Pretty (again a blabber post)

I just taken a selfie after taking shower. It turned out great. Edited it a bit. I became more satisfied with the result.

Then I question myself, is it what people see from me? Will I be as cute in the eyes of others as what I saw in my selfie?

I have never been praised of being pretty. Been living for 26 years, of course there are times, probably during my infancy (which I don’t recall at all as I was dumb and only craved for milk) when people calling me as a pretty girl. But that was a kind of what they call as ‘lip-service’, a compulsory praise when someone met my mom cradling me on her hand.

Well, being pretty itself is a two sided knife. I can be popular by being pretty, being loved, being wanted… But those bring setbacks as well. What about cat calls? What if you’re called as a cheap girl? How to maintain your beauty? None of them is easy… Though I should say that being pretty is more to a lucky draw. Something that is not for anyone to have. A good DNA, good nutrition, and a pretty mental health to be able to care yourself are the essential combo to be pretty. For some, skincare does wonder. But for others, it is just something to help them called as ‘the follower of the trend’.

However, I will never forget the eyes my ‘somewhat white and pretty’ sister gave me when I reluctantly mentioned that I won’t buy that bottle of facial serum.

‘I guess if you are consistent you can fix your face.’ she said that as she applied her facial mask.

I’m indeed a sensitive person. With that sentence alone, I thought that if there is a dog called Blackie, then probably she’ll call him with my name. If my sister knows what Negro means and I’m sorta stranger for her, probably she refer to me with that word. I ain’t that skincare girl. Even those over-the-counter skincare products–which tend to be cheaper–isn’t my cup of tea.

What I want to point out is that I don’t really care about my looks, my appearances. But appearance is what most people are being judged of, initially.

After all, people do judge the book by its cover. And I admit that I somehow find a common ground with them, too. Sometimes, when I meet a person for the first time, the first thing I do is to score their looks. Then, if the person is a female Sapiens and I think this person is within the same age range with me, I will compare their face to mine. Well, most of the times I think I lose the mental game.

I guess, it is because I seldom valued myself as worthy. I have low self-esteem, low confidence, and I don’t comply with what people are following in a communal setting. I don’t self-harm though (although I tried once and it kinda hurts), I’m just trying to ignore my own body… because I don’t love myself.

Is it a wrong ‘verdict’ to ignore my own body? Well, I don’t mean to skip bath. I just don’t want to always be ‘steered’ by what people see as normal. These days, for a 26-year-old girl, not using skincare is a weird decision. These days, for a 26-year-old girl, not having a potential spouse is a weird situation (here). These days, when I said I want to bald myself, only weird eyes and some curse I got.

The definition of ‘pretty’ is different from person to person. Why should I follow a dictate, then?

Dusk, the color of mine

If you want to live, live fast. This world is not a place for slow people.

That is what my mom told me years before her passing. I was depressed, and nothing came out from my mouth other than negative words like pessimistic thoughts, burdensome world, unbearable heartache, and the list would go on and on even a paper cannot contain it all. What happened to me, I one day asked myself, but I could only reply it with a fart – so smelly so ammoniac – yet making me realize that nothing about me is positive.

I have always been like this since junior high school, probably. I was not sure since it is burdensome for me to remember things I don’t even desire to reminisce once more; things that will go off when I intended to rub it off with my other negative feelings and thoughts – and because of that I lost my friends gradually. It is not that I cannot befriend someone, it is so burdensome that I decided not to leash them too tight. Probably the same reason why I want to shoo away the thought of getting tangled with a man under the name of marriage. In fact, sometimes I craved for some accompany, but I cannot. I said I cannot, and the result is I cannot. It has always been like that.

But well, my mom is right. In the world of pessimistic thoughts, everything passes slowly. Ruminating is oftentimes becoming the topic served on the table; and ever since I turned like this, living fast is not in my manual book anymore. I lost it somewhere while growing up and there was no photocopied version of it. So, it is no wonder that I will lose myself in a gradual way, like how rainbow lost its red and orange, yellow and green, blue and violet – being conquered by a vigilant dusk that defies the colorful world of afternoon.

Attentive yet vigilant, dusk is the color of mine. Monotonous, yet rich. Every second of it comes with paradoxical layer of boredom and aggressiveness, aggression and laid-back mind. And since paradoxical things results in zero – if you know the math of it – the process itself really comes continuously like that. Every positivity is tackled with one negative thought – and one negative deed is endangered with another positivity.

That is me after dusk.

“Yet dusk is not the world of today”, my mom said.

