The Past

Won't You Understand?

It's getting boring, repeating the story of these little monkey voices inside my head every time I began writing. I can feel a million things at the same moment; weary eyes, wanting to shut after working almost over 10 hours every day, and by the time I managed to get home earlier to write, my eyes demand an early sleep, and without a doubt it would win. It gets temperamental sometimes, the voices. Singing, you'd better get this right. I don't care whether or not you know what to write. I don't give a shit. You just need to write, and write beautifully otherwise I will be disappointed in you. Like I have been for so long when you've been saying you wanted to write every single day but you never did. Write something nice, like you did back then. It does not have to be big. Just something. Just something else beside your hatred towards me. I can't. I can't. I can't. I don't have anything to write. I don't have anything good to write. I don't even have a topic that I can write. I can only write about you. Full of disappointment. Full of embarrassment. The incapabilities. Won't you understand?

 
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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February Twenty Fifth

I have approximately 10 more minutes to finish this up.

My feet are cold. I set the temperature three degree colder than the normal days. I don't know why. Or I know. I just want an excuse to wear my fluffy pink robes I bought for £2 at a charity shop in England. I'd pretend I have to wear socks, which in the morning it would be mysteriously taken off by my sleeping-self because honestly, it isn't that cold.

I also promise myself, among so many other things, to have an eight hour sleep every night because otherwise, my brain is going mad. That's why I only have 10 minutes, and now 7 or less. It is closer to midnight. And I have got a long list of errands to do tomorrow and by thinking of it, makes me sick. I have not had a quiet, lazy weekend in a while.

Even though when I have one, I know I wouldn't appreciate it as much. I'd probably waste it all away for binge watching stupid TV shows, and claiming on Monday that I hadn't had a proper weekend. I am way too human in that perspective.

I want to read all day. I realised I have bought too many books that would be more than enough to read for the whole Summer. Except, I don't have Summer. Indonesia does not have Summer. It is always Summer. Therefore, Summer is not Summer. It has lost its beauty and meaning. Because it does not have Fall nor Winter. And also, office doesn't do Summer. There is no Summer anymore.

I thought my worst fear was darkness, or weird smelly insects, or reverse-culture shock. But what scares me the most now is I am so afraid of losing myself.

Because it feels like I am.




A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Putih



Pagi itu hujan. Aku sayup-sayup mendengar dari jendela kamar ditengah tidurku. Pagi itu juga, tidak lama setelah hujan reda dan akhirnya berhenti, aku mendapat kabar Kakek telah tiada.

Aku sedang duduk di dekat balkon, melihat Jakarta yang basah dari lantai 17 apartemen. Rasanya seperti mimpi. Adikku duduk di sofa, setengah linglung sambil memegang handphone di tangannya yang baru saja terdengar isak tangis kecil dari Ibu di ujung telfon.

Bukan mimpi indah atau buruk. Hanya seperti, kamu tahu, sesuatu yang tidak nyata. Coba dengarkan lagu Efek Rumah Kaca, judulnya "Putih". Aku tidak bisa bicara banyak, namun, jika kamu berkenan, coba dengarkan lagu itu. Itu bagaimana rasanya pagi itu.

Usai. Cerita Kakek sudah usai. Namun, hasil cerita sepanjang perjalanannya telah menyentuh banyak orang, terpampang jelas dari jumlah karangan bunga yang sudah memenuhi pekarangan dan jalan di sekitar rumah Nenek dan Kakek di Pejaten ketika aku datang dengan terburu-buru.

Walaupun tidak mudah menggabarkan apa yang ku lihat pada saat itu, tapi kurang lebih, jika aku harus, aku akan menggunakan satu analogi: dulu, ketika aku melihat kelompok musik favoritku, Timmy pernah bilang, bahwa aku, dan ratusan penonton lainnya, terlihat sangat tenang menikmati alunan lagu. Aku tidak tahu jelas apa maksud Timmy, tapi pada saat itu, sepertinya aku bisa mengerti. Ya, aku pikir, hanya pada saat seseorang penggemar melihat kelompok musik favoritnya, seseorang akan terlihat tenang.

