Tentang Menulis

Hari ini adalah hari ke-2 sejak saya melibatkan diri ke dalam 30-Day Writing Challenge (30 Hari Tantangan Menulis) yang diadakan oleh Mas Rezky Firmansyah. Pagi ini saya mendapatkan pesan dari General Sari; isinya sebagai berikut.

Day 2 – Mulailah dengan Niat dan Alasan

Setiap apapun yang dilakukan akan bernilai apabila dimulai dengan niat. Tanpa niat, suatu hal akan berjalan tanpa makna, tanpa energi.

Miliki niat yang kuat agar bisa tembus 30DWC. Gali alasan apa yang harus membuatmu berhasil tembus 30DWC. Atau dengan mudahnya, carilah “STRONG WHY kenapa saya harus menulis?”

Ayo kenapa?

Beberapa hari yang lalu saya menyelesaikan buku Quarter-Life Breakthrough karya Adam ‘Smiley’ Poswolsky. Buku tersebut intinya menjelaskan cara yang dilalui oleh penulis dalam mengatasi kebingungan antara menghubungkan minat dan bakat (gifts), kebermanfaatan diri bagi orang lain (impact), lingkungan kerja yang diinginkan (community), dan kualitas hidup yang ingin dicapai (quality of life) di umur dua puluhan. Sambil membaca buku tersebut, saya menjawab pertanyaan yang ia berikan untuk membantu pembaca menggali potensi dan hal yang ingin ia prioritaskan saat ini.

Saya menjawab pertanyaan yang sama sebanyak tiga kali karena saya menulis di berbagai tempat: di buku, di catatan kecil, dan di blog. Beberapa pertanyaan saya jawab dengan hal yang berbeda; namun, ada beberapa hal yang selalu konsisten menjadi jawaban saya. Salah satunya adalah ‘menulis’ ketika Smiley bertanya hal yang pembaca pikir adalah bakatnya. Bakat lain yang saya akui saya miliki adalah kesukaan saya dalam berinteraksi dengan orang lain dan belajar hal-hal baru dari mereka.

Saya tidak tahu mengapa saya selalu mengaku saya bisa menulis dengan baik dan bercita-cita untuk menerbitkan minimal satu buku dalam hidup saya. Menulis adalah hal yang terasa seperti kebutuhan–saya selalu kembali menulis dan menulis. Rasanya pusing jika tidak melakukannya.

Selain karena ‘pusing’, ternyata saya pernah menuliskan alasan saya menulis.

Mengapa aku menulis? Aku memiliki kekhawatiran yang kerap kali muncul ketika ilusi visual timbul di dalam benakku. Ia memberontak, menginginkan kebebasan. Begitu banyak imaji dan fantasi yang menyampaikan permohonan kepadaku agar mereka diberi kesempatan untuk hidup. Aku, mungkin juga kamu, termasuk ke dalam golongan segelintir manusia yang tidak tega mengaborsi kata-kata. Dengan senang hati, aku memberikan mereka kesempatan untuk menatap dunia melalui barisan-barisan hitam di atas putih, seperti yang tengah kulakukan saat ini.

Menghidupkan suatu kata membuatku bertahan hidup.

Sangat puitis, ya? Haha. Sudah lama saya tidak menulis dengan gaya seperti itu; sekarang saya sering menulis dengan lugas. Jika disederhanakan dan dikaitkan dengan bakat yang saya pikir saya miliki, saya menulis karena hal itu secara naluriah terdapat di dalam diri saya. Saya senang melakukannya, senang mempelajarinya, dan ingin orang lain merasakan manfaat dari tulisan yang saya buat.

Saya mulai berpikir untuk menulis dengan serius ketika saya bertemu dengan seorang penulis ketika saya menghadiri acara Peluncuran Kurikulum Nasional dan Manual Pelatihan Budi Daya Berkelanjutan dan Pasca-Panen Kopi Arabica yang diadakan oleh SCOPI di Jakarta minggu lalu. Penulis tersebut bernama Tyas Arumsari dan saya mendapatinya sedang mewawancarai salah satu pemilik roastery. Ia membuat saya berpikir, Saya suka menulis dan saya suka belajar hal-hal baru dari setiap orang yang saya temui. Jika saya menjadi penulis, saya dapat bertemu orang-orang menarik sebagai bahan riset saya, kemudian saya bisa menuliskan hal yang saya temukan agar dapat diambil pelajarannya oleh pembaca. Di situ ada terdapat ketiga unsur yang sudah dipenuhi–saya masih perlu bertanya tentang diri sendiri tentang quality of life yang saya inginkan dan apakah hal tersebut dapat dicapai jika saya menjadi penulis.

