You Know Nothing: Friendship

They say, the older we get, the harder we form friendship with new people. Well, not in my case.

In my early age, I never had a group of special people I belong to. When some people has bestfriends since they were kids, I don’t. Mostly because I no longer able to get along with people I knew from my childhood. Well the other reason might be my family were moving every three years until I was in junior highschool, made me didn’t get a chance to actually be close with anyone. Thus, I got used to be distant with people.

Only when I was in junior high school I was ‘hired’ as a part of popular girls gank at school. I still don’t understand why they wanted me to be one of them, apart from being tall and didn’t talk much, I don’t remember whether I was one of those cool kids (my nick name was anak kalem or in English: the calm kid). I remember I would prefer to listen and observe what my friends did, understanding their personality, learn the way they talk as the coolest kids in school. I would only talk longer when they asked me my opinion about guys and other things and they would be amazed everytime I did that.

During my senior highschool, well, I got to lived with people I couldn’t really relate to, it was an Islamic boarding school. I spent my senior highschool years wanting to escape the place as it was my mum’s decision to study there.

In college, I didn’t make close friends either. I spent my college years reading at the corner of the library, get involved in student’s organisation, read books where nobody around. I couldn’t relate to any group. I would talk to some nice people, told them a small chunk of my story. But solitude was my best option and I turned to like it a lot. Some people called me mysterius, I think they just didn’t understand who they were dealing with.

Since my early 20s, I define my friendship style as distant friendship. I also don’t open my circle easily and I keep it narrow. That’s more manageable in terms of time and expectation management.

I make a deep and meaningful friendships with people who won’t require me to meet them frequently, sometimes two times a month would be too frequent.

My best friends are the ones who let me free, sometimes let me disappeared for months or years then come back with the story from my adventure. I have one friend from junior highschool who I could tell my story to after five years not seeing her, although not everything. The rest, I had never heard from them, I don’t contact them neither. Sometimes we met during Ramadhan festival when I visit my parents. But what we had just small talks.

Only after I moved to Bali, I met people I can very much relate to. But I still don’t hang out with them every day.

We will talk when we need to flush down some shit from our mind or when we want to check each other, or, to share things, like, sending interesting link to read, beautiful men we (or I, when it is male friend) like, ask question to confirm that our decision is right, food pictures at late midnight (of course), or when we need help from each other.

In the end, the older I get, the more meaningful and honest the friendships I built. These people are the ones I can count on when the chips are down. They will back me up when the world is against me, although when I am the one who is wrong, they would remind me to do things right. That’s what friendship is, and for all my life, I would do the same for them.

They say, we can’t force friendship. When it happens, it happens. I met people that I like but they don’t like me for the reason only gods know. Well, that fact is not stopping me to like them anyways. Just like everything else, my antics obviously are not for everyone.

Male friends vs female friends

I get along easily with boys since I was a child. As they are easy going, their jokes are funny, their games are more interesting than female children’s game. My neighbors called me tomboy, as my hair was short and they see me play with boys more often than with the girls.

As I grow up, the pattern remains the same. Only, there is one problem after the puberity came. Some boys won’t see me as one of them anymore. 😯

Up until now, I would be really happy to have male friends who can keep the relationship platonic between us. It’s pretty sad to lose friends I can have interesting conversation with end up not contacting me anymore (just) because they want something more than friendship.

While female friends, this is kind of tricky. By unwritten laws, female can’t befriends with other female who interested in the same type of men.

Chick before dick only happens when we like different men. I know some female acquaintance who had decided to sleep with the men I like even after they know how I feel about these men. I did the same.

Women can tell which woman who has the tendency to seduce our man. It’s kind of odd, but I could tell if someone ever slept with someone. Especially if one of them is the person I involved with.

Anyways, some women are whore. Some women have standard they religiously follow. Mine is to never sleep with the man who is involved with the woman I respect. I would tell the woman in person, that I won’t do that to them. The man could seduce me all they like, I would shoo them away.

I guess, that’s why my female friends stay friends with me, I like to put everything on the table. This makes me predictable, which some men find this trait undesirable.

You Know Nothing: Dating

I was a dummy on dating arena. Everytime I met a guy that I like, I would be completely stupid and clueless. Well, not that I am a pro now, but it turns out that getting old and met various types of men gave me some interesting perspectives you might want to know.

I haven’t change my view on relationship. I still think that relationship is not for everyone and not a goal. For me a goal is something that you can measure and control. Relationship involves someone else and many variables that aren’t predictable. So I would rather see relationship as an option. If it happens, it would be great to have someone to share the food I cook and the wine I like (almost) every night. If not, I’d have something else to do and friends to share the joy with.

But for women who are longing for someone to share your life with. This piece will give you a new perspective.

We have reached this age where most of us have shiny career, stable finance, all-in-all, we got a good grip on our life except in one department: dating.

We just simply don’t know how to do it. We keep on dating and go for the wrong prey we don’t want to eat in the end.

Head hunter offered us a good position in a great company. Yet, no desirable man asked us to be their wife.

Why those skills to create strategic plan in business and making tactical decisions can not be useful in dating arena? Because apart from everything, we don’t know what we are looking for in men. Boom.

