Tuesday, 30th March '04
That's All, Folks.
There's really a lifespan to everything, isn't there?
If you stay... If you go...
Well, here we are. The end of another journey. I know it took me ages and ages to write this last musing. It might be the same way I took 3-4 days to write an 8 page essay for my 21st at the end of our term. I didn't want it all to end, but in a way I looked forward to the end. I loved and hated what I did, but I looked on it all without regret. With gratefulness and with pride and respect for myself and everyone else with whom I had made that journey. I took forever to write my parting message, not because I was reluctant to, not because I didn't have anything to say, but because I wanted to say it well. To make sure everything I wanted my friends to know had been covered entirely, so that I could look back on that experience with no regrets and knowing that I had done everything I needed and wanted to do.
And so it is with Secrets From My Room, and the whole TFYE experience.
Look back a year ago... poke around the older Musings from, say, April last year. Like "In The Black Box" or "Rollin'" or "Nat's House". And then move on to "Emily" and "Of RELEN and FITEN". And "My Baby's Got A Secret" and "Skittles". Take it all the way back to "I Love You Like CSB". It's been a while, I suppose.
Despair. Depression. Feeling abandoned. Lonely. Worthless. Frustrated. Worried. Doubting. Vulnerable. Forgetful. Losing self-confidence. Happy. Irritable. Fear of the future. Obsessed with possesions. Meaninglessness. Friendlessness. Fear of being penniless. No one to touch. Loss of psychological power.
Funny how one song, one really obscure and, honestly, weird song can get to you sometimes. But all those feelings, stuff that we all went through at some point in the TFYE / Secrets experience, came flooding in during the last show. It was truly emotional. Hugging Beck alone in the Black Box before leaving for dinner before the last show. Huddled with Aud, Ave and Siti before the 3rd show. Getting the life squeezed out of me by Tasha and Errol in the cramp, dark little props room as the audience filed out after the last show. It was like Errol said... "one year, worked with you on Three, never really hugged..."
And that's where the words just fall apart. All you want to do is sit there, all of us in each other's arms, crying and laughing and chanting "I'm handsome, I'm sexy...", and trying to believe there would be another day of naggings from Audrey, vitamin C from Mei, and individual notes from TC.
Suddenly you wonder why it's 6pm on a Tuesday evening and you're not jolting your nauseating way down to Cairnhill in a freezing cold Bus 143 for rehearsal at 7:30 (warmups starting anywhere from 7pm). Suddenly you have a social life again, you can actually have dinner with your friends. Suddenly you don't fear Improv Hell anymore. Suddenly there's no need to carry Johnson and Johnson's Clean and Clear in your bag to wash errant bits of charsiew off your nose. Suddenly you want to sit at Banquet and eat that same beef noodles at that same rectangular table. Suddenly you'll never need to wait in line and carry out top-speed negotiations for a lousy little pee. Suddenly you'll never suffer the same burning sensation that your eyes go thru after washing face paint out of them for the 5th day in a row. Suddenly TC will never tell you your pants have split in the most insensitive of ways. Suddenly you won't smell Ave's smoke as often, you won't roll your eyes at Errol's lameness, you won't promise Siti to "piss [her] off, ok?", you won't attempt and fail for the millionth time to meet Beck for a mugging session, or get dizzy from flicking your head like a vintage typewriter. Suddenly you go a day without "HORNY HORNY! I want to hump..." being bellowed at you and trying not to laugh, and without telling someone her latex - crow's feet / eye bags / laughlines - look wonderful and that she resembles a bulldog (that's a compliment where we come from). Suddenly you'll never be tortured by Krystal's "scary hairy ass", never hear "NA BEI!" yelled in quite the same way, and you'll never threaten to outline someone's pile of clothes in flourescent paint. Suddenly there might never be another late night bus ride with Weiling, and you might never hop around the rehearsal room with Tasha doing the waltz primtemps. Suddenly you kind of miss wearing that totally-non-absorbent blue costume, and your hands feel empty without a lantern in them. Suddenly even Kylie Minogue's 'Slow', Simple Plan's 'Perfect', and Dishwalla's 'Angels or Devils' become more than just songs of mere pop culture. Suddenly you don't calculate your every word to avoid pissing someone off. Suddenly you'll never vye with your castmates for another TC award. Suddenly you'll never hear go "Huhh! Huhh! Huhh!" and feel indignant at being told your diaphram is exactly where you KNOW your intestines are. Suddenly you'll never dance another 20 minutes non-stop, or incur as much bad luck by handling burnt offerings and funeral apparatus everyday. Suddenly you'll never stop at the Chinese medicine shop and buy another bottle of wheatgrass / chrysenthemum tea / honey lemon water just in case.
(Yes, that was an exceedingly long and parallel-sentence-structured paragraph, even demolishing the boundaries of artistic liberty. Forgive me, I'm on a rampage. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!)
Suddenly, you feel somewhat lost. You want to keep all that you've had with you because after investing the whole of yourself into this for the past 3 months, you don't know what else to do. Personally I've drifted from some friends, I've lost the chance to keep staying in NUS and missed a bunch of events that are normally central to a law school / KR life. You just don't know where to go from here. North, South, East, West?.
Maybe we'll meet up when we're old, and remember that 64 years ago, it was also a full moon.
Because there is change afoot.
During my individual closure session with TC I told him that in a way I didn't mind it ending. I learnt a lot, I grew a lot, but I was tired. And we talked about the secret I shared with him, and how, well, after everything that's gone down, it was time to move on. I guess what I got out of that session was affirmation and honesty from him and it felt good to be appreciated for what I'd given to the show. So, yeah, I wasn't bawling at the end... I was comfortable with moving on. I'd done what I came to do, I'd done enough to make my director, SMs and castmates proud, and that was really all me or anyone else could ask for. In that sense it was a "... you ready? Ready." moment.
Somewhere at the end of February I told Liang: "You know what? I think I'm actually going to miss those clowns." And at least since then I'd been storing up memories of them all, even in the moments I was irked with some... I guess that's the good thing about having had a close experience with the 21st - I learnt to anticipate the change, and I was prepared for it.
Be with the changes and at same moment cultivate amicability. Spaciousness. Emptiness. Awareness. Clarity.
The pre-show togetherness sessions were always things to remember... the last one in particular causing us all to lose it totally. I guess it's the most intimate moment the Secrets family has ever shared, and I will still curse TC in jest for saying he's finally run out of improvs and then coming up with the most heartrending one ever. Out of respect for the sacred nature of the whole ritual, I don't quite feel I can blog it down, but I think it's something that we'll all remember for the rest of our lives. Personally I feel Beck summed it up the best when she said "Don't touch my feet. I refuse to say goodbye. I will not tell TC that I may not see him again. I want to see him again. I want to hear my individual notes. I will tell him that he's the one that should be thanked." We might not have ever really known him as a friend, but I can say that he's someone I've come to respect and look up to a great deal. Especially after the way he's respected our secrets and half-counselled us on them. And to have him do for us what he did that night... it just felt wrong, I felt underserving - as Biblical as the whole reference might have been. There were 12 TFYE members. It was just too much.
It's the same for Audrey and Mei, a simple "thank you" didn't seem enough to do justice to what I really wanted to tell them. I hope they see this Musing.
But yes, it has ended, we'll have to find our ways back to our own lives. Ma, it's complete. It won't be terribly easy, but we'll do it somehow. Yet, somewhere deep inside, I'll always look back with some fondness on point A.
May it be so.
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]