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Monday, August 14, 2017

Halo Hari Senin

Sekian malam pergi berdansa
Baik weekend atau hari biasa
Sekian banyak partner dansa
Baik yang tua maupun yang muda
Sekian banyak board game yang dimainkan
Baik yang sulit maupun yang mudah
Sekian banyak riuh gelak tawa
Sekian banyak senyuman bahagia
Sekian banyak lirik-lirikan manja
Sekian banyak kencan pertama
Sekian banyak petualangan
Sekian banyak pengalaman
Sekian banyak teman baru
Sekian banyak pengetahuan baru
Sekian banyak kesendirian yang tenang
Sekian banyak keseruan yang meriah
Sekian banyak anugrah dalam hidup
Sekian banyak cinta yang diterima
Dan masih air mata mengalir
Masih ketakutan merajam
Masih rasa perih menghujam
Masih kesedihan mencekam
Masih luka hati menganga
Masih paras hati binasa
Masih ku terpuruk disini
Masih ku terhempas ke bumi
Masih kepingan hatiku berserak
Melukai setiap gerak langkahku
Ini akan berakhir, pasti
Ini akan selesai, pasti
Ini akan menjadi bekas luka nanar
Yang ada namun tak terasa
Perasaan ini akan menghilang
Terganti dengan penerimaan
Tertutupi dengan kebahagiaan
Tergerus oleh masa sekarang
Tapi kini biar ku termenung sejenak
Biarku terhenyak sebentar
Biarku terpekur sepintas
Biarku terdiam sesaat
Halo hari Senin
Aku membencimu.

~"Dear, Mantan Tersayang" tersedia di Gramedia tanggal 28 Agustus 2017. Deg-degan ih!!!!~

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Woman and The City

Taking a long drag from the cigarette
The answering machine is blinking
The city below unfurling in the evening rush
Smog around me in the balcony
Still the answering machine is blinking

What will it be this time?
A liar, a cheater, a faker, a tramp?
Heartless words to disguise broken heart
Words that even my bracelets can't stop
Piercing deep into my soul

Another drag of the cigarette
The full moon is rising
I pulled out the cord from the machine
Now it has stopped blinking
Need to remember to reset it later

And why can't I reset?
Why can't I erase memories and feelings?
Why can't I be careful with my loyalty
What's the point of being honorable?
Why can't I just reset?

The memories live by, the feeling unforgotten
No matter how much I said to let it go
The Invisible Plane could take me anywhere
But nowhere is far enough to escape this feeling
So here I am, smoking my cigarette

A million lives are saved
But I am too much of a hassle
An army of enemy defeated
But I am not strong enough
Am I even ever good enough for them?

Another drag of cigarette
Then another, and another
Wondering is Catty up for fun tonight
Or go tinkering with Ivy
Or maybe just stay here and ponder

Not my fault they can't handle me
And maybe I should stop preying the weak
They are so nice and helpless and lovable
But they have such nasty bites and venom
Avoid, Diana. Avoid.

I am the princess of the Amazons
The fighter of justice
I am the one whom evil run from
The one people hope for
And here I am lighting another cigarette

Mortals and their woes, so petty
I should wait till I find someone stronger than me
Skip the drama, skip the heartache
Skip the loyalty neither one deserves
And no need to pretend I'm the secretary anymore

Till then, this cigarette is ok
I am immortal anyway, what's the fuss?
The cars are busy, the people are scrambling
The answering machine is unplugged
It's a long, long night

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Kaleidoscope

My life is a kaleidoscope of minuscule things, woven together to form a breathtaking display every time I look. Today it's porn stars and strippers and Peace Corps' volunteers, Google employees and homeless people and a massive crocodile from down under. Today is also Star Wars flats and homemade piquillo cream cheese spread and Aristocats, as well as Donut Man and Halal Guys and various LA food haven. Then there's the swing and the ballet and the theatres, there's the music and songs and the lyrics. It is a mismatched plethora of things that graced my day, and my life.

The moon shone upon me last night, as I lay quietly on my bed. It was a full moon, bright as the day itself. I could feel the blanket against my naked skin and my hair rustled on my pillow. The little fan running a little noisily on the corner of my room, perched on a makeshift bed sheet container made from cleaned kitty food bucket. I stared at the moon, and it looks back at me. I was home. I was loved.

I don't need a medal or an award to tell me how far I have gone. I don't need a round of applause or a standing ovation to understand the magnitude of my accomplishment. No, I did not do anything 'special'. I did not do anything to deserve a front-page headline or a click bait article. I did not do anything 'live changing' or 'awe inspiring'. I live. That is all. And what an achievement it is.

We like to imagine romantic tales and wondrous stories, the underdog saga that defies odds. How's this for defying odds? Every second, maybe even a nanosecond, our body cells are dying. A part of us, our skin, died so quickly that our house and place of living is littered with our dead skin cells. We are powerhouses that convert energy from other living beings into energy to power ourselves by means of devouring it. And how we grow. How our conscience and soul grow so beautifully. Like looking at a seed of crystal that grows and grows until it was a sight to behold, and still it grows.

We're frail and weak. We're hopeless and useless. We are savages and heartless. Yet we prevailed. Even in the darkest night we still look forward to the light of day. Else we make our own light of day. Even in the most rock-bottom moment, we can still tell ourselves: It will be ok. And we effing believe that. We simply refused to be snuffed out. We simply refuse to give up and be broken. Every heartache, every broken trust, every lie and malicious words and horrid action that suffocates us, that renders us to pieces, shattered us like a broken china, yet still, we smile. Still, we hope. Still, we refuse to lay down and die.

Not everyone has this strength, but for those who don't, there are others who will reach out to them. "Stay with me." "You will be fine." "It's okay." Sometimes we lost our own battle. Sometimes we win. Sometimes, a simple smile or a tender hug, a feeling of skin among skin through handshakes or high fives, it's enough to rouse even the weariest soldier to march to battle one more time. Now tell me Human is not amazing. Tell me Human is not resilient. Tell me Human does not deserve a chance.

For each the dying flowers, there will be million that bloom as beautifully. We are just too stupid to understand when to quit, too stubborn to know when to give up. And we lived on because of our stupidity and stubbornness. We lived on because of our persistence. Even when there is no 'Hope', we will make one. Oftentimes we do not call it hope, we simply trudge along to continue to live. And that insistence that we will live, that insistence to see another day despite the pain and suffering that we experience, what is that if not hope?

I wrote this thinking of the darkest moment of human history: the wars, the killing fields, the gas chambers, the plagues, the slavery both old and new, the prosecuted people. I wrote this thinking about people who did not have a better chance in life, people who got trapped in a degrading circle of life and unable to release themselves. I wrote this thinking about ordinary people and privileged people, one that thinks they have no accomplishment and one that got their accomplishment belittle because of their upbringing. I wrote this thinking about all of you who shared this Earth with me.

You, you did good. You did splendid. You are magnificent, wonderful, amazing. We all have our own battle inside us, and the fact that you are still alive right now, reading this or hearing this if you can't read it, is a great accomplishment. Be proud of yourself. Each of us has a war within us, some are more violent than others. By living you are a work of wonder because you survive the war in you, as well as the external assault of the world. Don't forget that. You. Are. Awesome. And if you are in a better place, if you can feel good about yourself, look around you and try to help others who staggered under their burden, who felt despair over their wars. A simple smile, an easy laugh, a hug, a caring hand and tender eyes, a heart that love, that's all the backup they need.

My world is a beautiful kaleidoscope of mismatch minuscule things, a special kaleidoscope that only I can see. What's in your world? I bet it's as beautiful as mine. As we sat here together holding (virtual) hands, you enjoy your kaleidoscope and I enjoy mine, let us savor our beautiful differences while embracing our souls. We are not alone. We are never alone. Come, and take my hand.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Makan Gengsi