We have the concept of an ideal person to partner up in life, but what we do is trying to impose that idea to the person we met, we cannot see the fact that it doesn’t work like that.

Somehow we failed to grasp the concept that dating is about being with someone who has the same goals and their antics can get along well with ours.

It’s simple but we are raised with those confusing fairytales, and our parents are often as clueless as we are. Also the stereotyping that say women are complicated, makes us even harder to understand ourselves, let alone knowing our strong points.

We are struggling to understand how to be a good woman for the man that we want and yet, those magazines and soap operas ‘taught’ us to be manipulative whore. So what should we do?

Know your prey.

Typically, men will go straightforward, speak their mind, being clear and simple. When men being ambiguous, they are just trying to avoid uncomfortable situation, in men’s language, it means they are not into you. 

Now you know what to do when someone being ambiguous: get over it and say “next!”

What if he just don’t know how to express his feelings? Take no nonsense. If he wants you, he would do anything to get you, it will be obvious, you will know, then you can decide which man worthy of your time, effort and your loving touches.

Now let’s talk about the strategy and tactical steps to be with the man that you like.

Despite the term prey I use in this piece. I need to tell you this, women don’t get to hunt. Our role is more exclusive than that, we choose which man good enough to penetrate our eggs. Yes, this is so much alike that biology lesson we got in junior highschool.

It’s rooted deep inside our subconscious mind that naturally, we will choose the man who are healthy and their DNA match with ours so we could procreate. Just like that mature egg in our fallopian tube waiting for those million sperm swimming toward it then let one sperm cell to penetrate it -we wait for men to come to us then choose one man to be our partner.

Waiting for the man of my dream be like..

But waiting is boring, yes. Why can’t we go after the man that we like?

Well.. you could do that, but it means you are in for heartbreaks. Just like when you aim for the wrong target market for your products, no matter how much you spent on advertisement, you will end up wasting your resources and your time.

We all know confidence is not our problem in business. We know our products are the best. Now keep in mind that in this dating game, your product is yourself. Make sure you understand your feature and posses all those desirable criteria as an ideal partner. As you wait for that right person to come, be the right person by make room for self improvement.

Of course, along the way, or during the selection process, we will get involve with men who don’t have the same relationship goals as ours. Let them go. Think of the time we are wasting as we could have been with the person who fits better our criteria. Please never try to change someone, it’s a wast of time and causing damage to both parties involved. They are what they are until they decide to change on their will.

Women’s nature is like the egg in our ovary, we tend to close ourselves from another man as we involve with someone. That’s the key, manage to not get involved too deep. I know it’s hard, especially when you like the man.

In this age where hooking up is a culture, meeting a man who sees us more than a warm body to have sex with is like seeing a wooden board in the ocean as we get tired of swimming to the shore. So most of men will be the ocean that will let us drowning in their bulshit.

That piece of wooden board isn’t a myth. These men exist. Sometimes they aren’t just a piece of wooden board, they could be a sailing boat. And you wouldn’t know what they are if you don’t give them a chance to put everything on the table and see their contribution to your end goal.

Most men would prefer this way, and you are free to say what do you want from a relationship. If the expectations don’t match, you both could easily move on as you haven’t emotionally invested yet (you better not). Yes, just like managing your finance, don’t invest on the product you are not sure that it really is profitable or else you will suffer a big loss. Both in finance and emotional investment, nobody enjoy being broke.

As you are clear from the beginning, most (of decent) men who aren’t interested in you won’t lead you to nothingness. They would tell you what they want, it would be your choice to continue giving him what he wants and not yours and vice versa. Honest chemistry is not something you can force anyways, and yes, at this stage you can let yourself to go with the flow to see how it goes.

Know the volatility of your investment.

Now let’s say the chemistry is there, perfect and glittery like confetti. You both get along very well. You like each other’s company. But don’t ignore the redflags just yet.

Don’t be afraid to ask about their previous relationship, their family, how they raised. Asses more information about him, from himself, in person. See the balance in the conversation, notice his reaction, his expression and whether he is interested to get to know you better through his questions. It tells a lot.

Don’t wonder, never asume, stick to the facts you have collected from the first hand, himself. After you get to know his environment, his social circles, then you could see whether he was being honest or not. To this point, don’t invest more than you could afford to lose.

A friend told me you have to risk yourself for love. I agree. No investment, no profit. And risk management is an important skill to master.

In the end, love is not a mystery. It is the mastery of all the skills we possess.

Perda Nyepi Di Bali vs Perda Ramadhan

Ada banyak suara mendengungkan mengenai Nyepi di Bali ketika membahas Perda intoleran yang akan dihapus Jokowi seiringan dengan mencuatnya berita tentang Ibu Eni di Serang Banten yang warungnya dirazia, barang dagangannya disita oleh petugas pemda Serang, diantaranya ada perempuan berjilbab loh! Tega sekali ya.

