last breath


Credit to lavaspawn @ DeviantArt, titled Last Breath

This is in response to and inspired by another poem. My compliment is for Mr. Martin, and the link is provided below. Please check out his blog for incredible poems.

http://slpmartin.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/last/#wpl-likebox

if
i have
only one breath left
i will use it
to say

forgive me

i have wronged
so many
that
apologizing
will NOT
be enough
so
i rather
ask for
forgiveness

forgive me
forgive the past
let go
move on
go on
i’m gone
life continues

my journey
my future
my life
is about

redemption

the question
is
do i
deserve
another chance
for

salvation

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An Unsent Letter


It’s hard to go anywhere today, May 8th, 2011, without being reminded of the one thing that I don’t have. Motherhood. It would have been no problem at all if I happen not to desire it. At first, I didn’t want to write this post, especially the main content of this post, but I read a very powerful and courageous blog post today, written by someone that I don’t even know. The author shared her story knowing that it is risky. It’s like sharing a part of your life that is so private, full of pain and struggle. The author’s message in sharing her story in that post, however, did not escape me. Her reason to speak out was in hoping that her story will touch others and inform those in similar situations that they are not alone. It is with that in mind, I decided to share this piece too. I’m not sure what it will accomplish. A part of me is feeling somewhat exposed and vulnerable, but another part of me is feeling strong.

I believe I have come a full circle in the matter of this content. It started years ago (in my 20s and early 30s) with me feeling no desire to have the role of motherhood, to feeling the desire in the past few years, and now I’m in the gentle process of letting it go knowing full well that my time has passed. It seems that it is not within my destiny to have my own flesh and blood, but it does not mean that life as it is ends there. I know my destiny and purpose in life remain somewhere else, with a different role, which I am currently in the process of pursuing. I am okay with this, with what I have and don’t have. I have come to accept it and move on. It’s just that on days like today, it feels a little bit heavy inside.

I am sharing this unsent letter below to my readers because I believe it is part of the process of letting go and moving on. I still mourn and wonder sometimes what it would be like if…, but that’s just it, it remains as a wondering, not a regret anymore. I’m not even sure if I still desire it anymore. I don’t think I do anymore, but it doesn’t mean that on certain days the wondering doesn’t sneak up on me and bring me grief as well. But my readers, if any of you share what I’m going through, this day will pass too. And you will move on, continue with life. Use that grief for something useful.

I wrote this letter below last year, when I started the process of dealing with it. Even after I wrote this letter, I still went through the ups of hoping that maybe I still could and then the downs of realizing I couldn’t. It was a confusing and stressful time, but I managed to pass through it too. I’ve kept this letter in my personal journal for a long time, read it once in a while, but kept it to myself. This is my first time sharing it to anyone. Please note that it is what it is. It’s a piece of writing, written when I was under a certain state of mind. Don’t ask me question about it now, please, because I don’t have any answer. I can only tell you that I am okay now. Let’s move on.

*****************************************************

Credit to Mollinda @ DeviantArt, titled Gone

♥  ♥  ♥

My dear unborn child,

Hi there, how are you?
You don’t know me,
and I wish you do.
We never met,
and I wish we have.
I also wish I could get to know you,
see your smile,
know your personality,
know what makes you laugh,
and what makes you sad or angry.

Can’t say I know how you fit
perfectly in my arms,
or the sound you make
when you’re hungry.
I mourn the time
we could have spent together.
I mourn the fact that
you couldn’t take your first breath
and that I’d be there next to you,
exhausted yet happy.

I regret never having the chance
to explain to you everything,
about why you’re not here.
It’s not something against you,
but it’s us.
It’s because of fear,
it’s because of selfishness,
it’s what the nature set for us,
and we took that path.

I hope you can forgive me,
forgive us.
I hope we can forgive ourselves,
and I hope I can forgive myself too.
I guess this is what life sets up
for all of us.

