Let’s define Pretty. I never feel pretty nor beautiful.
First, because since I was little I believed that I am ugly. The reflection that I saw in the mirror doesn’t show that I am stunning or something. Not like the other mother in this world that usually praising their children excessively, my mom never praise my beauty or appearance. All that I remember she said was that I was ugly. I was smelly. I was fat. Nobody will likes me. No man will take a look on me. So, though years after I grown up I can see someone that is not so bad reflected I still not believe the mirror.
Second, because like my mom’s said, nobody likes me. I remember when I was in High School, the boys send their greetings towards the girls through some gesture like cookies, chocolate or letters. I never had one. When I was in the university. I remember few nights of prom-like party when the girls are so full of excitement being invited by the the boys. I want to be invited. I never invited.
Because of tha, I always want to looks pretty. All means. I want once or sometimes people praising me for my looks or appearance. I glimpse the stunning girl with envy of how they attracted people’s attention to them though sometimes their brain stuck. I always sensitive of people’s comments about me of my weight, my hair, my skin or so. Still, though I am getting far from my youth, my mom and relatives gave negative comments. You are so big. When I was at your age I was not that big. You are so ugly. Be careful your husband will run away from you.
Now, I am 43. Supposedly not to be obsessed by looks anymore. This is the era when we can manipulate the looks with gadget. There is 360 cameras apps installed in almost every smartphone. There is Photoshop. DLSR cameras comes with filters and eventually just by playing with it I can produce a better picture. In this era various social media also exposing people to show off about their daily life. People posted their selfies in their various timeline. Then I realized *I’ve been shaken by this reality once but then forget about it*….
In this age, when most of women started to have wrinkles I am still free. When most of my age women’s metabolism clogged I am still okay. Not slim but hardly said fat. Not stunning but hardly said ugly. When I and my BFF took pictures together, I didn’t look less. I don’t need the 360, I don’t need beautification camera. I can be myself and looks just okay.
I am pretty.
I spoke to my superior because I am sad.
In the meeting, I felt so humiliated. There are four people in the side of the landlord, they denied that they sent the nasty texts and called me liar. They looked at my direction in hatred and underestimating attitude and reject all my statements.
There was sit the finance manager who doesnt say a thing but nodding and the notary that more focus on the agreement. They didnt take my side yet cant find a better solution.
Then I took sometime to find more evidence in my files or so. When I came back the situation is changed. The landlord rudely said: I am not talking to you, I have no business with you while the finance manager hushed me off to side to something with the computer. I feel humiliated being isolated but cant really do anything heroic.
That’s what I report to my superior. I cant accept that humiliation professionally.
Then she said something thats shocked me.
That nasty landlord report to big boss that I was asking for money. Commission or whatsoever asking whats-in-it-for-me? WHAT? I knew some people are unbelievable but meet a person that purposely lie and then tell another lie to bring me down was shockingly unimaginable. Not only jaw drop, but back and forth I just cant believe God let an evil person like that to be alive healtily and gain alot of money.
That day is the first time ever I meet him. I didnt know his number or email. How I ask?
Worse to that the finance manager believes him. She said to my superior that she heards the rumor. She heard that I am asking for commission and receiving tip, landlord is not happy (one prove but heard lot of rumor of unhappy ones), but basically she doesnt trust me and doesnt think I am doing a good work (rather believes in rumor).
She reminds me of the black lady that fell hard few years ago. Same pattern. She doesnt believes good people, humiliating good worker, underestimating anyone and so bitter. The fallen was so hard and sad. She left a bad name.
I guess it doesnt need a genius for same prophecy towards her.
Half of the year went by already.
By January, I knew that this semester I have to work hard. Accomplished about 80 leases to houses, not only its agreement but also its repair is a good amount of work to makes me real busy. Not saying mentally challenging too. Talk to different people, owner, agents, vendors, faculty and staff is enough to makes my mind running, even in the middle of the night when I sleep. But I was prepared well.
Unfortunately by April, something unexpected happened. My place of work, the international school faced some allegations. We had really challenging situation. Supposedly, I have to handle housing matters only but this time I have to face immigration officers, talked to faculty of their situation, work in team to provide bundled of documents and provide help to the legal team. It was so hard to balance the workload and makes everyone safe. My days are really long sometimes until midnight.
My days without the crisis are usually long and hectic. Add the crisis and it is become unimaginable. Hence God helped me so I can accomplished all goals well. I only have small support from my superior as they already handsfull with the crisis. Yet, I reached here.