Saya memang pendukung Jokowi sejak awal. Meski begitu, tidak semua keputusan beliau saya amini. Namun kali ini, keputusan beliau untuk menghapus perda intoleran ini saya dukung penuh. Karena saya muak lihat penganut agama mayoritas memaksakan keyakinannya pada umat lain, belum lagi yang melarang umat lain beribadah karena alasan yang sama sekali tidak masuk akal. Seakan-akan negeri ini milik mereka sendiri. Seolah-olah ini negara Islami. Padahal tindakan mereka sendiri jauh dari norma-norma Islam.

Di saat negara lain sudah sibuk dengan penemuan-penemuan ilmiah dan mencapai kemajuan dalam peradaban, ekonomi dan sosial budaya. Di Indonesia, setiap tahun, yang dibahas selalu.. kalau tidak mengenai warung tutup atau buka selama Ramadhan, boleh atau tidak mengucapkan selamat hari natal, dan masalah sepele lainnya.

Situasi ini mencerminkan satu hal, yaitu ketidakdewasaan masyarakat Indonesia dalam menjalankan agamanya. Dari seluruh penganut agama mayoritas (baca: islam) kalau ditanya mengenai agama atau dalil yang dipakai mengenai tindakan dan pendapatnya hampir pasti jawabannya: “kalau soal dalil, tanya saja sama ustadz!” Dalam kata lain, sebagian besar dari pemeluk Islam di Indonesia itu beriman buta. Alias, beriman tapi tidak tahu dasar ilmunya. Contoh kecil, kata-kata dalam bahasa Arab apapun maknanya, pasti diamini karena terdengar seperti do’a. Padahal bahasa Arab itu bisa bermakna apa saja, termasuk sumpah serapah. Sedih kan?

Sangat disayangkan memang. Karena sejatinya, ajaran Islam sendiri adalah ajaran yang baik, bersih dan sangat toleran. Ilmu yang disuguhkan dalam ajaran Islam itu luar biasa banyaknya. Dari ilmu fiqih sampai ilmu tauhid dan ilmu tafsir. Saking dalam dan luasnya tidak akan habis dipelajari secara mendalam meskipun dilakukan seumur hidup!

Bulan Ramadhan biasanya adalah waktu yang tepat untuk melakukan ibadah sebab orang Islam percaya pahalanya dilipat gandakan beratus kali lipat dibanding dengan aktifitas ibadah di bulan lain. Seharusnya umat Islam sibuk mengkaji kitab sucinya, mendalami maknanya dan memahami betul setiap ayat yang dilafadzkannya. Sebab Al-Quran itu bukan sekedar buku mantra yang hanya dibaca berulang-ulang tanpa mengetahui maknanya. Al-Quran juga jauh lebih mulia dari pada sekedar dijadikan alat mencari nafkah bagi para ustadz karbitan yang melafadzkan ayat seenak jidat di televisi. Padahal tajwidnya saja kadang-kadang salah.

Lalu kembali ke masalah perda di Bali setiap hari raya Nyepi yang di sandingkan dengan perda Ramadhan ini.

Saya tinggal di Bali sudah hampir 3 tahun. Dan sudah dua kali mengalami hari Nyepi di Bali. Pada saat nyepi, semua orang tidak boleh keluar rumah. Tidak boleh membuat kebisingan, dan tidak boleh menyalakan lampu. Umat Hindu Bali yang taat, akan menjalani hari raya nyepi dengan meditasi, dan puasa dan tidak berbicara. Itu kenapa disebut nyepi. Karena Bali betul-betul sepi total! Bandara ditutup, jalanan sepi dari kendaraan. Hanya ada pecalang banjar setempat yang boleh berkeliaran di luar untuk menertibkan warga yang tidak mematuhi aturan.

Sebagian dari turis ada yang melewatkan nyepi di hotel dengan penerangan minimum dan himbauan untuk tidak membuat kebisingan. Ada juga yang mengalami nyepi di villa atau rumah masing-masing. Pasar swalayan akan sangat sibuk, terutaman dua hari sebelum nyepi. Orang akan menimbun makanan untuk dikonsumsi selama nyepi. Lalu apakah kami, masyarakat non Hindu, pemilik usaha dan turis merasa terganggu dengan adanya perda ini?

Tidak sama sekali.

Sebaliknya, kami malah merasa antusias untuk menjalankan aturan saat nyepi ini. Bagi kami, ini pengalaman unik. Saya pribadi berandai-andai kalau ritual semacam nyepi ini bisa dilaksanakan di seluruh Indonesia setiap satu tahun sekali. Sebab dampaknya baik untuk lingkungan dan untuk batin kita yang sepanjang tahun disibukkan dengan detil duniawi.

Alasan lain kami merasa tidak terganggu dengan adanya ritual nyepi ini adalah, sepanjang tahun selain hari nyepi, masyarakat Hindu Bali sangat toleran terhadap kami para pendatang. Mereka tidak rewel ketika adzan harus berkumandang 5 kali sehari dari mesjid. Sebelum memberikan hantaran, tuan rumah saya akan bertanya apakah saya mengkonsumsi babi. Pada waktu shalat tarawih, pecalang akan membantu membersihkan halaman restoran padang tempat diadakannya shalat tarawih.

Bukankah itu semua terdengar indah?

