#Day 11 : 10 shuffled songs

  1. Eternally – Utada Hikaru
  2. I Miss You – Aaliyah
  3. Can’t Remember to Forget You – Shakira ft. Rihanna
  4. That’s How Strong My Love Is – Alicia Keys
  5. Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap
  6. Suit & Tie – Justin Timberlake (Teza Sumendra cover)
  7. Summertime – The Sundays
  8. Ride Wit Me – Nelly
  9. Hold My Hand – Jess Glyne
  10. Dance – Justice

*proud DJ*

#Day 10 : My First Love and First Kiss

It would be perfect if your first kiss was with your first love, wouldn’t it? So I’m just going to remind you that this is not a perfect world.

My first love was with a transfer student from Surabaya. I crushed on him from 5th grade all the way to 9th grade. I bet he is still unaware of this. We’re still friends on facebook, though. :)

My first kiss was with a girl. Yep. Her name was Michelle Kieffer. Half Taiwanese-Half US Army kid who lived downstairs. I was in grade four, she in grade three and we practiced kissing out of curiosity. But, I swear, she was the one who initiated it. She took advantage of me. *innocent face*

But both of the above conclude that I’ve had adequate practice on heartache and spit-swapping. Enough to be the most understanding lover/kisser one can have. :p



#Day 8 : The Moment I Felt Most Satisfied With My Life

be present

I would say: Now. The present. I feel most satisfied with my life now. I know. I know. I haven’t accomplished much. I haven’t completed my novel or published a childrens’ picture book yet. I’m still overweight. I don’t have a driver’s license. I haven’t saved enough to perform Hajj. Haven’t had the chance to buy livestock for Hari Raya Qurban either, not even a cheap skinny goat. Still have ill-feelings towards other people. Still miss one or two prayers every other day. Don’t call my parents often enough.

I would say ‘now’ because, I have a paying job.I wake up every morning having something to do aside from work, a hobby,  a purpose. I have my dreams to pull me forward. I have my past to remind me of what I’ve been through. Not all decisions were right. But at least I’m alright.  Now.

I’m 36. I’ve been living with myself for 36 years. I’ve gotten to know myself a lot better over these years. What makes me happy. What gets me moving. What I need when life’s curtains suddenly fall on me and causes me to suffocate. What I do is sleep. Sleep it away. Call in sick. When actually, I’m not sick, I just don’t feel like doing anything. Not even writing. Not even doodling. Not even breathing. Sometimes.

I’m most satisfied with myself right now. Because she is more understanding and less demanding towards herself and others. I guess that sums up perfectly why she is grateful for her present self.



#Day7 : My Star Sign

089Jangan percaya zodiak, itu musyrik, mereka bilang. Jadi, jangan percaya kalau saya bilang saya mencocok-cocokkan astrologi hanya untuk having fun, nanti musyrik jatuhnya.

I’m a Capricorn. I’m stubborn. I consider myself classy. Yes, I am full of myself. I like the good life, but who doesn’t? I don’t take nonsense but I do forgive easily and forget (too easily). Um, where was I? Oh, I love to sleep. So does my husband. He’s a Capricorn too, by the way. A good thing we’re both stubborn at sticking together. Hopefully. Eh. Eh?

I’m independent. I’m a ferpectionist. I live off being creative. If you find me making jokes that are slightly ‘off’, please, just laugh.

Being broke makes me sick. Literally, I like, feel it in my bones and it’s not a good feeling. I don’t dream of being filthy rich. Just enough to live a stable comfy life, make good memories with my family and put my money where it’s needed.

I’m warm and caring but only when nobody’s looking. I have enough affection to light up the Eiffel Tower, I wish to believe.

I need reassuring like aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the time. :)



#Day6 : 30 Things About Myself

The post actually called for 30 ‘interesting’ things about myself. I’m not sure I’m that interesting, though.

1. I grew up watching Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, PeeWee’s Playhouse, I Love Lucy & The Carol Burnette Show. So this might probably explain my quirkiness.

