On Comfort Zone

AROUND 12 years ago, I was standing at a crossroad.

I was teaching part time and from the very beginning never planned to stay long.

My parents are educators. They were natural educators. They seemed to enjoy their jobs. Their jobs gave them all they needed, from comfort to social lift. Working as a teacher back then was a cool thing to do.

But now, it isn’t as cool as it used to be.

Salaries are meager. Welfare is less than satisfactory.

And as a government civil servant, you must obey whatever government tells you to do.

Not me.

This is sooo NOT me.

So I kept saying to myself, “This is a temporary stint. It wouldn’t last long”. I promised myself day in day out while I was teaching my students.

All I wanted to do was do something else. A corporate job would do. Anything but teaching gigs or position seemed worthtrying.

I was so desperate, I almost got tricked into a scam. An unknown company emailed me and it triggered my curiosity of how the world outside of my hometown looked like.

Jakarta was never my dream city. It was filthy, full of crime, disorder, chaos, and … opportunities.

Alas, I can’t resist the last.

So I went to this center of Indonesian civilization one day in April 2010.

I picked a tiny room to rent for some time. And you know what, I stayed there for more than 11 years. I was even more impressed by my endurance. Enduring from its claustrophobic environment. A small bedroom, tiny shared bathroom, and nothing else.

The pandemic saw my moving out of the capital.

My endurance finally ran out. I couldn’t continue living in this shared environment. I decided I needed to get out as soon as possible.

And I happened to make a purchase of a little house out of it.

It takes me 1.5 hour to get there from Tanah Abang but I don’t mind that much.

It’s been a lifelong dream to work in a countryside. And it doesn’t hurt if I can stay there alone because I’m an introvert. I thrive in silence. Well, not a total silence but a controlled environment to think, ruminate and live. I like some noise but it should be a type of ‘desired noise’.

In retrospect, I recall my teaching phase of life was kind of hectic and energy draining.

I was working under a formal institution. I (had to) set a flawless example for my students. I had to come and go at a certain hour, and definitely could never leave the campus before I was allowed to.

But what I wasn’t comfortable with was the fact that I had to stand up and talk all day long during the classes.

It DID suck my energy up.

At the end of every teaching session, I somehow felt hollow and empty. As if I was too tired psychologically and mentally to live my life.

That was when I thought I couldn’t live that way.

I’ve always wanted to earn a living by writing or doing things that doesn’t require me to meet people in person under a formal setting.

I truly love the honor of teaching. But I knew from the very beginning that I can’t stand the bureucracy behind the walls of academia.

That’s why I still love teaching but I teach something else now. I don’t teach English but yoga. Still a thing I love doing every single day and I don’t feel any pressure. I felt this is the choice I made myself so I have no objection.

So if you ask me what my comfort zone is, I’d most probably answer: writing and teaching (informally).

How about you?

What’s your comfort zone you can never leave and can thrive in? (*/)

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Things You Can Enjoy In Suburbs

The pandemic is surely attacking the suburbs, too.

I’ve heard some news from neighbors that a few of them have been infected.

That might sound bad.

But I don’t think so.

The population density here is so low I hardly ever encounter a crowd.

It’s always a person or two. A sensible number of humans to control or stay away from.

You see there’s no creature on our street. Only a motorbike or two passes by. No one strolls.

The icing on the cake is fresh air and vast skyline to enjoy anytime you wish. No skyscrapers block my view. How cool is it? (*/)

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The Ultimatum of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo

It’s still raging out there. It’s intense and doesn’t show any signs of abating anytime soon.

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Why Viktoria Komova Must Write Her Own Autobiography NOW!

Komova's legendary sheep jump (Source: her Instagram feed)

SEVERAL days ago former Russian gymnast Viktoria Komova started to write some heartfelt posts on her Instagram account @komova_v_a_36 which I have been folllowing since I saw her gymnastics several years ago. She was retelling her experience as a world-class gymnast in her teenage years.

At 26, she is more than ready to tell her stories in a more mature perspective. (Source: her Instagram feed)

She wrote this:

Изнанка большого спорта 🥇 Часть 1.

Говорить про наличие многочисленных травм – нет смысла, это понятно вам всем.
Я тренировалась, выступала, жила с болями и это вошло в привычку.