Jadi kalau ada orang membandingkan perda ramadhan dengan perda nyepi di Bali, menurut saya itu bukan perbandingan yang sepadan. Untuk membandingkan satu perda dan perda lain butuh pemahaman yang menyeluruh menganai kenapa perda itu dibentuk.

Nah kaitannya mengenai perda ramadhan dimana penduduk muslim adalah mayoritas, apakah di bulan lain selain ramadhan, penduduk mayoritas itu sudah memberikan toleransi yang wajar untuk pemeluk agama lain? Apakah pemeluk agama lain sudah merasa aman dan nyaman dalam menjalankan ibadah mereka sehari-hari?

Saya pesimis soal Serang. Terakhir kali saya mendengar kata Serang adalah di tahun 2008. Ketika umat Ahmadiyah dibantai selayaknya hewan. Dan saya yakin pelaku pembantaian itu masih berkeliaran dengan bebas di kota itu.

Sudah tentu, situasinya jauh dari situasi penuh toleransi. Dan itu yang ingin diubah Jokowi. Mendidik warganya agar mengerti arti toleransi dan berhenti menebar kebencian atas dasar perbedaan agama dan keyakinan. Dan nyatanya, penduduk yang intoleran itu memang penganut agama mayoritas yang inginnya masuk surga tapi mencipta neraka di lingkungan sendiri.

I Call Her, Mother.

The first time I saw the relationship between Claire Underwood and her mother, I felt relieved. She is a fictional character but that kind of relationship between mother and daughter, it does exist. I have that kind of relationship with my mother. Where our functions for each other are only on practical matters, when I couldn’t earn money, I will ask for her help -as the last resort. As long as my closest friends could help, I won’t ask for her help. And since I earn for myself, she talks to me when she needs help. Just like I did.

I can’t remember when was the last time we had a deep conversation about our lives and our problems. I don’t think we ever had it. I never seek for her advice nor her insight. I minimised the story I shared with her. This happens for a reason. Her first approach has always been blaming me for the problem I brought to the surface. Never comforting, always confronting. That’s what she is. We are just totally different. I can understand her but I don’t think she understands me. She never trust me that I could handle my problems, even though in the last 15 years, I survived without her support.

Well, I clearly don’t trust her either. Even to handle my future child when I have it later, if ever. Not that I think she would be a bad grandmother. It’s just that, I don’t want my child to feel what I feel when I am near my mother.

Living in the country where motherhood is being praised as a noble job, it goes with the saying that heaven is under the mothers’ feet.

I rolled my eyes on that.

That point of view gives every mother the sense of entitlement, they think they have the right to shape their child as they like. Hence, the child never asked to be born from her, and the children are their own self.

Let’s just be clear that not every mother is an angel. Some mothers are assholes. Some mothers don’t deserve their children’s love simply because they don’t earn it.

My mother is one of those mothers who think she deserve all the prizes in the world no matter what she does. All she knows, being a mother is a noble job. And that is what’s torturing her to this day, her expectations over me and my brothers, well, especially me, as I am the only child who live far away from her. Being an Indonesian woman born in a strict moslem family, living far away from parents before get married is forbidden. Forbid me to do something without a good reason, I would do just that. 

My generation is the generation who live in between millenials and post-Soekarno generation. My generation have a better understanding in psychology, multi cultural relationship, and mostly are open minded over many things compared to the generation before us.

My mother was born three years before Soekarno’s regime had fallen. Her mother was a housewife, she was a nurse before she married my grandfather and my grandfather was a veteran. My mother’s parents are pretty much wealthy back in Soekarno’s era, until the big crisis hit the country which also hit my grandfather’s business. My mother is the eighth child from nine children. When my grandmother gave birth to her, their assets and wealth weren’t as much as before.

Long story short, my mother’s childhood wasn’t easy. She had to spare her money to buy the shoes that she wants, she had to share everything with her siblings. She never had enough privacy nor room for herself. She was raised in a military parenting style, I don’t know why.. but I guess, my grandparents are as clueless as many parents these days. Nine children, limited source of income and no internet? It must be tough, right?

That kind of childhood and many other stuff that had happened in my mother’s life made her the worst critic to me. I think she is simply not happy with herself and she projects her unhappiness onto me. Which is not okay in a way. But of course I understood her. It took me years to understand this. I think, if she cannot understand me, at least I can understand her and maybe someohow later in the future she will try to understand me eventually.

She applied that military parenting style that she learned from her parents to me and my little brothers. Non-affectionate and tough. Just like when she sent me to the boarding school without my consent. She brought me there, and dropped me there, she didn’t give me any chance to choose the school that I wanted to be in. She thought sending her daughter to the boarding school will change me to be the person she wants me to become. Little did she know I was planning to flee from the house since then. That was when I completely losing my trust on her.

I know she didn’t mean to do any harm. And in a way, I am grateful she sent me to the boarding school. Now I have a better understanding on my parent’s religion. And if she never sent me there, I won’t make a paper about parenting by model for my last assignment. Which gave me a lot of insight and understanding about the relationship between me and my mother.

