And then I hear sirens wailing…

I think I understand
a little bit of my Grandma,
today.

I think I can imagine
a little bit of what went through her head,
today.

You see,
yesterday a bomb went off in our city
shootings occurred
people were hurt
people were killed

I was nowhere close, but,
I heard sirens
I saw police cars
I saw armoured vehicles
I saw armed soldiers
I saw security guards on alert

I was shaken…

What does this has to do with my Grandma?

To understand my Grandma,
you have to go back to history

My Grandmother is from another era,
from a time where
girls from respectable families
were not expected to be anything but a wife and a mom.

But my grandma,
She loves studying
She loves school
She wants to continue her studies
Her family marries her instead
To a good man from another respectable family
And, by all account
She was a good wife
and a wonderful mother
who has the misfortune
to live during turbulent times
in her country.

Starting from the communist uprising
who cheerfully killed her uncle
in front of his family
Her uncle, who was killed due to his position
which was exactly the same position,
that my Grandpa held.
Great.
Of course, the Dutch were still there too
to add to the fun.

Eventually, my Grandpa join the fight against the occupiers
So off they torched their house,
leaving everything behind
As Grandpa goes deep into the jungle
Grandma moved to a safer place,
with several children in tow.

Oh there were other instances
like the part where my Grandma has to feed people in military gear
not knowing whether they were nationalist army
or the commies
Or when they were interrogated for hours by the Dutch,
as they suspected, my Grandpa was a spy
(he was)
Trying times,
to say the least.

Fast forward to the Sixties
They have settled down in Jakarta
with the promise of peace and prosperity
now that we are a free nation

But alas!

The red bunch decided, hell no!

So one night,
multiple gunshots were heard
Grandma thought, Oh no. Not again!

Grandpa, who’s now in the police force,
immediately donned his uniform,
weapons at the ready,
bade my grandma good night
and disappeared into the dark

Grandma quickly put the kids to bed
Lock the house
turn off the light
and goes to bed too.

at some point,
Grandpa returned
safe and sound

Morning came
wakey wakey!
Everyone got up
except one

at some point,
the heart of the house
stops beating

It was too much
for her gentle heart.

So yeah,
yesterday I got a glimpse
of what that night would be like

It was only a few hours, yet..

I can’t imagine
going through it for years
being on constant alert
particularly when you can’t see who are the enemy
and who are the allies

Oh Grandma,
even today
some people are just not happy
seeing peace reigns
The difference is,
yesterday,
people are sick of it.
We are sick of attempted terror.
Live is already hard enough here
we don’t need additional hardship
just because some random people thinks its glorious.

(No, it is not jihad to blow innocent people)

I hope it doesn’t happen again
I’d like to think we’re stronger now
I’d like to think we are badasses

We are coping,
the best way we know how
though jokes, laughter
and by just keep on living
because we have to
and because it does

So good night Grandma
Jakarta is still on high alert
But life goes on

because we’d rather celebrate life
than to cower from life

Give us strength
Give us courage
Give us love

See ya later Nini!

Lebak Bulus, 150116

Kartini. Really? Why Not?

Raden Ajeng Kartini, April 21, 1879 – September 17, 1904

Ever since social media and networking became popular, I began to dread special days and holidays. Well, not all of them, the ones that irks me the most are, ironically enough, the National Days designed to honour the women of my country. Say what?

No, I do not have misogynistic tendencies, nor am I cloaked in ancient notion about women and men. What I despise are the intentional misleading (and reductions) by the former government about what these days celebrate. Or, if it was unintentional there certainly was no effort to correct it either. Take the one we supposedly to be celebrating today; Kartini Day. Lady Kartini was an aristocrat from Jepara, Java, who lived in the 1880’s. Her high status in society means she was able to attend elementary Dutch school. Kartini loves to study, she likes reading books, and she writes regularly in the form of correspondence to her European friends. Her love of education led her to open up study centers in her house teaching the local children. She would like to have run a real proper school but died before that dream is realised.

A cover for her book of letters to Mrs. Abendanon

After her death, her Dutch friend, the Abendanon, compile her letters and published it. As it was written in Dutch, it was then translated at least into English and eventually in Indonesian. I haven’t actually read the book, such is my vast knowledge of Indonesian history. Apparently she wrote about hot topics like emancipation, religion, and women’s right to study, to make choices, etc. As we are talking about the early 1900’s I suppose it was quite fascinating for the Dutch, oh look one of our subject – remember we were still under occupation back then (and yes it was Dutch occupation despite what their history books might say) – is an enlightened and she’s a woman! She doesn’t want to be oppressed anymore, let’s help her!