Начну свой рассказ с 2010 года 🙌🏼

После молодежной олимпиады мы тренировались 24/7, помню как сегодня: в воскресенье тренер проводил занятие, на эстафете я спрыгивала с брусьев и… сломала ногу 😕

После реабилитации, я выступила на Чемпионате России на двух снарядах. И вот подготовка к Чемпионату Европы, разминка, делаю шаг назад, подворачиваю ногу и опять ее ломаю 🤦🏻‍♀️

В Германии провели операцию. Я выступила на Чемпионате Мира в 2011 году и после него, где-то спустя 3-4 месяца, начались дикие боли в ноге, я не могла на неё наступить, обнаружили усталостный перелом надкостницы и ещё одной операции было не избежать.

Вам интересно услышать продолжение? Дайте знать в комментариях ☺️

With my pathetic Russian translation skills, Google Translate came to the rescue.

So she says this in English:

The wrong side of big sport 🥇 Part 1.

There is no point in talking about the presence of numerous injuries, it is clear to all of you.
I trained, performed, lived with pain and it became a habit.

I’ll start my story from 2010 🙌🏼

After the youth Olympiad, we trained 24/7, I remember how today: on Sunday, the coach held a lesson, on the relay I jumped off the bars and … broke my leg 😕

After rehabilitation, I performed at the Russian Championship on two apparatus. And now I’m preparing for the European Championship, warm-up, I take a step back, twist my leg and break it again 🤦🏻‍♀️

An operation was carried out in Germany. I performed at the World Championships in 2011 and after it, about 3-4 months later, wild pains in my leg began, I could not step on it, they found a fatigue fracture of the periosteum and another operation could not be avoided.

Are you interested in hearing the sequel? Let me know in the comments

(Her Instagram post on June 7th, 2021)

And the next day she wrote this:

Изнанка большого спорта 🥇 Часть 2.

Хочу поблагодарить вас за ваш интерес и обратную связь ❣️

Я уже говорила, жить с болями вошло в привычку. Но когда она уже невыносимая и без обезболивающего трудно не только выполнить элемент на снарядах, но и буквально стоять, тогда понимаешь, что дела плохи.

После Олимпиады в 2012 году я не вылазила из травм.

В 2013 году из-за компрессионного перелома позвоночника (в грудном отделе) я пропустила Чемпионат России, являющийся отборочным на Чемпионат Европы.

В том же году, в последне дни перед Кубком России я заболела серозным менингитом и пропустила Чемпионат Мира.

В 2014 году – серьёзный перелом ноги, провели еще одну операцию.

В 2015 году боли в спине усилились, но я выступила на первых Европейских играх и с командой получили золотую медаль! 🎉
Также выступила с болями на Чемпионате мира в Глазго и выиграла золотую медаль 🥇

К сожалению, на соревнованиях в 2015 году я выступала уже с дикой болью и терпеть ее больше не могла.

Если вам интересно послушать завершающую часть как раз о моем уходе из большого спорта – дайте знать в комментариях 🕊

Google Translate again helps me understand the gist.

The wrong side of big sport 🥇 Part 2.

I want to thank you for your interest and feedback ❣️

I have already said that living with pain has become a habit. But when it is already unbearable and without an anesthetic it is difficult not only to perform the element on the apparatus, but also to literally stand, then you understand that things are bad.

After the 2012 Olympics, I didn’t get out of my injuries.

In 2013, due to a compression fracture of the spine (in the thoracic region), I missed the Russian Championship, which is a qualifier for the European Championship.

In the same year, on the last days before the Russian Cup, I fell ill with serous meningitis and missed the World Championship.

In 2014 – a serious leg fracture, another operation was performed.

In 2015, my back pain intensified, but I competed at the first European Games and got a gold medal with the team! 🎉
Also performed with pains at the World Championships in Glasgow and won a gold medal 🥇

Unfortunately, at the competitions in 2015, I already performed with wild pain and could no longer endure it.

If you are interested in listening to the final part just about my retirement from big sport – let me know in the comments 🕊

(Her Instagram post on June 11th, 2021)

So if you ask me the reason why Komova must write her own biography, I’d say: BECAUSE GABY DOUGLAS AND ALY RAISMAN HAD DONE SO FOR MANY YEARS AGO!

Honestly, I scanned Douglas’ biography, looking for the mentions of Komova right there. I was simply curious as to how Douglas described her rival at that legendary all around finals. Komova was a favorite and owned her performance especially with that highly praised floor exercise but still she failed to outdo Douglas. Her staunch fans still hold grudge till this second.

I found a paragraph that Douglas admitted Komova’s performance was “fantastic”. Here is the paragraph from Douglas’ “GRACE, GOLD & GLORY: My Leap of Faith” (2012) for you to savor.