2. I don’t do cliques. Too troublesome. Which leads to my next thing;

3. I love to be left by my lonesome.

4. I love reading. I’m grateful for growing up in a neighborhood where we lived only a few blocks away from a public library. My love for books were carved in me really early.

5. I love drawing. Thanks to my Dad, who treasured his kids silly scribbles in a folder of his in between his research clippings. His praise bought me confidence.

6. I’m the only daughter of a West Sumateran woman. I grew up with tough love. So often did I resent my mom for giving me more chores and more responsibilities just because I was a girl. I remember having to fold a blanket 3 times my size when I was little, I whined and said I couldn’t do it, but she persisted. She always did. Because she loved me. Now, seeing how some other girls grow up not being able to do basic house chores or cook, I will always look back and thank my mom for all her tough love.

7.  I can ride skateboards & can in-line skate. Another perk of being an only daughter having 3 brothers. Your fun is influenced by boy’s stuff.

8. I handwrite with my left hand. This was my mom’s big idea. And I thank her for this super power. Activating all my right-brain magic.

9. Been wearing glasses since 2nd grade of elementary school.

10. Loves sleeping in/on moving vehicles.

11. Sleeps with her mouth open ever since she was born. You know that glass room new born babies are put for viewing? My mom said I was already sleeping with my mouth open back then. Not proud, but what is there I can do?

12. Is a huge Sanrio fan. I remember always asking to wait at the small Sanrio shop at Holiday Mart while mom went grocery shopping. Just touching and ogling the cute thingies made me happy. Now, I can draw and even sew my own plush Sanrio inspired kawaii things.

13. Would like to believe she was a concubine in her previous life. From the Heian Era and close friends with Murasaki Shikibu the author of  Genji Monogatari. My name was Midori of course. ;)

14. Favorite writer: Roald Dahl.

15. Loves Kyoto Autumns.

16. Loves a wide range of music. From hip-hop to dangdut. Except for trance and grindcore, which I don’t get at all.

17. Hates cold.

18. Likes petai but not to the point of having them as a lalapan. Slivers of petai in nasi goreng, sambal goreng ati is fine. The aroma is what I love about it.

19. People assume if you like petai then you automatically like jengkol. Wrong. I don’t hate jengkol, but not a fan either. Some say jengkol tastes like meat. Lies!

20. I only just recently been able to eat fish. And picky still. The fish I eat mustn’t smell, should be fillet, with no scaly or silvery fish color whatsoever. Better fried in batter. Sushi, I love. Sashimi? You bet! Tuna? No problemo! I can eat ikan bakar but only Kuwe (Trevally) fish. Bandeng? Hmm.. Before yes, recently not so much. Too lazy to pick out the bones.

21. Learned how to drive in high school, but never got around to getting a license. And now is too scared to drive. Jakarta roads are viscous. But doesn’t want to lose to common civilization. So, will get around to driving one day.

22. Dream destinations: Mecca.

23. Must see before I die: Aurora. Australis, Islandica, or Borealis.

24. Will publish several books before I die. Illustrate my own books.

25. Is a live and let live kind of girl.

26. Except when it comes to cockroaches. However, lately I’ve opted to chase them away as opposed to squishing them with a toilet cleaner. Yesterday, I even prayed to God, “Please guide the roach out of my room.” Which later  with my own eyes, I witnessed the filthy thing scurrying out the bedroom door. :)

27. Believes she would be an awesome Mom soon.

28. Has a naughty side. A very naughty side. A naughty side you don’t wanna know. :)

29. Loves getting swept away by movies. Is the girl who sits on the edge of her seat when things get juicy. :)

30. Is a sucker for nice smiles.

#Day5 : The Time I Wanted To Disappear

I can’t recall when and why I wanted to die. I do remember how and where I went about my foolish attempt though. It was in my father’s library, which later became my room once I entered high school. So, I’m guessing it happened when I was in junior high.

