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Monday, August 29, 2016

Suicidal Sunday

Last Sunday I woke up feeling I want to kill myself. It wasn't just a "bad morning" or "depressed", it wasn't "I need coffee and whiskey in the same mug" or "Chips and Ice cream and pajamas" kind of day. It was a full-blown if-I-had-some-sleeping-pills-I-will-overdose-myself. It was "I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel". It was "Why am I still here? Why am I still alive?".  It was "I don't want to be here anymore". 

It sucks and it took me by surprise. It took everyone by surprise. Just the other morning I happily chatted with my mom over video call. I had a really long and delicious nap. I got laid and it was totally awesome. We played board game all afternoon and well into the evening. Everyone was so much fun to hang out with. I had sushi, which I had been craving for since two-three weeks ago. And ice cream too, Ben and Jerry's Americone. It was a simple yet blissful day. The food was great, the companion was impeccable, and everything went right. Yet the next morning I want to kill myself.

Crisis was averted by my friend, who amazingly managed to keep her calm when I called her midnight Indonesia time and told her sobbingly I want to kill myself. She didn't offer consolation or kind yet empty words, just this acknowledgement: "You are tired. You are overwhelmed. That doesn't make you weak or a bad person." She was right. I was a mess. That doesn't make me a bad person. But I still hate myself. I still want all of this to end. I hate myself for allowing myself to be such a mess. I hate that I miss my stepkids and my cats so very badly. I hate myself for being lonely at night. I hate myself for not achieving more. I hate myself for spending 4 hours commute time each day only staring at the road or on my phone instead of focus on my writing. I hate that I disappoint myself at work. I hate being scared that I financially can't afford to live here. I hate this person whom I have become and I want her gone with all her sadness and fear and uselessness, I want her gone. 

Hidden beneath the fancy word "divorce" was a huge tangle of thorny mess. All aspects of your life was thrown in it, and you'll find yourself bruised and bleeding trying to overcome all those mess: paying up taxes and apartments and other bills now that you are in separate way, adjusting with the sudden loss of friends and family members which whom inevitably took side, figuring out a way to live by yourself since you've been together with the other person since God knows when. Divorce is not only he/she got what. It is the destruction of a relationship, of a good portion (if not all) of your life. The actual reason for the divorce might be the Kraken who was awaken and completely annihilate your island till there was no return, but divorce would be the surviving people who caught you off guard and not only robbed you and stripped you off all your things – valuable or not, but also rape you and beat you and left you there to die. In another word, you are fucked.

I have been f*cked big time. This was not how I imagined myself to be when I arrived from Indonesia, a bright-eyed woman full of hope, with my pretty newly-made wedding dress in my small suitcase. I know life was hard, but I hardly expect myself to be in this position. I am tired and overwhelmed, and rightly so. I have been betrayed. I lost everything that is dear to me. I had to start everything from zero, without close friends or family to help me. I can't get help because I don't know if I can afford it or not, and I can't deal with the long waiting time. Often times all I need is a hug, but since I only know a handful of people here that was a luxury that I can't afford as well. I already spent almost all of my sick days + paid leave for those days when I just can't. I was taken here under the pretext of love and such, and now I have to live by myself, maneuvering life with my meager 1 year of professional work experience. I closed my eyes and I will recall the horrid moments when he decided to choose the other woman over me (and still kept her despite his request for reconciliation and marriage counselling), I opened my eyes and I will see all the mess that he put me in.

Of course, I could go home. It is always an option. But even there I will still be tired and overwhelmed. Restarting my life after 4 years of absence is not a small feat. The questions, the curious gossip, the work search, I still have to deal with that and more. Which makes me feel so angry and so tired. Either way, I am f*cked. And yes, I still have to live with the emotional scars he has given me. The insecurity has been etched so deep into me that often times my boyfriend would notice the panic look in my eyes, no matter how subtle it was. I would be happy and full of laughter, witty and flirty; but the next day I will be reduce to this grotesque being full of fear and sadness. I can't live like this. I don't want to spend every day reliving the horror in my heart, the insecurity and the fear and the loathsome for myself that he has planted in me. I don't want to burden people with my psychotic episodes and useless lamentation. I can't live like this. 

