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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Jangan Lagi



Setetes air mata. Dua tetes. Terus dan terus hingga saya tersedu sesenggukan di lantai apartemen saya. Padahal sudah dua tahun berlalu, tapi saya masih seperti ini.

"Jangan pergi." "Aku janji akan jadi istri yang lebih baik." "Jangan marah." "Aku nggak akan bertanya lagi." "Maaf. Aku nggak tahu salahku apa tapi tolong maafkan aku." "Jangan pergi." Pikiran ini berkecamuk di kepala saya kala gebetan saya terlihat tak nyaman saat saya mengundangnya ke pesta teman saya.

Nafas terasa pendek. Dada terasa sesak. Mata membesar dalam ketakutan. Tubuh yang gemetar. Kepala yang terasa berat dan tak bisa berpikir jernih. Mulut yang kering. Airmata yang terus mengalir. "Jangan lagi," pikir saya. "Jangan lagi." 

Cuma SMS kok, batin kita. Hanya bertanya apa kabar, tukas kita. Hal yang awalnya terlihat nggak berbahaya bisa menjadi calon kiamat bagi pasangan kita. Orang baru akan selalu terlihat lebih menarik. Gairah dan canda riang tanpa beban jelas lebih menyenangkan.

Sementara hidup pasangan anda serasa seperti di neraka. Dia nggak tahu apa yang terjadi, tapi yang dia tahu kasih anda semakin berkurang. Yang dia tahu anda semakin tidak peduli. Dan mungkin, mungkin itu salahnya, walau ia tak tahu apa salahnya.

Anda yang melihat pasangan semakin gelisah akan menjadi tambah tidak suka padanya. Apalagi saat ia mulai mempertanyakan mengapa anda berubah. Anda yang merasa bersalah akan mencari pembenaran, dan sangat mungkin menyalahkan pasangan anda. 

Saat semua terbongkar, dan biasanya memang akan ketahuan, refleks pertama anda pastinya mempertahankan diri anda. Anda menyanjung betapa hebatnya si selingkuhan dibanding pasangan anda. Pasangan anda yang sudah terpukul karena kehilangan cinta anda akan semakin terpuruk karena merasa dirinya tidak pantas, merasa dirinya gagal.

Semua demi sebuah rasa yang fana. Karena porsi besar dari indahnya selingkuh adalah dag dig dug der romansa, lezatnya buah terlarang. Saat tidak lagi jadi terlarang, saat benar-benar harus mengarungi hidup bersama dan bukan hanya curi-curi ketemu, rasa itu sangat mungkin hilang.

Ini bukan hanya dilakukan oleh pria. Wanita juga banyak yang bersalah. Berkirim pesan di dunia maya hingga mengabaikan pasangan, membuat sejuta alasan untuk membenarkannya: "Habis pasangan saya nggak romantis," "Habis pasangan saya kasar," "Habis pasangan saya membosankan."

Ya tinggalkan. Nggak usah cari alasan. Punya pasangan itu komitmen, bukan sekedar baju yang anda bisa ganti pakai sesuka hati anda. Kalau anda sudah merasa tidak cocok, ya pergi. Kalau anda tidak yakin mau pergi, ya jangan cari yang lain. Fokus dengan pasangan anda sampai anda tahu apa yang anda mau.

Dan kita pun berujar dengan patuh: "Oh iya, itu benar." Tapi seberapa banyak dari kita yang berani menentang teman kita yang berselingkuh? Seberapa banyak dari kita yang berani berkata tegas: "Loe ga kesian sama pasangan loe?" 

"Itu kan urusan dia," kilah kita, "Gue mah ga mau ikut campur urusan rumah tangga orang." Tapi saat kepercayaan pecah berkeping-keping akan ada seseorang yang harus membawa kepingan itu seumur hidupnya. Akan ada seseorang yang terluka selamanya.

Jangan terlibat dengan pasangan orang karena dirayu dan diceritakan betapa brengseknya si pasangan. Jangan melibatkan diri dengan orang lain karena berpikir anda berhak mendapat lebih dari pasangan anda. Jangan diam saat anda tahu seseorang akan terluka karenanya.

Gebetan saya menjawab SMS saya dengan nada ceria, menenangkan saya dan bilang ia tak keberatan pergi ke acara saya. Namun saat itu saya sudah bersembunyi di balik selimut, bantal basah oleh airmata. Jangan lagi. Jangan lagi.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Tears Were Falling



11 pm and the tears were falling.