Pagi itu, saat kami sekeluarga membasuh Beliau sebelum ke peristirahatan terakhirnya, aku baru pertama kali melihat seseorang tampak benar-benar tenang dan damai.




Malam ini hujan turun lagi.





Selamat jalan, Kakek tersayang.
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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I Thought I'd Be Asleep By Now


2016


If 2015 was the year of Shock and Denial, 2016 was the year of Adapting. Sure one year felt long, but short at the same time, because until today, it is still difficult to say I am swell settling back into this City of Madness. But I am so many steps closer to wherever I needed to be.

Adapting can take in many forms. Building myriad routines from getting a job, joining a gym membership, and starting a relationship are a few of them. But most of all, the approach that seemed most effective to me was, finding love through Indonesian arts and literature.

In 2016, I have read more Indonesian books than I have ever did in my entire life. Hujan Bulan Juni, Kukila, Melihat Api Bekerja, Tidak Ada New York Hari Ini, Cantik Itu Luka, Malam Ini Aku Tidur di Matamu, Milana, Perjalanan, Cinta dan Makna Perempuan are on the top list.

Around August, marking the first year I landed in Jakarta, my laptop decided to fall out. Resulting an immediate repair on its hard disk where I stored most of my data, including list of songs on iTunes. Due to the unexpected timing and lack of routine backup habit, I had to begin again.

Now, there are mostly Indonesians songs in my Playlist. From Payung Teduh, Sore to Kelompok Penerbang Roket were the ones that accompanied me through the 9-to-5 day in and day out routine. I must say, I enjoyed it more than I imagined.

I once engaged into a current political conversation with a friend of mine about the upcoming governor election, and gave an extensive answer for it. He seemed surprised and said, "Look at you now, settling back into what's happening to our country." I went silent. Perhaps it was a sign of having an emotional relationship towards something.

Perhaps I gave zero shit then, but I picked up several along the way when I started working and built this habit of opening the Jakarta Post website first thing at the office and enrichment during lunch table conversations. It is not easy not to develop certain tendency towards one side when most of the people out there are unfathomably ignorant.

Well, I am here, you are there, breathing, loved, and have access to internet. So, despite all the political chaos happening all around the world, I suppose 2016 has been alright. Now it's 2017 we shall be worried (I meant, excited) about.

I will see you soon. Hopefully with exciting news.
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Day 455



Dearest Bournemouth,

I hope you are doing well. I am sorry I have not been speaking to you lately due to unforeseeable mood circumstances that has been looking like a hurling wind, and sometimes rainbow pony. But finally, tonight, I find a time to write to you again.

Today marks the 455th day since my arrival flight back to Indonesia. And I have never miss anything as much as I am missing you now. It probably shows through how I don't write or take pictures as much as I did. I am not even sure what this letter represent of, other than a symbol of longing, and all I know if I don't write to you soon, I am so afraid that you will go away, turning into a dusty memory.

But on lighter note, I am doing fine. I read a total of six Indonesian literature books that I grow very fond of. It makes me wish I can teach you Bahasa, even though I, myself, still haven't been able to fully understand even it is my mother language. But it's beautiful! I almost forget that it can be so poignant and graceful at the same time. These books help me build the bricks I thought had fallen over.

Reunited with family is another blessing I need to count, perhaps put on the very top list, and wishes you would see it, too. I often found myself thinking, for instance when I was helping Dzikra, my little brother, unpacking in his new dorm in the beginning of his first semester in university, if anything, they are the reason why I need to be home, and forever calling this, as home.

There are bad days, too, I must admit. Mostly anger, sadness and disappointment for not being able to reach you and how different everything is in Jakarta. Nights where I cried myself to sleep. Slamming, striking out, ripping pages out of my journal. Words were my worst enemy. Those moments were when everything was unbearable. So overpowering, it conquered over all the nice things. But eventually, all is well.

