To be with you
Do I really want to?
It means being cold
if possible, inside and out
To be with you
It means being ready for what's painfully true
It means trying to be content
even when it's not permanent
I guess it doesn't really matter anyway
At least you're honest
You don't pretend to be the best of all choices
To be with you
It means changing what I am
acting like I don't give a damn
but following you around
like there's nothing better to do
If that's what it takes
in order to be with you
then there's a lot at stake
that I have to give up too
No, I'd rather not
You've always been the one I live without
Why do you keep coming back,
oblivious to what you lack?
To be with you
It means to be heartless
as love gets manipulated by lust
No, my soul will remain restless
Surely, you've asked the same damn thing
to other girls you find interesting
but no, you can never have me
No matter how lonely,
I am not going to be that easy!
(Jakarta, 26/1/2017 - 9:00 pm)
Alright, so here's the straight-and-narrow path that everyone in Indonesia is expected to go through (especially if you're a woman):
Born and raised ---> going to school ---> getting a job (at least in your early twenties or younger) ---> getting married (hopefully before thirty) ---> having kids, and so on. Oftentimes, external factors (in this case: family, friends, and society in general) also push the whole agenda to fall into place.
Yes, that includes practising the religion your parents also do - and automatically choose for you. Other 'normalised' factors include: dating and having a boyfriend/girlfriend, making as much money as possible, and...basically, trying to fit in.
However, things don't always turn out the same for everybody. Some people want to get married soon while others still want to get their masters' degree or travel the world. Some choose to have a career while others only work.
Some live longer while others die young. Not only that, the supposedly straight-and-narrow path is only a general expectation. There are many factors that can either support or hinder it.
You could choose to work first before a chance to attend college/university classes. You could get married at the age of 35 or do none of that at all, either by personal choices or else.
You could lose your faith under circumstances along the way. It's the same with many things: people don't reach their goals with the same speed or pace, or determination.
No, I don't believe in luck. Luck is often overused out of envy or superiority, and neither is healthy.
This is the world where anything goes. The path isn't as straight and narrow as you'd like it to be. Sometimes you have to take a detour, several wrong turns, or...
Anyway, life is a series of curvatures. Perhaps order is an illusion, for a sense of self-control...
feels like a giant shadow
lurking in the darkness
waiting for a chance to strike
or a monster struggling to get free
so it can roam anywhere it goes
turning a soul restless
from the same bad dream every night
or even worse
A little girl in a woman's eyes
dreading the truth in every possible lie
Does he really love her,
or is he still looking for another?
A small man pretending to be big
his pompous behaviour making everybody sick
luring every girl he could, just to warm his bed
It's just a matter of 'when' before someone wants him dead
is a subtle trap you can't really see
You may say confidence is the key,
but this can still happen to you and me
no matter how we pretend to be
as alright as anyone can see...
(Jakarta, 22/1/2017 - 9:30 pm)
Actually, I've written two entries already. However, I've been back to being busier again. It's always easy to keep me busy.
After a while, I've decided to just not post those entries at all. Not only they were past due and my moods were no longer in it, but they were also rather embarrassing.
So I think I'm just going to have a January recap here:
It's been quite a challenging month for me. First, it was a shortage of money. Second, work has been rather slow.
Third, Lev came back and wondered if he and I could pick up where we'd left off.
Of course, I said no. Not when I had to sacrifice my life here just to follow him around. Not when he mostly wanted sex (which thankfully, I never gave into it) and I had to share him with other women in countries he'd visited and returned to.
And definitely not when he could - which he definitely would - leave me behind whenever he liked. It's like, he wants to come and go as he pleases.
The result of this heartbreak? The same old, workaholic girl.
February, be kind to me...
Guys like you
make girls like her
wonder why you're into her
Have you sensed her insecurity?
Many have called her 'fat'
making her feel ugly
Guys like you
get her attention
but is your interest genuine?
Still, she's wary
cautious of how you might be
Are you for real or is she just crazy?
Guys like you
try to trick her
with compliments to make her feel prettier
For a while, she's almost fallen
unaware of your true intentions
as if she's one in a million
Guys like you
act like you own her
the way you do with many others
but her instinct is her protector
like her friends who say she deserves much better
Guys like you
bring tears to her eyes
make her feel stupid for believing your lies
You've pretended to care
while trying to take off what she wears
like you do with other girls everywhere
Guys like you
have compromised her faith in love
Has it been true,
or just an illusion too?
