Atonement

Easter is one of those catch 22 scenarios. People around the world worshiping God and Jesus while some are down the ditch of darkness.

I am referring to the power of Good and Evil, Light and Dark, Jesus and the Devil. When the Good is so apparent Evil is doing its best to stay afloat. When the Light is so bright Dark is seeping through. When Jesus is the focus Devil is equally active in the spotlight.

The term ‘catch 22’ gained currency as the title of a 1961 war novel by Joseph Heller, who referred to an Air Force rule whereby a pilot continuing to fly combat missions without asking for relief is regarded as insane, but is considered sane enough to continue flying if he does make such a request.

Throughout and post Easter period this year, more than usual, I have received unfavourable news about friends and clients who are struggling with taking their own lives. Thankfully they reached out calling for help which gave me opportunity to support them hence they lived with their own will and intervention.

This makes me wonder about the futile effort the Devil attempts. Is he sane or insane knowing he will not and cannot win this battle because of Jesus’ atonement on the cross and yet he goes to battle in full force?

Easter celebration is about the atonement of Christ died on the cross and rose again to fulfil the prophecy and conquer death. The divine exchange took place on the cross:

Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven;
Jesus was wounded that we might be healed;
Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness, that we might be made righteous with His righteousness;
Jesus tasted death for us that we might share His life;
Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing;
Jesus endured our poverty that we might share His abundance;
Jesus bore our shame that we might share His glory;
Jesus endured my rejection that I might have His acceptance with the Father;
He was cut off that we might be joined to the Lord;
Our Old Man was put to death in Him that the New Man might come to life in us.

Call it power balance, two sides of a coin, Yin and Yang, opposite attraction, walking contradiction, call it whatever tickles your fancy, it is actually our choice and our choice only that saves our lives. Jesus has done it for all of us on the cross. It is only our own free will determines the course of our lives and future.

I have chosen life!

Playlist

“You can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their playlist.”
– Mark Ruffalo

I accumulated songs spanning across decades to a Cassa’s Faves Spotify playlist. They are songs with lyrics touched my heart. Other than that, I had not done any analysis on the playlist until I came across the Mark Ruffalo quote “You can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their playlist”.

We are who we are both in the sun and in the shadow.

My professional life requires me to be a people person who is supportive, accountable to my work, respecting others and acting with integrity. So I seem to be a real positive person who is full of hope. I will say this is me in the sun.

My playlist is me in the shadow. I am filled with regrets, sadness, missed chances, broken promises and disappointments. When I listen to my playlist, every bit of me mesmerised in the melodies, transfixed in the lyrics, living out my shadow in the open air. They take me to places where I allow the pain to surface, rise and fall, ebb and flow into the inner chamber of my heart so very ever scarred.

I allow my heart to mist my dark eyes, to rain on my soul, to darken my days. The long nights is my companion, the daybreak is my watching angel and the first ray of the sun is my knight.

I am me in the sun and in the shadow in one breath.

Don’t bring me flowers…

I often don’t understand why people love receiving flowers, especially a bunch of freshly cut flowers.

As somewhat a practical person, I much prefer a vegetable bunch, beautiful colour mix, thriving and ready to be consumed.

You may say that’s extreme. Ok then, let’s meet half way. How about pot plants or potted flowers in lieu of the freshly cut flowers? Don’t you think flowers belong to the garden beds? They look so at home and divine in their natural nursery.

I have had that preference for years, not remembering when did I actually start such weird preference.

Recently I traced back the times I did receive flowers. Sure enough, I finally realised the ‘Why’.

Firstly, in the second year I moved from Guangzhou to Sydney. I answered the door bell. There was Currier service delivery for me. After signing the receipt, I opened the box. There were a bunch of long stem red roses lying in the box. They didn’t make it all the way from Guangzhou to Sydney. They lain in the box, withered, lifeless. I counted there were 11 long stem red roses. I didn’t take them out of the box. I didn’t feel right to disturb them. I put the lid of the box back, neatly tied the ribbon again. It was like a burial. The 11 long stem red roses just lain in their coffin. The bundle of breakup.

