The Past

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Around the Sun

2017
I remember on the second day of January last year, I posted a picture of a night sky on Instagram with caption, “I hope in this new year we will look at the stars more often than we look at the screen.” And if this were a film, the camera will pan out and flying in towards Me this morning, spending the first two waking hours of my day by scrolling cute puppies videos in bed. And just like any other days for the past one year.
Mostly because I am avoiding responsibilities, filling time because I am also part of Millennials who you know, spoilt-by-technology generation who have minimum tolerance towards boredom. and it is dangerously comfortable and indulging as if it were a whirly time-sucking machine that made you forget about everything else; and not necessarily in a beautiful and productive ways.
But anyway! 2018 is here, looking dandy in welcoming the menu of the year. Let’s do a quick recap around the sun about the good things that happened this year, instead of dwelling with all the mishaps and what not, then we can carry on with kinder, more generous resolutions, not forced ones that demanded us to be less human.
To be honest, 2017 was still the year of understanding myself a little more, which never been easy. But despite the uncomfortable feelings, I am forever grateful to feel what I’m feeling, to see what I’m seeing, to hear what I’m listening, to write what can write.
Travel Basil
Why basil? According to Google, basil is an aromatic herb native to tropical Asia, the continent where I spent most of my travelling days in 2017. Last year, I’ve been travelling to more than three destinations across Indonesia; Yogyakarta, Lembang, Lombok, Bandung, and Bali rediscovering once again what home feels like — including all the hate and love.
I’ve always been a fan of travelling. I like the whole journey of getting to the airport, checked in, waiting on the sturdy metallic chair for boarding announcement, getting on the plane, taking off, looking outside seeing how little you are in this world, landing and so forth. It is like experiencing something so ordinary yet extraordinary at the same time. That flying metal thing is taking you to places and across times (zone)!
Although I never said it out loud, but I kinda wished the trip was somehow would magically changed the shitty days into wondrous days. And now I am no longer expecting to come home with a bundle of happiness and peace as if it were a package of promotional gift from the souvenir shop. I know this might sound very cliche, but I have learned it must begin from the inside, because no matter how far I’ll go or how beautiful a place can be, I will always feel hollow if I go with the wrong intentions.
This leads us to the next point.
Inward Looking Compassion
Learning about Self-Compassion was definitely one of the major highlights in 2017 that shed more light into what I was searching this whole time. For the most part is to understand on how to take care all the fears that stem from Shame and Guilt I have been, perhaps unknowingly nurtured.
If you have not yet familiar with Self-Compassion, Kristen Neff defines it as being composed of these three components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. It means realising that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. Or my personal favourite definition for Self Compassion is “simply being a friend to yourself.”
By noting emotions, I learned to be less judgemental/self-loathing/self-criticising and more mindful kind of person. For example, labelling that this uncomfortable feeling is fear, or confusion, helped me to trace back the root of it all, and slowly, gradually, however raw it is, I can try to make (and talk some) sense or (to) it.
Practising of being mindful is a struggle until today — even new year’s burning spirit of new beginnings won’t change that, but the key is always continuous practice over and over again, however difficult and mundane it is. Safe to say, it is a long road ahead, but I am never been this ready.
Cloud Conclusion
To conclude this lengthy intended-to-be-reflective post, I would like to refer back to the story in the beginning, what often confused us, or me, here I often see the story in parts when I should have listened to the whole thing. Often what we, or I, remember is only the failure I cannot live up to my own expectations and forgetting the most important thing that happened after scrolling cute puppies videos in bed: I got up.
We got up each day, fighting the battle of our own anxiety and fear and shame and whatever it is, and made it through the fucking day. However broken, but wiser, cooler and prettier in our own weird ways. I’m sorry, I tend to speak profanity to fully express the depth of subject I was talking about but hopefully, you won’t mind and get the idea. Therefore, I think it is important to emphasise kindness towards yourself in 2018.
Anywho, without further ado, here’s to more adventures, discoveries, celebrations, and most of all, more glasses of wine to come!
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Have You Heard?