She's supposed to start this year with joy
instead of being treated like a toy
With guys like you,
she's more than through
sick to death of the same old blues
She doesn't want to lose
so she has to choose
to start ignoring another one too many,
just like you!
(Jakarta, 18/1/2017 - 6:05 pm)
Apparently, I started this year with a bumpy beginning.
Last December, I didn't earn much. I have to pay the bills. I don't want to get myself kicked out of this rented room that I love so much, at least not too soon. I don't want to be forced to go back home, no matter what.
I started getting two classes which are far away. Although the boss has promised an extra fee for transportation, I still find it a little too...time-consuming.
My career writing has been halted...again. I've been sick with exhaustion and money problems that it's difficult for me to concentrate.
I got to meet Gigi and her Baby Valda. However, she came up with bad news:
The company where she's still working now (and also where I used to work) has been financially bleeding. In fact, it's dying. Gigi will have to finish the rest of her employment contract by February, just like everyone else at work.
"I'm not supposed to be telling everyone this, including you."
I nodded. "So, what's your next plan?"
A quiet time at home for a month or two, before finding another job online that she can do from home.
They're possibly moving to Semarang anytime soon, probably March. Her husband's parents and first son (from his first marriage) live there.
I'm going to miss my best friend for sure. I know Gigi is trying to stay strong in accepting sudden changes around her life now.
That's why I'm trying not to feel too sad. I want her to be happy. I'm already happy for her too, with her marriage and new family.
I got sick from the migraine that I had to miss attending Hera and Sobri's wedding out of town. I felt bummed, since I'd already promised to sing on their wedding day.
However, being the great friends that they are, they just wished me well. I hope I'll get to see them again anytime soon.
Actually, there are more interesting events that I'd gone through, but I'll just write them in separate entries...
I know you're still there
Perhaps we can still meet
You know I've been almost everywhere
always quick on my feet
What are you afraid of?
What we have is now
For me, this is enough
I can't promise you tomorrow
Don't be too serious
Holding back is torture
even when you don't know for sure
Your silence keeps me guessing
Are you trying to stay polite?
You're a challenge to keep me thinking
How do I keep you for a night?
"Let him in again,"
urges the monster in my head
"This time, he'll be in so much pain
all from your cold, pent-up rage"
Every time I see you,
I think of them too
Random women I may never know
You must've hurt some of them so
This vengeance is toxic to my soul,
yet I'm still tempted by this chance
to bring you down until you crawl
in this nonexistent romance
Two can play this game
This time, I have to be the winner
My aim is to put you to shame,
before I run off for cover...
...even when this won't make me feel better...
(Jakarta, 7/1/2017 - 8:05 pm)
We all want to leave bad things behind. I've heard from many who said that 2016 has been full of cuts and bruises - and perhaps a whole lot more to some. Of course, nobody wants to take them here today.
Perhaps you began this year with unexpected things. You've just let go of your loved one(s)...and realise that you don't get to share another year with them anymore. Perhaps you've also decided to stop caring, stop expecting so much from those who actually still mean so much to you but no longer deserve your honesty.
Maybe you're still badly bruised in the ego from your past fling or relationship. You're not ready to start over with someone new, yet they keep urging you to have faith. "Maybe the next one will treat you much better than the previous one." Whatever you choose, a friend says that retaliation never gets you anywhere - no matter how much they've hurt you before.
Still, you don't have to push yourself if you're still afraid and not ready. It's never easy, but perhaps it won't be so bad if you give another a chance to love you better - even more than you do yourself.
Perhaps you've been on your own most of the time, but are now ready to share the same space with another soul like they are with you. A new chapter, a new adventure. Two main characters in the same plot will definitely make the story more interesting.
Where will you two go together? May the journey lead you to something better. After all, it's not the place - but the one you're with, hopefully for the rest of your lives.
Perhaps we'll get to see each other more in the next chapters, perhaps not for a while. Maybe we'll be reunited in other sequels, hopefully with much better circumstances.
There never is anything wrong with hoping for the best, even after certain endings...
fishing for scraps of coins
Every thing's still fine
even after working until you hurt your joints
Letters, words, lines
until they become proper paragraphs
Let your feelings run
Let those words speak your mind
You might get lucky
by earning more money
(Jakarta, 5/1/2017 - 2:15 pm)
After what feels more like ages, I can't believe that I ended up writing for you again.