Secondly, it was at the airport, I was greeted with a bunch of vibrant colour flowers. It was somewhat a surprise, at the same time, the dread feeling made my inside turned. What I discovered later prove my dread. The bundle of apology.

Lastly, I was at work. The office was busy as usual. I had a meeting out. When I returned, I was told there were flowers delivered to me. My heart sank. I reached the flowers, before I looked at the blooms, I read the card attaching to the bunch. I called the person who sent me the flowers, just in time to catch him out of another suicide attempt. The bundle of farewell.

There was grief relating to the receiving of these bunches of freshly cut flowers. The beautiful blooms, the fragrance, the artistic composition remind me of the tragedy moments in life.

The comfort is there are alternatives, be the bunch of fresh vegetables, be the potted flowers, or at its best, leave the blooms in the garden bed where there is life and pleasure to the viewers.

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”
Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib

Q&A

Would you like to tell me about yourself in 3 words?

I love people.

What brought you to Australia?

My allergy to China, I took the first available escape opportunity and it turned out to be a great blessing.

What was your childhood like and what was the fondest memory?

I was well loved and raised by a village, a lonely child though, enjoyed watching the world and people go about their lives.

Laying in bed next to my great grandmother and listening to her sharing stories of her life.

How is your logic vs creativity?

I was only ever good at Chinese literature and English subjects at school. Did I even answer your question?

At what point you decided to write?

I started writing again when I was floating in life and feeling I was ok to die then and there with no regret. For some people it may sound I was content and lived a satisfying life. To me though, that was like I had nothing to look forward to in life. I didn’t even have a bucket list, not for the reason I had done it all. It was for the exact opposite reason which was I had nothing kept me living on.

In a strange way, I came to the end of myself then something reminded me of my writer dream. I started to follow my dream and I became alive again.

Who are your muses?

I love people. My friends, family, colleagues, clients, characters from books or movies are my constant source of inspiration. And my significant others too, be current or history.

What do you consider your greatest achievement and failure so far?

Em… I cannot see either without lying.

What is your plan for your writing future?

I have none. I just write to keep myself alive. I do have a writing mentor which is a dear friend of mine. He has been encouraging me for years to pursuit excellence. He saw me living a self fulfilling prophecy life. I was determined to be invisible and a second best. I had lived that life for a long time and it finally killed me.

My mentor has been giving me different writing tasks to challenge myself, to not allowing myself to be comfortable. He said I have this reaction when confronted by a difficult task, I bang my head on the table. He would tell me that is exactly I need to do and that is the exact thing I am good at but dreading to do. He is my mentor for a good reason. I am not super intelligent but I am smart enough to follow his advice.

Why do you want to post this Q&A?

I have people asked me similar questions. But for most I would like to be heard and understood.

Résumé

Adriana Sousa

Skills Summary

well presented, friendly and pleasant demeanor
specialised trades skills
custom fit client service
tailored and flexible approach to client request
excellent membership sales and cold canvassing skills
skilled in handling conflicts and challenging behaviours
continuous updating knowledge on market trends
attending regular health checkups and maintenance program
adhere to Workplace Health and Safety best practice
physically fit

Availability

24/7

Work History

2016 – Current
Coogee Bay Hotel, Sydney

2014 – 2016
Surf Paradise Holiday Resort, the Gold Coast

2000 – 2014
Potts Point Golden Apple, Sydney

1998 – 2000
Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Homelessness

Mr Scribble came with his blue staffy
He hadn’t eaten for two days
Bluey was well fed though

I told him I missed his devil’s horns tatts along his temples
He grinned and said he would ban his children having tatts
cos the laser removal hurt like hell

Mr Scribble would be homeless for the night
Mrs kicked them out cos coming down from a bad trip
They escaped before taking her punches for the 26th times this year
and it’s only April

He knew I offered them no shelter
He knew I offered them the staff shower facilities
so he would be clean and human again after a day’s work
and back again the next day to demolish more buildings
He called that going to anger management therapy

They stayed for a bit
He told me some more tales of his 5 brothers
except the one visited his room too often

He told me God bless me and my family
like every time before they left my office
I watched their backs to see them off like every time
I prayed for a safe and cosy corner on the street for the night

Mr Scribble and his blue staffy
He was hungry and Bluey was happy

Love my childish parents

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I grew up with childish parents. Trying to parent childish parents is damaging to the child. It teaches the child his or her needs not being met is okay because his or her parents’ needs take priority and that is justifiable and should be accepted as a growing responsibility.

