Visual Anatomy: The Human Condition


Brunei Blogger May Cho of The Mayden | Projector Photography, Tumblr, Neon Sign
Visual Anatomy is a bird's eye view of my inner workings, a pixelated spilling of my guts and thoughts spread out into a trilogy. Find out more here.

I sometimes think that if my heart is sliced open, instead of veins and arteries, there'd be words instead. A blood-pumping organ the core of one's anatomy, catalyst for downfalls and reason for joy -- all this in one made out of words. How insufferably poetic.

"How was your day?"

A treacherous night was upon the world this evening and I was a capsule of energy crouched in a corner witnessing it. Book shelf draped in sentimentality mounted above my head, a phone call in my ear.

I had a nightmare where you were being tortured and I couldn't do anything and I woke up crying. I went back to sleep two hours later after convincing myself that you were perfectly fine. I woke up late with a bloated face and bloated stomach and I didn't have breakfast. I read a book about the bane of humanity and the devastation of feelings and it moved me to tears so I re-read it and re-read it and re-read it and re-read it. And then I fed the cat and cuddled the cat and watched a movie about freedom. And then I tried to workout but got too lazy and ended up napping on the floor instead. I woke up and had dinner and took a bath and did random stuff and now I'm here. It was an odd day, a lazy day, but mostly odd. I miss you.

"It was alright." Understated -- the only way I know how.

Visual Anatomy: Debug [TW]


Visual Anatomy is a bird's eye view of my inner workings, a pixelated spilling of my guts and thoughts spread out into a trilogy. Find out more here.

I used to see the world in a different way.

We were all little programs running around in this great, big gigantic environment, doing things, repeating things, trying to solve problems. I saw codes on the screen of the subject I study today inside of me -- strings of 1s and 0s impeccable to the last line zooming through my brains, thought out and coded out to perfectly run a series of steps precise to its function, never faltering, never failing, immaculate.

But when I started to see my code falter -- a little too slow, a little too clumsy, a little too big -- I did what I could to keep things in order; I tried to fix things. Debug. Find the error in me. And then --

I learnt how a heart could break on the day I decided to die.

A Trade of Hearts and Souls

Brunei Blogger May Cho writes and reflects on friendships, a large part of 2016 | Vintage style, turtleneck, high-waisted skirt, button-down skirt, The Mayden
There was comfort in tearing myself apart in this room.

It was nine in the morning and a comrade was naked save for a pair of shorts and an apron draped about his neck in the kitchen. He was making breakfast: instant noodles and french toast, the diet of college kids on lazy mornings where we try to make an effort.

"Breakfast!" he called. It was the end of the semester, the end of the year and we were celebrating. 

The rest of us had just woken up. I had been up a while, unable to sleep from the misadventures dawn so often brings; ill-timed alarms serenading the way sun rays kiss dusty furniture, nightmares drowning the momentary peace of slumber, alert senses not immune to the outside world. When we sat down in the kitchen, though, I wished for nothing more than that very moment.

Visual Anatomy: Galaxy

Galaxy Projector Photography by Brunei blogger and writer May Cho
Visual Anatomy is a bird's eye view of my inner workings, a pixelated spilling of my guts and thoughts spread out into a trilogy. Find out more here.

It was close to midnight. A passionate fire sat beside me in the form of flesh and blood and he drove the vehicle we were in. Its ugly shade of green was obscure in the dim night, thankfully, but dim as it was, I could still make out the silhouettes of trees passing us by as we cruised.

We were two bodies in a confined space soaking in the serenity of isolation. The air conditioner was humming lowly, the stereo off, our attention tuned in. Laced fingers. This was a familiar retreat.

"What is the one thing you want to do in the entire world?" he asked me.

Visual Anatomy: Prologue

Brunei Blogger May Cho of The Mayden | Projector Photography, Visual, Creative, Quote, tumblr
"What do I do?" I ask.

My fingers are shaking in the cold, dark room that smells like popcorn and blessings on Saturday evenings. The screen had been flashing pieces of an angst-ridden journal a while ago but the words -- 'always' and 'scars' and 'broken' -- did not seem to speak as they usually do on teary dawns and restless dusks. They used to shout at me, their rough consonants howling in my dreams. But tonight, they are reserved. Quiet.

"Just pull up images. Any image," she replies.

