Time to Heal

Healing takes time, but it will come. And when it does, you will find happiness so bright, you will be blind to all that once tormented you.

We can’t deliberately choose the memories we want to remember. I wish I could, but that’s just not the case, isn’t it?

I have this one scene of my childhood that vaguely stuck in my mind. I’m not quite sure about the year, maybe I was five. I only know I was really small that even stepping over a 50cm-wide-ditch was a huge problem.

It was a daring game. My neighbours had this silly challenge of jumping over a ditch in front of my house. I was doubtful and scared. I was unsure if I could make it. But it seemed so easy for everyone, I must do it. So they started to applaud, pushing me to do it. Jump! Jump! Jump!

So I did. I jumped. And… I missed the other side of the ditch. It happened so fast. I can’t remember how I got up from the bottom. I can’t remember how I walked towards my house. But I do remember I was so embarrased and scared of what would happen next. I remember my face was covered with blood dripping and I tried to wipe it off with my hands. I remember my mom stood by the door in awe and in a second she passed out. I remember my dad ran to my mom and carried her to the sofa in the living room, while I was standing still by the door not quite sure what to do. A couple of minutes later my dad came and carried me inside. And the scenes stopped there. I don’t remember the rest.

It happened almost three decades ago. No pain that I can remember. No scars as a souvenir either. It quickly became one of those light anecdotes I tell people when we play “your most embarrassing thing” game.

I was healed.

Our soul, unfortunately, heals in different pace, different way. We can’t really see the wound, thus makes it trickier to take care of. We can feel it there, in our brain, sending pain signal to our chest, pushing the tear glands to squeeze and shed some drops. Thankfully, crying is good and necessary.

Psychic tears are the crying tears produced as response to sadness, anger, frustration, or pain. These tears contain a natural painkiller. Yes, this act of crying releases what is called leucine-enkephalin, an endorphin that reduces pain and helps improve mood and reduce stress immediately. This is an important detox.

Therefore, it’s soothing to have a good cry. Although it’s addictive too. Our body is so amazing, isn’t it? It’s equipped with such a mechanism to help it coping with emotional breakdown. It might seem trivial, these psychic tears, but they significantly give remedy. Helping us to heal. Emotionally.

So hang in there. Take your time. Take a good cry. The time will come. You’ll be healed.

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We don’t define love

I find it amusing how some people have no idea about what love is. They came to me and said “I don’t know what love is” or asked “what is your definition of love?”. And I’m not talking about confused and inexperienced young teenagers here. These are people who I see have more years of being in relationship even marriage.

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One fine afternoon in Belitung Island.

You know when you love someone. If you don’t know, then you don’t love them. It’s that simple. But I think people nowadays tend to complicate things. It used to be just “I love you, you love me, we are together”. Now it’s “I love you, you love me, but I can’t be with you, because I’m with someone else who I care about, so do you, and we end up feeling lonely”. Sad isn’t it?

Many philosophers (or normal people like me) have been trying to formulate the definition of love, but so far I can’t find one definition that represents perfectly what love is. Or what I think love is. It doesn’t mean those definitions are not right. What is right anyway?

Love could be so many things. There are symptoms, signs, indications you can cross-check if you’d like to know if you love someone. But that sounds so mechanical and theoretical, no? Why don’t you just take a deep breath and close your eyes and listen to your heart? You’ll know it when you love someone. If you don’t know, again, then you don’t love them.

We don’t need to define love. It’s a feeling that words can’t describe. You. feel. it.

After the Breakup

This is a short story about heartbreak. About losing so many aspects in my life. Losing my faith in love and relationship. Losing my trust in me. Losing my pride. Losing my joy. Losing some reasons of my happiness, my peace of mind, my dream. I’m losing a man I once loved dearly.

I’m ready now to write down this wistful story. I have passed all those stages I read everywhere on the Internet. Interestingly, those stages are not actually sequential. It’s not that once you crossed one stage, you can only move forward to the next stage. No, it doesn’t work that way, especially when the breakup is relatively fresh (I said “relatively” because everyone has their own timeline, and that’s totally fine). I’m approaching my fourth month now from the breakup. I feel stronger than ever. I can see things more clearly and I understand and accept that the breakup was necessary, the breakup was the right thing.

One important thing I learned this time is: not to be so hard on myself. “Don’t beat yourself up!” Seriously. If you’re going through a breakup, for whatever reason and whatever circumstances, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, take a good care of yourself. Acknowledge the pain (which may cause you doing things you won’t be proud of in a normal situation). Believe that you’re doing the best thing you could do at a given state of affairs. Always.

I still cry now and then. I’m torn. I feel my heart breaks again every time I realize that he fell out of love with me. Although I also don’t feel the way I used to feel about him. You know that feelings. How you don’t see the personality you were falling in love with. Getting to know each other more made us realized how different we are. We want very different things. He wants to always be surrounded by girls. At first, nothing about infidelity, it’s just the way he is. He loves being with girls. He loves being adored and admired for his physical features, his charisma, and his obsession about foreign culture. On the other hand, I don’t like men who flirts around. I found it tacky and unattractive. I might forget the fact that in the beginning he was flirting with me too, and I took the bait voluntarily :).

