I’ve only told two people so far about my true feelings about this life. It’s hard for me to open up because personally I’ve gone this far of hiding it, if I told anyone, they would think it’s a phase that I’m going through. The thing is, I’ve been dealing with depression as long as I can remember. It’s kind of hard writing about this and I am not sure if I could ever tell the people I love about the situations that I’ve been through. I guess one part of me is scared with how they would react, but the thing is, I’ve survived through it without having them knowing ANYTHING about it, but I’m just so close to breaking, so close to telling because one part of me knows that they might want to hear this. Well, where do I start? Did I have a bad childhood? No, I didn’t, I was loved and raised wonderfully. Yet, I cannot say everything went as smoothly, I know nothing ever is but, when you made to be the “golden child”, I guess depending on who you are, but for me I find, because of it, I feel more in need of just wanting to be in the background. I can’t stand being in the center of attention, because I know as much love I get, I get the same equivalent of hate with it, or even more at times. Maybe we were just kids, but my grandmother always showed favoritism towards me and this only led my cousin to pick on me and call me fat and pretty much make fun of me every chance they get. Maybe subconsciously this lead me into hating myself because hey, if I’m hated over the things I have no control of, maybe I am a fucking monster. Going to school had only hurt my confidence more and gradually my self-worth drowns into nothingness. Thinking that going to kindergarten I would have friends, but being the shy little shit that I was (still am), I kept to myself and it’s something that I’ve gotten used to. I really don’t know what I did to make people hate me, I have done nothing and already in those kindergarten/admission years, I’ve got my lunch box stolen, I’ve been picked on, bullied, beaten up till I was bleeding out of my nose abused, molested and raped. These aren’t metaphors, these things actually happened to me around 1999 – 2000, although during that time, I didn’t know what was going on, I thought it was just things people do to each other, I knew I wasn’t strong, so I took up the beating. I remember vividly my mother telling me, if anyone ever picks on you, you just ignore it and I also remember her seeing me with a bloody nose and saying “Forget what I said about ignoring it, when someone hits you, you hit them back!”. I was so broken seeing my mother worried sick over what happened to me, I was even more sad when she said “how come the teachers didn’t do anything?!”, it didn’t come to my mind before, but my mother was right. I was a 5 year old kid, bleeding out of my nose, crying, walking past the teachers and they did nothing about it. This kind of attributed to “Wow, I am so unlikeable, even in my most vulnerable state, no one cared to attend to a little 5 year old me in pain”. Please excuse me if I find it hard for me to love myself, because in all honesty, I am just so close to just ending all of this. My whole primary years in school was pretty much the same, I sat in the corner my whole life, not having any friends. No one talked to me, no one wanted to talk to me. I was shamed for being a quiet kid, I was shamed for getting praised for good behavior, shamed for writing with my left hand, shamed for bad handwriting and terrible fucking grades, I was shamed for fucking every single thing I did. There’s nothing I could do right, people in my class always had reasons to hate on me, to complain, to whatever. My life took a turn for the worse when my mother left for Kuala Lumpur and my sister and I had to live with our father. I know my father is trying to be a father to us now but, it kills me to say it, I don’t think I could grasp the concept of having a father, not because I don’t want to, but because the idea of having a father is strange to me. Yes my father was kind of there for us… But, kind of doesn’t necessarily mean he was there to be a father. I can mostly remember him setting off to work early in the morning and coming back in the afternoon for like 10 minutes and then he heads out to go somewhere with his friends to do some shady things. I say shady things because, this man had children he needed to attend to, I’ve been holding onto the question of “what was it that was so important to this man that he had practically no time to take care of his children?”. I can’t complain fully, yes we had food on the table and roof on top of our heads, but we were living in our grandmother’s house. I can’t say at a young age, I had a bond with my father, because all he ever did was told us what to do and if you don’t I’ll yell at you and I’ll make you stare at the wall. In those years of him ‘raising’ me, He never asked how my school day was, if I needed help with homework, or asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. All I’ve ever learned from my father was to follow orders and nothing more. My mother on the other hand, she stayed strong when she needed to, she made time in her very busy life to spend time with her children, she made the whole world know that we meant the world to her. When my sister and I moved back to living with our mother it was already too late for me to ever want to tell anyone thing. I couldn’t because when I try to talk to anyone about my problems, they tell me I’m just a kid and I should get over it, it’s not a big deal. So at this point at age 9 to 10, I was already a depressed fat kid who hates himself because hey, if everyone fucking hates me for existing we’ll I might as well hate