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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!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sendiri Itu Indah

~4 minggu lagi sebelum "Dear, Mantan Tersayang" terbit di Gramedia~

"Mbaaaak... Serius lagi dong..." tulis seseorang di inbox saya, menanggapi foto saya yang (ceritanya) merasa terpenjara saat disuruh serius. Duh... Nggak, nggaaaak. Paling nggak nggak dulu sekarang.

Waktu pisah sama (mantan) suami saya, saya sempat langsung rebound sama cowok lain. Keduanya orang baik-baik, ganteng-ganteng pula, tapi tetap di hati merasa ada yang kurang. Pas sudahan langsung rasa di hati lega banget, plong ga jelas. Padahal mereka masuk banget kriteria saya, dan kalau saya ketemu mereka sebelum cerita telenovela saya terjadi, pasti saya sudah sibuk merancang happily ever after saya dengan mereka. Tapi itu saya yang dulu. Saya yang sekarang beda.

Saya yang dulu sangat family-oriented. Tujuan hidup saya adalah punya keluarga yang bahagia dan merawat keluarga saya semaksimal mungkin. Bikin kue buat anak-anak, menyiapkan kopi untuk suami, kalau bisa kerja cukup dari rumah atau part time saja biar bisa fokus ke keluarga. Kalau anaknya belum ada, paling nggak suami/pacar harus terjamin kebahagiaannya. Itu saja sudah cukup untuk saya. Tapi ini saya yang dulu ya.

Terdampar di negeri orang dan cerita telenovela saya membuat mata saya terbuka: ada dunia yang lebih luas daripada sekedar "Happily Ever After". Saya yang harus fokus bertahan hidup disini banyak belajar tentang tantangan, baik secara karir (penulis, agen finansial, kerja kantoran), tugas sehari-hari, maupun secara personal. Yang tiap kali tantangan ini terlewati, mulai dari yang besar seperti lulus ujian agen asuransi jiwa, sampai sekedar menemukan diskon Starbux, membuat saya bangga dan berkata, "Yeah! I did it!!"

Mungkin ini karena saya yang sekarang merasa nyaman dengan diri saya. Saya yang dulu butuh banget afirmasi, butuh dipuji dan butuh melihat orang merasa tertolong dengan kehadiran saya. "Aduh, makasih ya sayang sudah cuci piring," "Eh masakanmu enak lho," "Ih seru ya acaranya, kamu memang pintar!" Ada udang di balik bakwan sebenarnya, bahwa kalau saya berhasil membuat pasangan saya bahagia, dia nggak akan ninggalin saya. Salah besar ya saudara saudari.

Seperti yang saya bahas di buku saya, kadang cinta saja nggak cukup. Pasangan kita punya perasaan sendiri, keinginan sendiri, kebutuhan sendiri. Ibaratnya kita bisa bikinin es buah paling segar manis nikmat sedunia, kalau dia inginnya ngopi ya gimana dong. Ini juga kenapa sebaiknya kita berusaha semaksimal mungkin dalam hubungan, nggak cuma memikirkan apa mau kita tapi juga memikirkan apa mau pasangan. Percaya deh, kata-kata ratapan "Kalau saja aku..." saat berpisah itu akan jauh berkurang frekuensinya kalau kita sudah berusaha semaksimal mungkin. Nrimo jadi lebih gampang.

Setelah saya pisah dan memulai proses cerai dengan suami ada perasaan "Loe liat ya! Loe pikir gue ga bisa hidup tanpa loe!!" Awalnya memberanikan diri kencan lagi, melakukan hal-hal menyenangkan sendiri, ini semua sekedar "Biar dia lihat!!" Tapi saat melakukannya menyenangkan juga lho. Jalan-jalan sendiri ke Seattle, naik kereta 36 jam, bergabung dengan berbagai grup dan komunitas disini, pokoknya suka-suka sayalah. Dengan cepat yang dari awal dilakukan karena niat nggak mau kalah berganti dengan niat ingin bahagia sendiri.

Waktu saya tutup buku dengan para mas-mas ganteng ini pun rasanya plong. Ada kepuasan tersendiri nggak perlu lapor mau iseng nonton opera sepulang kerja (bah gayanyaaa), atau nggak merasa bersalah saat tebar-tebar pesona di acara kumpul bareng. Mau tidur seharian saat weekend yuk mari, atau saat berdansa swing tahun 1920an semalam suntuk. Salah satu mas ini tertawa saat beberapa minggu yang lalu saya bilang saya tidak ingin lagi jadi "Ibu Budi" atau "Ibu Khong Guan". "Gue udah tahu dari awal kok," katanya, "elu butuh lebih dari sekedar rumah mungil dan keluarga ideal." Dan dia benar.

Untuk pertama kalinya saya mengerti bahwa saya punya pilihan. Saya berhak, boleh, bisa memilih untuk bersama orang yang membuat saya nyaman. Saya nggak perlu sekedar pacar atau suami untuk membuat hidup saya komplit, nggak perlu terburu-buru meraih standar "happily ever after" (keluarga bahagia, rumah sendiri, karir stabil) untuk membuat saya 'sukses' sebagai wanita. Saya bahagia dengan diri saya sendiri, me myself and I, dan itu saja sudah cukup.

Jujur, kadang rasanya nggak cukup. Pas lagi masak yang resepnya untuk dua orang, pas lagi drama ga jelas (baca: lagi dapet) dan butuh dipeluk, pas lagi keluar ganjennya sementara nggak ada acara yang bisa didatangi, saat-saat begini yang jadi sibuk mengeluh kenapa nggak punya pacar. "Elu bukan nggak bisa," kata best pren saya, "elunya yang nggak mau." Daaaan...dia benar.

Pasangan yang saling melengkapi itu seperti nasi goreng pete atau donat celup coklat. Nasi goreng atau pete, dan juga donat atau coklat, dimakan begitu saja sudah sedap, tapi pas digabung jadi luar biasa. Saya mencari hubungan yang seperti ini, yang kepribadian saya dan pasangan tetap menonjol walau bersatu, dan gabungan kepribadian kita mampu membuat kita berdua melangkah lebih jauh. Saya mencari seseorang yang bisa menerima saya secara keseluruhan, bukan hanya bagian/sifat yang dirasa cocok. Banyak orang yang "manis", "perhatian", "lucu", "seru", "pengertian" diluar sana, tapi hanya ada satu Ary Yogeswary.

