Why I won’t apologise for being me

personal

It’s been a while since I wrote something that isn’t work related.

But today, since I have a minute to spare I thought I’d write an update.

I’m working now – yes, no more freelancing from my couch. As fun as that was, it was time for progress. I love where I’m at now, every day I learn something new and I think I’m doing alright.

My personal life, it’s been a rollercoaster.

I was seeing this guy and while I was sure that I made myself clear that things had to be light and casual, his selective hearing thought I was playing around with his emotions.

First of all, nothing emotional next to me ranting about my day happened. I didn’t want any involvement because when we were meeting each other, I had just started work and my schedule was erratic. This fella calls in the dead of the night, drunk, while I had only 3 hours left to sleep. Was it wrong that I got upset? I told him off and made clear if he were to call me, there are proper times. The following weekend, I texted him, but he said he’d already been seeing someone else.

Another guy I met for a date over the holidays, we hit it off fine. Or so I thought… this guy worked evenings while I tend to fall asleep around 11pm. So when he wanted to meet up, I made an exception to wait for him, little did I know humans are just as flaky if not more compared to a freshly baked pastry. So I sent him a goodnight text, stating clearly how I was disappointed because I actually liked him enough to want to get to know him.

Now I don’t understand why these two guys, when I say I’m busy, I have work, and I generally just want to rest – would treat it as if I said they needed to work harder for me.

So I want to throw this question out to the internet, WHY DO GUYS HAVE SELECTIVE HEARING?

Additionally, while it is a rhetoric question – why are hardworking girls put down for chasing their career?

I was in a Grab car earlier this week, I merely mentioned that I happened to be working the weekend. The first thing the driver asked was about the status of my relationship, as if it would have made a difference if I had a boyfriend/girlfriend.

It’s mid 2017, why is a girl that would rather work or learn more skills is still being judged if they are single and over 23 years old?

I would just like to put out to the cyberspace, that I choose to work hard – and even if I didn’t have to… I would still be chasing something more than a marriage proposal. It’s as simple as me also not planning to procreate. Why do I have to follow an archaic stigma put upon women that would rather buy a plane ticket to Fiji than a stroller that’s adjustable? Come on, peeps it’s time for progress.

Another thing I would like to touch on this long rant post – I’ve held back a lot – is about my anxiety and how I choose to control the outbursts that it comes with.

I like cleaning my apartment, it is organised in a way that I know where everything is. Little things like my ballerina figurine or my ceramic monkey have meaning to me. So when somebody else whom I knew less than a few hours suggest change or offer to tidy up – I get triggered because I’ve set a system and while tape may not be able to hold the bed slats up, I will eventually find a time to figure out what will.

It’s not an overreaction when I set rules that will allow me not to go full on homicidal – it’s a preventive action from my overreaction if things were done different from how I set my first home to be.

I make my points very straightforward, I’ll bend if I feel like it’s the only way I won’t break. I make known my mental illness only to those who should know – this case being the housemate I live with. I will accept negotiations to a certain point where it does not create a ticking time bomb in my head.

People should be aware that for cases like mine, I control tiny figurines and pink spray bottles filled with cleaning chemicals in replacement of the bigger things in my head that I cannot. Approach carefully and be wary on how my tone changes in a defensive way when the little things are tinkered with.

At the end of the day, I do not want to snap because of movements of objects that I had set for a specific reason, and saying “Oh it’s just in your head” will never help me from not curling in the corner of my queen size bed validating your dismissal of my issues.

I’m done apologising for being true to myself, I’m over making adjustments to my boundaries because others ridicule the system that keeps me at bay, I will not tolerate or be pushed over to apologise about my mental state or choices. I’ve worked on myself too hard for anyone to dismiss my best efforts to be a better person.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight.

For those feeling the same way or are in similar situations, leave a comment or tweet me on my twitter @shenntyara 🙂 I update (almost) daily.

For others, please take account on your actions and words because to those “overreacting”, it matters more than you think.

X.

 

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Fathers and Strangers

personal, poetry

To whom it may concern,

You didn’t teach me how to brush my teeth, neither were you there when I saw the tooth fairy. But somehow I have your smile that has been dimmed for a while.

You were not around to cheer away my fears, you didn’t witness me fall or put the bandaid on my scraped knee. But your bones are the ones that frame my body.

It wasn’t you that took me to watch my first movie, you did not introduce me to Ron and Harry, not even one bedtime story. Yet everything I see, are from these eyes you gave me.

