Sunday, April 12, 2009

being aunt agony

= ted, my home got hijacked laaa.
+ huh? hijacked like how?

we went from talking about a hijacked home to purging episodes to power stations to taxes to books to life plans and more. AJ is one of those friends who would ring me up out of the blue with just one thing or even just one sentence to talk about, and like it usually is with friends whom I'm comfortable with conversationally like that, it will always progress to a myriad of other topics to thresh on. can't even remember when was the last time we talked, so updates are always on the list.

+ eh oklah. i'm sleepy la. it's late.
= memang aku call pun sebenarnya nak dodoikan engkau tido la.
+ elleh banyak lah.
= thanks eh. good nite.
+ nite.

haha. . my pleasure. till next time. if only to play the part of a listening ear, that much i can do.

i know i'm an agony aunt for a number of people, and likewise i have my own list of agony aunts (or uncles !) to whom i'd rant and rave to when the goings get tough. how do one pick and choose the people who plays the part of an agony aunt? and how do you accept it if you're one?

sometimes, it's just the person who have been there for you for a long time, who knows you really well and you feel really comfortable with. sometimes it could be a person you've just befriended but you know are in the same boat. sometimes it's somebody who happens to be at the right time at the right place. sometimes it's the person who could make a difference in the matter. sometimes it's somebody who has the experience that we seek. they could be a family member, a lover, a friend, a colleague, a boss.

whatever the case may be - one thing is for sure. they are someone you trust - and in many ways more than one usually, depending on the situation. there might be times when you just need somebody to listen and be sympathetic, that's all and you trust that they'd give you their utmost attention and they do care. sometimes you trust that they'd be your on your side in a grievance. sometimes you trust them to see your point of view although others deem you are wrong. sometimes you need to pour unpleasantness and you trust they'd understand and not pass judgement while at other times, you trust them to be able to give good advice and knock you in the head even though it may hurt you in the process. and then there are times that you trust that they'd be able to help.

in most likely at all times, you also trust them to keep the things that should remain just between the two of you, as such.

i appreciate the agony aunts in my life who have helped me going through the ups and downs (more on downs lah kan, obviously, if not takkan nama dia AGONY aunt hehe). being an agony aunt is not always rosy. it's not. sometimes there could be a conflict of interest, opinion, or ideas. you may not agree to what he/she thinks. you may think he/she is stupid. or you just feel like your eyelids are already bricklike and yet the other person is still only halfway through his/her grievance and expects you to stay on the line another half hour. and what if he/she tells you of doing something that breaks the law or has/is potentially harming others?

what do you do then?

this is where when you've taken the role of an agony aunt, you have to decide where you go from here. would you still be on his/her side, or do you shoot him/her down? do you make your points out and stick to them, or do you still agree with him/her? do you say "enough", or do you continue? do you take action or do you keep it a secret? oh berat berat. challenge sekali.

usually first and foremost i'd gauge what was it that was required of me in the first place. do you want me to just listen, or do you need to make a decision? is all you want is an ear, a sounding board, or advice? do you want me as your ally, or as devil's advocate? would you be able to accept my opinion even if it's going to be painful to you, or do you just want to hear what you already knew and that's it? the thing is, all these may not be fully apparent initially, and the requirements could also change and evolve in the process.

i do my best to do what's right, for that time. and keep my intent aligned towards the best for everybody. somehow.

people are complex. heh. it's these complexities that make us what we are, that defines us.

anyways here's one to the agony aunts (sambil angkat mug berisi milo ais) in my life :

thank you.
thank YOU.
for being there. for the kind remarks. for wise words. and even for the harsh comments.
for knowing what i need and giving it to me when i asked.

and to those who trusted me to become their agony aunt - i wish you well and hope i've done the best i could.

soalan saya seterusnya : bagaimanakah hendak translate istilah 'agony aunt' ke dalam bahasa Melayu?

Collins English-Malay dictionary says :

agony n kesakitan yang amat sangat



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