Baca tulisan orang soal beli makan di Sol*ria, ngeri-ngeri sedap rasanya hahaha. Tulisan itu memprotes kenapa harga makanan di restoran itu mahal banget, belum lagi minumnya; dan porsi yang diberikan nggak seberapa pula. Derita dunia deh pokoknya. Saya mengerti perasaanmu mas, saya mengerti…
Jangan salah lho, harga-harga restoran di Indonesia itu muahal. Ingat banget dulu jaman kuliah kerjaannya kalau nge-mal sebelum kesana sudah harus makan dulu biar nggak tergoda jajan, atau kalau terpaksa sekali, cari resto fast food dan beli cemilan paling murah (baca: burger goceng/Rp 5,000). Food court juga nggak menjamin keberadaan makanan yang walau terjangkau namun masih beradab. Sengsara mode on kadang.
Itu cerita jaman kuliah dulu, sekarang gaji dollar lain cerita dong. Iya kan? Anda salahhhh….. Terakhir pulang ke Jakarta/Bali November 2016, rasanya syok syalala. Bahkan untuk saya yang gajinya dollar, seminggu di Jakarta terkuras lumayan banget. Sekali makan berdua bersama teman di Pizza Hut misalnya, habis sampai Rp 250rb. Kita sih emang makannya agak kalap, semua dipesan. Tapi misalnya gaji saya Rp 5jt, makan sekali sudah 1/20 gaji. Lumayan banget kan? Belum lagi tiap ketemu biasanya di Starbucks atau tempat kopi lainnya, padahal saya disini ke Starbucks kalau lagi diskon atau buy one get one free xixixi.
Kadang-kadang, saya bisa mengerti kenapa harganya syalala. Kedai-kedai kopi ternama misalnya, karena mereka menjual pengalaman. Duduk santai sambil menyesap kopi, diiringi alunan music yang chill/bikin adem; baik kerja, ketemu klien, atau bahkan sekedar relaksasi, rasanya jadi pol banget. Dulu waktu kerja dibawa bos saya makan di restoran Indonesia di Kebayoran Baru yang harganya bikin sakit hati, tapi masih bisa ngerti juga. Rasanya memang enak dan kondisinya asik banget, walau untung bukan saya yang bayar. Bisa nggak bayar kos-kosan kalau saya yang harus bayar.
Di sisi lain, saya ngemil di gerai restoran Indonesia di Atrium Senen November lalu, harganya mahal, porsi sedikit, nggak enak, dan disajikan di piring Styrofoam. Err…. Agak marah rasanya, karena bagi banyak orang yang lidahnya masih lebih suka makanan Indonesia, pilihannya nggak banyak. Seperti kata si penulis status fesbuk itu, bisa kan sedikit manusiawi gitu porsi dan pelayanannya, jangan rakus nggak jelas.
Nah, disini yang agak saru/kurang jelas sih. "Rakus". Bikin restoran itu mahal lho. Ijin usahanya, bayar franchise nya, renovasi ruangan, alat-alat restoran (mulai dari alat masak sampai meja kursi). Mas penulis ini bilang harga markup nya bisa sampai sekian kali lipat. Yah iya sih kalau dihitung dari bahan bakunya saja, tapi kan ada bayar gaji pegawainya, sewa toko, belum pemulusan kanan kiri biar nggak diresehin. Wajar banget kalau kadang restoran 'menggetok' harga agar cepat balik modal. Apalagi kadang buat orang Indonesia, harga mahal dianggap jaminan mutu. Kalau nggak mahal jangan-jangan nggak okehhh. Kalau nggak mahal ngapain juga disamperin. Dari sekian banyak yang komplen soal harga seperti mas penulis ini, masih banyak orang-orang yang menganggap keluar uang segitu adalah bentuk pencapaian.
Tapi ini Indonesia, dan nggak ada aturan kalau restoran/usaha apapun semena-mena terhadap pelanggan. Itulah kenapa di tempat hiburan, sebiji kelapa muda bisa seharga Rp 25rb atau bahkan lebih. Atau di daerah turis seperti Malioboro yang makan rame-rame bisa kena hingga hitungan juta, bukan lagi ratusan ribu. Di Amrik sini pemerintahnya juga nggak ngurusin lho. Yang diurus kalau tempatnya nggak bersih, atau kalau nggak sesuai iklan. Kalau bilangnya daging sapi impor tapi yang dipakai daging sapi lokal, pemerintah bisa bertindak. Nah kalau restorannya aja yang nggak cihui? Konsumen dong yang bertindak hehehe.
Sudah biasa restoran disini jadi ngehits atau gulung tikar berkat review orang. Orang bisa meninggalkan review di aplikasi Yelp, misalnya. Yelp itu seru karena cukup search/cari apa yang kita mau, lalu akan keluar sekian banyak opsi yang skornya berdasarkan rating pengunjung. Semakin hokehhh tempatnya, semakin tinggi ratingnya. Reviewnya pun biasanya yang lengkap, apa menu yang oke dan apa yang tidak oke, harga, pelayanan, sampai foto menu segala ada, jadi nggak yang deg-degan mau kesana. Yang ngereviewnya ngasal, entah ekstra bagus (karena teman ownernya) atau ekstra jelek (karena ada yang mereka nggak suka) biasanya ketahuan. Singkat cerita cukup terjamin lah.
Tapi di Indonesia kan belum ada. Ada baru Qraved, dan itu juga masih baru Jakarta-Bali. Ngeliat review appnya di fesbuk juga sakit hati hahaha. Ada yang numpang jualan (online), ada yang protes kenapa babi mulu yang direview, ada yang protes kenapa ada artikel tentang kenapa babi haram yang ditayangkan, ada pula yang protes kenapa artikelnya tentang restoran semua. Duh Mbakyu, itu logonya saja garpu, masa ngereview bioskop? Ini baru appnya ya yang direview, belum kalau beneran sistem review publik seperti di Yelp. Ampun DiJe…..
Satu-satunya cara ya kita yang jadi konsumen yang cerdas. Semua dimulai dari kita, kan? Es teh tawar Rp. 20rb di restoran kelas menengah. Mengantri sekian jam untuk snack kekinian. Yang harus selalu ditanyakan adalah: worth it nggak sih? Sepadan dengan harga dan usahanya nggak sih? Penasaran sih boleh, tapi terjebak latah atau merasa 'harus' sebagai status sosial, mending jangan. Nggak apa-apa kok kalau nggak termasuk kloter pertama untuk beli kue yang paling gres. Nggak usah juga maksain ke resto di mal demi update social media kalau rasa warteg samping rumah lebih enak. Bukan tanggung jawab yang punya usaha kalau harga dan rasanya nggak karuan, tapi jelas tanggung jawab kita untuk memilih apa yang kita rasa baik dan sesuai untuk kita.
Masih bingung? Pakai kurs St*rbux deh. Disini harga segelas kopi rasa-rasa (pake susu, krim, etc) itu sekitar ½ gaji per jam. Jadi kalau gaji Rp 2.5 juta sebulan, kerja 25 hari @ 8 jam, upah per jam Rp 12.500, harga kopi wajar itu Rp 6,250. Eitttt…. Ntar dulu. Jangan buru-buru saya disambit pake bon restoran, atau buru-buru menghakimi kalau ada yang gaji sekian makan sekian. Bukan urusan saya atau anda menghakimi siapa beli apa. Poin disini adalah jangan merasa terpaksa demi gengsi. Kalau memang doyan sih nggak apa-apa, tapi jangan karena gengsi. Jangan juga kebangetan kalau ada teman yang menolak dengan sopan ajakan kongkow anda, "Ih, pasti karena nggak sanggup deh, dasar miskin!". Siapa tahu dia bukan nggak mampu, tapi karena ngerasa tempat itu nggak worth it, nggak sepadan dengan harga.
Selaku negara dengan daya beli yang (menurut saya) lumayan kuat, sudah waktunya masyarakat Indonesia lebih cerdas dalam memilih pelayanan. Jangan mau lah kita terus dibego-begoin, dibilang 'ini Keren!', langsung kita nurut seperti bebek yang sedang diangon. Kalau ngerasa nggak oke, walau di mal mentereng atau didukung seleb tercihui, ya nggak apa-apa berani bilang nggak oke. Bukan berarti boleh nge-bully ya. Bedain sekedar berpendapat nggak oke dan menolak untuk datang lagi, dengan memaki-maki ria yang sampai cucu sepupu tetangga depan tokonya kena maki juga. Tahu diri juga sih, jangan ngebandingin harga teh tawar di restoran di Mal mentereng yang sewanya berapa milyar dengan harga teh tawar warkop depan rumah. Cerdas, bukan bablas. Biar gimana, mereka butuh pelanggan lho, dan pelanggan juga butuh mereka. Yuk, jadi konsumen yang pintar :)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Why Did You Smile

"Why did you smile?"
She looked at her questioningly
The woman in the mirror looked back
And they smiled together

Because you are pretty when you smile
You are reassuring and confident
You are warm and full of hope
You are life itself

Because smile is the winter sun
That makes everything looks dazzling
That bring promises of spring
That makes the buds of dream grow

Because smile is a mini summer
A short time where everything seems right
A moment where you seemed to live forever
A period where you are fulfilled

Because smile lift up the burden in us
Even when we are faking it
The little corners of our lips are the buoys
As they rose higher, so does our spirits

Because smile is a refreshing drink
The strong iced coffee that shocks us
The flavorful berry tea that invigorates us
The spicy warm cocoa that seduces us

Because smile is comforting and tender
Like your favorite blankie or teddy bear
Like the embrace of your trusted ones
Like the lit hearth during the storm

Because smile is contagious and unstoppable
It starts with one and ends with countless
Like the wave sound or water ripples
Or domino stacks that run forever

See your smile? Now you feel good
He sees your smile, now he feels good
She sees his smile, now she feels good
The chain keeps getting longer and brighter

"Why did you smile?"
Because I look pretty when I smile
Because it made me happy when I smile
Because I can, I want to, and I'm loving it.

