F(l)ight

How does your body respond to stress? Mine will be ‘eating’ as I find it very comforting. But for the sake of it, let’s make this post ✨professional✨ by sharing a work-related stress story.

I tend to have this ‘toxic’ trait where my way of combating stress is by adding more ‘stress’. Q4 was and will always be the most hectic working period, I know many of you will agree. I was swamped with work while at the same time also still juggling with situation at home, my son’s hybrid school schedule (2 days offline, 3 days online) and house chores (we decided to stop hire a part-time housekeeper as the second wave of Covid hit last July). So there’s only me, my husband, and my toddler. The stress level skyrocketed, and I needed a safe space to ‘escape’.

That’s when I ended up enrolling myself into some online professional certificate programs. The four weeks subjects, quizzes, and deadlines surely gave me additional pressure and adrenaline. But also joy and satisfaction as I gained new knowledge and hone my skills.

It’s a new thing for me. I know I’m always a visual (spatial) and verbal (linguistic) learner, but during the pandemic, I guess I’ve evolved into an aural (audio) learner as well. I started to enjoy podcast and audiobook a lot, maybe partly because I still can do other thing including my work while listening to it. I remember I chuckled on Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapien audiobook, the ‘Gossip’ part, while I was stirring my boiling pot.

Fast forward to few months later, I find myself in a similar situation. The ‘stress’ I’m currently facing is no longer a mountain of rocks I’ve to carry, but a mere long and boring wood log.

Also known as a creative block.

The feeling is familiar, almost like a pattern or a cycle, where every few years of long driving, I hit a dead end.

Can I turn back? Should I leave the car and started walking to find another way? Do I crave for more or this is it? 

Knowing how I can be overthinking sometimes (Gemini, *shrug*), I’ll let my body ‘hijack’ me one more time by doing something she’s best at combating stress: adding more (beneficial) ‘stress’.

At the time I’m writing this post, I have finished another online course. This time I even chose subject that is outside my typical choice: business. But it turns out I’m still craving for something familiar, a sense of security I can hold on to. That’s when I decided to take an offer to be involved in a project with ruangrupa, a Jakarta-based artist collective. It’s been years since my last project with them. I used to manage their video/media arts division (OK. Video) for several years. They are currently preparing for Documenta fifteen, a 100 days exhibition of contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany.

I am currently involved as an editor for one of their publications. It feels refreshing because I am back to my element. I get to read a lot and make sense of it before making a meticulous edit. It’s an ongoing project I have yet to finished.

Here I am again with my newly added ‘stress’. I have to work over-hours because this project can only start after my official working hour ended. So I have a new deadline to finish, less time to sleep, more expectations to meet, but also a joy from reading all this amazing writings from the writers/researchers and high caliber contributors (one of them is a female professor at the Faculty of Cultural Sciences whom I adore for so long!).

For now I’ll just let my ‘toxic trait’ into action. This is the only way I know to productively combating stress; to make use of a ‘long and boring wood log’. Who knows I might make a beautiful sculpture out of it, instead of just dragging it in an agonizingly long and straight line.

***

P.S. This is my personal way of combating stress and I am not advertising it for anyone else. Our body can give different reaction when exposed to stress. If you are struggling with stress, I suggest you to seek help. The symptoms may be physical or emotional and can include chain of negative reactions that can be harmful to yourself. Several sources I find useful for coping with stress: CDCNHSMentalhealth.org.uk, and Mind.

Bohlam


boh·lam n cak bola lampu listrik; lampu busur

Semalam, saya baru sampai rumah sekitar pukul satu dini hari. Sepulang kerja, saya mampir dulu ke ruangrupa untuk mengantarkan oleh-oleh cokelat kepada teman-teman di sana, sebagai hasil perburuan singkat di kios duty-free bandara Schiphol, Amsterdam, akibat tak punya waktu jalan-jalan di tengah padatnya agenda Impakt Festival di Utrecht. Lalu, sempat juga ke pembukaan pameran Gambar Selaw di Om Duleh, yang lokasinya masih di daerah Tebet.