And then from Raisman’s “FIERCE: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything” (2017), I found this.

And then this.

Here is another paragraph on Komova.

This is the last time she mentioned Komova and Aliya Mustafina who recently announced her retirement at the Russian Cup this year.

There are many details and emotions and feelings are left out right there. And I want to know the story on Komova’s side. It must be so satisfying to know what Komova felt about her US rivals.

So now you know how significant this petition, right? (*/)

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Acrobatics Is Better Than Politics

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BTS Meal Fiasco: How Indonesian Consumers & Marginalized Workers Get Exploited As A Mere Object Of Capitalistic Expansionism

BTS Meal was trending on Twitter on June 9th, 2021. To a non-BTS Army like me, there was no urge to make a purchase of all these available meals offered by McDonald’s outlets in Jakarta.

When I thought it was just a small ineffectual news update, I saw another piece of news the next day. The McDonald’s marketing feat was seen as negligence of health protocols by the authorities, causing online food couriers from GoJek (now GoTo) gather and thus incited pointless and unnecessary crowds which might worsen the seemingly endless pandemic in Indonesia.

The authorities have been struggling to curb a number of positive cases number explosions in many regions in Indonesia after the Eid el-Fitr holiday. My hometown is one of the hardest-hit towns in Indonesia.

And it is still raging. Unstoppable because of some stubborn and ignorant people combined with ignorance of bureaucracy and health workers that allow family members mingle in the same room with the supposedly self-isolated Covid-19 patients. It’s been a year and it’s impossible not to ever hear the importance of leaving a Covid-19 patient in a separate room until s/he is fully recoevered from the virus.

Indonesians, pity you. Because you’re just used as the objects.

Molnar of Argentina in 2014 highlighted the fact that South Korea has used the transnasional fanaticism as a tool to strengthen and widen its influence to Indonesia and many other nations.

Molnar defines Hallyu as soft power for South Korean capitalist expansionism and further descrobes it as a “Korean Dream” of “transnationalism and new imagined communities”.

Yes, one of these transnational, imagined communities is Indonesian BTS Armies.

Today I heard the McDonald’s outlets offering these meals are told to close and be fined by the authorities. Which they deserved for making all this mayhem happen.

And of course, some people cannot resist selling the meals which were produced in a limited stock to die-hard Armies. Marketplaces are swarmed with BTS Armies wanted to buy tumblers, cups, cuttleries, and whatever related to McDonald’s BTS Meals.

Celebrities bought, enjoyed and reviewed the meals for the sake of likes and popularity.

Behind all these, we all know too good that drivers and couriers are those who suffer most. They are so prone to Covid-19, but only God knows if they are fully vaccinated and ready to cover the medication and treatment once they get infected by Covid-19.

But that’s not of their biggest concern. Not because they don’t care about their own safety but because they have no resources to even protect themselves. They have mouths to feed at home and they are working like slaves amid this so-called the digital epoch and 4.0 industry revolution.

Is it fair? I don’t think so. (*/)

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Anti-Pandemic Yoga

SEANDAINYA ada yoga semacam itu, yang bisa mengusir pandemi, pasti akan laris kelasnya.

Karena baru-baru saya ditanyai seorang ibu: “Mas, ada yoga buat mengusir long covid nggak?”

Ia mengaku badannya tak seperti dulu lagi. Duh, memang yang dulu kayak gimana sih bu?

Doi sih mengaku badannya sekarang masih sering merasa meriang dan nggak fit.

Saat saya tanya apakah ia mengalami stres dalam bekerja, apakah ia tidur cukup di malam hari, apakah ia makah secara sehat dan seimbang, ia menjawab terbata-bata:

“Uhmm, saya memang lagi banyak kerjaan nih mas. Adaaa ajaa yang kayaknya mesti dikerjain. Nggak bisa nganggur dikit.”

Saya nggak mau buru-buru komentar. Takut jadi menghakimi.

“Memang pandemi bikin kerjaan jadi tambah banyak. Tidur juga jadi nggak nyenyak. Kadang malem-malem terbangun.”

Ya, padahal doi ini katanya sih direktur di organisasinya. Dan selevel direktur ternyata tak kuasa mengendalikan ritme dan kecepatan serta volume pekerjaan. Bukannya salah tapi sampai kapan dia bisa kuat melakoni pola kerja yang tidak berkelanjutan alias sustainable seperti ini? Nunggu sampai sekarat banget?

