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Posts Tagged ‘working life’

All right! Here goes nothing! In waiting, in the effort to numb senses and slow down the usual thinking pattern, in between jobs, the God’s forbidden land for those with a chipped pride on the shoulder. Well, all of the above or maybe just for the sake of sanity. Somehow, my brain told my desire, my desire told my fingers to write. Ok, so write I shall. A little voice in my head also says that this is good, this is a therapeutic activity much-needed to pass the day. Well, it is obviously better than fattening oneself with tons of foods.

But then, how am I supposed to begin this so-called therapeutic act. Should I start from the day I was born? No I cant, my brain of emotions haven’t really developed yet at that time. Still adjusting the intake of air to my lung instead of the familiar fish like life I was used to for 9 months. Should I start from the future, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? Don’t think so too. I might not have anything to say about the days to come. Maybe I should start from this very moment. What have led to this very moment? Yeah….? A big blank, blank, blank. Yes, I have to admit, two hands down, I even don’t know how, why, what, could lead to this, to me, my complicated life as it surely feels now. But I surely have to start from somewhere.

How about starting from how I think my surrounding perceived me? Maybe this could be a good start. As however I try to resist and reject, I am still a social being. And unfortunately, what other people think of me or comment on my actions, do matter to how I see myself. Yes, it is surely fruitless to think that I have evolved higher than this. Useless to think that I am beyond what other people’s perception of me, I am and sure will always be effected and endlessly trying to seek approval from others just to feel good about myself and my doing.

Come square and analyze what has just crossed the mind. I surely want to believe that I could survive without others approving nods, without other accusing fingers on things that they do not approved. No matter how often I have told myself, others opinions will not matter and that their branded labels on me will not make me less human. I am still wondering, did it? Does it? Will not matter? Who am I actually? If I am saying that others yakkydy yak will not matter. Why? Every single time, I am bound to think and consider and re-introspecting myself again and again and have all these thoughts of pros and cons running wild in my head back and forward, back and forward and back again which finally leave me drained and very tired? And still feel empty and ready for another set of arguments with whoever crossed my path to defense myself, to stand a ground to prove they are wrong and I am right? What for? What is the use in it? The only thing that I could soundly state and agree with logic is, this is my entire ego seeking an approval. Quite useless and so what? Another day will go by and then I calm down, and act like I never have a battle with anyone over nothing or praise myself for taking a stand on something. On what? On working myself flat-out and dramatizing on all, the all too well life dramas and life episodes? Doesn’t the TV have enough soap operas? Don’t the books spill all that emotional tragedies? Don’t the songs sang high and low and heehaw on that forlorn subject? Should I add more to the session by documenting my own pathetic of whatever life I am having right now?

Yes…. the little red devil in me sigh satisfactorily and smile happily. Now that I am fighting with myself on the due course that I have no one to talk to. The fight is still burned the same for him. Down, down, down to hell I am. Conscience is the worst thing to have in this time while juggling one subject of an argument to the next.

When talking about what others consider of me. I surely can’t help but thinking, is it only me? Or all of those people have the same problems? Surely, I could not read anyone’s mind and maybe too numb to realize and to connect with anyone. This little me just notice that the verbal words and the unspoken certain degrading gestures hurt like hell. Do they? Do they have the same thoughts? There is no way I could find that out. There is no way I could try to figure out others, while so caught up in my own self and my own thinking. But somehow, maybe by trying to figure out about my own self, it could somehow help me figure out others. After all, we do make out of the same substance, same chemicals, and same particles. The things that make me tick, why shouldn’t it make others tick too? Let’s not go all scientific about this or philosophical over this. I am simply trying; desperately trying to figure out what is happening to me and why my existence depends heavily on others. Take it or leave it, is not the question. The effects on my sanity are too much to bear.

Therapeutic. Ah! My ass! I can feel myself turning upside down again, with feeling kind of familiar, kind of like a type of anger, similar sounds like: ding-dong you going nowhere and work myself out for nothing. Nothing. Let’s just forget the whole things, sweep everything under the carpet. Seriously numb my senses again and doze to the subconscious. It worked well before, why shouldn’t it work now. Come on, you need to relax, take a deep breath and forget. Forget. Lure yourself. There is nothing to this; there is no significant value whatsoever. Why bother? Forget, forget. That is exactly why we human can only use less than 10% of our brain. To forget, that’s why. To prevent us from going berserk every time a call on a decision-making time beyond your control and power occurs. There is nothing to decide, be cool, stay cool, peace man! Life goes on, whether you are aware of it or not. You are just a speck of dust in this wide universe. How could you possibly think that your thinking and your battle actually mean something to the continuity of this world? How very vain. How very ha ha ha.