Jadi, mengapa saya menulis? Secara sederhana, tulisan adalah hal yang saya miliki saat ini dan bisa saya berikan kepada orang lain. Saya menulis untuk berbagi, untuk membuka diri saya terhadap orang lain, agar saya dapat terkoneksi dengan manusia-manusia lain yang membaca tulisan saya.

Mengapa kamu menulis?

Aci
Penulis
Aug 28, 2017. 4.07 PM. Dapur Eyang.

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What’s Your Name?

My name is Asri, and I have a hard time being Asri.

Asri (pronounced Ash-ree) is an Indonesian name which means beautiful and pleasant to look at, usually related to nature. I used to hate the name; it sounds old-fashioned! It is like Margaret or Katherine in English, I suppose. Probably no Millennial parents will give their daughter that name unless they are old at heart.

Asri also means ‘by time’ in Arabic and is a Surah in Quran.

‘By time, 
Indeed, mankind is in loss,
Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.’

– Recited from Al-‘Asr: 1-3

I started to feel okay being named ‘Asri’ (lol) when foreigner friends of mine pronounced my name beautifully. I fully understood that it was just how they speak, that it was their accents, but I could not help but love the sound of it. I also thought there is something classic, Indonesian, and authentic about Asri, and I quite like it.

Moreover, the name Asri reflects a personality I wish I would have: the sense of contentedness and calmness only nature could provide to a person, which makes him love being in the presence of nature. Becoming a person who can bring out those feelings from someone is something I still need to work on.

Perhaps you or your friends also hate the name given by your parents. (I once read a novel and frowned, ‘Why on earth would parents name their son ‘Uranus’? I mean, Uranus?!’) Yet, maybe you just have not yet realised that your name more likely will shape who you are. Finding meanings behind it and actually becoming it sounds quite a journey, don’t you think?

Asri
Working on being me
Aug 27, 2017. 10.23 AM. Home.

Para Perakit

shenzhen
Sumber gambar: i.ytimg.com

Beberapa hari yang lalu, teman saya bercerita tentang salah satu kota di Cina yang menjadi pasar elektronik terbesar di dunia, Shenzen. Katanya, kalau kamu ingin memiliki sebuah iPhone, kamu bisa saja membeli komponen-komponen inti dari ponsel tersebut (baterai, layar, dan lain-lain) dan merakitnya sendiri. Seseorang pernah melakukannya dan berhasil. Biaya yang ia keluarkan tentu lebih murah dibandingkan dengan membeli ponsel yang sudah jadi. Selain itu, ia mendapat kebanggaan tersendiri karena menggunakan karyanya sendiri.

Tentu tidak semua orang seperti itu – mungkin hanya segelintir orang dengan minat khusus yang sudi melakukannya. Sebagian besar orang memilih untuk membeli ponsel jadi karena alasan kepraktisan.

Kemudian tiba-tiba terpikirkan oleh saya, bagaimana kalau hal itu juga terjadi pada manusia ketika mereka memilih teman hidup?

Dalam memilih teman hidup, manusia ingin pasangan yang tepat bagi dirinya. Seseorang yang memiliki tujuan dan nilai-nilai hidup yang sama karena akan sulit untuk menjalani hidup bersama hingga ajal menjemput jika mereka tidak memiliki core value yang sama.

Paling tidak secara kasar manusia dapat dibagi menjadi dua, yaitu manusia yang sedang menata hidupnya dan manusia yang telah mengetahui hal yang ingin dicapainya dan sedang dalam proses meraih hal itu. Butuh waktu dan proses yang berbeda bagi setiap orang untuk menemukan seseorang yang memiliki visi yang sama. Bahkan tidak semua orang sudah tahu tujuan dan nilai hidupnya.