Now tell me, why did you smile?

Monday, July 31, 2017

How Many Miles to Babylon

How many miles to Babylon?
Three score and ten.
Can I get there by candle-light?
Yes, and back again.

Yet so many candles I have ignited
Leaving matches trail along my path
Hot wax dripping on my hands
Still I have yet reach my Babylon

And what is a Babylon anyway?
A fabled city filed with wonder
A city like no other
A city where I'll be home

To there my feet walks toward
To there my heart lies true
To there my dreams are anchored
To there my thoughts have fly

But what if there is no Babylon?
What if there's only ancient ruins
Meager villages and quiet hamlets
Sleepy cities and barren towns

What if I have walked so far for nothing?
Chasing shadows and bodiless voice
Pursuing mirages and foolish hopes
A fable, a fish story, a drunkard's dream

Here I stand alone in the road to nowhere
Melted wax burning my hands
Emptiness filling my heart
Thousands of questions in my head

Shall I look for Babylon
Shall I settle for shelter
Shall I shun everything
Shall I close my eyes and die

Deep in the dark where no man went
The soft light of the candle glows
A person uncertain, a heart confused
A soul longing to find home

How many miles to Babylon?
I do not know, I could not tell
I will not arrive by candle light
Even as my heels are nimble and quick

How many miles to Babylon?
Too long for me, too short for others
How many miles to Babylon?
And will I ever, ever get there?

The candle did not answer
The matches died quietly
Still no sign of Babylon
How many miles, how many miles, how many miles to Babylon?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Rapist and Me

What would you do if you spent 6 years behind bars because somebody falsely accused you?

6 years.

In 6 years I got my Bachelor Degree in Medicine, halfway through my education to be a GP in Indonesia. In 6 years I lost a love, found a new one, have a new family complete with stepkids MIL FIL SIL BIL and the lot, lost it all, and found myself. In 6 years I relocate from Jakarta to Bali to Orange County to Tucson to Los Angeles. In 6 years I work in Wedding/Event Industry, Health Supplement company, Financial industry, and my first book will be released in Indonesia this August.

In 6 years all Brian Banks could do is looking at the prison walls, convicted for a rape he didn't commit.

"[The accuser] was quoted as telling Banks: 'I will go through with helping you but it's like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don't want to have to pay it back.''

Women, who are we? 

We are Queens. We are Empresses. We are Maharanis. We are Sovereigns and Duchesses. We are Goddesses. We do not, I repeat, we do not commit such atrocities to people. 

"But real rapes do happen, let's talk about that instead and how the pigs got away with it!"

You are right. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about how in the future it'll be even harder to prove and convict rapists because of Wanetta Gibson's [family's] action. Let's talk about how next time the victim would be asked "Are you sure it's not consensual?". Let's talk about how victims will potentially considered as 'raking the money'. Does that $1.5 million really worth such setback? If yes, what a low, low price we put our fellow women at.

Rapes do happen, and the system seemed to be set against us women. "You shouldn't drink that much", "you shouldn't wear the whore outfit", "you shouldn't go out by youself", "you shouldn't go out, period". Ideally we can shout out "Well, you should keep your dick in your pants!", right? Guess what, ideally we already have flying car by now, but we can't even make a non-combustible hovercraft.

If we have no say on advances, we even have less to say when we already gave 'permission'. How many of us have to endure painful sex even when we said no? How many of us is forced to keep 'doing the deed' even after we changed our mind? How many of us felt obliged to do it because we already said yes at first? If it's a no but you are still forced, it's a rape. It's akin to dining with somebody and you choose to stop eating, but that person keep force feeding you. It can't get any clearer than that. 

I was 'raped' when I was 28 years old. I put it in quote because there was no physical threats, so technically it is not a real rape, right? But I felt so dirty. I felt violated. For years, even now, I still think I deserved it, that I'm asking for it. We chat online, we met, we fondled, the next thing I know I was fucked for hours. All the time I said to myself to run, to stop, all the time loathing myself for being so weak. I came back the next day, as per his order. Why resist? I was ruined anyway. I asked for it by meeting up with a stranger. 

I put on a triumphant smirk when my friends asked how did the date go, even though I want to skin myself alive to remove the ickiness I felt. I laughed when his wife (that I did not even know exist) called and yelled at me on the phone, even though I was screaming and dying inside. I had to weather the doctor's nasty look when I explained that I, a non-married woman living in a country where you can't even get frickin birth control if you have no husband, need an STD test because I had sex with a stranger. I had to do and deal with the possible outcome of HIV and pregnancy test all by myself because I can't tell anyone what I did. I mean, I asked for it, right? 

Good girls don't go meeting strangers. Good girls don't let themselves being touched and groped by stranger. I did it to myself. One boyfriend left after I shared the story, claiming that he can't be with me if I already been with another man. Another one left because he was disgusted with my action. I understand. I did it to myself. Oh, and the mutual friend that encouraged me to hit it off with this person? He claimed he did not know this person already has a wife. Claimed.

I would give anything to let that woman in Indonesia know that she can say no. That it is not her fault. That she did not 'ask for it' and it did not make her less of a person. I would give anything to have somebody saying that to me, to have some kind of support, instead of feeling like a whore and worried somebody will found out what a whore I am. Even with all my newly-found self confidence from surviving in Los Angeles, I still hesitate to tell my best friend about my dates and escapades because I am worried I'll be seen as a slut and got left behind. Again. After all, I asked for it, didn't I?

But I got it easy. What I experienced was nothing. Countless women have to suffer many, many times more. Some carry not only emotional scars, but also physical scars. Some are left disabled both physically and/or mentally. Some do not live to tell their story. The surviving victims walked in a varying degree of darkness, trying to find a way out. Wanetta Gibson and her family sold us all for a mere $1.5 million. 

If you know story is made up and lies are told, speak up. If you know crime is commited, speak up. If you think you are doing the world a favor by putting 'filthy man' in prison using lies and deceit, you are not. Any deceit done by or on behalf of women will only take us women many step backwards. We're already in an unfavorable position, courtesy of millenias of (mostly) patriarchal cultures. Please do not destroy the small progress we had out of spite, or worse, out of greed.

And if the writing above does not convince you, remember that we women are mothers, wife, sister, aunt, niece, and many more. Brian Banks could have been our son husband, brother, uncle, nephew, and many more. Don't close your eyes to injustice with the excuse "There are many rapists that got away!" Don't make a person a sacrificial lamb for other people's misdeed. 

Somewhere right now somebody is being raped. Men, women, children, adult. Their rights and their bodies are violated, broken from the inside out. Most will keep silent, some will seek justice despite knowing the treacherous path that lies. All will struggle with themselves, walking the dark road that seemed to went on forever. All except those who are here no more. I hear you all, my siblings. I weep for you. I pray for you. I wish you peace.

And Brian Banks, good luck. I wish you all the best in your newfound freedom. You deserve it. Best of luck, brother.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Gpp Kan Horang Kayahhh

~Buku "Dear Mantan Tersayang" akan terbit di Gramedia 28 Agustus 2017. Yaaayyy!!! ~