Shut your hole! For once, while I am still breathing. I don’t care; I simply do not give a damn. I will speak, I will pour out my heart and mind content, whether the world is listening or sick and tired of my whining. Do you think I care? It is the all-so goody goody Mother Nature that you should blame not me. I don’t ask to be born. I don’t ask to be born as a human. I don’t ask to be bestowed with brain and emotions. Gosh! Emotions. High time wire and tangle up emotions. Yeah, I challenge you to a duel, if it is your sound opinion that this type of thinking could only be happening to a woman. With all those highly charged hormones, I then should be bound to feel and think this way, yeah right, say it again and I swear to whoever listening and care to witness that you would not see the light of another day. Making utter generalization on this will be your last generalization on anything, at all.

All right, all rise and say “Don’t worry be happy” and hum that dee dada dum little notes. Let’s pretend I have never lost my grip there for a while. Maybe that will help. Even thought I am sure whoever wrote that little notes, was, does and always will have his own share of worry. Doesn’t matter, does it? Whatever!

All right. As this is supposed to be therapeutic. I am not supposed to condemn anyone. Including myself. Just simply stating the facts, be calm and reasonable. It surely will not help in any way to get in the murky water of emotions. Best to avoid it all together. Stick to the fact and analyze it calmly and rationally. You bet, Newton was not swearing his head off when that rotten apple landed smack right on his skulk.

Let’s start again. Right, at this moment in time, I am stuck in stagnation. How about that? I wonder, do all people consider themselves, to have a lot to offer in life? Have so much energy and brainpower and do goods ability in them? Can’t help but turning every stones to better-fying oneself and be useful, feel needed and be proud? Well, I do. I am surely do. But, is there anyone in that similar quest feel so misunderstood? Experiencing every close door with nothing seems to turn out right? Can’t even hold a rewarding and satisfying job cause somehow “that” company culture is not for “you”? You do not belong there but you desperately need the money, if you should to admit but too proud and rather walk out of the whole thing? Just to start again searching the newspapers for another maybe not too similar job? And when trying to address the matter to others, bitterly realized that people just regard you as too hang up on yourself, too proud or even talking bullshit and a lot of craps and rolling in self-pity cause things didn’t work out like you want them to? Well, I do. So? What is wrong with that? I am not asking what is wrong with me. I just desperately want to know what is wrong with that life picture of mine.

Not to say that you do not have the education background. Jesus! You can read and write ok, you even have a degree or two up your sleeves. Not to say that you are green or wet behind the ear on job front. You have worked before, somehow even consider that you know exactly what you want as a career but can’t seem to get things to fall to place. One thing or another leads you back to scanning the newspapers, bury your nose under the job section and feeling anxious that there is nothing good enough for you, nothing up your alley. And trying to convince yourself that what you want as a career path is not an ordinary path other people would take, thus the opportunity is rarely showing its nose printed bold on the front page.

But you keep on dreaming. Hoping that when you can land a whatever job it is, you have saved the days, have a little money balancing your bank account again and scream a bloody freedom by spending it on little luxury of your heart desire. Complaining daily to whomever you happen to talk to or corresponding with about why this and that didn’t work. Why he or she didn’t have brain and logic. Like hell, like you have all the right to judge. Even though you feel all-righteous and hate people who judge. But you carry on anyway. Driving all your so-called friends nuts and one by one they just learn to ignore you and you rarely heard from them anymore. You graciously think that they are busy; they have a life of their own. In fact darling, they have better things to do then listen to your complaints in and out, fly over the window and back staggering drunk frenzy of self-justification. You even told them that you are tired listening to your own self-complaining about the same old things, which is absolutely true. And yet, sure you just can’t help it but to go on complaining cause the people that you meet daily are a bunch of morons. Hah! You believe that till the end of the day.

When people told you that you are talking bullshit. You simply hate what they are saying and shut them out from your life. Branding them, people that you could not relate to and not bother to try to value as anything, and slot them in a special black box, labeled do not open, ever.