Then, as fate would have it, our first president decided to grant her National Hero status and made her birthday a National Day. Here’s where it gets absurd. Lady Kartini is all about education. She wants girls to be able to pursue higher education, something she herself wasn’t able to do. So how do we little schoolchildren of Indonesia honours her on her birthday? Would you like to take guesses? No? I’ll answer it for you.By having a pageant aka fashion show with traditional costume.

I kid you not.

As a child I go along with it. As I am partly of Javanese descent, I dutifully done the kain and kebaya, complete with teeny tiny sanggul, the Javanese traditional clothing and what Lady Kartini would wear herself. As an adult I looked back and though, WTF???

What if you do not want to do the pageant thing? Well, there were other competitions one can enter; cooking, sewing and other domestic chores.

Again, I kid you not.

Years of being ‘honoured’ this way, is it any wonder that these days people are starting to feel resentful and lashing out at this poor woman? Let’s see the roll of complaint towards her:

  1. She’s not that heroic, all she does is writing letters, doesn’t really do anything.
  2. She’s only made hero because she’s Javanese.
  3. She’s only made hero because her thought are aligned with the Dutch people.
  4. She’s not relevant anymore, let’s erase this day and create something else.
  5. …. (fill in the blanks)

I can’t help but feel sorry for her. If you’ve worked hard to push education ‘reform’, to get the Quran translated into Indonesian so that people who studied it would understand what it is all about, to make others understand that letting girls study is a good thing rather than a bad thing. If you tried to do all that, and be honoured with… a fashion show? See who could look best like her! Wouldn’t you roll on your grave?

Is it any wonder the timeline is filled with debate and arguments every time this date rolls about? It’s almost 21 April, ooh let’s see who can make the best argument of why we shouldn’t celebrate her anymore. Let’s see who would dole out other Indonesia’s woman heroes who’s more deserving than her. And on and on it goes. Each and every year. Without fail. On fb, twitter, you name it, it’s there.

It is all the Dutch fault.

Yes, blame the oppressor. But I really do think, like rainy days… oh sorry that’s Alanis. Ok, if we look into history, she lived during the Dutch occupation right (yes we get it!) now, the Dutch, as an oppressor, aren’t exactly known to want to educate the oppresses. Oh yes there are schools but only select few can attend it. There were many levels of schooling. If you belong to the aristocrats you can go to that school, merchant families go to this school, general public go to the lower level school or none at all. Just check the history books. Who do you think created apartheid? Long live segregation!

If the Dutch had not occupied us, who’s to say that girls would not be able to receive education? Who’s to say that the Quran would not have been translated? It was the Dutch who doesn’t want Indonesian to be educated. It was them who doesn’t want Indonesian to learn Islam properly. It was their mission to keep us in the dark. It’s the whole point of occupying someone else’s land. You don’t occupy to make them better. You occupy to make yourself better! What is there to gain to give the inlanders proper academic and religious education? They’ll revolt!

And revolt they did. But I’ll get back to that. First, I want to discuss this issue of, “Oh she did nothing!” See, some people think because Lady Kartini doesn’t take up arms, she’s not qualified to be a hero. So the only way to be a hero is if you actually kill some white people? Look, she live in Java where it was relatively peaceful, she wasn’t exactly in the middle of a war zone like our other heroes was. Her dad was not an army general was he? Who’s to say she wouldn’t take up arms and lead an army to battle if Jepara was a war zone? We just don’t know do we?

So she probably was not able to build a school, if she hadn’t died so early, who’s to say she wouldn’t? She’s only 25, people, give her a break! She doesn’t do nothing, she wrote her thoughts! She wrote her opinion down. And it lives. Is it her fault that her letters got published?

Yes, going to school is so easy.

What is not relevant is the way we celebrate her. We should celebrate her by fulfilling her dreams. By showing the educations the Indonesian girls got. We should have poetry writing and reading competition. We should have essay writing, science, and math competition. Oh ok you can have a cooking competition, cooking does require reading skills. Show the parents and the world what the girls have learned! That’s how we should celebrate this day.

