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Camille Tsai

Camille-661-編輯.jpg

 True.Naked

 

A Taiwan famous theater director Li Guo-xiu once said a thought-provoking sentence: A person only needs to do one thing well in his/her lifetime.

 

I was deeply moved and thought to myself: If I choose to do one thing well in my life, what do I want to do?

 

I found that I never thought about it...because...

I Fit In...Everywhere

I have shown my talents in many things since young. I was especially good at studying for exams and drawing.

 

I painted so well that my middle school art teacher made a special visit to my house and pleaded with my father to let me pursue art. The teacher was willing to tutor me for the art school entrance exam; however, my father rejected her directly in front of me: My daughter is good at studying, I want her to have a general education, not art. The art path is too narrow.

 

As a result, I was ignorantly driven away from my real dream: artistic creation.

The Drifting Years

Having forgotten my dreams, I studied in a famous all-girl high school for three years. I chose Advertising as my major in university, hoping somehow to do a bit of art. Who knew that the advertising department of my school only focused on “management training” and taught no visual arts. Thus, I changed my major to marketing and PR thinking this might take me closer to dream

 

In my four years of college life, I managed to get by doing minimum schoolwork during the day and played hard after school. I has several boyfriends, worked as a beer promoter, tried to be a model, tried to be a weather reporter, tried to write TV show script, and made friends with everyone…exploring all sorts of possibilities, but never developed anything seriously.

 

In a blink of an eye, I graduated from university.

That year was the pink bubble era when the Internet took off. I stepped into this industry of "Be yourself" and "Exploring infinite possibilities'‘, enjoying an exciting new life. I wore torn jeans and slippers to work, and put on hot shorts and high heels at night clubs. Worked hard and played harder. With endless creativity and energy, I thought I could be an Internet newstar all the way to the end. Marriage and family was not on my mind, something perhaps for "a long, long time later."

 

Especially after I was heartbroken by a certain boyfriend.

Life-changing Stumbling block

A week after we met, he already asked to see my parents. We were Romeo and Juliet in my friends’ eyes, and meant to be together. We sang non-stoppingly while driving 5 hours to Kaohsiung; enjoyed all kinds of conversations that ranged from the meaning of life to cartoons.

 

Still, it didn’t work out.

 

After breaking up with him, I lost a lot of weight and became only 38 kilos. There was a time that I wanted to jump off the balcony of my apartment almost every night.

 

For two years, I gamed in relationships and couldn’t love anyone.

 

I fell to a new depth of despair.

 

Many years later, I am grateful for what happened.

Now I know that no one MUST tolerate you,

I also know that a “perfect match” is no guarantee in relationships.

More importantly, I got to know Jesus.

 

After accepting a friend’s invitation, I walked into a cell group gathering in church. I just sat and listened without expectation. Suddenly the gray-haired female pastor walked up and said to me: May I pray for you?

I didn’t have time to react. I have forgotten what she prayed. I only knew that as she prayed, I felt a warm comfort pouring on me, tears rained down immediately: I was soaked in strong love.

 

In that instant, my aching and empty heart, which could not be comforted by KTV and disco parties, was redeemed. 

 

I knew everything would be ok.

 

Because I have Jesus.

Turning To See Happiness

After I met Jesus, my life took a big turn.

 

Knowing Jesus was a journey of rediscovering who I am. It was extremely difficult for me to peel away layer by layer in front of Jesus. Although I was learning to open myself in the church, I still wore masks in relationships. I found I enjoyed being "likeable" when I was with men; I subconsciously pleased them, taking men’s love as my trophies. In the end, I either grew tired of acting and changed my partner, or I revealed my true color and scared them away.

 

Unexpectedly, at the age of 29, Denis, my under table lover for ten years, suddenly touched my heart. He spent half a year convincing me to marry him: "Because we know every dirty secret about each other, we can have a frank and honest relationship". I never thought I would get married before 30. This was a story about a playboy who met a social butterfly. At our wedding, many people called the bride's name wrong (obviously I am not his “that” girlfriend who has been with him for many years); many people met the groom for the first time (He was not on her boyfriend list yet). Maybe we were not the most obvious pair, but we both knew it was meant to be when the moment we decided.

 

This big turn also included a career stop.