myself. It’s hard trying to keep a conscience knowing that people just say mean shit to empower themselves, but as a sensitive little bitch that I am, I take everything I hear as a personal hit and whenever I look into a mirror, I see a flawed man, I see a very very flawed person. Knowing that I could never be perfect, this opened doors for me into worlds that I never thought in my whole life that I would set foot into, the world of drugs. I’ve fantasized about smoking at age 11, because I see everyone doing it, but never would I ever thought of taking drugs. Moving to Jakarta, had made an impact on my self-esteem, I felt like I’ve managed to get away from every negative aspects of my life, i.e Brunei Darussalam as a whole. However, of all the things that I’ve left in Brunei, my insecurities stayed and my self-loathing habits were stronger than ever. In Jakarta, it’s easy to get drugs, I got my hands on weed in 2 weeks of being there, I don’t know what got me into it, but I was a massive Nirvana fan and I wanted to be like Kurt Cobain, too much like Kurt Cobain. At this point I’ve lost a fuck ton of weight, I was a chubby fat kid turned anorexic. People asked me how I lost weight, I told them white lies like exercise, puberty and diet, even went as far as I had an eating disorder but none of those were the main factor. At that time I did things that I wasn’t proud of, which was heroin. It was so easy not wanting to eat because all I wanted to do was that. I saved up my lunch money just to buy smack and after one hit, I wouldn’t have any appetite to eat whatsoever. I mumbled and slurred a lot but no one had noticed, I went through a heroin phase without any of the people I was close with knowing that I had that phase. It was easy for me to get off it, because I knew that feeling’s not going to last. Around 14, I’ve experimented with LSD, Ecstasy, Cocaine, Ketamine, Ether, Ice, Stax, anti depressants and I can say in all honesty, I am not addicted to any of them. If anything, the escapism is only fun for a while, but I am not going to lie when the come down hits and the idea of lingering in loneliness and depression comes to my mind, that is the most addictive thought I have in my head. I’ve attempted suicide 5 times in my whole life, call it fate, or god’s will, but I always regain consciousness, either the sweater I used for the noose gave in, or the closet hanger breaks before I could die, but the results are always the same, I always ended up on the floor and thinking shit, I was so close. I remember waking up with carpet burns on my neck from using the sweater as a noose, my eyes had darkish purple circles around them and my face was very pale. My stepfather, being the smart guy that he is, laughed and automatically assumed that I was drinking alcohol the night before. I can’t say I’ve dealt with this chemical imbalance in my brain very well, but hey man.. I’m still alive.
If you are a content creator in general, chances are you’re going to lose your creative juices. You could spend literally days on end non stop trying to come up with a concept or a backbone as a guide for your next project. Only trouble is, well you can’t come up with anything. Similar to running a long marathon, chances are if you are unprepared, you’re going to have to face the wall. A sudden halt, you gave everything you have to the point of which you can’t even move a muscle. The same could apply with trying to come up with a concept.
When you start something, it’s easy to come up with things to do because the beginning is always the most exciting part, you’ll have tons of ideas flowing to the point where it seems that new ideas would feel like they would come to you non-stop every day. However in most cases, you’ll tend to find that in whatever art you take, the more you get into it, you’re going to want to learn all these new rules and strategies. However, with this new learning, you’ll tend to find that all of the sudden you end up limiting your ideas more than ever before. You want everything to be perfect all at once, you can’t think creatively like you did before and you end up losing the motivation to create stuff.
I’ve been having the worse creative block for the past 6 months, not being able to create a new idea on top of my head. Which is strange because 6 years ago when I first started getting into film making, I had all these ideas left and right, building lightsabers to make a star wars fan fiction, using broken guncon controllers to make an FPS shooter, flashing trippy shoes, MORTAL KOMBAT Parody and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, all that come to a stop when I started getting into filmography as a career. The moment I had that mindset when I told myself I NEED to come up with something, it felt like I was holding my creative mind hostage and forcing it to come up with ideas, as opposed to writing something because for the love of the art.
Changing from passion to business mindset isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because of that change, I’ve managed to get contacts, networking with other freelance videographers, video artists, different media companies and different production teams whom I’d wish to work or have a fun side project with in the near future. However, this business mindset had took over and all of the sudden, my passion of which I’ve put in tons of work into now felt like actual work. This is one of the reasons why I didn’t want to make music as a career. Not to sound pretentious but in a way, I foresaw this moment in middle school when I refuse to ever wanting to take music class, fearing that I wouldn’t want to ever play a guitar ever again because it felt like work.