I still found you sometimes in small habit I carry. I still walk over to the sink to get water where I always ended up giggling at myself, shook my head. I still see you in Hozier songs, old messages, and taste of passion fruit beer.

You said then, everything is going to be okay. Everything is. I should not be lacking of anything but you. You and your pretty sunset face. You and your Whiskey bar. You and London. You and your adventurous, eventful seasons. You and your sandy beach. You and your Chinese takeaway. You and Desperados. You and everything else. And I wanted you to know, that you are always on my mind.

I truly wish I will see you soon.


Yours truly,


Fiya.
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Keep Going



I am going to tell you a secret, or a story, or a secret story I perhaps never told anybody at length because I always deem this to be the opposite of perfect; and sad, heartbreaking stories should remain silent in pandora box, never to be told.

But after watching an interview with Ms. Delevigne two hours passed midnight, I found my fingers tiptoeing across the keyboard and decide, maybe I should write this. For the hell of it, or with hope this would find someone, somewhere at the right time when the demons are asleep that they could relate and feel one of the greatest feeling, that is to feel less alone.

Let me begin by saying, I have never known Depression very well. I have never been exposed to it, other than on writings and clips floating the realm of World Wide Web. I may have romanticise the idea of Depression, like Sylvia Plath on her novel the Bell Jar, Virginia Woolf, to name a few, but regardless, how I feel lately is perhaps so close to what I assume as minor depression and I have a tough time to acknowledge it. Others perhaps have come across something tougher than this, I'm sure.

As you may have known, I have this incurable, inexplicable obsession towards the Great Britain since I learned to spell impossible. My mother believed I was born British in my past life but I’d like to think everything was magic. Instead of casting spells, it was one great thing led to another, from one sensationalised fictional novel of an orphan boy went to a wizard-y school and an incredibly fit four crazy-goodlooking guys in a band with the greatest accent, then to the first encounter of what seemed to be love with this half English, half Indonesian young man in a band with the charm of a poet. In 2011, I finally moved to England.

But the problem of motivational quotes and other fairytales is solely about getting the dream. But nobody ever tells you what’s going to happen after. The aftermath often involves two scenarios: the lucky ones who managed to stay afloat and others who struggle to keep the spirit well-lit and alive, knowing there’s no such a thing as happily ever after— in which, I am unfortunately fall under the latter.

During the four years of living my dream, the Universe constantly throws stick and stones that sometimes most nineteen or twenty year old kids find it hard to bear. Good grades fall apart, I had my whole life-standards of typical Eastern culture "you have to get good grades, otherwise you're a worthless" education up-bringing slowly decreasing, financially challenged that turned into a snowballed guilt of missing my brother's teenange rebellious phase where I should have been there by his side.

I eventually got through, with the help of beautiful strangers soon turned into friends, and the guardians of the night, bartenders and other bright creatures. In that time, it did not occur to me anything else but surviving and I’m going to have to do this on my own without the tangible moral support from the traditional sense of familiarity, as simple as a touch, a hug, from the loved ones who used to be my backbones for eighteen years. So, it passed by.

It passed by so gradualy that I didn’t realise I’ve got thicker skin yet growing a fallible, fragile heart and state of mind. The dream that once shine so bright, lowered down into a state of survival, a reality, and ordinary, that it becomes a struggle I ought to get through — and it made everything more real, which what dreams didn’t showcase in the beginning. My dream became real. My eyes were blinded with the buoyant accent and cloud-shaped ideas.

Until the day that I had to leave England, and return to the traditional, boxed definition of home that is Indonesia.

This is when it hits me — actually, it hit me when I was on a holiday, where I should feel the freedom as the water splashes on my face when I jumped off the boat and see the beauty of the coral. But once I am at shore, I realise I couldn’t shook off the hollowing gap in the centre of my chest. It didn’t stop following me. And what I didn't realised, along the way of making my dream come true, I lost some part of me, too, in the reality of struggle and just to keep the dream going. Some part of me that I’d very much like to see again and give a pat on the back for having such an amazing dream – and had it.