Katanya kalau mau lihat tabiat orang yang sebenarnya, lihat bagaimana cara ia memperlakukan orang yang lebih 'rendah' dari dirinya. Nyontek dari Harry Potter: "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." Jadi jangan kagum melihat si abang ganteng atau nona cantik bermanis-manis dengan anda di kantor, kalau judes nggak karuan sama tukang gorengan di depan kantor atau office boy yang malang.
Logis? Banget. Orang yang posisinya lebih rendah dari kita konon nggak akan bisa membantu kita. Jadi kadang kelihatan muka asli orang yang bengis dan tidak ada ampun. Ngapain juga sok baik kalau mereka nanti nggak berguna, benar? Salah hehehe. Kita harus baik pada semua orang, betul? Toh karma dan/atau pahala nggak akan kemana. Kecuali Pahala Kencana, itu bisa antar kota antar propinsi.
Tapi percaya apa nggak, berbaik hati pada orang yang kurang beruntung daripada kita itu jauh lebih gampang daripada berbaik hati pada orang yang lebih beruntung daripada kita. Coba aja lihat kalau ada orang miskin tertimpa musibah, langsung semua tergerak mendoakan, meng-amin-i, mengirim bantuan. Kalau ada orang kaya tertipu sekian ratus juta? Jangan harap… Ada juga pada nyinyir dan sibuk "Gpp kan Horang Kayahhh." Ibu Saeni yang wartegnya di razia tahun lalu langsung berlimpah simpati, tapi simpati berbalik saat diketahui ibu ini orang berada. Lah, emang orang berada nggak berhak dilindungi dari razia ilegal?
Contoh lain, seberapa sering sih anda menawarkan bayar bensin teman anda yang membawa mobil dan tahu dia sanggup membeli bensin? Yang anda duduk manis di mobilnya, disamping dompet dan tasnya yang harganya puluhan juta, dan anda yang "Gue bayarin tol/parkir/minum ya?" Bukan basa-basi lho, beneran sudah keluarin duit siap bayar. Dulu pas saya masih lebih muda (nggak mau ngaku tua aw aw), saya ada kok periode nggak tahu diri begini hahaha. Untungnya sekarang sudah tahu diri dan tahu malu. Untungnya lebih secure/pede dan nggak perlu lagi sirik sama orang.
Lho iya. Asas manfaat itu kan dasarnya nggak secure/nggak pede dan dimanifestasikan dalam bentuk kesirikan. Pas ngasi/membantu orang yang lebih susah dari kita, hati terangkat dan serasa malaikat surga tetiba bernyanyi merdu disinari cahaya surgawi (saaaaaah….). Kita mampu, mereka nggak. Wajar dong kita ngasi. Tapi kalau ngasi/membantu orang yang terlihat lebih oke dari kita, walau saat itu mereka memang butuh bantuan, kayanya nggak rela. Toh mereka mampu, kita nggak, ngapain juga dibantu? Kita sirik sama apa yang mereka punya, kita nggak secure sama apa yang kita punya. Padahal segelas kopi untuk teman yang tiap saat kita tebengin pulang kampus/kantor nggak akan bikin kita bangkrut.
Di salah satu bab buku saya [#kibasrambut],saya bercerita tentang pentingnya merasa nyaman dengan diri sendiri. Kenapa? Karena saat kita nyaman dengan diri sendiri kita merasa (dan memang!) terlihat menarik, yang kemudian akan membuat orang lain nyaman bersama kita. Serem-serem gimana gitu punya teman yang bisa maki-maki pelayan di restoran, nanti bisa-bisa pas kita susah dilibas juga. Punya teman yang kelihatan nggak bersalah menikmati limpahan teman yang kaya (lalu pakai acara ngomongin teman itu dibelakang pula!) juga horror banget. Gimana nanti kalau kita (syukur ya Tuhan…) jadi sukses dan kaya? Ini baru teman lho, kebayang nggak kalau calon pasangan? Maaf ya abang ganteng, saya harus mundur dulu seribu langkah.
Hidup itu kan harus give and take, harus menerima dan memberi. Nggak perduli siapa yang memberi, kita harus siap memberi kembali. Mengulurkan tangan juga begitu, nggak perduli untuk mendorong gerobak pemulung atau mobil sport dua pintu, tangan tetap harus terulur sebisanya. Sebisanya yaaa. Yang menerima ya jangan kurang ajar, mengharap lebih karena dilihat kita 'lebih', atau karena merasa sudah sering memberi kita 'lebih'. "Ngasi cuma segini, padahal mobil bagus", "Ngasi cuma segini, padahal gue ngasi jauh lebih banyak". Mas mbak, kalau nggak bisa ngeliat bahwa temannya sudah berusaha ngasi semampunya, jangan diterima bantuannya. Daripada ngedumel buang pahala hihihi.
Apa saya masih suka manfaatin orang? Pastinya doooooong…! [#sambitsendal] Eh nggak, serius. Kadang ada ketemu orang yang lagaknya "Oh kamu rakyat jelata nan malang, mari sini saya bantu karena saya adalah anugrah nan indah dari Tuhan". Kalau begini saya suka bimbang, harga diri yang ingin balik bodi, tapi logika yang "Biarin aja, toh gratis hihihi". Kadang juga ketemu orang yang butuh bantuan tapi udah sensi duluan "Loe pikir gue butuh?? Loe pikir gue rendahan??". Kalau begini juga bimbang, otak yang ingin "Byeeeeee selamat tinggal TiTi DiJe dah dah", tapi nurani yang "Shh… Sabar. Dia emang butuh kok."
Yang bisa saya lakukan adalah berusaha melihat orang terlepas dari apa yang dipunyainya. Teman yang tabungannya 10 kali lipat tabungan saya bukan berarti nggak butuh pelukan saat sedih. Nggak perlu juga saya pede sudah membantu teman yang hutangnya 10 kali lipat. Membantu, mengulurkan tangan bukanlah dilakukan untuk membuat kita merasa lebih baik, atau untuk mengangkat derajat kita. Kita lihat ada yang lagi susah, kita bantu. Buat apa? Nggak buat apa-apa. Kalaupun harus dijelaskan, ini soal empati. Kita tahu saat susah itu ya susah, maka kita berusaha meringankan beban orang lain yang sedang susah.
Susah? Banget. Secara naluri sulit untuk memberikan apapun pada orang yang terlihat berkelimpahan. Disini karakter kita diuji: apakah kita seseorang yang secure/nyaman dengan diri kita sendiri, ataukah kita masih berkecimpung dalam kesirikan. Lebih mudah memberikan sesuatu yang kita punya daripada sesuatu yang kita (pikir) tidak punya. Padahal mau orang ini punya 10 rumah atau tidur di emperan toko, membelikan sebotol air saat ia sedang kehausan harganya sama, sama-sama Rp 3,000. Begitu pula pelukan atau sebuah senyuman, atau sekedar kuping untuk mendengarkan. Bisa kan kita seperti ini? Yuk, belajar menutup mata duniawi dan membuka mata hati. Kita semua sama lho 😊.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dear Adam

Dear Adam,
I have seen you worryingly paced the room. I have seen your contorted face, doing your best to hide the pain in you. I have seen the tears that you masked as anger. I have seen the cornered, panic-stricken eyes in your "I can do this!" chauvinistic attitude. I have seen the shame you feel, the confusion you experience, the uneasiness that lingers. I have seen how all these eat you alive, gnawing you little by little.

Dear Adam,
Please know you are not weak for getting frustrated. You are not weak for crying and feeling the pain. You are not weak for succumbing to your emotion. You are not weak for feeling stressed out without a proper way to release it. You are not weak for choosing to like things that are not 'manly'. You are not weak for being in touch with your inner self, to feel you had enough carrying the magnanimous burden of the world. You are a man, but you are human too. And we women can help you.

Dear Adam,
Rest your head on my shoulder. Let me erase your tears. Nothing can make me love you less, nothing can make me disrespect you. Acknowledging your pain is not a sign of weakness, and I am too strong of a woman to bow to such insecurity. I will hold you close and kiss you gently. I will stroke your skin gently and speak soothing words. When you feel the world is against you, let me be your shield against the world. When you feel you can't hold the weight of the world anymore, let me hold your weight. It's ok, Adam. Do not worry.

Dear Adam,
Why, you asked? Because human is born with feelings. Human has emotions and thoughts. Women might be wired differently than men, but that doesn't mean you have to be robbed from such privilege. How can I judge you as weak if I myself is a victim of such feelings and emotions and thoughts? How can I accuse you as unworthy if I myself drowned in my own insecurity and uneasiness? It's a cruel, cruel world out there, Adam. And be you Adam or Madam, I will extend this safe haven regardless, as I know you will extend it to me. 

Dear Adam,
Let me be your comfort, as you will be mine. Let me harbor your tears, as you will harbor mine. Let me be the port you sailed to after the storm, as you will be mine. Let me be the warm hearth you can rest your tired self. For all your tears and fear and pain will not make me love you less. For you are allowed to be fragile with me. Have faith in me, sweet Adam. You are safe with me.

Lovingly yours,

~Note: why I wrote this? Because machoism is a joke. You should be allowed to express emotion regardless of the gender. That might actually help people understand themselves instead of giving in to testosterone-madness. For real though, equality for all.

Wanita Di Film Thriller

~ Dear Mantan Tersayang terbit 28 Agustus 2017 ~

Siang ini saya menangis sesenggukan di kubikel kantor saya. Untung stok tisu di kantor banyak, jadi jaket saya nggak jadi korban. Alasannya? Jeng jeng jeng. Si Mantan.

Sudah beberapa minggu ini saya dan mantan mulai saling bertegur sapa. Ngobrol bareng, pergi makan bareng. Nggak ada CLBK yang saya rasakan setelah sekian lama tidak bersua. Saya merasa nyaman, seperti bersama teman lama. Saya antusias mendengar cerita dia dan pasangannya, dia pun yang asik menertawakan lelucon-lelucon jayus saya. Saya bahagia melihat dia bahagia. Biar bagaimanapun juga, dia orang yang pernah berarti dalam hidup saya. Saya pun mengerti perasaan pasangannya. Saya juga pernah jatuh cinta sama lelaki ini, saya nggak bisa sepenuhnya marah dia jatuh cinta pada mantan saya.

