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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Monday, 1 January 2007

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On leaving school, I found myself caught in a debilitating situation. A turbulent family affair caused my childhood to end abruptly and I was forced to grow up a lot quicker than my classmates who still led cosseted lives.

I braved my situation with a smile but often felt crippled by a need to escape. This distress went on for years. In desperation, I preserved my sanity by turning to writing.

While caught in this blistering emotional wound that couldn't heal because of an ongoing family crisis, I read feverishly and literally buried myself in a mountain of books that I borrowed from the British Council Library.

Incidentally, I found British fiction an excellent shoulder to cry on.

I was immediately at home with the language and identified easily with plots, poems and tales.
This was the time that my radio plays were aired and poetry was published in small press mags in England where half my wages would go on stamps and A4 papers and the like. I also acted in english radio plays for Radio Malaysia but not from my own scripts. Just the producer's eccentricity, that we were not to act in our scripts. But he was a good sort.

Now when I look back, I realised my writing masqueraded for years of plain good old sorrow. I fought for my dreams, threading my way through grief as if it was simply expected of me.

There was no other way to describe it.

Then the trauma miraculously ended when I was offered a copywriting job with an international ad agency. A magazine journalism career would follow hot on my heels while I was still writing ad copy. Suddenly, I was in a different environment with a colourful and motely team. It wasn't what I enjoyed doing but it made me take steps to get out of my plight and my foggy shelled world.

I had to find the courage to leave home (difficult in a conservative Asian setting) and this would have lifelong repercussions on me. But I left home despite some consternation to stay in Kuala Lumpur on my own. I made loyal friends from work.

As that inner sadness slowly left me with the excitement of a new situation, I became happier. I rediscovered my vibrance and went out a lot. I had fun. But I didn't know that I was free. I thought I was still chained to that terrible problem that had caught my spirit when I first left school and which had met me everyday when I went home after work for a long time.

One day, we were at the disco with a really good group of friends. It was a Saturday night. The music was loud, the drinks were merry and the revelry necessary. I loved to dance and that club played great sounds. We were standing around.
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I had a drink in my hand. Someone said something and we all laughed. And then someone asked me a view about something else. We were in deep conversation while still in the group, standing at opposite ends, smiling in the way that we were of good acquaintances. My best friend, Belinda, looked really pleased with this little circle. She was wonderful; a calming spirit.

Suddenly, in one dramatic moment, I felt the rude tug of an uplifting surge in my heart. It was a joy and a joy that spelt pure exhilaration...one that I would go on to feel a few more times in my life but not as powerful as it was when it first hit me in that discoteque. It was the carefreeness that perhaps a child would experience from being well looked after.

A surreal moment of realisation poured itself on me. As if knowledge had trickled its way down my scalp and shoulders while I was still holding a drink and listening to my acquaintance with other friends. I realised I had bloody escaped my troubles. That I had been set free by the unseen. That I could go anywhere or do anything and that I would be alright.

I had escaped my problem and found release on a destiny where sorrow would not catch me for a long while. It was like compensation was finally being afforded me. Later, I told Belinda of my ethereal experience and we were both immediately silent and reflective.

My life as I observe today became a pattern of definite cycles. From then, I would enjoy myself in wonderful ways for years though I would stop writing creatively and concentrate on journalism.

Then it became tragic once more with the stalker. Again, with the stalking I travelled a lot and all my survival power was engaged in protecting certain important relationships. Again, as when I had left school, I did the work quietly while engulfed in sadness.

Now the stalker has gone and I have healed and what's very interesting, is that I have turned back to creative writing and reading as long lost loves.

And I believe that the cycle of my bad times has ended with the melting away of my stalker and the end of a difficult healing period. Now, I am being pushed by an unseen hand to start again. It's like my time of creative writing is unexpectedly meeting a happier time, face to face.

I thought a few acting classes would give me the confidence to write and perform stand-up comedy acts. And that this would hopefully take second priority to my future work as a novelist. I think that would satisfy my happy and greedy destiny; always wanting to stretch itselff as far as it can go. I would offer my own opportunities a satisfying balance. Yes, it's rivers of passion flowing in all directions. And who I am to peg my ambitions. I wouldn't dare.

Perhaps I may catch that moment of exhilaration once more..from a spontanous moment when I least expect it. Suddenly. Somewhere. Sometime near. Belinda is no longer here. I'm older now and wiser. I lost the man I loved for many years from the stalker's deliberate actions. But never mind.

Because for that one moment of a new exhilaration, it would be like my future itself had come to pat me on the back and to say once more, "Alright Susan, you are free."
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