As much as I am trying to understand her, I came to the conclusion that I could never be myself when I am with her. It took me years to realise that she will never accept me as I am, so for the peace of mind, I would be the person she wants me to become for at least once a year, during Idul Fitri (moslem holiday). For no more than three days, or a week, that is the longest I can fake myself in front of her.

It was necessary to do all that. As she will criticise me for every single thing, from the way I dress, the way I talk, to the way I fart! And don’t even start with the way I think. It will completely driving her crazy.

This parenting style I got from my parents made me grew up to be a girl who struggled with low self-esteem problem until my mid 20s. Until I was twenty six, I never know how being accepted feels like. Of course it affects my relationships with men as well, which only started when I was twenty-three.

But being a very introspective person helps me to get a better understanding about myself. As for many things that happened in my life, I will go deep to analyse and find the root of the problems.

Just like when I went through an abusive relationship.

I realised, strong people with solid relationship with themselves won’t be involved in an abusive relationship. I hated myself so much for not being a normal person as my mother told me. So I learned to forgive myself and accept myself, I looked for the core of my problen, it turns out I needed to forgive myself for every flaw and every mistake that I did in the past. And since I realised that, I team up with myself and will always maintain this solid relationship until my last breath. This helped me to see my worth and have a stronger self-esteem.

I grew up in the street. Not Bronx kind of street, but I literally picked up advices, insights and wisdom from people outside of home, from the book, from the movies, from comics, from a friend’s story and from my own experience. From those sources, I learned, you can’t choose how you were born or from whom you were born, but you can always choose how to live your life and I chose to be who I am today.

I might picture my mother really bad here. But you must know, despite everything I mentioned above, I also learned a lot from her. She is an independent woman. She won’t admit that she is pro egalitarianism, but what she does in her marriage with my father, is so much it. They support each other through thick and thin. She didn’t mind when she earned more than my father when the national crisis hits Indonesia’s economy in 1997, which also crushed my father’s business. She was the breadwinner for our family for quite a while.

She is a strong woman, I admire her resilience through every problem and difficulty in her life since she was a child. I heard a lot about her childhood story, not only from her, but also from the people who witnessed it.

Those two qualities that she has, I absorbed that in me. But not the toxic behaviors I can’t really mention here. There used to be a huge flaming anger inside me everytime I learned that I adopted her toxic behavior, that anger makes me want to be a different woman than her. Which I finaly do.

I didn’t get married in my 20s. I react differently than her toward any problem I encountered. I speak differently, I live a different lifestyle, I have a different perspective toward religion and life. I took other women as my role model. I minimise her role in my life, especially in the last eight years.

***

Back to the relationship between Claire Underwood and her mother, does she loves her mother? Yes she does. Just like I do love my mother.

Over all differences and the wounds she left in me as she raised me, I forgave her for that. She is a human after all. And knowing her childhood, I understand how she became herself now. She might never know who I really am and what sort of a woman her only daughter is, but I accepted her as she is.

Later when she dies, I will shed a tears as I regret that she never had a chance to get to know me better. But that is life, nothing is perfect. The word perfect itself should not existed.

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Ubud: The Memento

It is my third year living in Bali. And I guess, I am leaving soon… Therefore, I feel the need to write a small note about the place I call home in the last three years.

It’s still fresh to my mind the first time I arrived in Ubud to visit my friend, Azhar, as he played his drone on the second floor of his friend’s house in Jalan Gootama. It was a short reunion after almost 4 years we didn’t meet each other, due to… Eh, long story short, his (thankfully) now-ex-wife wasn’t feeling secure that I hang out with her husband, just for the record, Azhar and I are totally platonic from the beginning.

It was 4pm, the traffic was crowded, I went here with Blue Bird Taxi. The only reliable taxi with a fair price I could get back then. There was no Go-Jek, nor Uber, nor Grab Taxi (although the last two services are banned by the local drivers community now).

I remember I saw Betelnut in front of Museum Puri Lukisan and told myself, ‘this must be a popular place here’. And then I saw Starbucks on the left side of the road. It’s a bizarre contrast to see Starbucks located in a Balinese building. But I could imagine myself ordering peanut butter panini and non-sugar raspberry frappe for breakfast there. (Yes, I was such a city girl trapped in a lifestyle created by those genius marketers. :p)

Now, I just figured it out that I came from Sayan through Tjampuhan to reach Ubud back then. Pura Gunung Lebah wasn’t as breathtaking as it is now, they haven’t done any restoration. I was more lured into the restaurant called Bridge. I could imagine having a dinner in there. ‘Oh my! I like this place already!’ so I told myself. And then I went through the Ubud Palace. This place is chaotically beautiful, I said. The kind of traffic I can bear every day.

Let’s take a note that this place is nowhere near the place I imagined before: a small town with rice fields and jungle all over. Hence, I saw international brand like Pandora, Nike, and Ralph Laurent open their shops here.

Oh, and I said I can bear the traffic, right?

Well, being someone who lived in Jakarta for too long, my patience was running thin as I reached Oops restaurant. I told the driver that I want to stop there and continue on foot to Jalan Gootama. I miss walking anyway, after a week staying in Kuta, I never had a chance to walk, it was too hot there. I spent most of my time in air-conditioned rooms (read: malls and indoor cafes, restaurants and my friend’s apartment).