In the case that people agree with you that you are down on your luck at the moment and yes true, true, the morons people who you describe with your heart contain are truly genuine morons and your feelings are very much valid. You can’t help but wonder, can you? Are they? Is it all exaggeration over a void? You start to regret little things, like you should hold your horses, keep the job, take the monthly paycheck and shut your gob and be done with all the nagging and complaining. Enjoy yourself with the little money that you have. And then you start wondering, whether the person that hold the same agreement and acknowledge your feelings as reasonable, is right in his/her head? Your skeptical mind racing and trying to find reasons from all angles. You started to poke around his or her empathy, trying to figure out what this person got to hide by agreeing with you. Cause you know, or you should think you know that you tend to blow everything over proportion and lull in self-pity but hide in the name of logic and what is right (in your head not necessary to others) and the so-called your much treasured common sense. Exhaust yourself by questions after questions and finally you draw back. Thanks goodness you come to your senses and stop bullying others with emotional of however logical arguments. Shut yourself days and nights, trying to numb all senses.

Until the next time around, you will pull yourself up. As you have learned to pick up the pieces, which of course shattered by your own self-tantrum. You tell yourself that you could be whole again, until next time, yes next time. You won’t let yourself fall too far down. You try to convince yourself that there is no one in this world care about yourself except of course, you. And the story goes on, while you drown in self-love and finally, yeah you got another job. But guess what, it’s the beginning of a circle. But of course, you won’t admit it. You surely still have the high hope that yes, this is it and you promise yourself this time would be better. This time, days eventually start waking up on the right side of the bed. Who knows? Maybe. You surely hate to see everything you want or “maybe” you want, all up in the air, they might fall to your lap or they might just fly to the other direction and leaving you with nothing. However, to put the end to it, you must feel a bit relieve knowing that something there in the air, better than nothing at all. Upon nothing, you could not bear to live anymore under that circumstance and think of those suicidal thoughts again and cry yourself to sleep. Ha! Another useless act from yourself, which you are too proud to banish. What for, you think, cause you even consider that as an act of balancing your emotion and logic. What a complicated and twisted mind, which you can’t help but treasure, as you do not have anything else to do and to be proud of.

So, from the very start. I know this is not going to be therapeutic at all. What therapy? This is just simply putting words on blank screen. Punching the keyboards for a string of words cause I do not have anything better to do. I am just pretending that I could write all this up and somehow I could feel a lot better. Hah! Therapeutic indeed. I should be considering being a shrink ah … a psychiatrist, among other things that I want to be. Still like a child, when asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? Eyes twinkling, heart pounding, I want to be a painter (no you can’t, you can’t even draw a straight line!), I want to be a singer (don’t you start, you can’t even win that goddamn karaoke contest!), I want to be a writer (ha ha yeah right, you don’t even know the different between plot and main idea, yeah sure just write whatever come to mind, you are doing just swell!), I want to be a consultant (oh god help the people who have to consult you for anything!). Bla bla bla all ends with a baba black sheep, in other words, nothing, I couldn’t be clearer than that.

Oh no, no, this is not a suicide note. Give me a credit; this is surely way too long for that kind of “Sorry, I need to end this, but first listen to my last grouchiness about what’s wrong with this world!” note. I am not going to give the people the satisfaction, exhale that deep relieve breath “thanks god you are dead!”, after reading this note. Ha ha, to think that I wrote all this to keep on torturing the world or myself in particular, maybe, why should I stop, after this “simple” note, drop dead, forgotten and let everyone else leave in peace. Oh no, ah ah, I am going to haunt all of you. If I could not make myself understood in this lifetime. I would try again the next time around. Surely, I haven’t done major harm to anyone, which entitled me to be reborn as a field mouse after judgment day.

But hold on a minute, yeah I think it is. Eh is it? Yes, yes, I do think so. This is actually really turned out to be a remedy. Amazing! Hallelujah! This is absolutely therapeutic. My gosh! I feel so much better, much, much lighter compared to this afternoon before I started writing all this down. Oh, wow!

(Ehm…. I think I have sprained my wrist trying to type so fast, these last 2 hours 44 minutes 43 seconds. My butt is going numb and my eyes are watering from staring at the computer screen too intensely. How about your soul? Arrgh humbug! There’s nothing like a soul, what are you talking about? Like I say, your particles are the same basic substance as the next table, you feel this turmoil because you have a chemical imbalance in your body, take your vitamins and whatever amino acids they gave you. You’ll be fine in the morning! Go on, hush! Go on!)

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“On behalf of everyone from the K Co-op, I would like to thank you for all your help, and most of all your friendship. We’ve grown close together, you are one of us, and you are family. This is not goodbye; this is just one of those phases of our journey. There is no word that I can use to express our gratitude here, without your guidance; we won’t be as what we are today.”