Dalam memilih pasangan hidup, beberapa manusia menginginkan pasangan yang sudah tahu langkah-langkah yang akan ia jalani agar bisa membayangkan dan mengukur apakah manusia ini dapat melihat mereka berdampingan dan saling mendukung tujuan hidup masing-masing di masa depan. Beberapa ingin mencari orang yang sudah sukses, sehingga tidak perlu repot-repot “merakit ponsel” dan bisa langsung “mengoperasikan” saja.

Tidak terbayang jika semua orang ingin yang serba-jadi dan tidak menghargai proses dibalik “produk” kualitas terbaik yang mereka “gunakan” sekarang. Bagaimana nasib orang-orang yang masih menata hidupnya dan membutuhkan bimbingan? Bagaimana nasib ponsel yang masih berupa pecahan-pecahan dari beberapa bagian yang belum dirakit secara utuh jika tidak ada yang mau melakukannya?

Bersyukurlah karena di dunia ini ada para perakit. Mereka adalah orang-orang yang menghargai proses. Mereka adalah orang-orang yang bermata jeli, yang bisa mengenali sesuatu yang berharga, yang mungkin bagi orang lain terlihat tidak berharga karena mereka tidak tahu cara membuatnya menjadi berharga.

Bersyukurlah karena para “perakit” mau membantu membimbing manusia-manusia yang masih bingung akan tujuan hidupnya hingga manusia tersebut mencapai kesuksesan pada akhirnya. Mereka adalah orang-orang terbaik karena mereka rela mencurahkan tenaga, waktu, dan pikiran mereka untuk membantu mengembangkan kapasitas manusia yang sebelumnya tidak lebih dari kepingan-kepingan yang belum utuh. Di dunia yang serba-ingin-cepat dan serba-ingin-semua-ideal, para perakit termasuk spesies langka.

Jika kamu menemukan paling tidak seorang “perakit” di hidupmu, hargailah ia dengan mencoba mengikuti saran yang ia berikan sebelum kamu menentukan jalanmu sendiri. Ia menemukan sesuatu yang berharga di dalam dirimu yang tidak dilihat orang lain dan ia mau membantumu untuk “merakit” hidupmu agar orang lain dapat merasakan kebaikanmu seperti yang ia rasakan. Tidak banyak orang yang mau repot-repot melakukan hal tersebut. Kamu beruntung kalau kamu menemukannya.

For My Dearest Friend

I dedicate this post to a friend of mine, Rizky Ayu Ryani Putri (as known as Uti), who is always there for me for ten years. I have never met someone who is as patient, brave, and humble as her. I just want to reminisce, if you don’t mind.


I met her when in middle school, first year. We were in the same class and sat in pairs – she always sat in front of me. We and our chair-mates were inseparable.

(Unfortunately both of us don’t contact them anymore because they had been accepted to different high schools; it’s harder to reach them.)

Middle school life is weird, I think. We bullied each other, Uti and I, along with our chair-mates. I applied wet correction pen on my table. Usually when either of those two turned around to face me, she would put her arm on my table and, voila! Her hand would be all fair and white. 😃 We did it all the time when we had nothing to do. Sometimes we watched our seniors, the “popular” ones, playing basketball and we daydreamed we would date them someday. (Never mind it never happens, but at least they knew me – because of the dumbest thing I’ve done and I’d rather not write about it lol.)

Uti was, and maybe is still, the clever one. She was a member of Mathematics club (I mean, Mathematics club?? I would never be a part of it haha) and joined some competition if I’m not mistaken. She has a fantastic voice as well, and joined a student’s choir. I didn’t do any school activities beside classes back then – I either hung out with friends or went straight home.

Years after, we went to the same high school, but we never had a class together. Still, we met each other now and then and caught up a lot. Moreover, we used to hung out often in our last year, three with the other friend. It was nice, when we had nothing to worry besides boring classes, boring teachers, and thinking how we can get good grades while still have much time to hang out. Time flies fast.


Here we are, now in our last year of university. SO many stories – there was good time, bad time, and so-so time. I threw shits. She fucked up. We know each other’s ups and downs – sometimes I don’t even need to explain because she already knows. Sometimes I don’t need to ask because I can tell by seeing her face.

