Is drifting into sleep and waking up with one name on your lips.

What is pain?

Pain is sadness, rejection disappointment, and regret. Pain is waking up at 4 AM and sitting in front of your laptop or notebook without being able to come up with at least a sentence of something that is true. Not knowing the answer, and even worse, not knowing what the question is.

Not knowing that you’re in such a pain that you think everything is alright and then one day in the middle of a client meeting-a session of furious sex with that person you’ve been chasing for a month-a loud dinner with people you want nothing to do in your life-a traffic jam-a chat with someone you thought you liked-a family lunch you suddenly felt that shortness of breath that feeling of sinking into nothingness and you realized that you’ve been living in lies.

That day years ago when you tried to fill that abyss with something concrete, something real that you can see, remember and record with your own eyes, that physical act of hurting yourself again and again and again and that disappointment of finding out that apparently there are times when what is within could actually cause more damage than the ones that are skin deep.

Is not just scratches on your hands, the bleeding knuckles, the cracked wall, the objects around you that you used to replace the presence of someone, the inanimate objects you played around in your hands, or the things you swallowed and chewed.

Is drifting into sleep and waking up with one name on your lips.

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That time when I felt especially cocky and announced to the whole wide world that #lifeisgood for yours truly

What’s a good life?

The question Mumu and friends from Kopdar Budaya asked during the #lifeisgood session, breeds different answers when the discussion ended.

For some people, a good life consists of happiness that comes from simple things in their daily life. That time when A was able to scare the shit out of his friends by showing them violent and graphic pictures and/or videos. That time when B was feeling extraordinarily bubbly, and thought that by being that way her mood affected the people around her, making her a doubly bubbly person. The fact that coffee could always boost C’s mood in the morning, and how a friendly traffic and a nicely-behaved boss could turn a day into a shiny one. The way D’s daughter and husband amused her to no end every day, with their cute and silly verbal exchanges.

Karmin believes that everything will be alright. Although there are times when his life seemed so unsure, when a few days before the next payday and the money in his pocket was barely enough for whatever he was trying to do, he still believed that things would be alright. And for some crazy reasons, it did. At least for him, and according to his standards.

Now, he’s willing to put that credo to the test by resigning from work and to see whether life would, after all, be alright for him. He’s a braver man than I am and I wish him well.

Mumu is a lot like him, although he didn’t go out of his way to go leave his job. For Mumu, emotions in life are not something that needs to be taken too seriously. Of course, he experienced ups and downs. He gets bored, he becomes happy, angry, and in love. But for him, feelings are not something that are in control to his daily life. So what if he’s bored? Does that mean he should do something? What’s so wrong about being bored? So what if he’s happy? Does that mean he should shout to the world and let them know how joyful he is?

Mumu kept his feelings to himself and he considers himself a fairly emotionally flat guy. The guy smiled a lot and his Twitter updates showed controlled anger here and there.

For me, a good life is a combination of good days and not-so-good days. A good day consists of a number of good anchors that will help me getting through the day in fairly sane state of mind.

My morning routine, waking up real early to write only for myself, and when I feel especially healthy, going to the gym. Finishing a half-hour, and sometimes an hour, session at the treadmill, the shower afterwards, reading a chapter or two at the gym’s lobby, before walking to the car for a very short commute to the office. A few hugs from best friends in the office, more so when the day became especially busy and stressful, and the brief coffee getaway to the cafe downstairs where I could jot down a line or two in my journal.

The playlist of pointless gloomy songs I kept on playing on and on and on everyday no matter what mood I am in.

Small things.

That time when I felt especially cocky and announced to the whole wide world that #lifeisgood for yours truly.

Life is good

What’s a good life for me?

I’ve been using #lifeisgood hashtag on Twitter for years. But when a friend asked me to discuss what it means to me, especially in the context of my digital life, I’m not sure what I can say to that.

Life is good when you can work, and do your work well. To love what you do with your work, to the point that it no longer feels like working. I haven’t reached this stage. I’m still in that I’m-doing-well-with-my-work, doing what I can do best in terms of what’s expected of me in my line of work. I make good money, my career is moving upwards, I get noticed by important people in the company and in the industry. Sometimes, I can go home on time, or probably around 7 or 8 pm, which is fine considering my workload. If the work is too much to handle and I have to stay up late in the office, I don’t really mind, because it is something that is somewhat given, something that is expected from people working in this industry, the communications industry.

Photo by @grolano.

Life is good because although I’m busy and can rarely see and meet my friends, I can still keep in touch with them, update myself on what my friends are doing. I am never completely out of the loop. If I can finally meet them after a month or two, which is good, it’s as if we’ve just met yesterday. The things me and my friends talked about, it’s like we hang out all the time. Yes, some jokes kept on being retold, some topics continued to pop up in every conversation, but these are anchors in our relationship. These are the things we cherish. The memories, the lame jokes, the same references, the old old old stories that kept being told on and on and on and on again.

Life is good because now, more than ever, I get to travel more often. Not somewhere fancy. But who needs fancy places? It’s the idea of moving when you need to move, when you no longer can stand the thought of staying at the same place. When the air that you breathe feels like iron, the steps you take day in day out don’t take you anywhere. It’s good when you can finally make plans to disappear once a month, to become someoneĀ  else, or still be you but hopefully a more interesting version of you. It’s good because you will lose yourself and go back, maybe not renewed, but recharged. Because these journeys will leave your mind clean and ready to be polluted again by the city you love to hate.

