Happiness at A$45

What is happiness? 

It takes a lot of time and effort to define happiness. Some people say that in order to be happy, we need to seek for it. Some will seek for happiness among their pile of money, some will seek among their contacts and some others will seek among their freedom. 

As for me,  I’m blessed for I am able to meet a lot of other people who told me that happiness is indeed inside of us. We just need to believe that we are worthy of creating our own happiness. We are worthy to be happy with ourselves. 

I have a chronic condition of being unhappy with myself. I’m fat (never in my life I wear size below L). I can’t draw my eyebrows properly (my Aunt will stop in the middle of any conversation to remind me that I need to draw my eyebrows properly!). I’m not confident and sometimes I deliberatly look out for some positive comments from my closest ones. 

I’m afraid to walk outside the norm. I don’t dare to do something different. 

That’s my pity eyes looking at me. 

But then, I decided that I need to do something that I’ve never did in a long time. Starting small, by cutting my long hair. I had the same hairstyle for almost 14 years! And somehow I was so afraid to change it, because normally women will choose long hair – as well as the men. But honestly, who cares! 

So off I go to cut my hair. Thanks to my dear friend @veina – who was there with me when I decided to cut my hair. She was so surprised and yet, very supportive with my decision. 

I posted my photo below with my new hair. I’m happy with my decision and will not regret my spending of A$45. 

I believe that happiness is indeed inside of us. I can create my own happiness. I am worthy! 

At The End of The Day, We All Need Company 

I met one young little girl just a while ago. She looked fierce and I could see it from the way she rolled her eyes in front of me. Fortunately, she did not refuse when I escorted her to my counseling room and within a few minutes, the wall was down completely. She told me implicitly that she chose the way to look (and to be seen) as a mean girl because she felt lonely. A lot of her friends would call her a liar and keep her out of the circle, just because she has no branded school bags and shoes. I was speechless. 

She was only 9 years old and somehow she had to deal with such issues – the importance of being rich, in order to load oneself with branded stuff. She lost her so-called friends, because she is different. 

I love to be alone and have the time to myself. But I also enjoy good company by good friends. In my line of work and personal life, I path crosses with numerous people and some of them are sticking around with me, as my friends. We see no brands nor level of richness, we only see the importance of being together as a friend to each other.  

Like these two friends of mine from Jawa Pos media – @ashfaisal and @arthurrusli. I started to meet these guys and work together as a part of my role with QUT, Brisbane. However, in one of those good days – I realized that we are now not only colleagues, but we are friends. 

It was all started when QUT was sponsoring two journalists to Brisbane for a week. One of them was @ashfaisal. He posted a picture of Toby’s coffee in Brisbane. 

I was in the mood of missing Brisbane and its coffee. So, out of the blue, I posted on my Instagram one photo of my favorite cuppa from Starbuck and told @ashfaisal that he needed to mend my jealousy. 

At this point, @arthurrusli was joining in. He posted a picture of his cuppa!  This guy is definitely into Indonesian coffee. 

I was so happy and delighted with the fact that we were having fun out of something silly. I had to admit that I am no fan for silly things – movie, songs, drama or books. I don’t like to spend my energy and time enjoying something silly. But then, it was not true at all. Sometimes, being silly with good friends is a good thing to do.  

At the end of the day, I am more than honored to call them both as my friends. And I am sincerely wishing that the little girl at my counseling room will be able to mend her broken heart and meet with good friends of her own. 

It Will Be Given To You Accordingly 

We all know the saying of “The grass is greener on the other side” – and that’s ny current struggle. Whenever I look at my friends’ social media, I would wonder to myself – I wish it was me. For me, the most wonderful dream is to travel around the world, to speak different language, to enjoy different kind of dishes and to be a citizen of the world. It has been within me since I was very young.  

I did not travel much when I was young. The first time I went to Jakarta was at Year 11. For me, a small town girl, Jakarta is huge! Jakarta is the centre of life in Indonesia. But I never knew it until I was quite a grown up. The thought of “I wish I was born into a rich family” was sneaking here and there. Whenever I saw my classmates came back to school, I was having post-holiday syndrome. They wore the latest G-shock (I am from that generation), wear the newest shoes or some branded bags. While me, I was just the same old me. My parents only bought me one new bag every new school year, sometimes they skipped it whenever my Aunt gave us new school bag for our birthdays. I was inferior. I was believing that my grass is grey, almost died – while the others were green and even greener each day. 

As for now, I am blessed enough with my current job, in which it allows me to travel a lot. It allows me to meet new people, enjoying new dishes and still have the time to be with my family. But still, the thought of comparison is sneaking in. It steals my joy,  feed my jealousy and makes me ask a lot of questions – what if, why me and so many more. I realize that I need to stop, so I decided to write this post. 

