Kamis, 05 Maret 2020

A Story About the Sad One

I woke up again at 3 in the morning from the weird thoughts about things that I actually had to forget right after I opened my eyes. However, if those things were so important, why did I have to forget? If it was not an important matter, why must I be awoken by that?

I texted Ben, and I let him know that I was awakened. He always looked at the time I sent him the message then he would say positive things to me as a form of support. Normally, he wakes up at 5 in the morning – far before me – and then tries to call me.

Unfortunately, that morning he woke up late. I woke up at 5 by the sound of alarm, and immediately rushed to grab veggies from the fridge to make something. I allowed my heart to be sad, but I wanted my body to stay healthy. The best veggies are the ones that are cooked from my own kitchen so I can maintain its freshness and cleanliness, and that’s what I did. I woke up at 5 in the morning to cook for myself and my boyfriend.

Over the phone, Ben told me after he finished his shower that he would immediately come to my place. I didn’t ask him to, but he promised to drop me at my office today. He knew that I wasn’t feeling well, so he made sure that I wasn’t alone. Besides, he took the afternoon shift on that day so he had plenty of time to do that. He said many times that dropping me off was not a burden at all.
Meanwhile, I think that driving me around is so troublesome. It’s because he needs to wake up earlier, take a shower faster, and his house is actually far outside the Jakarta province! (read: Sawangan, Depok). The distance to his house (ehm, actually he prefers to call it “our house” even though he buys it far before he meets me) to my place is around 27 km by motorcycle. The distance from his house (our house! :D) to my office is around 34 km. Meanwhile from my office to his office is around 13 km.

If it’s not love, I don’t know what to call it.

That morning, I did not only want to be healthy, but I also cooked to calm my mind. Cooking has always been a healing therapy for me. But after I tried to make money out of my cooking, it became a very tiring routine. I was also aware that cooking the same thing over and over again did not make it become more delicious. There were times when people said that my food was so delicious and they showered me with compliments. But there were also times that I miscounted the ingredients, or took the wrong step so it lacked a lot of things. If I remembered what I have gone through at that time, I only got traumatized. I am also confused why it is so easy for me to call things as trauma. Ben was the one who threw away the leftovers and other ingredients in my fridge that I did not dare to touch for two months. I told him that I got traumatized, he took it lightly. He said what’s important was that we got many lessons and we did not lose much.

He eventually came after I finished packing our lunches. Two boxes of red rice, Balinese chicken, and stir-fry kangkung. It seemed that he was glad to see me being productive. He was saying thank you while he took the boxes, then marked his box so it didn’t get mixed up. I did insert some other dishes that he didn’t like, Oseng Paru and Sambal Goreng Kentang Ati ayam. My landlady shared those dishes with her tenants last night. Ben did not want to eat the dishes inside my box since he knew that giblets or anything with high cholesterol was not good for his health. It includes chicken skin! Sometimes, he forbids me to eat certain things for health reasons. But sometimes, he just warned me that I must try to control my own diet.

When we parted ways in front of my office, I said thank you to him. He removed his helmet to show his smile, and told me how beautiful I was that morning. It was his third compliment this morning.
I walked inside, headed to the fingerprint machine. I felt relieved that I had much time to relax before my working hour started. At least, I have prepared myself after I used my sick leave at the beginning of this week to calm down from the unpredictable relapse.

Some time had passed, then Ben said he had arrived. I didn’t check how long he needed to come here. He complained about the traffic, but also felt grateful that he could arrive safely. This man has a good habit for always being grateful after accidentally throwing a complaint.

For example, one day I was complaining about the food quality that I bought from a stall. I simply said it didn’t taste good. But he reminded me that at least we knew how the food tasted like because God allowed us to buy that. We also were not sick when we ate thus we had so many reasons to be grateful. If I couldn’t finish the food, he offered to look for others so I could feel better. He is not the type of guy who will force you to finish your food, he will ask you to stop if you are already full instead. So, if I can not eat some food and am still hungry, he will suggest that I eat any snacks that I like so I will get full. Usually I will express my cynical thoughts whenever he tries to stay positive on things that I think are difficult to get defended. Sometimes, he agrees how the food is not good, yet he still tells me that we should stop complaining about it. Until someday, he expressed his wise opinion, “honey, maybe by the time the cook cooked this, he was already tired. You felt once how cooking was super tiring. His salary might be low, yet his needs were so many. Please forgive the cook.  We’ll find other food to make you satisfied.”