I look around me and try to absorb the entire warm glow from each and every one of these group of people, warm, simple, generous, kind, thoughtful, caring individuals, and trying hard not to break down in tears. This appreciation that they bestow on me is so much welcome, in a way, I feel so self-conscious, wrecking my brain trying to figure out what I have done to deserve such gratitude. Yet, my soul soar tonight, my heart takes wings and my smile almost crack open my jaw. I drank; I sip greedily as this is the highlight of my works. This is my achievement, this is my pride. This is the nectar of life that I store dearly safely tucked on that special corner of my being. This is the moment of reveries that I will be needing when life takes that wrong turn again and I am left alone again and lost, again. This is my string of pearls, this is my invisible tattoo, and this is the fountain where I draw my courage from to move on, to keep on trying, to put one step one after another. This is the core of my self-survival mechanism.

I have been working with these groups of people almost all the time in my career path. From one place to the other, this revealing kind of moments when others make me aware that I am needed and that I am useful, is what makes me grow and grow I did, am and will.

****

“Fasten your seatbelt, M’am.” Smile the stewardess while lightly tapping me on the shoulder waking me up from my day-dream. The plane from Medan to Jakarta is crowded as always, people from all sort of passage almost all with their heavy hand carry and wait until the plane landed, the conveyor bell will surely be full with rows and rows of big luggage, boxes big and small, all sort of odd packages and of course roll cakes’ boxes. Funny, from all of the culinary delights, why people decide on Medan’s roll cakes, it is a phenomenon on itself to me.

Glancing to my left, two heavy-set of men are sitting in row.  Enjoy my window seat you, think I while flash eyeing the guy next to the window. I don’t like the aisle seat, but then again, it is better than the middle seat. I surely wouldn’t want to be stuck between these two big birds. I never have any complain for leg room, short as mine, I can snugly fit in most places. But, in a small plane, economic seat, I need my elbow room, thank you very much. The sure bet will be window seat, or ok, fine aisle seat, at least I can lean to the side and take up as much elbow room as I can secure. “Sorry,” says a lady passing by struggling with her large handbag and a sizeable shopping bag on each arm. Did I mention that when sitting in aisle seat don’t start leaning to the side to take ownership of that comfy extra space before the plane took off? You will only annoy yourself and other passengers. Wait, sit straight, read your book or blank your mind, when airborne, then attack. I mean, take up that space.  Occasionally, you will annoy the air hostesses when they have to manoeuvre around your elbow, but then again you’re the paying passenger; take that privilege to be a jerk once in a while.

Closing my eyes and folding my arms close to me, trying to block away all the chatty people around me. Obviously also giving a clear sign to the guy next to me, to stop asking further questions than where are you going? Mister, we are sitting inside the same plane, my boarding ticket surely mentions Jakarta, and the same as yours I’m sure. Oh yeah, true, I can always be on my transit to Timbuktu. Breath, breath, relax, negative thought be gone. A baby cries somewhere and a child start nagging her mum for something. Lady, please whatever she wants, just give it to her. I open my eyes and glance across the aisle, an old lady smiles at me and offering me a piece of her snacks. I smile and politely shake my head, “No, thanks, M’am,” and quickly as politeness permit, which is by slowly moving my head to a straight neckline forming 90 degree alignment to my shoulder while maintaining that smile, I return to my catatonic position, she might want to know where I am going too. Beat me, where am I going, actually?

God in heaven, oh the mighty powerful being, who ever and where ever you are, this is my last work trip, soon I will be unemployed, please please please ensure that this period will be as smooth as possible. Please please please, let me be by my potato’s side when it is time for me to scan that newspapers again and browse the net for an inkling of any promising and suitable job. Please, hear me, please, by the way, you can send me one of your rainbows, I haven’t seen one lately. That is not too much to ask, right? Just a rainbow please, then I know you heard me and things will be just fine. Ok fine, next time soon eh? Today is just too bright and muggy, a rainbow is yes, indeed too much to ask for now.

Life is not simple, I know, injustice prevails most of the time. I have witness first hand, many of that. You would think that a fair trading system designed with disadvantages producers in mind, will do exactly that, correcting the bias trading system. But, think again, it is actually not how it is done in practice. Maybe I am being too harsh, but from this past 10 years, I am more convince that there is truly indeed that something is fundamentally not right. What exactly it is? The design of the system? The people operating the system? There are surely many variables that you can analyse for any given situation, but the rule of thumb will always differentiate the root to two broad categories, the system design or the people. These two are also interlinked; unqualified people will design an inadequate system. I am not talking about people credibility in the forms of hard-earned institution disperse papers or even about their long listed experiences, but their ability to see and walk in the shoes of the disadvantage. I am not talking about complete range of grand design from needs assessment to monitoring and evaluating and fancy long-winded academically written periodical reports plus a state of the art infrastructure, but a people system that evolve and adjust by, for and with the disadvantage.