Lalu entah bagaimana hari ini kita membicarakan masa lalu via e-mail. Mendadak saya terseret pusaran amarah dan tenggelam dalam kesedihan. Badan saya langsung terasa pegal dan sakit, kepala saya pusing, dan airmata saya terus mengalir. Saya benci lelaki b*ngs*t ini. Saya benci perempuan j*l*ng ini. Saya ingin menghancurkan mereka berdua seperti mereka menghancurkan saya 'atas nama cinta'. Saya ingin mereka menderita sebagaimana saya menderita. Saya benci, benci, benci.

Orang seringkali berpikir memaafkan itu berarti plong ala orang suci, yang tidak ada lagi rasa amarah, yang penuh kedamaian diiring bunyi genta malaikat dan sinaran surga. Yang kalaupun 'luka'nya diganggu, nggak akan terasa sakit lagi. Itu… lumayan nggak mungkin sih. Paling nggak menurut saya.

Saya kaget bahwa masih ada bagian dari saya yang begitu tertekan akan apa yang terjadi di masa lalu saya. Saya pikir sudah selesai ya, saya yang sibuk bertualang di tengah kota Los Angeles dan menikmati hidup saya. Saya dengan pencapaian-pencapaian saya. Ternyata nggak. Ternyata masih ada bagian dari saya yang hidup dalam amarah, yang hidup dalam kebencian dan kemurkaan. Masih ada bagian dari diri saya yang terluka. Dan itu wajar. Saya cinta mati lho sama mantan saya, sampai sempat membuat buku berisi kisah cinta kita. Wajar banget butuh waktu untuk menyembuhkan luka ini.

Saya seperti melihat dua film yang berbeda. Yang satu film rom-com (romantic comedy) ala Big Bang Theory atau Friends dimana saya dan mantan berteman akrab. Mereka (mantan dan pasangan) berdua menyayangi satu sama lain, sama-sama pintar dan sederhana; sementara saya adalah teman single mereka yang asik dan heboh. Disisi lain, sebuah film thriller diputar, dimana saya berkejar-kejaran dengan mereka berdua di sebuah rumah tua nan seram, berusaha melumpuhkan mereka sebelum mereka melumpuhkan saya. Lebih sering film rom-com ini yang diputar, tapi sekalinya film thriller yang main, duh mak…

Mungkin saya seharusnya nggak mengobrol lagi dengan mantan saya, putus kontak sama sekali. Mungkin. Tapi film thriller itu akan tetap diputar. Hanya dengan memutuskan hubungan tidak bisa semerta-merta menghapus apa yang telah terjadi. Dikubur dalam-dalam mungkin, hipnoterapi sekalian untuk melupakannya. Tapi itu seperti mengobati luka bacok dengan band-aid/plester, atau ditutup dengan kain kasa tanpa obat, berharap kalau tidak kelihatan akan sembuh sendiri. Bagus kalau nggak malah terinfeksi dan mesti diamputasi, atau jadi sepsis/keracunan darah.

Yang harus saya lakukan adalah menemui wanita di dalam film thriller itu, yang sekarang sedang bersembunyi dalam gelap di salah satu kamar di rumah tua itu. Yang menggenggam erat pisau berlumuran darah dengan mata nanar, dan berusaha tetap waspada diantara sakit dan perih luka-luka yang dideritanya. Yang berharap semua ini segera berakhir, yang siap mengarahkan pisau itu ke dirinya sendiri agar ia tidak lagi harus hidup dalam ketakutan dan kepedihan. Yang harus saya lakukan adalah membuka kamar itu, mendekati tempat persembunyiannya, duduk disampingnya dan berkata, "Hey. Semua akan baik-baik saja." 

Dia akan memberontak, dia akan lari, dia akan bilang bahwa ia berhak untuk marah dan benci. Dan saya akan berdiri, jongkok, duduk tenang disampingnya sampai ia bisa tenang. Saya akan membuktikan bahwa saya tidak memandangnya rendah, bahwa saya mengerti perasaannya, dan bahwa perasaannya valid. Dan saat ia sudah tidak mampu dan tidak mau lagi hidup dalam amarah, saya akan memeluknya hangat, membimbingnya ke sebuah sofa yang nyaman, dan meraih remote. Kita akan mengakhiri film thriller tersebut, dan kita akan menonton film rom-com itu bersama-sama.

Saat saya mengobrol dengan mantan saya, sesekali terbersit di kepala tentang betapa saya pernah begitu mencintainya, betapa bersyukurnya saya bahwa dia menjadi bagian dari hidup saya, dan bahwa kami memang jauh lebih baik sebagai teman saja. Saya tahu perpisahan kami tak terelakkan. Saya merasa gembira mendengar pasangannya mencintai dia. Saya benar-benar berharap mereka berdua bisa sebahagia saya dan mantan saya dulu, dan semoga kali ini selamanya. Wanita di film thriller itu masih sibuk nelangsa sendiri. Tidak apa-apa. Saya akan sabar menanti sampai ia siap untuk mengakhiri filmnya.

Salam hangat dari Los Angeles 😊

Thursday, July 20, 2017

La Belle et La Bête

The giant rose in the bubble mesmerized her. Her big round eyes grew wider as she admired the sealed glass jar with the flowers inside, the white rose nestled perfectly among the other flowers. So pretty, so beautiful. She reached out a hand to touch the glass jar. It's calling her.

"Don't touch it," barked a harsh voice. She turned to see her captivator standing in the doorway with a nasty snicker on his face. "It will outlive you," he said with a grin, "It's specially preserved to make it last forever while still looking fresh." She looked at him with hatred but stood her ground. There is no way she'll let him bully her around. He stepped closer and lift up her chin. "Too bad we can't do that with the human body," he whispered, "You'll look great in my parlor." She snapped and ran away, with his laughter following her, echoing in the empty castles.

In the comfort of her room, she furiously threw her pillows and duvet covers to the wall, over and over again. The soft pillows make no sound as she frustratingly punched them vigorously to release her anger. The best code breaker in her division, the top of her class in the military, the darling of the commanders, yet here she was being trapped with no one to save her. If only her dad weren't stupid enough to get caught up with this swastika-loving lord, and promising her in return for his safety. Which is why her team cannot 'save' her. Despite the obvious siding, she's the resistance and he's the enemy supporter, her captivity was considered as 'servitude' and her commander refuse to act on it. "Stupid men. Stupid, stupid men," she fumed.

Deep down inside, she knew they will not help her. More than once she intercepted a request to transferred her to a different division, from the genteel request "It is far too dangerous for the young lady to be in the midst of the battle" to the chauvinist demand of "She's a looker, and that's where my men look, instead of focusing on the battle ground." Her commandeer knew her worth, but it was only time until she got relocated in some obscure department and indirectly pressured to resign. It's a man's world indeed, she thought bitterly.

But he did not treat her like that. On his better days, they'll have long, interesting conversation together. He's far more educated than any of her compadres in the resistance, and more eloquent as well. It's just Stockholm Syndrome, she said to herself firmly, more than she liked to. He'd debate her vigorously, he'd laugh and admit defeat if she managed to outdo him in a debate (which didn't happen much), and never once he showed any disrespect towards her or telling her she's just 'a woman'. Her attempt to seduced him to buy her freedom, to her embarrassment, had been greeted with a hearty laugh. 

"Belle," he had said gently in front of her locked bedroom door after that particular incident, "Your beauty is what you have in you. Don't sell it so cheaply." She had told herself it was only a dream, that she was imagining things. After all, it was probably the very first time someone had say no to her. It's understandable if she's making things up to escape from the shame, because there is no way that scarred, horrible looking man who pledged allegiance to the Fuhrer will be kind enough to say those things. Yet she saw kindness in his eyes, especially when he thinks she wasn't looking, the kindness and warmth that made her heart skip a beat. For the first time in her life, Isabelle de Honore was at lost on what to do.

She hated how he treated her in the vault, teasing her about preserving her. She hated how much power he had over her, and the simple gesture of touching and lifting her chin send shivers down her spine. She hated how she gave in to this Stockholm syndrome, thinking that this man could actually be someone decent, even believing the maids' story on how selfless he was and how his pledged allegiance is a way to protect his people. She hated for wanting more from him, for the desperation that's gnawing on her, for realizing that the scarred-face man with arrogant attitude might just be the true Prince, the true 'La Beau', and she was the unworthy hideous peasant, 'La Bête'. She cried bitterly in silence.