Susah? Banget. Lebih gampang tutup mulut dan tersenyum manis dan berkata, "Iya sayang". Belum lagi parno "Apa gue segitu kurangnya sampe orang ga mau ngebela-belain buat gue? Apa gue standarnya ketinggian?" Padahal it's not me, it's them; bukan saya, tapi mereka. Saya belum ketemu yang cocok saja. Saya tahu nilai saya dan apa yang bisa saya berikan dalam sebuah hubungan, dan saya mencari seseorang yang mampu memberikan yang setara. Dan kalau nggak ketemu nggak apa-apa, saya bahagia kok dengan diri saya sendiri. Ini yang paling penting.

Jadi apakah saya punya pacar? Iya, pacar saya saya sendiri. Apakah saya sering kencan? Iya, kencan dengan diri saya sendiri. Apakah saya sedang menjalin hubungan? Iya, dengan diri saya sendiri. Saya ajak makan, saya belikan baju, saya bawa nonton teater dan berdansa, dan yang paling penting, saya sayangi sepenuh hati. Sebelum anda tuduh saya narsis, orang yang terlihat bahagia dan nyaman dengan dirinya sendiri itu sangat menarik lho. Love yourself, you deserve it. Cintai diri anda sendiri, anda berhak kok.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Orang Orang Yang Terbunuh

Seorang remaja Muslim dibunuh Minggu subuh di Virginia, Amerika Serikat. Anak remaja ini baru pulang sahur bersama teman-temannya saat seorang pria tiba-tiba menyerang mereka. 4 orang teman-temannya berhasil melarikan diri, namun gadis ini tertinggal. Jenazahnya ditemukan pagi harinya, dan seorang pria berusia 22 tahun telah ditangkap dengan tuduhan pembunuhan.

Sebelum protes bahwa tidak ada beritanya, ada baiknya melihat screen shot yang saya pasang dibawah. Ada kok beritanya, bersanding dengan berita seorang ibu hamil berkulit hitam ditembak mati polisi karena menghunus pisau (atau gunting) terhadap polisi. Ironisnya, polisi ada di apartemennya karena ia yang memanggil mereka untuk melaporkan pencurian. Ini bukan pertama kalinya orang kulit hitam ditembak mati, sekali waktu bahkan seorang wanita berumur 19 tahun ditembak oleh seorang pemilik rumah setelah wanita ini mengetuk pintu rumah orang ini untuk meminta tolong setelah mengalami kecelakaan mobil.

Apa moral dari cerita ini? Bangsa Barat memang sialan gitu? Orang minoritas selalu ditindas? Nggak juga. Moral dari cerita ini adalah banyak orang 'sakit' di dunia ini. Ada orang yang dengan teganya menabrakkan mobil ke orang-orang yang baru pulang dari Masjid di London Senin subuh ini. Tapi tanggal 3 Juni yang lalu ada orang-orang yang menabrakkan mobil ke pejalan kaki di jembatan London yang terkenal, konon anggota ISIS. Tanggal 18 Mei, ada orang stres yang menabrakkan mobilnya ke pejalan kaki di Times Square New York yang super sibuk.

Kalau membicarakan bom, ada bom di Manchester, dan tiap Natal kita di Indonesia juga kayanya selalu ada ancaman bom di Gereja. Tapi Tamil Eelam di Sri Lanka juga nge-bom kanan kiri. Tahun 1996 ada bom di Manchester juga, tapi yang ini oleh IRA (militan Irlandia). Oktober 2016 3 orang pria di Kansas ditangkap karena ingin mengebom Masjid. Bicara stabbing atau penusukan, tahun 2016 ada orang yang sibuk menyerang orang di restoran dengan golok di Ohio, konon menyebut nama Allah. 31 May tahun ini ada orang yang menusuk orang-orang yang mencoba menghentikan tingkahnya yang menyerang secara verbal dua remaja yang salah satunya Muslim. Dan di tahun 2012, seorang pria di Cina menyerang 22 anak-anak di sebuah sekolah. Di tahun 2016 seorang pria Perancis ditembak mati di Bali setelah mengamuk dan membunuh seorang polisi.

Masih perlu bukti kalau begitu banyak orang 'sakit' di dunia ini?

Kalau kita fokus ke alasan, semua alasan itu bisa dijustifikasi/dibenarkan kok. Sebagaimana seorang pengacara yang sanggup berkelit dan membuat alasan agar tindakan kliennya bisa dibenarkan, begitu pula kita dengan sekelilling kita. "Biar aja, toh Muslim kebiasaan nge-bom kiri kanan", "Syukurin, Cina reseh sih," "Makanya, siapa suruh jadi kafir?". Yang sampai nggak ada hubungannya pun bisa dihubungkan. Berita orang terbunuh di pengeboman saat konser Ariana Grande, reaksinya "Trus kenapa? Begitu banyak orang Islam yang terbunuh di Palestina!" Berita orang Islam dibunuhi di Afrika, reaksinya "Trus kenapa? Begitu banyak yang sudah mereka bantai di seluruh dunia!" Terus aja sih kalau mau cari alasan.

Tapi kalau kita bisa mundur selangkah, kalau kita bisa bijak sejenak, coba deh kita berpikir. Coba lihat segala aksi kekerasan ini dari, yah, aksi tersebut, bukan alasannya. Orang normal ya, orang yang (syukurlah) masih punya nurani, biasanya lihat darah mengucur saja sudah mual dan eneg dan panik. Lihat orang sedih atau menangis, rasanya hati ikut merana. Mencubit anak atau menampar orang rasanya sudah berdosa sekali. Ini kok bisa, bukan hanya aktif melukai namun sampai menghilangkan nyawa orang. Di cerita Harry Potter, konon untuk membuat Horcrux agar hidup abadi caranya adalah dengan membunuh orang, karena membunuh orang adalah tindakan yang demikian mengerikan sehingga jiwa kita terbelah. Saya percaya ini juga yang terjadi di dunia nyata.

Nggak harus ekstrim membunuh lho, pikiran buruk dan kata-kata yang menyerang saja sudah cukup untuk mengikis kemanusiaan kita. Saya ingat dulu pertama kali saya mengenal dan mengucap kata 'F*ck'. Rasanya antara berasa Bad Girl banget, keren dan cool habis, dan anak nggak bener banget, yang akan terjerumus kedalam sex bebas narkoba dan dunia hitam. Dari dulu imajinasi saya memang suka ekstrim nggak jelas. Dua dekade (lebih sedikit) berikutnya, saya mengobrol dengan bos saya kadang dengan santwi terselip kata ajaib itu. Sudah biasa. Makanya saya nggak ngerti kalau ada orang yang tersinggung kalau saya pakai kata "F*ck", karena menurut saya biasa saja.

