Feelings · Humanity · Poem · Struggles

Hai Kawan

emptiness.jpg
Image berjudul A Feeling of Emptiness oleh Jeff Masamori (diambil dari artlimited.net)

 

gelap warnamu,
menyeringai tak karuan dari balik muka yang kusut
bayanganmu, terlalu pekat
bahkan –
tak segelintir anginpun mau mengabari kedatanganmu
bila kau ingin datang,
tak ada yang bisa menahan

seperti biasa,
teriakan protesku tercekik oleh laraku sendiri
terjebak dalam putaran hasrat yang tak kunjung usai
dan akhirnya, di penghujung malam yang panjang,
hanya hampa yang tersisa,
menemani dalam kesunyian, mengisi waktu yang terputus

hai kawan,
kedatanganmu, membawa tangis
kepergianmu, keletihan

###Gundah

Essay · Poem

What is to Forget?

Picture

Image is titled “Remind.her to remember” by sophiaazhou from DeviantArt.com

I responded to a writing prompt. It asked me to write two lists. The first list is about things that I want to forget. The second one is about things that I want to remember. Guess what, the results came back almost the same.

In order to get rid of memories involving people and situations that I want to forget, I would run the risk of deleting the same people and possibly situations that I want to keep in my memory too.

Why are we humans so complicated? We create this complicated wants, needs, hates, dislikes on our own. We continue to push ourselves to get something that we want, to chase something in order to feel happy, belonged, loved, but then let them go once we get tired of them. Therefore, we continuously create a dual-impact in every single person and situation that we come across. We love a person, then we hate that person. We need a person, then we push that person away. We strive to be part of a group, later we quit. We find ourselves in a bad situation, but then we learn from it and become a better person. We let go a person, then we desire that person again. We make a decision to move to another place, then we miss it. And so on. It’s a dance of life that we make into a perfection as we move along in life.

Why does it have to be a double perspective to every single thing that we go through? Why can it be much simpler. I hate complication, but I always find myself getting caught in one. Is there a lesson in all of these messes?


Picture

Image is titled “Remember Me Too” by laughsofgreed from DeviantArt.com

 

(a poem)

what does it mean to forget?
for a person who has seen the secret beauties of this world,
who knows how a rainbow frames the sky with its colors,
or that trees would wear their best autumn dress and
dancing until no more leaves are left on their naked limbs,
or when the sky sprinkles its first snow
coloring the ground in shiny white,
oh and what about the magnificent sunset,
the view that we tirelessly waited
day after day,
how can a person forget all of those?

when we no longer have what we used to have
shall we forget them then?
when we no longer want what we used to chase
shall we forget them too?
is it the same as letting go?
and will it always involve a goodbye?
how painful it must be then to let go
the more your heart insists to toss ’em,
the more it aches and
the more your mind frantically grabs to hold on,
it haunts you even in your waking dreams
like a nightmare, but a never ending one


but do you ever wonder why it’s so
damn hard to forget?

have you ever laughed so hard
that you happily wipe tears from your eyes?
have you ever excitedly anticipating something so delightful that you want to shout your joy to the world?
do you remember those…
…moments?
see, before there was pain, joy was there
before there was yearning, excitement was there
before there was loathing, love was there
hurt and happiness,
they come from one root

what then?
what should a person do?
begging the heart to stop?
force hope out of the head?
it is hope’s fault, you convince yourself
just make it die please, you whimper in your sleep
you’re so desperate for anything
any prescription that can
stop what you no longer want–
stop what was once desired
and would die for

my dear, you’re asking wrong questions,
you can’t stop the wheel that is already
in motion since the day you took your first breath,
you can’t throw what is already a part of you,
you can’t cut a thread
that is binding you to the memory,
have you ever wondered
perhaps
you are not supposed to forget?
you’re not allowed to pick what to forget
because that is the universe’s job,
not yours

your task is,
to learn to accept, that
to forget means to continue to remember,
and to deny it means to live in pain,
the past is a gift, a blessing,
so remember them,
accept them,
breathe,
live,
love!

Essay

Thoughts on Vulnerability

I want to share and discuss a video that has inspired me. I saw this video a few months ago and this video blew me away. I found through TED on facebook and I knew back then that I have to share this video on this blog. Her message about vulnerability is excellent. Some messages that we hear hit a target within us because it’s something that we need to hear. So let’s hear it.

You can also click on TED website here,

The website has a transcript if anyone is having a hard time listening to her.

“Why do we struggle so much with vulnerability?”Yes, why do we? I do too, though things that make me vulnerable may be different from those of other people. As Brene Brown said it, “Vulnerability is the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness…”  With that sentence, she can actually create the second, third and fourth video of this topic, which she did later on. There is a video on the topic of shame that is also just as interesting as this one.

She threw in so many terminologies in the video, so many concepts that it was confusing at first. Confusing but makes sense to me. When I first watched this video several months ago, I understood right away what it was about, but it needs time I guess for the whole concept to sink in.

