“SILENCED AND GASLIGHTED”

How does it feel to be silenced every day? From the start, your voice is not only unheard. It often gets dismissed.

Not every family is happy…or is it just yours? You’ve always felt like the unwanted child. The freak. Your opinions are considered ridiculous. They’ll never (want to ) understand you.

That’s why you grew up quiet. Most of the time, you’re just silent. They don’t really care what you think or how you feel. They never ask. Once they know, they don’t want to be blamed. Instead, they often make the same excuse: “Why didn’t you say something? You should’ve told us!”

They just want you to shut up and obey. That’s it. Don’t spoil other people’s fun. So you feel almost nothing but like a ghost, a shadow. An extra, but rather an irrelevant presence in the room. An additional cast people will hardly remember.

Choose your friends wisely. How does that work? Most of the time, no idea. You simply follow your gut feeling.

Eventually, people come and go. Only those who understand you best (try to) stay. It’s a simple, yet also complicated natural selection. The list of your BFFs and other VIPs can change in time, sometimes rather dramatically.

It can be easy to get away from toxic, manipulative friends. They tend to hide behind their lame excuses, like: “I’m just joking!” as they bully you over and over again. Just leave them, just like that.

Then how about work and relationships?

Work is work. It’s all about being professional. No complaining all the time. One must always be tough. If you’re not given what’s been promised, then pretend it’s enough. Let’s not look for trouble.

With relationships, it all depends. If you have the confidence, you’ll know when they do more harm than good. If not, you’ll find yourself stuck with them, even when you no longer wish to. Forget blabbing about their shortcomings to people. There are two possibilities, though:

  1. They call you stupid for putting up with them.
  2. They think you should be more patient with them. Perhaps, who knows, you have your own shortcomings too that they can’t stand.

Still, you’re the one who should know when enough is enough.

Okay, so you’ve lived your life feeling silenced and gaslighted most of the time. It’s hard to stay that way.

However, life is also short. Perhaps you haven’t ventured out to seek more happiness than being stuck under their gloomy sky. How long are you planning to stay there? When is ‘too long’ considered ‘too much’?

Time to break free or change things as you can. Take back your life.

 

R.

Advertisements

“WHEN WILL I SEE YOU?”

Will I see you

sometime in the near future?

You sound sure

You keep convincing me

your intention is true

 

I don’t want to hope

especially for too much

Despair is what I can’t cope

if something stops us from keeping in touch

 

When I see you

will I be sure

that you are the cure

that I’ve been waiting for?

 

When you see me,

how will you feel?

Will everything become real

and far more crystal-clear?

 

When we finally see each other

somewhere in the real world,

let’s talk this over.

We’ve got a lot to cover

(or you might put this as discover)

 

I’m still filled with questions

but they all can wait

Just like me,

trying to remain patient

and keep the faith

until here, you’ll be

 

After that?

We shall see.

 

R.

“HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE”*

*Written as part of a job’s application requirements. No idea why I chose to post this here anyway. Perhaps I feel that my writing skill has deteriorated lately.

How do I live my life? When people ask me about that, I tend to hesitate for a moment. It is not because I have no clue where to start. It is the fact that there are ways to start.

According to the majority of people I know, I am not that young anymore and well aware of that. This year of 2018, I will be 37 in November. Most women my age in Indonesia are married and maybe with kids.

I could let myself feel bitter for not having what other women have already got. By society’s standard, they are also considered ‘normal’. Because of that, I have felt quite bitter for a while.

However, I have later decided to not limit myself with opportunities. A couple of months after my father’s funeral in 2014, I accepted my first fulltime job and moved out of the house. I began renting a room close from work. From there, my new adventure began.

That first job was my first introduction to digital startup. From there, I began experiencing many things I had never thought I would, leaving my comfort zone. I started learning a lot of new things, some of them were crash-courses. Some times I succeeded, other times I failed. Instead of feeling bitter, I have decided to embrace all of them a part of my learning, life experiences.

The past three and a half years have been interesting to me. My life may not be ideal for a Hollywood true story, but I still find it interesting. I am aware that there are people who disapprove of my choices, but I am the one calling the shots here. They may suggest, but they should not mock or judge.