Sekarang, coba ganti kata 'F*ck' ini dengan makian: "Dasar Cina" "Dasar Kafir" "Dasar Onta", dan seterusnya. Ganti kata 'F'*ck' ini dengan hinaan, "Syukurin" "Rasain" "Semoga (isi yang buruk)". Kalau yang rajin mantengin kolom komentar di fesbuk atau berita online pasti sering melihat yang seperti ini. Atau yang "Wajar diperkosa, lihat bajunya", "Nggak bener sih, makanya mati," dan sejuta penghakiman lainnya. Kita pikir ini biasa, padahal dengan tiap penghakiman, dengan tiap hinaan, dengan tiap ancaman kekerasan dan kearoganan yang kita ucapkan, kemanusiaan kita semakin terkikis.

Nggak kurang dari J. K. Rowling sendiri yang mengecam sentimen anti-Muslim yang riuh dikobarkan media di UK. Jangan ge-er dulu yang Muslim, ini bukan semata karena benci Muslim, tapi karena laku dijual. Sama halnya media yang lebih tertarik ngebahas twitnya Donald Trump daripada detail program kerjanya. Di Indonesia biasanya laku soal Kristenisasi dan sentimen anti-Cina (plus PKI). Sebagaimana yang disadari penulis Harry Potter ini, sentimen anti- apapun sangat berbahaya. Kita nggak bisa mengharapkan dunia yang damai dan aman, kalau kitanya sendiri penuh kenegatifan dan berbahaya.

Begitu banyak ibu-ibu yang ngeshare di medsos bagaimana anak bisa sholeh/beriman, bisa sopan dan menghargai orang lain, pokoknya jadi anak ideal; sementara kita yang dewasa (baca: orang tua) masih jauh dari ideal. Kita yang penuh dengan amarah, yang percaya orang lain ingin melukai kita atau pantas dilukai, kita yang gencar mengkampanyekan "Asal waspada!!" disertai tuduhan tak berdasar dan menjual ketakutan, apa yang sebenarnya kita kontribusikan ke dunia?

Kita nggak harus setuju akan sesuatu untuk tidak bereaksi negatif. Menurut anda kepercayaan anda yang paling benar, ya udah sih, nggak perlu menyerang dan menjelekkan yang kepercayaannya berbeda. Ibaratnya saya yang percaya Harrison Ford pria terseksi di dunia, nggak usah tiap kali ada yang bilang mereka suka aktor lain selain bapak ini saya langsung serang dan saya jelek-jelekkan aktor tersebut, atau saya hina orang tersebut karena saya rasa seleranya rendah.

Bahkan untuk hal-hal yang anda tahu buruk pun, ada banyak cara untuk menyikapi dengan bijak tanpa kehilangan kemanusiaan anda. Anda bisa memisahkan diri dari orang yang terkenal pemabuk karena anda khawatir dia bisa berbahaya saat mabuk, misalnya; tapi nggak usah yang koar-koar "Idih si A itu kan pemabuk, amit-amit banget deh, mau jadi apa kedepannya, palingan bakal mati di selokan itu orang". Jangan membunuh atau melukai seseorang, baik secara fisik maupun mental, karena dengan demikian kita membunuh dan melukai diri kita sendiri.

Seberapa pentingkah ini? Yah, lihat sekeliling anda. Kita hidup di dunia penuh kecurigaan dan kebencian, di era yang berita buruk dan ketakutan dijual karena itu yang laku dijual, di masa dimana kita pun berlomba membaca berita tersensasional seperti memangsa bakso penuh mecin. Tidakkah anda letih? Tidakkah anda merasa terkucil dan sendiri? Apa yang anda lihat di wajah orang lain, harapan atau kecurigaan?

Sudah cukup sekian banyak raga tak bernyawa terserak. Sudah cukup sekian banyak pikiran dan perasaan teraniaya, yang kemudian membuka siklus baru dimana kita saling membunuh dan menyakiti. Sudah cukup. Kekerasan, apapun bentuk dan alasannya, tidak bisa dibiarkan. Pertama kita berpikir, lalu kita berkata, lalu kita berbuat. Sudah cukup. Jangan lagi kita membuat diri kita kehilangan kemanusiaan kita, jangan lagi kita menghancurkan kemanusiaan orang lain. Saya merindukan teduh damainya surga di muka bumi ini, di dalam hidup saya. Kalau anda?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Girl of Fire

The mauve lipstick was erased from my lips
Gently wiped by the touch of your kiss
But it wasn't enough, oh no
I still wanted more, much more

The moment you touch me the fire in me burned
A raging inferno that I cannot quench
Suffocate me in such delight
More, please, more, more, more

You smiled shyly and I giggled nervously
Our fingers entwined and our body swayed
The music was loud and the beat was fast
Yet the world was standing still

Look into my eyes and see the hunger that rise
Softly touch my cheek and feel the fire that burns
I will devour all your love and I will still want more
I want you now. Later. Forever.

I am Yaoya that burns wildly for you
I'll burn down the city just for the sight of you
I will burn at the stake just for a touch from you
And everything else can be damned

Feel the fire rising inside me and glow in its heat
Let me show you what passion is and what desires are
The love that will consume all, energize all
A taste of heaven, a moment of eternity

Tonight, let the fire burn
The flame in my eyes, the inferno in my soul
The burning kisses we share all night
Let it burn, my love, let it burn

And as we turn into ashes and charred remains
As we destroyed ourselves and everything else
It matters not, not now or ever
Let the fire burn gloriously, untamed and undefeated

I am your fire and you are my fuel
So kiss me once more to set the world free
Disappeared in the heat of our feverish affection
Perish in the fury of our fiery embrace

Even as my end is near I will not regret it
Even as I stood there amidst the destroyed town
I will burn down a thousand town and more
Just for a touch from you, a sight of you

Love me, love, for I am bright
For I am beautiful and full of life
For I will burn eternally for you
For I am Yaoya, the girl of fire.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Saya Kasihan

Jadi tengah malam ada yang sms saya di Instagram, intinya menyalahkan saya karena nggak mempercantik diri saat suami selingkuh. Karena kan lelaki mahluk visual, senang lihat yang cantik-cantik. Err...

Orang ini sih kayaknya memang internet troll tulen, yang memang punya akun buat nyampah aja. Saya cek follower dan yang difollow masih 0 alias kosong, dan post nya baru 1. Bau-baunya dibikin khusus untuk komen tapi nggak mau ketahuan. Saya nggak marah sih sama orang ini, saya kasihan saja.

1) Saya kasihan sama orang model begini yang masih percaya kalau wanita cuma pajangan saja.