 

I didn't expect that I would marry so early, and I didn't expect to give up my internet career right after getting married. However, looking at my husband's tearing eyes when he learned about my pregnancy; hearing the heartbeats of the little seed in my tummy for the first time; letting my imagination of the baby expand indefinitely...being a housewife didn’t seem to be so bad any more, instead, I became quite good at it!

 

I didn’t have postpartum depression, nor did I envy the career achievements of my friends. I was messy when I was single, but to my mum’s surprise, I managed my family well. My son and daughter are well-organized in all aspects because of my "lazy management method".

 

My husband kept his words and let me be my true self in our happy marriage. He encouraged me to try many things that I hadn't dared to do before, such as cycling, swimming, snowboarding, and diving; we also tried new and interesting things together: skinny dipping, fasting holidays, etc.

 

So, my artistic dream was woken again in this happy haven.

Feel The Joy of God's Creation From a Handful of Soil

One day, I suddenly yearned to make pottery when pregnant with my firstborn.

I used to do some pottery when I was still working, but only very occasionally because of my busy schedule. Stepping into the pottery classroom once again, this time, I have now been doing pottery for more than ten years and never stopped.

 

Whenever I mention to people about me making pottery, they always look at me in disbelief: it’s hard to connect this delicate girl (whose nails are always polished) with dirty pottery work.

 

To me, making pottery is a clean and honest soul bath.

 

When I work with a pile of soft and helpless clay to shape the beautiful ideal in the heart of my imagination, I can’t help but think how God picked up a handful of soil and created man by his own image; how he breathed life into man, making him the only spiritual creation in the universe.

 

This process brings me infinite satisfaction; the setbacks, challenges and breakthroughs in the creative process make me ponder and appreciate the Father's heart.

 

This liberation of the mind reached its peak when I created the "horse" series.

 

After my trip to Mongolia, I created a series of horses. I love their freedom without indulgence, noble without arrogance. Mongolians love their horses and let them gather freely to sit or stand leisurely to be themselves. Seeing horses, people and heaven & earth blend together, deeply moved me. So since I created many horses, from which I injected my understanding of the world, relationship, and spiritual life.

 

After making pottery for many years, another artistic dream that had been deserted in the dust was awakened again...

A Woman Who Loves to Dream

Although I loved painting since I was a child and awarded in numerous painting competitions, I stopped painting in anger since my dad rejected my opportunity to pursue the art dream. Occasionally I drew for friends or boyfriends, but I got comments of "childish" in return.

 

These scars were healed by my husband many years later.

----------------

 

I always dream. My dreams are in colors and the plots are complicated. Each dream  is 3D movie worth-making. I developed the habit of recording dreams and shared them with my husband. He listened to them interestingly and always encouraged me to draw them.

 

Four years ago, I started learning oil painting, and started my journey of painting my dreams.

 

The creative process is like bearing a baby. Starting from simple ideas, then I nurtured them. In the beginning, there were only basic structures, so I often experienced cramps and got stuck in the creation process. What is created after the pain is never 100% what I expected. I enjoy this journey very much, and I really like the surprises once my works are completed. After I leave my hands, they will each live their lives, allowing viewers to interpret them in their own ways.

 

In this creative process, although it seems that I am realizing my dreams, the light and glimpses in those dreams are constantly clarified and explained during the creative process, which in turn taught me many truths.

 

In my "re-creation" painting, I reflected on this process of talking to myself and understanding myself, hoping the angel in my painting would spread her wings and fly to a better self.

True, Naked in My Work

Throughout my life, I encountered many talent scouts and friends, each broadened my life and gave me many expectations; in exchange, I also worked hard to put on many masks to meet these expectations, and wanted to be perfect in every way.

 

Only in the face of an honest piece of soil and a clean canvas, I no longer need to make a gorgeous appearance to satisfy everyone's expectations.

 

So now, after so many years, I, who had always said,"my artistic dream got delayed by my father", finally face the truth bravely. Even though my work may not be highly praised by others, I still have to express myself once.

 

My hues may not be the brightest, but it shows the colors only I see.

 

Special thanks to my father who gave me this perfect excuse to postpone my debut to this late age.

 

 

I hope you like this “True, Naked” me.

© 2020 Camille Tsai . All Rights Reserved