Our likeliness is what I was blamed for, put to shame for, so much that I’d curse your name for walking out that door. Leaving me with your face distorted in a photograph and nothing more. Twenty five years this October, the days you cross my mind are those I do not have strength to stay sober.

Hate is what you left in the woman that birth me, jealousy that filled her eyes whenever she looked at me. From the moment I was free, your image is the only thing she wants to see. Your blood runs through my veins, but to me, to me… you’re a just a name.

What would I say if you came? Did you think my life was a game? You and my mother who wanted to play yet I am the one that has to pay? Would it change anything if I said I’m gay? Does it matter which monster I slay? Why couldn’t you just stay?

Maybe, instead I would thank you. For giving life to the egg that drops and letting me grow up with my Pops. For taking that hike and allowing me to be raised by Mike and his bikes. For not giving me the chance to share with you my father daughter dance.

Yet here I am guarded and broken hearted, still wondering, was I the reason you departed?

Dancing Around the Rainbow

LGBT, personal

I never expected this. Ever. But here goes…

There was always this curiosity in me, but until last week, I’ve never pursued it. Mostly because I grew up in a society that only accepts heterosexual relationships. Sure, there were moments in college that I kissed girls on dares and a brief holiday where a cute pilot expressed her interest. But that was it for me… until about two months ago.

I saw this girl, my immediate reaction was “oh, she’s cute” and I thought like the other girls I’ve found cute, it would pass. That weekend I was working the same event as her, and I found myself at times just looking at her from where I was stationed,  and every time I caught her smiling, my initial thought of her made me blush.

It was weeks after an actual conversation with her that I got myself brave enough to ask her to join me at a club. Surprised and excited that she said yes was where I kinda knew that this was a real attraction. Whether it’s just towards her, or the female gender is yet to be known.

I don’t know where to categorize myself yet, but for the first time ever I am open to the possibility of dating somebody of the same gender.

But this… whatever it is, is new and fresh and exciting and terrifying to me. I opened up to my best friend who’s planning a wedding in the next two years and while she’s supportive about my choices, she also brought up the things I worried about myself. If this isn’t a passing phase, what happens next? How would I break it to the rest of my friends?

At one point I think the hardest thing was saying it out loud to myself;

I like guys, but I like girls, too. 

On a different note, I am performing stand up at a rainbow event in June. More details about that will be updated once I can.

Leave in comments what you’d like to read more about.

X

Alternate Realities

personal

Tonight I lost a battle with my washing machine.

Ridiculous as it sounds, I think my washer hates me. It refuses to spin the excess water from my load of laundry.

James Arthur is playing on repeat… and I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my gut. I’ve been sober for roughly a week now, not that it’s a hard thing. I prefer to drink with company.

In this 553 square foot apartment, top floor with the dream view… I’ve been nesting. Around 2 a.m. I find myself without fail thinking of an alternative reality. One with the person I wish was here. One where the pain in my gut is only because I’m hungry. One where my washer continued it’s course to spin. One with a TV instead of candles on my living room mantle.

The excess water dwelling in my lavender scented clothes seems like it’s mocking the excess feelings I hold for the person who is now a stranger.

The city lights seem dimmer than they should be. Maybe it’s just me, but even the fireworks doesn’t feel as grand.

Anyway, sorry for the midnight somber thoughts… will be uploading pics of the apartment soon.

X

 

Things my mother taught me

personal, poetry

My mother taught me about unrequited love,

By showing me that even the biggest of my accomplishments was not enough. The gold stars and hard work I achieved, the boundaries that pushed me to the brink of insanity… could not even have her blink… my way.

My mother gave me lessons in sacrifice,

The love of my life, the friends I had, the home I built, the family that was not by blood… I sacrificed it all for her. My life paused like a bad movie on an idle TV set in a living room filled with boxes surrounded by dust bunnies while she reminds me constantly how she sacrificed her life to have me before she turned seventeen.

My mother never made me cry,

more than five minutes. Not because she didn’t want me to show weakness but because a stick of her Marlboro lights take five minutes to burn and with the last ash from that styrofoam filter, my problems should be out of the picture. My tears were a distraction in her filtered life. my problems eventually became white noise she does not want to hear of.

My mother was a model,

living the life of a housewife, unsatisfied, filled with booze and bitterness except for the days she would remember about God. Leaving me to struggle to find the balance between enjoying life and keeping my weight under the pressure she whispers into my dreams.

My mother showed me how to use concealer,

to hide the black circles from the nights I had to pick her up at the club in my pajamas. She taught me how to hold my belly in while I walk because a model’s daughter should never slouch or have a permanent pouch.