I witnessed violence between my childish parents and my power imbalanced grandparents when I was really young, perhaps 4 or 5 years old. Hence any memory prior to that age was non existing for me till to date. I stopped searching for those memories because I realised they are probably coexisting with the traumatic memories. So I am at peace of letting those memories of 4 or 5 years of my life go.

My parents were my guardians. They provided me with shelter, food, clothing. They sent me to school for education so I would have a better life. Because of that, I was opened to the wonderous world of literature where I took refuge and comfort. They are diligent parents with good wills.

I am the only child to my childish parents. Three person household should have been fairly straightforward and orderly. My childish parents are competitive individuals whom rather die to give in to each other. Every disagreement is serious, every argument is a war and every fight is life or death. One has to question where is the peace in this tiny three person household.

One night when I was about 13 years old, after attempting to tolerate the fighting noise for lengthy period of time, I broke out of my bedroom to the battlefield. I told my childish parents ‘Hey you two, need to make up your minds. You either get a divorce or living in peace. I am fed up with your never ending fighting. You are not children. ‘ I retreated back to my bedroom and put my Walkman back on.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents did not get married to an arranged marriage. They fought for their freedom to marry each other. They love each other but they love themselves more. They are self centred and childish.

I had been their mediator over the years and I counselled them on their relationship which I should have had never got involved. I had always put their emotional needs over my own. I was frightfully independent.

When I was about 17, my father was arrested in the police’s custody. My mother was contacted by the police and given the option of my father’s release on bail. My mother was in complete denial. Instead of focusing on getting the documentation ready for the bail, she went on and on about how the police was corrupted. The irony was, both of us knew my father was far from innocent. I stepped in and organised the bail and my father was released. I comforted my mother. I talked to my father and negotiated some rules to prevent future offence. In hind sight, I should have had let my mother grow up and let my father run his course. I am not their parent disregard how childish they are.

I was forced to grow up to be independent, responsible and peaceable. I am an excellent listener and conflict handler. These qualities all sounded positive traits. So it is very easy to consider I am a well adjusted child and a healthy grownup.

A child parents his or her childish parents has never learnt their precious place to be a child. We learnt that our unmet needs are secondary at best. We have poor boundaries and reap destruction in our own personal relationships.

I became a rescuer who attracted to victims and took accusation from the persecutors on the chin. In this power balanced and stubborn triangle, as long as I stand firm as the rescuer, the victim remains victim. In another word, I enable them not to grow up and take responsibility for their behaviours. I was merely repeating the pattern of raising my childish parents in my personal relationships.

I came to a point where I was completed worn out and cocooned myself shutting off any warm or fuzzy human contact in any kind. I had been numb and oblivious to emotional pain. I survived by dissociating myself to my life and surroundings. I have always been able to hear my own thoughts clearly, I hear the battle between spirits and the power struggle among them. I had watched my own life playing out like a long television series for over a decade. When I bled out emotionally, there was nothing left of me to be squeezed, not compassion, not sympathy, not care nor love. I was dead to myself before I was dead to others. Even in death I was secondary.

I knew the root cause of my sour fruits came from taking up the inappropriate responsibility for parenting my childish parents from a young age. Yet they were not the solution to my heartache, I am. My life will not bear sweet fruits if I continue failing to take responsibility for my default rescuer setting. When I was so dead that I was unable to disassociate. I was in my own flesh within a shell and faced the cusp of life and eternal death. I was lucid and saw my life as how it really was, the part I played and the effects on people around me in particular my love ones.

Transformation came after realisation. I have learnt self care, validation of my own needs and boundaries of trust and respect. I have come to know myself again. I know who I am. I am able to dream again and follow my dreams. I know who I will trust my life to.

My childish parents taught me an invaluable life lesson and I love them for it.