Sesampai di rumah, ritual yang biasa saya lakukan adalah melucuti semua benda yang melekat di tubuh—mulai dari pakaian dan aksesori seperti jam tangan dan gelang, berganti baju dengan kostum kamar yang longgar dan nyaman, menggantung celana jeans di loteng dalam keadaan sisi dalam di luar, mengambil handuk, lalu istirahat sebentar sebelum mandi, atau  ‘mengeringkan keringat’ istilah yang sering dipakai orang-orang. Ya, saya terbiasa mandi malam (dengan air dingin—red) jam berapapun itu. Kecuali, tentunya, jika sedang tidak enak badan.

Jeda sebelum mandi itu biasa saya isi dengan berbagai kegiatan. Semalam, saya mengisinya dengan mengganti bohlam kamar mandi.

Posisi kamar mandi di rumah saya berhadapan dengan tangga. Saat hendak menuju loteng itulah saya mendapati bohlam kamar mandi kedap-kedip; salah satu pertanda bahwa ajalnya kian dekat dan mesti segera diganti. Usai menggantung celana dan mengambil handuk di loteng, saya menyelinap masuk ke kamar ayah saya untuk mengambil bohlam yang baru. Beliau terbiasa menyimpan persediaan bohlam yang cukup banyak di lemari kamarnya.

Berhubung saya agak pengecut dalam hal perlistrikan atau perkomporan, saya akan menggunakan alat bantu saat berurusan dengan keduanya. Untuk mengganti bohlam, biasanya saya menggunakan tongkat khusus agar tak perlu naik kursi dan memegang bohlam secara langsung. Tujuannya agar terhindar dari insiden tersetrum. Sayangnya tongkat yang dicari tak kunjung ketemu. Alhasil saya harus melakukannya dengan cara manual.

Sempat tergoda juga untuk minta bantuan adik yang lagi asyik mengulik gadget DJ (entah apa namanya) di ruang keluarga, tapi akhirnya toh saya kerjakan sendiri. Dengan bantuan kursi yang diambil dari ruang makan, serta kain lap yang saya gunakan agar tak kepanasan saat memegang bohlam, saya sukses mengganti bohlam kamar mandi sendiri.

Saat itulah saya teringat ledekan abang saya dulu.

“Cewek Indonesia kok nggak bisa ganti bohlam lampu sendiri?” 

Saya, yang saat itu masih berseragam putih-biru, menganggap ledekan itu berlebihan, atau ‘lebay’ istilah anak zaman sekarang. Masa untuk urusan ganti bohlam bawa-bawa negara segala?

Semalam, saya cuma bisa cengengesan saat mengenang kembali wajah abang saya saat melontarkan ledekan tersebut sebelum menggantikan bohlam di kamar saya yang saat itu mirip diskotik; lampunya kedap-kedip. Tentu saja semalam saya paham betul maksud ledekan tersebut. Ia mengharapkan adiknya untuk tumbuh mandiri, yang tidak sedikit-sedikit minta bantuan orang lain. Alhasil, adiknya ini merasa sedikit bangga setelah sukses mengganti bohlam kamar mandi semalam. Meskipun sebenarnya saya sendiri merasa urusan perbohlaman ini sepele.

***

Abang saya bukan tipe role model yang segala tingkah lakunya selalu bisa dijadikan panutan. Ia bukan pula tipe siswa yang secara akademis memuaskan. Ia bahkan tak pernah kuliah. Pendidikan pascasekolah yang pernah ia jalani adalah beberapa kursus singkat berbagai bidang, mulai dari sinematografi, komputer, desain grafis, sablon, hingga teknik mesin. Sisanya, ia pelajari secara otodidak sembari mengisi waktu luang dengan membaca karya sastra atau mendengarkan Iwan Fals dan Jimi Hendrix. Saya belajar banyak hal darinya, dan seringnya, dengan cara dan dalam waktu yang tak biasa.