When an extraordinary event of sadness happens, everyone will be hand in hand going to the rescue. Natural disasters, tragic accident, the loss of your loved ones, there will be people that will help you in a jiffy. But after that you are on your own. Even as the house has been rebuilt after the disaster, the person who stays in the house still has to adjust with the new house and deal with the feeling that it is not his/her old house. "You can do it," we say. "You need to move on with your life," we claimed. Other times we just don't have time for them anymore. The crisis has been averted, has it not? The huge crisis, yes; but throughout the healing process there would be tons of mini crisis that just adds up until you just can't take it anymore. Until you want it to end as quickly as possible, come what may the consequences is. Just because a person looks happy and content, that doesn't mean they are free from their demon. I learn this the hard way.

That Sunday morning made me realize how vulnerable I am still. That despite me acting out all independent and cool, I am still battered and broken inside. And it is fine. It is ok to be sad. It is ok to be hurt. It is ok to be tired. Most importantly, it is ok to seek help or at the very least to be honest with myself. I am not well, but instead of forcing myself to feel well and "You're stronger than this!", I should have giving myself a hug and telling myself "Gotcha. It's ok." It is not being weak, it is appreciating myself and what I've been through. I have trudged along thinking it would be the best, because I really don't want to be seen as weak or, heaven forbid, a burden for my friends and family. I was so wrong. I need their help. Yes, I will be repetitive and boring as hell, I will tell you every little thing that would make you rolled your eyes and think, "This again?", but guess what? You will understand. Because you know me and you know I won't ask your help if I don't need it so very badly. And I should believe in you, and in myself. 

The first step to healing in mental illness is acknowledging you have a problem. I need to acknowledge that. I also need to believe it is fixable. That I am not defined by the horror and the pain that broods in me. That I am not defined by demeaning words he said to me. That I am something, that I am good enough that people actually care and wanted to help me. Believing all of these are not easy. Not at all. But I have to do it. I want to be free from fear and anguish, I want to live a life of gaiety. I want to, as Spock would say it, "Live long and prosper." Despite my demons, I have thoroughly enjoyed the life I have right now. The world is my oyster and I'll take it as a shot with damn good Bloody Mary. And no, I don't want to kill myself. Not anymore. Not anymore.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rokokmu Alasanmu

Paling sebel kalau baca soal kenaikan harga rokok alasan yang dipakai: "Kasihan buruhnya, nanti kerja dimana?" Oh jadi sekarang pada perduli nasib buruh? Mikirin ga soal harga-harga yang terus naik sementara gaji mereka pada tetap (baca: kestabilan ekonomi Indonesia)? Mikirin ga nasib anak-anak buruh yang sebenarnya orang tuanya nggak mampu punya anak tapi karena minimnya pengetahuan mbrojol terus (baca: penggalakan program KB)? Mikirin ga pendidikan para anak-anak buruh ini kedepannya gimana, apa iya besarnya cuma bisa jadi buruh aja (baca: kesetaraan pendidikan dan penjaminan kesempatan)?

Sori nggak sori sih, tapi faktanya "kehilangan lapangan pekerjaan" itu alasan klise dan sepihak banget. Saat kompleks Dolly ditutup berapa orang kehilangan lapangan pekerjaan. Saat pabrik miras dan narkoba digerebek juga orang-orang kehilangan lapangan pekerjaan. Belum lagi razia Ramadhan di beberapa tempat, yang 'dosa'nya cuma jual makanan saat bulan puasa (tapi jaringan fastfood tetap berjaya dong). Udah, ngaku aja. Kalau bukan karena rokok itu 'kebutuhan' anda, nggak akan anda repot-repot ingat dan memperjuangkan nasib buruh rokok. Main deh sekali ke Museum Sampoerna di Surabaya, disana anda bisa melihat para mbak-mbak pabrik rokok bekerja. Memburuh rokok itu pekerjaan yang sangat monoton, seperti robot. Dibayar sih dibayar, tapi ini bukan pekerjaan yang bisa meningkatkan kualitas hidup. Benefit seperti asuransi kesehatan dan jaminan hari tua juga nggak ada. Ini yang mau anda pertahankan?

