Friday, June 17, 2011



I was acting in a ‘Telemovie’ entitled ‘Monalisa’. I was the featured actress. We filmed on campus for a couple of days. Film production and acting, I realised, is actually not all ice-cream and cupcakes. It requires a whole lot of energy, and acting demands the physical and emotional kind of toil. We shot from daybreak to dusk, it was hefty stuff. I never really got enough sleep; sometimes I felt so irritated and sleep deprived I thought that I would experience a melt down on set because of the sleep deprivation. My essence felt so forged and bulky due to the excessive makeup poured onto my face to cover up my ‘flaws’. I experienced an awkwardness the first day of shooting in makeup. The mirrors revealed an alien reflection of a girl who stared back looking so plastic and manufactured. I did not like her. Days trekked along and soon I began bonding with the black doll in the mirror, she wasn’t so bad. She started smiling and didn’t look so foreign anymore.

The filming schedule tired my character and I became irritable. However students saw me in action, and I felt that it put me on the radar again. I felt like it made me shine and stand apart from the withered persona I had truly befallen (a downtrodden has-been party animal, not excelling in class, not doing anything really, just a simple “has-been” whose image had worn out). I felt that the film shooting created an opportunity for me to be more than the public’s expectations. People did start to look at me differently; a friend even stated he respected me more because he didn’t know I had “ it” in me. I didn’t know I had “it” in me, either…

I think I was just blessed and I’m thankful it was me who was chosen. The whole experience gave me insight into the ‘Oh so glamorous world of film’.

I will be getting the chance to work on the big screen and the silver screen soon, however this production, brought to light what it really takes….

Dear Alcohol,

I only ever got to know you intimately in high school. You promised that you would help me feel secure and you did sometimes, but I only took you in in small doses at the time. But our relationship started way before then, mother and father welcomed you into our home, way before I was born, I think, because I remember you just always being there. I remember always wanting to grip onto that green can or clear glass bottle. I suppose your offerings were much sweeter in the era of dreams, dolls and diapers since I actually remember enjoying you. Later on you became forbidden, the adults spread rumours about you, yet still maintained a smile to your face. You kept on being welcomed into my house; soon we got you a house of your own in our house. You all sat there in stillness during the day, in the ‘bar.’ When night-time came you mingled with the adults, they seemed to enjoy you and bring you to all their social gatherings.

You were friends of mother and father and I decided secretly to befriend you too. Your acquaintance made a bitter impression on my tongue and you left my throat so scorched, I thought we would never hang out again, but we did. We hung out so often that by the time I was sixteen I was immune to the charred sensation you left in my gullet. I even knew specifically how I liked you, I liked you in the spirit form, and the kind without the gas or sugar coated fake flavouring. I liked you raw and naked and clear. I only sipped and gulped then. I ingested your companionship regularly between the ages of fifteen and seventeen but still only sipping. I used to brag about the way I would get so drunk, I never really did.

Once you made me feel really happy and in love, that was when I hooked up with you at a bar with a couple of girlfriends. I laughed at the world and embraced the people around me. That was the first time you made me actually forget. Forget my insecurities. That’s when I realised why the adults had such a strong firm solid bond with you.

I weaned off you for a while because I felt people might suspect me of being a drinker. Age eighteen came around and it was time for me to leave home... and there you were waiting for me in Malaysia, your house was bigger now and you had grown so obese, much bigger than I remember. You presented yourself with different costumes and outfits; you had a complete makeover. You appeared in all sorts of colours and shapes. You had become so sexy, interesting and popular. I didn’t know specifically how I liked you anymore, but I did want to get to know you like my friends did. I wanted to get to know you and all your different personalities.

I was so excited to meet you again, I didn’t even bother with the small talk but at the end of the night found myself exclaiming gibberish to the world, that only you could understand.

Not only did I adore the new you, I enjoyed your new talents and capabilities. I thought you were so wonderful the way you would allow me to lose all my inhibitions in your presence. Ah and another thing, I simply couldn’t resist: the way you forged bonds and friendships between me and others.

You temporarily healed me and halted my vexations. I cared about you intensely. The passion, fire, flame and fuel inevitably led me to get burnt . And burn I did.

I felt betrayed. I felt entangled in a love-hate relationship that I did not plan. Why did you destroy me and my perspective?

It took great effort to gain back my ground; I had to break-up with you for some time. The hardest part of the break up was surviving .I can still smell the ashes when I get too close to loving you that way. I don’t struggle with you much anymore, because I made a decision not to let you in too close. You had fooled me and blinded me; I did not see your deceptiveness. Don’t you feel ashamed?

If you want to know what I did to overcome you, you will have to have an understanding of a higher faith, but you cannot because you are just a bottle of liquid filled with a fake and temporary spirit. The difference between you and I dear bottle, is that your spirit can fade and slip through my d digestive structure. My skin, unlike your glass or aluminium can heal when torn or broken, but more importantly my spirit is real. It will never break or fade like yours. You know this already; I just wanted you to know that I know too now.