The night was late when she woke up with a grim determination. He is not The Beast, and she is not The Beauty. This is real life and not fairy tale. The enchanted rose will never wilt, and the curse will never be lifted, if it ever exists. The only curse exists is the curse of her weak will power. He's the enemy, she's the resistance. It couldn't get any simpler than that. She got dressed and readying herself for an overdue escape. Her team, the resistance movement, that's where she needed to be, instead of playing an obedient hostage in a luxurious castle. She needed to get away. She needed to get things done.

The castle was deathly quiet, but she had learned to walk like a cat. It wasn't long before she found his bedroom, the door slightly ajar. She put the pistol that she had stolen in her hand, readying it to be used immediately, before silently entering the room. The fire burning low in the fireplace illuminated the room, but the man sprawling on the bed was unperturbed even as she inched closer to the bed. He had put the glass jar with the rose on his bedside, and for a moment she wanted to run and hugged him instead. Duty comes first, she said to herself. She steeled herself and silently climbed his massive bed, kneeling next to him and aiming the pistol right between his eyes. 

The eyes that promptly opened. The eyes that looked straight back to her eyes, full of pain, full of question, full of understanding. They were the deepest blue, like the beautiful summer evening, with long, lush lashes. The body underneath the blanket was rigid, solid, and exceptionally fit. As she kneeled there in shock, the horror of her action came rushing in as if a flood gate was opened.

"Belle," he whispered.

She was going to kill an unarmed man, a sleeping man.

"Belle," he whispered louder.

For what reason? Only because he was not interested in her.

"Belle?" he asked quietly.

Her pride was wounded and she's ready to lodge a bullet in an unarmed, innocent, sleeping man just for that.

"Belle," he said louder, alarmed.

Where's her dignity? Where's her integrity? He was not the beast, she was. She saw her true, vain self that moment, and she loathed herself.

"Belle," he called, louder, but he did not move. How could he? The pistol was there, ready to slay him. 

"Wrong target," she whispered. She pulled the pistol from between his eyes and placed it on her temple instead. The beast must be killed.

"Belle!" he shouted, and in a quick move wrestled the pistol from her and tossed it across the room.

A moment of silence. She still kneeled next to him, paralyzed in shock of what she almost did.

"Belle," he called out firmly, hands clasping each of her wrists to prevent her from fleeing. Tears started to fall on her cheeks. She struggled to free her wrists but she was no match for him. She kicked and she pulled, but he wouldn't let go.

"Belle," he said gently, "It's ok." With that, her barrier broke and she cried. Her sob echoed in the room. He pulled her into his arms in a gentle embrace. "It's ok," he said, "It's ok." He said that over and over again as he caressed her hair, as he lovingly kissed her cheeks and forehead. "It's ok." 

The fire crackled softly, illuminated the two figures sitting together in the center of the bed, embracing each other tightly. The white rose bathed in the fire's orange glow. The fairy tale had just begun.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cerita Sebuah Perjuangan

"But I only have this love to chain you with
I only have the place called "home" to lock you with
I only have the smell of sweet garden flower and homemade cooking to entice you with
And a fervent hope these will be enough to keep you forever" 

"Chain, Lock, and Sedate", February 2013

Ulang tahun saya kali ini akan dirayakan (kurang lebih) dengan keluarnya jadwal terbit buku saya. Setahun yang lalu, ulang tahun saya dirayakan dengan lumayan pahit, maklum baru pisah dengan mantan suami saat itu. Nggak terbayang kalau setahun kemudian saya akan sibuk dag dig dug serr untuk peluncuran buku saya. Gila lu ya. Jadi dokter nggak kelar, jadi Dayu (keturunan pendeta) nggak becus, nggak tahunya bisa menulis buku dari Los Angeles, diterbitkan pula. Dan ini nggak akan terjadi kalau bukan karena adanya orang-orang yang membantu saya. Dari kisah cinta mengharu biru hingga kisah perpisahan ala telenovela, saya belajar banyak selama hubungan saya, dan perjuangan ini masih belum berakhir.

Cerita saya berawal dari Stephan yang mengadakan acara sepeda bareng company nya di Bali. Teman saya Vidya dari Letsgoto Bali merekomendasikan saya sebagai blogger peliput. Saat acara saya memenangkan voucher tiket pesawat, cukup untuk terbang ke Jakarta. 6 bulan kemudian saya berkenalan dengan si Akang Amrik saya, dan partner-in-crime saya Nirartha membantu saya memesan tiket pesawat untuk bertemu dengannya di Jakarta. Nggak lupa Egi, Mila, dan Dyan yang saya repotkan selama disana. Sisanya ya sejarah. Anggre yang membantu saya menyiapkan kebaya, Nila, Suri, dan Ira yang membantu saya melewatkan hari-hari terakhir di Bali dengan bahagia. 3 tahun kemudian, Ayu yang mendengarkan curhat saya di Union Station Los Angeles sambil menunggu kereta, dan ia juga yang dengan semangat men-share artikel saya, yang akhirnya membawa tawaran menulis buku. Serius, nggak kebayang.

Dan tentunya semua yang membaca artikel saya. Semua yang mengirimkan pesan dan komentar di Facebook saya, di Instagram saya, dan tentunya di artikel "Halo Selingkuhan Suami Saya" tersebut. Banyak yang bercerita mengalami nasib yang sama, namun ada juga yang berada di pihak si Mbak dan mengaku tersadarkan. Hati nggak karuan rasanya melihat jumlah pembaca blog mencapai 3 juta lebih, tapi yang lebih sumringah adalah saat melihat semua jadi punya suara. Orang-orang yang mungkin hanya bisa diam dan bersedih saat terjadi pada dirinya, mendadak menyadari bahwa mereka tidak sendiri, mendadak berani bercerita tentang apa yang mereka rasakan. 

Waktu saya ditawari menulis buku, saya sempat ragu. Saya nggak mau menulis hal bombastis mumpung tenar, saya nggak mau membuka diri sekedar demi rating dan asal laku. Untungnya bukan ini yang dibutuhkan sang penerbit. Mereka ingin buku yang membahas bukan hanya tentang selingkuh, tapi juga tentang cinta. Mereka ingin buku yang bermanfaat dan bisa membantu pembacanya. Saya dengan senang hati menyanggupinya. Cover buku ini mudah-mudahan bisa saya terima dan saya share minggu depan ke anda semua, namun melihat draft layoutnya sejauh ini saya sangat bahagia. Ilustrasinya cantik, enak dibaca dan ringkas, seriusan saya sampai menitikkan airmata waktu melihat draft buku ini di PDF.

Apakah ini akan membantu pembacanya? Semoga ya. Saya tahu yang saya tulis membantu saya. Walaupun saat artikel itu viral saya sempat berseteru hebat dengan mantan suami saya, apalagi karena banyak yang bersikeras mengejar bahkan meneror si Mbak ini, namun saat ini hubungan kita sudah jauh membaik. Kita bisa berbicara santai, bahkan dia bisa bercerita tentang pasangannya. Saya bahagia melihat dia bahagia. Saya juga bahagia melihat saya bahagia. Hidup saya tidak berakhir saat hubungan (baca: pernikahan) kami berakhir, atau setelah perselingkuhan tersebut. Dengan mengerti tentang diri saya, dirinya, dan diri pasangannya, saya mampu bangkit dan meraih kebahagiaan saya sendiri. Saya harap para pembaca buku saya akan bisa terbantu dan bisa meraih kedamaian diri juga.

Semoga para pembaca bisa belajar dari tulisan saya, dan semoga (banyak) yang suka hehehe. Yang mau Pre Order bisa kontak Ayu via Whatsapp: 0817816341, atau siap-siap meluncur ke toko buku Gramedia di bulan Agustus. Sekali lagi terimakasih banyak untuk semua yang sudah membantu dan mendukung saya, baik teman maupun pembaca. Kalian semua menakjubkan!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Afternoon Soiree with Cthulhu

"See here," I said to him as I took a bite from my canape, "The problem is, men are just… men."

He raised an eyebrow and took a sip of his wine. Blood red, as he liked it. 

"I mean…" I looked at him exasperatedly, "I don't even know how to say it. You'll understand, you are a man."

He raised another eyebrow, "And what makes you think that?"

"That you are a man? Well it's obvious, right? You and your testosterone-fueled 'lets-go-destroy-the-world' attitude."

"Excuse me," he replied with a laugh, "but some women also did that. I did not remember you balk out from getting sacrifices."

I waved my hand impatiently at him. "Oh posh," I said, "You know what I mean."

"I do, but at the same time I don't," he reached out to one of the canapes, took one careful bite before devouring it whole.

"Misery and Fear," I said proudly, "That's what my chef called it. I asked him to specifically create the meal for you." 

He took another one and laughed at my smirking face. "I must say," he mused, "You are an interesting host."

"Anything for the great Cthulhu himself," I bowed my head prettily at his compliment, "You can't expect me to serve anything less."

