Sunday, January 3, 2010

My 2009 in Adjectives

     My brother Ian asked me to reflect on 2009 by ascribing an adjective for each month of the year. Here's what I came up with:

Expectant January + Demanding February + Confusing March + Tearful April + Frustrating May + Hopeful June + Tumultuous July + Healing August + Delusive September + Reflective October + Paranoid November + Blessed December = Miraculous 2009 = Optimistic 2010 = Thankful Cynthia

     Overall, I could say that 2009 had been a truly challenging year for me, a truly demanding year, both physically and emotionally. Ian likes to call it his 'bad' year, but as much as I agree with him, I prefer to call it a miraculous year.

     My 2009, briefly:-

     January to March had been expectant, demanding and confusing. 2009 was my second year as Chairperson for the English Taskforce for Kunak District, and the burdens and workloads had been truly overwhelming.

With fellow teachers in the English Taskforce

     An unexpected betrayal, a ridiculous police case and a broken heart made my April and May both tearful and frustrating. I was filled with hope for a better tomorrow in June, but July brought with it devastating news of my sister Sandy's chronic illness. She had to spend a month in hospital, battling Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus (SLE). It was a truly tumultuous moment and I was nearly broken in spirit. God, I love my sister so much and was so afraid of losing her at that time. Words can't describe the agony and fear that I had to live with day after day, watching my once lively and bubbly sister lying helpless on the hospital bed.

My sister, Sandy, while in the Acute Unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

     In August, I tried my very best to heal my broken heart and get back on my feet again. Thank God I was called to attend two interesting courses for two weeks in a row. Keeping busy and mingling with new people helped revived my once low spirit.

With my friend, Maziah, during a course in Airport View Hotel, KK

     From September to October, I went from being delusive (I was entertaining a false belief in a 'dream') to reflective...then in November a tragedy that happened to someone I knew only from a distant turned me into a paranoid schizophrenic. A boat tragedy had taken the life of my ex-junior at Kent College along with her husband and more than 10 people who were also members of the family. I was not really that close to her, but I know that she was a good and kind-hearted person. The tragedy somehow affected me very deeply, emotionally. I was in tears almost every day, asking God why such horrible things could happen to good people. I was filled with fear - fear for life, fear for the future. If tragedy is a random event, it means it could befall me or my loved ones anytime, anywhere. Couldn't it? I felt that I was a total mess, a nervous wreck. I was quite sure that I needed serious help. I tried to get over it by spending a lot of time pencil sketching, a long-buried passion of mine. It was therapeutic. Somehow, it seemed to calm me down.

One of my sketches

Self portrait

     December came...

     A week before Christmas, my family went on a trip to Simpang Mengayau, the Tip of Borneo at Kudat. It had been almost a year since my mum's knee operation, and about 4 months after Sandy's hospital discharge. I was immersed in capturing the beautiful scenery on my video camera, when I caught sight of mum and Sandy. The journey from the car park to the viewing point was a bit of a climb up the hill, but mum was striding confidently without much difficulty - no more wheelchair, no more walking frame, no more walking stick. My sister looked beautiful and vibrant, she was walking alongside mum while munching on tapioca chips she had just bought from the canteen. For the first time I noticed that her once skeletal figure had gone. She had regained her normal, healthy weight. They overtook me, laughing all the way, teasing me for being such a snail. I laughed with them, but it was more than just a laugh at myself. It was a laughter of joy. I believed - at that very moment - that I was witnessing a miracle.

At the Tip of Borneo. From left: Sandy, Mum, Ian, Betty, me

     My brother Ian and I agree on one thing. December had been the best month in 2009. It was in December that I was able to fit all the jigsaw pieces of tumultuous events throughout the year and form a big and complete picture of how the year had fleeted. I had hitherto been viewing 2009 with immense negativity and to some extent with some sort of distrust and paranoia, come December I suddenly realized everything was changing. I am ready to face 2010 with a renewed spirit.

     My New Year resolution?

     To be a more grateful person. Grateful would definitely be my favourite Adjective for 2010.

     And I would also strive to be a more optimistic person and try to free myself of the constant paranoia that is gripping me.

     After all, very much like tragedy, miracle could also be a random event. It could happen to my loved ones anytime, anywhere. Couldn't it?

     Happy New Year, everyone!

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