Not by nitpicking who should or should not be granted national day. Or having a fashion show! Thank God my kids’ school don’t do that. So so glad!

Until true education access for all is achieved, until all domestic labour finished, at the very least their compulsory 9 year of education, then and only then, would this day be irrelevant. Until then, we still need Kartini’s Day to remind us all.

Selamat Hari Kartini everyone!

 

To my girl in need

Dear Girlfriend,

First of all, know that I love you. I love you and I want the best for you. So please don’t take this the wrong way, okay 🙂

Dearest, he is not the answer. Yes, you read that right. He’s not the answer.Let him go.

He’s just a sign that all is not right in your paradise. He’s an escape. He can’t help you, if anything he’ll make it worse. Don’t throw away your paradise. We don’t even know what his feelings are for you. For all we know, he just regards you as a friend. Nothing more.

Your paradise, now him, that’s the one you should be worrying. He loves you. That much we know is true. The thing is dear, relationship is hard. It is difficult and you gotta work at it. How could it be so difficult if your love each other? It’s because we’re human. We grow, we change, we’re dynamic and constantly evolving. Anyone who told you that love is easy is delusional. That, or in denial.

Love is never easy. It’s a constant battle. My parents been married for nearly 50 years and they still fought every now and then. But they also show me the rewards of being in love for that long. They are happy, healthy, busy, with solid working mind. Oh yes there’s sign of aging here and there, they are in their 70’s after all. My Dad is my Mom’s fiercest supporter and vice versa. If you cross one of them, then you’re messing with both of them.

So yes, it is normal to have problems. It is normal to feel that all is not right. What you need to do is talk to him, figure it out. Don’t run away from him. Don’t run to the other guy. He can’t do anything for you. He’ll just creates more problems and you don’t need more problems. If after trying it out you still can’t solve it then we’ll talk again. But for now, try it out. Okay.

with love,

The Heart Knows Not What It Wants

The biggest battle you’ll ever face is that between your heart and your brain. This occurs almost daily and all the time. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been taught to put the brain forward with a bit of heart thrown in. I never really have much patience with those who allow their heart to rule. I always thought, get a grip! The funny thing is my best friend in college thinks that I’m an open book he said that I wear my heart on my sleeve for everyone to see. Hmm… really? 

To tell you the truth, some battle I win, some I don’t. I still haven’t won the battle to lose weight. I really am not sure why. Why is it so hard for me to change the habit? What’s with the constant self sabotage? It really is rather annoying. I am not at the point where I’m beginning to think that razor is a good idea, for gawd sake no! But nor am I on the path of slimness. The needle on the scale hardly budge to the left, more prone to the right.

Temptation is always sweeter than the righteous path; it is a self-destructive one in the long-run. I know this. My head knows this. Yet the heart refuse to listens. But the heart must listen. I do not want to self-destruct, I’m no spy, just an ordinary human.  So help me go through this hurdle. And pass it I shall.

Changing Looks, Changing Directions

For whatever reasons I’ve been disconnected from myself for the last few months. I didn’t feel like writing anything. My commitment to write once-a-week slipped and completely gone towards the end of last year. Everytime I sat down to write something my mind wanders off and cleaning the house seems much more fun that writing. Bad bad case of mental block. Not sure why I got unmotivated like that.

I didn’t cancel my blog subscription though and while I was cleaning my inbox I notice their ever-present new themes notice. Intrigued, I click on one of them. Of course when you’re looking through themes you can’t just look at one, you just have to click on several, sent it to new tabs and pretty soon my screen is full of preview tabs. I poke through each one. Ping! Why not just change the theme? I like how my blog looks, it took me ages to find one that suits but it just seems so last year. The person who created that was this bubbly cheerful gal and now I feel darker, I just don’t feel like her right now.

Once I finally choose a theme – took me a good few days to settle upon one – I though of heck why not revamp it altogether? Why not have my cats grace the blog? After all it is called Metro Kitmom, time to put the kitties on display methinks! This of course requires editing some pics as in their original state it is way too big. So I look for a free, legal, photo editing software – I don’t need much, just resizing and cropping – and poke through my library of Bebel’s Family photos and hey, I actually have an edited photo of all three cats together! This would be great for the background tile! I also toyed with the idea of having a photo header, but if I already use the cats as background I think header would be a bit overkill. In the end I just resized the Bebel Family photo and use that as tile background. Voila!