Ben did the right thing to make me stop complaining. I would easily get in tears whenever I imagined that there was someone who was already so tired but got paid in minimum salary. Yes, I could not verify the information on how much was the cook’s salary in every restaurant that we visited. I actually did not know if he received a good salary or not. But, I could be silent just from imagining it. Ben was right, there were so many more things that we should have been grateful for.

I clearly remember that scene. It stucks deep inside my brain. I even remember how he complimented me that day. In his office, Ben said that the lunchbox that I made was so delicious. I smiled. I was happy to do a good thing for him after he dropped me off at my office that morning.

Today, my job wasn’t too complicated as well. I had some money in my bank account, I had good nutritious food. But it seemed that my brain still couldn’t properly produce the amount of endorfin that I needed, no matter how hard I tried.

I am grateful, but doesn’t this sadness go away? I am luckier than many people in this world, but why do I want to keep crying? I have plenty of time to take a rest, but why do I always get tired?

I feel that I have not much problem, but why do I feel that it’s better for me to not exist in this world? If I am the winning sperm cell inside my mother’s ovum, why does this winner have such a very weak mentality?

If often imagined, what if I disappeared from this office? It would be very easy to replace me with someone who was more able and younger than me. My coworkers would hang out with others just like they used to be before my arrival. I also already stepped back from many circles, so slowly my existence became irrelevant in many places.

Ben is a very kind, handsome, hard worker, funny, and talented guy. There will be a lot of women who want to get to know him. He also has a strong mentality. He would be fine.

I am really small. Insignificant and replaceable.

I think, if there is someone who gets sad, they will have a reason why they get sad in the first place.

Unfortunately, in my current situation I don’t have any.

Halo doctor, is it the time for us to meet again?

Halo Banu, are you ready to go through more therapy and long medication again?

January, 29th 2020 

Origina Blog post : Cerita tentang Si Sedih
Translated by Yusni Aziz

Oh no, it seems that I have to visit the doctor again


My condition right now is quite good. Mentally, physically. At least, that’s what I’ve been thinking. There’s no life events that can become a reason to be desperate. My boyfriend is very supportive, my friends are kind, and my family is quite harmonious (at this moment).

But there is one thing that keeps bothering me. I don’t know why. I always get sleepy in many situations. I will sleep during work, or when I hear others’ talk. Everywhere. I really want to wake up early in the morny. But everytime I successfully get up at 5, I will be sleepy again around 8 am, and I will wake up around 11. After that, I will get sleepy again around 3 pm.

This is unhealthy and unproductive. It bothers me a lot. I had been trying hard to sleep at 11 pm, or maximum 1 am. But I would get sleepy in the morning, even though I did not much with my phone the night before.

Because of this situation, many things were abandoned. I started to feel that I was really unprofessional.

But relax, I eventually decided to visit the doctor again. For the last 8 months, I stopped my medication without informing him. I felt healthy, until this annoying habit of sleepiness kept coming. I needed to find a way out of this. I asked my doctor if there was a chance it was a symptom of relapse, blood pressure, or anything with my blood sugar level. Or maybe, I was just simply lazy.

My doctor said that situation was actually a sign that I was about to relapse. I was shocked. How was it possible for me to relapse when I felt everything was doing fine?

So, I will be more diligent on drinking my medicine and psychotherapy. I hope I will change this habit of sleeping everywhere in a short time. Since our life can not be spent only by sleeping. I am also a normal human being who needs a productive time and creating something.

My doctor also said, since I stopped my medication for quite a long time, I had to adjust myself with the medicine by taking dose far smaller than before. This is the third week after my first check up, and now I can take half of the pill, from the quarter as recommended before. He said, later on I could take the whole pill. So hopefully, my body can adapt fastly with this med he gives me.