I walked pretty fast, I arrived in Azhar’s friend place less than 10 minutes and got irritated to see people walk in slow motion, but then after I realised this is Bali, people are on their holidays. Yeah, it rings the bell… aight.

I happen to like Jalan Goutama, it’s a unique small road with small shops and small food parlor on both sides of the road. I spotted Balinese small temples with beautiful offerings on top of them, it pleases my eyes, them colors are beautiful. I can imagine myself walking around there in a flowy long dress and thong sandals, big earrings. (Well, it wasn’t what I wore back then. I wore turquoise tank top, with khaki shorts and flip-flops).

Fast forward to the first evening, Kelly (Azhar’s new girlfriend) took me to Betelnut, exactly the place I mentioned before, and I was right. It’s a cool place where people do movie screening, doing a show, or hold a cool event like Pecha Kucha Night, the one I attended that night.

Kelly and Azhar lived in the outskirt of Ubud, in Payogan. The air there is colder (tropical kind of cold) compared to Ubud center. I stayed there for a night. Then I went back to Kuta to pack my stuff and move to Ubud.

I was sold. I want to live in this town. Especially after Kelly offered me a job in the company where she worked. It’s a combo!

A week later, I worked as a copywriter. I started to write in English constantly since then, with basic knowledge of English grammar and syntax. Well, with me it’s always: just go for it, do it now! You will know how to fix problems later when you have it. It works like wonder so far.😉

To sum it up, basically, I left Jakarta to get a dream job, started to write in English, learned how to write a screen script, and learned how to do basic digital marketing. And oh yes,  in that office, I met Danny who’s then became my boyfriend, my writing mentor, my family, for two years. Nowhere near to Eat Pray Love kind of relationship, but I learned a lot from it.

During my first year in Bali, I didn’t drive a motorbike. Those fellow drivers on the road scared me to death! They are like the apes on the motorcycle, they don’t understand traffic rules. Frugal drivers who shouldn’t get a driving license, hence they don’t even have it!

Holy cheesus crust…

For that reason, I drove a push bike for a week until the bike got stolen when I stayed in Kuta over the weekend. Sucks, right? It made me being a motorbike hitchhiker with a personal helmet. There were Okta, Kelly, Ignat and Danny who generously gave me a lift every time I needed it. Well yes, it wasn’t a problem, until I moved to Penestanan, 15 minutes drive from Ubud center and 20 minutes to the office.

Not long after I moved to Penestanan, Kelly forced me to bring her motorbike from the office as she drove another bike… to her house. I had to drove through the most chaotic traffic in Ubud with random people across my way, they took my line, ugh! Basically, they are just being assholes on the road. I spent a year long of my cursing quota in that 15 minutes drive. But I do not regret it that I said yes to Kelly’s idea. It was an important milestone. Now I drive like a frugal Balinese, being one of those assholes I cursed back then, had one accident (and not looking forward to more) when someone took my line on a muddy road. Well, they say, “one does not simply drive around in Bali without having an accident or two.”

***

I am getting an intense nostalgia as I write this.

It’s amazing to remember how much experience I have had during my stay in Ubud. I am no longer the same person who met Azhar in Jalan Gootama. Obviously, I managed to transform myself to be someone I always wanted to become. Through pain, doubts, questions, heartbreaks, and many things else I can not mention here.

But, one thing that everyone who knows me might have noticed, I was an extremely angry person back then. If my eyes could tell you how I saw the world, it will mention fire, ruins, dark sky, tears, blood, and weaponry. I was angry over every-single-thing and as an expressive person, I expressed my anger in many ways except killing. I can’t even kill an ant in purpose. Some of the new friends back then, they took a few step backs and sort of blacklisted me from invitation list to hang out session. You know why.

Not that I didn’t have any good reason to be angry. I had all the good reasons, I enjoyed  being angry. Until I couldn’t stand myself and decided to tame my personal demons, let go of the grudge, turn on the light in my eyes, and change my perspective. Wasn’t as easy as it might sound. But I made it happens.

Which is good.

Maybe it is true what people say about Ubud, that this town is a place to heal. Yes, I didn’t come here to find asylum. I came here “for a change”, to celibate, to stay away from whatever happened in my life. Little did I know it was my subconscious mind who pulled me here. I am glad I agreed to it and made it happen. Now when I look back, I understand why all those things had to be there, why I had to get through all that. Why those puzzles came in place. Not everything happens for a reason, but, when there is a reason, it must be the good one, despite how much pain you got as you are on it.

Healing is a lifetime process, I think. You can’t force it. You just need to go with it and endure it as it goes. And for sure Ubud’s still giving me its series of an interesting lesson to learn until this day. But in a deeper level, I regret nothing. I forgave myself for making mistakes, I accept the fact that I am on a continuous journey to be a better version of myself. I accept the fact that I can never be perfect, but I will always be enough for whatever circumstance I encounter.

I am looking forward to the new adventure ahead of me. In a new place with new people. It’s always nice to breathe deeply during the dawn, as we wait for the sunrise. Ignore the cold.

