Opinion, Uncategorized

On Ableism and Things We Need to Stop Saying to People with Disability

Discrimination is still a problem that we face in modern society. And while we’re already familiar with racism, sexism, and religion discrimination, disabled people also have to face discrimination. Ableism is a form of dicrimination against disabled people, including the expression of hate for disabled people, and making the non-disabled people feeling superior to the disabled. It might not be much discussed like other kind of discriminations, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not happening out there. Some people, included me, sometimes don’t even realize that they’re being ableist because it’s been happening in our society for too long to the point where it’s considered normal. Do you remember how many times you’ve used the word “retarded” to call your friends who don’t have developmental disability, or use the word “deaf” to call your friends who don’t really have hearing problem? Well, that’s just one example.

When I was a kid, I was used to hearing some people, mostly kids in my surrounding using offensive words to mock my sister. They literally called her “hey, deaf” in a derogatory terms without a second thought, without even realizing how offensive it is. Maybe they’re too little to even understand it. Maybe their parents never taught them about that. Maybe they didn’t mean to hurt my sister (even though I doubt that). Maybe our society tends to normalize the action. Hey they’re just kids, don’t be too sensitive, don’t take their words to your heart, bla bla bla.

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And now that I’m an adult, I thought I’d never have to deal with people who say offensive things to me about my sister. I don’t mind to share about my sister’s condition, especially to those who are close to me or going to be a part of my life, well you know what I mean. But there was one question that I found quite offensive coming from him when he asked me whether my sister’s disability was inherited by my family or not. He’s scared that our baby will have the same disability because it would be such an embarrassement for his parents. Wow that’s a pretty acid remarks. I honestly will never, ever, ever tolerate that kind of thinking. It’s okay if you don’t want to have disabled kids, but you should know that we can’t choose how our kids condition is gonna be like. Considering that having a disabled kids as such an embarrassent is actually an embarrassment itself. I can’t stand ableist. And once again, I CANNOT tolerate that.

Ableism is not always about using offensive words, it’s also about questioning why or how someone became disabled, as though you’re entitled to know what happened to them. It’s pretty much their own personal business and it’s completely up to them to share it or not. Well, it’s human nature to be curious about something that appears to be different than you, but it’s never okay to constantly ask them about that. Some people might like to share it with others, that’s okay. Some other might not feel comfortable to tell you what happened to them because it reminds them of traumatic events, and that’s okay too. 

My family choose to share what happened to my sister in the hope that it can give insight to others about what happened to her. My sister is deaf since she was a baby due to severe influenza that she had when she was only 2 days old. Apparently, it affected the nerves that facilitate hearing. Who would have thought that influenza can lead to a hearing loss? That’s why my family always like to share about our experience, just so people know that it’s not always about genetic, it can be due to illness, or traumatic events, and other factors.

Deaf is one of invisible disabilities. You won’t notice it unless there’s a communication between you two. My sister knows a lot of words and she can understand what she reads. She can read the menu and order her food so you don’t always have to explain what’s written unless she asks you. This is actually something that I learnt from her. There was time when I explained her something and she said “I know!” angrily. I used to assume that she didn’t know any complicated words. I assumed that she didn’t know about nowadays issue that’s happening in this country. Assuming that she isn’t capable of doing something by herself is just so wrong. And assuming that she’s amazing for being able to do something because she is a disabled person is considered as ableism too. “wow I can’t believe you can participate in a running competition, I mean you’re deaf, how would you know when to run?”. Ugh, seriously?

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Just like other parents who are proud with all the achievements of their children, I’m also proud to see how my sister now has grown into an active girl who loves dancing, sewing, and participating in running competition. My dad and I watched her performing dance for International Day of People with Disability last December on Prambanan Temple. We also supported her on running competition last week. After all, I want people to focus to see her –and any other disabled people– as a person rather than someone with a disability.