Tapi, gubris anda penuh emosi, pelacuran dan miras itu dilarang agama dan buka saat bulan puasa juga menggoda umat. Oh ya? Seberapa banyak sih orang yang jadi/memakai perek yang anda kenal? Seberapa banyak sih orang yang ngobat dan hobi minum yang anda kenal? Seberapa banyak sih orang yang anda lihat foya-foya makan didepan umum saat bulan puasa? Justru karena di Indonesia normanya masih kuat, hal-hal seperti ini nggak banyak terjadi. Bahaya? Banget. Tapi karena tabu dilakukan di muka umum, pelakunya cuma bisa ngumpet-ngumpet. Dulu waktu mulai iseng coba-coba date sama bule (yang konotasinya seks bebas) saya yang sibuk parno, takut dilihat keluarga besar dan dituduh jadi ayam/cewek ga bener. Beli minuman keras di minimarket juga yang dilihat sinis, padahal tumben banget. Di Jakarta makan pas puasa pun harus ngumpet biar nggak ngeganggu yang puasa, ini kesadaran sendiri ya karena saya menghargai mereka. Kayanya nggak mungkin banget hal-hal begini jadi viral dan semua orang melakukannya, karena masih terpatri dalam masyarakat kita bahwa itu salah. Tapi yang begini yang diributin.

Rokok, dilain pihak, beredar luas dan dimaklumi. "Nggak cowok kalo nggak merokok," konon katanya. Kita pegangan tangan ditegur karena dianggap tidak senonoh, tapi semua orang ngerokok blas blas blas kita anggap biasa. Miras/narkoba/pelacuran bisa dibilang cuma ngerusak badan sendiri, tapi merokok itu merusak badan orang lain juga karena asapnya. Coba deh ngerasain terjebak di dalam bis saat hari hujan di tengah macetnya Jakarta, yang pengap dan sesak karena semua jendela ditutup daaaaan masih ada lho yang keukeuh ngerokok. Nggak usah yang standar Ibu hamil anak kecil lansia dan seterusnya, saya yang masih muda dan sehat pun (jyaaaahhh) kalau terus-terusan terpapar asap rokok ya megap-megap juga. Konsep "ruang merokok" atau daerah khusus rokok sih bagus ya, tapi kalau rokok dianggap barang wajar ya nggak terpakai bukan? Toh semua orang ngerokok, gitu argumennya.

Ini dari segi kesehatan, dari segi ekonomi juga nggak masuk akal. Sebungkus rokok itu Rp 12-15ribu. Itu setara dengan ayam ras ½ ekor/telur ayam ½ - 1 kg/beras setra 1 kg/jeruk medan 1 kg. Itu setara dengan 1 porsi nasi pecel ayam atau 2x makan di warteg (pakai sayur+telur). Sebulan dikumpul dapat setidaknya Rp 350ribu, cukup buat bayar ½ uang kos atau kontrakan, kalau bukan seluruhnya. Misalnya saja gaji perbulan anda Rp 3juta, maka perharinya anda mendapatkan Rp 100,000; yang kurang lebih 1/6 nya anda pakai untuk beli rokok. 1/6 gaji lho. Yang rajin ikut seminar keuangan pasti tahu aturan 50/20/30, 50% (3/6) dipakai untuk rumah dan kebutuhan pokok lainnya, 20% (sekitar 1/6) dipakai untuk tabungan dan investasi, 30% (sekitar 2/6) untuk gaya hidup seperti jjs, liburan, ke resto/cafe dan sebagainya. Jadi biaya rokok anda bisa jadi memakan alokasi tabungan anda, atau membuat anda jadi tidak bisa pergi ke cafĂ©/nge-date sesering yang anda mau. Ini kalau gaji anda 3 juta ya, kalau yang dibawah 3 juta sangat mungkin jatah rokok mengurangi jatah makan, yang mana sangat berabe bila orang tersebut sudah berkeluarga.

Bagi yang kebetulan belum bekerja (baca: pelajar dan mahasiswa), ujung-ujungnya orang tua yang harus menanggung biaya rokok ini. Padahal uang Rp 350ribu sebulan cukup untuk membayar kursus Bahasa Inggris atau Komputer yang lebih menjamin pekerjaan kedepannya. Rp 350ribu dikumpul selama 6 bulan juga cukup untuk membayar SPP kuliah, atau bahkan sekalian dengan SKS nya. Bayar cicilan motor juga bisa, bahkan bisa sekalian cari tambahan jajan sebagai sopir Gojek atau GrabBike. Rp 350ribu itu cukup buat beli buku-buku bermutu, baik novel maupun diktat kuliah. Nggak ngerokok sebulan bisa buat bayar bikin paspor. Nggak ngerokok 4 bulan bisa jalan-jalan backpacking agak beradab ke Bali (dari Jakarta). Intinya, biaya rokok anda bisa dialokasikan untuk memajukan taraf hidup anda.