I know you will find your way
to this place we call life.
I’m just sorry I’m not part of it.
I wish you the best.
I hope life won’t be cruel to you
when it is time for you to join the earth.
Live, survive, my unborn child.
Forgive me.

******************************************************

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all of my readers who have been given a chance to carry this extremely important, difficult, challenging, and blessed role. Many blessings to you all from the bottom of my heart.

What a Year! Lost and Hopefully Found


It’s been a while since the last time I made an entry for this blog. My mind and energy have been used to focus on some personal and important issues. I call it a period of existential questioning. There is something sentimental about the end of a year that finally pulls me back to this blog. To be honest, I miss writing. I miss those times in the past when ideas bombarded my head, urging me to write. It’s like having a song in your head. Sometimes the only way to get rid of the song from your head is to just relent and sing the damn song. That’s how I used to feel about writing. I lost it for a while. I can’t say for sure it’s back, but only time can tell. I can only say that I am enjoying this very moment with my fingers clicking on the keyboard, making a familiar sound. Oh, I miss that sound.

Back to the reason why I want to write this post. What a year it has been for me. I actually managed to accomplish a lot this year, and also to screw up plenty too. Irony, huh? Success, failure, the line between the two can be blurry at times. I must say that I lost myself for quite some time this year. Hopefully I found it, if not in the process of finding it. I have enjoyed many memorable moments, discovered many wonderful new and old friends, and got to know things about myself that I failed to pay attention earlier in my life. I have also faced my demons this year. I personally referred to them as my “fears,” loneliness being one out of many. I don’t know how many times I have asked myself the following question this year, “what am I afraid of?” Yes, I have started to face my own fears. I tell you what, it has been a very humbling experience to be sitting on a couch. That’s the “couch”, mind you. Luckily I didn’t have to lay down. Freud and his disciples might not disagree with the fact that I wasn’t laying down, but who are nowadays anyway. Come on, Freud. Get over it. It’s the modern version now. Haven’t you seen TV shows or movies lately? If you still don’t understand what I’m talking about, well, you’re a lost cause. Sorry. Anyway, I’m rambling, which I have a tendency to do. Feel free to say “stop” anytime.

I also learn to “feel” this year. That statement may sound weird to you because who doesn’t feel, right? We all feel something all the time. No, I meant truly feeling all different sorts of feelings: sad, happy, confused, lonely, content, love, anger, hurt, worried, confused, defeated, hopeless, hopeful, and belonging to mention a few. Sometimes I felt as if I was going in a circle, going from one feeling to another, only to come back to the original feeling again. Confusing, isn’t it? The reason I make this point about “to feel” is because I think for the longest time, in the span of maybe 20 years, I tried my best not to feel. I was probably drifting through all those years, not because I wasn’t feeling anything, but because I was avoiding to feel them. I guess I did what I was supposed to do without stopping to ask why and to whom I did what I was supposed to.

So, when I said ‘what a year,’ I said it with an exclamation point. It has been a very meaningful year, damn it! I walked, I ran. I fell, I got up. I cried, I laughed. I learned, and am still in that process of learning many things about life. I also learn to be thankful. Painfully, I can be an idiot, selfish, irresponsible human being at times. I’m aware of that, too aware at times. I’m not perfect, I guess, but I’ve been trying to be one. And guess where did I find myself at the end with that striving? At the edge of a very high cliff. Hmm… how in the world did I end up there? A logical question to ask.   Well, my dear readers, that’s why I’ve been trying to find out too. Bear with me, it’s still a journey. No worries, though, I am not about to jump over that cliff because I may be a lost cause myself to get to this point, but I still carry hope with me and would like to see what the rest of my life will look like if God agrees with my plan. So, I think I’ll just trace my way back again and see where I started to take the wrong path. My friends would know that I can get lost easily sometimes or do things absent-mindedly. Hence, the wrong path. Yup. Guilty.