I’ve written 6 different scripts so far and I can say with full confidence they are terrible scripts. They are so terrible, it makes “The Room” (by T. Wiseau) look like an Academy Award winning artistic auteur film. Yes I am making progress and I could probably work my way around those scripts and polish it to make it a bit better, but the thing is, it doesn’t sit well with me. The reason so is because I actually had to force it out of me. It’s not a concept that I want to do, but it felt like something I needed to do to get to somewhere. To an extent I guess that’s a good thing because I am actually making progress, but I need you to think about this for a second. If you’re a creator, would you much rather create something that you could attach yourself with emotionally and have a deep connection with but have everyone hate your work OR would you rather create something of which everyone loves but deep down inside, you are not even close to being content with your work? If you picked the second one, there’s a term for it of which I have my personal stance against and it’s something I hope to God that would never happen to me. It’s called selling out. Call it ego, call it pride, but as a content creator, I don’t want to create things just to please others.
It’s hard, art is very subjective and people may not like your work, but I’d like to believe that art, regardless of whether or not you like it, but the effort the artist puts into making that piece of art is something beautiful. I don’t want to sound preachy but I feel like people are just doing what is expected to the point where I feel that no one is wanting to push the boundaries anymore. We are so comfortable with where we are, art doesn’t feel like it’s progressing any further, it’s gotten to the point where non visible art is a thing now. I’ve created tons of things in my whole life, some are pretty bad, some are pretty decent and some are just downright awful, but that’s okay. It’s okay because you don’t have to like it and that’s your choice and you are entitled to like or dislike my work, that’s the beauty of the whole thing. People are different and that’s okay. What I don’t like is when people try to shape you into something that they think is correct, if you disagree with whatever advice people tell you about your art, that’s fine, because art isn’t supposed to be one way or the other. If you put in time and effort and you do it for the love of the art, to me that is art. I’d like to think that sometimes art isn’t necessarily just the outcome of the progress, but instead it’s the whole progress from beginning to end, like the progression of filmmaking. Pre-production to production to post-production, all of these things are so important into making a quality film and people tend to over look the effort that’s been put into in order to make the film.
As a developing artist, I want to love what I create, I remember creating a short film for film class that pleased my teacher but I didn’t like it one bit and that film had stuck with me to this day. I’ve been regretting ever making that short film that it had taught me a life lesson. “When you live to please others, you would find that you’re going change yourself every day to the point where you lose your identity. The moment you lose your identity, you are no longer an individual, you have become a voiceless follower”. My friend and I had made an album together that was unbelievably fun to make and every single song on the album I could connect with and to this day I am so proud of what my friend and I have created and I share that music with pride. That band we created was called Lo-F(b)i which so far, has more negative feedbacks than positive but regardless of what other people think, I still think it’s one of the greatest things that I’ve ever participated in and I’m proud of it. Call it egoistical that I use my personal experience of what art is supposed to be, but I am sure that everyone has created something that they are proud of, that nobody else understands. I’m just trying to get people into that mindset that art can be whatever you want it to be….. Just, don’t expect me to buy an empty canvas for a 10,000 dollars and expect me to call it art, lol.
I’ve met tons of people in the past 3 years, many I still keep in touch with to this day, some who just slipped away, however not many people know what I do. Some people think I sell t-shirts and snapbacks for Ladyboyrd, some people think I make music videos for youtube, some people think I sell second hand vinyl records and some think I’m in a band where our music is sold exclusively on cassette tapes, all of this is true to an extent, but there’s an element of lie in it as this isn’t really something that I’m focused on, yes I’ve done all those things but as vague as all that seems, the path that I have set out for myself is way more forward and narrower than it seems. The past few years I have been working odd jobs, here and there, all of them involving selling things and that’s how I get by whilst at the same time juggling all that with my studies, what studies you ask? Well as of now, I’m currently studying to develop myself into what the creative world would call a video artist. I meet different people almost every weekend the past few years and getting to know them and they tend to ask for things that I usually could get my hands on easily and have little to no use for it, this had led me to bring in a stable income for myself. Now these jobs aren’t something I’d like to put on my resume, they are dodgy odd jobs, however it’s not something you could master overnight, it’s jobs that takes skill, timing, patience and very very strong caution. Besides co-owning a small independent t-shirt company that hasn’t expanded as far as 2 months, I have no experience in an official stable job. So having to buy and sell things for a living and knowing that I could have a steady income for it, I’ve decided to get my head in the filmmaking industry, because once I could get my head around the basics, I’m pretty sure I would be able to survive on my art, I know it would definitely take time and there’s no guarantee if I could make it big or not, but seeing as though how I’ve survived through a lot of chaos, just pushes me into wanting to take the risk and for whatever reason I fail at this whole video art thing, at least I could genuinely say I’ve tried and probably go back home to Brunei and work for Shell.