How do I live my life nowadays?

Some people believe that through age, you begin to feel less ambitious about your personal goals. I half-agree with it. It is true that as you grow old, you begin to realise your limits and sometimes feel the need to slow down. You also start maintaining balance, especially in order to stay healthy and sane.

I still have some of my old ambitions alive, like becoming a fulltime writer. In order not to lose the balance, I am also an active participants at local communities, which are: writers’ club, poets’ societies, and bloggers’ groups. From there, I do not just make friends and have fun, but also do networking a lot.

These days, I also hang out with many people from different work backgrounds. As a writer, I see life as a giant research lab. I can learn a lot from people, even those whose opinions I disagree with. After all, variety only adds more spices to life.

Many friends I know think I look younger than my real age. Some have even guessed I look a decade younger. I think it has something to do with how I live my life nowadays. Maintaining balance and staying positive are my best two favourite mottos.

 

R.

“EVERY SUPERHERO’S UTOPIAN DREAM”

Perhaps you’re one of the little kids

dreaming of becoming superheroes

saving the world

wherever they go

 

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

You could be popular

Life might be less cruel

Everyone would feel safer

 

You’d protect them from harm

Put the enemies in disarm

Still, forces of evil are there

ready for another scare

 

As time goes by

you begin to realise

it’s been a mere comfort

just to deal with the hurt

 

Once upon a time

perhaps you were one of them

gullible kids wanting to be the heroes

some glorious honour you’d love the most

 

However,

reality’s turned you bitter

It’s forced you to wake up

and deal with a lot

 

Being a superhero has always been

nothing but a childish, utopian dream

because it’s just not good enough

if you can’t save everyone you love…

 

R.

“ANOTHER SLEEPLESS NIGHT”

What does one normally do on a sleepless night? Do they pray for exhaustion to take over their consciousness? Do they try to distract themselves, doing things in hopes that sleep will come around again?

Alas, sleep won’t come and there’s only exhaustion. The morning arrives and you’re still far from alright. Then comes the haggard day, another migraine. It’s the same old tunnel vision and familiar pain.

You don’t remember the last time you talked about this to anyone else. Perhaps you’ve stopped. Once again, you’ve kept it mostly to yourself. You wonder if there’s any point of talking about it at all.

Another sleepless night and you choose to hang out with your old best friend from out of town. It’s the same best friend who hung out with you the last time somebody broke your heart. Just like before, you just wanted foods, drinks, and jokes. You don’t feel like talking about what’s been bugging you lately and he always understands.

Of course, once in a while you blurt it out and you end up talking anyway. He may not always have the best advice – hand on heart – but at least he still listens and doesn’t judge. It’s kind of rare these days.

Eventually, you part and go on your separate ways. There’s always a price to pay for your sleepless night. It’s quite hefty, called ‘the loss of a day’.

You find yourself unable to wake up completely. You drown into a deep sleep, drowning in your dreams. No, they’re more like nightmares. Two dark, hooded figures chasing after you, under the night sky and on some dystopian land.

The only safe way is to hide behind the walls, locking the door – hoping they won’t be able to go through the walls.

You find yourself in a much darker room. You think you’re alone, until a soft, cool breath blows behind your neck and a gentle voice whispers:

“Sssh, it’s okay. You’re safe here. Come, let me hold you. Closer, let me protect you. Look at you now. You’re shivering.”

“How do I know that I can trust you?” you find yourself whisper as you start fighting back tears. You always hate feeling weak and helpless.

“Trust me,” that voice softly urges you. “Trust your gut feeling. It’s okay. I’m not letting anybody hurt you. I promise.”

Reluctantly, you turn around. A pair of cool, iron grips are around your arms. That’s when you feel yourself being pulled into an embrace. Warm, with your ear pressed against someone’s chest. You can hear its rythmical beats.

To your horror, it’s not just the beats. You can hear a distant scream, loud and blood-curdling. No, not just one. Screams of women in agony.

You realise your mistake, but by then – it’s already way too late. It’s hard to let yourself go.

So you shut your eyes tightly and start screaming too…

…and you finally wake up completely, sweating and hyperventilating.