(Originally published on Medium)
Every time I caught myself apologising for not making time to write, I’d always want to interrupt and said, “Shut up. You do; if you weren’t making time to write, you wouldn’t be here right now.” or “Stop it. You’re not turning into the person don’t want to be.”
As you can tell, I obviously need to make peace with the Past, possessive version of me, that I wouldn’t be able to write as often as I did; but I’d like to look at her in the eye and tell her that it’s fine. I haven’t, and won’t, stopped doing the one thing that keeps me going.
I am still right here. You are still right there.
It is possibly because I am so used with the idea of being just one thing, and one thing only; others are invalid or inconsistent. Feeding my fear with the idea of not being able to write three days a week nor pursuing writing professionally will make me less than a writer I’ve always wanted to be.
But honestly, I think I am forgetting the Infinite Possibilities of being human. We can be so many things all at once. Or maybe, I will be a professional writer, maybe I won’t, or maybe, just maybe, I don’t need to be one because I already am the writer I’ve always wanted to be.
So, can’t you be a musician and an accountant at the same time? Or a painter and an IT engineer? I’d like to think that we can always be all the pretty things we want to be. As long as you know what makes your eyes wide open even you haven’t slept for days, makes your lips shake, makes you forget about time and space, or gives you that butterfly feeling in your stomach.
You know how I kept telling people, you shouldn’t judge yourself or the Future based on your fear of the past. What I’ve just realised, by the help of others, was: I shouldn’t conclude myself now nor my Future with the thought of happiness I once had; like England, or the fluency in writing romantic fiction. Because this only makes me more focused on it being gone and feel less and unhappy, when we all should do is freaking live.
To wrap up this on my birthday eve, I have stopped wishing to have one magic spell that can immediately erase the shame, the guilt and the fear in one go. Cause apart from we are muggles, happiness or peace cannot live without them all. To certain extent, they are born from it.
Happy 25, Fiya. As always, I am still forever rooting for you.
Love,
F.
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Cigarette Break

Hi! How have you been? I hope you are well. It feels so good to sneak out from this adulthood routine for half an hour, or an hour, who cares. We’re here. Feels good doesn’t it? So much like breaking the rules in high school times when we skipped classes to do nothing or coming home past our curfews. Only the difference now is the rules are not made an institution on or our parents, but made by our own self-critic in collaboration with Responsibilities and Anxiety. Those two are a hell of a pair.
I know there are probably a dozen of other things we need, or suppose, to do now; the presentation, the deadline, the email, the Whatever-That-Is-That-Pays-Our-Bills. But it’s okay now, it can wait. I’m just glad we make the time to be here, sit down together, smoking cigarette that you have been planning to cut down these past months yet here you are with your second pack of the day, it’s fine, it’s fine. Let’s just stare at the sky. That big blue sky. Do you see how the cloud moves as if they were walking themselves to catch the rush hour train? No? Maybe not.
Here, we get to remember even for just a minute about the things we’d always wanted to do when we were teenagers, or the late night drive to the beach when you accidentally fell over but hell it was so much fun, or the day I cried at the school library because the boy I had a crush on just moved to the States, or the prom night when everyone else at our age was busy getting wasted yet all we did was just driving around the city and listening to the radio, or the day we fell in love on our own from the corner of a live music stage. Oh, the innocence!
The ashes of your cigarette is now hanging off your finger, nearly touching your middle finger as you can feel the heat is getting stronger. But you don’t seem to bother. Do you remember your first cigarette? How shaky your lips when you were terrified getting caught by your parents. And somehow it just grows on you, you said. Now it’s the only thing that keeps you sane amidst all the Pressures and Expectations. I’d just smile, neither agreeing or disagreeing. Whatever floats your boat, I said. We’re all worship something in our own way anyway.
Ah, I think our time is running out. ’Cause I know we both have started to think about the buzzing notifications and possible miscalls on our phones that we left upstairs, or the unread yellow envelop shaped notice on your mailbox. How long have we been away for? An hour and a half? It’s good to have the time to sit down with you. On how we get to reminisce the things that makes us once happy; if happy’s too much as the word seems so strange and mythical now, maybe things that makes us okay is good enough. Okay is good right? Okay is great. Cause at least, if there isn’t anything now that gives us goosebumps or butterfly feeling, we were once had it. I’m sure we can hold on to it and don’t waste it all away for nothing.
Okay. Make sure we do this regularly, so you don’t caught up too much on your thoughts, or cigarette.
I’m going that way.

A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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The Hypothetical Speech



I remember when she said, “He’s pretty annoying, isn’t he?” pointing at Ezra, the cute boy in class. It was the first days of Junior High School, and we were both fifteen with outraged teen haircut and practically strangers. Cassandra sat in front of me, with her long puffy hair almost reached her waist. Out of politeness, I grinned without saying a word, hoping she’d turn her head forward and not speak to me again. Because even I agreed Ezra was annoying, but she did not have to say that and most of all, the way she emphasised differently on ‘pretty’ and ‘annoying’ felt like just to deliberately make it a cynical and contradictory statement while she actually meant, “He’s cute,”. But I had laid eyes on him first since he walked inside the classroom with messy hair and oversized blue trousers, so when Cassandra turned around and said those things, I sensed an immediate threat and competition.


But just like the beginning of every great friendship stories, she did speak to me again, and many thousands of days later, we are now sitting at an Italian restaurants in the heart of Kemang where the customers are mostly expats, drinking red wine, and talking about Politics. If any of you wondered about Ezra, that story sunk by the second semester of Junior High when we realised we were obsessed with the same British boyband and ended up writing together a total of 1,000-page of fan fiction novel every Wednesday and Friday for the next two years at her house.


