(You are not) Ruled by Hormones

Being a girl sucks. Every month we are taken on this rollercoaster ride of emotions whether we like it or not. Of course we don’t have to pay for the tickets, but we have to pay for any slip of words, sassy attitude, loss of friends we get from that rollercoaster ride.

My mom says, I should know when the hormones are kicking into gear. I have the power to control these feelings. These urges to point out everybody else’s fault except my own. The urge to cry my eyeballs out just by seeing a sentimental commercial. The need to eat everything on the menu and feeling effing fat and miserable afterwards (don’t forget the PMS bloating, where the water contained in your body is a lot more near your period making you look fatter). Then, once your period starts, you’ve lost all apettite whatsoever, for food, for life. Nah, just kidding about the last one. But the frequent trips to the bathroom, checking and changing pads or tampons isn’t exactly ‘ladida hahaha’ fun. You have to make sure not to leave traces of your monthly junk in the bathroom for the next person to scorn in disgust at. Your mom would have to engrain in your head from early on that a clean white underwear is a mark of a decent girl. Then there’s that pep talk you recieve on your first period, which contents are mainly; “you can get pregnant, stay away from boys.” My first reaction was, “Do I stay away from boys only during my period or like forever stay away from them But what about Dad?” << this question obviously was only voiced in my head.

This is what a girl has to go through, throughout her productive part of life. Don’t get me started on the ‘to wear or not to wear make up’ matter (I’ll rant about this in another post).  My PMS is rather weird if not that much different from other girls.  It goes quite like this:

  1. Two weeks before my period my boobies swell and hurt.
  2. One week before I get irritated easily. You make a mistake (especially towards me), I see it, you’re doomed.
  3.  Within the one week before, I crave spicy, sour and soupy foods.
  4. Within the one week before, I am always hungry.
  5. I feel like shit. Like, I’m the ugliest, unlovable, unworthy, piece of human being living on the surface of the planet. This is around 3 to 5 days before my period.
  6. I am bloated. So I am always considering gym memberships at these times.
  7. 1 or 2 days before my period, I can cry my eyeballs out over simply anything that hits the spot.
  8. 1 or 2 days before my period, I will feel the urge to make something. Amazing ideas or thoughts will just pour into my head, begging for release. Which usually only lasts for 12-24 hours, so don’t expect a best selling novel to pop out from that tiny time span. Perhaps just a blog post (like this one) or a neat piece of art.
  9. The period comes and I don’t want to do anything except lie down on my side or on my tummy. Not because I have mean menstrual cramps like most girls do. But I just feel drained (of course, I am only draining out my uteral lining) and don’t wanna, that’s all.
  10. I get back my self confidence on day 2 or 3, become my usual enthusiastic self. All the negativity hiding away someplace and just letting me be the agreeable, kind person I am (for two weeks).

I know all of the above is just a sign of having a healthy female body, of which I am grateful. And I have no objection to any of them. But I just feel, that being a girl (especially in Indonesia) comes with many hassles and life is not that easy on us. Therefore, we are the stronger lot.

I salute my mom, for being able to keep tending to us and everything despite being susceptible to the above wave of emotions too. But Mom, until I can be at least close to your sincerety and love, please bear with me and don’t snap at me on the above mentioned days. Even if you do, I still love you, forever.


Heart Workout

I wonder what God was thinking when he created Eve. Not a polar opposite to Adam. But with softer features on the outside. Creating some kind of diversion to the advanced machine she has on the inside. Including a powerful heart. She can multi-task. Her mind can focus on several things at a time. She can develop a human being inside her. She can produce milk. She has strong intuition and sometimes even sixth-sense like abilities when it comes to the people she loves. And all which can only work when powered by? Yep. Love.

I have come to a point. Where I know I can love just for the sake of loving. I do not need anything in return. Love doesn’t have to be reciprocal. It would be nice to cuddle and kiss the one you love. Indeed. But it would be terrible to cuddle and kiss the one you don’t, just because your body yearns it. While your heart burns for another. But, in any condition, I advise you to simply love.

At this point, though I know I’ve thoroughly ruined my chances with a certain guy. Yet, I know I can still live, write, draw, laugh, sing and be happy and cry. Because crying, you see, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sad and pitiful. It means you’ve a muscle called the heart. It sweats when you work it too hard. The bigger it loves the harder it works. And when you work it too hard it aches, like any other muscle. However, like any other muscle, if you work it regularly, it becomes stronger.

