What The Tiger Did to Calm The Monkey

If you’re not familiar with the Tiger-Monkey thing, try to read this book.


Two nights ago I came to my mother with teary eyes, seeking for comfort and reassurance. Lately, life for me has been a tumultuous journey, emotionally. I have to deal with the branching ways of life where important choices have to be made in a very limited amount of time. Issues on personal growth and development as well as the classic “Quo Vadis?” question pop in between seconds of desperation, insecurities, and self-doubt. If my life was a reactor, then I’d definitely need a pressure controller. I was hoping that my mother would be one.

But to my surprise, the moment tears started streaming down my face, my mother didn’t hug nor said comforting words, as what she had done previously. She said, “Kamu jangan dikit-dikit nangis. Jangan cengeng. Kalo gagal ya cari lagi dong bangkit lagi, jangan gampang nyerah. Kamu tuh terlalu banyak “tapi, tapi”. Kalo “tapi” melulu kapan majunya?”

I continued weeping about whirlwind of failures that I have faced recently, the popular acknowledgement that I didn’t really expect, and the confusing choices that I have not ready yet to take. I stated that I was in a state of not knowing where I wanted to go. But she continued, “Anak mama gak boleh lemah kayak gini. Mama gak suka. Kamu tuh harus get up and go. Kamu sekarang gak tau kamu maunya apa, tapi gak mungkin lah dek kamu gak dapet apa-apa. Cepet kerjain semuanya, coba semuanya, nanti baru muncul sendiri kamu maunya kemana. Atau, nanti ditunjukin jalannya sama Allah. Tapi kamu harus usaha dulu. Kamu jangan ngeluh terus dek”

I stopped crying. I realized that this has been my n-th cry in the past few months and maybe she had decided that it was time for me to stop being so intolerable and impervious to failures and changes.

I was actually hoping for a softer approach, but that’s how she’s always been.

My mother never gives me a pat on the back — she gives a push.

That’s what has shaped me into who I am now. And it’s good. I’m growing older enough to understand that her love spreads beyond what seems to be something a ‘good, understanding’ mother may do. She prays hard with tears, and wants her children to understand that this is the way the world goes. Harsh, unforgiving, and leaves no space for the faint-hearted. She’s always been a strong woman, be it by choice or by fate. She expects no less strength from her daughter, too.

And that’s why she’s the best mother I can ever have in my life. Her life lessons are the things that, once instilled, can never be taken away from me.

Thank you, Mom. I’ll make you proud, if only you could ever be. 🙂


Author: mfaradina

An Indonesian. A reliable realist outside yet a romantic dreamer at heart.

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