Notes: The Wanderer

www.catatanfani.comRunning has always been my thing and I have always been into outdoor running. Unfortunately, since I moved to  Bangladesh in early 2016, outdoor running did not seem to be visible. It is because I cannot wear my ‘normal’ running gear -sport bra and short- as it is culturally inappropriate. As a foreigner, I just have to respect the local culture. Additionally, the 2016 terrorist attack which occurred in July 2016, has also limited our movement. Therefore, I decided to give up my hobby partly and started doing indoor running at the gym.

I must say indoor running is quiet boring because all I had to do was just staring on the screen all the time which then led me to think ‘When am I going to complete this run?‘. I did not enjoy it all. Yet, what to do? I had no choice. I had to force myself to fall in love with it. After months of training, I become used to it and I did not mind one way or another as long as I run.

For me, running has always been an important activity to me because it provides me a good dose of endorphin which puts me on a good mood. Additionally, it also helps me to cope with my anxiety and depression problem. Hence, there is just no way for me to skip one run unless I am on the plane or being hospitalized.

Anyhow, three weeks ago, I started to do an outdoor running again, here in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Of course, I still cannot wear my normal running gear but what to do? At the end, I have to compromise and that is okay. I must say that despite the fact it was extremely hot having myself covered with long sleeve shirt and long pants, it was not bad at all actually. As I run around the park, crossed the street and went inside small alleys, I discovered so many things including the road, the beauty of local attire and the contrast of people’s lifestyle which I would never see if I only run in the gym. And I must say that since I arrived in Dhaka, other than the birth of my son, I have never been happier because I was able to run outside.

Outdoor running  means a lot to me. It gives me the sense that I am a free social being  and  I am not trapped. I can see what kind of place and society I am living in. I wish this place doesn’t have security problem so I can explore the city by running every morning without any worry.

Ride the bus

Notes: Good People, Good Heart

www.catatanfani.comSometimes I wonder, where are the good people going? Sometimes, I feel that there are not many good genuinely kind people around. If some are being  too kind, I often think that there must be motivation behind that. Or if some are being too friendly, sometimes I think that they would just blast me in the back. But then, I guess I am wrong. I guess I am too blind to see the fact that actually there are so many genuinely good people around me.

So today, I went to Coldstone, an ice cream shop in Gulshan 1. I went there, not to have ice cream but to have a cup of cappuccino and a piece of brownie. I love their coffee and I love their brownies because it’s not too sweet and very moist. It’s just finger-licking good and it seems that I am addicted to it. “Oh nooo…..! Is it gonna be another coffee cake disaster again?

Anyway, as am in love with their brownies, I somehow become their regular customer for coffee and brownies, not their ice cream. Even one of the waiters started noticing me and always remembering my order. I vividly remember when I ordered coffee and brownies without ice cream for the very first time, he raised his eyes brows and asked “Only brownies?” and I said “Yes, only brownie!

It came across to me that somehow he  found it strange because many of them came to Coldstone to have ice cream but I only ordered coffee. So he tried to assure himself that what he heard was correct and asked me similar question every time I went there. “Ma’am, you don’t want ice cream?” and I answered “No. I just want coffee and brownies please. I love your brownies because it’s not so sweet and very moist,

As I finished having my coffee, I asked for bill and this waiters somehow surprised me by giving me four pieces of free brownies. “Ma’am, this is for you, from me.” He said politely with friendly sweet smile. I was somehow moved by his act of kindness.

I must say that this is not the first that I encountered with this kind of circumstance. Yesterday for instance, my personal trainer gave me a big surprise, one unit of bicycle. I know some people might find it strange but it doesn’t matter to me. Or last year for instance, my nanny gave me a set of clothes for baby A when he was born. It was a set of nice clothes. Or, the day when my driver brought me green coconut or fruit or vegetable from his villages. Or, my Indonesian friends who invited me to have some homemade mouthwatering Indonesian food in the last minute. Or, the day, one of wise Indonesian lady dropped me a package of vegetable.

These occasions got me thinking and reflecting that some of these people are just ordinary people. Some of these people might not earn a fortune. Yet, they always try to give the best to their boss or friends by spending large amount of money to give the best present to their boss as a form of gratitude or the best gift to their friends as an act of kindness.