The tone is somewhat darker now. But strangely, it fits. Let’s hope this burst of enthusiasm will carry me through 😉

Bebel Bella

Kitmom, don't be lazy, go write about me!

The Bittersweet Eid

Back in the day, we Indonesians celebrated Eid on the same day, as it should be. It was and still is a joyous occasion where we celebrated the end of Ramadhan. Then, 1998 rolled around. Chaos. Reformation. Democratic resurrection. Weak leaders up till now. Corruption ran unchecked and everywhere. States becoming little kingdoms. Everyone wants to get rich quick , public service means the public service the elected politicians. Well ok, what does all this has to do with Eid? It means, we now celebrate in different ways. And it sucks!

Yes, free from authoritarian shackles, everyone thinks democratic means always having your own say and that your opinion is always right. Nobody cares about uniting the country. The country can go to the dumps. All anyone care is themselves, their family, then their ilks. Again, it sucks!

Now, the way Eid is decided here is by having a big meeting called isbat, where all the Islamic organisation gathers among with astronomers from the military, navy, all legitimate organisation that deals with navigation, astronomy, and the likes. Of all these elements, there’s 2 major religious organisation that likes to differ in opinion, the Muhammadiyah and NU. The former likes to use advancement of technology, the latter likes to use mathematics plus the human eye to determine dates. Nothing wrong with these methods. Each are backed with valid theories and hadith. What is wrong is that they sometimes differ and they can not or would not agree on the same date!

Let me make myself clear, I do not belong to any organisation. I don’t actually care how Eid is determined. I do not have any preference over any method of date calculation. I do not pledge allegiance to any of the religious organisation. My family is a nationalist, my grandparents are not in the history books but they damn well fought for the country against the Dutch and Japanese invasion. Therefore, it’s only natural that I am a card-carrying member of this one great nation called Indonesia. I pledge allegiance to this country – hey I pay tax (or rather, my dad and later, my husband does). I proudly carry the green passport with Garuda Eagle embossed on the cover on my travels abroad. I salute to the red and white flag. I fiercely defend it whenever and wherever. And so, is it any wonder I don’t think it is cool that we celebrate Eid on different days?

Yes, call me undemocratic, call me intolerant, but I say this before and I say it again, I think it sucks (boy, I really need to expand my vocabulary) that the powers that be cannot come into agreement over when we celebrate Eid.
Everyone keep saying, ooh respect differences, difference is beautiful. Well I say, bullsh*t to that. A UNITED country is beautiful. This is one instance where difference is NOT beautiful. Think about it. We’re all muslim. We all believe in the same God, prophets and holy book. We all fast during Ramadhan, we celebrate the same celebration, so how does it make sense to celebrate it on the same day? It is stupid! Ok, so, we’re huge country, some place might celebrate it differently, Australia is also split into two, some states celebrate it on Tuesday and the rest on Wednesday. But those who live on the same town celebrate it on the same day!

Here? Forget the town or cities. Even in the same household some people celebrate it on different days. And they are proud of it. They think it’s so cool, so democratic, so tolerant, so modern. Seriously? What were you smoking? Has the liberals brainwashed the masses into thinking that everything must be different? You’re not cool unless you’re different mate!

Send me back to the stone age, but seriously, the same family, in the same household, celebrating the same celebration on different days and nobody thinks that’s weird? Even Catholics and Protestants celebrated Christmas on the same day. And boy, you just need to google I.R.A. to see how bloody their disagreements get. I don’t think it’s cool. I don’t think it is a ‘rahmat’ that husband and wife, mother and father, siblings, differ in celebrating. A family in the same household should be united. They should be together. Likewise the religious organisations should put the unity of the country ahead of their own ego. By deciding to differ I don’t think they are being wise. I think they are being selfish, proud, and egoist. They think they are right and they don’t care about anyone else. Makes you wonder what’s the point of fasting during Ramadhan then? You’re not wiser. You’re just childish.

Yes yes your method may be right, your method may be the better one BUT, any technology is only as good as the person who made it. Any calculation is only as good as the brain provided. And human are prone to mistakes. Why do you think Allah gave us Ramadhan every single year?