Yang perlu anda ketahui adalah: rokok dan barang konsumtif lainnya memberikan manfaat hanya kepada pemilik industrinya. Di Amerika sini para penggiat anti rokok sukses menumbangkan industri rokok: rokok mahal, diregulasi sangat ketat (nggak boleh dijual eceran + ada batas umur), ruang merokok dibatasi, plus perokok harus bayar premi asuransi kesehatan lebih mahal. Tapi bukan berarti industri 'berbahaya' lainnya bisa tumbang begitu saja. Biarpun ada sekian banyak penembakan massal di sini, biarpun bisa setiap minggu ada cerita kecelakaan fatal akibat senjata api, tetap saja laris manis. Sebegitu kuatnya lobi (baca: cengkeraman) para pemilik industri senjata api di pemerintahan sini, sampai-sampai studi tentang senjata api pun dilarang, boro-boro aturannya diperketat. Inilah yang terjadi di Indonesia dengan industri rokok saat ini. Semua orang sampai yang dipelosok desa pun merokok, kebayang nggak profit yang didapatkan para pemilik perusahaan rokok ini? Kesibukan anda protes soal harga rokok ya sebenarnya corong mulut mereka juga. Harga rokok Rp 15rb dengan keuntungan Rp5rb tapi dibeli 1 juta orang lebih besar daripada harga rokok Rp 45rb dengan keuntungan Rp 40rb tapi yang beli hanya 10 ribu orang. Rela gitu anda jadi bidak caturnya pengusaha-pengusaha ini?

Sayangnya bagi anda-anda yang perokok, satu-satunya cara pasti untuk membatasi peredaran rokok ini adalah dengan menaikkan harganya. Kalau nggak kebeli ya nggak dibeli. Birokrasi kesehatan kita yang ndalilah masih tidak memungkinkan untuk 'memaksa' orang berhenti merokok dengan mengganjar premi tinggi. Pola pikir masyarakat yang masih menganggap merokok itu wajar juga membuat peredaran rokok semarak syalala. Boro-boro pelarangan adegan merokok di film TV/bioskop, wacana harga naik saja sudah ada hoax kanan kiri. Mau nggak mau ya harus dibuat mahal: instan dan ampuh.

Anda mungkin merasa hak anda sebagai perokok dirampas, namun ada sisi lain dari pemaksaan pembatasan rokok: orang lain (baca: generasi muda) memiliki pilihan untuk ikut kecanduan atau tidak. Saat ini rokok bisa dibilang merupakan bagian dari gaya hidup masyarakat Indonesia, apalagi yang lelaki. Waktu muda hasrat untuk 'fit in' alias diterima di kalangan teman-teman memaksa diri untuk mulai merokok, apalagi bila dilihat orang dewasa disekitarnya juga merokok; saat dewasa karena sudah kecanduan dan harga terjangkau ya sulit untuk berhenti. Di Amerika sini anak mudanya merokok juga kok, tapi karena harga yang cukup mahal plus sanksi sosial tidak banyak dari mereka yang lanjut merokok saat dewasa. Di Indonesia, ini yang terjadi dengan minuman keras. Seberapa banyak sih dari kita yang setelah mencoba bir/miras lalu lanjut tiap weekend minum? Ini yang sebenarnya diharapkan dari kenaikan harga rokok.

Kenaikan harga rokok, seperti juga kehadiran BPJS dan kawan-kawan, bukanlah semata pengerdilan hak seseorang, namun merupakan pertimbangan akan apa yang diharapkan kedepannya. Tentunya prosesnya tidak akan tanpa gejolak, namanya juga proses, tapi kita harus tetap berfokus pada hasil yang diharapkan. Semua hitung-hitungan diatas didasarkan dari konsumsi rokok 1 bungkus sehari, sementara kita tahu banyak dari golongan menengah kebawah yang mengkonsumsi lebih tiap harinya. Buruh pabrik rokok ada berapa banyak sih dibandingkan sekian juta rakyat Indonesia yang 'membakar' uang setiap harinya karena kecanduan nikotin? Hal ini tentunya semakin memperbesar jurang ekonomi yang saat ini saja sudah tidak masuk akal. Dari segi kesejahteraan hidup, kita seharusnya takut dan waspada akan ketergantungan nikotin sebagaimana kita takut dan waspada akan ketergantungan miras/narkoba/seks bebas. Ketergantungan apapun dapat menumpulkan akal kita dan melumpuhkan diri kita, dan mengingat betapa 'santai' dan permisifnya masyarakat kita pada rokok, sangatlah penting kita mengerti dan memastikan kecanduan ini tidak berlanjut di masyarakat kedepannya.