He reclined in his seat and smiled contentedly. "What do you want from me?"

"Me? Nothing. Just someone to chat with."

"You humans always want something. And don't you have girlfriends to chat with? Someone your age?"

"Zuul is off to this city called New York," I said sullenly. "She always said 'There is only Zuul', which is so true. Nobody is more selfish than she is."

"It's summer, dammit," I continued, "Instead of ravaging the beachside I have to stay here by myself just because she wants to hook up with the KeyMaster. Ugh."

He shook his head sadly but I can see his grin from behind the tentacles. "And your dragon girl?"

"Off to some wars. She said I can't come because it's a family issue. Three dragons and I can't even borrow one."

"Dragons are complicated creatures," he commented while pouring another glass of wine. 

I heaved my breath. "I know, but hers are so beautiful though."

"Why aren't you with your boyfriend? I thought you were engaged a few centuries back?"

"I returned the ring to him. To be fair, I threw it on his face and he couldn't catch it, so it fell in the lake instead. He then made up a story about a giant war to cover it up."

"Not fanciful enough for you? He was pretty loaded, no?"

"Oh yeah, vast kingdom and such. One ring to rule them all indeed. I can only do things that he liked or he wanted. And the all-seeing eyes? He's not just observing his 'enemies'. No indeed."

He laughed heartily at this. I pout handsomely, "You are not supposed to laugh." It made him laugh even harder.

"That's why he stopped talking to me," he said after he finally managed to stop laughing. "I can't believe you got the best of him and not the other way around."

"Hmmpff," I grumbled, "I can't believe you matchmake me with him."

"You may have set yourself a standard too high," he said, "I did introduce you to that prince who hangs with Masters of the Universe."

"Mr. Steroid-I-am-too-sexy-for-myself dude?"

"And the Starlord,"

"A broke-ass thief."

"The Xenocide,"

"Which turns into a hermit. Come one, it's only one race that he put to extinction, enough with the guilt trip already."

"Wait, weren't you with him for quite a while?"

To his credit, I actually blushed. He read my face before laughing so hard it cracked the crystal goblets, "It's the ansible, Jane, is it?"

"Oh you know what," I furiously answered, feeling the heat from my face, "It was just a one-date thing!"

"I distinctively remember you were hanging out at Lusitania for longer than just one night,"

"Can we change the subject now?"

"What happened?"

"You won't let me go, would you?"

He answered by sipping his wine with a smirk.

"She… wants a man."

He looked at me for a while before reaching out to let the tip of our fingers touch.

"I am fine now," I said with a forced smile. He smiled back at me.

"There is a rumored rising star in the wizarding world in the far land," he told me, "In the position where he could defeat the dark lord of his era."

I cringed. "I've heard about him. The lightning scar actually sounds attractive, but I am no pedophile."

He cocked his eyebrow, "Oh please, you weren't *this* picky when you arrange the Game. I know what you did to the tributes."

I raised my chin and smiled defiantly, "Considering most of them will not see the end of the day, you can say I actually did them a good service."

"Oh, I am sure you did," he chuckled.

"Oh, shut up," I blushed again.

"A good cover up for sacrifices, by the way. Pity they ended it."

I sighed. "Time change, doesn't it?"

"You didn't," he smiled, "Here we are, still trying to find a partner for you."

"I only invite you for an afternoon soiree. Good chat, wonderful wine, delicious bites."

"And you trying to pry if I have anyone left in stock."

"Can't blame a girl for trying."

He chuckled. "I like how you think," he said, "I like how you think."

Made with love for #EmbraceYourGeeknessDay

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Many Tastes Of Love

I was a Juliet to a Romeo
The untainted emotion
The innocence of youth
The intoxicating sweetness of love

This would last, I said, this would last
As I shyly smile at him
God gave him to be mine, as I am his
My life is complete

Yet I drank the poison and he took it too
Over his dead body I wept
The folly of youth, the arrogance and ignorance
Goodbye, my love, goodbye

I was a Cleopatra to a Marc Antony
The swirling passion
The fiery desire
The unquenchable thirst for each other

This would last, I said, this would last
As I hungrily looked at him
He is mine, I'll ensure that, and I'll be his 
My life is perfect

Yet he took the sword and I took the snake
As he lay dying in my arms I wept
The blinding zeal, the ego and the pride
Goodbye, my soulmate, goodbye

I was a Theodora to a Justinian
The unbidden trust
The unbroken loyalty
The pursue of ambition and objectives we have in common

This would last, I said, this would last
As I silently standing proudly next to him
Not God, not me, but both of us will make it work
This is the life I wanted

Yet I have to leave, for I am not to be
And he wept on my funeral, as I would in his
The means, the goals, the times I wish we had more
Goodbye, my true king, goodbye

I am Wu Zetian, the only true empress
I am Ching Shih, who roams in the open sea
I am Kartini, who educates my people
I am Boudica, who slays my enemy

Will I take another hand? I dare not hope
Will I feel another embrace? I could not say
As path of life opens before me
What can one do but follow it through?

I have tasted different kinds of love
The sweet, the passionate, the powerful
The fond memories that will last forever
The lessons that will guide me through

Because what is love but another adventure?
What is relationship but another journey?
If it is a book, let me choose my final story
An epic that'll last a lifetime

Until I found what I am looking for,
I will bid my time and live my life
Love is great but the world is bigger
I will wait. I will enjoy. I will be patient.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Alive and A Life

I hugged a man last weekend. I didn't even know his name. I would see him from time to time near my bus stop, and we have chatted once or twice. He always told me I'm beautiful and I got it good. It's been a while since I've seen him at that bus stop, so I was surprised to see him again at the subway station on Saturday. We chatted again, and he told me he was happy to see me good. He told me I am blessed. I giggled nervously. Accepting compliment was never my strength. As I said goodbye and walked away, he told me to be safe, hope to see me again, and next time he's going to give me a hug. I laughed and said, "Why wait?" then walked up to him to give him a hug. Why wait? Because this man is way bigger than me, I don't know him at all, and I will be at his mercy once I am in close contact with him. But I strode and give him the biggest hug I can give. I like hugs too. The hug made him feel so happy. His face was blushing and he said he needed it, and it's the best 'wake up' he could get.

I asked a man to dance last weekend. Well, since it's a swing dance event, I asked plenty of men to dance with me. I am not a very good dancer, but I love to dance and I won't waste time waiting around to be asked. One gentleman stood out. "Cameron" was dressed in a perfect historical outfit, complete with a telltale white and black dancing shoes. I zeroed on him right away. As someone who dances without proper training, a good lead is delicious. It's the key factor to make the dance merely enjoyable or out of this world. Cameron smiled and looked interested enough as we danced together. When the song ends, he told me he'll walk me back to my friends, and he did just that: chivalrously offering his arm and we walked together with my hand holding his arm like we're back in the golden days of 1940s or 1950s. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement. There I was, for a brief moment, treated like a lady. A real lady, by a real gentleman.

Three flapper girls went out to get ramen last weekend. One of them already walked oh-so-casually at MacArthur Park, waiting for the bus to take her to the dance event. It's one of the crazy things you do 'Just because' a.k.a you want to see what it feels like. The three flapper girls did just so, albeit in a slightly better area, trying to find a place to eat. In other places, finding a decent place to eat that serves vegetarian meal after 10 pm might be a challenge. Not so in Los Angeles' Koreatown area. Is there anything more absurd than the three flapper girls in their 1920s dresses walking amidst graffitied walls and broken pavements? The three flapper girls were having the time of their life though, all smiles and laughter, oblivious of their surrounding and the fact that it's 10 pm, Sunday night. The food came and each of them encouraging each other to finish the meal. The carnivore had fatty pork ramen, the herbivore had vegetarian ramen. It felt surreal.

 I wrote in my online portfolio: "A firm believer that there is more to jobs than just to pay next month's bill." There is more to life as well. We like to think that our Earth is alive. We like to think of how the plants and the animals are alive. But are we alive? And do we have a life? Alive. A life. As an English as Second language speaker, this amuses me. Alive and a life. Which one do we have? Ideally, both. Alive is mandatory, can't really have a life if you are not alive. But do you have a life, and if yes, what kind of life are you living?

There is more to life than just walking on the path that we thought we know so well. There is more to life than just living it with simple-minded blindness, cozily hidden in our thoughts and beliefs. There is more than this comfortable nest we build around us, not wanting to leave it because 'Nothing compares, anyway." Look up, look around us, and see how small we really are. In this grand scheme of Universe, we're nothing but a speck of dust, an atom among all the atoms that create a matter. But didn't that how we harvest nuclear energy, by harvesting the energy from the atoms during a fission process? So even a humble atom has energy, a great amount of energy as a matter of fact. Can we not see how important we are in this world, how our thoughts and action affect the world as a whole?