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5 Things You Must Do Before Ending Long-term Relationship

Edwin and Sara have been living together for four years. They have been dating for half a year before Sara moved in. She decided to move to make the relationship works, it’s easier for her to move to Edwin’s place than the other way around.

Time goes by, they lived as a happy couple until last year. Edwin has to work in another country to work on his startup for three months and as expected, the problems arise before they know it. Every single thing they have been ignored all along came up to the surface.

Of course, Sara understands that the startup is very important for Edwin as much as it is important for her to see Edwin doing good in his career. At least for once, she wants to see him being successful. It is the first time for Sara to see Edwin wanting to achieve something -as Edwin could be anything, but an over-achiever.

All in all, three months felt like hell for her, it was a real struggle to gather the crumbs of her feelings toward Edwin. After hundreds of devastating fights, the color of her love finally washed out. The voice in the back of her head who says: “you are in for an endless pain if you continue this..” gets louder as she ignores it.

Nobody knows when this feeling-apocalypse has started. She has no clue, nor Edwin. Well, for Edwin, it’s more because she hides this from him, this sounds cliché, but she really wants him to focus on his startup. She thinks this is something that she needs to work on on her own. All Edwin needs to know is, she is waiting for him at home. For her, it was the right thing to do at that moment. Little did she know it was a bad decision to make.

Three months have passed, turned out, Edwin has to stay longer, this time… for another six months. She was exploded in silence as she maintained good communications with him. He visited twice during those six months, she appeared happy during those days when he was home. She replied “I miss you too” to Edwin’s affectionate texts, calls, video calls… she made everything looks normal, until he proposed to her, to which she replied, “let’s see in a year..” not “I do” nor “Yess!”

Two weeks after the proposal, she told him she wants to live in Nordic country, in other words, she wants to fly away from him and he noticed that. Then, two months after the proposal, they decided to talk it out. Edwin came back home, then she revealed everything.

Finally, after almost a year, she told him every single pain she had, which are a thousand stabs on his chest as he listened to her. She told him that she has failed to gather the feeling that has long gone. She thinks it’s time to let him go, so he can be with a better woman, who can treat him better, who can love him better than she did, someone who fits better for him. But of course, for him, at that moment, she was the only woman who’s perfect for him.

For her, she was saving them both from future misery. For him, she killed his hope and the future he has planned. That’s the end of the story.

***

Now, back to the title. Let’s do not do what Sara did to Edwin. Although she did right on some points, should we learn from what she did wrong and not do that to our (future) partner.

1. A couple should be able to talk about every-single-thing in any kind of situation.

Before you start a relationship with someone, you should make sure that you can reveal every single thing to him / her, you have to feel comfortable enough to talk openly to him / her, from petty-mundane stuff to the darkest secret, if you have any.

Once you feel comfortable enough to openly talk about everything, then you can consider him / her as a potential partner. Ignore those butterfly in your stomach for a moment, think of having something eating you up from the inside (just because you can not talk about everything with your partner) after years of dating, it feels a like hell, I tell you.

But then if you are in the same situation like Sara’s, you really should talk it out with your partner, as soon as possible, no matter how impossible the situation between you two. If the relationship meant to be broken, it will be broken no matter what.

Love and trust in a relationship are like oreo. Once it’s crumbling on the floor, it is not possible to assemble it, nor eat it.

By the time you are trying to mend it, you have wasted yours and their time to meet someone new, someone who fits better for you, or simply to be happy. You are not doing anyone a favor by living a life that is not making you happy, aren’t you?

2. Find at least 3 essential reasons why it’s better for you two to split up.

Long term relationship is like a marriage without legal stuff getting on your way when you want to split up. But even though it’s as easy as it might sound to you, make sure you can mention 3 essential reasons. The reason should be something you can no longer improve (like trying to feel the love that has long gone), something you can not fix (his or her characters), something you can not change (anything beyond your reach and beyond your capacity).

You know the saying: “if you can not fix it, let it go…”

3. It makes two parties to make mistakes in a relationship.

I am sorry to say that this is not a one-man show. “No matter how wronged you are, if you the two of you are arguing, you are part of what’s creating that argument. Even if she or he is acting crazy, your reaction to that is not helping. This argument, all arguments, are as much about you being in the wrong as about her being in the wrong. Until you accept that, you will never find a mutually satisfactory outcome.”

Enough said.

4. Remember how it feels like being single.

It is easier for introverts to think about being single. It will be so much liberating, you don’t have to think of another party and involve them (nor anyone) in a decision-making process. It feels like riding a car as fast as you want, without having anyone screaming on the passenger seat asking you to slow down or go faster. All those good stuff.

But if you think it’s the other way around, meaning you think you still want her / him in your life as long as they can, then there must be something you can actually improve. No?

5. Treat him / her the way you want to be treated.

Isn’t it a basic courtesy?

Well.. Not really after years of living together. Sometimes we forgot the right way to treat our partner. Do not do this, kids.