“The world lives in the morning, the afternoon, and evening – not at the dusk – as dusk is just a temporary thing. This world simply disliked temporary things, yet whatever it does is just to skip the seconds fast. Living in the world is not to be remembered…” she continued. When I tried to confirm it to my therapist, I was discouraged because my words were just so negative.

I was abandoned. Dusk is abandoned. The ‘me’ living in the dusk is just something my earth will rub it off. I knew it for sure.

Picture source: Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

Why ‘My English is Bad’ is Annoying

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

‘Sorry, my English is bad’ is probably the most common sentence that people from non-English native speaking countries blurt out whenever they meet/talk to any English-speaking people. I too did that back then, and sometimes still, but I feel that it really starts to freak me out. Why should I apologize for being bad at English? Why, by saying that, does it tell me as if I have to talk perfect English? English isn’t even my first language.

I oftentimes get myself wrong in speaking or writing Bahasa Indonesia. And I guess, I will never do it perfect. Back then, I never get 100 for my Indonesian exam – no matter how hard I try. Bahasa Indonesia isn’t considered as a difficult language to learn by foreigners, but once you delve into it, it’ll be much trickier. Moreover, these days there are many new additional words; that will sucks your gut if you are not a fan of language challenge.

OK, back to the topic.

To compare it, there are no foreigners learning Indonesian language telling the natives, “Sorry, my Indonesian is bad”. It is annoying to find out that I lose it while English isn’t even the first language that I learn. Not my native language as well. Isn’t it annoying that you always make yourself guilty for just saying things in another new language?

‘Sorry, my English is bad.’

‘Oh it’s OK, your English is good anyway’

Oh babe, these are so cliché.

My point is, it’s cool to make mistakes. Learning language is a never-ending process. Who says only doctors learn til they die?! Everyone learns things til they die – Including language. Who knows that in the future, Indonesian, and all languages in the world will be fused into one? If that happens, then getting to know the new language is your best choice to make.

And by deciding to learn a new language, it means that you gotta do your best to master it. Do your best while composing sentences. Do your best while making a word dances with another one. Make it comprehendable. Make it sounds like native talk. And the list goes on and on…

But, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone does it as part of learning process. Without trial and error, there will be no current antibiotics and vitamins. You should make mistakes, but once you know it – don’t say you are sorry for being a learner. Why discourage yourself after the long, windy road? Learning sucks your brain energy – it’s tiring already.

If someone tells you that your words are inappropriate, your sentences sound like crazy, or your phrases are just unmatching – instead of saying you are sorry, why don’t you just ask them how to fix it? They know that it is wrong, then they should know how to fix it, right? Or, if they don’t want to fix it for you… get yo’ own ass and find what’s your mistake.

Learning a new language is hard. But it isn’t that hard. I heard this from my French professeure when I sat my French class in high school. She was overwhelmed by us, who didn’t understand about conjugaison and some other grammaires.

The hard thing to do is consistency, especially when waking yourself up after a long hiatus. But it isn’t that hard, especially if you are encouraged to learn one, whatever your purpose is. Now the question is, how to stay encouraged while learning languages?

Stay curious. Your curiosity never kills the cat.

If I were

If I were a sentence, I would be the long one,
   but without any proper punctuation
If I were a sentence, I would be the long one,
   but without any strong feelings within
If I were a sentence, I would be the long one,
   but with a deep hesitation to go on
If I were a sentence, I would keep going on,
   but filled only with ellipsis…

If I were a book, I would be the one at the corner,
   in centuries waiting for a caressing hand
If I were a book, I would be filled with 900 pages,
   but none of them resonates with your frequency
If I were a book, a drop of spring snow will be enough
   to hinder you from reading me
And as time goes on, the ink in my body folds
   is fading away, prone to yellowing papers who swallow

Wish

I, too, want to have that kind of fluttering love
The one that brings warmth to my frozen toes
The one that colors my heart with flowers
Who feeds me day by day with acceptance

In some days of course I will shed some tears
In some days indeed anger will blind me
But in the days within I hope there will be
Only antidotes to the painful life

Because what does a life mean without joy?
With my aching heart, I dream to have it cured
Even only for 1 second,
I hope the flower will bloom once again…

Scattered thoughts, today.

Lonely furious.
Grudgy weak.
Contradiction within.
Cannot escape.
Hoping to die.
Trying to self-harm.
Inhale exhale.
Kindness, positivity.
Anger, hatred.
All around.
Cannot distinguish.