I locked myself in my father’s study. Crying, most likely. The only sharp thing I could find was a box of staples. I went on to scraping my wrist with it. But I was too chicken to go deep and it hurt. I was only able to leave small cat scratch like marks. What a wimp!

What went on in my head was mostly wishing the people who hurt me would feel sorry if I disappeard. For good.

I guess, at the time, I just needed to cry it out. Like I still do sometimes.

But the girl who tried to cut her wrists with a paper staple, could’ve used a warm hug from the woman she grew up to be.

Because the woman she is now knows that suicide is a selfish deed.

Taking God’s Right into one’s hands.

Denying His Plan. Denying other people’s feelings. Other people’s lives after the loss.



#Day4 : My Views on Religion

To be honest, it took me quite a while to ponder on this post. Causing me to neglect writing for several days. Other than that, I was busy reading a novel that I just couldn’t put down so there, guilty as charged. 

Religion is a touchy subject. Especially in Indonesia, where talking about SARA (ethnicity, tradition, race, religion) must be handled extra carefully. If you talk too passionately about it, some people will regard you as an extremist, blindly naive, or to be having a holier-than-thou attitude. If you talk too lightly about it, some people will regard you as an infidel, a bad religious follower, or to be setting a terrible example to the young ones. 

I’m a Muslim. I was born into a Muslim family. My mother is a Muslim and so is my father. Both their parents were Muslims and their parents’ parents as well. I’m Indonesian, half Bugis, half Minang. My mother tongue is Bahasa Indonesia. I am the only daughter. I have 3 brothers and 0 sisters. 

Did I ask to be born a Muslim? Or any of the other conditions I was born into? No. Am I happy with my label as a Muslim? Yes. Now. Well, before there were a lot of questions. Like, why do we have to pray five times a day everyday of the week, while the other religions only have to go to church once a week on a Sunday even? Why do we have to fast when all the other kids at school don’t have to?

Being born into a certain religion doesn’t necessarily make you a faithful follower. Same as everyone else, same as the converts, we ride into religion using training wheels. However, we do get a lucky headstart if our parents, our closest environment practice the religion well. 

Now let’s go to a more general view of religion that I totally agree with. Actually, I’ve been gathering what I could from here and there to get the guts to write this. On the 4th day, the day this post was due, I stumbled upon a video of Muhammad Ali. He was being interviewed and asked about his view on religion. His answer was totally agreeable. He said that every religion teaches good. Be us the followers of Jesus Christ, Khrishna, Buddha, Confucius, or Muhammad. All their teachings are good. All their teachings mean well for the human race and for the world we live in. It is the people who do bad things sometimes.

I post religious themed stuff on social media. Why? Because I can. Alhamdulillah. Because it makes me feel grounded. It makes me feel closer to my Creator and my brothers and sisters in Islam. Also, because religion is an essential part of me. 

Muhammad Ali was also asked what he would be doing after he retired from boxing. His answer was, to please his God, Allah. He wants to use his fame and his final years, minus the travelling, minus watching TV, minus eating, sleeping, minus everything, which is not much to be left with, to please the Most Gracious & Most Merciful. 

Muhammad Ali, a man from America, a minority in skin and in religion but the greatest boxer of all times, is not afraid to state his thoughts on Islam, then why should I? A woman from Indonesia, one of the largest Muslim populations in the world, a  simple nobody (yet). 

This is my last and closing view on religion. I was guided to it last night. In one of my friend’s path posts. 

An umbrella doesn’t stop the rain. But by utilizing the umbrella, we can stand in the rain without getting wet. The same goes with religion. We cannot claim ourselves winners, but at least it helps us through the trials we’re faced with.

#Day3 : Anak Jalan Plafon

Saya menghabiskan sisa masa kecil saya di gang kecil di atas. Ketika itu, seperlima gang masih dimiliki ‘Nyai’, janda seorang tuan tanah Betawi yang menjual tanah sedikit demi sedikit untuk menyekolahkan anak-cucunya.

