Updated: Aug 19, 2018
Featuring an arts teacher, two #MeToo’s, taekwondo lessons, D-cup bras, lots of crushes to the guys who later gets discovered as being gay, kama sutra and kinbaku-bi (bondage) classes and an actual healthy sleeping pattern during teenagehood because I’d skip out on Ladies Night.
BY: ELIZABETH RAISA TEE
Earlier this spring, I online-matched with a user who happened to have succeeded in infiltrating my defense mechanism against guys (I'm straight). I'd never have expected this as an outcome to enter my personal domain since it had been a social experiment to test out of what it’s to be named as a ‘love formula’ through online dating apps. It worked for me - because this, of what you’re reading now, happened.
Naturally, I reassessed how my guards went down. What I truly found out was that it was more than just a faulty security breach - it launched an entire self-discovery and self-healing journey, 24 handwritten pages-long. In other words, I've soul-evolved from a Magikarp to a Red Gyrados.
I uncovered a past that was unable to be said openly. However, now that we’re in the times of #MeToo, nothing is easier than to share the adversity you’ve overcome to help the ones that hasn’t been able to, yet.
I promise that I’ll be very honest with you and I hope you get to be honest with yourself at the end of this journey.
You can scroll all the way to end or read it all by clicking on the stories. There are two takeaways. Firstly, if you have been a #MeToo victim, please be honest, and then find a way to forgive that past, such as this brave story.
Secondly, females, especially Indonesian females who aren’t as assertive growing up should never lower their standards or to give up a dream or two for a husband. Moreover, which I’m truly grateful of, I’ve gotten my passport to freedom and that has alleviate my guilt of filial piety as an Asian female only-child daughter (read: my mother’s given her words that she wouldn’t wheedle me anymore to thanks to this story by being honest!).
Most of you aren’t able to compromise that to your parents for your reasons to not settle down. But if you just manifest the real you into your mind, action and projection, I truly believe that you would have a similar journey to mine.
Because I’ve never dated before, it’s a ‘problem’ according to my grandmother and a 57-year-old male customer at my shop being nosey and offering ‘help’ if he has someone in mind by asking me ‘my type’. It’s never been a problem for me but I respond with a polite smile.
We’re in the Indonesian society after all; don’t take it as something negative, these questions are casual and normative.
Because I was fully aware at the time that adult male touched me in that way for the first time in my life, aged 9, and then adolescent boys at aged 11, my respect for heterosexual males has completely diminished. This must be an unfortunate fact perhaps for my parents to know their only daughter resents males and that she has had to deal with preadolescent #MeToo episodes.
Fortunately, her defence system works well so the adult version of this daughter never has had sexual assaults thereafter by taking it as a learning curve.
This also serves as a fine warning to all the heterosexual guys that when you touch me in the future I don’t know how my auto-reflecting elbow may do to you.
Because I saw how heterosexual males in general lose their sanity largely to sex, I started my relentless pursuit to answer my questions of “Why Sex Sells” and “Why Sex Is Like The Carrot Tied Up to a Donkey” largely just the males – and never been spotlighted how females also have libidos to be taken care of.
How should I answer these questions? Of course I went to get schooled in this as ironic as it sounds.
When I was 15, I got accepted into my undergraduate studies in Fashion. Later at age 20, I enrolled for my postgraduate degree which happens to offer obscure courses – one of them delves into Japanese’s pinku eiga – alias pornography - postwar cinema. Delving myself on these NSFW topics on a rigorous academic level, the general summary is that the world must thank the Japanese for doing all the prototyping for centuries, really.
Here’s what I learnt about sex, male gaze, kama sutra, and appreciating the bizarre banalities of these harrowing yet poetic depictions in sex culture, especially after I attended a Bondage (kinbaku) performance.
Because I have D-cup sized breasts, I was very uncomfortable growing up.
I've been attuned to the public gaze in the conservative society I was brought up in. I used to complain and wonder why I developed these. Here's one example from South Korea and its sexual double-standards towards females and their bosoms.