Suatu hari ia mengajarkan saya cara menulis deskripsi dalam cerita pendek, dalam waktu kurang dari lima menit di ruang tamu. Saat itu saya sedang asyik membaca majalah, dan ia hendak ke luar rumah bersama teman-temannya. Sepertinya ia habis membaca salah satu cerita pendek buatan saya di buku tulis. Kira-kira begini ucapannya waktu itu:

“Kalau nulis cerpen, tambahin deskripsi biar suasananya lebih lengkap, dan ceritanya lebih bewarna. Jadi, daripada mengakhiri dialog cuma dengan ‘ujarnya’ atau ‘katanya’, bikin begini aja: ‘Ra, Bang Aan pergi dulu ya!’ ujarnya seraya mengambil bungkus rokok yang ada di atas meja.”

Reseknya, ia langsung ngeloyor pergi usai memberi contoh soal deskripsi tersebut.

Pernah juga suatu hari ia menasihati soal nasihat. Jika tak salah ingat, saat itu saya mengabaikan nasihatnya untuk tak pulang malam, karena toh ia sendiri juga kerap pulang malam. Melihat pemberontakan kecil-kecilan yang dilakukan adiknya, ia pun berujar “Kalau dinasihati, lihat isi nasihatnya, bukan siapa yang menasihati.” Tapi tentu, saya jiwa ABG saya yang bergolak saat itu tak mampu mencerna nasihatnya dengan cermat.

Tepat hari ini, 2 November, ia yang bernama lengkap Ryan Novian dan yang saya panggil ‘Bang Aan’ ini berulang tahun. Jika masih bersama kita, ia genap berusia 36 tahun hari ini. Namun kita tak kuasa melawan kehendak semesta. Delapan tahun lalu, tepatnya 9 Agustus 2004, ia ‘mengucapkan salam perpisahan’ kepada keluarga, teman, dan siapapun yang pernah mengenalnya. Dalam kesunyian dan berada jauh dari rumah, ia menghembuskan napas terakhirnya. Namun saya percaya, ia bersama semua kenangan yang menyertainya, akan tetap hidup selama yang saya inginkan. Seperti bohlam yang pijarnya dapat kita nyala-matikan sekehendak hati.

Selamat ulang tahun, Bang Aan.

.

And I continue
To burn the midnight lamp
Alone

Now the smiling portrait of you
Is still hangin’ on my frowning wall
It really doesn’t, really doesn’t bother me too much at all
It’s just the ever falling dust
That makes it so hard for me to see
That forgotten earring layin’ on the floor
Facing coldly towards the door

I continue
To burn the midnight lamp
Lord, alone

 Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Jimi Hendrix

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Gambar diambil dari sini

Gemini Complex

 

 

I probably came to this world as a Gemini for a reason. Not only because I was born on 25th May, but the twin symbol of this sign, is an actual reflection of myself. I just found out about the meaning now. A little bit too late, I must say.

I was a happy and optimistic kid. One thing led to another, that little girl was forced to slowly disappear. She can’t bear living in this far from the idealistic version of her world.

And now I’m here; a 26 years old cynic. A stranger to herself. Alone in the crowd. The other twin.

I miss that happy-optimistic kid.

Deep down inside, I know I have to find that little girl again. So I can be happy, so I can feel complete.

.

16 April 2012
Pk. 20:04

Before the Sun Rises

Last night one of my friend tweeted about Before Sunrise he has just watched. It’s an old movie actually, starred by Ethan Hawke and the one and only Julie Delpy. Many of my friends love this movie. The two actors played as strangers who met on a train and caught in the middle of the smooth casual-but-deep conversation all day long. They both stuck on each other ever since.

Well, I’m not going to elaborate about how good the movie was and what makes me and most of my friends feel head over heels about it. The movie instantly brought me back to the high school years. I knew Before Sunrise (and Before Sunset) from my senior—two years older. I had a major crush on him back then. Long story short, we used to stayed up all night chatting on MiRC (yes, it was circa 2001, we even “founded” Late Nite Insomnia Club for God’s sake) talked about almost everything; music (we both love British musicians), movies (we have many same favourite movies), and personal life (family, education, love life, etc). For a moment there, I felt like the wannabe version of Before Sunrise & Before Sunset‘s Jesse-Celine. LOL! (If you still clueless about what I’m talking about, go watch the movie. Find the nearest pirated DVD kiosk from your current place or simply download it, you lazy-ass.)