Dekat mulut gang, di depan rumah Pak Din, menghadap ke Utara, rumah Nyai membentang sepanjang 20 meter. Dengan rumah induk, dapur besar dan ruang aula untuk tempat taklim setiap Rabu pagi. Di depannya, terdapat pagar beton sedada orang dewasa. Pagar tersebut mengitari tanah pekarangan rumah Nyai yang lapang. Tempat andalan untuk bermain gundu, melepaskan ayam kampung dan mengikat kambing-kambing juga sapi bila datang musim haji. Ada satu ayunan di tengah lapangan untuk anak-anak yang tidak suka bermain gundu seperti saya.

Saya bersyukur bisa menghabiskan sisa masa kecil saya di gang kecil ini ketika televisi swasta masih merupakan barang langka dan satu-satunya gadget adalah game watch yang mainnya harus bergantian.

Saya bersyukur ketika saya kecil, kawan–yang kadang lawan–sesama anak kecil sepantaran ada banyak.  Ada anak Pak RT; Mas Andi & Ninin (nama aslinya Amalia entah bagaimana bisa jadi Ninin) adik mereka Nanda baru lahir. Ada anak Pak Piterzon, pedagang barang antik yang rumahnya berbagi tembok dengan kami; Uni Sanda, Rico dan Rieska (Icha). Ada anak Pak Sarman (menantu Nyai yang seorang kuli bangunan); Bang Bibi (dari Habibi), Bang Napis, Ade (Pengkang karena langkahnya cenderung mengangkang) Lukman dan Siti Aulia (Lia). Ada anak Pak Bambang; Ifo & Indra. Ada kami, anak Pak Mochtar; Pilar, Yogas, Dian dan Adhya yang masih balita.

Dengan teman sepantaran sebanyak itu, mustahil kehidupan di gang kecil kami akan membosankan. Yang ada kami selalu kehabisan waktu karena sudah larut malam dan sudah dipanggil pulang. Sepi hanya ketika Lebaran dan liburan ketika beberapa teman keluar kota atau mudik ke kampung orang tua mereka.

Petak Umpet, Petak Umpet Kaleng, Petak Umpet Benda, Orang-orangan Kertas, Rumah-rumahan, Panggung Hiburan Anak-Anak, Benteng, Tak Jongkok, Tak Patung, Karet, Badminton, Ping-Pong, ABC Lima Dasar, Teprok Nyamuk dan yang paling seru: Dornama.

Dornama adalah permainan perang-perangan yang bisa dilakukan apabila jumlah peserta genap, itu saja. Tak perlu alat apapun. Tak peduli jenis kelamin. Cara mainnya adalah pertama-tama dengan mengumpulkan semua anak yang mau main dari yang paling besar sampai yang paling kecil (anak bawang). Lalu yang kira-kira setara tingkat “jago”nya harus saling suit untuk menentukan masuk ke tim kalah atau tim menang.

Biasanya, Ade dan Rico yang jadi komandan karena mereka larinya kencang dan jago merayap lewat atas dan bawah. Ade dan Rico sepantaran dengan saya level sekolahnya. Tetapi usia Rico sepantar dengan kakak saya, Yogas. Baru kakak-kakak saya yang jarang mau satu tim tapi hampir sama jago memanjat dan berlari seperti Ade dan Rico. Baru saya yang biasa suit lawan Lia atau Ninin, diikuti bocah-bocah yang baru tamat TK seperti Icha, Dina dan Indra.

Apabila tim sudah dibagi, komandan akan suit lagi untuk menentukan tim mana yang jaga markas dan tim mana yang akan ‘bergerilya’. Tim yang jaga markas akan menunggu di lapangan depan rumah Nyai yang luas, sementara tim gerilya akan menyebar bersembunyi di sepanjang gang ke arah Timur. Ketika seluruh tim gerilya sudah mendapatkan titik “tembak” yang pas, sang komandan tim gerilya akan bersiul dengan siulan khas menggunakan dua tangan dibentuk corong yang berbunyi “Tot teyot!”. Tapi bagi yang kurang jago membikin siulan itu atau posisi sembunyinya terlalu ribet, boleh teriak, “Tor Tiyooot!” penanda “peperangan” sah dimulai.