I learned that by doing our work passionately, the rest will be taken care of by our God. We will see result according to our portion of work. We will be given, according to our quality of “giving our best”. 

I will enjoy my Sunday with a new belief, that I am blessed, that I have more than enough to be a blessing and that I will be given accordingly. God will always listen to your prayer, including mine, and be still for He is now working upon you. 

Have a blessed Sunday

@cecille_ivy

Rubber Duck and My Son 

Around 15 years ago, at Child Psychopathology class, my favorite lecturer shared her own experience of handling separation anxiety symptoms showed by her son. Back then she had to leave her two-year old son to pursue her study at the Netherlands. When she returned, her son started to show specific behavior, in which he would touch my lecturer and whisper to himself: Mommy is here. Then he would walk toward the door, just to return and do it all again for several times. 

That story sticks with me throughout these years as I met numerous children at my professional life. And turns out, I have to face it now with my son. 

I just returned from a week long business trip. I was feeling abnormal to leave him at home for so long. I had no doubt that my parents and family will look after him very well, but at the same time, my guilty feeling strikes. The thought of ‘I should’ve stayed longer at home with him’ was never out of my head. 

Two days ago, I was spending time with him in re-arrange his toys and cleaning up the shelves. He reached out to his rubber ducks – with one mother duck and four ducklings. He was choosing the mother duck and said to himself: Mama. I was watching him closely. When he finally touch the mother duck to me and said: Mama again… I knew something was not right. I asked him, did you miss Mama so much when I was away? He nodded. Then he stood up and hug me. 

He is only twenty months old, but he certainly knows how to express his feeling. It is killing me as I know what is the message that he conveys to me. 

Last night, he insisted to bring his mother duck to bed. I was next to him and whispered to him that he doesn’t need the rubber duck, as I am there with him. 

I believe this is the challenge that every working mom can relate to. Therefore, it is very important to always remember what is our priority. I heard a lot of super moms who finally put down their careers for their children. Brave decision can only be taken by brave people. I hope I do remember my priority and act accordingly. 

How Much Time?

Time is an issue for everyone. Some would feel that they need 27 hours a-day (I used to think so too!). Some would feel that they have all the time in the world, therefore, they drag it as much as they can. I always envy those people who can discipline themselves with time, and somehow, they always have time for everything.

I like to follow writers or bookworms in their social account, especially Instagram. I am amazed with their discipline to read every morning for 1-hour. Or how they manage to write in the midst of their hectic life. While for me, I am so bad at time management.

After my son was born, I soon back to work. He was not yet 3-month-old when I took my first business trip out of town. And it is still ongoing at the moment. Somehow my guilty feeling strikes in, especially when I am away too much from him. Thankfully, I still have the pleasure of breastfeeding, and I am doing as much as I can to embrace those moments. His little hands holding onto me, his eyes would gaze upon me and how he rests his body to me. I feel trusted, I feel so close and so loved.

These past few weeks have been uneasy for me. Work is loading up so quickly and I need to make a decision. I spoke to my closest circle and discuss with them – and finally enable myself to make a decision in reducing my work load. I am working two part-time jobs at the moment. Both are professional job and I need to give my best effort for both jobs. As hard as it could be, I have to let go one of it. A very big decision to make.

I spoke to the director today and he mentioned that parenthood is a big thing – and he would not keep me in the loop if I decided to let go. Again, my self-guilt is striking in. I perceived his comment as a confirmation that I did it all wrong, I made a lot mistakes and he is ready to let me go.

So, during my 3-hour driving back to my hometown, I put on my iPod and chose one Podcast that was there for years – Time Management by Randy Pausch. I stumbled into this amazing lecturer during his last battle with pancreatic cancer and fell in love with his Last Lecture instantly. I played that particular podcast for so many times and I made that as my official reminder of achieving my childhood dreams. The same thing happened with Time Management podcast. One important advice that I took seriously is to always have planner or agenda, either digital or pen-and-paper kind of thing. I took the latter. He mentioned that we do not need to spend more of our brains on what-to-do lists and all the appointments that we set. We need to have agenda that can tell us what will we do next week at certain time.

time

The closing on his lecture was a reminder to do the right things and not just pushing ourselves to do things right. Sometimes we spend so much time to do things that might not be the right things. We need to manage our time, because that’s all we’ve got! I do not want to regret all those moments that I can create with my son, with my family. I want to be feel at peace one day, knowing that I have done my best to be with them.

God bless me and my decision then.

Inner Feeling

Lately I’ve been fighting myself – big time. When I see someone I know is traveling abroad,  a spark of jealousy comes up. My own thought will serve that feeling rightaway by saying: “yes, she has a better life than you”, “she is smarter than you” or, “you are just an average woman”. 