Although I must say that some of us sometimes might think “Oh, they want more money that’s why they give us this kind of gift,” or “Oh, it’s just a way for them to show their gratitude for giving them job and treating them well as they know that some of their peers are not as lucky as they are. So they are just genuinely being kind,” or they are just simple people with good heart, expect nothing in return. Right?

Meanwhile, we, the upper middle class or the educated people, often time count how much money we want to spend on gift to a family or friend, which is also not bad as we must always be aware with our cash flow. Or, some even have to brag how much money they have spent on a gift to their friend and complained how cheap and worthless gift they got as a return simply because they wanna show how generous they are while the rest are just plain old cheap people. “Ooo boy

As a conclusion, the occasion taught and showed me that many ordinary people tend to have genuine heart than the upper middle class people who tend to be busy counting every penny that they have and/or or being suspicious or being to calculative in their move. Of course, we cannot generalize them all. Yet, I believe that being kind is so easy and it is free of charge. Yet, sometimes I wonder why aren’t we doing that more often?! I asked myself and I don’t know the exact answer. I guess we are too critical or too suspicious or too calculative in our move. Hence we often have trust issue with people around us.

Ride the bus

 

Notes: Losing Your Body? Nah!

www.catatanfani.com (1)Many people say that once a woman becomes a mother, she will lose her body, become fat and have jiggly yet flabby body especially those who has baby delivered through c-section including me. Don’t even dream to get your body back, so they say. But here I am, I prove them wrong. You can still have a well-shape body even you have many children be it through normal delivery and/or c-section.

I started getting back to my training regime at seventh weeks postpartum. I must say that I didn’t find it easy. Sometimes I got frustrated because I didn’t seem to lose any baby fat after working out for one month. Sometimes I got frustrated or even depressed because l only run at the slow pace. Sometimes I even gave up, just sat down, did no exercises for hours and just played with my phone because I felt that I did not make any progress. 

But one day, I said to myself “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just started again,” so I started to take it easy that time. I just forgot about the aesthetics result and just focused on the form of my exercise as well as my diet.

At the end, aesthetic result is not my main exercise’s goal but sanity is. As a result, I got my body back faster than I expected as you can see on the picture above. 

Ps: no whey protein is being used. It’s all natural diet.

Ride the bus

Catatan: Tentang Bekerja

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Perempuan yang Bekerja [2016:EO]

Sebagai orang yang enggak bisa anteng dan meneng, saya enggak bisa hanya duduk di rumah dan do nothing sebagai ibu rumah tangga. Bahkan, saya enggak pernah berminat atau bercita-cita untuk menjadi a fulltime housewife. Rasanya ada sesuatu yang kurang dalam kehidupan saya. Apalagi sebagai wartawan, dulu saya selalu bertemu dengan orang yang berbeda-beda setiap harinya dan mendapatkan ilmu baru dari mereka. Belum lagi pekerjaan saya dalam dua tahun terakhir ini yang benar-benar membuka mata saya sebagai individu dan citizen di sebuah negara. Tetapi tahun ini saya harus mengambil jalan tersebut, menjadi a fulltime housewife.

Kenapa? Well, sebenernya tahun ini saya akan melanjutkan sekolah untuk program Master of Global Affairs selama dua tahun di Munk School, University of Toronto, Canada. Rencananya, sebelum kelas dimulai di bulan September lalu, saya mau mengikuti suami saya ke Dhaka, Bangladesh untuk beberapa bulan. Tetapi saya terpaksa harus menunda program tersebut karena saya hamil dengan due date 10 January 2017.

Enggak dapat dipungkiri bahwa sebenarnya banyak perempuan hamil yang masih dapat meneruskan sekolah atau pekerjaan selama musim dingin di belahan bumi utara sana. Tetapi saya memilih untuk mundur kali ini. Kenapa? Well, pertama sebagai first time mom,  I don’t know what to expect during the pregnancy dan saya akan sendirian karena suaminya bertugas di negara lain; bayi akan lahir di musim dingin dan I hate winter, the temperature is unbearable for me; dan yang terakhir saya khawatir saya enggak akan fokus dengan kuliah saya karena dua hal tersebut. Dengan berbagai pertimbangan tersebut, saya memutuskan untuk mengirimkan deferral request email ke mereka. Thanks God, they approved.

