She was just another ordinary newborn child to this world. Her cries were just the same as any baby after the delivery. Opening her eyes she thought she would see the beautiful colors of the world, but instead, she was greeted by her abusive, alcoholic father, who has the rage in his eyes that could almost set a weeping baby on fire.
Her mother was a maiden by day, a prostitute by night. From cleaning houses to washing dishes to selling her body. All those just to raise her child. The money would never be enough, as it all goes to the father, who was a complete born loser, a heavy drinker, a drug addict, an arrogant and abusive prick.
As a child, she grew up not having the rights to speak a single word as it would upset the father or worse, getting beaten up. She would write notes or whisper if she and momma ever needed to talk, but most of the time momma was too drunk to talk too.
At the age of 5, she was wrapped in a black rubbish bag. “Playing role play,” says the father “and today your role is to be a trash”. Only after years, she found out that father was trying to sell her away to human traffickers if only momma didn’t appear on time.
At the age of 8, she had to wake up in the midnight every day because that’s when her momma would come home. She would have to drag her drunken momma near to the sink, filling pails of water for a bath for her momma, and listen to how she screams when the cuts and the wounds on her body sting as the water flow through. She would have to handwash her momma’s “fancy” dresses, slowly and carefully, because they’re “for work” as momma said. She would try them on every night before washing them, admiring how pretty and luxurious the dresses are, because momma would get angry if she sees her in them. She would secretly sow the cuts on the dresses with the threads and needles under momma’s bed. Yet at the age of 8, she never knew, why were there white sticky stains, and torn out cuts on her momma’s dresses.
At the age of 13, she nearly fell into drug addiction because of her father. Father would grab her by her cheeks, so hard until she couldn’t resist but to let a small gap to open between her lips, and feed her with drugs. Sometimes the drugs can also be found mixed with the baked potatoes for dinner, as a “prank” pulled by her father. When momma finds out, momma would replace her potatoes with hers, secretly, when father wasn’t looking.
At the age of 14, she thought her life reached a turning point when the father died from drug overdose. That’s when she first encountered death, but she liked it. Because she will not have to feel anxious to spend the alone times with the father playing “the cavemen game”, where she was needed to take off her clothes, walk and dances around naked. “Just like how the cavemen use to live” as father said, nor she will have to feel terrified every time when father was drunk because she will be pulled by her hair and thrown around the house.
At the age of 15, she would hide behind the bar where momma works. She worked as a part-time job offering to sew their torn clothes, while she gets to bring momma home every night. Sometimes she would get bonus money if she would “play” with the managers or staffs. She doesn’t enjoy them but she felt happy because she could earn some money like momma, so momma doesn’t have to work so hard. It’s unbearable to see momma suffered from work, almost coming home drunk every day, but momma would always joke with her, about how much she loved her job.
At the age of 17, momma died. That’s when she learned about AIDS, and her momma’s “work”. She was sent to a foster carer for a year until the age of 18 when she can be independent as an adult. In a year she was exposed to a world she’s never experienced. She was fascinated by the small characters that can be filled up into something called “book”. She was terrified to speak, in the same tone and volume as the other members of the family, and wondered why do they look into each other’s eyes when they talk. The one thing that shocked her the most was the amount of food they have, and they’re not all called “potatoes”.
For the past 18 years of her life, she never reads, she never sings, she never had any nice clothes or shoes to wear, she never had any hobby or entertainment. The only thing that’s left for her from her childhood, was momma’s sewing kit that she would always bring along with her.
Now, she is a tailor. She customizes and mends the clothing of others as a living. Yet she does not wear any fancy clothes herself, because the idea of the fancy clothing was instilled with the memory of her mother being a prostitute. She covers herself up, never showing too much, because of the bruises and scars on her body, she knew she never could. Despite her humiliating and torturous past, the only thing that keeps her moving on is the memory of momma who sacrificed her whole life for her. And all she could do to repay her is to continue sowing and altering clothes.
Every thread and needle, every prick on the finger, and every drop of the blood, is a painful but healing process for her restless soul. She is a tailor, but more of a survivor, leaving the life of a dreamer.