You don’t bother me because I believe I am stronger, so whether you are in my life or not I now understand who we each are.

Yours truly,

An old acquaintance.

Dear hair, I'm still learning to love you...

Dear hair,

Thank you for being my canvas and surviving all the thousands of hairstyles. Thank you for framing my face and not looking bad… I’m sorry for not appreciating you sooner.. I’m still learning to.

I’m learning to forgive you for tormenting me and allowing me to be the centre of torment and harassing the combs when I was younger, for never swaying with the wind, for always tearing apart the combs… please hair, be patient with me. I want to love you.

Sorry for hating you and being of your natural appearance, sorry for perming you still and never giving your room to rest and feel the fresh air… sorry I’ve made you fall out a number of times especially that time. I thank you for not complaining when I decided to go bald and do away with you. Thank you hair for being thick and permeable, weavaeble, braidable, growable and all the in betweens… I am still learning and I want to thank you for continuously doing the same. xxxxx

Charlie cakes.

Some women with afro- Caribbean hair struggle with maintaining it, I am one of those women, this is my letter to my beloved hair…. I am learning to love my hair.

Dear food

Dear cigarettes,

Our lips first touched when I was thirteen. At first I was afraid of you; it’s funny because long before now, I couldn’t be without your heavy kiss for long. I remember once you made me feel so cool, so popular and so grown up, but now that I am grown, I wish you would have left me alone. I remember a time when I didn’t even know how to breath in your fumes properly, but when I did learn how to let your limbs spread all over my lungs; I spent troubled times just trying to unlearn the lesson. I wish dear cigarette that you would have taken pity on me and ignored this once virgin piece of territory. But no, you are so selfish and so possessive; you always wanted to be with me even when I wanted to rid myself of you.

I hated the way you made me reek, when I went into class or when I left the club. I hate the way you had to get so physical and just help yourself to every part of my: clothing, hair, fingers etc... To put it plainly I just hated the way you got into my atmosphere.

There are times though, when I think of you as beautiful sometimes because my judgment is impaired and I cannot help myself, I simply just... I simply must... consume you.

By the way, I hate the way you are so controlling.

I know I paint a very ugly picture of you, but you are not all ugly. There were times when you intrigued me, like when I saw your fumes escape the lungs of another to form a cloud so sweetly and completely. There were times when I just want to feast on only you alone, I wanted to ravage you, I could not look elsewhere except for where you sat, amongst others like you and so I would pay (once again) for your company. The cashier and I would take turns in waiting. He would wait for his money and I would have to decide whether to wait for my petty change or until I got you home and ripped off your shiny costume. It’s insane for me to have been that involved with you, I’m just a student. Do you even know how much I spent on you? It’s really just freakin’ absurd when I look at the numbers.

Its weird how sometimes you were a friend to me, I didn’t mind when we just chilled and watched the sunset and you calmed me down and I would get a chance to think, I didn’t mind when we watched the stars together at night, in the silence. I liked the way you were quiet (I just thought I should tell you, yea... I really like that about you). You never talked over me when I was trying to make conversation, thanks for that. I thought you made me seem so sophisticated and mysterious the way you created an automatic smoke screen for my close up. I liked the way that sometimes it was only by being with you that I actually got my quiet moments to ponder. I think its cool how I also go t to meet really interesting people through you; it’s a shame though... I wish we would have met differently.

Differently, is the very word I wish I felt about you, because where I’m at now; it is still a struggle to keep myself away from you.

The thing is you often trick me into thinking I need you, but I actually don’t. I DON’T NEED YOU. I usually crave you when I am upset, I make myself believe that you will help solve my problem, but you don’t. I want to see your pretty white gown, dipped in brown when I am hungry so you will distract me, but you don’t. I want to feel your symmetrical figure in between my lips when I am nervous, hoping that you will calm me down, but you don’t. I look to you when I am bored too, but you are always the same, you never surprise me. I think I need you but I don’t. I always disappoint myself by being with you.

Cigarette, you should have left me alone, you should have told me you would make me sick, and you have caused me so much hardship. You kept your mouth shut when it was time to let me know that I was just as cool and just as interesting without you...

Even though you gave me a temporary high in every way and touched me in ways I should never have known, even though you drew to me people who are now very dear to me, I envy those who have never received your kiss.

I really do.

Yours truly, Charlotte Makala.

P.S-For your next victim I hope you fail, I hope you let slip how they DO NOT need you and how all who rely on you are in some form losers, the only thing us smokers share is the void, loneliness and emptiness that you, cigarette, keep promising that you will fill for us. But you never will. I know you I’ve been with you now (on and off) for seven years. All you do is ensconce a nasty habit in me and waste my money. (For those of you who are unaware how much cigarettes cost you in a year, try do the math you might be astonished.)You can never change your ways because you are simply and only just a cigarette, and in time I will accept that and forgive the both of us. But I can change, so I will try.