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Opinion, Religion

Day 4: My Views on Religion

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If you asked me one of my biggest regret last month, that would be forgetting to cross this topic off the list and replace it with whatever less confusing than this. Honestly, this topic is something that I don’t feel comfortable to write about. I think I’m sweating a little. How am I supposed to start this with? Umm, ok, first of all, I’m a muslim, so this writing is pretty much based on my knowledge as a muslim, which is probably so little.

When I was a kid, maybe around four years old, I had no idea about religion. All I knew was I had to pray five times a day, go to mosque, read Quran, and do fasting on Ramadhan. Two of my childhood friends are dutch people. At that age I didn’t know the name of her religion except the fact that she had to go to church every Sunday and I had to wait for her to go back home so I could come over to her place to watch movie. At that time, I thought that being born to muslim parents was what made someone a muslim, or that someone’s religion was pretty much inherited from their parents because I was used to seeing people who shared the same religion as their parents.

As I grew older, I no longer see religion as something that’s inherited by our parents in our gene. I see it as a belief system where we have all the right to choose what we believe in or which path we want to follow, regardless of the religion of our parents. I saw people convert to muslim, and I saw my muslim friends convert to another religion. With all sort of upbringing that my family and teachers have given me, honestly I was quite shocked by the latter fact. But then I learned that we’re all, however, entitled to choose which religion to follow. Basically, religion gives people a set of guidelines to live by, so it’s pretty much up to them to choose which guidelines that they believe to be true. I can’t say that I support and justify what they did, but I highly respect their choices, and that won’t change the fact that they’re still my friends.

To me, when it comes to being friends, it doesn’t matter what religion they belong to as long as they’re a good person. I have friends who are agnostic and we still get along fine, in fact they’ve helped me a lot all this time. People should be and strive to be kind, because that’s the right thing to do, regardless of the religion they do or don’t belong to. Every religion basically teaches kindness and I’ve seen that since I was so little and knew so little about something named religion. But again, different people can have different interpretation of particular teaching in their religion and sometimes that’s what causes a problem. In Islam there are group of people who believe that saying ‘merry christmas’ to those who celebrate it is allowed for the sake of respecting them, but there are also those who believe that it’s not allowed to do so because it’s considered as believing another God besides Allah.

Sometimes I don’t understand how one teaching can be viewed or interpreted so differently even by those who belong to the same religion. I think muslim women know or at least have been told that wearing hijab to cover our aurah is a must and it doesn’t have anything to do with our behavior, and yet some people still have tons of excuses to not wear it. Some say that they’re not ready, that they’re still waiting for hidayah to come to them and knock their heart. Some say that it’s better to not wear it but have a good attitude rather than wearing it but still have a shit attitude. I think it’s just a matter of time. I’ve worn headscarf to school since junior high school but had to wait until 22 to finally wear it for good while constantly trying to improve myself.

If you know me in real life, I’ve never been a religious person. I have a problem with religious fanatics who shove their beliefs down other people’s throats, condemning everyone who doesn’t live by Islamic values, and only want to be friends with those who follow the same religion. Well, I haven’t fully lived by Islamic values. But I am trying to. One step at a time. I’m trying not to only follow the teachings that’s suited my way of thinking but then ignore the ones that are unreasonable according to my comprehension as a mere human being. After all, religion teaches kindness. And whatever your religion is, it’s supposed to make you a better person, isn’t it?

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Feelings, Opinion, Religion, Uncategorized

Day 3: A Quote I Try to Live by

It’s only day-3 and I already messed up this challenge by not writing in the past 6 days. I tried to write when I was on my way back to home from work but always failed, either because I fell asleep along the way on Trans Jogja, or because the situation didn’t make it possible for me to write. And when I reached home, I always got sidetracked doing other things like cooking, gossiping with my dad, or complaining about how my neighbor changed his hotspot username and password so I can’t use it for free anymore. But now that I don’t have to go to work, I have enough time to catch up. Well, it’s not really catching up if I only write one post per day –if I could do that, though.