So now, what am I going to do in Bangladesh? A new country which I don’t speak its language and can hardly understand its alphabet. Saya mulai stressed. Ada yang bilang “Ya udah sih, mendingan kamu belajar menerima hal tersebut dan nikmatin aja.” atau ada yang bilang “Kamu sih enak, walaupun jobless setidaknya enggak moneyless.” Well, setiap orang kan berbeda-beda. Saya enggak setuju dengan pendapat tersebut. Kenapa? Karena saya belum memenuhi dua kebutuhan dasar saya sebagai manusia sebagaimana dikemukakan oleh Abraham Maslow, yakni ego/harga diri (esteem) dan aktualisasi diri (self-actualization).

Lagipula, apakah hidup ini hanya melulu tentang uang saja? Uang memang penting apalagi kita enggak akan pernah tahu akan apa yang terjadi suatu hari nanti, tetapi saya menyadari bahwa uang enggak membawa kebahagiaan. I can say this because I have been there. Rocking a lot of the high-end fashion designers stuffs and eating in fancy restaurants/bars, yet I was not happy. It does not mean that I don’t like beautiful things anymore but I value things differently. Dan bisa saya bilang, memang jauh lebih menyenangkan apabila kita membeli sesuatu dengan keringat kita sendiri.

Lagipula, sebagai perempuan Indonesia yang melakukan kawin campur, stigma ‘numpang hidup sama mister‘ akan terus melekat pada mereka kecuali mereka bekerja. Lha wong sudah bekerja keras saja masih dilabeli numpang hidup sama mister kok tapi ya itulah manusia.

Saya jadi ingat kata-kata Bapak saya: rumah tangga itu bagaikan gerobak yang ditarik kerbau di mana gerobak akan bergerak lebih cepat jika ditarik oleh dua ekor kerbau ketimbang satu ekor. Selain itu, ketika salah satu kerbau tersebut sakit atau mati, gerobak masih tetap bisa dijalankan meskipun dengan seekor kerbau saja. Dan saya teringat oleh kata-kata tersebut sampai sekarang.

Jujur saja, sita-cita saya, saya enggak cuma bekerja hanya demi uang tanpa menikmati apa yang saya lakukan. Saya ingin mendapatkan pelajaran dari pekerjaan tersebut juga. Dengan begitu, saya akan terus merasa tertantang untuk terus meningkatkan pekerjaan saya dan pengetahuan saya akan sesuatu. Dan tentu saja dengan harapan enggak mengecewakan perusahaan. Selain itu, saya ingin bisa memberikan manfaat terhadap orang lain. Mungkin saya terlalu optimistis, saya lebih memilih untuk bercita-cita tinggi dan terus belajar untuk menggapainya. There is nothing impossible.

Tetapi kali ini, saya harus mengalah untuk sementara hingga saya melahirkan dan mengisi waktu luang saya dengan membaca buku, mendengarkan kuliah umum dari universitas terkemuka melalui podcast, membuat catatan dari kuliah umum dan buku yang saya baca tersebut, olah raga dan belajar memasak. Dengan demikian, saya terus dapat mengekspresikan diri meskipun secara terbatas. Lha wong Mbah Lindu yang sudah 96 tahun saja masih mengekspresikan dirinya kok, masa saya enggak.

Tentu saja ini adalah sebuah pilihan dan setiap orang memiliki prioritas yang berbeda-beda, ada yang memilih jadi fulltime housewife, ada yang memilih untuk terus bekerja, yang penting selama kita bahagia dengan pilihan tersebut, kenapa tidak? Ya toh?

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Notes: On Mental Health

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Drying and dying [2018:EO]

The world marks October 10 as the World Mental Health Day. It aims to raise awareness about the mental health issue. By raising awareness about mental health, people who have mental health problem could get help as soon as possible because they are aware that they have a problem. And I know very well how useful this help can be for one.

As you might have been aware that depression and anxiety are two of mental health issues which have been openly discussed on the Internet in these last few years. Prior to that, people used to hide those problems. They felt that it is embarrassing and they felt ashamed about it because many tend to bully or mock those who are suffering from depression. As a result, many who are suffering from depression do not get help and it could get worse for some people whether some would turn to be an alcoholic, sex addicts, smoker, drug users or even commit to suicide. 

It happened to me a few years ago…

After a piece of bad news broke in 2009, I have always been sad. I was afraid that I would not have enough time to fulfil my dreams. Since then, over the years, I tried to race with time to do as much as I could. Yet, I always felt that I only did a little and it was never enough. It made me upset. I often got home cried and felt miserable. Yet, I thought it was just a simple sadness. I thought I was just being a drama queen.  