Again, don’t think that I support a particular organisation over the other. I don’t. As I said, I’m a card-carrying member of neither. My blood is neither Muhammadiyah nor NU. My blood is Indonesian through and through. All I want is for all muslims in Indonesia or at the very least, in Jakarta and Jabotabek area to celebrate Eid on the same day. No more, no less.

Unfortunately I see to be the only one that wants that. The rest seems happy to be separated. I want us to be united. Not separated. Not divided. Together. That’s all. Until that happens, Eid would probably continues to be bittersweet for me. Hope that would change.

 

Breaking up with Siti

Breaking up with a boyfriend is bad enough. Unless you’re truly unlucky, you’ll have your girlfriends to catch you, commiserate with you, tolerate your wailing over him, and more or less nurse you back to normal. But, what happened when you break up with your best pal? Who will be there to catch you?

I became an expatriate in 8th grade. We moved to Jeddah and somehow my English was deemed good enough to go to an international school there. So there I was, the only Indonesian kid there, not knowing a single soul nor understanding anything. New and confused, I was so happy when I met Siti during recess. Here’s someone who looked like me, came from a neighbouring country, shared some Malay language and voila, I found a friend. It’s not that my classmates were horrible, just the opposite, is just that in Siti I felt I found someone with the same wavelength. Soon we start spending most recess time together, yakking on the phone, she even invited me for sleep overs at her house.

As Siti is a diplomat’s child, this was not the first time she lived abroad. Unlike me, she’s lived in Bonn and some other countries, can’t remember where now. She helped me practice my English, introduced me to Anne of Green Gables, and checking out the cute guys in school. Along with my classmates, she was quite influential in making my schooldays a happy, pleasant experience. Or so I thought.

Summer came and went. This was not the era of emails so we basically lost touch during the holidays. I wasn’t a great letter writer nor was she. Wasn’t really looking forward to returning to Jeddah, but the thoughts of seeing my friends again cheered me up considerably. So of course on the first day we shrieked and hugs the way only teenage girls do. Better and more confident in my English, 9th grade is going to be a blast!

And it was at first. We decided to auditioned for the school plays. We both ended up in the chorus but it doesn’t matter. Siti and I had much fun learning the songs and dance routine. Even though we’re just the chorus, performing was great fun. I was really enjoying my days and felt really lucky to have Siti to share it with me.

Then school breaks for New Year. When we came back, I noticed Siti wasn’t as excited to see me. But she still hangs out with me so I thought she must be just tired or something. Slowly I noticed she kinda withdrew from me. She still sit at our table but she just seem distracted. Then she start spending time with other people, not really returning my calls, until she finally said well, it’s been nice knowing you but I think I’m going to hang out with other people now. Or something to that effect.

I was stunned. What did I do?

I wrote her a note. Years before I read Cosmo, she gave me this overrated line,”It’s no you, it’s me. I think you’re great!” If I’m so great then why? I was in denial about her breaking up with me. We’ve been sitting together in Business class until one day she was summoned by her new friends and move to sit with her making it crystal clear where her loyalty lies now.

Yes folks. She moved with the in-crowd and I’m not so out I go. I think I actually cried at school after that business class. It stung like hell to be dropped just like that. It really is worse than breaking up with a boyfriend. How do you manage to bounce back from that?

Luckily I do have other friends. It was a rather big school after all. The girls from my home room were my lifesaver. They were the ones that catch me and picked me up. They knew me, watched me grow from this quiet kid to somewhat chatty person as I get more fluent, accept me as I am, embraced me and lend me their shoulders. They were on my side, was just as outraged at what they see as ‘betrayal’. See, it wasn’t just me she shunned, it was practically the whole group. She had to. She can’t be seen with us ‘losers’ if she wants to be invited to parties.

Eventually I get over it. So I’m not with the in-crowd. So what? At least I’m nobody’s lapdog. But, after Siti, I don’t trust people as easily. Scarred for life, I build my wall of protection. I became a sort of pessimist, taking things with a pinch of salt. Which is funny because years later, in uni a friend of mine says I’m an open book who wears her heart on her sleeves. (Well, maybe to you Conde cuz you’re one of my bestmate 😉

I still find it hard to make friends especially now I’m out of school and in the real world. It doesn’t help that the few bestfriends that I do have are spread all over, none are close to me. But I have faith and hope that one day I will have a best friend again, someone I can call and talk to in good times and bad times.
As for Siti, well I lost touch after we graduated. Wasn’t exactly keen to send her postcards. No idea what she’s up to now.