I know it's been almost a decade since your funeral. I'd planned to stay in touch with your family, no matter what, but then you know how it usually goes.
I've gotten busy. I know that's a very lousy excuse and you'd be sad if I said that to your face while you were still alive. I should make the time.
I should've made it sooner. Perhaps some people have been right about me:
I can be such a cry-baby. There, I've said it. They can all make fun of me for all they like, all I care.
I'm terrible at separation, whether it's a break-up, death, or even a fall-out. When my cousin (who was also good friends with you back in college) told me that you'd passed away, it took me a while to process.
I didn't cry at your funeral. I'd cried after.
I meant to come sooner, I really did. But then Dad got sick and I'd either forgotten about it or just pushed that plan in the back of my mind.
So, why am I writing this now?
I've met your brother twice at the same place. It turns out that he's working nearby from where I live now. (Remember our silly, backup plan to rent a flat together like in your favourite chick flicks? Well, so much for the plan.)
He's married but still living with your family in the same house I used to visit. (Yes, I remember our DVD marathons with loads of snacks, and gossip. Beautiful college years.)
My God, such a splitting image of you in him. He looks a lot like you that it hurts, but I think I've hurt him more.
The first encounter was some time ago, probably last year if I'm not mistaken. He was walking with his wife when we ran into each other. He'd sounded so sad when he asked me this:
"Why aren't you visiting us anymore? Mom's been asking about you."
I felt that choking lump in my throat. I didn't know what to say. "I'm sorry" would have been safer but also empty at the same time. Even if I had had the answer, I'd still have sounded stupid anyway. Unreasonable.
"I know that my brother's already dead..."
Hearing that, I felt even worse. I mumbled a weak promise to visit.
When your brother and I parted, I felt myself holding back tears. I miss you. I actually miss them too.
A few nights ago, I had a dream about you. It was really strange - a mixture of the past and the moments that never existed in real life.
Then I woke up.
I ran into your brother again recently, in the same place again. He said he was now a father of a nine-month-old baby boy. I'm happy for him. He was obviously beaming.
"Come visit us," he said again, earnestly. "Come visit us when you have the time."
When I make the time, this time, I silently promised and hoped that I'd seriously keep it. Then we exchanged numbers and parted. I was still holding back my tears.
Thank you, Pumpkin. I know what you've been trying to tell me. I love you. You're my best friend and will always be.
Once again, rest in peace, buddy.
Let's get it out in the open
For too long we've been hiding
Say what you mean
but I'm also entitled to the same damn thing
You want my honest opinions,
but you're never really ready
You want me to say what you only want to hear
My long, overdue, and pent-up rage is your biggest fear
Get it out in the open
Is that what you're really saying?
It's too late, I think
I've been way outside your little comfort zone
You don't want my honesty
It's too brutal for you to see
You just want me to keep quiet,
or else I'll wreck your perfect little world
turning it into a hell-hole riot
Well, I'm out in the open now
Is that supposed to be a 'wow'?
I don't even need your permission nor approval
In your eyes, I'm still the same old nothing-but-trouble
You want the old me back,
just to make up for what you lack
Such an unfair comparison
just to get you to win this nonexistent competition
What do you care?
Seriously, have you ever really been there?
I ain't got nothing more to give,
not if you keep thinking I'm just being overly sensitive!
(Jakarta, 27/12/2016 - 8:15 am)
While I've got plenty of time today, I think I'm just going to keep this entry short:
If you're celebrating Christmas with your friends and family, have fun. Stay safe. If you don't, let the celebrators do so in peace. Leave them alone, will you? Please.
In the meantime, I'm just going to continue working from my room. I know how to have my own fun. It's been almost three years and I'm still good. Call me a workaholic, but this is me.
Next year? MY friends' wedding and - hopefully - more interesting projects to come.
It was one of those many nights out in this city
another long walk for you and me
your hazel eyes and my brown ones
the cross necklace hanging around your neck
me, quietly reciting prayers in Arabic
What would they have thought
at the sight of us that night?
How I miss those simple days
when we walked side by side
An unlikely friendship, they might say
Still, I wouldn't have it any other way
Lately, I've been in need of something like this
Should I beg them please?
Peace is all I want
even when it's been harder to find...
(Jakarta, 2/12/2016 - 00:35 am)
It's inevitable. We all grow old. There's no need to freak out about it. It's useless anyway.
