The Amelioration

a·me·lio·ra·tion [əˌmiːljəˈreɪʃən]

n

  1. an improvement, betterment
  2. the act or an instance of improvement or the state of being ameliorated
  3. 1650s, from French amélioration, from Old French ameillorer (12c.),
    from a “to” + meillior (Modern French meìlleur) “to better,”
    from Late Latin meliorare “improve,”
    from Latin melior “better,” perhaps originally “stronger,”
    and related to Greek mala “very, very much.”
I set out to open doors this year. To live life.

 

Did I know exactly what I was doing? Of course not. I just followed my guts. Perhaps I should change that sentence. Do I know exactly what I am doing? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I’m just following my guts. I don’t know what I’m doing, but then again, I know what I’m doing. Perhaps a little futile to explain, but it has to do with the essence of my being. The things I see, the air I breathe, the thoughts that hit me, the peace I seek, the words of grace my veins speak.

 

Somewhere along the line, seeking amelioration.

 

I’m human, a creation of the Creator, I’m perfectly formed with all my imperfections. Imperfections that only make me who I am, yet set me on a mission for amelioration. That beautiful challenge, we’re blessed with abilities to accept.

 

I don’t mean to write like this, in this tone, right now.. but often when I write, words appear on paper leading me to a place I didn’t quite set out for in my mind. The general direction of wind, yes, but the wind itself has strange behaviour that you can only anticipate yet not fully predict, and therein lies its beauty. Similarly with life in itself. We can only ‘plan’, set forth our feet, but life often surprises us.

 

I think of my artwork as poetry in visual form, similarly, I think of my poems as drawings, only in words. The ‘poem’ behind this artwork, essentially, is as the title suggests. Amelioration. In the spirit of the words I’ve just shared above. In my previous entry, I set out starting to really draw again in hopes of improving my skills, technical art skills as well as conveying-my-meaning-skills. It lead me to ponder upon my drawing conscience, which then helped as a piece of the larger puzzle for my self-improvement.

 

And I felt the need to draw this piece. This piece is really close to my heart. It’s not meant to be solely a pretty picture for drawing purposes.

 

I drew a child, because, we are all children. Not knowing what we’re doing, yet knowing what we are doing. Yes, we grow up, we grow older, a little bit wiser, but a child is constantly learning, constantly growing, and perhaps has purer wisdom. Exploring new territories in life, I feel like a child, and that is ok. That wide-eyed innocence and burning hunger to learn, striving to walk despite constantly falling, looking at a tree and seeing a whole different world… That is not something one should let go. When we grow, we grow up, we don’t regenerate and throw away who we were. Who we were is a part of who we are. A ring in the tree trunk. If you throw part of you away, how will you grow? The rings make each other stronger, and compensate for each other’s weakness.

my brother Khair and sister Maryam, with baby me in the middle. Bonnets et al.

Every child is born an artist, the problem is to remain one once they grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

 

That wing-like seed thing is a maple seed. I wanted to draw a seed, to signify sowing growth, but I didn’t want to draw a run-of-the-mill seed. I immediately thought of maple seeds, because they are beautiful things. They have wings, and flutter gracefully to the ground, like a pirouetting ballerina. Not only are they beautiful and signify flight and growth at the same time, but I have fond memories of them. We had a maple tree in our backyard, where I used to climb after school and fall asleep nestled in its gently swaying branches.

this maple tree is where I used to climb up its skinny branches after school, and just close my eyes to drift away with the wind. I wasn't tiny anymore, yet it still allowed me to lie on its caressing branches. The wing-shaped maple seeds would flutter down like little ballerinas in flight. When autumn came, the leaves would be deep red, but the hidden joy of this tree was during spring. Around its trunk, we could see green peeking out mischievously. And soon enough, it bloomed the vibrant red and yellows of my favourite flowers: daffodils and tulips!

Of course, the other small things have their own little meanings as well. Water… well, water needs no explaining. Just think of rain, and the river… two things I love, and ‘flow’ being a motto in my life. There are things signifying building blocks/pixels, strife, and of course, I love flying pencils and what they symbolise for me.

What sets her apart from my other drawings are her hands. Although I took a reference of a girl blowing a kiss, I drew it to be her hands held out for du’a (prayer). Any du’a, all du’as, a beautiful direct line to call. To ameliorate.

A few days ago, Weekender’s Club had our Cook & Feed program in Raudhatus Sakinah, and the experience left me with a deep impression. I don’t really know how to describe the feeling. I felt humbled. And terharu. And deeply touched. Siapalah aku ni, nak bimbing mereka, padahal aku pun bergelumang dosa. It left me longing to strive for amelioration even more intensely.  I felt no different from them, no, instead I felt deep respect for them. Really, we were no different, I am no better at all, I never even felt that way; I felt closer to them rather than to someone who has been saintly all their life. I was just lucky. They are normal girls who perhaps just made a bad decision in their previous life. I repeat, I was just lucky. They are hundreds of times better than me, for their amelioration is far bigger. They may have gone away for a bit, but they came back closer and stronger than ever. I respect them for that, and for that, they inspire me.

at Raudhatus Sakinah. Pictures credit to Aneesah

Hisham summed it up perfectly;

Imam Bunga Syurga by Hisham Mahir

 

Aku mengimami bunga syurga,

mekar di bawah rahmat Yang Esa,

Aku membongkok di hadapan mereka,

yang tunduk patuh pada Pemiliknya,

 

Aku mengimami bauan syurga,

sujud akhirnya lama, tanda ia cinta,

Aku mengimami hiasan syurga,

indah kesalan tak terungkap kiasnya.

 

Tuhan,

benarlah yang ke syurga bukan suci orangnya,

tetapi mereka yang menyucikan hati dan jiwa dari noda,

 

Tuhan,

aku sujud memohon jadikan taubatku seperti mereka,

 

kerana aku mengimami bunga syurga,

tetapi aku sendiri mungkin bahan bakar neraka.

 

so here’s to amelioration.

Little Soldier Boy

Little soldier boy

said “I’m not going down

all the sticks and the stones that I’d thrown

I’m letting it be known

Blood red skies and the blue pride of wars

the circling eyes of post-apocalyptic dolls

copper wired limbs through threaded yarn

bytes of emptied souls with no reason

no reason to go on

It’s not my future

no

I’m not going to turn

not going to run

my stone fists belong here

my heart beats in this ground

Bright blue skies and the red passionate hearts

burn like a disappearing prayer’s call

falling on nothing but ears deafened by guns

bands of toy soldiers with no reason

no reason to go on

It’s not my future

no

I’m not going to turn

not going to run

my stone fists belong here

my heart beats in this ground

Little soldier boy

said “Life must go on.”

22 Ramadhan 1431

Little Soldier Boy v.1, by Moon

Life is a Kite

Some times we fall. Sometimes we fly. But we’ll always remember to get back up once we’ve hit the ground. And then soar to the highest skies ever found.

-photo by Moon, Pahang.