Stay healthy everyone!

July, 9th 2019

Original blog post: Waduh! Ternyata Aku Perlu ke Dokter Lagi
Translated by Yusni Aziz

My Post-Hijab Life

Hi, how are you?

For some people, my decision to take off my hijab was quite controversial. I think it was related to my own experiences as an activist who had fought for the acceptance of hijab in public places and legal letters (for example: diploma). Also my religious background is kinda …. Well, you know. Shia.

Thanks to you if you are one of those people who think that this is all my own personal decision that must be respected. Among those disappointed messages that I received from family and friends. As a person who is not talented in ignoring people’s opinions, those negative comments really affected my mental wellbeing. So, if you want to advise me on certain things, just make sure I ask you to do so. If not, then you will only be a noise inside my head.

After taking off my hijab for a while, I realized that I had never been respectful to my own body. I was not aware how my thigh and stomach had grown in an unexpected direction. I realized that the excessive fat around my body was not healthy, no matter how many campaigns on body positivity that I saw. My desire to be healthy made me a bit ashamed of myself. In the past, those body parts were always covered with some loose fabrics, so it didn’t attract my attention. I did not know I started to have cellulite within those areas.

I rarely used body lotion because I thought my skin was always moist (when it was my own sweat!) under the fabric. Post-hijab. Whenever I wanted to wear a more tight or a bit open dress, I became aware that my body size, or skin appearance was far from the beauty that I saw in the media. It is not about chasing their beauty standard, because it will be a never ending journey. But their simple healthy standard. I felt sad that my skin felt a bit rough. It might need months and bottles of body lotion to make it smooth and moist again.

I got disappointed with my own ignorance. I was so used to doing nothing much after a shower. I did not dry my hair, comb it, and I did not put any lotion on my skin. I simply wore my clothes, and hijab then took off. Since I thought, no one ever gonna see those parts of my body. When actually taking care of it was actually our token of gratitude to God for giving us a healthy body. So if you read this post and do the same thing, please, those excessive fat could be a hotbed for disease, and not wearing lotion could create a problem for our skin.

Without my hijab, I could do an outdoor sport by wearing more comfortable clothes (and more space inside my bag). Goodbye to my hot and heavy clothes. When I travel, my small backpack could carry clothing stock for a few days, as before I had to bring 5 pieces of clothing to wear for once. Undershirt + bra, outer shirt, hijab, pants and panties. I mean, I thought that this whole time I was not good at packing, but it turned out that I had to bring so many to go out of town. Now, my backpack becomes lighter since I do not have to bring long and layered outfits to go around.

As a religious person, I understand that practicing our belief requires us to be ready with the consequences of the truth that we choose. So for example, when I still had faith that hijab was compulsory, I did not feel burdened at all when I swam with 5 pieces of clothing in accordance with the sharia standard that I trusted. When I already understand the diversity of interpretation on what are intimate parts and hijab from many ulama, I became more flexible in wearing a swimsuit that I thought was more practical and comfortable. Of course, when I was wearing my hijab, I wore 5 layers of clothings without any complaints. But when I imagined what I had to go through, it felt so…. Complicated. No wonder I always had a big pile of clothes to wash. Our faith indeed makes us normalize things that others might see as complicated. For many, eating while wearing a niqab is a very complicated thing to do, meanwhile for niqab wearer that is very normal. It is just a matter of habit and belief that we choose.

Just like what Qurays Shihab says, if Allah asked us what are the numbers you have to add to make 10? The answers will be varied, but all will sum up to 10.  That speaks a lot about our world that is filled with many interpretations of beliefs and faiths.

My post-hijab life makes me realize that I am a minority. How difficult it is to be a woman in this era. Everybody will tell you that a girl is prettier with hijab or the other way around. It seems we exist only to fulfill the piety standard of others, and they will tell you as “prettier.” A celebrity who decides to change her outlook by wearing hijab will receive a lot of compliments, meanwhile those who remover her hijab will get massive hatred that it seems she will make herself and her family go to hell anytime soon. Religious people are not aware how toxic their comments are. Maybe it is the effect of being too fanatic, so whoever that doesn’t follow their standards automatically accused of heresy.

