa begitu, menjadi istri, bekerja demi menambah tabungan. lalu pelan2 merasa kehilangan diri sendiri. tapi ketika suatu ketika tersadar bahwa menulis dan menggambar adl passion saya, sy bisa bangkit lagi dan menemukan diri sndr :)

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  15. thank you for sharing your experience. when i read of your passion springing to life amongst the darkness i felt as though you were kissed by an angle which took the heaviness away so that you could find your light. i have experienced this before, later i look back and feel amazed at how my spirit changed without me knowing it... so pure and natural and beautiful.

    wishing you a life that feels wonderful to you~

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  16. I went through a similar phase in my life after my divorce in 1990. After the lowest time in my life, a spiritual awakening got me through. When I started to have the empty nest blues after I turned 50, it was "refinding" my passion for art that literally woke me up every morning so that I could create. I can so relate. A beautiful post - thank you for sharing ♥

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  17. Amalia,

    I have been quietly reading your blog for quite some time now, and this post really resonates with me. I am currently in that dark time, and feeling quite lost right now. I've stopped creating, and am not sure if I will ever get back to it. Reading your post has really helped to give me hope that everything is eventually going to be ok though. So thank you so much for sharing this! I am very glad to hear that you are out of the shadows and back in the light! Your drawings are beautiful! :)

    ~Alli

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  19. You have touched my heart with your art and now with your story.
    I too have felt the same way. Art is such a wonderful release. I'm so glad it brought you out of your darkness.

    You are an inspiration. Congratulations and thank you

    Cheryl

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  20. Hurroh :)

    Well I am, and not the only one I bet, who is glad you climbed out of the wilderness. Life sucks when We can't see the woood for the trees, the sky for the clouds and the milk for the apples (if you put the milk at the back of the fridge) sometimes, and it's easy to get lost in the clouds and the sky and in the forest and in the dridge for that matter.... Did I ever tell you about the time I loekd myself in the fridge/? I had great food for the first three hours until I ran out of tofu....

    but seriously, I am glad you are obsessed , if you weren;t, with your talent, you would be doing yourself and us a disservice. So thank you for your obsession.

    hugs from oz :)

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  21. oh and being saved from drowning - if I can mix my metaphors :)

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  22. What a wonderful bio...there is always hope and when you follow your heart you are going in the right direction. And besides being a very talented artist, you are also a fantastic writer, and I am sure the best mother and wife. So nice to meet you♥

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  24. Mbak Amalia,
    Terima kasih banyak, tulisannya enlighten banget. Boleh tanya, gimana cara manage menggambar, blog, Etsy, dan lainnya dengan keluarga? Lagi merasakan dilema yang kurang lebih sama..udah setahun lebih jarang menggambar,alias seumur anak saya yg sekarang 14 bulan, hehe...

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  25. I truly identify with your experience. I have had a very rocky & difficult life. Many times have i found myself lost to the darkness, struggling to breathe, truly wondering why I have been blessed with a gift of 3 beautiful children to guide through life, when I can't seem to find my own trail. Your work truly inspires me & truly hits a special artistic string that I don't find often. Thank you for sharing that gift with the world.

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Tell me your lovely daydreams, they always make me smile! ♥