‘The Best I Could Do’

How can I measure ‘the best I could do’? Even if I torture myself by doing things out of my grip, why people cannot just say that I have done well – instead of telling me to keep doing my best.

How far is the best I can do? I do not know.

How can I suppose to know? It makes me tired somehow.

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.

071

I almost forgot about today’s blog.

Just like another day, I went to the market to work, I wrote the articles as my side hustle, I responded to chats, rode my scooter from and to home.

The day was so bright, I couldn’t even locate any clouds above me. Everything seemed to be normal, except the heat and the fact that I ate so many today. And maybe that’s where the problem rooted.

Just like any other day, I showered before going to sleep. But something felt strange. And that’s it.

I forgot that today is the first day of July.

As I previously said in my post dated six days ago (June 25), I intended to launch AMAN today with the niche of snack review. Haha, a lame niche but seems like a joy for my tummy.

Alright, I’ll do it tomorrow.

I’ll just sleep today.

Btw, welcome to July.


Featured image credit: Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Feel Sorry for You — June 30th 2020

We dreamed together,

we drew it together,

fell asleep upon the plan,

then we greeted

morning shine, then

We hugged each other,

grew ourselves stronger,

better, than ever,

knocked others out,

send others away,

as us:

is the only answer

for every prayer

on a dull Sunday,

on a lovely Monday

we waited for each other,

tickled each other,

laughed at

our

misery

Those all were done together

Because us:

Is the answer

For every prayer

On a cold night

On a breezy day

Even when the sun

no longer shines

We are ours

because us –

is the answer

for every prayer

after a long thought

after a long silence

she opens up her mouth

I feel sorry for you.

And for those words

After a long pause, once again

See myself in the mirror

I ain’t ‘us’ at all.

Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

‘I feel sorry for you’

Was the key

To break the answer

For every prayer

So that night

Becomes a night

Without an apparent end:

Too long, too tiring, answer-less…


Featured image credit: Erik Eastman on Unsplash