Well now let’s get cracking with this job.

Have you ever experienced a time when everything doesn’t seem to go your way? When you go through one bad thing after another, and everything seems to go wrong no matter what you do to fix them? Well you’re not alone, then. Bad things happen to everyone. For me and my dad, that time was last month. It was a pretty tough month for both of us, where our patience and sincerity were being tested. While my dad remained calm and patient, I was the one who *sort of* lost control. Instead of being mad at me for cursing a lot, my dad tried to calm me, because he knew how disappointed I was at that time. He just told me not to hate someone that much, and to always remember their kindness and forgive their mistake. He convinced me that we would be okay, we’re gonna find a way out of this difficulty, Allah will help us, and we could get through this together. 

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How my dad deals with every problem always reminds me of one verse in Quran “verily, with every difficulty, there is relief”. It is the 5th verse from Surah Al-Inshirah. One of the most beautiful verses in the Quran and maybe one of the most widely shared verse on the Internet. It gives a message of hope and encouragement, and makes me more positive and not easily discouraged whenever I’m facing a problem. It’s like a reminder for me that there is always a solution for any problem that we might face, and compared to Allah’s Mercy all our difficulties and problems are tiny. With that being said, that verse automatically becomes a quote that I try to live by.

You may feel like you’re going through your difficulties all alone, but Allah will always be by your side. Hang in there. The promise of Allah is true. After all, with every difficulty, there is relief.

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Feelings, Opinion, Uncategorized

Day 2: Things I Like and Dislike About Myself

Hey, I’m back to continue this challenge. I’m going to write down some of the things that I like and dislike about myself. I thought I’d do this challenge to help me appreciate the good things in me, not in an arrogant way but simply in a self respecting way, since it has been something that I’ve been struggling with my whole life. And I’m also going to write some of the things I dislike about myself, in the hope that in the near future I can do something to change that, or perhaps find a way to accept that. Knowing what you like and dislike about yourself is a very important basic key when it comes to improving yourself. Strengthen your strengths and change what needs to be changed. And in order to do that, you have to know what kind of person that you are.

Here are four things that I like about myself:

  1. I’m generally a positive-thinking person, and I always try to see the good in every situation, especially in the most difficult one. It’s never that simple, but it doesn’t have to be all that complicated either. It can be started from trying to be the least judgemental that I can become and keep myself surrounded by people who believe in staying positive.
  2. I forgive; always. I don’t hold on to grudges. I just want to live, learn, and move forward.
  3. I’m a good listener and a good problem solver, at least that’s what my friends told me. Perhaps that’s what makes them come back to me when they’re facing a problem.
  4. I’m quite independent and I can enjoy time by myself. I think I’ve mentioned a couple times about this in my older posts.

And now it’s time to write down what I dislike about myself, but i’ll try to include the positive things in them instead of merely mentioning them.

  1. Sometimes I give up too easily. I don’t always finish the things that I start and it can be a problem. The main reason I said that is because I haven’t finished my law degree. But if I try to look at the bigger picture, there are many things that I finished and achieved, like finishing my animal science degree in 4 years and two months, so it’s not entirely true. Instead of letting it defines who I am, I’d like to call it as a process that I have to go through in order to know who I want to be and what I really love. But however, I still need to be more resposible whenever I choose to start something.
  2. I’m sort of reluctant to ask for help even when I need it. I usually just accept the help when it’s offered. I like to help people but I don’t like to ask for one. Sorry if it doesn’t make sense. But fortunately, I’m SO blessed to have friends who care enough to offer help. Honestly, I don’t know whether it is something that I’m supposed to like or dislike, not sure if it’s shame, selfishness, or stupidity. But since some of my friends complained about it, I think it’s something that needs to be changed.
  3. Sometimes I still unconsciously compare myself with others. I know it’s human nature to always compare yourself and to see that the grass is always greener on the other side, but it doesn’t make it okay to keep doing that. It’s toxic. That’s why I always keep telling myself to focus on improving myself rather than feeling sad due to my bad habit of comparing myself with others.
  4. My commitment issue and how I always tend to push people away when they get too close with me. I’d like to think that it has something to do with my depression. Or maybe I’m such a shit person on the inside.