Selaku (calon) ibu dari anak-anak si suami, ada juga yang dipilih harus kompeten ya? Yang cerdas, penyayang, kuat, mau dan bisa diajak bekerja sama. Cantik sih memang enak dilihat, tapi pernikahan/hidup bersama kan ga cuma lihat-lihatan. Sudah waktunya kita melihat wanita sebagai ratu, yang kalau rajanya kenapa-kenapa harus siap mengambil alih kerajaan. Rajanya juga jangan kampret dan memperlakukan sang ratu sebagai selir belaka. Kita sebagai pasangan membutuhkan satu sama lain kok. Percaya deh, tampilan fisik saja nggak cukup untuk mempertahankan hubungan; dan kalau memang hubungan cuma karena fisik, awas-awas ditinggal untuk yang lebih menarik. Ini membawa kita ke poin 2.

2) Saya kasihan dengan orang-orang yang berpikir selingkuh itu hal yang hitam-putih.

Kalau lihat poin 1, memang ada pria/wanita yang mutlak mencari hubungan berdasarkan fisik saja. Tapi saya yakin kebanyakan hubungan nggak seperti itu. Harus ada ketertarikan antara satu sama lain sampai akhirnya memutuskan untuk bersama. Sebaliknya, selingkuh juga bukan suatu masalah yang bisa dibereskan dengan cepat seperti menenggak Pan Odol untuk sakit kepala.

Ada banyak faktor mengapa seseorang memutuskan berselingkuh. Tampilan fisik memang salah satu faktor, namun bukan faktor utama. Kesempatan dan kekuasaan lebih berperan, dengan kata lain ada celah dan mampu selingkuh. Kalau begini mau secantik atau sesempurna apapun nggak ngefek. Detail lengkapnya ada di buku saya yang akan terbit sebentar lagi, tapi untuk sekarang coba berpikir: mau sampai kapan harus berubah demi pasangan?

Kalau berubah yang baik demi kesehatan dan alasan higienis ya nggak apa-apa, atau berhenti dari kebiasaan buruk seperti belanja bra tiap ada sale (oops). Tapi kalau yang: "Dia lebih menarik", "Dia lebih penyayang", "Dia lebih jago ilmu agamanya", "Dia lebih kaya/karir lebih stabil" dan sebangsanya, males kan? Kalau memang nggak tahan dan nggak cocok yuk mari bye bye, jangan baru cari alasan pas ketemu yang lebih bagus. Lu pikir gue provider hape yang lu tinggal ganti nomor pas nemu paket yang lebih oke? Diselingkuhi itu menyakitkan lho, yang membawa kita ke poin 3.

3) Saya kasihan sama orang-orang yang diselingkuhi dan harus menerima "penghakiman" model begini.

Yang sms saya pasti nggak tahu saya masih jatuh bangun. Minggu lalu saya depresi nggak jelas karena 10 hari lagi peringatan setahun saya menemukan bukti perselingkuhan mereka. Saya sampai nyaris nggak bisa kerja, dan rasanya seperti mengulang kembali semua mimpi buruk itu.

Saya tahu saya beruntung. Saya punya cukup percaya diri dan common sense/akal sehat untuk tahu bahwa perselingkuhan ini bukan salah saya; bukan karena sesuatu yang "kurang" dari saya, melainkan yang "kurang" dari dia: kurang ajar. Ih saya tega. Maaf ya mantan dan mbak kalau kebetulan baca tulisan ini. Ini memang harus dan sudah terjadi mengingat kepribadian saya dan mantan.

Tapi kan nggak semua seberuntung (dan secuek) saya. Banyak orang yang diselingkuhi, pria atau wanita, yang berpikir itu salah mereka, bahwa mereka yang harusnya 'lebih baik'. Terbayang nggak mas dan mbak yang sudah terpuruk begini mendengar, "Lagian elu sih (isi sendiri kritikmu)", apa nggak jadi tambah terpuruk? Dihakimi bahwa kita penyebab diselingkuhi sudah sakit, apalagi dihakimi itu terjadi karena fisik kita, yang membawa kita ke poin 4.

4) Saya kasihan sama orang yang dituduh jelek dan menganggap dirinya jelek, termasuk saya...

Gimana ngomongnya ya... Saya cari lelaki disini mah gampang hehe. Jalan ke supermarket dengan tampang kucel baru bangun tidur juga masih ada yang nyapa, "Hello beautiful!" Tambah lagi saya dasarnya perhatian dan asik diajak ngobrol, yang sangat dihargai orang-orang disini. Nggak cukup cuma cakep doang. Jadi kalau dibilang saya ditinggal karena kurang cakep ya hmm...

Tapi kalau ini terjadi waktu saya masih di Indonesia, pasti berasa down banget. Tahu diri banget saya nggak sesuai standar mayoritas lelaki di Indonesia. Entah berapa kali pdkt, chatting, dan seterusnya, yang ujung-ujungnya ditolak. Sementara saya pun yang nggak sudi berubah. Kalau mau gue lebih langsing putih bermakeup etc sesuai standar lu, kualitas otak lu juga harus sesuai sama standar gue.

Belum lagi saya cuma laris di sms pas foto profile pake baju yang agak terbuka. Laris diajak check in maksudnya, baik terselubung maupun terang-terangan. Makanya akhirnya saya banting setir sama bule, kalau sama-sama free sex dan playboy sekalian cari yang bisa diajak ngobrol. Tapi tetap saja, tahu banget fisik saya nggak sesuai standar. Butuh waktu lama dan sekian banyak pujian hingga saya merasa nyaman dengan diri saya sendiri.

Lagi-lagi saya beruntung, orang lain belum tentu. Operasi plastik itu mahal lho. Dan kalau memang kulitnya gelap, apa harus di bleach pakai merkuri? Ijazah/pendidikan, kepintaran, kesholehan/ketaatan beragama, semua ini bisa diraih. Nah fisik sesuai 'standar' meraihnya gimana? Apalagi untuk hal-hal yang nggak bisa diubah seperti warna kulit, tinggi badan, tampilan muka, dan sebagainya. Udah? Hidup gue jadi harus selesai gara-gara ga sesuai standar lu? Kita seringkali nggak sadar bahwa omongan yang kita ucapkan itu bisa begitu menyakiti orang lain, yang membawa kita ke poin 5, poin terakhir.

5) Saya kasihan dengan orang-orang yang komentar seperti ini.

Tiap kali saya dengar komentar sinis menghakimi begini saya jadi sedih. Kasihan mereka, hidupnya nggak tenang sampai harus membikin down orang lain untuk merasa baik. Saya tahu karena saya pernah di posisi mereka. Siapa sih yang nggak pernah? Biasanya ngegosipin dengan heboh orang yang kita nggak suka, lalu tanpa tahu cerita aslinya langsung menuduh, "Tuh iya kan, abis dia emang nggak bener banget sih bla bla bla". Ini kelakuan SMP/SMA banget deh, yang sayangnya sering terbawa sampai dewasa.