Choices, choices, choices. When it comes down to it, I think the reason why I ended up at that cliff is because somewhere along the path, I failed to see that I had choices. I do have choices. I do have the right to be happy and that it’s okay to ask myself what would be best for me and make that choice, instead of being told what to do. If I make my own choices, then I will be the one who lives through the consequences and be responsible for making the decision. This way, I won’t have to blame “others” and go through a life of regrets.

I believe the worst thing that can happen to a person is when his/her right to make choices is taken away and be forced to live a certain life. I thought the turning point in my life many years ago when I came to this country was done by my own choice. At least, I said that to myself. See, we have to be caution here because choices sometimes can be disguised as duty. Mind you that this expression is not coming out from me now as another “blaming others” that I mentioned earlier because that is not the intention here, but it is worth mentioning. What I am trying to do now is just to move beyond the blaming stage and let go. Time to let go. God knows I’ve carried it way too long and it’s not taking me where I want to go.

Phew. Another thing, the hardest part in writing sometimes is to know when to stop. I’d like to end it here, but not before pointing out that I’ve had the title of my blog as Lost and Found since the first time I opened it, which was over a year ago. Perhaps, I already somewhat unconsciously (damn, back to Freud again) all this time that this has been the theme of my life? Who knows. Only 2011 and on can tell. Thank you, 2010. You’ve been wonderful. Nothing personal, but I do hope 2011 is easier. No regrets, though.

What Keeps You Awake at Night?


Internet. Like, you know, facebook… and like, you know, right now. It’s almost midnight and I have facebook, my email, and this blog open at the same time while listening to songs from my pandora radio station. Lovely.

I’d be lost if I suddenly don’t have the internet connection at home. I’m sure of it. The funny things is I’ve had the internet connection at home for about a year only. I still remember those days when I came home and did anything other than staring at my laptop screen. Vaguely, though, because the memories sure are fading fast…thanks to the joy that facebook has brought to my life. Love you, facebook. I promise I will watch your movie about how you were created as a sign of my appreciation.

By the way, what DID I use to do back then at home without the internet connection? Huh?!

Like I said in my previous blog entry, facebook and other social connection devices over the internet have been a blessing because I have made so many connections with friends and families over the internet, some old and some new.

Unfortunately, it is also a place to get lost, sometimes too easily. I’ve asked myself if I could ever live at least a week without the internet. And the answer is, I did. The last time I went home to visit my family in Indonesia. No computer, no internet connection at my parent’s home. You may be curious how did I find the whole experience. Hmm…let’s just say, I had plenty of distractions during the time. My days were full with activities and dozing off due to jetlag, which equals to no time for the internet.

Internet, by the way, is not the only thing that keeps me awake at night. Worrying is another one. Uhm…and I don’t know what the solution to this one, especially if what I’m worried about is happening thousands of miles away in Makassar. My family. You want to know how helpless feels like sometimes? Walk in my shoes, and I wouldn’t mind if you just take over my shoes and run with them too. Seriously, take the damn shoes 😉

A Strange Encounter


Perkedel Jagung.

Image via Wikipedia

Spring weather is here.

It was warmer than usual on my way home today from work. I was driving when I decided to roll down the window a bit to let the fresh air in. Suddenly I smelled a whiff of a nice smell, food. Figure, I was hungry. But this is not just a smell of any food, it is a familiar smell. I honestly don’t know what type of food it was because I was driving pass small-size restaurants on the side of the street, so it was almost impossible to know from which restaurant the smell was coming from. It was familiar because within that moment, those few (miserable) seconds, I was brought back in time and thousands of kilometers away into my past, into my hometown, and into my HOME. I realized then that it was the smell of….perkedel.  

What? Perkedel? Does any one even know what perkedel is? Please tell me that I’m not crazy?

Yes, it was the smell of perkedel that I smelled. With all of these famous Indonesian food and dishes, why in the world would I (consciously or unconsciously) choose to remember perkedel? Was my mind playing trick on me, I asked. No, it was the exact smell of perkedel that I smelled.