Masing-masing kubu mulai mengintai dan memburu lawan. Begitu melihat anggota kubu lawan, seperti permainan petak umpet kita hanya berseru, ‘Dor ditambah nama lawan’ lalu menyebut tempat di mana didapatinya. Yang tertembak harus menunggu di tempat yang terbuka, biasanya di bangku-bangku beton milik Mama Rina di seberang rumah Nyai. Permainan akan berakhir sampai salah satu tim kehabisan seluruh anggotanya.

Pasti kalian berpikir, ya enak yang jaga markas karena tinggal duduk manis mengintip gerak musuh lalu menembaki yang berani mendekat. Jangan salah. Di sinilah guna “senjata” pamungkas para jago merayap dan yang larinya kencang tadi. Kadang tahu-tahu sudah nangkring di tempat tersembunyi (baca: pohon atau genteng tetangga) dan menembaki seluruh anggota kubu lawan dengan leluasa. Malah ada istilah “kamikaze” segala, di mana salah satu tim gerilya mengorbankan diri dengan berlari melewati markas dan menembaki lawan sebelum dia sendiri ditembak. Atau bahkan ada yang pura-pura tertembak dan keluar duduk bersama ‘korban’ lain dan tahu-tahu menembaki musuh di markas.

Permainan ini paling asyik dilakukan sore-sore saat kumpul bocah sedang komplit-komplitnya. Kakak-kakak yang remaja dan kuliah yang lagi nongkrong sore juga terhibur menontonnya.

Itu sebagian masa kecil tanpa gadget saya. Lebih seru lagi setiap persiapan 17an. Gang kami akan dihias lampion-lampion warna warni selama 1 bulan penuh. Menjadikan arena bermain semakin mengasikkan. Tapi kami yang masih lebih banyak polosnya tidak tahu bahaya yang mengintai di gang sebelah.

Ada om-om berjulukan Ba’ong. Pemadat sekaligus bandar narkoba. Waktu ibu Ba’ong, Mama Hengky, masih hidup, bandelnya Ba’ong sudah tercium tapi masih terkendali. Akan tetapi begitu Mama Hengky meninggal, ketiga anaknya kocar-kacir. Ba’ong terang-terangan menjadikan rumahnya tempat nongkrong anak-anak yang bolos sekolah sekaligus tempat jual-beli putaw. Rumah Ba’ong strategis, persis di tusuk sate gang yang ada SD, SMP dan SMA. Anak Mama Hengky yang perempuan tidak mau anaknya terbawa pergaulan pamannya, memilih pindah membawa serta anaknya dan adiknya, Hengky yang terbelakang.

Saya melihat sendiri transformasi Ba’ong dari junkies masih agak berisi mirip Alex Komang sampai jadi zombie tukang parkir Indomaret yang menakutkan. Entah berapa jarum suntik tak steril yang ia tusukkan ke lengannya. Entah berapa penyakit mematikan dia biarkan bersarang di badannya. Sialnya, dia tidak hanya merusak diri sendiri tapi menularkan “penyakitnya” pada teman-teman ababil di lingkungan kami.

Supir taksi biasanya selalu khawatir setiap saya minta diantar ke Kampung Ambon. Mereka pikir Kampung Ambon yang di Cengkareng. Tempat preman-preman tak segan mencegat dan mengompas orang lewat. Padahal Kampung Ambon yang di Rawamangun juga pernah sama ‘gelap’nya, lantaran Ba’ong dan pengikutnya bandar-bandar tanggung gara-gara kecanduan. Beberapa kali saya menyaksikan penggerebekan narkoba berlangsung di kampung saya ketika sudah kuliah di Jogja, di acara macam Buser di televisi.