Pale Fire

Brunei Style Blogger May Cho | On the frustration at the lack of inspiration | Sheinside, The Mayden, Choker, Grunge, crop top, pencil skirt, writer, writing, prose, experimental, creative, portrait, photographyBrunei Style Blogger May Cho | On the frustration at the lack of inspiration | Sheinside, The Mayden, Choker, Grunge, crop top, pencil skirt, writer, writing, prose, experimental, creative, portrait, photography
“The moon's an arrant thief, And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.”
― William Shakespeare

I must make a confession. It is neither a confession that threatens my morals, nor is it a confession that invites shame. It is a confession that saddens me, more than anything. It is a sort of confession that forces me to see that getting out of the house is not a good idea and that my feet are rooted in mud and dead grass and to realize that the November rains are not here to cleanse me of dirt and soil. It is not here for me, not there for me, not anywhere at all, really, but everywhere for a cracked piece of ashwood to sod.

There was a time when I was still under a roof that I felt the logs inside my soul weigh me down. It was not a gentle tugging. It was not a puncture, not a deflation. It was a heavyweight fighter throwing me down to the floor, pinning my head and heart down kind of weigh me down. So I had burnt them, the logs. Tinder and spark. Fire and bark. I left shelter thinking I could keep myself warm. And so it goes, the tale of a burning girl in monsoon winds.

Flower Child

Brunei Blogger May Cho, hibiscus, tumblr, color, experimental, ,80s, vintageBrunei Blogger May Cho, hibiscus, tumblr, color, experimental, ,80s, vintage, flower
Musings is a series of creative, experimental expositions of ideas, observations or thoughts with a specific focus on fictionalizing reality and visual writing, using style as visual accompaniment. Style takes secondary focus in Musings.

My heart is withering like a wrinkly, old prune and I feel it dropping out of me. It is ugly and heavy, a shriveled up boulder. It falls on dead lilacs, dried lilacs. This I write with ink of rose cataracts. Dumb lilacs.

I watch the evening devoid of carbon and devoid of oxide. I have become a decaying carcass. The night sky is infinite and dotted and dashed and the dandelions are feathery and whisper-y and dance-y. They speak to me through the breeze -- it is the only way to speak to a blinded, deafened, deadened carcass. 

I feel on my skin their quiet little kisses. Ballerinas. They tiptoe through starlight in their slender, silky way. Every dried up crevice and drooping cranny on my body can feel it and I am filled with an incomprehension I do not want mollified. It is gentle. Calm. Soft, but an almost painful kind of soft. It is a pas de deux on the slopes of the breeze, and through my division, I feel an unexpected tug. 

No longer dead lilacs, dumb lilacs, though I still write from rose cataracts. I now paint with my crushed flower heart -- rose red, violet and ivy green, hazel. Colorful carcass of a flower child raised.

Empower x Min x Phoebe with Jay Johar

Brunei Blogger May Cho in collaboration with model Phoebe Chok nd Shi Min of discofissh, taken by Mujahid Jay Johar | style, blazer, monochrome, women empowerment
Brunei Blogger May Cho of The Mayden in collaboration with model Phoebe Chok nd Shi Min of discofissh, taken by Mujahid Jay Johar | style, blazer, monochrome, women empowerment
Brunei Style Blogger Shi Min of discofissh by Mujahid Johar | THE MAYDEN
Brunei model Phoebe Chok for The Mayden by Mujahid Johar
Three young women, three different styles, three different personalities -- unified by a single thread. 

With a photographer of evident calibre, synchronized blazers and a location to fit into the picture, we had our eyes set on telling a story, one that has strung the three of us together. We have so much to say, so much to share, but such a thin line to walk on. This I witnessed when we were seated around a cafe one afternoon trying to put our thoughts into words, and, within the strength we hoped to disperse, there is vulnerability and fragility in worried eyes and shivers.

No matter, I decided. 

Meet Min, meet Phoebe, meet May -- birds of a feather flocking together, trying to break out of a cage. 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAY JOHAR

Ennui

It was a particularly cloudy afternoon when these photos were taken. There was, alongside the scurried footsteps of pedestrians in muted hues, a melancholy wind drifting pale clouds of gray along. The dim sky brought about a bout of ennui that seeped and soaked into my skin as, sunless and cheerless, lethargic languor lulled me in.

Laziness is the word most would use upon the sight of a red mug on the bedside table, quiet mist, hot tea and all. Difference begs to be heard, however, where there are clamped legs and tired arms, cramped heart and sighing mind.