When someone I know is commenting on my every move, I will feel overwhelmed by it. It feels like I need my space and when someone is deliberately stepping into my private area, I would love to scream and shove my anger in front of them. 

I guess by now you will see me as a bipolar woman!  

Oh well, it is not easy to fight whetever feeling that we have inside. The feelings that are triggered by so many reasons – love, care, hate, jealousy, intimidation and many more. 

Those same feelings are there as a reminder for us to look after ourselves. Maybe we have only a little of self-love, a minimum time for ourselves or, have nothing left after we serve the best for others. Therefore,  we tend to feel inferior toward ourselves. We compare our dried land with the green grass next door. We put on the blurred glasses to view our lives – and surely we get the blurry pictures that we hate so much. 

I realized that all negative inner feelings are stemmed from ourselves. The way we view ourselves,  the way we compare with others and the way we compete in life. No wonder,  we feel tired almost all the time. 

Tonight, as I lay down, I am praying to God that He will strengthen me to see and accept me as who I am. If other people seem to have a better life than mine, remind me to thank God for my own life. If other people seem to criticize me, teach me to thank God for what I have. It is my glasses that need to be fixed. So I can control my feelings toward the outer events.

Take care everyone! 

PS: I am truly in a much lighter feeling after writing this post. 

Love Until It Hurts

Love is something magical.

When people in love, they would do anything! Anything. They would change everything! Why? Because they are in love. People will translate falling in love as a LOVE itself. But it is not (Read: The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck – for further insight). Love is way beyond that scope.

Have you ever been in a situation when you do not love someone, but you have to help that person? In that scenario, you are the one who is there at that moment (might be wrong for you) to offer help. If you give your help sincerely, then you know what is love.

After I read the collection of private writing by Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light, I was amazed with the scale of her heart. She would do anything to please God, not because she is merely in love – but because she loves God. If she was merely in love with God, she would walk away when God started to keep her in silence (for more than 20 years!). But she stays. She is hurt by the love that she has, toward God and people around her.

Mother Teresa

I am in the position where I have to love others that I do not love. For me, it is hard. Let me spell it for you: H.A.R.D.

Giving my care and attention to someone that I consider as undeserving is not easy. But then, somehow I hear a soft voice in my heart saying that I need to give even more – to teach me how to love sincerely. I did, and yet, the battle inside of me is not yet over, because the help that she needs is still there. She still needs help.

I can choose to quit at all time. That’s the lesson I’ve got from the society – why bother giving to someone that never gave to you. But then again, the image of Mother Teresa at our dining room (yes, a huge paint ordered by my Dad) reminded me of her saying. The paradox of giving and loving until it hurts will eliminate the hurt … and let love remains.

I am not yet there to understand, but I want to give it a try. Now. Today. It might be hard, but I could not find any reference to prove that it is impossible. So, it is hard, but it is possible to do.

So You Think I am Fat?

Here we go. The topic that society love. The number on your scale, the size of your hips and how much fat one can have.

Last week I had a day-trip to a beautiful Bali. I would like to stay longer, but I had an important meeting the next day in Surabaya. While I was working, one colleague offered me the famous Bali Bator (Babi Toreh). I thought it was just another crispy belly pork, but hey! It was a delicious treat!

So on my way to the airport, I decided to check their account online, got their number and ordered half-a-kilo to be delivered to the airport. All good. Or I thought so, until the taxi driver asked if I would consume the whole crispy belly pork myself. He said that I am already fat and consuming the whole thing would only make me fatter.

Fat

I shared that experience on my FB status and told some friends, including the one who offered me Babi Bator on the first place. Most of them would say that I should have reacted to the driver, said something to make him realize that his words were rude. I have to admit that I did not answer a thing, beside telling him that I bought half-a-kilo of crispy belly pork for the whole family (I counted 6 people). My reason was because I was all alone in Bali and had no awareness of direction.

After my son was born, I haven’t got back to my initial weight – which already fat for some people. I know that I never been thin or petite my whole life. I always chubby since I was a baby. A very few close people would asked me to step on the scale. Others would commented on how I dress up. Some others would curse my hair.

I had my hard time to let everything slip through. But now I have to … I will maintain my health and at the same time, watch my intake because I am still breastfeeding. I am hoping to be able to breastfeed my son for the whole 24 months. We are almost halfway now. I know that I need to exercise more now and most of all, be happy of who I am. So if you think I am fat, do me a favor – be in silence (Read: shut up!).