She is a hell of a girl, in a positive way. She’s very humble and kind, yet she can’t see it herself most of the time, makes me want to smack her just to make her realise that she’s that great. She’s brave; willing to sacrifice herself for someone she loves (which is an asshole because he took her for granted). But she’s very patient. Very, really, extremely. She has been dealing with the guy we love but we hate the most for God (and she) knows how long. She’s pure at heart – and she really deserves to be happy for a long time; not a short while like she’s having right now, and currently taken again quickly.

She has been sick for more than a week, now in the hospital near our campus. We still don’t know what’s wrong with her; the doctor is still making some diagnoses to the point when I begin to wonder his credential. I only can hope that all is going to end up well, for her. (But isn’t hope the root of all disappointments?)

God may hate me but please You have to love her, enough to make her happy again. Content, at least. Would you do her one favour?

 

This is When I Tried to Understand God’s Perspective

I’m always asking, “Why does God create us?” What does He want? Doesn’t He have anything to do and want something to play with? Does He feel lonely? Are we all a mere experiment to Him? A huge nonsense? What’s the point of Heaven and Hell, if those even exist? Why would He create us, watch us live and suffer and dead and live again, only to put us into Afterlife? What’s the point? Why? Why? Doesn’t He even exist, or am I talking about something that isn’t there in the first place?

I was crying one afternoon because I was so upset listening that non-Muslim people will go to Hell no matter how kind they are. They said it was like you were attending classes in the university you didn’t register. You might attend all classes, pass the tests with flying colours, but in the end you wouldn’t get any graduation certificate because you weren’t registered as a student in the first place. It was the same with religion; even though you do good deeds on Earth, you won’t be accepted in Muslim’s version of Heaven simply because you’re not a Muslim. Or any Heaven from any religion’s version, it doesn’t matter. I picked Islamic version because I’m a Muslim and that was what I know.

Perhaps there’s a different concept of Heaven?

Anyway, if the correct version of Heaven is the one I wrote before (only Muslim can enter—and they’re not even guaranteed to go there), does it feel right for you?

For me, it doesn’t feel right. Not even okay.


If you’re using Vine, you must be familiar with Jérôme Jarre. He’s French, now in Somalia helping people to stop famine and make them happy again. In the process, he met Muslim woman, talked with her, and she taught him how to say “Alhamdulillah”. He published on his Instagram, “Islam that world didn’t see”. “Islam is full of love”, and he spread the news even though he’s not a Muslim. I don’t know what he believes in, but now it doesn’t matter—what really matter is his helping people sincerely because he’s a human who wants to help other humans. As simple as that.

Just to make sure, I asked some Muslims, “Will non-Muslim be able to go to Heaven when they’re very kind to other human being while they live on Earth?” They said, “No, they can’t.”

However, if you read at the previous case, actually a non-Muslim guy is helping Muslim people in Somalia so they won’t starve anymore (yeah, he’s still doing it as I’m writing this post). They must be very thankful to him and to God as well, and Jérôme—intentionally or not—made some Somalis love God more because “God” finally sent them a good human being to help them. (I said “some” because probably some others decided not to believe in God anymore and just believe in the real thing.) According to Islam, Jérôme will go to Hell—really?? Are you serious? He’s helping Muslims, spreading the good about Islam to the world, yet he doesn’t deserve a Heaven at all? Must be kidding, right?

Why do we have to go to Heaven in the first place? From what I heard, anyone can get anything they want once they’re there—all they need to do is asking. What’s the purpose of living when you don’t have to fight for anything anymore? What’s your life purpose? Would life be boring, you think? If I were there I would be lazy all the time.

It made me frown; I really was confused. I didn’t get what God thought of all these things. If You’re really there, would You make me understand? Why are You so happy making people feel confused about You? Don’t You want to be understood, to be recognised? WHY are You making it so hard?

This was when I made an analogy.


I imagined myself as a mother of two children, a boy and a girl. Why would I have children? I don’t know; probably because I’m bored with my life and I want something new, because I want to give love to other creature (this doesn’t make sense though as there are still a lot of kids who need love and care, so why should I “create” a new one?), or because it’s an accident caused by uncontrolled lust?? (No way in hell!—well it’s just an instance.)