Hello from the shop I am working in. Today is a lazy day as there are few customers only. Well, it became a common occurrence in our shop. When it comes to a condition like this, my mind starts to think about bad things. From anger to death, then pausing a bit and continues the cycle.

I do not understand why I am like this. I feel lonely and literally could not talk any words just like a mute person. Even when I got a headache like this, I could not share it with somebody else than anyone who passes my blog.

I hope all people in this world will not have to feel the same feeling as me.

By the way, wish you a happy November.

Is it a pandemic?

Recently, many things happened. My country is getting crazier day by day – makes me think that it is just a matter of time that Indonesians are committing suicide.

My friend, one of those close to me, has just mentioned that she wants to die as well. I do not know what she has been through. From what I heard directly from her; she has lost all motivation.

I wonder about that (depression) has become such a tolerable pandemic; its intangibility makes it harder to tackle. Its symptoms are not easy to comprehend by the assessor – let alone how to tell it to someone.

I wonder about the baby boomers: did depression, anxiety, and those mental illnesses had hit them when they were around 25? Or is it just gen Y, Z, and millennials that got those more?

It is morning, 6 AM by the time I wrote this. I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about it – in fact that I could do nothing to stop my friend’s negative thoughts about herself made me triggered. I am just afraid if she is way braver than me. But in the same time, I am also confused about myself.

It is morning, 6 AM, and it is not my cup of tea to get up at time like this. Curling up in bed is my favorite around this time. But I just cannot do it this morning.

Is it a pandemic to be demotivated like this?

Convenience Store Woman

‘Convenience Store Woman’ is another book I bought in Shopee. Not only the book costs relatively cheap, but I also bought it because of its yellow cover. Lame reason, isn’t it? The illustration is what enticed me as well. People said, don’t judge the book by its cover. For me, I don’t hold that kind of principle. As long as the title and synopsis are intriguing, the price is easy to my bank account, and the cover is pleasing my eyes, then I’ll add it to the cart.

Remember, only ‘add to cart’. Proceeding the purchase needs further consideration. Haha~

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

It’s a novel by Sayaka Murata, another Japanese novelist whose works I’ve been reading recently. Her novel is not as thick as Murakami’s, of course, and compared to all Murakami’s works, her way to tell the story is more realistic and not wordy. But still, it doesn’t mean the story is fast-paced. Of course it is faster than Murakami’s – but not that fast.

Since I read its Indonesian version, I don’t know how many pages there are in its original Japanese nor English version. The book is around 160 pages, making it a perfect company if you’re travelling by train, let’s say, from Malang to Yogyakarta. I took 2 days to read it whole. If I were great at focusing myself only on the book, probably with only 8 hours I could read it all. I could say it is easier to understand than that of Murakami’s book.

What impresses me (other than its cover and price) is the content itself. I think the author intended to confront the common social ‘milestone’ built for women. Furukura, the main character, is a 30-something year old woman (I guess 36) who doesn’t have a fixed job. Instead, she keeps working part-time at a minimart – or convenience store, as the title suggests. She isn’t married too.

To her sister and few friends, it’s better to choose one: working in a stable job, or getting married and get one’s egg fertilized (hence the baby). I found this to be related to my, Indonesian society so-called rules for women. But here, the age base is lower. If by the end of your 20s you still haven’t chosen one of those binary options, it means you don’t fit in what’s required to be normal in the eyes of society.

At the beginning of the story, it was mentioned that Furukura was ‘unique’ compared to other kids. As example, when other kids cried over a dead bird, she didn’t. Instead, she brought it to her mom, mentioning to cook the bird into yakitori, that her father liked. Later, I found that yakitori is a kind of chicken skewers. Hell, I’m hungry.

Not only that, she also did uncommon to fix things. Like hitting her friend’s head with the damn shovel to stop a quarrel (which doesn’t even include her), or lowering her teacher’s skirt and undergarment – in order to stop her teacher’s ‘hysteric’ anger. Why – she said an adult woman will shut her mouth when she is stripped naked.

It was all mentioned in the early pages – so, it built the opinion that Furukura is, I don’t know, a bit off compared to the rest of society. But this alone, IMO, inferred that there’s always duality in the society norm. Like that, in the case of dead bird. Isn’t chicken used in yakitori once a dead bird? With proper make-up (read: marination), the chicken is no longer a dead bird, and it is acceptable for people to even grill it.

Well, I am not a vegetarian, but this hits me right on my face. Sometimes, I think ‘duality’ is anywhere in the world.