Just read the comments on Nia Ramadhani’s account. So many people whose avatar wearing hijab always mocks the way she dresses. If wearing a hijab makes you a better person, why do those people like to write bad comments for the sake of reminding? Are they have the capacity to be teachers for someone else? See the comments on Salmafina’s, you will see how evil people can be on behalf of “sending reminders.” I am not sure if I were in her position, I would be as strong as she was.
I often heard those toxic comments from women who wore wider hijab compared to mine. She would tell me that my way of dressing was not Islamic enough. I can not imagine how this wave of Indonesian Islamic populism is not providing justice to those who are oppressed, but instead giving birth to moral policies who push people around them to dress just like them. For me, correcting other people's way of dressing is truly a low act and it will not gain you any respect.

This moral police attitude only even makes us move away from their toxic behaviour. As a consequence, we will not become like what they expected us to be. Evenmore, why would you expect someone to be like what you want them to be? When parents’ expectations of children can become a starting point of depression to the kids, let alone a stranger who expects a unified society.

So, if you think you are disappointed in how others are practicing their religion, check yourself. Do you deliver those expectations in the right place? I feel, those critics that want me to use wider hijab fabric, with darker color are the one who push to not even follow their standard. I ask God, do you really want your human to only dress like that? If so, how narrow is the heaven that He creates that only those who dress like that are the one who deserve to stand next to Him.

Obviously, you don’t have to agree with me. My point is celebrate your own uniqueness without expecting others to do the same. Each person has their own spiritual journey that he/she experiences.

Let’s respect that. 

July, 25th 2019

Original blogpost: Aku pada Post Hijab
Translated by Yusni Aziz

This is Not The End

I thought my life would have been over last year. At that time, my hopes turned into ashes, and it was difficult to put my head up high. I did not have any dreams. The structure of any plans that I made collapsed, fell onto my body and I had difficulty getting up from my bed. The hands that tried to pull me up from the rubbles felt not enough to bring me back to life.

But right now, things are already better. So much better.

There were times, one or two days, I felt so overloaded after remembering how beautiful the architecture of my plans was. Even reminded myself of its rubbles could pull the tears out of my tired eyes. Things are indeed alright now, even though it is not always good. I still have to fight hard the misleading whispers inside my head. Sometimes, I successfully avoided those voices through doing some activities, yet also quite often, those voices brought me down.

But this time, I won't give up.

I know, fighting it is very difficult. I can get so exhausted even though it seems I don’t do anything from the outside. But it is the consequence of my life. Our breathing does not come for free. It comes with daily efforts that we have to do to support this body. Our body needs food, sport, clothing, love, place to live and money. So, no matter how difficult are the things that I have to go through, they are only the consequences of my personal choices. And not all consequences are sweet. I hope someday the bitter ones will become medicine that can help me rebuild my hopes and plans. Slowly… until someday I will stand on my own feet, and smile at the collapsed building that has become the historic monument of my life. I will tell it that she already forgives, so let’s find a way back home to our own happiness.

My current steps are not as light as my writing. Better does not mean truly well. My way of life offers me difficult choices that when others see it they will look down on it. For example, when others start to appreciate when I rise from the ashes, at the same time I have to be ready to receive a rock throw from them if they know the situation. Sometimes I am also confused with my own life. Can I simply take a normal route, that is free from controversy, and get approval from all creatures on this earth?I am so tired with labels. Yet, I am cursed to live with them forever. It feels like I have to move from one tightly sealed jar to another that has a mark of a certain word. So, anyone who looks at me will directly see, what kind of label that I look from there?