As soon as I returned home, more than once I thought of packing, not necessarily knowing where to go, just somewhere where my thoughts aren’t this loud. Don’t get me wrong, this journey doesn’t lessen my affection or love towards my family, if anything, it amplifies bigger than I could ever imagine. Perhaps, the reason why my thoughts are louder this time is because I unconsciously finally at rest. I am at most child-like atmosphere I have long forgotten where I finally feel save to collapse, and to let all the suppressed feelings float to the surface, because if I do break, I know the glue won’t be so far away.

But I couldn’t help the itchy feeling of longing for England now has motivationally paralyse me from blossoming, and it creates this grey guilt towards my loved ones for once I return almost feel like I have Nothing where I should have brought Everything. This feeling of alienation being in the one place I thought I’d remember most of the shortcuts has overtaken me. The old crushes who never dies in the corner of my memory, now come across so strange. The friends I held dear have grown to be a different person, even though in a better way, but I’ve had or seen enough changes so far, adding this to the pile feels too overwhelming. This is when once again England breathes hope again, this time it’s the emotion it gave me — like home should feel.

Researcher named this confusion as reverse culture shock, but to me it embodies something greater than that. Reverse culture shock was originally depicted when they studied a group of veterans returning from war. My return is far less glorified or honourable than wars. My homecoming is based on my decision, partially my fault of not working harder, there are other aspects I may have, or should have done differently, or stay stronger than this. But at the end of the day, regardless who’s fault or what should have been, I am here.

For weeks I struggle talking to myself, which often takes form in writings. And that perhaps what stresses me the most. I feed myself with distractions: work, old friends, advising someone else’s problem, only briefly mentioning mine then quickly diverted the topic to the traffic or the horrible top forty hits constantly repeated on the radio or complaints of how sad the young generation is in Jakarta for not having individual characteristics because they are all wearing the same clothes, following the same trend and listen to the same goddamned Electronic Dance music. 

But without this, I won’t be able to come into a greater conclusion, I wouldn't learn that imperfection is okay, that what makes us human – flaws are the things that make us special, the crack within us are the beautiful parts that need to shed light shine on them. And it could make a damn good story, too. This time you mean it, not just because everyone says so. That it could be one of the greatest, most beautiful part of human being.

Without this, I won’t be able to answer the question I had for myself in the very beginning: what comes after getting your dream? It’s to find a greater, bigger dream. Cause life is a constant learning process and many great, beautiful things are waiting to happen. And if you have achieved one of your dreams, what’s stopping you from the next one? It even makes it far less impossible than the first, isn't it?

I’d like to say to myself, and everyone else, that it’s okay, I love you, just keep going. 
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Aku Harap Ibu Mengerti

Pertama kali aku memberi tahu Ibu akan keinginanku untuk memulai belajar menulis dengan Bahasa Indonesia, reaksi pertamanya adalah, "Jangan." Ketika itu kami tengah menghabiskan waktu di salah satu kedai kopi di Bandung sembari menanti adik pulang dari acara kampusnya. Aku baru membeli buku kumpulan puisi Joko Pinurbo, Malam Ini Aku Tidur Di Matamu, di toko buku kecil sebelah.
Ia takut bahwa pelajaran baru itu akan menimbun ilmu tata bahasa asing yang telah aku rajut semenjak masa remajaku. Walaupun sejujurnya bagiku salah satu cara mudah untuk mencintai suatu bangsa adalah melalui bahasa, atau sastra. Mungkin itu juga sebenarnya mengapa aku terlampau cinta akan negara kelahiran William Shakespeare. Karena awalan bahasa dan rentetan literatur yang menawan.
Aku ingin menjawab bahwa mungkin ini sudah saatnya untukku belajar mencintai tanah airku sendiri. Aku berjanji untuk tidak melupakan apa yang pernah ada, karena layaknya seperti kisah cinta, semua itu ada untuk selamanya.
Aku harap Ibu mengerti.



A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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