A few note that I want to take during this period
Most people outside are really bitter about my workplace. They called it paedofil nest refer to the freedom in dress code and open attitude. Some students organization *though I doubt a real students can have time for this, rally in front of our gate said the school had to be closed. People’s comments in online media are unbearable accussing our school as a place with no moral as we dont teach Religion.
Watching and reading were mentally draining. I come home every day exhausted. I dont believe teaching Religion made the people. I studied it in every level since elementary yet I saw many people walk carelessly without integrity and respects to others. I dont believe western culture all about sins same as I dont believe revealing clothes caused rape. But it shocked me that a lot of people dont think so.
Because I was mentally tired, my attitude changes. I was easily irritated over small things and cant really handle wishy washy person. My email language become too strong and irritating the receiver. Fortunately my boss understand that thought I may looked allright and strong, beneath I was exhausted. He doesnt really think as it was a big deal. Worrisome but okay, and I appreciate it.
I took three weeks of leave out of country. The vacation help me to be balance again. Now I more relaxed, knowing that things are under control or, if not, let the storm passing by. Simple. But, I have to keep recharge myself as draining and exhausted wont help me to perform.
Another half year to go.
Meg asked me, do you not missed your old days when you are travelling around the nation and backpacking out? I said, even thinking about going to Singapore already exhaust me. Gee.
I remember those old days when I spend morning and evening on flight. Morning one hour or two hours flight to some place than evening return flight to home. I travel to airport almost everyday. I remember those old days when I spend two or three months away from home due to works. When I looked into some picture that I took with those old pocket digital camera, I remember that I can spent whole day exploring the city or the rural and sleep on the bus or train going to another place. Somehow I want to go back bring my new camera to redo the picture. But, no, just thinking about it already makes me feels uneasy.
How I can be change like that? Dunno.
Last year I carefully talked into my husband to send my message to the church committee. I really don’t want to be the children ministries coordinator. Back then, taking care of children is my passion, I taught them craft, I taught them sing and music, I told them stories. I can understand them easily and communicate with them, talk to them and laugh with them. I was well known for my skills to teach children, even the younger ones. I just enjoy it and like to do it.
But now, thinking that I have to just teach them to sing already painful to me. Something is wrong with me. I don’t teach them lots of craft anymore. Before I will compile files of craft to do anytime. Lots of material. Now, I just taught them to draw and color it. Geeh. No imagination. Rite. That’s how bored I am now.
How I can be change like that? Dunno.
In a time of five years, I had changes position at least 4 times in 2 different departments. I experience 2 times re-structure of departments.
I was in Curriculum and Professional Development Office as a Technical Assistant. Then, the department change into Learning Office and I became a Learning Assistant. Then the department redundant and I move to Human Resources. I started as Human Resources and Learning Officer, now I am Housing Coordinator. Our department had changed its manager, one of team member had resigned, we had one in-the-middle team member who not passed probation period, and add more team-member. Imagine that!
Housing itself is never be a boring items. Never a day come without new challenge or new matters to settle. As an HR person, I should look into people’s matter (related to their housing) more than the physical or technical matter. Their house can be good, can be bad, can be nice, can be broken, but the most important is their feeling towards it. I learned that though the house is completely nice and everything provided, if they don’t feel at home, they will find something to complaint. I learned that though the house is worn out and dark, when they love if they won’t complain. The weird is when they love the house and choose it themselves but still complaint about it haha.
I talked to people all the time. Those who need new housing, those who have breakdown in their house, those who need assistance about their neighborhood, the owner of the houses with requests, owner of the houses without request. Owner of the houses who is not willing to pay for breakdown, owner of the houses who is not willing not pay small bank charges, owner of the houses who wants to take care everything and owner of the houses who doesn’t care of anything. I collaborated with other departments, I sit in a meeting with them to discuss things for better solution, never a day that I just work with myself.
When I was not in Human Resources department, I keep complained of the manager who acted not human. Now that I am inside, I had the fear that people may thing the same way about me. As I am a logic person (that Dani kept says only have high IQ with zero EQ) and a straight forward character, I may ended up being judged of acted not human. With that fear, whenever I handle a problem, I asked myself, what way I use? Logical approach or people approach. When most of the approach is logical one, I feel frustrated that I cant never makes people happy. When I feel frustrated I suddenly get tired and came advice from a colleague and friends: breath, at the end, though you are so care about your work and with passion does it perfectly, in your deathbed it will only your family around and those is what only matters. Indeed.
Never dull moments? No fuss.