I asked my date to go to an event with me and I thought his answer was lukewarm (read: reluctant). I went into a frenzy and wrote back in panic, over-explaining my request because I was worried he was uncomfortable with it.

As I texted the explanation, the tears started to fall. "Please don't get mad at me." "Please don't hate me." "Please be nice to me." "I won't ask again." "I promise I will be good." "Please don't go." "Please don't hurt me."

Two years had past and I am still in this f*cking rut. I know it was not my fault. It was not my fault the marriage ended. It was not my fault he cheated on me. It was not my fault that he treat me that way.

When I typed my text I forced myself to think clearly. I have all the right to invite this man to come with me. If he freaked out, if he's not ready or not willing to, if he left because I made him uncomfortable, so be it.

I stepped into the shower to cool down my head. The cold water shocked my body, but my mind was still elsewhere. Opening up to a new person is frightening. You laid yourself bare and at their mercy. With the intimacy, the ghouls rose.

"It's ok," I whispered to myself, hugging the pillow hard, "It's ok." I shivered under the thin blanket. "He is not him. He will not hurt you." I blinked hard, holding back tears. "It's ok," I said loudly with a choked voice, "It's ok."

I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be treated decently. I deserve to be respected. I deserve to be given an equal amount of love and attention that I can give. I deserve to be free of fear.

Yet it's 11.53 pm and the tears were still falling. The pillow under my head was wet with tears. He has texted me to assure me it's all fine, but I still curled up in anguish. I want this to end. Please. I don't want to feel this way anymore.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Selling Hate



I went to a presentation about Index Universal Life (IUL), and the salesperson pitched on how the IUL was created so not only rich people can get the benefit of Whole Life Insurance. He continued on implying very, very subtly how this is a game changer and bring equality for us, middle-class people.

B*tch, I want to hear about the returns, the fees, and the benefits that I can get from your life insurance plan. Whatever the rich people may or may not do will not be a deal breaker for me to get your product. You are not selling insurance plan, you are selling hate.

Sadly, his pitch might work with other people. Vilifying a certain party/group creates this separation of "Us vs Them", with the salesperson squarely put himself as "I'm on your team!". This newfound sense of togetherness made decision making a lot swifter as it is fueled by emotion and not logic. 

We've seen this happened, from political candidates to people selling hand soap. "Unlike our competitor who is [insert bad adjective here], we strive to be [insert good adjective here]". The underlying theme is the same "We are the good guys. We are the one who wants to help you. You want to trust us on this."

Working as a salesperson for 5 years I learn that this narrative is not only unfair, it is also harmful. It is unfair because you will get the quick gain of whatever it is you are selling, but the customer who buys it on impulse might not be happy with what they get. Heck, it might not even be what they're looking for.

It is harmful because you create (and input) opinion that will have an effect on the people you are speaking to. Opinions that might not be true or not based on facts can potentially damage the party/group that you vilified, all for the sake of profit. How cool is that?

"But they are just being passionate about their cause. We shouldn't be too hard on them." Well, no. Really. What they should be passionate about is their product, whatever they try to sell. If your selling point is not the product/service but only a jargon of "We're morally better than them", then your product/service has issue. 

The sad reality is, we can't stop these people who sell hate. We can't stop people from trying the easy way of division and grouping to incite the knee-jerk emotional reaction in order to gain profit from. But we can be smart about it. We can be careful and look at things with cool head and logic.

Back to the presentation: it doesn't work for me because I don't have a grudge towards wealthy people. Even if the salesperson managed to incite that grudge, it doesn't change the fact that the fee percentage is a lot higher, the benefit is limited, and the whole thing looks shady AF. 

The question that we should always ask is: will this work for us? Is it something that we want, something that we need? Get all the facts, look at all the data, ensure that everything is reliably sourced, i.e. not just "Well according to my friend who is a friend of the neighbor of…."

The divisions in America are more prominent than ever. It is time for us to do something. We can do that by forcing ourselves to make fact-based decisions and not fall into grouping narrative. Do what you think is right, but do it responsibly. Buy that IUL because you think it's good, not because "F*ck the establishment! F*ck rich people!". Then again, a nice, handsome sugar daddy won't hurt.

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