Life is good because every now and then you can sit down in a coffee shop sipping an over-priced hazelnut latte, browsing through a mundane list of unimportant things that somehow you need to look at again and again and again. It’s good because all these acts make you feel whole and empty on and on again. You throw away those dying cells in your soul and renew your thoughts, your existence, and in the process of that you continue to recreate yourself.

Maybe not into someone new but into someone that is you.

Life is good because although you can’t really write, you get to exercise your writing muscles by typing furiously on your office-issued laptop, or when you feel like it, to pour your heart out into your lovely white MacBook because hell yeah everyone knows an Apple product has a soul and it can understand what you’re saying without you having to utter a word. It’s good because when you need to, you can always buy an expensive Moleskine notebook, and sit down in an obscure coffee shop in an upscale shopping mall or a laid-back cafe by the beach somewhere far but not too far away and scribble your life away like dear old Hemingway.

It’s good because you know what doesn’t kill you will kill you anyway and that’s the way life works. So you feel content, in line with the universe, with the good and the bad elements that make up life as you know it. As told by people who claimed to know it.

Life is good because you can finally think of buying that Feist concert ticket, any ticket, that used to be too expensive. It’s good because yes it’s all materialistic but who would deny how fulfilling it can be? It’s good because you can always say it’s good, and confirm it publicly, and be sure that it really is good because you are brave enough to say it out loud.

It’s good because let’s face it, it is because you said so. It’s good, because I told you it’s good. And a cute little hashtag, #lifeisgood, is all that it takes for you to believe in it.

just moving in

I started blogging in cubicleuniverse.blogspot.com since February 2008. Yesterday, I moved the stuff there into this blog. Why? Because I’ve been living in a new media fast lane and going insane.

Back in August 2005, I started a Multiply account and blogged about things that I like. Its closed platform suited my needs to write and share personal stuff with close friends. Sometimes I wrote in English, but mostly in Bahasa Indonesia.

Later, I bumped into Blogger and WordPress. I liked Blogger for its simplicity and decided to create cubicleuniverse.blogspot.com for English rants, and malamkemarau.blogspot.com for poems in English and Bahasa Indonesia, as backups for my Multiply treasures. After compulsive-obsessive Anya showed me what could be done with WordPress, I created my fourth blog, duniahitam.wordpress.com for non-poetry writings in Bahasa Indonesia.

One Multiply account, two in Blogger, and one in WordPress. Not to mention accounts in Stumble Upon, LinkedIn, Livejournal, Friendfeed, and I don’t know what else. It didn’t take a long for me to realize that keeping my blogs up to date or actively joining the conversation in social networks is more difficult than struggling with grammar and vocabulary. So many ideas, so little time to think clearly and put them into writings. Especially since Facebook and Twitter came along.

I couldn’t free myself from the fast lane, but decided to take some control of my online self and roll out a spring-cleaning program. Starting with re-organizing my blogs.

Now that this post’s done, let’s go back to tweeting. šŸ™‚

(A more pathetic but similar in spirit post in my Bahasa Indonesia blog, two months ago).

saturday afternoon balloon bomb

I was sitting with my girlfriend in Starbucks Plaza Semanggi, browsing the free world of the internet with our new Macbooks, when suddenly we heard this loud bang.

Five meters from where we were sitting, four women giggled and pointed their at something on the floor.

Something green and limp. A balloon.

For a second there something in me screamed ‘bomb!’. Why not? With Amrozi and his asshole gang members about to be executed any time, we’ve been getting SMS about how the Bali Bombers friends are planning an attack in Jakarta.

What a fucked up country.

And now we have to live with this moronic Pornography Law recently passed by the equally idiotic House of Representatives.

About coffee

I am back again. Apparently the brainstorming hasn’t started yet. Instead my two friends, the couple, are talking about coffee, Nescafe and such.

The boyfriend is having a side effect from some ‘mineral’ drink he had recently. The girlfriend is trying to find something.

I’m here typing sipping coffee. The one that she said was made from leftovers in factories.

Fantastically full

I am now sitting in my friend’s house, up in the attic (actually it’s a small office on the second floor but I just like to call it an attic to make it sound more colorful), with a full stomach and a slowly-rewinding brain.

We were here to discuss about a job. To brainstorm some more after our initial one last Saturday.

But our sleepy eyes and bulging stomachs are enough proof that it’s going take more than a lake of coffee to keep ourselves awake through the night.

I should be going now. I might come back and write here some more.

Oh, one more thing. Menadonesse Tinorangsak and sayur kangkung for dinner before a brainstorm is not really a fantastic idea.

Sunday, April 13, 2008. 8.37 PM. Anya’s attic.

Say hi to English

This blog will function as a medium for me to try my hand and mind at expressing myself properly in English. Some of the postings might be translations from previous posts in my other blogs (blackuniverse.multiply.com and malamkemarau.blogspot.com), while others might be originally conceived in English.

I will be writing mostly about the city where I live (Jakarta), my country (Indonesia), my work (public relations), and my passion (art and culture).