Sidhi Vhisatya reads “How to Survive in A New City”

Community Corner is a space for our members to catch up on events that they have missed, read team recommendations, and write to us.

For our fifth-year anniversary, we had the pleasure of hosting Sidhi Vhisatya, an art practitioner based in Ubud, Bali, and Kai Mata, an Indonesian LGBTQ+ musician known for being one of the country’s most outspoken queer artists. During the livestream celebration, Sidhi Vhisatya had some technical difficulties, so we decided to rerecord the poetry reading and post it on the site for all members to enjoy.

How to Survive in A New City

https://youtu.be/IcNXuWO9EiI
How to Survive in a New City
When I first moved to this city
And could afford a 3 meters square room
What I mean is
I'm ok to clean the filthy shared toilet
Every time my neighbour has to rush to work
And forgot to flush
Especially that grumpy energy
From 3 hours unpaid overtime every day
And three more unpaid leaves 
every time she calls in sick
When I first moved to this city
I felt sick too
But I promise myself
this is 
an invitation to a new self-portrait
I picked this city
cos people told me Bali is a safe island for the gays
I wasn't out and spent my first year trying to figure out
who am I going to tell first
My work colleague
Someone on the apps
My family
Or maybe a random ibu-ibu angkringan
I'm not even sure
how to start...
Maybe by saying
Mmm, "Hi? I'm gay"
No, that's weird
I wasn't sure, but
I WAS
still happy and felt like 
I HAD HOPE
When I first moved to this city
And could afford a 3 meters square room
For the very first time in my life
I can lock myself in
Looking at the banana trees and blue sky
Through my window
to calm myself
To recover from 
A very unprofessional judgemental therapy session
that could go on for hours
About how I have to invest
In a building they call it as a "house" or sometimes "home"
But they actually look like
A storage room
for unread books
Unsaid feelings
Unresolved traumas
The ongoing feelings of wanting to fit into the world
Sometimes
there is this fried tofu aroma
And the best sambel bawang as well
But it doesn't even make it
look more comfortable
They call it as "home"
While I often feel like
They kept trying to fix me
With all these pop up ads
about the upcoming discount promos
OR application
for an instant personal loan online
It sucks that
they keep harvesting all my misery
And waiting for 
THEIR PREY, me,
to come
Home
Yes,
Moving to a new city and starting a new life
Means I have to give up
20% of my salary for the rent
30% of it for my parents
30% for my living cost
And the last 20% for
The most affordable professional therapist
And sometimes skincare routine
as I want to feel good too, you know
An additional 10% loan
Whenever I need to punish myself
By getting fried chicken from McD or KFC
To cure a rejection from a good-looking guy
I found on Grindr
10% from
extra commissioned project
For unsolicited national inflation
That makes AN EGG
only belongs to
Anyone who's lost their minutes of sleep
Over a protest on the street
Or another 10% loan from a friend
When work gets too annoying
That being hesitant to start a conversation with strangers
Or even a dear friend
hurts my career
I
then made friends
with a sip or two of alcohol
every night
Until they got addicted to me
When I first moved to this city
IT 
WAS NOT
an easy journey
Being a working-class gay guy, who has to feed the family
I learnt so many times
that I have to give up on my simplest dream
I just need to easily sleep well, really
Being a working-class gay guy, who has to feed the family,
And keep experiencing heartbreaks
I learnt
that a good sleep
is nearly impossible
Wondering why I felt so tired after work
And spent 6 hours screentime
To answer
Why
Seeing my face in the mirror seems like
A satirical joke 
why
my dinner always tastes like
Depression
Why
laying down in my bed feels like
Failure
I
sing out loud in the shower
EMPTYING
whatever inside
until I have no stomach for another day
This ANXIETIES
of having to face another 24 hours 
will make me feel even more tired
It's usually easier to get me to sleep
when I'm extremely exhausted
Then I wake up
Holding life like rubbing a sanitiser on my hands
When everything's done, It disappears within seconds
When I first moved to this city
I wasn't so sure how I can have everything done
Once 
I got up looking at the banana trees and the grey skies through my window
I guess Ubud is a Pisces for its unpredictable thunderstorm emotion.
And, I was standing there asking myself what I'd been looking for.
I 
unpacked all the forgiveness I learnt from my mom
I 
unpacked all the solidarity I collect from my friends
I 
unpacked all the memories I preserved with them
I 
unpacked all the things I took for granted
When I first moved to this city
I felt like I'm the most free person I've ever know
And for that hope, I survive
I met an accident couple (of) months ago

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