Tapi terkadang saya menemukan fakta/sisi lain dari orang yang saya omongin, lalu saya jadi malu sendiri karena tuduhan saya salah. Pelan-pelan saya mulai stop menghakimi, atau paling nggak saya simpan di dalam hati dan bukannya disebar. Ini susah, karena tudingan ini biasanya terjadi kalau kita merasa tidak senang dengan orang tersebut, dan menjustifikasi perbuatan tidak menyenangkan kita dengan alasan orang tersebut yang bikin kita nggak hepi.

Kasihan banget kan jadinya orang-orang yang sibuk menebar kebencian dan penghakiman di sosmed? Orang-orang yang memaki dan mengutuk dan mengancam melakukan kekerasan, orang-orang yang penuh kesinisan dan ejekan, orang-orang yang sibuk menuding dan menuduh dan memberi pendapat merendahkan tanpa diminta atau bahkan tanpa kenal. Kebayang nggak gimana 'tenang'nya mereka tidur di malam hari, atau saat menjalankan keseharian mereka?

Dan ini bukan cuma di Indonesia. Di Amerika sini ada nenek-nenek yang dihukum penjara karena terus menghubungi ortu yang anaknya meninggal saat penembakan Sandy Hook dan bilang, "Lu tau kan itu cuma konspirasi? Lu nipu aja, anak lu sebenarnya ga mati kan?" Kebayang nggak perasaan orang tua yang kehilangan anaknya saat itu?

Buat kita yang 'waras', jalannya jelas. Punya hati sedikitlah. Pikir-pikir sebelum posting. Anda berhak menyuarakan pendapat anda, tapi hanya karena anda berhak bukan berarti anda harus. Terkadang diam lebih baik, apalagi kalau motifnya sekedar "Biar tahu rasa dia!" atau ego kita belaka. Buat yang 'sakit', yang nggak mampu bersimpati terhadap orang lain, yang kayak gini nggak usah dibantah. Anda bisa membantu mengkonter dengan menulis hal yang menyejukkan bagi orang yang 'diserang', setidaknya mengingatkan pembaca lain "Begini lho cara bersosmed yang beradab".

Saya nggak mau muluk-muluk "Oh belajar beradab biar Indonesia maju". Nggak lah. Yang begini sih di semua negara ada ya. Saya cuma mau ada lebih sedikit penderitaan di dunia ini, dan lebih banyak kasih. Kalau bersikap baik adalah pilihan, kenapa tidak?

Friday, June 9, 2017

(Re)Born In The USA

In my desperation for the upcoming doom to come (6 more days!), I was reminded of something else. June 15 was the day my relationship was over, but June 25 was the day when my other relationship started. It was the day I leave for, and consequently, arrived in the US.

What was it like to leave the only place you have known all your life, in exchange for something new? My longest flight till that moment was 1.5 hours flight between The Capital and my home island. I was never even been to another island, only those two. Yet there I was, sitting in the waiting room of an airport terminal waiting for my 24-hour flight to start. Excitement ran through me like a spring shower, deliciously refreshing but a bit shocking as well. I, the control freak, started to think the many ways that the trip or flight could get botched. What if they don't accept my visa, what if I don't have all the paperwork, what if they refused my entry and told me to go back home? 

It was absurd, and I know that. Listen girl, I told myself, you got all the paperwork you need, you are of clean background, and your husband-to-be is as clean as can be. You're good, I said, you're good. That calmed me a little bit. I thought of many scenarios that could happen and the best ways to deal with them, all pretty much ended up with, "Well, there's nothing I can do about that…" With that, I had no other option but to chill. 

I knew I got it all good, but it was still scary, very scary for me. People say, "If you are worried, that means you have something to hide,". That was definitely not the case with me. Maybe it's because back home things could still get wrong even when you have everything in order. Maybe because it's the USA and I've read far too many stories how TSA or immigration officer treats you like a criminal. Or maybe, just maybe, because I will end up 8,000 miles away from my comfort zone, with people that don't speak my language and probably don't care much about me. Either way, it was scary.

But then I saw my little backpack carry-on, and the rush of excitement was running through me once again. I have spent the last 3 weeks I had in Bali to prepare for my departure. The little brown canvas shoes with a white flower stitched on it - which I wore on that flight - was purchased during that period, along with a pretty pair of dark red flats with a bow on top for my wedding shoes, safely tucked in the checked luggage the size of another carry-on. A copy of Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" in English. Gifts for his family (I sounded like the Spaniards coming to find a new world lol). My wedding outfit: the tailor-made Kebaya (traditional lace blouse) and a silk cloth to wear as a skirt with matching sash. My asthma inhaler, 3 of them. The beautiful maroon trench coat that I purchased in Jogjakarta, solely for USA life. Those and very few clothes, that's all I have. And him. I got him waiting for me in the US. And a whole new life with him.

It wasn't until my second flight, when I depart from Taipei, that I realized the consequences of my action. As the plane took off from Taoyuan International Airport, as the lights below us grow dimmer and smaller till there is nothing to be seen, I cried silently on my seat. This is it, I thought to myself, there is no turning back. 5 hours flight to/from Taipei is doable, a lot of Indonesian people do that. The additional 12 hours flight to the US? Not so much. It seemed only the rich and the working can go to the US, I was neither. I've only realized this now, but back then I was very worried. What if I have to go home and I don't have money to go home? What if something happened to my family and I can't help them? What if I can't find a job? What if I have to do manual labor since I sucked at details and have no physical strength at all? For the first time in my adult life, I will be fully relying on someone, and that scared me. And yes, being 23 hours flight away from your home will pretty much turn you into freak out mode.

The first thing I saw when we start the landing process, was the 405. It was amazing. I have never seen any road as large as that one. I mean how many lanes were there, 6 or 8? My fears and worries gladly took the back seat as my curious instinct kicked in in hyperdrive, absorbing every detail and every sensation. This is it, I told myself, USA. I would never, ever thought that I'd be able to come to the USA, let alone to (possibly) stay there. I wouldn't be able to afford it. At the same time, I had thought I will never, ever get married. I simply was not attractive enough. Yet there I was, waiting in the immigration line at LAX. The two things that I thought will never happen, would happen almost simultaneously. It was madness. It was folly. But I'm glad I did.

