The reason why i do this is, not because i'm sad or ashamed. On the contrary. I think that my childhood was pretty normal. I thought most urban kids had the same problems. After all, i was never abused, never really really poor, never physically or emotionally hurt in ways that it should be traumatic. It's just a childhood.
Later in life, i found out, that my childhood was pretty hard. I'm not sure if i should start telling the stories now, because, i still feel that, my childhood was similar to 7 series of telenovela, but, pretty boring nonetheless.
Maybe to put some background, i can tell you that my parents used to be rich. I remember living in a huge house. My mother said that the house we used to own was more than 1000m2. When my father lost it all because of a bad business call, we went from that rich to have nothing. We rented a 100m2 house, which to my parents must be pretty traumatic. It took a toll on their marriage, and not long after that, they got divorced. To be honest, as the eldest in the family, it was not the lack of money that stressed me out. It is the the fact that at the time, parents were so absorbed with their problems, that they sort of forgotten to take care of us. I pretended for a long time, that i was okay. It's my parent's divorce, it has nothing to do with me. They can mess up their life, i don't have to mess up mine. Around the same time, i was bullied a lot at school. My bullies used to tell me they hated my attitude. In their perception, i acted like i was the prettiest girl at school. Little did they know that i was just trying to make friends, and i'm pretty sure i wasn't flirty. It's just that i'm a mix blood, i have brown eyes, freckles, and that makes me, by Indonesian standard, a good looking girl. The truth is, i really don't feel good inside. It's hard to feel happy and beautiful, when you have so much problems at home. My mind and my focus have always been about protecting my sisters. I was and still am very protective and maternal towards them. Now that my sisters are married and have kids, i feel protective towards my brothers in law and my nieces and nephew too. It's just a force of habit i guess.
A few years later, my father can't afford to pay rent anymore and we lived with our grandparents. My mother sometimes made gemblong and ask people to sell her gemblong at the local market. There was a time when she tried to sell fried rice too, but it didn't work out. My mother sold sembako to pay for my school tuition. At night i would try to make a little bit of money by working as a waitress in my uncle's warung, i worked from 9 pm to 1 am and then go to school in the morning. When i was in high school my mom sent me to live with my aunt. I did lived there for 2 years. After that, dad rented us a house at a family's friend's place who needed a little cash. Things slowly got better after that. By 2002 Dad managed to buy an old and damaged mini market and built it to become a house. The house that 2 years later, became the first office of Gogirl! magazine.
So i was bullied, i was called many names, people made up all kinds of fictions about me. I had to work but i wanted to. I didn't feel like that was a burden. I used to manage house hold money since i was in high school, because at the time my mother got really sick for a number of years. I took care of my sisters, i made them study hard. I lied to Anita, i said if she wanted to get into ITB and take Design, she has to come from IPA, otherwise ITB wouldn't even consider her application. I didn't know that, that was not true, but i was just making sure that she has a much better options when she finished high school. At the time, if you graduated from IPA, you can apply for any subject in University. But if you graduated from IPS, you can not apply for many studies that required IPA based. I made Githa go to SMU Tarakanita 1, because that's the most discipline school that i know of, and i wanted the best school for her. Internet was not yet known, so i have very limited information, options, and money. You see, i do all this with no burden. I feel like it's my duty. But sometimes, it did got hard when my parents were not being fair to me. My mother, became bitter, and father relied on me too much. They were hurt, and in so much pain, that sometimes they projected their pain towards me. I don't want to go into details about this. Because, i have forgiven them a long time ago, and right now, they are not the same bitter people that they were. I think they are two of the strongest people that i know of, and at the time, they were just going through so much pain dan disappointments.
Do you know the story of Gogirl? Maybe a lot of you already know the story, since i wrote them in my book, From No One to Someone. If i write down my life story like this, suddenly, i see a connection. I was bullied, i was called a lot of names, and people used to made up stories about me. All that, was to prepare me. Because that's what happened when we started Gogirl! You know when we first started, there were blogs and forum that talked about me, my sisters, but in a hurtful way. I used to get emails that was just so rude and so harsh. People made assumptions about us, and then discussed it in a forum. What's even weirder, they talked about our marriages, bashed our husbands, make stories and joked about it. I was shocked when i found them, but i never replied or said anything to them. I didn't know any of them, and i never tried to found out.
So much happened during the time we build Gogirl. So much hurt, and pain, and disappointments. But, it seems that, God had prepared us to face this, a long time ago. About a decade earlier. We were being prepared to be able to handle the problems we are going to face. We were being honed and strengthened, so that we can face these problems a decade later. Isn't that amazing? It made me filled with tears now. Because it has been crazy hard this past 2 years, and it made me think, "God, are you just preparing me now? so that i'm better equipped, stronger, smarter, much more resilient later?"
Let me just pause for a second.
In that case, Thank You, God. Thank you for these lessons, thank you for the hardships, haha, i'm ready to take on even more challenge now. Bring it on! Because i know, 10 years down the road, You have a plan for us, so big, that we need to be prepared for it. We need to be tougher and also wiser. I'm believing in Your ways. Thank You.
Strength, is a muscle. We become strong, because we hone our skill to be strong every day with every struggle and pain that we encounter. Strength's best friend is will power. Both, we need to practice everyday. Our strength determined our will power, Our will power build our strength. Strength and will power are results. They are the results of faith, patience, and discipline.
We are never strong on our own. We can be strong by choosing to be strong, by choosing to believe, by dealing with our trials and challenges in faith. By walking the walk, one step a time. One day at a time.