By the way, let me tell you an irony. So whenever I struggle hard to build my own safe space brick by brick, I accidentally destroy another wall of hope. I must be a great sinner that anything I do always turns out bad. Yes, we can not make everyone happy. But, isn’t it also seems very ungrateful if we don’t repay the people who once pull me up? I am sure, even though their hearts are filled with love for me, I will always have something that I accidentally do to hurt them. I am a thorny plant who has difficulty compromising with many situations, so I will never look beautiful and look okay because of the consequences that I choose.

So, this is my current situation.

How about you? Are you okay now?

May, 6th 2019
Original Blogpost Belum Berakhir
Translated by Yusni Aziz


Maybe, some people weren't allowed to be happy. I'm one of them. Period.

Parents’ Religion = Children’s religion?

I often ask myself. Is a committed couple who wants to get married and have kids  ever talk about how they will educate their kids? Are prospective parents reading a lot of articles and books on how to raise their children? And to be more specific, are parents ever think specifically in how to tell their little ones how to practice their religion?
Do parents choose to direct their children in how to choose religion/belief that can make them a better human being? Or, are parents even hoping that their kids will follow their religion as an unavoidable gift? Just like names, bloodline, DNA and others that seem automatically given. Maybe, there are parents who give freedom to their children to choose their own religion because it is actually their personal connection to God.
I am writing this with a smile in my mouth. It’s because of a scene from an Indian movie, PK that stucks in my head. The main actor, PK, an innocent alien, checks all babies in the hospital. He is curious if there is any sign that shows the religious identity of every kid. Unfortunately, he finds nothing.
As a woman who was raised with Shia Islam from birth, I read a lot of books in my home. Within one of the parenting books that I read when I was 15, I found that the best way to educate children was through the knowledge from Al-Qur’an. I think that was the reason why my parents pushed me to learn how to recite Al-Qur’an from an NU Cleric. My mom said, “when they pray, NU people often have the most beautiful makhraj and tajweed.”
After finding out how far was the place that I should have went to learn from the NU cleric, my mom moved my study to my grandfather’s brother’s house who was a Muhammadiyah. Even though I was his granddaughter, he taught me harshly. He yelled at me every time I spelled something wrong. I was so afraid of him. I have never been the one who suited for this kind of tough teaching. I then asked my mom if it was possible that I moved to another Muhammadiyah Ustad near the mushalla, everyday after the maghrib prayer. She agreed. I eventually stopped coming at him for a year after I had grown up. Well, many kids who were my age did the same thing, we were replaced by the younger ones. I then made another promise to my mom. I would recite the Al-Qur’an loudly at home after the Maghrib prayer. She herself remembered many Al-Qur’an juz. Therefore, she would listen to me, and correct me whenever I spelled something wrong, while making cookies or doing other activities. To any of you who got brainwashed by the intolerance propaganda, of course Shia’s Al-Qur’an is the same with Sunni’s Al-Qur’an.
I am very sure that my father and mother never had any discussion in how they would raise their children. They were united through an arranged marriage that happened within a Wahabi recitation community. Before, they were not Shia. However, both had agreed that they would raised the kids under Islam. It was that simple. Both had similarities, which they were big fans of majelis taklim, and had always been critical with religion. That's why they decided to change their madhab.
However, not all of their children have similar habits.
My oldest sister learns things just like my mom. However, her way of thinking about it is different compared to my mom or even myself. My second oldest sister is not really into religious discussion. My third sister is into religious issues, but she only loves reading about i. I myself started my intellectual journey by reading Shia books at home, joined Al-Quran interpretation study group, fiqh study group, and also philosophy study group. From those journeys, I started to read a lot of philosophy books that were heavily criticized by Islamic philosophers. I started to enjoy perennialism more than al-hikmah al-muta’āliyah from Mulla Sadra. I got attracted to Marxism, learned about other religions, and all of those things had shaped me for who I am today.
My brother has another story. Once, he studied at a Wahabi Islamic Boarding School. My mom said, “Wahabi is very good at memorizing the Qur'an.” It was true though. My brother could memorize and speak Arabic very well. However, after he moved to Shia educational institution, it got clearer that he was more into the theological side of things instead of philosophical. We started to argue a lot, but eventually we understood if that was not something that we should debate much. He knew, how we practiced our religion was our personal responsibility between us and God. My sixth brother who is still in high school, is the cool kid and of course, with a more secular way of thinking. His way of thinking was so simple, and sometimes so adorable. Meanwhile my youngest brother? I don’t know what kind of person that he is going to be. Maybe he will be a Shia, since he is learning in their educational institution, but I don’t know what kind of Shia. Who knows anyway?
Out of all the seven siblings, it is clear that our parents apply a different way of educating each child. I clearly remember that my mom never asked my second and third sister to do Quran recitation just like how she liked to push me. My oldest sister was smart enough to educate herself in things that my mom liked to see. My mom has always been very hard on my younger brothers as well in terms of quran recitation. But the smart sixth brother was always successful to gain some material benefits in case mom asked him to do what she wanted. Once he called her and said, “mom, I don’t have enough money. Please send some to me. I promise I will recite. See, now you will hear me recite the Quran. Bismillahirrahman...nirrahimmm..."
Then he would read loudly over the phone the Juz Amma that he memorized clearly. My mom, who lived far from my brother at that time, would be happy to hear that, and then sent him some money. Transaction complete. Everyone was happy.
I realized that I’ve been talking about my mom this whole time. How about my dad?