I won’t tell the rest of the story line. Instead, I want to tell the best part I found while reading this book. Let me translate the excerpt to you. Remember that my translation is based on my interpretation of its Indonesian version. So, there may be differences with its English version.

(…)

‘As an animal, isn’t it good if we reproduce? In your opinion, should Shiraha and I have sex and help building the prosperity of human race?’

She is silenced for a while, which made me think whether the call is cut already, but later I heard she sighed heavily, as if transferring the sensation of her warm sigh over the phone. ‘Are you stupid? What will happen if a convenience store part-timer and a jobless man have a child together? Please don’t bother to do that. Don’t pass you guys’ DNA to the next generation. That’s what I think the best for the human race!’

‘Oh, I see. So that’s it.’

‘Just keep that fucked DNA ‘til you die and bring it to the heaven. Don’t even leave a trace in this world.’

‘Oh, I see…’ I said, nodding my head. I’m impressed with her rational way of thinking.

‘Talking to you made me lose my senses. This is such a waste of time, I’ll just hang up. Oh, don’t forget to tell Shiraha about his debt!’ she said before hanging up the call.

(…)

Convenience Store Woman, p.149 (Indonesian version)

And… that’s it.

I love how she (Shiraha’s in-law) insults Furukura, telling her not to have a child. Actually I think it was a kind suggestion, communicated in such way making me as the reader a bit annoyed as well. Whenever I thought about this, Shiraha’s in-law was right. Shiraha was jobless and Furukura isn’t a lady with much money. Having children means ‘killing’ themselves slowly-surely.

Especially when there’s something hidden behind Shiraha and Furukura.

However, such thought will not be applied here.

Many Indonesians said, the more children you have, the more prosperity you’ll get…

Deleting…

It’s been awhile since I posted my last post. It’s September 30, and tomorrow should begin the tenth month of 2020.

I faced emotional turmoil within these three months. Most of which even led me to think that I’d better be dead. But thinking about how my parents and sister will get shamed by people’s dumb talk brought me dilemma.

But there are other dilemmas, the lighter ones. Luckily, I succeeded in making up my mind and choosing one from the given choices. Such as deleting 2000+ pics on my phone (and leaving only 7) and uninstalling Shopee.

I also deactivated my Facebook and Twitter. First I intended to do the same with my Instagram acc, but I canceled it. Thanks to those dogs and cats willingly to be exposed on the gram.

Not to forget, getting my crush’s updates on Instagram is my ultimate motive as well (he-he).

However, among those apps, uninstalling Shopee is the hardest. Being the prominent marketplace in my country, Shopee had been my best friend whenever I was down. Seeing how things can get as cheap as IDR99.0 on a flash sale got me excited. Seeing how people let their money fly in exchange with a BTS album got me wondering.. why people are so in love with this shopping app?

But then I understood — what’s special from Shopee? First, their prices are lower than other marketplaces’ prices, mostly on consumer goods. Then, official stores are opening on Shopee as well. But one thing I found very tempting from the app is their free shipping voucher. Especially for people living not in Java like me.

I live in Kalimantan, where shipping fee can be as high as the stuff you buy, or even more costly. For example, if I buy a fiction book from Jakarta, that’ll cost me IDR41,000 per kg.

Let’s say that I buy a less than 200-page novel, most of the time the shipping fee resembles the book’s price.

So, whenever I got those shipment vouchers, I shop like a crazy. Even though most of the vouchers will only cut half of the shipping fee, I was very thankful as if I was saved from the whale’s stomach.

Within this month, I bought 6 books. I felt content, and my bad days seem to be flushed away whenever I got the package. I even set the shipment address to be in the nearest drop point from my house. So, I need to do self pick-up.

Fyi, I did that in order to avoid my parents’ words of wisdom if they found out I frequently buy things online. Of course, I need to be extra careful when opening the package and handling the wrap… that’s why I opened the box at late night. As for the wrap, I guess they won’t search it up in my trash bin.

Being able to get discounts, free shipping, and especially the books made me feel so content like getting the first kiss. Too bad, the euphoria was temporary.

The joy rapidly deteriorates and was replaced by a kind of guilt. How would I read these books if I could hardly focus on something for a long time?

Even the thickest novel I have, Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle — I haven’t finished it. I bought it as my own birthday gift on April, opened it at June, but haven’t completed reading it even after 3 months.

Well, I hope after I uninstalled the app, I can control my expenses for books. I think buying books was my trick to vent my angst and other mixed emotion. Just like binge-eating when someone is annoyed with things.

Anyway, see you on October.