The hours and days after were times of discovery. I discovered that immigration officers can be cool and efficient and friendly, as I glide flawlessly through the checkpoint, right to the arms of my very surprised husband-to-be who just arrived with a handful of roses. To this day he still accused me of cutting through the line, since nobody can go pass immigration that quickly. Hey, I look innocent, what can I say? I discovered the giganticness of US freeway system, or at least the 405. I discovered that an IHOP entree is large enough to feed a family of 4. I discovered that Katy Perry was probably lying about hot California girls since it was freaking cold. I discovered that yes, there can be fog on the beach in morning time (what blasphemy!). I discovered that cars and vehicles are frighteningly fast, and since everything is so far apart (I lived in Huntington Beach that time), you are stuck there without a car. I discovered that I hate being not in control my own life: no scooter, no permanent ID (yet), no money, no job.

But I learned and adapt quickly. I learned about the transportation system. I got a birth control implant from Planned Parenthood. I visited places like library all on my own. We move to another city 2 months after I arrived, and I learned some more. I learned to master the art of grocery shopping, and with that, the art of cooking. I went and got my state ID by myself. I apply for my conditional green card, and afterward, my social security number. I looked for volunteer jobs. I joined Meetup groups and meet new people. Everything was new to me, and even the sight of different nuts on an autumn sale made me squeal in excitement. Drinkable tap water was life changing, and so does the notion that nutcracker doesn't have to be in the form of a soldier. 

Looking back, it was a girl who left Indonesia almost 4 years ago. Despite her age, it was a young girl who excitedly prepares herself for the trip of her lifetime, who left her home filled with hope and filled with love, a naïve being who believed everything will be perfect. It will be a grown-up woman who'll return home for a visit. A woman who have seen a lot, experienced a lot, and matured from what had happened. A woman who understand more about love, and who knows how to love herself properly. Being in the USA not only taught me about myself and about life, but also about the world itself. The barriers around me were torn down, both in my mind or through the accessible information system. I understand more, and consequently, I love more. I did not evolve, I was reborn: better, stronger, smarter. And to that, albeit all the pain and tears and sadness I went through, I thank my stars. Hello, Ary 2.0. I love you.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Melibas Kebencian

Ada orang disini yang pasang billboard tentang Islam. Saya padahal bukan Muslim, tapi sakit hati bacanya. Sama sakit hatinya kalau baca atau mendengar orang menjelek-jelekkan orang keturunan Cina atau umat non-Muslim, atau golongan-golongan lainnya seperti Ahmadiyah, Konghucu, atau bahkan PKI. Rasanya saya seperti dicekoki dengan air comberan yang berbau busuk. Sudah cukuplah dengan segala kebencian ini. 

Jangan buru-buru menuduh ini karena pihak A, B, atau C pada dasarnya memang penuh kebencian, atau karena mereka yang duluan menyakiti dan/atau menzholimi, atau berbagai alasan lainnya. Kalau hobi baca berita global ceritanya sama semua kok, semua pihak bisa jadi kejam dan penuh kebencian, semua golongan bisa jadi militan, semua golongan bisa merasa grupnya yang paling benar dan lebih baik dari orang lain. Hindu dan Budha konon agama damai, tapi masih lho ada grup-grup militannya. 

Soal tuduh-menuduh begini juga bukan akar permasalahan, namun sebuah gejala. Nggak usah deh kitab suci agama, buku Harry Potter pun kalau mau bisa saya argumenkan sebagai buku yang mengajarkan kegelapan dan menyembah setan dengan mengambil bagian-bagian dari buku tersebut. Sebaliknya, saya juga bisa bikin seolah buku itu anugrah terbesar umat manusia, lagi-lagi dengan mengambil cuilan-cuilan dari buku tersebut. Semua interpretasi ini kembali ke orang-orang yang mendengarkan argument saya, dan ini sebenarnya akar permasalahannya: kita nggak kenal satu sama lain. 

Saya nggak yakin si bapak yang pasang billboard ini punya teman orang Islam, karena orang Islam yang saya tahu, baik di Los Angeles maupun di Indonesia, nggak ada yang melakukan hal-hal yang dia tulis. Boro-boro Syekh Puji yang mengawini anak dibawah umur, Aa Gym yang kawin lagi dengan wanita yang lebih muda saja banyak yang protes. Kemungkinan yang dia tulis di billboard ini berdasarkan apa yang dia riset/baca di internet, yang ke-valid-annya sangat diragukan, tapi karena 'cocok' dengan apa yang ingin ia percayai ya yuk mari ditulis. 

Sebelum lompat ke 'Konspirasi media', penting untuk tahu kenapa saya selalu heboh mengklarifikasi hoax atau memaksa teman-teman saya bertanggung jawab akan apa yang mereka sharing/sebarkan. Media jurnalisme resmi, yang benar-benar resmi punya pemimpin redaksi badan hukum dan sebagainya, wajib menulis sebenar-benarnya dan harus mampu mempertanggungjawabkan apa yang ditulis serta mengecek kebenarannya sebelum diterbitkan. Minimal mencoba mengecek kebenarannya. Seperti pepatah disini: "If it's too good to be true, it usually is", kalau kedengarannya terlalu muluk, biasanya memang iya.

Masalahnya banyak dari kita, dan kayaknya termasuk si bapak ini, menggunakan internet untuk mendapatkan info yang ingin kita ketahui, bukan yang harusnya kita ketahui. Paling gampang deh, waktu Pilkada Jakarta kemarin semua teman yang pro-Ahok sibuk posting/sharing berita-berita pro-Ahok, dan yang anti-Ahok melakukan sebaliknya. Yang dari sumber berita resmi seperti Detik, Kompas, Tempo, dan sebangsanya bisa dihitung dengan jari (kalau ada), sisanya dari website blog/opini yang semua bisa menulis tanpa perlu meriset atau berdasarkan fakta. Walhasil yang benci Ahok tambah benci, yang benci anti-Ahok tambah benci, dan si Bapak ini yang berpikir sang Nabi itu pedofil.

Satu hal yang saya pelajari saat jadi imigran disini adalah pentingnya bersikap terbuka, dan tidak pentingnya untuk merasa "Ini gue lho!". Saya ingat [mantan] anak tiri saya yang bertanya kenapa hidung saya aneh bentuknya. Mau marah juga nggak bisa, soalnya dia kan memang belum pernah melihat hidung pesek seperti saya hahaha. Sebaliknya, saya mengobrol dengan orang disini juga nggak yang, "Gini gini, lu harus ngerti gue ini siapa, dan lu harus menghormati siapa gue," lalu tersinggung mampus saat mereka nggak ngerti atau salah-salah kata. Mereka mengucap Indonesia saja susah gitu lho. Saya 4 tahun hidup disini bisa kok ngobrol tanpa mention SARA. Kalau dia orang yang dasarnya reseh, ya udah sih saya nggak ajak ngobrol lagi; ga usah repot.