It took me years to realize that it was not just sadness as I started to get suicidal thought or suddenly become hysteric. It even landed me in the hospital several times. Since then, I knew I had a problem and I decided to seek help. Yet, I could not seek help from friends or family. I felt that they would judge me or preach to me. So, I built a wall, kept a distance from people and I tried to seek helps from professionals. It was not easy to find the right one. They offered me various solutions including anti-depressant consumption, therapy section, engaging in a religious activity as well as being physically active. I found it hard. Later I figured that exercise was the best solution among others. Yet, it requires self-discipline. 

I vividly remembered one Monday morning when I felt down and my body feeling week because I did not exercise for nearly a week because I was being lazy. That day, I realized that wonderful effect of exercise toward my mood. Since then, I always tried to make time to do it even only for 30 minutes on a daily basis. I forced myself to run even it is only 4 am and many are still sleeping. As time passed by, I become an addict, addict of exercise.  Happy with the result, I maintain until today even with various adjustment. Frankly, I did not really care about the aesthetic result of exercise as my priority is to feel good about myself in mind, body and soul.

Hence if you have a problem, don’t be ashamed to talk about it and seek for bits of help. Share with those who have similar problems, they might be able to help you or they actually might not be able to help you. Nevertheless, it is all about your willingness to acknowledge it and get help. While for you who know anyone with mental health issues, please try to acknowledge it even only by listening to them. Never ignore them especially if they are the loved one. 

Ride the bus

Notes: Let ‘Em Talk!

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As I scrolled down my Facebook’s newsfeed, I came across to an article by The Guardian on a Philadelphia born model Amber Rose titled “Amber Rose interview: Even when I was a virgin, I was called a slut“. I must say that I have been admiring her spirit, I have also been listening to her interviews and following her Instagram as well as Twitter account to understand her perspective on women’s world, as a result, I immediately read the article because I think that Amber is an awesome woman who is outspoken about woman issue. So, I assumed that this article would be worth reading.

As I finished reading the last sentence, this article got me thinking about my personal experience. As time passes, we grew up, we learnt and we choose our own value of life. However, everything that we do, it often becomes the subject of discussion for others.

Why? First of all, because they have nothing else to talk about. Secondly, that is how society taught us. Our society constructs standard what we can and cannot do, the standard of what is right and what is wrong. I would understand that those standards are constructed based on scientific research with sufficient evidence but when it is based on morality, it is very subjective.

In my own experience, I have been called slut or gold digger even right in front of my face over and over again. It still happens until today sometimes. At first, I felt hurt but I grow thick skin by now. At least, I do something real and some (or many) recognise it.

So, if I may say….. do whatever you want to do as long as you do not hurt other people, as long as you are being responsible about it. Never do something just to please others while you are suffering from it.

You Never Miss What You Had Until It’s Gone

ORG__DSC6329It was 10:06 p.m. when I stepped into the house last night. I just got home from watching the premiere of Indonesian film “A Copy of My Mind” at 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. I felt restless and extremely exhausted. All I thought about was good night sleep. After I finished the shower and got ready to bed, I heard my phone beeping. It was from a good friend of mine. Yet, I did not answer his message until I woke up this morning.

Beb,” my friend wrote.

Yes,” I answered.

“I want to break up (with my lover). I’m a sex addict and he said to me that if I slept with other guys, we’re done” My friend wrote.

“Well, if it is the best for you then go ahead. But remember, we have a certain condition that everybody cannot just accept it easily. Unless you enjoy being alone and do not need or want to have somebody to come home to or make you feel complete, then you should break up and continue the adventure.” I went on,

“At the end, casual sex only gives us temporary happiness and temporary sense of acceptance. Those hot, rich and handsome guys normally give no shit about us at all. As soon as they’re done, they are just gonna go.” I continued.

“So I think, we have to ask to ourselves ‘Why do we want to trade one great guy with a beautiful personality and most importantly loves us so much, who also can accept us the way we are, with those dickheads? What are we looking for?’. As they say ‘You never miss what you had until it’s gone.'” I said.

True,” he answered.

Sometimes we just take our lives for granted until we lose everything and regret it. When it is gone, it is gone.

PS: This writing was inspired by my conversation with a good friend of mine. Of course, I shared this story with my friend’s permission.