“To have a Before Sunset conversation is the highest achievement of every in-a-relationship person,” tweeted my friend.

Only of course, I never had a relationship with—let’s just call him—Spiteri. Our only offline contact was going to the tribute gig, where some bands were covering other British bands. We went there with couple other friends. So it was not a date. Not even close. But that’s not the point. My friend was right. Having someone you can talk to, is an achievement. Let alone the “Before Sunrise & Before Sunset” kind.

Spiteri is a married man now, thanks to Before Sunrise & Before Sunset the movies. Confuse? Let me tell you something funny about him. Many years ago, he told me over MiRC that he “met” this girl, who also a fan of the movies. Dare to take a guess where did they meet? Facebook’s movies column.

I kid you not.

In the old times, you can click on the movie title to see who else liked the movie. Including some strangers who are not in you inner-friend circle. Spiteri was so excited about this girl. The 10 years age difference didn’t hold him back to get to know her. Years went by until the day they got married. What a shame I couldn’t attend the reception because I was on duty out of town.

Did I feel sad? I must admit, yes.

Did I feel heartbroken? No, I didn’t, because I never give it to him. So, what’s there to break?

Did I love him? You see, I didn’t have enough guts to call it love. I’m afraid I have to quote Celine from the Before Sunrise to express my feeling about the concept of love, “I think I can really fall in love when I know everything about someone-the way he’s going to part his hair, which shirt he’s going to wear that day, knowing the exact story he’d tell in a given situation. I’m sure that’s when I know I’m really in love.” Let alone call him my soulmate. Just because we share many things in common, doesn’t mean we are soulmate.

Years go by as we’re living our own life. He with his little family, and me with the boyfriend I love dearly. He has found his Celine, and I have found my Jesse.

I still remember him sometimes. Even-though he’s just a one click-away on my Yahoo! Messenger or Facebook, we never talk to each other anymore. No reason, we just don’t. Some people might say there’s still unfinished business, but I dare to say no. Nothing will ever finished because we have started none. I resist the will to say “Hi” even for the sake of the old times, and neither does he. No hurt feeling whatsoever. It’s part of being a grownup.

I will always remember him as a good friend of mine who I used to share many things to. My highschool era was suck less, one of them because of our before-the-sun-rises chat over MiRC. He used to be my mood booster everytime I feel the lack of will to drag my body out of the bed to attend school more often. It felt good.

At this very moment,  allow me to wish him enough. To the Founder of Late Nate Insomnia Club, the writer of unfinished Fridon Carter; Spiteri.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough “Hello” to get you through the final “Goodbye”.*

We’re not friends. We’re just strangers with memory.

..

And to all of you who are reading this post, who enjoy even the smallest talk with the loved ones;  who remember those who keep you carry on; who cherish small things that matter. I wish you enough.

..

*Credits: Image and I Wish You Enough

Misi Gagal

– Tentang selingkuh dan remeh-temeh lainnya

Kata mereka, “setia” itu selingkuh tiada akhir. Kata saya, selingkuh itu setia yang berakhir. Sebentar, atau untuk waktu yang lebih lama.

Selingkuh itu ibarat sepotong blueberry cheese cake yang disantap saat sedang diet. Nikmat, namun ada perasaan bersalah saat, atau usai melahapnya.

Sampaikan salam kepada para penghuni kamar kos atau rumah kontrakan yang remang-remang, dengan sisa kehampaan yang berceceran. Entah mereka berang atau justru girang, karena nafsu terkalahkan oleh etika, yang gagal menuntaskan hasrat di dua pertiga malam.

“Tai kucing! Persetan dengan etika. Di kamar ini semua berlangsung secara impulsif, tidak sempat mampir ke otak dulu.”

Selamat dini hari, Jakarta. Sudah berapa banyak orang yang mendua, mentiga, dan menyekiankan kamu?

 
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21 Juni 2011
Pk. 01:18