My mother took me to the doctors,

who had needles and wires that dug into my fat and pumped me with drugs that stopped my hunger and killed the drive of hormones inside my body so I could fit the dress she bought two sizes smaller. The dentists she had put braces on me not because my teeth were crooked but so I had a hard time eating, not that the corsets I wore under my school uniform was enough but because it  was never enough to stop her socialite friends to comment on how I was “such a big girl now”.

My mother taught me how to cook,

at the age of six because the divorce took a toll and son away from her. It took me a week to finish a box of cereal, a stool to reach the high cupboards where the cans of Campbell soup, and help from the lady next door to make sure I didn’t mix up Clorox to the flower printed dress I needed to wear to school.

My mother taught me how to lie,

about the restless nights, the sleepless weeks, the mother-daughter days at the slimming spa, the puncture wounds from the liposuction surgery, the screaming battles we had, the hunger suppressing pills, the secret boyfriend, and the bullshit that only lets everyone see us as a happy family.

My mother was fantastic,

with making my life toxic. The premature labor she made me absolutely sure was my fault. The vault of lies I keep for her and the death of any hope I had which she drove me to bury deep under ground.

My mother taught me about responsibility,

because that was what she handed over to me. The responsibility of taking care of a baby at seventeen because heaven knows how dark the baby blues took over her, the responsibility of juggling university and a household to upkeep at nineteen because she wanted me to have a taste of a fraction of the struggles she went through the time she had me. The responsibility of watching the words I speak so I never have to put others through the pain of hearing that I was responsible for her losing the love of her life and the youth she never had.

My mother knows how to drive,

me insane. Every membrane in my atom pushes me to not let her win in the mind games that she plays with my brain. Knowing that even if I do, if I do… there’s nothing to gain.

 

Growing Up Privileged

opinions, personal

Growing up I was always accompanied by a housekeeper, butler, driver, nanny, etc. Before you say “OMG, she’s spoiled”, it is common for an Indonesian household to have helpers; whether that me a distant cousin or someone from a maid agency.

When I was younger my parents were busy, many nights and even months at a time I would be left at home with a guardian. Now this may be the cause of my mother issues, and while I could have grown into the stereotypical bitch that many of my in the same sort of family were, I didn’t.

My parents taught me to treat everyone that worked for us as equals, because at the end of the day we are human.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents. But my driver was the one who taught me how to drive a car, my nanny helped me with my braids every morning in kindergarten, my butler knew where my best friends lived, my housing complex’s security guards sent my lunch to school when I had forgotten them and my maid was the one who without fail made me a cup of tea when I was revising my exam notes.

These people whom others see just as employees, are the ones who taught me to stay humble. With a salary that is easily a fragment of my allowance, they feed their families. While they stay invisible to most, the moment they go off for holidays or finish their term of contract, their work matters.

The ironed shirts before a meeting, the brew of fresh coffee in the morning, the dust bunnies under the bed.

I am letting go of one of my family’s best employee today, my dad is moving back to the States while I start my own life in an apartment I hope I can manage myself.

Ismiyati has 5 children, she’s a widow that stands as a backbone to her family. While she wasn’t educated, she has the determination to make sure her children will be. I see her video call her youngest while I have my cigarette in the back yard, he’s 6 years old but for the past 4 years, his contact with his mother has only been through the telephone. Her eldest got married and lives away from her siblings, and despite having her own family, her mother is the one that still sends her money.

Manci was our driver back in Indonesia, I’ve known him for nearly 2 decades – that’s most of my life. I call him ‘uncle’ because he was that to me, more than the uncle I have from my mother’s family. He has 3 sons, the eldest is a year younger than me. Uncle Manci worked with our family until his eldest graduated college. I remember him being my safe place whenever I had a heated argument with my mother, he taught me how to drive around the housing complex we lived in and then giving me the wheel to drive home from school when I got my permit. He sent me on my dates and told my mother I went to meet my girlfriends and he hid my secrets when I needed him to.

When I was living in Cambodia back in 1997, I had a nanny named Sophie. She had barely passed puberty at that time but she had to work to help support her family. I don’t remember much about those days but I remember her teaching me how to french braid my hair, I remember her playing with my barbie dolls in the playroom, and I remember her keeping my nightlight on because she knew I was afraid of the dark.