Furthermore, I was a taller, bigger boned, heavier side Asian than the average family member without the hereditary of it – I wasn’t your usual cup of tea. It’s difficult when I’ve always wanted to have Alicia Vikander’s sporty bod but I ended up having this mesomorph shell.
And because of the aforementioned uncomfortable sex appeal which I couldn’t stop them from growing, I therefore craft my sartorial choices to repel men and dress for myself. Apart from being the first defense armour when I’m out an about in dangerous developing capital cities, it exemplifies my personality and charged and in control.
It’s because I hate losing control of my consciousness, being a control freak of my being, I therefore don’t drink and party. I’m only minimalising the causalities of things I’d prefer avoiding all these years by taking care of my body. If I did go out for the night, I usually end up as the mother hen by making sure everyone’s back on the bus. I don’t think I’m missing out on life by not loving alcohol. I prefer my beauty sleep.
Because all of the above has happened in my life, I now understand why 95% of the Guys I Fancy turns out to be gay, as my gaydar is weak – it’s just pansexual or sapiosexual approach to it – I just naturally gravitate and fall in love with them being them.
I’m just not going to fancy anyone now because all my bros pleaded me to not like them or they’ll start turning gay themselves. Thanks for being nice friends, broskis.
Upon reflecting this all, and for the first time, I told my mum about this sometime around mid-June.
At the time I poured myself to writing, I didn’t tear up. It was the past.
In fact, I was highly curious on how much more I could unearth about myself through the sporadic conversations with The Match, and somehow we’re still having random ones, remarkably until today.
It was when I saw my mum teared up that I started to tear as well.
The Asian mum truly, finally, gave in and had the will to say the words: “I’ve never forced you to find someone to get married to be happy. You don’t have to... I know you’re exceptionally happy now with whatever you’re doing and that’s already great for me seeing you do your thing. If you happen to find someone who makes you much, much more incredibly happier by earning your respect, then I would be happier too.”
That must’ve taken a lot of guts to give her word of not obliging her only daughter to not get married (I’ve pleaded for every single year to rest my case that I’m not keen on the idea of it). That was before she knew, and I knew, the reasons why I was apathetic to the forced future of Asian values of having to be married. It doesn’t mean you’re a leftover and you’re not happy – clearly you should be at your most content because it’s your cogent and compelling decision as a single person until you maturely decide their next phase in life.
Subsequently, I asked mum to cut my hair because it was getting long and untidy, and I felt that it was the right time. She, being ever so savage and we couldn’t find the scissors for haircutting, uses paper scissors to cut my hair. I now feel incredibly lighter and new to resolve something that was a wound of the past.
My dad doesn’t know of this. The internet knows though. And I mean it well.
Readers, I respect for whatever decisions you made on you yourself, that’s your prerogative. Don’t keep it to yourself, because it’s psychologically not healthy for anybody to keep a piece of rotten fruit for days, months or years. I won’t force you to follow my decisions. But don’t force me on how to act and dress. Sooner or later, life will flip its coin and everything comes with time to self-heal and introspect oneself to be a better human being.
This story is part of the #PTTMerdeka18 Stories Series.
Every August P#T will celebrate our Independence month by inviting you to submit your Self-Liberated Stories Of The Year to us to help empower the rest, in English or Bahasa Indonesia. We're announcing our self-independence along with our national spirit. Merdeka!
The author would like to personally thank Narjas Zatat for helping with the drafting process, and you, The Match who has unprecedentedly made this self-healing moment, possible.
About the Author
Elizabeth Raisa Tee is the founder of Perempuan Tagar Tegar (P#T) , a non-profit movement and online hotline for all your female toxic issues and also currently serves as assistant producer of It’s A Girl Thing Live, the first international girl empowerment conference in Jakarta after Singapore and Manila, among the many other things she’s done and still runs in several cities and countries. She is aged 25 at the time of writing.