Tapi banyak dari kita yang merasa itu nggak cukup. Banyak dari kita yang merasa segala sesuatu harus sesuai dengan apa yang kita percayai, dengan apa yang membuat kita nyaman. Bilamana ada yang membuat kita merasa tidak nyaman atau tidak sesuai dengan apa yang kita percayai, maka ancaman tersebut harus dihilangkan. Itulah kenapa orang-orang memilih membaca berita yang membuat mereka nyaman, hoax atau misinformasi peduli setan. Akhirnya pada sibuk sendiri terbelenggu kepicikan diri, yang bilamana terjadi pada individual/orang yang dasarnya memang agak 'sakit', dapat menjadi alasan untuk menyerang orang lain. Pelaku penusukan di Portland, pelaku penusukan di Ohio, bom bunuh diri di Bali, pelaku penembakan kuil Sikh di Wisconsin, ini semua orang-orang 'sakit' yang merasa terpanggil (baca: terjustifikasi) untuk melakukan semua ini karena apa yang mereka putuskan untuk percayai.

Kalau ini di komik-komik atau kartun Jepang, gambarannya pasti Bumi yang diliputi kabut hitam tipis yang semakin lama semakin pekat. Itu kebencian, mas bro dan mbak sis, itu musuh kita yang utama. Bukan grup A, B, dan C, tapi kebencian. Kerakusan juga, karena kerakusan yang akan menyebabkan kebencian bertambah parah. Ketidak-adilan sosial juga disebabkan kerakusan, yang pada akhirnya menyebabkan kebencian. Orang lapar lebih mudah marah dan emosi, bukan?

Yang bisa menghapus kabut hitam ini adalah pengetahuan. Saya nggak bisa membenci Islam karena saya tahu teman-teman saya yang Islam nggak seperti itu. Tapi kalau saya nggak mau tahu, kalau saya menutup diri saya, atau kalau teman-teman saya yang Islam nggak mau terbuka dan/atau nggak mau bersikap baik pada saya karena saya kafir misalnya, wajar saja kalau saya jadi berpikir orang Islam itu nggak banget. You can't hate something that you love. Kamu nggak bisa membenci sesuatu yang kamu sayangi.

Semua teori konspirasi boleh beredar, tapi itu nggak akan mengubah fakta bahwa perubahan harus dimulai dari diri kita sendiri. Be good, be kind. Jadilah orang yang baik, yang welas asih. Jangan merebut hak orang lain, termasuk hak untuk tersenyum, hak untuk merasa aman, hak untuk beribadah. Dan kalau anda ingin apa yang anda percayai dicintai orang lain, jadilah gambaran hidup apa yang anda percayai. Model-model Victoria's Secret semuanya super seksi karena perusahaan ini ingin brand/merk mereka terkonotasi dengan imej 'seksi'. Anda ingin apa yang anda percayai dianggap mulia dan paling baik? Bersikaplah seperti itu. Nggak ada gunanya anda marah dianggap jelek bila kelakuan anda memang membuat resah orang lain. Asal tahu saja, billboard si Bapak inilah kenapa orang-orang pro-Trump disini banyak diledek sebagai sampah masyarakat. Action speaks louder than words. Aksi berbicara lebih nyaring daripada sekedar kata-kata.

Jadi sudahan ya saling benci-benciannya. Yuk belajar pintar sedikit, rajin sedikit memilah informasi. Yuk juga belajar berintegritas sedikit, yang mengedepankan kebenaran dan bukan apa yang membuat kita nyaman. Belajar kritis sedikit dan mencari tahu bagaimana dunia itu sebenarnya. Dunia akan kiamat sebentar lagi, karena ketidakpedulian kita dan kebencian kita adalah bom waktu yang akan melumatnya habis. Yuk, kita non-aktifkan bom ini bersama-sama.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

10 More Days

I can't breathe. I am frantically kicking and grasping my surrounding, trying to not sink deeper. But it is no use. I am drowning. My lungs burn and my heart is ready to explode. With every breathe I take I am drowning even more; it pervades my throat and gag me, choke me. I try to call for help, but no one can hear me. Please. Please help. Please.

You think after almost a year I will get over it. Apparently I have not. The horror and the pain is still as fresh as it was almost a year before, maybe even worse. 10 more days before the D-Day, before I found out about him and her. If anything, it feels a lot worse. Back then my Fight or Flight reaction dominated my mind. Surviving in US took priority: finance arrangement, furnishing my apartment, divorce proceeding. After that I was busy pursuing my 'new' life, always running and running, achieving one accomplishment and then another. I moved so fast that despite my occassional bawling and anger now and then, I don't really stop to let everything sink in. And now it came back with a vengeance.

It is a complicated feeling because I love my life. A lot. As I am writing this I was also busy joking with a fellow bus buddy about going to Tijuana. He teased me mercilessly about my fear of getting stuck at the border, and we were laughing heartily about that. I would dance all night and play games all day. If I was told this is the life I will have in exchange to the end of us, I might still go with it. Yet I am still getting drowned in the emotion, the tears still fell on my cheeks. I am still looking at the calendar with heavy heart, as if counting the days I had left to live.

I have tried to snapped out of it, heaven knows I've tried. My social agenda in June/July is packed. I asked a friend to stay with me during the weekend so I have someone to hold. I call another one, over and over and over. We talked nonsense on the phone, but my friend knew what lies hidden beneath the jokes: "Don't leave me. Don't let me be alone. Stay with me." All I want right now, all I need is someone to hug me tight and let me cry on his/her shoulder, while he/she gently pat my head. All I need is to feel safe once more, to know I am not alone.

But I can't. It has been going on too long. I can't keep depending on other people. They might think I am crazy, or worse, leave me. Which is a laughable idea, actually. It'll take a lot, and I mean A LOT, for my closest friends to walk away from me. But that doesn't mean I should take them for granted and keep burdening them with this (temporary) insanity. I am a good girl. Good girl doesn't make trouble for herself or other people. I am a good girl. I have always been a good girl, have I not?

Hidden beneath my layer of anger and disgust towards him was that question: "I have been a good girl, so why did you go?" It was a question unspoken, quickly killed with a snap of "Oh silly girl, you know why!" everytime it passed my mind. And I do know why. The logical part of me understand everything. The logical part of me watches everything unfold and acknowledge the pain of every one involves. The logical part of me knows that this is how it should be, there is no other way.