You listen to the first song after waking up. All you get is Linkin Park’s “From The Inside”. You wonder if the universe is trying to tell you something.

Still, you listen to it anyway:

 

“Take everything from the inside

And throw it all away

Cause I swear, for the last time

I won’t trust myself with you…”

 

Not long after that, came Papa Roach’s “Scars”:

 

“I tear my heart open

I sew myself shut

My weakness is

That I care too much

My scars remind me

That the past is real

I tear my heart open

Just to feel…”

 

No, you wish for no more sleepless nights. Enough is enough!

 

R.

(Jakarta, 30/3/2018 -1:35 pm)

“SHOULD I LET THIS DIE?”

This ain’t no desperation

I’m just contemplating

weighing my options

seriously considering

 

Yes, we don’t get to choose

what our hearts desire

yet we may still lose

and end up burned in hellish fire

 

They say love is sacred

but fears and uncertainty leave you feeling jaded

Stop being a kid

Try to place what really fits

 

From here, where do we go?

What do I know?

Reality never lies

but should I really let this love die,

covering my heart with more lies?

 

R.

(Jakarta, 7/9/2017 – 7:00 am)

“IN YOUR EYES”

In my eyes, you’re the confusing one. Sometimes you tire me out, but I refuse to give up yet.

Sometimes you smile kindly at me, just like you do at everybody else. To me, the world looks much brighter because of your dazzling smile. But…ah, well. You’ll probably think I’m just using some pickup lines.

Who has caused you to think so? Why does it seem difficult for you to believe in the sincerity of anyone’s praise?

Occasionally, you have that faraway look. Sometimes you fail to conceal the wound inside. When you do, your smile stiffens.

There’s frozen fury and pain in your eyes. Every time you’re asked, you shrug. Sometimes you shake your head and answer, “I’m okay.”

I also notice some of your friends’ attitude. Some are eagle-eyed, staring at me suspiciously. My movements are monitored in such a way, especially when I get too close to you.

They are watching your back, for some reasons. I’m sure you’re not as fragile as that.

“Once they let down their guard, women are always easy to be fooled,” you scoffed furiously once. “Once defeated, it’s still women who are always blamed!”

Oh, the agony in your voice. Maybe that’s why you were so angry that night. After the book club’s short story reading and poetry reciting we attend weekly, that event ended in a disaster.

I’m sorry. Suddenly I just had that urge to kiss you when we were both in the kitchen. Hollywood sentimentality. You immediately realised and pushed me.

“Back off.” God, your voice was icy cold. Without waiting for me to recover from shock, you ran off. You left the venue just like that, ignoring your friends’ cry of surprise.

“Bri?? You’re leaving now??”

— // —

You were really furious. You answered none of my phone calls. You didn’t reply to my Whatsapp messages.

You also refused to sit next to me at the same weekly event. You didn’t want to look at me. If you had to, it was as if I was the most despicable creature you’d ever seen. Honestly, I couldn’t stand being treated that way. It was as bad as hearing you argue with your friends about me. Your voice raised, laden with emotions:

“Okay, fine! So I’m the overly dramatic and paranoid one.”

I had to know from your friends about what had happened to you. From them, I heard of that man. Someone who had hurt you in the past.

Even when he successfully kissed you, at least you refused to let him force you to do more than that. This is not a moral issue for you. He’d asked for too much. You’ve made your choice and that man didn’t respect you at all.

My admiration and sadness just went out to you even more. I was amazed with how adamant you were when you dismissed the man. You weren’t scared of being left behind.

I was sad, because you thought all men were just the same, only after your body. I’m not like them…

— // —

You received a bouquet of white roses and a large brown teddy bear in front of your door. There was an attached envelope between the bear’s joined paws. You sat by the front porch and opened it. Then you read my note.

After that, you just hugged the teddy bear. There were tears in your eyes.

I secretly watched you from one of the cars parked in front of your house. I glanced at the little, blue velvet box in my hand.

This ring can wait. Right now, I just need you to accept my apology. I’ll be waiting patiently, until you’ll be able to see me like this in your eyes:

Briana, I’m not that kind of man. I’m not the kind who wants to hurt you…

 

R.

(Translated from: http://ruangbenakruby.com/2016/09/di-matamu/ )