See, my mom used to make perkedel often back then. On average, I would say there was at least one time a week when we had perkedel as part of our meal. It was actually easy to make, I don’t know why I haven’t tried to make it even once ever since I came to the U.S. The funny thing is, it was not like I miss eating perkedel either. Ha ha ha… This is just too funny. Trust me, I have long time ago made a long list of Indonesian dishes that I will HAVE TO eat the next time I travel home, and surprise surprise, perkedel is not on the list.

So why perkedel? Oh well, I think I will need to seek therapy in order to get the answer to this, because it is a subconscious way of my mind to tell me perhaps that I’m HOMESICK. Helloou?

What I Am Thankful For


What am I thankful for? Well, it’s a long list, and Thanksgiving tends to bring this out of me.

We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving where I came from. I didn’t know what to make of it at first, but went along with the festivities anyway, year after year. Over time, I eventually acquired my own meaning of Thanksgiving. I learned to make a list of my blessings. Over the years, the list grew. I’d like to share some of them in the hope that it may inspire you to do the same.

So, I’m thankful for:

  1. having a working mind, that my brain is still working fine, that I can think still and function in my daily life.
  2. having a working body, that I can still walk, run, jump, get up on my own, function on my own without having to rely on somebody else to help me all the time.
  3. my family in Indonesia and in here, including my parents, my two brothers, my two sisters-in-law, grandparents (may they rest in peace), uncles, aunts, cousins, and the rest of extended families.
  4. Mikey, of course, my best friend, for his patience, support, and understanding; I can always rely on him for these and many more.
  5. the whole Coppage family, my father and mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her son and significant other. I am particularly thankful for her son, the newest member of the Coppage family.
  6. having a place to stay and not being homeless.
  7. having a source of income, even though it’s not a lot for now since it’s still an internship.
  8. doing well in school, and yes, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. The light is slowly getting bigger and bigger each day. There are still quite a lot to do before I can get to the tunnel.
  9. having so many friends all over the world, and these are friends that continue to inspire me, day in and day out. They are my heroes, even though they do what they do without expecting recognition. Their rewards are solely selfless. Kudos to social interest and social action!
  10. having professors, supervisors and colleagues in my field that also continue to inspire and support me. I’ve learned tremendously from them and will continue to do so. I hope that I can have the courage to be of a positive influence to them too.
  11. having the opportunity to have the kind of life journey that I think is somewhat unique, I must say. I think my experiences have helped me tremendously to be who I am now. I would not be the person I am now without those experiences, no matter how difficult and challenging some of them were during some years.
  12. having so many additional families that have taken me in and helped me at different times in my life. To the Bledsoes, the Dolbys, the Clementes, the Emanuels, and the Coppages, it’s an honor for me to know all of you and your kindness.
  13. meeting and having the opportunity to work with the many clients that I have encountered in a variety of working environment. As much as they probably learned or did not learn anything from me, I have surely learned a great deal from them. Whereas my professors at school provide me with skills and knowledge about how to work, my clients, on the other hand, teach me about the true life and what happen in life. They are a constant reminder of why I do my work.
  14. having the opportunity to do advocacy work with TASSC and other organizations. People that I’ve met so far through these organizations have reminded me that my work should not be limited to providing therapy in the office, and that there are a lot that I can contribute to in the field. Injustice cannot be fought behind the door only; sometimes we in this field of psychology need to go outside of our comfort level. We will not know what and how our clients experience their pain and suffering unless we venture out from the comfort of our office and see their fight for justice.
  15. having the opportunity to live in a country where the majority of its people believe in having the freedom of speech and democracy. I know that there are people in this country that still try to stifle the freedom of speech and other rights of certain groups (i.e., immigrants, refugees, women, children, etc.), but that is exactly what we need, an ammunition to continue to fight for justice.
  16. having Indonesia as forever to be my homeland and country of birth (tanah air). My wish is to be buried there in the end, to go back to my birthplace in the end. I can be so far away in so many years, but deep inside in my heart there’s a place called loyalty, and it belongs to…you know where. I’ve learned to appreciate the U.S. over the many years I’ve lived here and I’ve learned to be thankful for being able to associate deeply with two countries, but I definitely associate passionately with my primary country.
  17. being acquainted and identified with human rights philosophy and democracy, and I tell you what, how empowering! But with power and knowledge, also comes more realization. They should be accompanied with responsibilities, sacrifice, courage, and a sense of humility. So now I’m facing with the question of what should I do with my power and knowledge?
  18. having (some) money.
  19. having access to a (running) car.
  20. having a good overall health, if I can only keep this borderline high blood pressure down continuously.
  21. having access to food and water.
  22. being able to feel safe and live in a pretty safe place.
  23. having friends from childhood that would like to continue to keep in touch with me…:), which reminds me of another one to be thankful for,
  24. THE INTERNET, especially for the existence of FACEBOOK, email, skype, twitter, etc. What would I do without them (now)? I must say, though, that I do miss the action of writing letters, sending them out by mail, and waiting for days for any letter. Some of my friends from high school in Indonesia probably still remember this. I used to write and send at least one letter per week during my first few years in the U.S. I still remember exactly the excitement of opening the mail box (the real mail box, that is) and seeing a letter with Indonesian post stamp on it. I truly miss the art of writing letters. About a year ago, I was talking to a 17-year-old Indonesian girl here in Chicago, who came from Indonesia recently and still has family and friends there. She said that she often felt bored at the place where she was living at that time because she had a limited access to the internet. So, I simply said, “What about writing letters to your friends?” What a joke, which I soon realized because she looked at me with such a bewildered look in her face, saying “What? How? People still do that?”
  25. having all of my five senses still working fine.
  26. not having an addiction (if you don’t count facebook games, ha ha ha…).
  27. having the (decent) ability to write.
  28. not having any chronic mental illness.

