The real definition of Javanese woman
There are many myths about javanese woman. Most people say that javanese woman’s character is nrimo. Nrimo means accepting. Always accept anything, good or bad, accepting husband’s order, accepting her fate, no mater good or bad… in first glance, we can say that they are submissive. But of course, it is not that straightforward. I kept thinking, what is the real definition of javanese woman. Serat Centhini, named after a female character, is still a big question for me. Surely javanese woman is special, that a great literature would be named after a female character.
And this morning, i realized i have understood, and even witness with my own body, heart and mind, the real life definition of javanese woman.
Last year, I was in a coffeeshop with a friend, and his friend came to the same coffeeshop with his wife. I was quiet all the time because i did not know my friend’s friend and also his wife. I was introduce to the husband..his name is **. ** was discussing with my friend, and i was like a kambing conge, a deaf goat, not understanding what they were talking about. **’s wife slowly tried to involve me in the conversation, very subtly….I didn’t even realize that she was slowly involving me in the conversation…. what i knew, i was suddenly laughing along with them all.
This year, I met ** and his wife again for several times, and we became good friends. In our last encounters, I talked so much with **’s wife, and she shared with me about her family. She is currently expecting their third child, and she may give birth anytime soon… maybe today or tomorrow…
She told me how they first stayed in a small city. ** was working fulltime at a big printing company for 9 years already, but he was not happy. He was so stressed and he wanted to move to Jogja… At that time they already had 2 children… **’s wife told me how it was such a big decision to finally move to Jogja and start a new life from zero. ** was in a great dillemma. He really wanted to quit his job and move to jogja, but in jogja, he would have to find a new job or start a business… If he did not have any children, it would be so easy. They could live off their savings for few months while finding new job or setting up a small business. But they had children, and children have their own needs as well… ** was stressed. If he stayed in Kudus, his life would be just like normal……but he would suffer mentally because of his job. So what made them finally move to jogja?
**’s wife calmly talked to **.. he told him, if you have any dream to set up a business, or to move to other city, you only have time to do it until your first child reaches senior high school… because once he reaches senior highschool, his school fee would be quite expensive…
And on top of that, it would hard as well for the child to adapt to a totally new environment. Maybe the first year we move to a new place, we have to spend our entire savings, but slowly we will get our feet back, and we can start to have income again…. you have to believe yourself, because i will always support you, whatever you do. So they decided to move to jogja.. and yes, the first few months was hard. They lived off their savings.
But things got back on track. After spending few years doing freelance design job, they set up a business. ** make musical instruments and sell them overseas. If you think he owns a factory, you are wrong. He only take few orders per month; everything is DIY. A normal woman would scream at her husband already. Making music instruments DIY is not a stable income. What if they have no orders at all? And so many other what ifs…. but no, the wife supported him fully. She never complains at all. She focus on raising the kids, taking care of her husband, and supporting the husband mentally. And yes, orders keeps increasing, and they always have enough every month.
Soon, more opportunity arose. **’s wife started staking orders to print t-shirts. She told me that she only helps ** to run the business, taking small orders once in a while… But when I heard **’s story, i was in awe… his wife practically runs the business…and the order can reach thousand tshirts per month. I started to think….wow…**’s wife is really selfless. She put herself behind, always saying that what she does is to help her husband, she does not take credit to any of the achievements at all.
Whenever we are having discussion about things, this wife always give good input to the discussion, she is such a brilliant lady… but after throwing her ideas, she always ask her husband’s opinion and thoughts.. then I thought, wow… this woman really knows how to keep her husband’s feelings and pride… and eventhough her ideas are brilliant, she does not throw her weight around and shut her husband up.
Until now, I do not know her name, I only know her as my friend’s friend’s wife. She is so selfless, she has put herself behind the screen, and the wellbeing of her family is the real result of her existence. This is the real definition of javanese woman. She tries to understand her husband, her family, and her environment. When faced with a problem, she does not complain, but she take few steps forward to solve the problem straight, without demanding any payment, acknowledgement or respect, because the result of her effort already gives her all the respect she deserves. In this way, she accepts everything that is happening around her with an open heart and mind, or we can say nrimo.