Give her / him some respect they deserve. Talk to them gently, cool-headed, calmly. Don’t yell at them, nor saying things that might hurt them even worse. Fulfill their wishes to be left alone, if they ask you to do so. It’s an adult relationship, end it like those grown-ups do.

Tracks

No More Wasted Year

Have you ever sit down  and think how many minutes you have wasted today? How many hours have you spent on something meaningful, hence impactful? Either for yourself or for people around you?

I had this awakening moment last year on November, on that exact Tuesday morning when I felt the need to achieve everything I have been wanting to achieve but somehow I didn’t do anything about it. My pride bleeds as I write this…

I used to call myself a hard worker and an overachiever person. But at that exact moment, I felt that I was nowhere near the person I used to think I am. It kills me to realize that. I needed to find a way to get out of that situation. I don’t want to waste more years… Not that I am gonna get any younger, am I? It scares me to the bone to realize that this time I have been wasting is going to end at some point and will never comes back, obviously.

This can not go on forever.

This has to change… So I told myself.

A wise man ever told me, to reach the summit, the first thing I need to do is to take a thousand repetitive steps to the right direction.

So first, I set my goals = the summit I want to achieve. Then, I break down the steps I am going to take and being mindful as I take each one of them. In this case, let’s call it: maximizing time management.

I did my quick research in order to copy what those successful people do during their 24 hours. Google leads me to Tom Ford, yes, that Tom Ford, the man behind YSL and James Bond’s impeccably-sleek suites.

Tom Ford

This handsome legend, Tom Ford.

He revealed his morning routine to Harpers Bazaar. I am so so grateful that he revealed his morning schedule. It’s definitely not the easiest thing to do as he starts his day at 4.30am in the morning, so I gave myself some time to adjust.

It took me two months to finally being able to wake up that early. I started with waking up earlier than my biological alarm which usually makes me wake up at 5.30am to 6am every morning. I tried to wake up at 5am then gradually, I start waking up at 4.30 every morning.

Yes, I weigh myself as I woke up, just to remind me that I have to do that goddamn exercise. Then I make myself an iced coffee in a tall glass, the volume is 500ml including the ice. Similar to Tom Ford, I don’t like hot / warm coffee. And I swear, sipping iced black coffee as you dip yourself in a hot bath is the best way to wake up. I let my mind wander as it wants as I lay my body in the bathtub, it feels very much meditative. Somehow it makes me feel great about myself.

I do that for half an hour. Then I will start my morning exercise. 20 minutes of intense training then followed by 30 minutes of moderate or casual training. Sometimes I like doing it at the gym, sometimes I like doing it at home. I prefer the later most of the time, as it is not time-consuming, plus the fact that I don’t have to wear anything except my sport bra, it’s a bonus. I’d spent at least 20 minutes to go back and forth between the gym and home. That precious 20 minutes… I could have used it to prepare my breakfast.

I would finished the exercise around 6am. By that time, the air in my terrace still so fresh, I will breath it in deeply and exhale slowly and stretch my body like a cat. I would see Komang sweeps those dry leaves at the yard in front of my room, I would say hi to her, she will smile back at me, then I get back inside my room, cutting fruits, prepare my breakfast as I listen to my favorite podcast channel. Those duo: Chuck and Josh are my favorite.

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No podcast in the morning is a wasted morning.

I will not read anything until I finished listen to the podcast. One podcast from The Nerdist usually lasts for 60 minutes. I make the bed as I listen to it, make breakfast, eat breakfast and cleaning up the room also packing up for all day activity. There is something zen as I do all that in the morning.

I believe a peaceful morning makes a great day.

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That is the last view I want to see before I close the door.

I will be finished doing all those above around 8am. By then, I will get the hot shower, use my favorite scented shower gel: vanilla raspberry, or jasmine, or red musk. Then take a shower like James Bond. Mr. Bond uses hot water in the beginning of rinsing the soap then cold water afterward. It is important to feel like a badass when you start your day. Well, it works for me big time.

After getting ready to work, I will hit the road at 9am to start my day.

I have a daily theme for my days. I set mandatory tasks for each day. It helps me to stay navigated during the week and helps me to make sure that I get done all of those mandatory tasks.

On the side notes, it’s pretty much irritating when I miss one action in a day or when things don’t go as planned. Like unproductive meeting, someone coming late to an appoinment, and many other irresponsible and disrespectful acts. But then, thanks to Google Calendar, it helps me to keep on the track and stay navigated to reach my destination by the end of the week.

In a perfect world…

I will be finished working at 5pm then hang out with friends or simply have time to watch my favorite tv series or the movies I have downloaded, or talk to my loving boyfriend who resides on the other side of the globe.

But this is a flawed world, the summit I want to reach makes me working on 5 jobs (soon will be six). So I will finish working around 8pm or 11pm. Sometimes at 2am. So, just so you can understand, when I am willing to show up, meaning I respect you that much.

As I called it a day, it would be my time to have a quality time with my loved one. Then go to sleep at least at 2am. So yes, I sleep 180 minutes to 300 minutes a day. Sometimes with power nap after lunch for around 20 minutes, when I can.

Is it enough for me? Will it help me to achieve my goals?

Let’s see in a year.🙂