When I was 8 years old, my mother had gone through a divorce and I had to move to a new school. I spoke no Indonesian but I wanted to follow my cousins in the red and white uniforms to the public school near my aunt’s house. My butler, Boy (yes his name was Boy) followed me everywhere, I still hear the stories about how I would sit nicely with my friends while my butler peaked into the class and wrote down my assignments. Sadly last year, he passed away… however the anecdote about my math class stayed alive I came home confused and asked my mother “Mom, what is 2 river 2?” – in Bahasa Indonesia the word multiply is the same as the word river… my butler then had to explain that I had learnt mathematics that day, “Sayang, they mean times… 2 times 2 is 4” my mom explained.

Before the divorce in 1998, we were living in Malaysia with a young Pilipino couple as our maid and butler, Rose and Mel. Because of Mel, my papa and I the treehouse in our back yard was clean of snakes from the mango tree it sat on. While Rose always helped me with my bake sales and kept me company when I wanted to go swimming at the country club down the road.

Over the years and houses we’ve lived in, I am grateful for the help they’ve granted us. While yes, there have been cases where the person we employed did us wrong but I would say that my family and I have been blessed with the people who comes through our doors and have helped us keep the house a home.

I realize how privileged I am, and I am blessed with an extension of non-blood related family. Those mentioned in my stories above or the ones whom I’ve left out. Which leaves me to the point that I am sad whenever I have to say goodbye because they were the ones whom I shared stories or ranted to, the company on Pokemon hunts, the midnight cups of tea, the wake up calls, and the reminders of the tiny things that adds up.

To those who are in these positions, on behalf of the children you raised, thank you. To those who have these people in your lives, please treat them well. I’ve seen and heard about the injustice done to them by the people who they take of and I am angered.

Most of these ladies and gentlemen have to leave their families behind to earn a living, so if you are privileged to have them stay with your family, please be grateful.

X

Being 24 and working multiple jobs

opinions, personal, Uncategorized

Many people underestimate the position of being a freelancer.

It’s not because I’m too lazy to work in an office job, nor is it because i continuously get rejection letters for the jobs that I do apply for.

Mainly, it’s a way I get to choose the work I want. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done the agency life, the corporate life, hell – I’ve worked retail for a bit back in college. But none of those jobs, as much as I loved being in an agency – gave me a purpose.

Yes, I still take on mundane tasks  to pay the bills with, but that’s a given – not all jobs are for fun.

My assistant lecturing job is by far my favorite, but since it’s only a short semester I have to be ready to let go of my 60+ babies… and even that job has the downside of 10 different WhatsApp groups pinging every day and a constant need of a power outlet to charge.

My project planning job is a passion project – meaning until everything gets running, it doesn’t pay yet. I choose to stay on board because I believe in the project, the purpose of it stays close to my heart. I will post more about this once I get the okay. Promise!

and then there’s my transcribing and translation job…

While I work with a team, this is the job that pays Starbucks addiction and *when I take on a lot* pays for my 26th floor apartment. This is my least favorite but it pays the most when I do take in documents. The funny back story to how I got this job is actually at the last day of my corporate copywriting job… my Tinder contact asked me whether I was free, of course I thought it was so we could meet up for coffee but no, instead he offers me a freelance gig. Close to 8 months and 80 hours of audio files later, I’m the first person they contact.

So I must be good at it, right?

success-is-not-about-how-much-money-you-make-famous-black-inspirational-quotes-difference-lives

I like to choose jobs that are close to my passion: arts.

I’ve done the personal assistant job before and quit after 2 weeks because I did not see a future in it for me. The jobs that I take involving art all have one thing in common, I get to learn more about the industry.

Before I save enough to go back to school to learn – which I want to do for myself – I vowed that if I was given the choice to hustle my way through connections I make within the industry, I will take it.

Many people I know, my age and even older are sometimes too afraid to jump off the wagon and let themselves be trapped in an average 9-5 job because that’s what they’re comfortable with. I realized when I was in the corporate life that I hated that. I knew with every atom in my being that if I continued then I wouldn’t get to evolve as a person, nor would I get closer to what I wanted to do later in life.

I’m not saying it was easy, it’s still hard to do until today.

Waking up is a hustle, hearing my mother complain and offering me mundane safe jobs, getting compared to my parent’s friend’s children who are earning ten times what I do regularly is tough. But I push through, I’m grateful for the people that offered to mentor me and widen my connections because it is because of them that I am still hustling – and enjoying every bit of it.

Being 24 years old and working multiple jobs is not easy. I wouldn’t suggest it to just anyone, but if you want something the way I want my dream, it’s going to be worth every battle – even the ones with yourself.

X