So here is the story. Since I was a little girl, my dad had always been an independent person who taught himself and had a good learning ethic. Therefore, he hoped that his kids would have found their own way just like how he used to do it. It was quite rare for him to discuss religion with others. Meanwhile, my mom liked to insert religious ideas within any discussion. They had totally different ways of raising kids.  But maybe that is marriage, it is a group of people who are united by blood, but not necessarily have similar mindset.
My mom does not agree with how I practice and how I think. But she loves me. She said that she always prayed for me after her prayer, even more than the others. I love her too. However, I understand the logical consequences of every knowledge that I absorb and shape me as who I am, and I apologize if we are different. I am not good at pretending to gain more love, I don’t know how to hide this difference. Maybe I am not wise enough, but I don’t know. I am also curious where this is going to lead.
From my personal experiences with my parents, I finally understand that no matter how deep is the religious knowledge that parents have is not necessarily going to shape their kids to be like they are. It doesn’t matter to me if someday my kids are going to have a different mindset to mine. I have been trying to embrace it since early stage.
Once I heard my landlord stroked the head of her 3 years old child. Her husband and she discussed what non scholastic course that he must take. The mother wanted her son to learn Quran recitation, martial arts and robotics. The father wished that he would learn the arts of shadow puppets, local dialects, and traditional singing. They agreed to enroll their kid in those courses. Even though his dad loved to get drunk, he also loved to see his kid recite the Quran. This kid grew up with a list of activities that his parents wished they had when they were little. How many of us raise our kids in this manner?
From the phenomenon that I observed, I think a child will finally find their own way. No matter how strong a mother’s prayer is for hoping that their child will be a person who obeys everything they say, and will be useful to their religion.
Some parents love to educate their kid with religious lessons from Islamic boarding school. When the kid grows up, she eventually decides to be a person who is secular and liberal. She criticizes many texts that she learned at the boarding school, and she doesn’t hesitate in calling it out as dogmatic. She criticizes the majority’s way of practicing. She complains how boring some religious groups that she thinks are irrational, fanatics, do not embrace the universal human values, and many more.
There are parents who like to bring their kid to join the Sunday mass, and other church activities. Who knows that when he grows up he will be someone that is apathetic and cynical to the church. He begins to distrust the priest. He starts to get bored with the church promises. 
There are also parents who prefer to raise their kid without any inclination in religion. Later on, when he grows up, that kid joins a radical movement, and doesn’t hesitate to call out his parents as a bad example.
There is a child who always prays and recites the Quran diligently with his parents. When he moves outside the city, he starts to get lazy in doing those rituals. Yet, in order to make his parents’ happy, he will be the person like he used to whenever he is home. His parents are proud and thankful for having him. This kid is safe under his mask.
My friend taught her children the values of many religions. As a result, by their own personal choice, her kids practice three different religions. She is so proud knowing her kids are able to choose their own spiritual. She said, “someday they will fight for their siblings’ religion if any discrimination happened. Humanity must extend beyond religion.”
There are also parents with kids who practice the religion that they get since birth. Without any question, nor comparison. What they know is that their parents say that this religion is the most correct. It is enough to be a guidance from their birth until death. If it is already enough, why would they be looking for something else?
There are also parents who are successful in educating their children – according to societal standards. The kids look very calm, without many fights or rebellions. They grow just like how their parents wish. Probably, it is because of the parents’ prayers. Or other things. I don't know. I can't even imagine that there is a child who thinks exactly like his parents. I know someone who is like that. He just replied, “a fruit will not fall far from the tree. Who do you think I should be similar to?” Well, I don't know either.
There are plenty of stories about parents who are disappointed for thinking that they can not raise their children properly. There is worry that they will not meet them in heaven. How disappointed these parents are for not having children who are not obedient. On the other side, there are stories about parents who are proud of their kids’ achievements. Some hope that they could be someone they wished for when they were young. 
Some hope, even though they are not religious, by picking someone who is more devoted compared to him, or putting his kids into a religious school, it would create a religious kid that someday could redeem his parents’ sins with prayers.
When a child is born, parents love to stamp him with a certain religion. It seems that religion is something that is taken for granted and must be held until the child passes away.
Once, I discussed this situation with my best friend. She said to me, while giggling, “well, if I had to get married someday, I would not want to have a child. Giving birth looks very painful. This world is overpopulated already. What a poor kid who is born in this collapsing earth. I prefer adopting an orphan, or even taking care of dogs and cats. Hehehehe…”
See? Not everyone thinks that having kids is a good idea. As someone who is used to hear debates between pro-choice and pro-life people, I am not surprised to know a person who does not want a kid or even supporting abortion. Even Richard Stallman –GNU founder- also prefers to not have kids and suggests many people do the same for humanity. You can read his opinion in Why is it Important not to have Children.
I am very curious, and I want to ask more things. Have you ever thought to stop your marriage with your potential partner after knowing that you have disagreement in the way you would raise your kids? Well, who knows there is someone out there who has this experience.
So, how will you educate your children? Have you ever thought about it?
November, 10th 2020
Original Blog Post: Agama Orangtua = Agama Anak?
Translated by Yusni Aziz