Sometimes you just click with someone and your brain goes into autopilot and makes all kinds of connections to make you feel good, feel hopeful and expectant. Sometimes you just want to rush into things and find out if your expectations can be met. But you (always) seem to forget that great expectations can be returned with great disappointments. So why not love just for the sake of loving? Giving? And not expecting anything in return?

Don’t complicate things. Don’t assume. Don’t hurt others. Just love, and let the Universe do the rest.

Random Page: 96. Winter Journal by Paul Auster

20A. 300 Eighth Avenue, Apartment 1-I; Brooklyn. A one-room studio on the ground floor of a six-story apartment building, located in the back, with a view of an air shaft and a brick wall. Larger than the maid’s room on the rue du Louvre, less than half the size of the Varick Street hovel, but equipped with a toilet and bath as well as various kitchen appliances built into one of the walls: sink, stove, and minibar fridge, which you rarely bothered to use, since this was a space for work and not for living (or eating). A desk, a chair, a metal bookcase, and a couple of storage cabinets; a bare bulb hanging from the middle of the ceiling; an air conditioner in one of the windows, which you would turn on when you arrived in the morning to filter out noises from the building (COOL in summer; FAN in winter). Spartan surroundings, yes, but surroundings have never been of any importance as far as your work is concerned, since the only space you occupy when you write your books is the page in front of your nose, and the room in which you are sitting, the various rooms in which you have sat these forty-plus years, are all but invisible to you as you push your pen across the page of your notebook or transcribe what you have written onto a clean page with your typewriter, the same machine you have been using since your return from France in 1974, an Olympia portable you bought secondhand from a friend for forty dollars–a still functioning relic that was built in a West German factory more than half a century ago and will no doubt go on functioning long after you are dead. The number of your studio apartment pleased you for its symbolic aptness. 1-I, meaning the single self, the lone person sequestered in that bunker of a room for seven or eight hours a day, a silent man cut off from the rest of the world, day after day sitting at his desk for no other purpose than to explore the interior of his own head.

Buying Chocolates. Lots Of Chocolates.

I remember you were suddenly able to walk quickly. There were half a dozen of us, rushing to COOP because some other members of our tour said the chocolate prices there were a whole lot cheaper. We rode the escalator that went beneath the intersection. And voila! we found ourselves in a small shopping district. So brightly lit and so airy, I thought we couldn’t possibly be underground.

And there it was at the back of the shopping district with bright orange letters you wouldn’t miss, COOP. Our last hope for chocolates to bring to our friends and relatives back home. Mba Siska one of your colleagues pointed the aisle were the best bargain chocolates were.

Almost instantly, I grabbed 5 bars of fifty cent chocolates. The brand design made them look like cheap bulk chocolates, but we thought, who cares as long as “Made in Switzerland” was written in the back.

I forgot why I was being snappy at you. Perhaps it was because of all of the rushing and considering what to buy—taking things off the shelf and putting them back on the shelf– and then queueing, and then just me queueing alone because your friend said there was another aisle with cheaper chocolate. I guess I was irritated because our line was getting really short, two baskets full of chocolate at my feet and wondering how the heck we were going to fill our suitcases with this much chocolate let alone take them all the way back to the hotel.

I’m sorry for treating you the way I did. The way I sometimes still do. You are the sweetest, most patient and loving man I get to call my husband.

Dear Yous,

Aku ingin menulis tentang kalian. Sahabat yang paling aku sayang. Walau kita tak lagi dapat bertemu sesering yang kita mau.

Tapi mengetahui kalian masih sering kumpul satu sama lain. Nonton. Nongkrong di tempat-tempat baru. Mencicipi makanan-makanan baru. Mengakui sudut-sudut lama ibukota sebagai milik kalian yang baru. Sampai pagi. Sudah membuatku hepi.

Bahwa ada yang putus lalu jadian sama teman setongkrongan, adalah keniscayaan. Karena kalian pribadi-pribadi menyenangkan. Sulit untuk tidak saling menyayangi. Dan saling mempertaruhkan hati.

Bisa kurasakan kesedihan dan kebahagiaan kalian. Bukan salah siapa-siapa sebab semua sudah direncanakan. Jauh sebelum kita berkenalan. Dilahirkan. Anggap saja semua sudah direncanakan Tuhan, ketika Ia merancang gugusan bintang. Dan kita, Sayang, adalah juga bintang.

Tapi kalian. Bagiku. Lagi-lagi. Akan selalu jadi pasangan paling keren. Meski kalian mungkin tak akan pernah mendeklarasikannya pada dunia. Atau bahkan tak menyadarinya.

Kadang aku berharap memiliki indera kesekian yang bisa mengetahui siapa soulmate siapa. Sekadar tahu dan senang apabila jiwa kalian telah saling mengungkap rahasia itu.