Lalu soal makanan, ia mengaku: “Iya karena kemarin kena Covid dan anosmia, akhirnya ya udah makan nggak usah bumbu-bumbu gitu, mas.”

Bagus dong lebih sehat, tukas saya mencoba mengangkat sisi cerahnya.

Sialnya tidak demikian tanggapannya.

“Tapi kolesterol saya memang masih tinggi, mas. Sempet 170. Sekarang sih 140,” ia bercerita blak-blakan.

Tapi sampai detik ini belum ada guru yoga hebat yang dengan jumawa menepuk dadanya di hadapan warga dunia untuk berkata: “Inilah yoga penangkal Covid.”

Kalaupun ada ya bakal di-roast habis-habisan sama mereka yang percaya sains dan WHO.

Tapi selama pandemi ini bisa dikatakan yoga di rumah adalah penyelamat kewarasan dan kesehatan fisik, mental dan rohani saya sih. Asli. Nggak bohong. No gimmick.

Kerasa banget kalau biaya yoga teacher training dulu itu menjadi suatu investasi berharga banget. Saya bisa tetap sehat dan waras dan malah masih bisa diberi kesempatan mengajak orang lain sehat dan waras pula. Jadi, combo benefits gitu lah. Nggak bisa henti-hentinya bersyukur. (*/)

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Shareable Non-Feline Cuteness

The internet is inundated with gifs and videos of funny cats and their silly behaviors.

This time I’d say I have found the best substitute: lambs.

They are herbivore, meaning they are much less harmless.

And you can take them to goat yoga class.

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Losmen Bu Broto: Tontonanku, Tuntunanku

MUAK dengan tontonan zaman sekarang yang sarat dengan kebobrokan moral dan nilai edukasi rendah serta mementingkan viralitasnya?

Saatnya mengaduk-aduk YouTube untuk menemukan tontonan nostalgia TVRI zaman 1980-an.

Tontonan favoritku zaman SD ialah “Losmen Bu Broto” yang saat itu sebenarnya aku belum paham betul jalan ceritanya sih tapi aku masih paham sedikit-sedikit. (*/)

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Laki Punya Diary

Kutipan dari buku “Expressive Writing: Words that Heal” dari James Pennebaker

TIDAK ada periode hidup yang paling menjemukan dan paling menyesakkan selain pandemi ini.

Setidaknya bagi saya. Entah bagi Anda. Bagi orang paling introvert pun, terpasung di rumah memang membuat stres. Jadi efeknya bagi orang-orang ekstrovert juga tak terbayangkan sih.

Banyak orang yang mencari metode pelampiasan stres yang berakumulasi selama pandemi. Di antaranya olahraga.

Tapi kadang beban pikiran tak bisa diatasi cuma dengan olahraga meski itu juga berguna.

Kondisi mental dan psikologis memiliki caranya sendiri untuk dipulihkan. Tidak dengan gerakan fisik tapi harus ditelisik dalam kesyahduan.

Saya pun mencari metode yang lebih efektif untuk menangani beban mental dan psikologis itu dengan membaca dan menulis.

Tapi ternyata tak semudah itu. Tak bisa sembarangan membaca dan menulis. Kalau salah membaca dan menulis malah jadinya makin stres. Lihat saja kondisi mental kita kalau baca berita Covid.

Saya pun membaca buku. Karena media online sudah bikin jemu.

Buku James Pennebaker yang berjudul “Expressive Writing: Words that Heal” ini lumayan bagus bagi mereka yang mengharapkan menulis bisa menjadi metode menerapi diri.

Kata Pennebaker, menulis secara lepas dan ekspresif membuat kita lebih rileks.

Dan yang dianjurkan lebih utama lagi ialah para pria.

Wah kenapa ya?

Itu karena kaum pria lebih jarang dan terbuka membicarakan dan mengakui masalah yang menggelayuti benak mereka.

Menulis diary atau jurnal pribadi secara merdeka membuat pria bisa menumpahkan beban pikiran dan emosi serta trauma mereka. Nah ini yang penting, trauma! Karena pria tak mau dianggap lemah, mereka jarang mau membuka luka dan trauma emosional apalagi seksual karena ada tekanan patriarki dan tuntutan masyarakat bahwa pria harus kuat, tak boleh lembek, apalagi menangis meraung-raung. Pria sejati diajarkan untuk menahan semuanya. Kecuali rasa gembira dan marah.