All you've got to do is deal with it as it is. Whether you're single, in a relationship, married, or "else" (which is widely defined as you please), you're bound to face this.
Back when I was still in my early 30's, some people had been shallow enough to try to scare me.
"Ooh, Old Girl. Soon you'll be way too old for anyone to marry."
Guess what? Looking back, I realised that what they'd said to me didn't matter at all.
I mind my own business. If they find my confidence a threat, then it's their problem. I simply move along. Besides, there are other more serious problems out there.
How does it feel being single? How does it feel being 35 and still single?
It turns out that it's not as scary as they'd tried to make me believe. I mean, I've been single for as long as I remember. No big deal. There's no need to fret about it.
Happiness is not absolutely defined by the one you're/you want to be/you should be with. It starts from you. If you can't be happy with yourself, then how are you going to make other people feel happy with you?
However, I'm not in denial. Does it get lonely? Of course, but I can still manage. I have to.
Besides, have you ever heard of stories about people in relationships/marriage, yet they still feel lonely - in fact even more so than the singles surrounded by friends?
That's why I keep myself busy. I enjoy my jobs, my social life with friends and family, and good things that I can still do. Why not?
We only have one life to live, so make the most of it.
So, if you still love making singles feel bad, do yourself a favour:
Take a look at yourself in the mirror first. Make sure that you're genuinely happy with your own life. If you're with a partner right now (in a relationship, married, or else), I hope you're treating them right and vice versa.
Otherwise? Zip it.
I'm thankful that Ma's with me on this now. Whenever someone asks her about me, this is her response: "Just pray and then wait for her invitation."
See? It shouldn't be that hard. Just so simple.
BEING BRAVE TO THE WORLD:
We all have to be brave. There's no doubt about it.
Am I always brave? Well, it depends on how you would like to see me. All I know is that I'm trying to remain that way, no matter what.
If I fail, that only shows that I am human, just like you too. Nobody has any rights to demand that I should fulfil their ideas of 'perfection'.
So, what's it going to be in 2017? What's my next part?
Stay tuned for more.
How do we end this year with hope and joy?
Where they are, human lives are being destroyed
Here, we will hear the sound of crackling fireworks
but they've been having it worse
More dropping bombs
then it's done and they're gone
How do we face the end of this year
with them still living in fear?
Their lives are hanging on the line
as we continue to dine with meals so fine
The roofs are above our heads
while the polluted sky leaves theirs with dread
How could we
when they're one step closer every day
from being erased in history?
(Jakarta, 17/12/2016 - 3:35 pm)
How much do I love poetry?
It didn't start as a love at a first sight...or line. In fact, I had quite a misconception about it.
I'd thought it was all lame and always oh-so-serious. I'd thought only love-struck beings and cheesy romance lovers wrote them.
Well, I was half right, but then there are other poems too.
I have to admit that heartbreak was my first reason to start writing poetry more frequently again. However, most of them were dark and rather sinister. I'd tried not to sound too desperate and clingy.
Before I knew it, I got myself addicted.
I've attended some poetry reading sessions and enjoyed every bit of it. I've met really interesting people and made new friends too.
For me, this is like one of the best sources of alternative entertainment in this city. (Who says you can't really do much in Jakarta?) It's my great escapade from reality, although only temporary.
The last poetry reading session I attended was "Unmasked". One of the greatest performances I remembered best was when a couple came up on stage and teamed up reading a seriously satirical poem about cat-callers. Feeling how many people out there who still don't take cat-calling seriously, I had laughed out loud. I was relieved that I wasn't being overly sensitive about it.
More poetry next year? You bet.
The Wordplay Warrior
You say it's because of me
who see me as someone so ugly
that no sane guys would ever see
all the good that I could be
You think you know all about me
just another whiner with a victim mentality
an annoying bitch who doesn't deserve you
Giving women compliments is all you do
Why can't I see this through?
Say whatever the hell you like
You're just another gaslighting type
I know you won't stop
badgering me with taunts, threats, and curses
until I finally give up
and tell you that you're always right
only so you'll win this fight
Am I overreacting?
Do I ever think?
You say my opinions say a lot about me
but I'm not the one and only
I can say the same damn thing about you too
that my energy's much too precious
to be wasted on you
This ain't no discussion
You just want to win the argument
so you can tell the whole world your idea about women
that they'd better shut the hell up
and just listen.