I can probably continue the list, but I think I will leave it there for now and continue it another time. If you have any suggestion, feel free to leave me a comment.

So what are you thankful for?

Hi, My Name is ‘Olive Tree’ and I’m Addicted to FarmVille, Cafe World, FishVille, and still counting.


The joy of doing mindless games.

Aaahh, it’s weekend, no work brought home from my internship, no dissertation work this weekend, it’s time to continue with mindless games.  I’m still working on the feelings that seem to tag themselves along with me while I’m playing these games.  It used to be guilt, now it’s just a feeling of ridiculousness.  I can’t believe the amount of time I’ve spent on playing these games.  They’re addicting, very very addicting.  I’ve lost sleeping hours on these games.  Zynga, Inc. (the maker of many of these games) ought to have a support group available for people like me.

I wonder, though, why is it that I easily become addicted and spend an enourmously ridiculous amount of hours playing them?  As soon as I get home, I go straight to the computer, turn it on, open facebook account, and hoala…I get busy.  I have even sneaked time to check on my farm and cafe while at work.  More recently, I added two fish tanks and another farm into my list of places to tend.  Somebody save me!

If I have to take a guess, I think I know the answer to the question above.  It’s because life has been very stressful since September this year.  The responsibility and demand of internship work has been so high that often when I get home I can only do mindless stuff, such as vegetating in front of the TV, getting on the internet, or sleeping.  If I have the energy, maybe I spend an hour or less exercising.  What I miss are my hobbies, writing being one of them, but it has been very difficult to find time, energy, and ability to focus when I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted.  Mental exhaustion, yes, that’s exactly how I feel when I get home from internship.  The theme this week in internship, for example, was handling crisis.  Gosh, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

So, can you blame me for playing these games?  I probably wouldn’t even put time and day in the past to play them.  Didn’t even start until last month (October).  Another interesting question to ask is perhaps I’m already experiencing an early stage of burnout because I start to lose interest in doing old hobbies.  Thus, if you’re reading this blog, it means that I’m trying to bounce back to my old interests again.  Let’s see if I can keep this up.  🙂