“You gotta see this,” Cass said as she handed over her phone, showing a picture of her nephew dancing with a girl at a school event, dressed as Romeo and Juliet. “He’s freaking 17 now! Did you remember when we used to drop him off at his kindergarten?”
The sound of jazzy piano on the background fit perfectly as I nodded, reminiscing the rainbow-coloured fence and mickey mouse posters placed on the window class 10 years ago.
“We’re going to be 30 in six years.”
“Fuck.”
“I know, right?” We responded the rhetorical question by drinking the remaining wine left in our glass, and I poured some more from the bottle. We were celebrating Cass’ 24th birthday and my arrival back to the City after years of wandering in the land of Harry Potter.
Well, it was all an excuse because her birthday was two months ago, and I have residing back to the city one and a half months ago, all this was just to drink away the sorrow of growing old and shitty adjustment to the traffic and manners and million other things that makes this city overwhelming and a lot to take on. But really, unsatisfactory complaints aside, what I’d like to think is, this is a remembrance of the best gift to be given to each other now isn’t Union Jack sweater nor Star Wars figurine, but time. Time and unfiltered conversations–and maybe a mixture of crappy love advice and glass(es) of wine.


Cassandra now has cut her hair bob-short, just below her ears and dyed it brick red, matched with her lipstick and crazy fury earrings. Her somewhat baggy clothes now has changed into some K-Pop style fashion with plain white t-shirt and vintage overall jeans. The way I saw it, it is as an act of rebellion, a statement, however minor it may seem, that she has been longing to show to the world, but most of all to her family, since 7th grade being the youngest amongst her siblings. That is how she said, ‘I’m an adult now, and I’m going to take control.’


Drifting away with the idea of how close 30 is and half-empty wine bottle next to our hand, she interrupted in between the comfortable silence, “You’re going to be my bridesmaid.”
I almost choked on my spaghetti, “Y-You’re getting married?”
She smiled and shook her head, “No, not anytime soon, but when I do, you’re going to have to make a speech.”
Initially, I’d like to use an excuse that most Indonesian weddings do not have a bridesmaid-speech as part of the ceremonial process, but then I know she’d dismiss it all ‘cause when she said so, she’d make it happen. So, I played with the remaining food on my plate. “But what am I going to talk about?”
She drank more of her wine, “You have two years to figure it out. But you’re an amazing writer anyway, so I’m sure you won’t have a problem with that.”


Fuck.


Unlike the 1,000 pages of fan fiction, then I had not yet awaken the angry self-critic, and now, it has been louder than before. Feeling unqualified of love and all that, I went quiet for a while, constructing what should I say in the hypothetical wedding speech even though I am aware it is not due tomorrow or next month but in another year the soonest. The crippling thoughts of being not good with love and relationships where I tend to make a reckless and impulsive decisions, makes me nauseous and unfit to speak. But then again, in all hypothetical scenarios, maybe I should speak one thing that I may know better in the past 11 years: her.


The way I imagine it, she’d have a special event held at this fancy restaurant one day before the big day–which she’d probably finished everything a week early because she is crazy organised like that, where most of her closest friends gathered and seated on a long table with white cloth. Decorated perhaps in purple and yellow, she’d sat at the end of the table, leaning towards her future partner, squeezing his hand tight, before I stand up and speak.


I’d probably begin with a lousy jokes that none of the guests would laugh at, but regardless I carry on and tell one of the embarrassing tales I have never told before, which involved a nerdy boy in a band whom she met online.
This boy was tall and awkward, but by the fourth meeting, Cass told me she had a crush on him. I laughed. By the third month we all knew one another, this tall and awkward boy confessed he had a crush on me at McDonald’s. I laughed again, thought he was joking. I said give me time, I need to think about it.


I remembered asking Cass, in which she said she had known about it for a while but she did not want to tell me before he did, and with glassy eyes, she said she’s fine with whatever decision I make. Of course, as a sixteen years old, taking feelings lightly and being self-centred, I said yes to this boy. Not knowing, I had broke her trust. The relationship lasted shorter than a summer, in which I barely talked to Cass throughout. But what shook me was when she initiated to meet, being the bigger person she is, she said we need to talk. We were probably sixteen, not knowing what was really happening but it was then felt like, a cold war was coming. At least that was what I thought, but instead, when we met, she looked into my eyes and said, “It’s okay. It’s not your fault. If anything, this makes our friendship stronger than ever. So, I’m fine, if you’re fine.”

My lips shook and my words disappeared. I probably cried then on her shoulder.


That day when I knew Cass has the kindest heart of all. And she has been since. This is the part where I close the speech with mandatory wisdom that whatever storms ahead, they would get through it together. He should know that he is marrying one of the kindest, most forgiving person I know. Then back to crappy jokes.


Returning to the present, still with the Jazzy piano on the background and loud conversation from the next table, I finished the last sip of my wine, placed it back on the table, feeling the cold dew on the side of the glass. And said, “Okay, sure.”


A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Little Hell

I remember the days when I swivel in my insecurities on my single-bed bedroom in a small town in the Southern part of England on my own. I was twenty two, and I wanted nothing more than to sulk in my mother's arm. Not that it would kill the little demons inside my head, but at least, I am not on my own.

A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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