(Jakarta, 14/12/2016 - 1:00 pm)
You may think this is a selfish request. Although it is impossible in real life (unless through a ‘certain procedure’), would you like to know how we feel every day? Just once, a day in your life if it is too much to ask.
Let’s start in the morning, when you – as one of ‘us’ – decide what to wear for the day. Is this too sexy? Is that too plain? Will you look beautiful? Will it be modest enough?
Let’s say, you decide to follow the demands of this patriarchal society on you – in terms of attire. But which one? Some say that if you dress up too plainly, no men will be interested in you.
However, if they think you are “too sexy” or “too provocative” (yep, those two are their most favourite terms), then they say you look like a slut. You are such a tease and clearly asking for it. No wonder men whistle and catcall you on the street.
Well, how naive that sounds. Even when you are all covered from head to toe, it can still happen and it does. They will call you names and demand your attention.
When you talk about that incident with people you know, most of them will tell you to “just ignore them and they’ll get bored”. You do that and guess what? They just will not stop. They think you are stuck-up, too good to respond to them – when in fact they just do not make you feel safe. You just get that weird vibe.
Then one of them tries to grab you, so you run off.
It does not matter if you look like a supermodel in a fashion magazine or a regular chub. They do that because they can – and they want to. They think it is normal and okay. No other people who notice what happens will defend you anyway. You are all alone in this.
What if you talk back? Will that change anything? What if they get angry and then hurt you? Will anyone come to your rescue? Will the people you know will still blame you for “antagonising those creeps” when you should know better?
Better? Better for whom?
Don’t expect them all to understand you. They will think you are just being overly sensitive, overreacting to such “trivialities”. Those creeps will say the same too or act defensive.
Perhaps they will act like they have no clue just what you are talking about, like the cowards that they are.
People you know might give you the same damn advice without acknowleding the real problem here. Don’t go out alone, especially at night. It’s dangerous. (But hey, those creeps still bug you in the daylight too, all so shamelessly.) Cover up some more. (As if that would ever really stop them.)
Avoid certain areas in the neighbourhood. (Oh, sure. So you have to accept and start treating them like wild dogs feeling territorial. What if they still want to take up your space, which they just normally do?)
Maybe that will make you start wondering: How do we deal with that every day? Why should we put up with it every step of the way?
Why won’t those creeps just get a life, instead of just hanging around the streets and watching women walking past? You simply mind your own business. This is your world too. This is as ridiculous as asking their permission for you to breathe.
Maybe I am asking too much from you. Maybe you only think it is not okay if it happens to someone you know or love, like your mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, or daughter. Maybe you would rather make them all stay home instead of letting them walk outside, even alone, like any human being – not just man – does.
Still, that does not solve anything. Not if the source of the issue is still there: creeps who think it is okay to do that, since – in their messed-up minds – their targets will always be MERE OBJECTS to toy with.
Too much to handle for you? I do not blame you. You have been on the privileged side of this man-made binary. You do not want to give up that comfort. I mean, who wants to suffer from social claustrophobia in an open space for 24/7?
At least, once you get this perspective, allow me to hope that you can do all of us here a favour:
Start respecting our personal space. This is not just your world. Tell your mates who still do these awful deeds to just stop. What they do to us on the street is not a form of compliment. We do not feel safe. Leave us alone when we choose not to respond. Do not make that an excuse to hurt us even more.
So, what do you say? Still think catcalling is okay?
I'd like to close my eyes
even when I'm not asleep
There are so many lies
A lot have cut in too deep
I'd like to cover my ears
blocking the noise from ruining my brain
There are things I'd rather not hear
Sometimes those voices are a pain
I'd like to keep my mouth shut
It's not that I'm afraid to speak my mind up
So many talk a lot,
but do they really do much?
Oh, I'd rather not
give in to this on-going bitch-fest
Don't we all have better things to do
instead of making such hatred last?
(Jakarta, 5/12/2016 - 5:05 pm)
Writer@work. I often write that, either here or #writer@work on my social media pages.
In real life, I am indeed a writer. I don't just write in here. I also work as a freelance writer for a digital content company.
I also love writing fiction, poetry, and feature articles. You are bound to find more in here.
What else do I do?
I am also a part-time English teacher and a freelance translator. Other than that, I'm just living my life and doing my best.
It is all so simple, isn't it? Well, it should be. Why ruin it with unnecessary drama?
Oh, well. This is real life. You can't really escape it. The only thing you can do is deal with it the best way you know how.