So there you have it. Breaking up with a girl friend is just awful. It’s not like you can burn her love letters to feel cathartic; friends don’t write each other love notes. But if you just ride it out, with the help of other friends, you’ll get over it. Life really does go on.

*to Z, A, Z, M, you guys are the best. I’m eternally grateful. Kisses. Miss you lots!*

Drive bebe, drive.

Like many teens, I waited feverishly for the day when I would be allowed to sit behind some wheels, i.e. drive. As luck would have it, by the time I was 18, which was the legal age to drive here in Indonesia, I was studying in the UK. In my university city I live on campus for the whole 3 years I was there so of course my dad, wise and sane man that he is, did not see the point in allowing me my own car. Not to mention one has to go through a very rigorous test to be able to drive in the UK.

Well then, what about summer? Yes, I went back home during summer holidays. The first thing I do is to enroll in a driving school learning how to drive manually. So I go through learning how to shift gears and learn to park. Not sure if I master parallel parking though. Then I took the test, passed with flying colours and start driving. At that time what’s available  was this huge family sedan. It looked huge to my 18 yr old self. I didn’t crash into anything. Thank God. But I did got a ticket. How the hell am I supposed to see the sign since it was obscured by tree leaves? Regardless it left a bitter taste and I was only too happy to let my sister drive me around and took taxis for the rest of the holiday.

Fast forward a couple of years, I suddenly find myself living in California. To prepare for living in Lala Land, a driving license is a must. Luckily this time my friend’s home town was Visalia, CA. I learn to drive automatic this time. Took my test in Tulare, again I passed with flying colour in both theoretical and practical test. One piece of advice I got from Jen, when it doubt, go to the truck’s lane. They won’t go very fast. Was very nervous the very first time I drive on a highway. I prayed the whole way from Visalia to Burbank. Managed to got into our rental home in one piece. Thank gawd.

In LA, there’s no way around it. I had to drive around. To get to work, to play, etc. So every morning I brace myself to strap on my safety belt, turn on the ignition and off I go. But you know what, after a while I became comfortable. Yes I get lost every now and then but thanks to google maps direction and that ever-present LA maps plus and AAA card I zip here and there like I was born with wheels. My biggest achievement was when I go to San Diego to visit my cousin and to SF for fun. I drive there alone and I make it back, again in one piece. One  literal dent in the whole experience was when I was hit by a car upon entering the freeway. I was in a hurry and I already give the signal but somehow the other car manage to ‘kiss’ the rear end. I spun the whole length of the freeway, it was 3 lane wide. It must not have been my time yet because as I spun I remember thinking oh dear God please let the lanes be empty and it was!!! I was safe, shaken but unhurt.

All good times must come to an end. As I was wrapping up my time in LA, Jen remarked how I will not miss the LA traffic. I remember chuckling saying actually I will miss LA traffic since it is still a whole lot better than Jakarta‘s. Couple days later I’m home. Jet lag over, I tried driving. And of course what’s available is either a big SUV type family van or a serie 5 Beemer. All huge cars compared to my teeny tiny 2 door Toyota. First I had to adjust to a different side of driving. Though the Dutch occupied us for 3.5 century, the Brits were here first and somehow their side of the road preference stuck. Then, Jakarta’s traffic is really crazy what with motorcycles everywhere and crazy bus drivers. I was so not enjoying it. So different from LA and its huuugeee freeways. Heck even in New Jersey the roads were bigger.

I then scratched my husband’s car. He didn’t like it. So I cease driving. In his defense, he then provided me with a driver. So much easier to get mad at the driver than the wife if the car got dings and dents. For a few blissful years I don’t have to worry about anything. Just get in the car, tell the driver where to go, then sit prettily until I arrived at the destination. I can read, eat, sleep, do whatever I want. Until now.

So far we’ve lived pretty much near the city. But very soon we will move into the suburb. Yes, we still have the driver but my husband thinks it is high time we have a second car so we would be more mobile. Due to budgetary restraint, he ended up buying a small compact city car. How much bigger can a hint be? Yo wifey, learn to drive. Again.

Well, I guess I have to overcome my fear of the streets and conquer it. Cross fingers I’ll be ok 😉

How about you? Do you drive? What tips would you give?