You know that phrase “one thing leads to another”? So yes, one thing lead to another. The flirting became more severe. I became so irritated thus the nagging followed relentlessly. Till at some point he got tired and took it beyond. He cheated on me. The first time was forgiven. But then there was the second, and third, and I lost count. And the day came. The day when we agreed to break our tie. We cried like we never did before. We loved each other that much.

Now, at this point I finally have everything sorted out clearly. That fog hanging on my head is lifted up. The reason of the breakup was so simple. We are not the right person for each other. We tried. We tried real hard to make it work, for the love reason. But he fell out of love too and I can’t work on this relationship alone.

It’s not easy to accept those facts. It’s actually really painful. Because it’s not just merely about losing the love, but about all those dreams and hopes that have been built are now shattered, drifted to the gutter.

But there is an up side. I’m not only losing in this game. I’m gaining too. Life lesson is the obvious and direct reward from the hardship. Strength, patience, new perspective, time to explore who I am and what I really want in a relationship and in life, and most  of all: detached happiness (the kind of happiness that starts inside me, not others).

That is the beauty of breakup. We actually become a better person. The Failed Relationship is like one subject in the University of Life and the real breakup is like the test we should go through and pass. By now I have taken this class several times and I know for sure at least I get a B+ this time. I don’t intend to attend this class again to get an A, though.

Lastly, when you’re going through a breakup, take your time to heal. Seek for support from your closest friends, perhaps family too (if you are close to them). Browse the Internet to get a wealth of tips and advice to help you; pick the ones suit you. Fortunately for us, it’s not a close book test :).

Contradictory Wisdom

“Life is what we make it”, they say. But hey, they also say “what will be, will be”.

Isn’t it rather annoying how the wise men always have something to say for certain circumstances in life? When something happens, a wisdom shared, people accept and use it to help them getting through difficult time. Let’s see this one as an example:

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

That wisdom has been helping couples in going through (temporary) separation. Some might find a way back, some are lost, some have to deal with the fact that absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. Because you know… there is another wisdom:

Out of sight, out of mind.

Isn’t it amusing?

When things get rough in our relationship, we’d like to believe that this is the thing worth fighting for. Every couple goes through difficult times and many come out alive and stronger, holding on to the following wisdom:

You can’t just give up on someone just because the situation is not ideal. Great relationships aren’t great because they have no problems. They’re great because both people care enough about the other person to find a way to make it work.

On the other hand, there is this poet who fabricates a metaphor, helping our insensitive senses and mechanical brain to comprehend life and figure out its puzzling course. She created “the bridge”. It’s simple. It’s spot-on. It’s crystal clear.

Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.
Nayyirah Waheed

Another contradiction between one wisdom to another is the ones related to confidence or optimism. You must have heard this famous advice to:

Fake it till you make it.

Many actually follow and apply this in life–mostly working life–to boost their confidence fueled with great optimism. The underlined idea of “faking it until making it” is about developing some habits to eventually becoming part of who we are. We’re talking about good habits of course. You fake doing the habits of successful people. If you’re persistent enough, without you realize it you become one of those successful people.

How? Well, George Costanza has some practical tips for that :D.

On the other hand, some experts say “fake it til you make it” is a bad advice. Confidence should not be about pretending or acting. Because no matter how good you’re faking it, people can tell. There are some uncontrollable traits that will show the ultimate truth of who you are and how you really feel. What about letting your confidence emerge from your real accomplishment? No matter how small and simple accomplishment that is.

It’s dilemmatic in a way: which wisdom should we trust?

wise-contra

Click here for more contradictory proverbs.

Mencari Bahagia

Dear R,
Benarkah hidup ini tentang mencari bahagia? Kenapa begitu ya? Ah, kamu mana mau menjawab? Kamu mana bisa menjawab?

Kamu sibuk sekali. Tak sempat kautanyakan pada dirimu sendiri pertanyaan yang baru saja kuungkapkan. Kamu mencari uang. Mencari pengakuan. Mencari posisimu di lingkungan pergaulan. Mungkin kadang kau sempatkan juga mencari cinta.

R, jangan-jangan hidup bukan tentang mencari kebahagiaan. Hidup hanya semacam perjalanan. Kita hadapi apa yang di depan. Senangnya, sedihnya, bahagianya, kejutannya, deritanya. Karena hidup tidak seperti dongeng yang tamat ketika gadis cantik yang miskin dan baik hati dipinang oleh seorang pangeran tampan, lalu ditutup dengan sebaris frasa: happily ever after. Kenyataannya hidup bukan tentang happily ever after sebab sesudah gembira datang selalu saja ada bayang-bayang kesedihan, begitu pun sebaliknya.