(Have you ever asked your parents why you were born? What did they have on their mind when they decided to have you? Did you dare to ask? I haven’t asked my own parents until now—I’m shy and afraid to make them angry. Why? They easily make a fuss about little things that feel personal and I don’t want to play with the fire. I do encourage you to ask your parents though, and let me know their answers if you don’t mind.)

Then sadly one of my kid, let’s say the old one, didn’t recognised me as his parent. Even though I cared and loved him so much and helped him to grow up until he became a man, I was invisible to him. The cause can be anything: he was hurt by me for some reason; I didn’t give enough love, care, or money; he found more loving and caring “mom” out there; or he simply was an asshole. Either way, I didn’t exist for him.

I would be very, very angry if it happened—and sad. Terribly sad.

Nonetheless, he really cared for his younger sister. He was always there for her, be a silly friend and a protective brother. He even made his sister loved me more as her mom. She thanked me for “giving” her such a kind brother whom she saw as her hero, even though she felt sad because she couldn’t encourage her brother to love me. She was torn.

So was I.

I would still love my children regardless of how they behaved towards me, especially if my son made my daughter loved me more although he didn’t intentionally do it. I really would love to reach for him again, but it was hard for me to do that because I didn’t exist in his world—there was nothing for me to do if he had already built such a tall, strong wall that was hard to break. I would be able to break it if only he allowed me to do so. I would feel resentful, but yeah… I could only shrug, I guess? I could provide an extremely beautiful place to live in, yet he refused to enter. Though, if in a blue moon he changed his mind and chose to come to me, I would gladly open my arms widely and accept him as he was.


Perhaps God is pretty much the same: feels betrayed when people don’t recognise His existence, desperately want people to come to Him but some people refuse, and so forth. I personally think that there’s a supreme being who created all of us. Since I was born as a Muslim, Allah is the God I know and Islam is the way of living that I understand. Yes, if I were born in a different family there were a chance I wouldn’t be a Muslim; I would be so different, thus I wouldn’t be “me” at all. Now I’ve found more peace in my belief. It doesn’t matter that there are many other religions or no religion at all. This is what I know, and I just want to go “home”.

What about other religions? Do they belong to the Heaven that I (don’t) know of? Maybe there are many Heavens out there, just like many countries in the world. Every country has its own system; none of them are wrong. It’s just a matter of what suits it best. Same goes with Heaven, maybe. (I wrote lots of “maybe” because I don’t know myself. Then again, who knows?) What if someone doesn’t believe in God or Heaven at all? They might not believe in it, but I believe that they will have a place as well. It’s better for them I think because they have nothing to expect.

Now that I wrote about it, it sounds silly that Heaven has many “countries”, but I just want kind people who aren’t Muslim also belong to Heaven, in their own terms, and I can meet family and friends again. Heaven won’t be so boring as long as I have them there, eh?


Everyone’s perception about God would differ, and it’s totally fine. No one knows the truth. My perception could change as well if I change my analogy, yours too, and there’s nothing we can do about it. I imagine myself as a parent who has children because that’s what makes sense for me so far; I’m open to new perspective if you care to share some to me. The bottom line is maybe it’s kind of useless to think about this abstract stuff, but having a place to stand on makes me feel in peace.

By the way, what do you have in mind?

One of The Brightest Stars

(Source: Genius)

I had never posted any posts related to songs in WordPress until now; I wrote it because this song touched me to the personal level. The song was introduced to me by a friend, Dino, and I thank him so much. I won’t interpret the song by words, but by how it means to me.

It’s better to listen to the song first. You’re gonna like it. 😉

One day your story will be told.
One of the lucky ones who’s made his name.
One day they’ll make you glorious,
Beneath the lights of your deserved fame.

This lyrics give me hope. Yesterday, I read that there is 3-step process to create your reality. I’m on Step 2, and listening this fuels my spirit. I picture that in 5 years, I will help coffee farmers to process their coffee so the beans will have the highest quality. Their life will be better, and we’ll all be happy together.

Anyway, I won’t hide the fact that I want to do something good at last because I want to feel good, be good, and look good while I’m doing it. I also want to prove myself and other people that I can do one thing properly and do it until the end. If you think that it’s not good to have your personal reasons, nah, it’s totally fine. You don’t have to share it to anyone if you’re uncomfortable, but at least be honest to yourself. Acknowledge it, and let it empower you when you feel like you want to give up.