That ‘W’ Problem

I used to think being fat doesn’t matter as long as I’m healthy. Wrong! Being overweight is opening an invite to a host of diseases. There’s this saying,  “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!” that’s not a lie you know. It’s too easy loading up on calories; the cakes, the snacks, the butters and co. But unloading it is frankly a b*tch!

Looking at old photos, I wasn’t a fat kid. Wasn’t the skinniest on the block either, just happily middle ground. Then college kicks in. The  fresher’s blues, cured by turning to food but not doing regular sports.  Now that was smart. Lemon chicken and Orange Duck were my vice. How sweet it was! I could do worse, but yeah, food is the drug of my choice (and yes, I’ve watched too many Oprah episodes to count). And I bet, even after more than 10 years, I’m still paying for those luscious crispy fat fowl skins coated in those yummy sauces.

It’s not like I wake up suddenly 3 sizes bigger, but never underestimate the power of denial. I don’t like dramas so when clothes don’t fit, I don’t fret. I don’t sweat it, I just get a what fits.

Then I got married, got pregnant and my warped brain screams, “Yay! A valid reason NOT to lose weight. Yippee!!!” The birth of a baby doesn’t downplay it. Heidi Klum can lose all her pregnancy weight in 2 weeks for all I care. I’m breastfeeding. I need nutrients so warped brain says, “Triple yay to mindless eating! Yay yay yay!!!” Is it any wonder I continue to be big? Yes of course I could eat healthily, food combining and all that. Denial. Remember?

And before you know it, those cute fab outfits don’t fit no more. But even when I could no longer shopping for clothes off the peg, that still doesn’t make me convert. I just make my own clothes.  “I have 2 kids!” and the world nods understandingly. Worse still, some friends were turning into making and selling clothes so they cater to my size. Suddenly I can still have new, chic clothes. Problems solved!

But you can’t keep abusing your body and not paying for it. Nu’uh! No way, no how.  My right knee gives way. It hurts for a whole week before I finally get it checked to the doctor. One MRI later… I’ve damaged my knee. It’s a bit torn, or was it ruptured? Forgot the medical terms, but as seen on the MRI result, a bit of my knee is not where it should be hence the pain. The culprit? Overweight excerbated by high heels. The funniest thing? I don’t even wear sky-high heels anymore! Not since I got pregnant the first time round which was over 5 years ago. But the damage is done.

Still wanna be in denial now? I have to lose weight. I just have to. Unless I want to start saving up for a knee surgery down the line which is a very real probability should I can not reduce the weight down. Oh it’s hell. It’s not easy breaking out of that comfort zone. I have to make time for exercise. I have to truly watch what I eat. It’s a lot of work!

The thought of a knee operation is seriously scary. But my repressed vanity is also screaming out. Dammit I like looking good!  I like to have the option to wear heels if I want to. I want to be able to buy clothes off the peg from a mall! And, most importantly, none of my children are called Gilbert Grape.

It’s a struggle. I haven’t won yet. I have a long way to go. But the way I see it, if I really am grateful for what has been given to me, then I have to stop abusing it and start respecting my system. I need to give my health a chance.

The ‘W’ problem. It’s an ongoing battle. One that I aim to win. Good luck, me.

Armand Maulana goes to my gym! Yay! Gorgeous guy 😀

Lila the Beautiful

Kakak & Lila, BFF

This is kakak’s cat, Lila the beautiful. Yes I am biased. I think my cat(s) are just the most wonderful thing after sliced bread. I do realise that some people don’t like cats. Some are even scared of them so much so that they can’t bear looking at pictures of cat.I can understand it. I don’t like all animals, just cats. I don’t fancy snakes, I would be scared too to see a close up of a snake’s head.

However, as a fellow pet owner I do realise people love their pets very much. My position is that of,”If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all!” Back when I still don’t like dogs (I think some dogs are cute now) I’d just smile and nod when the owner start bragging about their dogs. But I guess that’s a little too much to ask of someone who’s scared of all animals.

At first I was annoyed. I get that this person don’t like cats, but to actually said that Lila is scary looking right to me, well that’s just a little too much to hear. But you know, now I feel sorry for the person. Pets bring so much joy to the owner, something he’ll never experienced, not as long as he still has his phobia. So I’ll just refrain. I won’t let it get to me. I know Lila is beautiful, people who like cats thinks she’s beautiful, why should I care about what some cat-phobia person thinks?

Lovely Lila