An idealist, I am, yes. A hypocrite, I am, yes. Acknowledging that I have to enable myself to walk in their shoes and see life from their eyes, is something quite different when it comes down to action it all in. No matter how it is, I am always going to be the outsider, a visitor, who come for a visit, performing my tasks, pack up, leave and back to my own privilege life. My life will always be in contrast with theirs. My material advantage, my surrounding, and my support functions will always give me a better head start. In all honesty, I am the one who is soaking my life in them and taking advantage of their disadvantage. They are my job, my work, my career object; they are my source of income, but most of all they are the source of my sense of well-being. I might have contributed to their daily predicaments by just doing my job, I would never know for sure. My emotional attachment and dedication are seasonal, chain to my immediate present and involvement in any given task. When I pack my bag and move on, I leave their lives behind me, their lives carry on as always. I would like to think that I made a difference, tiny as it is, during my stay, deep down inside, I hope I have carry a bit of their weight.

See that big bright yellow double arches shaping M? You probably never consider it to be one of THE fancy places to eat. 14 of us do. We are a group of 15 women, young and old, 14 of us born and take up resident in a small village on a foothill of a mountain, 1 of us a temporal resident logging with one of the village leaders, ‘adopted’ as one of the ‘family’ members. This one is also the village leader, in a sense; she is the manager of the community centre. And yet, she is an outsider. The village is our eco-tourism project, the ladies are our village guides, trained to bring warm hospitality to the venturing guests. They are our ambassadors to the outside world looking in.

“Anyone fancy an ice cream?” I smile broadly, thinking that a trip to this mall will not be complete without ice cream. We are sitting in this standardise white, yellow and red world franchise setting, joining 6 of its red-white tables forming a long island of our own temporarily with two rows of yellow chairs. “So, ice cream everyone, I’m paying,” noticing intuitively that somehow my 14 companions have switch to a bit of awkward demeanour. Then, come shy nods around me, and the mist lifts and chatty chat of 14 women spring back to life.

“It’s our free time, if you want, you can have a look around at the shops, and I’ll wait for you here. Don’t worry, I won’t go anyway heheheheh. How about we meet here around 5pm, in an hour? Then we can all go back to the inn, rest a bit before dinner time.”

“Why don’t you come with us?”

“Nah, I’ll be fine here, I don’t like shopping, so ladies, go ahead.”

“I’ll stay with you then,” says some of the older women, “It’s been a long day, and it’s nice to sit here, in air-con room eating ice cream.”

“Hehheheh my thought exactly, Inaq (Madam or mother in Sasak, Lombok local dialect).”

All the younger ladies and some of the older after finishing their ice cream start going about in twos or threes. Me and few Inaqs, we enjoy our ice cream slowly and chat mundanely. In less than half an hour, the first trios come back in sight. “Eh? So soon?” I greet them back. “Ya, we miss you hahhahahah.” Then, soon the pairs and the small bands start appearing back. “Eh? So soon?” Parroting like a dumb bird, I say. Knowing smiles broke all around the occupied chairs now and I am kind of puzzled.

“Everything is so expensive, I saw this beautiful outfit for my son, but it is more than 100.000 Rupiah for a shirt.” All the other chime in and describing their same desire, a hat for a daughter, a toy for a son, a pair of slippers for grandma and so on, souvenirs for the love ones at home. I sit there stunt as if someone has just slap me hard one person at a time. I am sooooo… sorry… all kind of thoughts rush through my mind. Stupid person, inconsiderate person, the big words I heard playing in my head over and over again. I scan their faces, are they masters of camouflage? There are no sad lines on their face. Should I be relief? A big slap lands again on my left cheek, this time I know my brain is keeping me in check and remind me of something fundamental that I should have been aware of. I am sooo… sorry … my dear friends, I didn’t know, I should have been more sensitive.

The plane lands with a sharp jerk, shaking me back to the now.

“This is Jakarta, eh?” exclaims one of the big birds beside me while yawning a big yawn. “Eh… maybe Timbuktu, Pak… (Pak/Bapak – Sir in Indonesian)” I grin loonilly at him and walk away quickly with my sling bag.

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