In Indonesia, 21st of April is celebrated as the day of Kartini. Kartini, or Raden Ajeng Kartini, was one of the empowering women Indonesia ever had, she wrote a book titled, From Darkness to Light or in Bahasa Indonesia; Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang. This year, like other past years, I did not celebrate it.
I think that dressed up in traditional dresses does not really do much. Instead, I think we should celebrate women everyday, if not other women then maybe ourselves. Today, I decided to celebrate myself by cutting my hair short and read a book. Initially, last month I planned to go to How To Write a Book in 30 Days workshop along with a book purchase that was scheduled to take place on April 21st, but since I'm still not in the mood to see other people and do not want to spend the day doing things I don't actually want to do and talk to people I do not want to have conversation with, I decided to not go. I stayed in my room and celebrate me.
You know one of those things you always think of doing but never really doing it? For me, this few months in particular, was to cut my hair short. Simple, really, but I never put much thought or time to actually do it. I did tell Inov that I didn't plan to get a haircut until my medical co-assistant life officially begins, but then I realised maybe; because I told her so, me not cutting my hair is me trying to proof a point. Stupid, really. Until this morning, I decided to just do it, because my head felt heavy and a shorter hair might freshen things up. I cut my hair in my bathroom with a new scissor (because the old one wasn't that sharp anymore) and I felt good. I'm so grateful that I get to live a life where I don't have to feel bad for the look of my hair (partly because I'm not yet married so the only person who gets to see my hair is me and partly because the jilbab protects. Either way, its fine) and not being told to do this or do that with my body.
I remember my conversation with Saba, a muslim exchange participant from Australia, sometime last month about how she perceived the lives of Indonesian muslimahs. She stated that the Muslim women here in Indonesia could actually lead a life they wanted without had to feel afraid to be seen by the opposite gender. She told me that in her hometown, you couldn't just walked without being seen or checked out by the guys, even thought with the jilbab, khimar; and sadly some were Muslim men. Saba said that walking on the street when it just started to get dark could be so adrenaline pumping, because you might not know who's gonna look at you. I can understand it, as woman I feel so conscious about my bodily appearance, even when I covered up; wearing big size khimar or wear dresses that do not look as if they're stamped onto my body; when men sees me I often feel as if I'm naked. So I guess the verses about keeping the gaze down is indeed important -- not just for the men but also for the women.
Anyway, the point is, living as a woman in this country has never been so easy. For me. Alhamdulillah for that. May we keep prosper and become smart mothers, working mothers, lovely mothers to the kids who'll bring joys, happiness, noor, softness and warmth in our families. Amiiinn.
p.s: the drawings below were made during my thinking time on how to cut my hair short. I still have lots to learn about drawing, but until now what I do with the pens helped me calm down. Alhamdulillah for that again.