Why I’m activist and why it’s hard

The girl who collect bottles to the first Indonesian women in the Human Rights Advocates Program at Columbia University. And I ’m proud of her.

That’s how Matthias Storrer, my former partner describe me to a young woman in Malawi who just start her own social initiatives. And those words brought me to tears. Not only tears of pride and gratitude but also reminding me of how much I have to let go things in life to stand up for what I believe in, to be where I’m now.

I met him 7 years ago when I just started Samsara. He remembered me as the girl who collects and sell empty bottles to feed myself and survive the work I do. He was there witnessing how a collective work running from a tiny house in the middle of ricefield in a village in Yogyakarta expand its work to national and regional level. He witnessed the girl who talks to banana trees and dancing under the rain started to travel and talk at international conferences and featured in international media. He witnessing the girl who drops outs from medical school challenge the health system and medical staff by documenting the work and publish it in journals. He saw the girl who did yoga and meditation turn into a badass who operate and distribute abortion medicine over the borders to ensure women have access to safe abortion. And every time we say goodbye at the airport, I saw him crying for the possibility it might be the last chance we see each other. Every time the plane landed, I wonder if I would end up in my own bed or in a cold one in prison. And I love him so dearly for him to accept and respect that i would give my whole life to this work and left him always the second priority.

I should be proud of myself like he did. I wish I could. But the depression has taken all the bright side and left me with despair.

Why is hard

I’m very passionate about my work and surrounded by people who support me with their warmest heart and unconditional love. I split my time between Indonesia and Switzerland, enjoy the best time managing between work and relationship. In 2016, I’m confronted with the option to choose to start a family in Switzerland and quit my work, or continue my work in Indonesia and end the relationship.

It’s hard to be an activist. Sometimes you gotta choose not only what’s right for you but for the people you fight for, and sometimes it means that you need to let go things that you love. I knew that I could have a better and comfortable life in Switzerland. But to me, it’s not about the degree of my personal quality of life, it’s more about my moral and following what my heart says.

That’s when I decided to end my relationship. One of the hardest decision in my life, especially when two of you know that both deeply love and care for each other. And in order for each to live the life they desired, sometimes split up is the only option. It’s hard, so hard. I have to unlearn everything I know about love and relationship and re-learn how to live and happy on my own.

Since I was a little girl I always longing for a home – where you feeling safe, loved and respected. I have learned in life that home isn’t just a place to stay away from cold, it is a state of mind, no matter when or where you are.

In longing for what I call as home, I have to give up that feeling for a greater good. It’s unbearable to be despised by your own family because of your choice, it’s hurt the fact that I couldn’t attend my sister wedding due to my brother threats to kill me, or the fact that my mother admits of shame walking with me in public because I’m not wearing hijab. And one day, again I have to let it go my relationship for the sake what I believe in. What I have learned to this day, we sometimes must let go things that matter the most to us in order to stand up for what we believe in.

It’s hard to be an activist. It’s hard to stand up for what you believe in.

But one thing that I always believe, even in the darkest day of my depression

There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel

And I believe the day will come and I know it’s all worthed



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