Ketika saya di Jogja, saya dengar Ade meninggal di penjara. Jauh sebelum Ba’ong bertemu malaikat maut. Artinya penderitaan Ade tak selama Ba’ong dan mungkin hanya itu yang bisa disyukuri di atas sesal kehilangan seorang teman masa kecil yang jago mengaji dan balap lari. Barangkali berawal dari kekesalan karena ayahnya menikah lagi dan punya dua anak ‘baru’ sehingga ia memilih bergaul dengan Ba’ong yang pintu rumahnya selalu terbuka.

Tidak ada penanda siapa anak yang akan terjerumus siapa yang tidak. Anak Pak Ustadz yang terkenal di komplek juga terbawa. Malahan sampai mencuri uang dari kotak amal mesjid untuk memenuhi kecanduannya. Setiap radius 100 meter barangkali ada 2 atau 3 pengguna narkoba, tak peduli jenis kelamin. Bahkan sama anak jendral, narkoba tidak takut. Tapi tak sedikit dari mereka yang sekarang tinggal nama.

Saya bersyukur, saya, kedua kakak dan adik saya masih dilindungi. Karena ibu saya ada di rumah dan selalu memperlakukan kami sebagai anak didik, teman, pembantu (eh, ampun Ma. Becanda. Hehe.) dan tidak segan menegur bahkan memberi ‘silent treatment’ apabila kami kelewatan. Percayalah, didiamkan oleh Mama selama seminggu, cukup untuk membuat jera selama beberapa bulan kedepan sebelum mengulangi kesalahan yang sama. Karena ayah saya yang pegawai negeri selalu sampai di rumah sekitar jam empat sore, dan tak jarang menjajani kami combro dan gemblong apabila ibu ‘Kue-Kue’ gendut lewat. Karena uang yang mereka cari untuk menyekolahkan anak dan mengasih makan anak, insyaAllah selalu halal. Karena keduanya mengajarkan untuk jujur dan tidak ikut-ikutan teman. Karena keduanya membudayakan ‘Family Night’ di Minggu malam terakhir setiap bulan. Karena keduanya tak pernah tinggal salat dan kerap mengaji di dekat kami. Karena keduanya senantiasa ‘ada’.

Saya bersyukur menjadi anak mereka. Saya bersyukur Allah berkenan melindungi kami dari jahatnya Narkoba. Sebab ketika SMA, NEM saya hanya cukup untuk diterima di SMU 36 Rawamangun yang silakan di-google, reputasinya di tahun 90-an seperti apa. Entah kalau sekarang.






#Day2 Where I’d Like To Be In 10 Years 

A genie once told me you have to be specific with your wishes. The more specific you are the more easy it is for the universe to make them come true. 

It’s 4 am in Jati Asih, somewhere between Bogor & Bekasi. So, if you ask me where I’d like to be 10 years from now is; in bed, next to a healthy & content version of the person sleeping next to me now. 

Our children. Yes, we’d have two or three by then. Twin 9 year old boy & girl (twins!) and a 6 years young boy to keep me in shape and inspired everyday. They’ll be sleeping in the loft upstairs. Sprawled out on their futons on the wooden flooring. Waiting for the roosters from the kampung back door to wake up the sun. 

I’d have completed my dawn prayers, read the Quran an ‘ain or two, then climb up to the 3rd floor where the magic happens. You name it, writing my up and coming best-selling novel, a zany & wondrous picture book for my kids, managing my plush doll business & planning bento box menus and afternoon snacks for the whole family. 

My very own studio office will only have two walls facing north and south. In place of the west and east facing walls will be floor to ceiling windows. Especially designed so I can feed on the things I love the most, sunsets & sunrises. The orange rocking chair my husband bought me when I had the twins will be my favorite reading chair and my daughter’s too. 

After greeting the peeking sun, I’d start the tea and breakfast. Once the 3 runny sunny side ups, 2 hard boiled eggs, kaya toast and nasi goreng is set on the table, I’ll take my time waking everyone up with kisses and cuddles because that’s the best way to go.