I remember June a little too clearly. It was a curious mix of anxiousness and anticipation for what was to come, and weeks of busying myself with shoots while nightmarish scenes stay all-too-vivid in my mind. This is one reason why I never like horror movies. I tend to remind myself of things I don’t want to remember, and I can’t seem to shake them off even if I wanted to. I coax myself over and over to forget the harsh days, telling myself that I can finally start life afresh. Just like how the skies cleared up for July, this would truly be a new beginning.
In the first few hours of June, I rushed to add finishing touches to the materials I’d prepared for my first ever workshop in the living room. A white butterfly had mysteriously fluttered in through the window and around me, ousting me from my study. At this hour and height of my apartment? I wondered what that meant, because surely it had to mean something. Well, everything has a meaning. I googled to learn that white butterflies can symbolize a number of things but I chose not to believe in any of them at that point. Looking back at how the month turned out, perhaps the closest interpretation would be rebirth, some sort of important change or transformation that was going to happen in my life. Metamorphosis, they say.
Funny how this should happen on the same day I would be giving a workshop for Montage who also had the theme ‘Metamorphosis’ for their photography competition. A coincidence maybe? I turned my attention to quickly finish my task at hand, excited for morning to come.
In the morning, my stomach was laced with butterflies. This year I was privileged to be chosen as one of the workshop instructors for Montage, an annual flagship affair held by the Photographic Society of NUS, alongside Melvin Lau from Multifolds and Lionel Lin from Fotosynthesis. I gave two three-hour sessions at the Canon Imaging Academy on “Fashion Photography using Natural Light” and the turnout genuinely surprised me. It was wonderful being able to share my knowledge with like-minded beings, people who love photography as much as I do.
Melvin gave a talk on Wedding Photography the following day, and it was refreshing seeing familiar faces and learning how he captures the rawest of emotions from the couples he photographs. I am grateful to the team from NUSPS for such a great opportunity and towards everyone who had signed up for the workshop. The whole experience has been nothing short of amazing, and I hope to do something similar in the near future.
It has already been weeks after our trip to Malaysia, but Drea’s influence on my sleeping patterns still sticks with me. She sleeps and wakes early, making the fullest out of the daylight. When we were in Malaysia we would wake at sunrise, sometimes even before. This month, I find myself sleeping before midnight and waking before 8am most times, something rare for a night owl like myself.
For once, it felt good rising along with the sun. As I lay on my bed I would watch the golden rays fight the curtains that block its path, and every now and then I would lift the fabric so that I was temporarily bathed in the morning light. This warmth on my skin recharges my soul, and it made me readier for the day ahead. On days like these, I would sit on the couch with my iPad in one hand and a mug of hot tea in the other, basking in the silence that fills the room. Morning readings have never been any better.
Some days when we have shoots to go for in the morning, I would stay the night at Drea’s where I sleep in a cosy corner of my own. It comforts me that Blondie (her cat) sometimes watches over me as I rest. One morning as we prepared to leave the house, she amused me by dipping her paw in my cup of water, before diving head-in to drink from it. My catship with Blondie has affirmed my liking for her kind; cool and independent creatures that I can identify with.
As I write about Blondie, I am reminded of dear Siri whom I dearly miss. I have so much love for this little cutie that no words can ever describe. It breaks my heart that I will no longer be able to see him because I have given up my right to do so. A few nights ago I dreamt of him, that he came to look for me. I wish he did, and I wish he could. I will always remember the last moments I had with you roaming the field and running towards me as we played catching. I miss you, my little bundle of joy.
Somewhere in the second week of June, I let myself go through an experience that is hard to forgive myself for. The night ended painfully, and it is difficult to even recount what happened. I cried long and hard in the morning, in the arms of my friends (N and A) as my they rushed to my rescue after I sent an SOS. We headed to N’s place after breakfast, and I laid curled up in her bed, sick and exhausted from the night. Well, at least this time it would finally be a clean end to things.
To completely move on and forget about what happened would have been impossible at that point of time, and sometimes it still is. Some nights I have nightmares and flashbacks of what happened that night, and some days I would struggle to keep my anger out as his harsh words repeatedly echo at the back of my head. Despite all that, I give thanks more than anything. Getting out was something I’d so desperately wished and worked for, and there was now no more reason to be sad or angry over someone undeservingly so. I waste no time getting life back on track, and I became happier, healthier and busier (in a good way).
My personal crisis may have ended, but my country was now filled with acrid smoke that was blown over from uncontrollable forest fires. The PSI shot up to a record high of over 400, and buildings slowly disappeared from sight. I wondered to myself if Siri was doing ok.
If there was any positive thing about the terrible haze, it would be the amazing sunrises and sunsets that we experienced in that entire week. The skies were a canvas of evenly painted orange, and I would often stop and marvel at how beautiful it all looked. Since we were now driven indoors, it was a perfect time to make new friends and bond with my favourite bunch of people over a home cooked meal and a late night movie marathon.
The end of June approached quickly, and the haze slowly cleared away. Beautiful sun rays threatened to burst through clouds that have stolen their glory over the past week. Now that the skies were clear, shoots resumed and I spent the last week meeting old friends and having a quiet celebration for the second anniversary of beautifuladieu.
This month I hit a trough that has hurt me beyond measure. My phone was also smashed in the process of that rough night (and my camera has never been the same since, but I’ll continue with mediocre iPhoneography till I get a new iPhone!). But you know that when you can’t get any lower, the only way to go is up. And with that in mind, I welcomed the month of July with open arms.