Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Short Story of Big Sonya

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
-E.E. Cummings
Sonya was sitting in front of me. Pink lipstick and red nails were attaching in her appearance. It was her answer of her identity. The class was special, because Sonya, a transgender, allowed us to hear her story. This seemed awkward to me, so did my friends I suppose.
She started by introducing herself, "Hi everyone, I'm Olivia Sonya Aresta." Pretty name. "I'm from Klaten, but I have KTP (identity card) of Bandung instead."Her story, about obstacles and struggles, had risen our attention. Our awkwardness faded away.


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Her story went to her childhood. She was born and risen in Klaten, Central Java. As a boy, Sonya seemed odd. She refused to play with boys. She chose to play with girl, because they played nice. Sonya started to like having girls things. She secretly had dolls, skirts, makeup. Her finding of identity started. She once secretly wore girls clothing, and was addicted to it. This made her surroundings mocked her and rejected. The feeling of rejection from her family and society had dragged Sonya to a world she never had thought before. She withdrew herself and turned to be introvert.

She continued her study in Yogyakarta. As a designer in vocational school, Sonya kept looking for her real identity. Who was she? Male? But felt like female inside. She was like being trapped in wrong body. Her career started as a volunteer in PKBI (Indonesian Family Planning Association). There, she found herself enjoying the new identity, as a woman. Her help for people, especially the victim of earthquake in Bantul, grew her confidences. "They often invited me to help them cooking for Pengajian or syukuran," she told us.
Sonya was economically independent. Her career as freelance bridal makeup and makeup consultant helped fulfilling her needs. Yet, she never stopped helping people; giving information about HIV AIDS, sharing about the importance of keeping the reproductive health, and even she gave me advice about makeup.

Her confidence, her support, and her ardor are inspiring me. Your weirdness might be rejected from the society, but your help and warm hearth will always be needed. 

He is Beatiful (Edited)

Mas Dalih, my lecture, had to leave for Bali last Monday. Regarding to that, he was substituted by Mbak Abmi, we've met several times before. She was not alone coming to class, but she invited a beautiful guest. I oddly thought the guest was a woman, as the appearance was like one.
Mbak Abmi opened the class by dividing us into five groups and preparing ourselves in practicing interviewing. She also introduced us to the guest. I was very upset at first, knowing she was a transsexual. But that would be fine. 
Olivia Sonya Aresta, a vocational school alumna, sat and smiled beautifully in front of us. Coming from Klaten, Sonya started her career as an activist in PKBI (Indonesian Family Planning Association) Yogyakarta. She continued her career as beauty consultant, online-shop seller, and freelance bridal makeup.
Beyond her funny stories of being transsexual, there laid a tough journey. The refusal from people she loved, her families, was one of her obstacle in finding her true identity. No exception for her mother. A rejection from her was Sonya's tough homework in gaining her hapiness.
Spending her childhood in Klaten, Central Java, gave bittersweet-stories in her life. As a little boy, her parents disallowed her to play with other boys. They were afraid if she would have been hurt and bullied. Playing with girls, Sonya started liking putting some makeup, dressing like a girl, and playing dolls. Secretly, she hung out by dressing as a girl. This was not easy for her.
Her friends mocked her after finding out that she worn feminine clothing. They laughed at her whenever they saw Sonya in school. Therefore she had to hide himself. After she finished high school, Sonya moved to Yogyakarta in hope she would be free from people's negative judgment.
She had tried to move to several big cities such as Solo, Bandung, Jakarta, and Bali in order to have her identity as transsexual. But, she could not stay out of Yogyakarta, as what she said “Jogja is the pleasant place for me and the atmosphere is different from others”. There, she found herself enriched by new life-lessons. When she was volunteering for earthquake victims in Bantul, she found lessons that she might not get in other occasion. She found the true meaning of friend as when they awaited her in hospitalization. She also realized that her helps were very precious for the victims. She firstly found her confidence as a ladyman when she was a volunteer in Bantul.
Her patience of being a volunteer in PKBI was waking her up that people like her needed her help. Being a volunteer was not about the contract, it was about humanity. She wanted to help people, especially, waria against HIV AIDS. He also wanted to prove that the identity of waria was not a mere marginal society but they have real contributions to this world by doing something useful. 
That is no doubt again if at the first sight I said she is beautiful. Although she is a marginal, she still keeps his beauty inside. 
Thank You Mbak Sonya for your inspiration... 
 
 
This edited version, from Listiyaningsih, is a partial fulfillment of  Creative Writing class.