What can create even more energy is the fusion process, where two atoms combined to become one. It is not commercially available as yet, but it is highly desirable as it will produce almost limitless non-polluted energy. The same principle applied to the human relationship. The process is hard and challenging. It requires two self-governing bodies to become one, erasing any barrier (read: ego) that might disrupt the fusion. Yet when you got it right, the result will be very rewarding. The question is whether or not we see it, whether or not we realize it, whether or not we are willing and/or able to utilize it. 

Life, for me, is this wonder. Each event is a fragment of stained glass that when pieced together will shine beautifully in the dark. Each encounter is a domino piece that will fall and trigger other sets of events, other encounters, on and on it will go as we unknowingly become the player of the universe. Each moment is a piece of a puzzle that I carefully put together to form "The Life of Ary Yogeswary." Life is warm hugs, respectful embraces, giggles and laughter. Life is the soul in us, the soul of people who we come to contact with, be it a passing moment or a lifetime acquaintance. And us together create the majestic painting of this world. Some strokes are less visible than the others, yet each is necessary to create the said masterpiece. 

Life also sucks. It's not always happy, and a lot of times people got stuck in the darkness and the pain, whether intentionally or not. It's difficult to be the proud little flower in a field of parasitic weed. Yet you know, the sight of that flower will bring joy in the heart of the people who see it. You don't need to be that flower if you can't, or just for the sake of somebody else. You can do it for yourself, do it to feel good about yourself. Appreciate life, appreciate *your* life, because you should appreciate yourself. Appreciate all the little details, all the tiny smiles, all the minuscule blessing, and realize for others you may be a part of, and even the cause of, all that smiles and blessing.

I can't say I am what you called success. But I love my life, and I appreciate it very much. And you know what? That's more than enough.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bukan Cuma di Indonesia

~ 1 bulan sebelum buku "Dear, Mantan Tersayang" terbit. Mundur sedikit gara-gara cuti panjang Lebaran hehehe ~

Ngelus dada saat membaca banyak komen yang menyalahkan petugas bandara yang reseh di kasus penamparan oleh istri pejabat. Mas dan mbak, itu bukan reseh, itu namanya menjalankan tugas demi keamanan semua.
Barang-barang yang mengandung logam seperti sabuk/ikat pinggang, jam tangan, hape dan sebagainya harus dilepas karena harus melewati deteksi metal. Buat apa pake acara deteksi metal sih? Lah kan ini naik pesawat, bukan naik mikrolet/angkot yang bisa disuruh minggir kapan saja. Kebayang nggak ada yang bawa pisau lalu stress sendiri dan membabi buta menusuki penumpang? Atau yang bawa bom dan pesawat meledak? Atau yang bawa senapan/pistol? Kalau pesawat jatuh di daerah pemukiman, otomatis penduduk pun menjadi korban. Bahaya kan?
Di Amerika sini pemeriksaan bisa berlangsung cukup lama, dan siap-siap diperiksa berulang kali. Bukan hanya benda logam dan hape yang harus dilepas, sepatu juga. Saking repotnya, mending jangan cakep-cakep saat sampai bandara, dandan kerennya nanti saja setelah lewat pemeriksaan agar tidak repot hehehe. Aturan berapa banyak cairan yang bisa dibawa juga diterapkan dengan ketat. Siap-siap itu shampoo atau lotion favorit dibuang di tong sampah kalau belum dipindahkan ke botol ukuran travel. Sekali lagi, keamanan. UK bahkan menerapkan larangan membawa laptop dan benda elektronik dengan ukuran tertentu ke kabin untuk penerbangan langsung dari 6 negara Timur Tengah (google "UK Laptop ban"). Nah, untung kan kita cuma suruh lepas jam tangan sebentar?
Bukan berarti orang sini akan selalu taat peraturan lho. Masih banyak yang dengan pedenya membawa senjata api di carry-on/bawaan kabin mereka, dan kebanyakan berpeluru. Setelah disita kebanyakan alasannya mereka nggak ngeh bahwa senjata itu ikut ke-packing. Disini gara-gara berantem soal SMS saat film bioskop sedang berlangsung saja bisa berakhir dengan penembakan (google Florida movie theater shooting 2014), jadi saya horror banget sama orang-orang yang merasa berhak membawa pistolnya, apalagi ke pesawat yang sempit dan bikin stress.
Cara lain melanggar peraturan? Membawa emotional support animal/hewan pereda emosi. Tinggal bicara pada dokter, bayar ijin, lalu anda bisa membawa-bawa hewan ini kemana-mana, termasuk ke kabin pesawat. Iya dong, kan majikannya perlu hewan ini agar nggak panik saat naik pesawat (alasannya). Masalahnya, nggak seperti hewan khusus pembantu penyandang disabilitas, hewan-hewan penyokong emosi ini tidak perlu dilatih. Walhasil banyak cerita tidak enak, termasuk cerita seorang pria diserang oleh seekor anjing penyokong emosi yang dibawa orang yang duduk disampingnya. Bukan hanya anjing lho, bisa juga bebek, kalkun, kangguru, kura-kura, ular, bahkan babi mini.
Sebagaimana di Indonesia, orang Amerika juga mengeluhkan buruknya pelayanan petugas bandara. Saya sih kasihan sama mereka, baik petugas bandara di Amerika maupun di Indonesia, gaji nggak seberapa tapi harus melayani penumpang yang kadang 'seberapa': orang-orang yang nggak ngerti peraturan karena tumben terbang, orang-orang yang menganggap mereka reseh karena menjalankan peraturan, belum lagi orang-orang yang ndableg/nggak bisa diberitahu. Padahal ini semua demi keamanan lho, bukan petugasnya saja yang nggak suka sama anda. Siapa elu coba?
Terlalu mudah kita menuduh petugas otoritas sok kuasa saat mereka harus menjalankan peraturan, misalnya saja video kondektur kereta yang menurunkan penumpang karena merokok, dan malah penumpang lainnya membela si perokok ini. Atau saat si ibu menampar petugas bandara karena disuruh melepas jam tangan. Gimana sih? Peraturan biasanya dibuat karena ada alasannya. Kalau anda nggak tahu alasannya, cari tahu. Kalau nggak setuju, pertanyakan. Jangan dibiasakan sensi sendiri dan menolak menjalankan peraturan bilamana anda merasa membuat anda tidak nyaman. Percaya deh, nggak enak harus lepas sepatu sabuk perhiasan dan sebagainya di bandara, tapi lebih baik begini daripada ada yang iseng bawa senjata berbahaya.
Seperti saya bilang tadi, orang Amerika disini juga begitu kok, dan pembaca yang kebetulan tinggal di negara lain pastinya ada bertemu orang-orang seperti ini juga. Ndableg/nggak bisa dibilangin ini ciri khas manusia yang tidak terbatasi oleh suku agama dan ras. Jadi jangan pakai alasan, "Ah, namanya juga Indonesia," Kagaaaaak….. Jangankan ketidaksukaan terhadap aparat dan peraturan yang notabene sifat manusia (siapa sih yang suka diatur-atur), anti-vaksin dan pemercaya bumi datar itu teori global lho. Semua agama dan kepercayaan ada saja yang golongan anti-vaksin, begitu pula soal bumi datar. Yang ateis (tidak beragama) atau pagan (pemercaya sihir) pun ada yang percaya beginian kok.
Inilah kenapa saya sering menulis tentang berbagai hal disini, atau sharing di Fesbuk saya hal-hal yang mungkin nggak banyak disharing orang lain. Kita perlu tahu bahwa kita nggak unik, dan ke-ndableg-an kita bukan dikarenakan kita spesial (baca: orang Indonesia) sehingga tidak ada yang bisa kita lakukan untuk memperbaikinya. Salah besar. Ke-ndableg-an kita, sempitnya pola pikir kita, ini semua sifat khas manusia, yang, sekali lagi, tidak terbatasi suku agama dan ras. Kita bisa berubah kalau kita mau berubah, dan kalau kita mau bersuara. Makanya bahagia dikala baca komen-komen: "Namanya juga peraturan, mas/mbak!" 

Nggak menutup kemungkinan ada petugas-petugas yang stress sendiri lho ya, dan memang mempersulit hidup kita. Tapi jangan jadikan ini, ataupun "yang lain juga begitu!" sebagai alasan untuk tidak mentaati peraturan. Katanya mau maju, kan? Bisa kok, bisa. Budayakan malu saat mengambil hak orang lain (menyerobot antrian, antri raskin padahal berada, dan sebagainya), dan saat tidak menaati peraturan. Sama seperti amal baik, manfaat langsung ke dunia mungkin tidak kasat mata, tapi diri kita menjadi jauh lebih baik. Kita mulai dari disiplin dari diri kita sendiri, yak!

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