Pretty Girl

There is tragedy, there is despair, there is upheaval. Then, that woman ends the curse of her miserable life in front of a passing train.

Few hours later, people and the media will talk about her as the pretty girl who died from suicide. That pretty girl will appear on the front page of a yellow press newspaper. They will portray her as a pretty girl who is always overly dramatic. They will write how this pretty girl –unfortunately- is not very talented in being grateful.

The people who know her will remember her as a pretty girl who died too young. The people who don’t know her will remember a pretty girl who root in hell.

Meanwhile, the memory of that pretty girl is only about pain.


Yeah, only pain.

March, 13th 2018
Original blog post: Gadis Cantik
Translator: Yusni Aziz

When I Got Sick

A dietitian came to visit me. He asked me why I didn’t finish my breakfast for the last two days. I told him that it was too heavy. The rice, meat and vegetables menu in the morning always made my stomach bloated. I wanted a lighter menu like bread, milk and fruit.

Of course I could get what I wanted. In that hospital, they really considered their patients’ appetite. Once I said that I got so bored from eating rice and picked a steamed potato as my carbs replacement. The day after, I got what I wanted. Yet I felt so disappointed for asking that potato, since the food that they cooked tasted better when it was eaten with rice.

In order to change the food menu, they had to do an interview. The dietitian asked the nurse about my appetite, especially if I finished my food or not. Afterwards, they measure my height and weight. He was surprised knowing that I actually had an ideal body weight. My blood pressure was also normal.
The next morning, they gave me a thick bread filled with very tasty strawberry jam, with some oranges and boiled egg. There was also a glass of milk that didn't taste that good, but I finished it anyway out of my respect to the dietitian’s attention.