Ingat, golongan menengah kebawah seperti buruh pabrik rokok lah yang paling rentan kecanduan rokok/nikotin, dan yang paling terkena imbas saat sudah terlanjur kecanduan. Membiarkan kecanduan ini berakar dan berjaya di masyarakat berarti membiarkan yang miskin semakin miskin, membiarkan kemandekan ekonomi dan rendahnya taraf hidup di kalangan menengah kebawah. Yang masih pakai alasan soal buruh nanti kehilangan pekerjaan, gimana kalau energinya dipakai untuk memikirkan bagaimana membuka lapangan pekerjaan baru untuk buruh-buruh ini? Bagaimana agar mereka dan anak-anak mereka punya kesempatan untuk memperbaiki taraf hidup mereka? Bisa kan kita perduli dengan saudara sebangsa kita. Tolong, jangan jadikan mereka sekedar lipservice alasan anda untuk memenuhi ketergantungan anda.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016



Gue mah masih berharap Indonesia bakal ngebolehin dwi-kewarganegaraan seperti Filipina dkk. Atau paling nggak ngasi visa yang lebih welas asih seperti Cina yang bisa 10 tahun visa turisnya, jadi orang-orang dari negara Cina disini santai aja pindah kewarganegaraan. Sori ya, pemegang paspor Amerika itu kaya punya pintu kemana saja, bisa kemana saja tanpa pusing visa etc. Waktu ke Singapur dulu gue boleh stay 30 hari, mantan laki gue dengan paspor Amriknya boleh stay 90 hari lho. Tetangga kita itu padahal!

Kalau ngomongin soal nasionalisme, apa iya tergantung paspor? Banyak orang yang nggak punya paspor Indonesia tapi cinta mati sama Indonesia. Banyak juga orang yang paspornya cuma Indonesia tapi dari ujung kaki sampai ujung rambut barang luar negeri semua. Biar kata tulisan di tag bajunya "Made in Indonesia" yang penting brand luar negeri. Males kan. Belom lagi yang riuh rendah mencemooh dan mengkritik (baca: misuh-misuh) begitu ada yang dirasa nggak nasionalis, tapi diem aja saat orang menjerit-jerit kalipah (bukan Kali Malang). Yang pura-pura bego saat sodara se-indonesia ditekan dan diinjak dan dizholimi. Jangan tanya kencangnya suara saat berasa dizholimi oleh hukum yang RESMI berlaku di Indonesia (colek simpatisan FPI). Sono ganti paspor.

Kehidupan sehari-hari juga begitu. Kemarin tumben dapat ngobrol sama mami muda disini, orang kedua yang ngeluh nggak bisa masuk ke kumpulan orang Indonesia di daerahnya. Gue pikir gue doang yang nggak gaul, ternyata komunitas "You can't sit with us" benar adanya. Yang kalau ada acara biasanya gue cengok lalala sendiri, atau datang ala SMP aja (sehabis makan pulang). Padahal disini gue temenan sama semua orang lho, sampai yang nemu di bis aja bisa jadi BFF. Dan ternyata gue nggak sendiri, banyak yang nasibnya sama kaya gini. Ini namanya nasionalisme? Sopir bis gue aja kayanya lebih heboh pas tahu gue orang Indonesia. Serius.

Apa iya nasionalisme itu mesti yang berkorban nggak jelas, yang harum namanya etc? Jelas nggak. Sekedar ngebantu sesama orang Indonesia ke kehidupan yang lebih baik itu juga nasionalisme. Sekedar baik dan beradab aja sama sesama orang Indonesia tanpa melihat ras dan agamanya itu udah nasionalisme. Sekedar say hi dan bikin dia ngerasa welcome dan ga jelek-jelek banget, entah dia orang baru di luar negeri atau office boy kantor anda, itu juga udah nasionalisme. Mendorong anak perempuan untuk belajar demi masa depannya itu udah nasionalisme. Mendorong anak lelaki untuk memperlakukan perempuan dengan penuh hormat itu udah nasionalisme. Kenapa? Karena masa depan bangsa ini ada di tangan mereka.