Yet still I ask: "Why did you do it? I love you." Because I did love him. With all my heart. I did give him my everything: my love, my heart, my trust. I thought we could make it through the end of our days. We couldn't even make it to our 3rd anniversary. And I loved him so much. I couldn't even say it out loud before, because people will think I am stupid if I said I love a man who treated me so bad; or worse, think that I don't respect what they did for me or respect myself. That's why I played it cool, I downplayed it by acting strong and laughed at his life choices. I joke about things and rolled my eyes when talking about him. I wasn't strong or brave enough to admit it then, but I am now. I loved him.

I lost my love that day, both him and the love I had in me. It was a beautiful love. I nurtured it and guard it with all my might, yet it was killed that day. Logic can't help me now in my state of grief. There is no amount of reasoning that can help me snap out of the emotion that binds me, I have to snap free myself by letting my emotion run its course. It helps to talk/write about it, as it enables me to see it from a different perspective. Right now I have gain (some of) my composure back, and I understand what I really want is for none of this to happen. I want his love that's only for me. I want the beautiful love that I have for him. Or, at the very least, for the love to not be thrown out so casually and so mercilessly.

I can't have it, though. Even if I can travel through time, I won't have it back. Both he and I only acted true to our personality and even the current outcome, devastating as it is for us, is probably still the best and the kindest. It doesn't matter how wonderful or how strong one's love is, if it doesn't complement the other person it still can't and wont work. All that is left for me is to properly weep and grieved for the killed love, the tears and sadness that I have refuse to acknowledge for the past 12 months. 

I have wore my pride as an armor to protect the weak woman inside. Now that the woman is strong enough, it is time to put the armor aside and let me gathered the remains of my love. It is time to laid her to rest and let her nourish the soil of my soul. Love, like energy, can not be destroyed. It can change into different forms or stay inert until the right time comes, but it can never be destroyed. I loved him, and it's ok to say it out loud. It is okay to curl in a fetal position on my bed and cry myself to sleep over it. 10 more days to go. It's ok. It's ok.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Unashamed With Love

I saw an old picture of me on Facebook, taken about a year ago. I was dining at The Perch, a swanky rooftop bistro in Los Angeles, drinking a glass of martini called The Writer's Block. I remember how lonely and sad I was that day, and how I finally get the term 'drink your sorrow away'. But that woman didn't know, her worse was yet to come.

In about two weeks after that day, she'll find out her husband's infidelity. She'll become the mad woman, the scorned wife. She'll have many altercations with her soon-to-be ex-husband, each that will cut her deep regardless how savage and how upper-handed she was. She'll be happy again, she'll love again, and she'll find her true self. But her broken glass slippers will cut and mangled her feet, and even a year after, she'll still find shards in her feet, and in her heart.

I have been told so many times to let him go. You deserve better, they say, you deserve to be happy. And I am. I am happy. I spent two nights in a row playing board game, laughing my heart out. I sleep whenever I want to, and cook any meal I want. Bus drivers who know me will honk and wave cheerily at me when they passed me on the road, and the regulars greet me happily when they saw me on the bus. I am prettier, healthier, and more confident these days. Yes, I am happy.

But then the memories came crashing in, and suddenly I will find myself in an emotional lockdown again, much too disturbed to move or to save myself. Even though I forgive him, even feeling sorry for him, even though I know what happened was inevitable, I still can't escape the pain of the past. No matter how many times I said to 'Let it go', it still drives me insane at times like now. March is the month where he crossed the line and set the separation in motion. May is the month he cheated on me. June is the month I found out about his infidelity. I still remember each date and what happened on the day of, and as those days came closer this year I found myself in the same emotional turmoil I faced when it happened last year.

Am I being stupid? I keep telling myself that as I write this, silently crying my heart out inside my cubicle. He's not worth it. I don't want him back. I am happy with who I am right now. It was not a good relationship. I deserve better. I worth more than what he thinks of me. But then why this heart is hurting so bad?

Because you can't put a price on love, that's why. Because regardless of how catastrophic the end of the relationship was, in the beginning, there was love. You can't logic this one out and wiped out the memories and feelings you have in an instant. It doesn't mean you still love the person, because I know I don't. Care for him, maybe, but I have no desire of having him in my life anymore. Not loving somebody anymore doesn't mean you can easily forget or let go of what you and that person have in the past. It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of how strongly you feel about that person, and it's perfectly fine.

I have tried to put everything behind, to not remember the butterfly in my stomach when I met him, or how good it feels to be in love with him. I have tried to not be angry at him every time I saw a loving post or two I made a few years back, courtesy of Facebook's "On This Day" app, or feeling duped and stupid for believing in him. I know it wasn't anyone intention to end up like this, it just how life is. Yet still I typed the silly question to my friend, "I am a good girl, right? A little crazy and can be difficult, but still a good girl, right?". 

I was mum for so long, even though my closest friend knows what's going on. Beneath the laughter and the energetic attitude, there was a woman who was still trying to heal her wounds. I was not crazy for loving him. I was not weak for staying with him and understanding him. I am not embarrassed, I shouldn't be embarrassed to admit I am still hurting. It became pathological if it consumed my life, but seeing what a jolly person I normally am, I'd say a relapse now and then is still understandable. Despite the predicament that we're in right now, I used to love this man, dammit.  

Interesting days will come when my Facebook feed shows pure love and excitement in the first two years we're together, the beginning of coldness in the third, and the full-blown madness on the fourth; all on the same date, just different years. Horrible days will come when my Facebook feed shows the madness I felt when I found out his affair, and when I tried hard to cope-up with it. Painful days will come when my Facebook feed shows me the process of us getting a visa together, and I will quietly ask myself again "why?" even though I know the answer. 

There was no 'why'. It just happened. Sometimes relationship didn't work out. Sometimes love is just ain't enough. I've been hurt enough that I refuse to be hurt again by being embarrassed about how I feel. I loved him, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don't love him now, but that doesn't mean I have to erase everything about him. I can't, even if I manage to destroy and erase every single thing that linked me to him. What happened between me and him is a part of my life. If I still feel sad about it, if I still feel hurt, that is fine. It shows how much feeling I have for him. After all, he was, borrowing his words, my hopes and dreams. Love is not something to be ashamed of.

I would cry a bit more, I would weep in my sleep, but eventually, the wound will heal and the scar will beautify me, instead of hurting me like it is right now. I can take my time. There is no point of rushing it anyway. As a friend nicely pointed out: "Stop rebounding on your rebounds". I need to let it heal completely so I can be whole again, instead of becoming a patchwork doll, or one with the needle(s) still left inside that'll prick the next person that hold me tight. It took me 4.5 years and another woman to leave him physically, it's perfectly fine to take, say, another 4.5 years to leave him mentally. I'll get there someday, when the wound stop hurting and the tears stop falling. This year is obviously not the time, but I'll get there someday.

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