I actually never took any special diet to get my ideal body weight. It just happened. I never counted how many calories that I took, or any other things. I only did some sit ups in the morning since sometimes I felt so annoyed looking at the fat in my belly.

In this hospital, I was one of those patients with less visitors. The other visitors usually questioned what kind of disease that people had on this place. Almost everyday, I received a questioning and admiring stare. Those visitors for other patients usually tried to talk to me and told me how beautiful I was. They asked where I came from, what did I get so I had to end up here, and some other questions such as did I get any inheritance from foreign people because of my white skin and red hair really looked good on me. I answered them shortly. Deep down, I felt they pitied me for the situation that I went into and wondered what kind of “craziness” that I got so I had to end up here.

I was so insecure that those complimenting remarks could not go inside my head. Actually, I had always been an insecure person that any form of chit-chat that telling me how smart, slim and beautiful I was made me kinda bored. Someone who always told me how beautiful I was turned out looking for a kiss from another woman. It made me even more insecure.

Everyday, the nurse and the doctor asked about my condition. Did I sleep well? What kind of dream came last night? Did I drink enough? Did my cognitive already recover (the answer was of course not yet)? Or, did I worry about some things?

I answered them honestly. About the unusual dreams that brought a man that I missed so much. A dream about those monsters that chased me. Another dream on how desperate I was to continue my life. The night before, I also had a dream of meeting a celebrity in a gathering, only later it turned out into another misfortune by the coming of my junior high school friends who once bullied me. Later on, it became another meeting with a man that I missed very much. He acted so sweet, and even carried me on his back. Meanwhile in reality, he could not do that and it made me think that I was fat when actually my weight was okay. He was just too skinny and didn’t like to do sport.

Of course I had worries. My worries about the outside world made me stay there for a longer time. Actually, I could just lie by telling them that I got far better than before. But it would have made my situation more complicated. I had to admit that I did need their help. I wanted to get better.

I also got anxious from thinking about who I should share my taste in music and movies with. Or about who I should ask for help whenever loneliness struck me when I ran my unproductive life. Together with the financial problems that had been strangling me everyday.

This sickness made me confused. My doctor said it was part of the symptom, and what I felt was truly valid. In this place, no one asked me to deny what I felt. No one said that everything that I had been through was only me being dramatic. Everyone was so understanding and they made me feel safe. Yet, it also increased my fear of how I would face the outside world later on.

I felt like I was Naomi from Murakami’s Norwegian Woods. She was also desperate. But, I didn’t want to end my life just like her. Reading that novel made me think that the person I loved was not like Watanabe, but more like Nagasawa who was very selfish, loved to hunt women and planned to leave his lover without considering her feelings.

I was so tired to get through that pain. I wanted to get well. I ate, slept and swallowed my medicines regularly. I woke up, finished my breakfast, took a shower and around 11-12 pm, I would play with my cell phone that was normally being taken away by the nurse. After that, I got some afternoon nap or read some books. Normally, I would wake up around 4 or 5 pm, then I asked if there was anyone who came to visit me. I would hold my phone again from 6-9 at night. I played some games, replied whatsapp messages and scrolled my instagram feeds.

Mbak Umu was my regular visitor. She would bring me clean clothes, and took my dirty clothes for washing. I felt so guilty for being her burden, but I had no other choice. She was the most reasonable person that I could hang on to at that moment.

I truly forget how to live a normal day in the outside world. I still felt stuck in many ways. But I felt that I had tried to get better. Someday, I would be very healthy that I could pay back all the good deeds that I received when I was sick.

May, 29 2018

Original Indonesian Post: Ketika Sakit 
Translator: Yusni Aziz

1am Thoughts

People say, “if you don’t love yourself, how can you be loved by others?”

Yes, that sentence seems valid.

So, how about the depressed people who fail to love themselves?

How about the depressed people who at any time are afraid that others will see them with bad 
judgments, as they have seen themselves all this time?

Are they not entitled to be loved by others?

June, 29th 2017

Translator: Yusni Aziz