Maka dari itu, pria justru yang paling mendapatkan banyak manfaat jika ia menulis secara ekspresif. Bukan perempuan yang sudah leluasa membicarakan problem pribadi mereka pada teman atau tetangga atau semacamnya.

Dengan menuliskan uneg-uneg, kita bisa mendapatkan kelegaan yang relatif sama dengan membicarakannya dengan orang lain. Tapi bedanya kita tidak berisiko dihakimi atau masalah kita dibocorkan ke orang lain. Jadi aman. Sepanjang tulisan itu tak terbaca orang lain ya.

Jadi, yuk pria bikin diary. Nggak usah khawatir bakal dibaca orang. Bisa dibakar setelah merasa lega kok. (*/)

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Pandemic Diary: Bukti Nyata Akhir Pandemi Masih Lama

Hari-hari pandemi terus bertambah. Ibarat napi di tahanan, kita udah capek coret-coret dinding bikin turus.

Satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima, enam, tujuh, delapan, sembilan, sepuluh, coret…

Begitu lagi dan lagi.

Dua lebaran sudah lewat ditelan pandemi.

Jumat siang tadi saya menjalankan ibadah salat Jumat. Dan menemukan makin banyak yang abai Protokol Kesehatan.

Ya saya maklumi. Kan mereka ini rakyat jelata, bukan hamba negara seperti aparat atau tenaga kesehatan atau birokrat yang harusnya memberi contoh.

Tapi kemudian, saya lihat seorang anggota TNI masuk.

Tanpa masker.

Kemudian ada beriringan dua orang pegawai Kommuter Line Jabodetabek.

Tanpa masker juga.

Lalu muncul seorang pria dengan kaos bertuliskan “Bangga sebagai Perawat”.

Duduk di tengah jamaah tanpa mengenakan masker pula.

Ketaatan menjalankan Prokes itu ternyata cuma berlaku di lingkungan kerja.

Di luar kantor atau tempat kerja, mereka merasa bebas.

Tiada sanksi.

Siapa juga yang berani menegur?

Kalau begini, rasanya memang ingin jadi gila.

Lalu membaca berita munculnya flu burung jenis baru. Lagi-lagi di China.

Benarkah alam begitu marahnya pada manusia?

Well, we get what we deserve. (*/)

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Pandemic Diary: Genderang Perang Lawan Kebandelan Masyarakat di Kudus

Lebih mudah memerangi Belanda dan Jepang yang mudah dilihat daripada memerangi virus yang bersarang di dalam badan rekan sebangsa sendiri yang susah dinasihati sampe setengah mati.

Tak pernah saya duga Kudus Semarak kota kelahiran saya jadi begini. Masuk headline nasional cuma karena sikap abai masyarakatnya terhadap bahaya Covid-19.

Antara malu, sedih, prihatin, geram, frustrasi, entahlah namanya apa. Lebih dari nano-nano. Sudah ada campuran cita rasa raflessia arnoldi, tai kebo, ingus ijo, dahak dan riak kenyal dan kenyal, serta congek.

Gimana ya? Ini tuh udah lebih dari setahun pandemi berlangsung, apa iya sih kurang paham bahaya Covid-19? Sudah dibombardir informasi segitu banyak apa iya nggak ada yang masuk kepala? ‘Hebat’ banget lho wong Kudus. Resisten terhadap banjir informasi yang tak henti-hentinya.

Semua konten ini sendiri saya ambil dari grup-grup WhatsApp. Niat saya mau mengabadikan. Buat dipamerkan ke anak cucu kalian semua: “Liat nih dulu itu tahun 2021, kota kelahiran kamu itu kayak gini kondisinya. Di-lockdown ama pemerintah, digeruduk tentara bertruk-truk dari Semarang, dikunjungi gubernur Ganjar, jadi buah bibir skala nasional. Wis jan jan! Tambenge rak mari mari!!! (Udah bener bener deh! Bandelnya nggak sembuh-sembuh).

Sirene meraung-raung memecah gendang telinga mengiringi penyerbuan tiga batalyon berbeda. Luwar biyasakkk!!!

Gubernur yang juga lagi jadi topik pembicaraan dunia politik karena ‘mbalelo’ sebagai kader parte banteng item juga tampil untuk menunjukkan kepedulian dan penanganan yang katanya ‘huMANIS’. Uwh so sweettt.

Saya dukung Anda deh pak.

Sujud syukur saya masih diberi keteguhan hati saat Lebaran kemarin untuk tidak mudik.

Setidaknya saya tidak menjadi bagian dan penyumbang masalah. (*/)

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