R, dalam hidup ini begitu banyak yang membuat dadaku sesak. Peperangan, kemiskinan, pengkhianatan, ketidakpedulian. Sementara di sini kita bergelimang kenyamanan, meski ternyata kita tidak juga merasa bahagia. Kita merasa hampa. Kita tak berdaya. Berdosa kah kita?

Aku bahagia saat bersamamu. Dulu, dan mungkin nanti. Kucoba membekukan momen itu, kubingkai, dan kupasang dalam tembok memoriku. Bukankah momen yang sudah terjadi itu akan tetap bernama memori bahagia? Dan ketika aku sedang tidak bahagia karena jauh darimu dan sebagainya, itu pun akan menjadi potret dalam bingkai cerita hidup.

Bahagia itu memang rasa yang menyenangkan, karena itulah manusia berkejaran menggapainya. Sedih itu bisa membuat sekujur tubuh menjadi muram, alhasil manusia pun bersusah payah menghindari dan menolaknya.

Kasihan sekali manusia yang tidak tahu apa yang menjadi kebahagiaannya ya. Ia tak tahu mesti mengejar apa. Ataukah ia justru beruntung karena tak perlu lelah mengejar?

Ah R, tidak bahagia itu tak apa-apa. Buktinya kita baik-baik saja. Kamu tidak bahagia. Aku juga tidak. Tapi toh kita tetap memilih menjalani ketidakbahagiaan itu seperti juga jutaan manusia lainnya. Sebab mungkin hidup bukan melulu tentang mencari bahagia. Ini hanya sandiwara singkat saja.

Path

 

New Year’s Resolution

I didn’t make any targets last year, but I think I need some for 2016. For the sake of progressing and moving forward.

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something

The key word this year is skill. I want to learn several new skills that I think I will enjoy to do and will be useful.

  1. Able to make bags and purses. I will take sewing classes for it early this year and buy a decent sewing machine.
  2. Able to play harmonica. I really like the bluesy sound of harmonica and I think this instrument is cool to play. Have been checking some tutorials on Youtube, and I will be diligent to practice. Nothing too ambitious about this, I just want to fluently play a couple of songs.
  3. Able to make graphical designs using Illustrator and Photoshop. This one is rather tough because not only learning the technique, but I will also need to polish my sense of art.
  4. Understand and speak basic Swedish.
  5. Read more books. I’m inspired by Mark Zuckerberg who reads one book a week. I will try that. Yes, 52 books.

That’s all. If they are accomplished, I believe I would be a completely different person by the end of the year :).

 

 

Living for Today

I just recently came back from a a duty trip to Pulau Nyamuk, a tiny island inhabited by around 600 people in Karimunjawa archipelago, in the north of Java. This fishermen community have electricity only for 12 hours per day provided by 30kW diesel power plant and 25kWp solar power plant. With such limitation on energy source, the people live a humble and simple life, at least compared to the hectic Jakarta life. It’s the crew I went with also the people I met who really got me realized that all this time I was too busy thinking about “tomorrow”.

Hari is in his late twenty working as an electrical engineer while Andi is a technician who is a little older than Hari and me. Together we inspected the solar mini-grid installation in Pulau Nyamuk and trained the operators. They are really inspiring people. They have travelled a lot to remote islands of Indonesia, they live by the day, and they are happy. Yes, they are. It’s like nothing can make them upset.

The trip back from Pulau Nyamuk to Pulau Karimun was special. We were trapped in a storm on a small wooden boat of 12×1.6 m. It was seven of us with me the only female and the most inexperience one in the sea. The engine was dead at some point and the diesel leaked. Some guys shouted to the Captain, “Turn left! Turn left! You take the wrong direction!” I was quietly panicked and wished that the Captain could handle the situation.

“I don’t want to die now. I don’t want to die like this. Like… drowned in the sea where my body would never be found. Or is it better that way? Die quickly with a lung full of seawater? But no… not now, not like this. I have things I want to do. There are so many things I still need to do.”

Yes, that was my thought. Cliché :).

A couple of fishermen on board helped. Together they fixed the fuel pipe, pumped the leaked fuel out of the hull, turned on the backup engine, and tried to navigate the boat back to the right track. It was a very long one hour.

“I see the island!” Hari told me, “don’t worry.” I smiled a bit, I knew he was just trying to calm me down. I peeked, and yeah, vaguely I saw tiny grey bump in a far. That must be the island. Another two hours to go. But shortly, we survived. We were all wet from the storm and wave but relieved to finally reach the land. We smiled a conquer-kind-of-smile.

Back in the homestay, we relaxed at the terrace and rewound our experience, with laugh and thankfulness. I contemplated my past. How everything seems far away once we are in a potentially fatal experience. How every plan seems insignificant. And whatever you do, it’s a matter of how you do it that determines your happiness.

When in college, I was busy thinking of where I will work and how much I will make money. Now I’m still thinking the same (only with better financial situation). What an unwise way of spending time.

As a closure, although it’s slightly against my principle to always plan thing ahead, I’d like to tell you that sometimes you need to push the brake. Slow down and enjoy your ride.