If I may try to sum up the video based on my understanding, here it is. It was interesting to me that she started earlier in the video to mention worthiness. Based on my understanding, what Brown means by worthiness are worthy of two things, belonging and love. People who feel that they belong to something, whether it is to family or a group of people through work or organization, and people who are capable to love are people that basically think that they are worth those two things: to belong and be loved. If people feel that they are not worth those two things, then a struggle is likely to happen within them. They may struggle to make connection with other people, and they may have a problem being authentic, being vulnerable. Because to be able to connect with other people, to love, to be loved back, and to belong, one has to be courageous enough to feel vulnerable.

And here is my own thought about the whole thing. Let’s start at worthiness because I think worthiness is the key. To me worthiness to love and belong should be everyone’s right to have. It’s human rights, it’s part of being human. Those two needs, to love (and vice versa to be loved) and to belong are crucial for every human being to survive. But not everyone receives those two things. Those who do not receive them may have a hard time with worthiness. Why? Let’s just say for example when a child feels that she is worth the love of her parents and therefore feels that she belongs to her parents, she may then develop a thought that she deserves to be loved by her parents. When the child thinks she deserves it, she can technically ask for it, demand it, want it and be given it. Worthy, deserves, they do connect. But how can she learn to ask, demand, want if she was never given or shown it before? Worthiness to love and belong therefore, is a privilege. It is not something that everyone has access to.

With that realization, it makes a person’s whole sense of worthiness very vulnerable then. It’s as if we depend on other people’s love, acceptance, connection, in order to feel we are worthy. It’s like a circle. One’s worthiness in return impacts other people’s worthiness, and so on. This is probably why as human beings, we are never free from this concept of vulnerability. There are and will be issues, situations, people that make us vulnerable. And what makes us vulnerable now may not be the same that make us vulnerable in the future or in the past. We go through changes in life, we meet new people, we perhaps encounter illness or accident that can make us vulnerable. Our vulnerability is never separated however, from other people. It has a social aspect.

It an addition to social aspect, vulnerability seems to me has an aspect of episode or process, which means that it has a beginning, a middle and an ending. I don’t think we should be feeling vulnerable about the same thing all through our live. We can choose to get out of it, but it doesn’t mean that we will never encounter vulnerability again in the future. How long will we feel vulnerable or how sooner we come out of that feeling vulnerable depends on how much support we receive from other people in the form of — and here is where we come back to the beginning of the circle — love and belonging, the two aspects of worthiness that Brown said in the beginning.

My goodness, I love this topic of vulnerability, but it is complex. What I discuss above is only a smidgen of many more aspects of vulnerability. It is indeed a complex one. I realize now after writing this essay that when we encounter a vulnerable moment, whether it is because we come into a situation, meeting new people, experiencing a changing in our needs and priorities, it is perhaps a blessing. It is an opportunity for a change, for something bigger and better, as long as we can win the fight against shame and fear. After all, Brown also said the following about vulnerability, “…that it [vulnerability] is also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.”

Essay · Life · Loneliness · Mental Illness · Struggles

A Solemn Reflection

For my gratitude note today, I wrote down an event that happened today and I felt a tug to share it here.

Towards the end of my day, I spoke to one of my students. This female student has been having a rough time for the past few months. She had had an episode of mental problem to the point that she had to receive help in the form of psychotropic medication from a psychiatrist.

This student used to fear me too. Perhaps the word fear is too harsh, but it was more about unsure on how to face me because I might have been too stern on her previously. Not that I meant to be stern, but I think her perception of me back then was confounded also by her episode of mental illness. She is much better now, even though she recognizes that she is not fully complete with the illness yet. At times, the mood and anxiety are still trying to come back. And so she struggles, but also manages to continue.

We had a good talk. We started the meeting actually talking about academic stuff because that was the main reason why we met in the first place. When we were done with that topic, I started going into the other direction by asking her how she feels. I was hesitant at first to ask her about it for fearing that it may make her uncomfortable, but I took the chance. The opposite happened. She opened up. We ended up talking for additional half an hour just about her struggle. It was very courageous of her for talking about it in an honest way, and it was very heartbroken for me to hear her story. She looked very fragile sitting in front of me, while at the same time, tried so hard to appear strong. The contrast made me even feel more heavy hearted, but I was also amazed by her effort.

From listening to her story, we went to a discussion on what to do in the future as an anticipation if the episode comes back again, such as how to know the early signs, increase social support (which is very important in all treatment of mental illnesses), and some other important activities that she can do in her down time. In this opportunity, I offered her some of my own insight. In overall, the whole conversation went well.

But what’s left in my mind until now are those eyes. They’ve been haunting me. Because in those eyes, I see myself. For the first time, it’s as if I was seeing my self from a different perspective, and it was a humbling opportunity to be able to see it from a new angle. I was her, I knew that person well, I knew what her struggles were like daily. My last message to her was, “No matter what it is, you have to fight it. No matter how hard it is, just remember that you have to fight it. Don’t give in to those thoughts. I know it’s hard for you to maybe understand all of this now, but just remember that I said you have to fight. And when you  get tired of fighting, that’s when you find help from people that you trust.”  I hope she got the message. I think she did.

Eyes, I understand it now, they can’t fool you. It’s all written there.

May God take care of her and guide her always. May she find strength in Him to ease her suffering. May God be with those who are suffering alone. And may God bless us all.

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Originally published in January 2016 in another blog of mine.