Nasionalisme nggak harus "siap berkorban demi bangsa dan negara". Kalau memang jalannya berkarya di luar negeri karena di dalam negeri tidak memungkinkan ya monggo lho. Kenapa tidak? Kalau elo pikir sumpah kewarganegaraan orang Amerika itu mengerikan, banyak kok kejadian yang orang amrik hasil naturalisasi seperti (mantan) pak menteri ujung-ujungnya jadi spy atau teroris. Banyak juga orang amrik yang ujung-ujungnya ngelepas kewarganegaraannya, apalagi yang kaya, karena di Amrik kekayaan yang didapat di negara lain pun tetep kena pajak. Ngehek kan jadi kena pajak berkali-kali.

FYI, saya sudah pernah disarankan untuk melakukan yang dilakukan pak (mantan) menteri. Ga akan ketauan, bisik si pembisik ini. Saya mah males ya. Bukan karena nasionalisme, tapi karena kalau ketauan berabe. Nggak penting juga, karena hak dan kewajiban pemegang green card kurang lebih sama dengan citize, cuma nggak bisa voting dan hal-hal yang berurusan dengan security clearance (jadi polisi etc). Tapi yang jelas dwi-kewarganegaraan petak umpet ini bukan barang baru.

Yang kita baru ngeh soal bendera tiap 17 agustus, sama seperti orang sini baru ngeh be kind and giving tiap mo natalan, apa iya itu nasionalis? Yang ngedukung tim badminton kita pas olimpiade aja, tapi cuek bebek kalo nggak (dan yang keturunan Cina habis kita maki-maki pada kesempatan lain), apa iya itu nasionalis? Yang tiap ngeliat artikel tentang rendang dan keindahan alam Indonesia langsung: I'm Proud to be Indonesian!!, apa iya itu nasionalis? Setau saya itu namanya latah.

Seperti cinta-cinta lainnya, it's true love if you love it as a whole. True love kalau kita menerima apa adanya, dan mau berusaha memajukan satu sama lain demi kehidupan dan masa depan yang lebih baik. Ini definisi Nasionalis, cinta tanah air dan bangsa. Mau paspornya apa kek nggak ngaruh. Security breach pastinya jadi pertimbangan kalau soal Pak (mantan) menteri, tapi itu sama sekali nggak bisa jadi patokan nasionalisme beliau. Mending doi daripada situ yang pede banget paspor Indonesianya dapet diperpanjang di luar negeri. Salam Merdeka!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Mongrel in Me

My friend has a dog that cowers every time someone place a hand over her head. Apparently the owner/breeder was not kind to her when she was a puppy, and even after so much love and in her ripe old age she still cowers. She is still bracing herself for the hit, even though it may never come again.

I am that dog.

I know things will be better. I know things have become better. I know my worth. I know my achievements and is very proud of them. I like who I am. I like how I smile more, how much happier and free I have become. I know I have come a long way. I know I have braced the storm. And I couldn't be prouder for myself for doing such a good job, for maintaining my sanity and dignity when all others are lost.

But I am still bracing for the hit.

A simple text message about his ex sent me into frenzy. I was ready to fight or flight: i.e. ditch the relationship or making him explain everything even if I have to hurt him, better him than me. Which is both crazy and stupid, because I like him a lot, and I'd rather hurt myself than to shred the person I like, or any person in that matter, to pieces over an insignificant reason. And since we've been together for only about a month, it's highly irrelevant. There are other things we still need to argue about and at a much later time. 

It is stupid. It is selfish. Yet at the same time, it is oh so valid.

Just because I feel better, just because I look better, it doesn't mean that I am wholly better. H. P. Lovecraft wrote: "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear." I have a lot of fear in my heart. I am scared my ex will bother and hurt me again. I am scared I will got hurt by my newfound love. I am scared I will get neglected and discarded again. I am scared that I will be considered insignificant again. I am scared that what my ex said is right, that I am not good enough for anything. And I am scared to say all of this to my newfound love for being seen broken and unattractive. 

Which means I am f***ed. How can I fix myself without any help?

Self-help book and such just love to say the magic phrase: "Only you can fix yourself". It is true that your willingness to get help and, subsequently, to change plays a great role in fixing yourself. The first step to treat mental illness is when he/she admits there is something wrong with him/herself. Otherwise it'll only be a waste of everyone's time. However, you simply can't magic yourself into self-acceptance and peacefulness, just like you can't magic yourself into 3 inches taller or 20 lbs lighter. 

