Ladyboy Slap

Even a free bird like me can’t avoid the excitement of being stranded, or anything that detaches myself from things I’ve known too well.

Here I am, sipping the 10th bottle of San Miguel while sitting across a Filipino ladyboy, enthusiastically lip syncing and twerking to Rihanna’s songs on a 5×5 mini stage. But then it rained. One by one, the guys next to me are running into their hotel followed by a few others, leaving me alone with two other foreigners. In an island where the only entertainment available tonight is to enjoy this rare performance, you’d learn to enjoy it.

The ladyboy and the other ladies, they keep the night warm – even possibly hot? – in the stormy rain. Despite the laugh and the ‘what the fuck do they think they’re doing’ stares, they are busy delivering happiness through those moves and facial expressions. I am far from my judgements. Judging is beyond my ability. They just danced, with or without anyone else watching.

A slap. Rewind.

Not so long ago, I was on top of a black diamond hill, just a few minutes after I leaned how to ski the first time in my life. I expected falls. Terrible ones into the trees. And still, had little hopes in making it to the end of that cold hell. Anything first in life scares me.

Everything seemed so tiny from there. And terribly freezing. There were strong chances of breaking my leg, literally, with no one around at all at the time. I remember saying, “this is just like lyfe. No manual.” But I was there. Hands shaking, puzzled by the cold and wrecked-already nerves. It’s like playing the first song on stage in my high school. The nerve just took everything I knew from my head. I just forgot the lyrics or the arrangement. While on this hill, it’s nothing different. And today in reality, much of the things I do in career and life don’t necessarily follow the manual written yesterday. But yea, snowballing.

And falling.

And got back up in that steepness.

Feet freezing.

Hit it again.

And all I knew was that I finished it.


That’s the art.

You try something. You get scared. You do it anyway. You get addicted and repeat until you get the hang of it, and you could only get better at it. Or, you’ve learned the lesson and find another game that you like.

Now, snowballing and surfing in life. I’ve put myself back to school. Found the right jobs that will push me to learn things I want to understand and to bring enough money in to pay for school and rent that cost just as much as I would have to afford in fancy European capitals, to help me hop on trains or board on flights that will take me to places I wanna learn so much from, to save some for the kids I want to keep in school in Lombok and the dream I’m building in this region. And learn how to share the cake with people I deeply care about.

It’s hard.

Some days you’re stuck in the Tanah Abang train in the world’s worst traffic. Some nights you caught flu while delivering your job a few minutes before your airplane took off. Nothing is easy. And I don’t have that luxury of calling someone to fix something for me or some institution that gives me enough so that I can focus on one thing. I’m building my own engine, getting my own fuel and drive it all by myself. While I have brain. Two hands. And all parts of my body sill function perfectly. That’s more than what I need.

I’m here. Snowballing. Not gonna miss out on the journey.








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