Pasangan jiwa, Kawan, kalau dimaknai secara bahasawi, seharusnya memang tak terlihat, tak dapat disentuh, tak perlu dikatakan. Jiwa adalah udara yang tanpanya kita mati (tolong kasih tahu kalau kata-kata ini sudah pernah dipakai oleh pujangga siapa).

Sahabat, ah, mungkin berlebihan memakai kata itu. Membuatku teringat seseorang yang pernah menepis kata “teman” yang kutawarkan padanya. Kuharap kalian tidak melakukan hal yang sama. Sebab sama saja menyuruh kita menjadi asing. Karena setelah mengenal kalian, itu adalah hal terakhir yang kuinginkan.

Sahabat adalah sahabat, jauh ataupun dekat, renggang maupun erat.

Love, Uni.

To Illustrate or Not To illustrate

Belakangan berpikir untuk menambah ilustrasi pada postingan di koprolkata ini.

Tapi menurutku di satu sisi ilustrasi adalah pencurian hak pembaca untuk berimajinasi.

Apakah maksud adanya ilustrasi itu untuk membantu pembaca dalam memvisualisasi cerita? Menambah bumbu estetis pada kisah? Atau semacam dekorasi? *ponders*

Sejak mulai membaca buku tanpa ilustrasi (baca: “buku orang gede” cie..) saya mulai menikmati kebebasan sebagai pembaca untuk membayangkan apa yang dideskripsikan oleh penulis. Menjadikan kisah itu sebagai milikku setidaknya selama ia dalam genggaman daya khayalku.

Barangkali jika dianalogikan, buku tanpa ilustrasi adalah sepeda tanpa roda bantu. Lebih ‘wuuushh’ larinya. You can feel the wind in your hair.

Lalu untuk blog. Apa perlu mencomot dari ribuan gambar yang tersedia dan tinggal menyalin-tempel alamat sumber dengan kata-kata manis ‘courtesy of’, dengan harapan apa yang dibayangkan penulis tidak disalahartikan oleh pembaca?

Entahlah. Barangkali aku salah.

This Woman’s Work

Aku terjaga oleh mimpi tentangmu. Sosok yang kukenal tiap lekuk dan liuknya itu. Mata yang cerlang pada kulit yang jauh dari terang. Lalu barisan gigi putih yang gemar mempertontonkan diri itu. Untukku. Untuk semua orang.

Aku terjaga oleh mimpi tentangmu. Berwarna kusam seperti film bioskop yang terlalu sering diputar ulang. Dan seperti film Perancis tahun 50an kamu membisu. Selalu begitu. Meski tanganmu kauulurkan kepadaku.

Aku terjaga dan mendapati diriku di pertigaan jalan tempat kami pertama bertemu. Pria di dalam lampu berdiri tegak dan berkedip merah. Engkau mengenakan blus panjang tanpa lengan berwarna putih. Lagi-lagi tanganmu terulur, menarikku dari seberang.

Pikiran dan hatiku menolak tapi kakiku melangkah. Benar saja, aspal di bawahku pecah dan aku tercebur. Aku berusaha berenang. Namun kesulitan sebab airnya penuh dengan ikan-ikan kenangan. Kenanganku. Juga kenangan semua orang yang pernah kehilangan.

Seorang penyanyi opera berpelukan dengan lawan mainnya sedikit terlalu lama. Wanita yang mengelus buncit perutnya dengan penuh sayang, tak lama kemudian tampak begitu kehilangan setelah keluar dari ruang operasi.

Aku mencoba berenang lebih dalam dengan harapan bisa kutemukan kenanganmu tentangku.

Di sebuah ceruk, kutemukan jarimu yang dengan sangat hati-hati menyentuh bekas jahitan di pelipisku lalu bibirmu untuk ke sekian kalinya menanyakan cerita luka itu bisa ada di situ.

Tiba-tiba kudengar dengkur halusmu. Mengingatkanku pada wajah damaimu saat tidur. Apakah di bawah sana kamu mendengkur juga? Lelapkah penantianmu?

Aku terus bertahan hidup. Di atasku orang-orang berlalu-lalang dan tak ikut tercebur dalam air ini. Air yang asin sedikit manis seperti.. seperti airmata.

Seperti sekian banyak kata yang luput kusampaikan ke telingamu. Seperti sekian banyak rencana yang belum sempat terlaksana.

Seperti engkau dan aku yang tetap saling menjaga dengan sedikit nyawa yang tersisa.

inspired by Maxwell’s ‘Woman’s Work’