Chameleon

Brunei Blogger May Cho in collaboration with makeup artist Muiz Zamri and Photographer Lily Harith
Brunei Blogger May Cho in collaboration with Rebecca, makeup artist Muiz Zamri and Photographer Lily Harith
She is a chameleon.

She is emerald in the forest, cyan on ocean beds, marigold in fields of sunflowers. She is Hazel in front of mirrors, Raven to her readers, Henna to her followers. She breathes in violet clouds and exhales indigo daydreams, drinks in azure mists and speaks spun scarlet, but never were the colours that burst forth from within her in a euphoric stream of mania ever her own. It is white light shattering into seven shards showering upon her soul.

She is a chameleon, but she does not tell anyone.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILY HARITH [FLICKR / INSTAGRAM
MAKEUP BY MUIZ ZAMRI [YOUTUBE / INSTAGRAM]
MODELED WITH REBECCA [TWITTER / INSTAGRAM]

Forest Child

forest child feral styleblogger writing musings anecdotes white dress donya vogue
She is of fig tree limbs and feral heart, a wispy silhouette that breathes through yellowed eyes. She is a witness to the golden drops of sun the forest ceiling filters, billowy hands outstretched to savour the breaking of dawn.

But, with her head towards shards of light and her being among evergreens, she bathes not in warmth but in the woe of her aching heart. Maybe sleeping among thorned roses and fanged wolves had turned it into a thistle.

Desolation x discofissh

avant garde grunge minimal outfit editorial photoshoot leather skirt turtleneck heels black the mayden discofissh
avant garde grunge minimal outfit editorial photoshoot leather skirt turtleneck heels black the mayden discofissh
avant garde grunge minimal outfit editorial photoshoot leather skirt turtleneck heels black the mayden discofissh
Never did I imagine that, when Min of discofissh and I collaborated, our first meet up would be on platforms five storeys above a pit of darkness, decaying remnants of an abandoned project that has collected dust and haunted rumours over the years. 

We had trekked through dilapidated alleyways and climbed up dark stairways, heel-clad feet crunching against mossy cigarette butts and grimy stones and pebbles, to meet the shadows that kiss the lone concrete at nine-fifty-seven in the morning. The location was an urban construction of scrapped stones and cracked cement, an oxymoronic delight I reveled in. One step out the unhinged doorway and one would be hit with the bustle of a metropolis. One step back and the world disappears.

Alienated

Brunei Blogger May Cho, Model, The Mayden, Editorial
The sky was empty when she roused from slumber, a wilderness left barren by the stars that fell as her soul had been resting. She is a body of foreign vessels, blood the streams of nebular cells, heart the jewel in her intergalactic anatomy.

She had plunged, with the universe above her, into an abyss of vision where dreams have been exiled for fantastical reasons but have risen to every constellation etched on her skin. They breathe to the rhythm of the hum of the moon, a quiver in their breaths as human air kisses their host, a touch not of affection but of hostility -- one that threatens the extraneous inconnue.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILY HARITH [FLICKR / INSTAGRAM
MAKEUP BY MUIZ ZAMRI [YOUTUBE / INSTAGRAM]
MODELED WITH REBECCA [TWITTER / INSTAGRAM]

Lunar New Year 16

Brunei Blogger May Cho Chinese New Year The Mayden

Born of Chinese blood -- one quarter pure, three quarters Malaysian -- the Lunar New Year is a tradition my family, dressed in scarlet and gold, observes on a yearly basis, a nod to the ones who govern prosperity and happiness. 

Every year, the Chos fail not to dress in the auspicious hue of bright red on 大年初一 (dà nián chū yī), the first day of the new year, and this remains a chain unbroken for the year to come -- though perhaps it may have been dented slightly with my opting of a slightly grungier look this time around.

Young Blood


I am young.

Said like that, it is a matter of fact, but ever since I blew out thirteen candles five years ago, I have forgotten how to be young. 

"There is a monster," they used to tell me, "there is a monster at the end of -teen, the end of school, the end of youth. There is a monster, so do not let one second slip by your plan of action. There is a monster, be wise, prepare yourself so you do not die."

I heeded their advice like a soldier preparing for war, but as I welded armors and shields and helmets made of stone, I found an emptiness in their instruction. They had not told me that I'd die of hunger and thirst and fatigue first.

So let us not go fighting dragons and spilling young blood, I would tell them if I could, not yet.
© THE MAYDEN.