After all, I (and you too) will be blinded by the lights of our deserved fame some time soon.

And it all comes round.
Once in a lifetime like it always does.
Everybody loves you ’cause you’ve taken a chance,
Out on a dance to the moon, too soon.
And they’ll say: told you so.
We were the ones who saw you first of all.
We always knew that you were one of the brightest stars.

A chance will come only once in my life, and everyone will love me because I’ve taken the chance as soon as it appears. They pretty much will tell that they’ve always known that I deserve all of the good things that happens to me. People always like to be close to someone who is kind, has a good reputation, and is successful in life. That’s why they’ll say, “Told you so.” They think they knew it since the first time they saw me struggle. Some of them are true, but only God knows about the others.

One day they’ll tell you that you’ve changed,
Though they’re the ones who seem to stop and stare.
One day you’ll hope to make the grave,
Before the papers choose to send you there.

People won’t notice me until I give impacts to them, either directly or indirectly. For the third and fourth line, I don’t believe that “one day I probably choose to die instead of let the fate send me to the grave”. For me the meaning is I’ll live this world as fully as possible before I die.

And it all comes round.
Once in a lifetime like it always does.
Nobody loves you ’cause you’ve taken a chance,
Out on a dance to the moon, too soon.
And they’ll say: told you so.
We were the ones who saw you first of all.
We always knew that you were one of the brightest stars.

(Source: azlyrics)

In some cases, people might hate me because I’m taking a chance towards my dreams. Some people won’t like seeing me succeed for some reasons, even though in the end they probably will embrace me as a friend again when I’ve reached my goals.

Either way, I still will be one of the brightest stars.

Home, Sweet and Lovely Home

I sit by myself in the living room, in front of my laptop. Easy-listening music is played softly on the background. The clock ticks slowly, as if it feels too lazy to move its second. Some trees out there are dancing very, very slowly. Apparently the wind is also too lazy to move. It is sunny outside; couch potatoes like me would rather stay at home and get fat relax.

I’m going to write about this house, which now has become my home for several months. I write for myself; I know I’m gonna miss it someday when I hit the road or when I come back to my old house.

My home is located on a border area between Bandung and Cimahi. My parents decided to rent this house because it’s closer to their office and to their children’s schools, and is affordable. I remember my first impression of the house: felt like it was so far away from the city. The road was rocky and it was deadly quiet because the house is located at the end of the road–no one passes by. The inside of house looked weird as well; I couldn’t understand what was on the architecture’s mind when he designed the house–if there was any architecture at all. On those early days, my parents often visited the house to clean and renovate it.

After the renovation was finished and the furnitures were all placed, I don’t think I can leave this house. Ever.

Why do I feel so attached to this house?

This house and its environment give positive energy to me: it has lots of windows, so I don’t need to turn on any lights during the day except for bathrooms. I like to hangout with my family in the living room; laughing, telling stories, eating, or just being immersed on our own gadgets. It’s just… it feels good to live here. The neighbours are also nice; I remember their faces because I sometimes jog in the morning. Every morning I can see kids going to kindergarten, naive and full of curiosity. Every afternoon they will play soccer on the field and the girls will cheer at them. Some dads are also active; I’ve seen them countless times playing tennis (yes, we have a tennis court as well). It’s very lively. I like it here.

The house also has stories of travellers who came by and stayed for awhile. They are from Indonesia, Canada, France, Philippines, Taiwan, Germany, and still counting. We shared stories, inspired each other, and often they would cook me food from their countries even though I didn’t ask. They became my new friends even though we only met for a short time. Some people would be too worried or anxious to let someone they don’t know to stay in their house, but not me. I guess I will always naively think that people are kind (even though I got hurt several times for being too trustful) and they all have interesting stories to share. I still believe in humanity. This house is the witness of kindness and love one can give to other human being.

In a peaceful morning, I exercise or meditate on my backyard, which is big enough to play badminton. Being surrounded by nature, with only the sound of breeze passing through the trees and of birds chirping, would do good for one’s mind and heart. Often I would just lay on the mattress, close my eyes, and feel the life in me and my surrounding. It’s calming. What a wonderful feeling.

I love living here. 🙂