There are many other things that you can do/fix by yourself. Your mental issue is unfortunately not one of those.

So here I am, bare and naked. I have been hurt so bad it made me scared to love. I have been broken so bad it made me crumpled and invalid. My confidence has been shot down. My trust has been destroyed. I have lost all my hopes, all my dreams, all the reasons I have lived for for the past 4 years. I may look well-groomed and happy now, but inside I am that dirty ugly mongrel that you found in the gutter, the one that whimpered so pitifully but growled so menacingly when you tried to help and picked me up. 

Is that all of me? Of course not.

I am fiercely loyal. I am kind. I am smart and funny in my own quirky way. I am fair. I will not hurt you unless you give me a really, really good reason for it. I am independent. I am resourceful. I am fun to be with. I am just a good person all round. But this happy-go-lucky person wont survive long if the darkness inside still prevailed, if the dark chasm is not lit and monsters still loomed inside. Regardless what people think, I don't even have to kill the monsters or groomed the ugly mongrel. I just need to somehow make sure they are loved and accepted.

That's why I need people.

I need people to help me loving and accepting this hideous part of me. I need people to lit up the darkness within me with their kind smile and genuine affection. I need to feel that I am not alone, because I really shouldn't be alone with the fear and monsters in my heart. Some might walk away, and it's okay. This is an optional war, so to speak. It is also an ongoing one with no clear description of victory. It might take me several months to healed, it might take decades. All I can do is trudge along, gathering (new) enforcement as I go.

And I am very, very lucky. 

I am lucky enough to be able to speak eloquently about my feeling. I am lucky enough to grasp the concept that it is ok to be a victim, that I wasn't in the wrong because my fairy-tale relationship was burned to the ground. I am lucky enough to understand that my feelings are valid, that all the fear and monsters lurking inside me is not a sign of weakness or craziness, but a mark of hardship that I bore. And it is ok to be hurt. It is ok to be broken. It is ok to not be ok. Most importantly, I am lucky to realized I need help.

Those who had to keep silent and endure your monsters behind the closed door, those who think you deserve such horrible fate, those who repeatedly told and believe that you are worthless, you are not alone.

As I said, I am lucky enough to have the means to get help, others might not. Be it for their own situation, their personality, or the fact that help is not readily or easily available, these people might not be able to get the help they needed. If you know one of them, please be kind. All we need is love and acceptance. If you are one of them, please remember that you are not alone. No amount of words from a stranger like me could fix you, but the promise of acknowledgement, the notion that you do not suffer alone, hopefully could ease your soul. We are not alone.

And may we all find peace and acceptance within us. May the burden lighter, the darkness lessen. May we all be happy and safe.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ode to Mother Earth

Grace be to Mother Earth
From her womb we are all born
From her body we are all live
To her we will all come home

The soil that nurture
The land that feeds
The dirt where we rest
For now and for eternity

Is it not the soil that feeds the plant
Which in turn feeds the animal and us?
Is it not the land that spread its beauty
And allow us to thrive and grow?

Every flower that blooms, high or low
Every blade of grass or lowest 'shroom
Every juicy fruit and delectable vegetables
Mother Earth's energy flows through them

Every graceful animal that moves
Every little one that we can barely see
Every human that stood on this earth
Mother Earth's energy flows through us

Yet we destroy and we hurt
We rendered her useless and inhabitable
We drained her energy with no thanks
Still She gives. And gives. And gives.

Is the world not beautiful enough?
With all the colors and shapes that entice us
Is the world not delightful enough?
With food and friend and place to live and sustain us

We feed on things that fed by her energy
We live our life upon her back
And when we're gone, we'll be reunited with her
And then, the circle continues

Close your eyes and feel her love
In every morsel of food we eat, grown from her
In every natural beauty we see, created from her
In every movement we made, sustained by her

Close your eyes and feel her strength
Cities built, destroyed, and built again
Civilization came one after another
Yet she stays the same, as the sun and moon and stars

Close your eyes and be close to her
Touch the land and thank her
Touch the leaves and thank her
Touch your beloved and thank her

Thank you Mother Earth for your energy
Thank you Mother Earth for your love
Thank you Mother Earth for your patience and kindness
Thank you Mother Earth…

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sing and Dance Your Life Away

I think people should live their lives like a bunch of drunkies on the dance floor. Not just any dance floor, though. It should be one with especially good DJ/Band and most of the people are not even drunk, just buzzed enough to have fun and not humiliate themselves (that much). Or live life like you are in a Karaoke, be it the actual karaoke parlors/bars or in the comfort of your own car. Or like you are in a perpetual mood of singing in the shower. Have fun, be free, belt out that out-of-tune rendition of Rihanna or Celine Dion, then do some more. Life should be that free and unrestrained.