PS: I train myself mentally, in which I created two boxes in my head: important and not important. Whenever I hear people comment on my size or clothes, I would discuss with myself in a straightforward way. If that’s important – I would keep that advice to myself and be grateful. If not, bottomless garbage bin is ready to welcome them. I am happier that way.

Expectation and Heartache

It’s been a very long while since my last post! I just found out a few moments ago that my account was expired, due to technical issue on my automatic payment. All good now and I am in a good mood to write something here.

Expectation. We all have it. You just have to admit that you, me – all of us are expecting in many ways. We expect our spouses to be better, to treat us better. We expect our children to behave well, to achieve high. We also expect ourselves to be great, to be known. Is it wrong to have expectation? Is it right? Do you have the answer? Because I do not.

I met one lady a few days ago. I have heard stories about her – she is a single parent with two children, her husband left her for another woman (she was also the ‘another woman’ in his previous marriage), and she has no formal work to support her life. But when you look at her, you can get the glimpse of her being ‘her ideal self’. The way she walks, she talks, the way she describe those fancy restaurants, those beautiful places that she ever been. The reality is quite different in her perspective. She looks at it as if she is still living in her ideal world. She loves to talk about her dreams in the past – how she wanted to go and live abroad (The Netherlands was a popular destination for Indonesian during her school years) and yet, her mother was not allowing her to go. She loves to show the pictures of her being invited by her friends at fancy restaurants and have a dip on those expensive menus. Somehow, unconsciously, she rejects the second-class menus. She tends to compare everything with her version of ‘the best goods’ that she ever tried before.

thestoryteller2

While she is trying to keep her ideal world up in the water, her son sinks it. One day, he went home and sat with his mother – telling her that he has a daughter with a woman that he had a fling with. He was aware that he had a daughter, but decided not to do anything about it – until he lost everything in a fire, got fired and left with nothing. He then realized that he needed to do something regarding his responsibility as a father. While for him it is a way to complete his least responsibility, for his mother it is almost the end of the world.

This lady – now a grandmother – talked to me in teary eyes that her son is not  supposed to live his life that way. He used to be so free and individual, but now he has to share his life with his wife and daughter. For her, that’s not a fair life.

When I listened to her, I was almost scratching my head – and about to scream at her. How on earth you think that way? That little boy of yours is now a husband and a father. He has to take care of his family. He has to let go his free life and be in order now. But of course I did not do so. I felt pity toward her.

Her life is so full of expectation, and yet she gets none of them done. She never had that chance of living abroad. She could only taste the great menus when someone is kind enough to pay for her. She never had the moment of preparing her son’s wedding properly, and yet suddenly given with a granddaughter. She was looking for love, and she gets loneliness instead.

What do you expect from life?

Motherhood: A Personal Note

If you love to visit bookstores, you will see numerous books on parenting, how-to books on children and thousands different wrap on the same topic. It is as if every new parents want to share their personal journey on ‘what and how’ of parenting. Not to mention the experts. Well, it is true that every journey of parenthood is different and there is no way we can compare it to one another. I am now reaching the understanding that there is no such thing as ‘normal parenting’, since in the eyes of every parents, their way is normal. Mostly, that was the way the brought up.

I am a mother of a 3-month-old boy and I am experiencing a journey that I do not want to miss. I want to experience every details of his development and nothing else matters for me right now. Personally, I never thought that I would write this prior his presence, because I was so used to work and had been living my life as a career woman – at least for the past 10 years. But when my role as a mother is here, I can put aside the other roles and put them on hold.

Every day is a new day. As I learn to take care of my son, I also learn more about myself. And that’s the scary part! When I said that I do not want to miss every detail of his development, it may reflects my own separation anxiety toward my son. On the other hand, it also reflects the importance of ‘being there’ for my son. I guess the key is balancing both roles slowly.

Picture is taken from my other blog www.childrencounseling.net

Picture is taken from my other blog http://www.childrencounseling.net

As a way to let go off my own anxiety, I let the dice roll for me. I did not hesitate to follow the dice and yet, I did not push it too much (I used to though!). The result is positive, since I will add two more roles in my career line starting early next year. I purposely let myself ‘trap’ with responsibilities – within limit – so that I can slowly have a healthier separation process with my son.

I am a product of a working mom and I must say that I appreciate my mom more than ever. She was busy taking care of me and my twin brothers, shopping to traditional market every day, cook for the whole house (more than 2 families in the house) and went to the shops that owned by my dad. I could not imagine the juggling game that she played.

And now, as I am standing here, I can say to myself that it is a new journey for me. It means that I need to let it roll a bit and see how it goes from there. Learning new roles and skills take time – and that’s all I need. And finally, learning is a process in itself. It is not about achieving certain point or numbers, but to keep up with the process and learn a lot more along the way.

Keep it up, mothers!