That’s that. I could write up to five or more things if I wanted to, but those things I wrote above are enough to represent me. 

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Feelings, Opinion, Uncategorized

Day 1: Five Ways to Win My Heart

A few days ago I stumbled upon a blog post about 30-day writing challenge. I’ve seen this challenge multiple times before but I had to google it up again to see the full list of topic that should be written. I found some versions of this challenge, but overall they’re similar and essentially the same. I don’t know who started this but, man, 30 topics are way too much for this lazy ass to handle. I gotta cut down some topics and make it into one-third of the actual amount of it. Hello, this lazy ass right here is trying her best to participate. But to be honest though, it is a quite interesting challenge to join because besides practicing my writing skill, it also helps me to get to know myself more deeply. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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My heart is such a dark, spooky, and dangerous place that nobody should ever get closer, let alone winning it. And I don’t think there’s a certain way to win my heart. I’m actually easily amazed by something new and different, but it doesn’t count as winning because most of the times the amazement disappeared as quickly as it came. I believe that when it comes to winning my heart, it should be able to keep me amazed for a long time and most importantly makes me feel comfortable. So what I’m going to write down bellow is more like five ways to make me feel comfortable (and probably win my heart, eventually).

Leave me alone, give me the space that I need. If you’re a true believer of the quote “sometimes I push you away because I need you to pull me closer” please back off. Just because those girls before me used this trick doesn’t mean such quotes apply to every girl, especially to me. If I push you away, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, pull me closer. If I push you away it’s either I want to be alone or I can’t deal with your annoying ass anymore. Just give me the space that I need. I love the company of other people, don’t get me wrong, but I take a lot of time to recover from being around people as well. Someone who can respect my “me time” and understand how much I love solitude is definitely going to win my heart.

Be patient with my texting habit. I can be someone who sends text you frequently, reply to a text in a blink of the eye, and bombard you with tons of heart emojis, but it only happens for a few weeks until I finally feel tired of it. Maybe I just get bored easily. Or maybe I’m not the type to text someone all day everyday, no matter how much I like you or who you are to me. Go ask my boyfriend how often we text each other in a day. I just want someone who can pull off texting everyday and not texting at all in a day.

Be open-minded. It’s always nice to be around open-minded people, you know, those who are willing to listen, observe, understand, and try to see everything from different point of view. The ones who don’t easily judge and point at people, saying that their opinion is right or wrong. But it doesn’t mean that they always accept everything, though. They still have their own standard but chose not to impose anyone to live up to it. Even though we’re in a relationship and we believe that we’re soulmates, we’re still a different human beings with different way of thinking, and disagreements are inevitable and might happen. This is when your open-mindedness is pretty much needed.

Impress me with your knowledge. Looks fade; knowledge is forever. I’m attracted to people who knows a lot of things. It doesn’t always have to be about law, politic, physics or how this galaxy were formed, even though it’d be better if you could explain about that as well. It’s nice to talk to people who always have an answer to every weird and unimportant question I ask, or at least willing to think of the answer to my question instead of just saying “idk” “why did you even ask me that”.

Love french fries dipped in ice cream as much as I do. Well, this is the last one. It might sound weird for some people but believe me, many people out there have tried this since years ago. The combination of something sweet and something salty makes it taste SO good, please consider trying this or at least add it into your -100 things to do before you die- list. If you ask me out and take me to McDonald’s and you order this heaven-sent food there’s a huge chance I’m gonna say yes when you want to take me to McDonald’s again. Which means, a bigger chance to win my heart.

I think I left out a few things that probably were far more important but that’s all what I came up with for now.

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