I always think my son is grow up too fast. Feel like yesterday he is a toddler who asked for milk, a little boy with clean face and spike hair who crying every Saturday fighting with another boy in church. He is now almost 14. A teenager in means. He is not longer cling to his parents all the time though he is not really into friendship gang. He physically taller than me, bigger hands and feet and with talents. He is good in drawing like when he was little, but now the drawing more has meaning other than just creation of monster like creature. He is good in music – I taught him piano and violin. He played saxophone and possibilities still wide.
I do enjoy the time when we grows together. From a little baby he became a young teenager, and from a young woman a became a matured lady. I lost my energy bit by bit, when I was young I can sleepless for two days and still able to stand still and concentrate on a work. Now, even if I lack a few hours sleep, I wont be functioned well in the morning. When I was younger, I can spend half day on the field, walk from one village to another remote village in the mountain. Now, just to walk from one house to another house in the same housing complex already exhaust me. When I was younger, I can swim, run, do round of outbound just in one day. Now, just half hour run more than enough to burn my energy. When those times happened to me, my son grows in energy. He who was tired just for one block walk, now can run for an hour and still feel okay. He who got irritated if he happened to sleep late in the night, now can endure lack of sleeps well. He who wants milk to favor his sadness now handle his emotion well. Not easily discourage, not easily disappointed.
The more I see him each day, the more I am thankful to God for giving me this life. The more I cant understand why people like to ignore their children. I saw lots of people who only busy feeding their children, 3 meals a day, breakfast lunch and dinner. They angry at their children for children’s mistake but not praising them for achievements. They send their children to courses or hire a private tutor. Do they enjoy the grows-together time? I doubt. I saw many children grown up like uneducated person. They don’t behave and people hates them because they are too naughty. Does their parents care? I doubt. The parents became old with grudge and wrinkles while their children grows up became trouble. I many times feel sad seeing those character but unable to do anything to change it as people’s family matter should not be my concern.
Yeah, let’s enjoy mine myself
I am kind of person who tend not to believe in “blue blood”. My bestfriend Dani is. I believe, if people had received sufficient amount of certain level of education, we can put them in an expected class. For instance, those high school graduate only will expected to have limited abilities, those with bachelor degree expected to extend their knowledge and wisdom, master degree holder should be looking in a bigger frame and doctoral degree holder should think beyond the box.
Dani believes that some people, no matter how much money they made and how much upgrade to their living they had, can’t hide the fact that they was born in the dumpster. Dani believes that some people born in aristocrat family, no matter how poor and how low their position in the society won’t be able to hide their dignity.
The longer I live more I realized that my theoretical believe is not practical as I meet more people don’t meet expectation than otherwise. Yet, I still in it. In that way, when I meet new people, I value them by their educational background, their skills and their experience, their talent and their wisdom. I don’t judge people by what they wear, what brand they carry or what car they drive. I don’t care of what family they are from, the technocrat or aristocrat, rich or poor. Look at Jesus Christ. He recruited his first 12 disciples from the lowest class in the society. Fisherman. If you are a teacher or trader, you may come in the middle class, able to read and to count. If you a governor or tax collector you may come in a higher rank as you must be rich. But fisherman? Though it is true that being a fisherman need some specific skills, no school in this world who will certified people with fisherman diploma. The first 11 disciples most probably illiterate, makes the existence of Jude needs in the team. But looks what happened! Christianity never faded though the foundation of this religion lied by these uneducated people.
But I have an experience that given me a shock and like-it-or-not I had to agree to Dani’s theory of blue blood. I tried to hold my anger when found out that one of our close friend suddenly change. From being reliable to completely ignorant. From being teamwork player to be a solo player. From being cheery and funny to being cynical and exclusive.
In the past, we’ve been through some relationship spike. From being don’t like each other, to become tolerate each other, to become communicating well with each other, and suddenly cold for no clear reason. I expect this friend to be mature enough to distinguish between professionalism and childish act, to act mature with common sense other than being too sensitive. But she just can’t. When I don’t have patience.
Dani’s theory comes as the answer. As this friend came from a poor family there is something she can’t really change. The realization that this world doesn’t revolve around our ego-centrism never came to her as money does matter. She can’t understand why we are being cool about kind of things and accept financial changes well no matter profit or loss. She is unable to understand and will never able to no matter what as values about life always connected with financial status. She might value people by their money too and felt inferior surrounded by the-have. Though to me it is not right, still there is nothing I can do to change her mindset.
We cant choose our family right? But we can choose our friend. I may not be better that her, perhaps not right either yet I can’t accept the change.