I went to a Harry Potter Birthday Bash a few weeks ago, and it was one of the most amazing nights I've ever had. A lot of cute Harrys, quite a few Gryffindors and Slytherins (where are all the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs?), and a really, really good band. I danced and sang till my chest hurt, and then I danced and sang some more. The euphoria was maddening. Sure, some of us already had some booze by then, but the band just keep rocking song after song and we keep coming back to dance and sing along like crazy. A woman screamed in delight "We have the same purse!!" and hugged me, another one simply doing a dance off with me, everyone was happy and joyful. And I thought to myself, "What a wonderful world." [Pun fully intended]

You might remind me nicely: "Yeah, but booze is involved." Which is not true. I felt the same way singing crazily in the car, or in my shower, or (silently) at work with my headphones on. Music is magic. Combined that with words, which are also pure magic, and we got ourselves a life changer here. Have you ever listen to a song and said, "This is so me!!"; or got your emotion changed after hearing a certain song? One time when I was in high school I was singing "How Could an Angel Break My Heart" so heartbrokenly, which made my friend rolled her eyes and said, "See here, he's not even an angel. Quit this crap." Of course, she was right. But at that time that's how I felt and Toni Braxton captured it so eloquently. Haven't we all been there before?

Songs allow you to put your emotion on your sleeve. You can cry, laugh, express yourself anyway you want with them. Combine the power of song (music+word) with the power of dance (a.k.a releaser of happy-juice serotonin), and you'll find yourself in the center of blissful euphoria. You are there, and for that precious moment, you are you. Problems cease to exist, worries and fear are set aside, there's nothing else matter but you and yourself. And this is a good feeling to have. Too often we are straddled with our burdens, with our what-ifs. Too often we have to mask our own feeling in order to 'fully function' in the society. A good song to dance to allow that little hidden-guy/girl to come up and got acknowledged for a brief moment.

But this is more than just singing (and/or dancing) to a good song. It's also about realizing that happiness is within our reach. Life is hard, don't we all know that? Yet it shouldn't be unenjoyable. Human is awesome in a way they can alter their perspective of life any way they wanted to. A stranger's smile, for instance, could be a game changer for you on whether the day would be promising and fulfilling, or if it's going to be another sucky pitiful one. [There are people who get grumpy after getting a smile, FYI]. It's all in our head, in our mind. Animals digest facts and basic emotion, but we are equipped with so much more than that. We can imagine. Future is not an abstract concept for us, and we can use it likewise. The understanding that happiness is only a song/a dance away could potentially make your life more worthwhile. Don't like singing or dancing? Find your certain happiness, and cling on to it. In your deepest, darkest day remember what makes you happy and let it light your heart. Happiness is never that far away.

There are people who had been hurt too bad that they can't think of happiness that lightly; or people with emotional defects that can't feel happiness. Or so we think. Happiness is not limited to certain joyous action. If enjoying your time alone is your description of happiness, so be it. Pursue and hold on to things that would bring that sense of joy and peace in yourself, just as long as it is not self-harming or harm others. Some people are happy to be Eeyore, complaining endlessly but at the same time is still a fully-functioning BFF. If you are one of them, embrace your Eeyore-ish-ness. You are fine that way. And for others who simply can't be happy, a smile, your smile would help. Stand clear in case these unhappy porcupines release their quills and poke you, but smile nevertheless. The world is a much better place if we all smile more. And dance more. And sing more.

Live your life like that day at the party/karaoke/shower/whatever; where you think you already enjoy yourself so much and ready to move on, but then another song came up and you are running back like crazy to dance and sing along some more. Be so joyous and ecstatic that you'll send your special person a drunkance (drunk/dance) text of Oasis' Wonderwall's lyric. Wake up the next morning or from your nap thinking, "By Jove, that was AWESOME!!". We only have this life to live, at least the one that we know of right now. Don't ruin it by not realizing how close happiness is. Don't waste it by feeling or being anything other than awesome. Yes, even on Mondays like today. Rock on, fellas.

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