Dealing with Depression

I woke up thinking how much of a nobody I am. I have nothing to my name at all, and I stared at my reflection blinking, wondering if I’m going to change that at all. What do I want in this world? What do I want to do? Even at 24 with a book out, I still am clueless. Am I depressed? I don’t think so. It’s just that sometimes we have moments where we feel down, sometimes we feel up. I’m not a plateau. I am a vibrant, rhythamic wave of life (I hope). It’s okay.

The other day I randomly bought carpets to prepare for Ramadhan (terawih etc must be comfortable, you know), as our carpets have worn out, and then I went on restaurant hopping, pizza-delivery every other day, and even decided to just sit through a movie on my own (I don’t really watch movies). I think doing these made me wonder if there’s anything more I want to do with my life, I mean, apart from writing and writing. Do I want to ….settle?

Maybe it’s also because for the past few days I keep hearing about people about my age’s death. Oh well.

Here’s a random story:

I have a friend who’s divorced with a child. He’s been single for…four or five years? Maybe? I have no idea. His friend, who is much older, asked him how did he cope with divorce. He said he understood what his friend was feeling. That it really is a lonely process, where you come home, all those years expecting to find a wife in there, but you look around and find nobody. That was the side I’d never seen of him.

“Is it like the death of someone?” I asked.Continue reading

My Advice To Young People

Ha, ha ha, ha, ha, at the title.

I don’t believe in giving advice. I believe in anecdotes, though, to tell you a story about what happened to me when I was in a similar situation. Some might link that to advice, but to me I’m just sharing a story. It’s up to you how you want to take it.

But if there’s any “advice” I would give to “young” people, I do have one. It’s more of an encouragement than it is an advice, actually. And I shall begin with a story.

When I was 17, done with my secondary school, completely on my own, I was sent to a¬†hill in California to learn about spirituality. I do know that I come from a line of mystics and spiritual people, but you know these kinds of things aren’t inherited by blood. Spiritual conscience is something you have to wake yourself up to do. I can’t rely on my dead ancestors to help me.Continue reading

Please Breathe

This post was originally from my Facebook post, written on the bus on the way back home from Kuala Lumpur. I was there for my first Pesta Buku Antarabangsa (International Book Festival) as a writer with my own book. I haven’t written about that experience, maybe I should for documentation, but here’s a bit of it:

The second person in my life to get my book was a guy I had a teeny bit of crush on. I fall in love with everybody I meet, so it’s no big deal. I’m writing this because I wrote about the first and the third, and I guess seconds deserve a write-up about too. The first person had browsed my book and the third person came for me, but this second person had a face I couldn’t read when we saw each other’s face in the sea of strangers. I immediately guessed he had his guard up 100%, perhaps afraid of something I might do or say. I know a couple of guys who act this way around me, actually. I try to return their coolness with my own reservations, but try as I may I am me with anyone. I can’t act cool because I just am not cool.

So I felt bad when the book he wanted was out of stock and what he got instead was my book. Continue reading

Choose Peace

This post was originally from my Facebook post, written immediately at Dunkin Donuts, Pondok Indah Mall 1. I may have edited bits from the original post for this blog post.

I had to go to Pondok Indah Mall and my Grab fare was IDR 35000. I shouted around the house for small change because all I had were the hundreds. The owner of the house said, “My money is in the ATM,” and asked his maid. His maid said she had just bought clothes (true, a postman just came and she paid Rp 350 000 to him). Nobody had small change. I hoped that my Grab driver would have money to give me in return and said waited for my ride.

Gosh, Jakarta housing areas are confusing.Continue reading

Everybody Deserves Love

One of the things I noticed about me lately is that I seem to be attracting ustazs. Attract as in will-you-be-my-wife kind of attraction. It’s not exactly a bad thing, but it makes me wonder as in why me. My clothes aren’t exactly modest and I’m not the kind of girl who quotes the Quran or posts about how every soul has a pair et cetera. I said no to all of them.

Recently while I was in Jakarta an ustaz had taken a particular liking for me too. The first thing he told me was would I respond to being called “Habibi” (which is my love in Arabic, and I said that’s not my name), and moved on to saying I have eyes like Siti Nurhaliza, and later at night serenaded me with guitar and all to the song Just The Way You Are. If you know me in real life I’m not someone who blushes or gets shy. I just told him “I know,” when he dramatically pointed at my direction when he sang “You are amazing just the way you are.”

My friends were making fun of the situation and I saw it for myself how he would approach me to say something and then walk away without saying a thing. I shook my head and found faults with him: what a coward,Continue reading

Enough Of This Prostitution

Today I left the house feeling nothing unusual. I was a bit aware that I hadn’t been myself, but I didn’t think much of it. My appetite’s been lesser too. I used to feel hungry all the time but I’ve been okay on 1.5 meals per day these days. Don’t know why.

Power Cat (a Malaysian brand cat food; it’s okay) is out of stock everywhere but one place in JB. I didn’t really want to go there because it’s a luxury cattery, but there was no choice since Carpet vomited out his new cat food. This luxury cattery which I won’t name sells purebred cats and the items are pricier than normal. I never stopped to “admire” the kitties in the cage, the same I wouldn’t enter a zoo. I happen to have a membership card not out of loyalty but from previous purchase when Power Cat was out too.

A man walked out into the store from the back door as I was looking at cat potty. Our eyes met and we talked. He was the owner. They have three branches and a fourth one, “bigger than this”, is opening soon. He asked me how many cats I have. “Eleven,” I responded. “Your wet food cost goes in the thousands of ringgit per month?” “We buy raw fish for them,” I answered, not answering the question.

“All of them.”

He then paused for a second, and then pointed at the glass case.

“If you had one million and you did this, within six years you could get three million.”

I knew what he was talking about.Continue reading

Old Men in Jakarta

Last week I was invited to Jakarta to help out with an English Camp programme. I was in bed at about 10 pm when I received the phone call. I said okay. There I met a TV Reporter and when I mentioned that being a TV Reporter was a dream of mine and that I had nowhere to stay (after the camp), she invited me to her place.

When I was younger I heard stories from my father of how in his youth in Indonesia he couldn’t find a hotel to stay in. He told the trishaw rider that and he was invited to his house. Who knew I was actually following my dad’s footsteps. Gosh.

My new friend’s name is Ayu. After the camp we rushed to her workplace, a TV Station and hopped on the TV Station car. She had to report about an MOE Conference that was going on that day. We were 30 minutes late and the conference had already started. Panels were sitting in front. Cameras were lined up at the back of the room. Those at the seats were paying attention. Those at the back behind the cameras were using their phones.

Except that they weren’t idling. They were all from the media, Googling or writing things down as the man in the middle speaks. One man caught my attention.Continue reading