Picking Up the Pieces

Life has been weirdly wonderful. I haven’t updated my Cancer Talk section in a long time, partly because I just don’t wanna talk about cancer right now. But I will tell you this, the result of my transplant wasn’t as good as I hoped but it wasn’t a total fail either. I have to continue my treatment for another 6 months, but not chemo or radiation. The treatment is once a month, a two hours antibody infusion. It’s not painful at all, very fast and I can go back home after the infusion. I call this infusion my superpower recharge.

So what to do during those period at home? I feel well enough now to do activities (though not for a full day), but what activities can I do? I have no job, I cannot travel like I used to anymore, I feel like standing in the ruins of my life. I can’t just not do anything at home, it would be too boring for me and possibly stress me out. I am a person who actually likes being busy.

When I came back home after the transplant, I was happy to be back home. However, after a while it was easy to drown in my own sorrow, to feel sorry for being in this condition, to see all my friends thrive while I was stuck. I didn’t want to feel this way and so I decided to pick up the pieces of my life. I may not have the life that I imagined I had at this age, but I refuse to be useless and pity myself.

Two years ago when I was still doing oral chemotherapy, I started making pouches. At that time I used my sister’s brand. However my sister is no longer using that brand and I stopped making pouches when I had to be in KL for my treatment. I decided it was time to start making pouches again and for a rebrand.

Art has always been my therapy from the start. I love colouring books and I started doing watercolour patterns. I thought these patterns would look good on a fabric, and so I printed them on fabrics. Those fabrics would then be turned into pouches with the help of my mum. I was hesitant at first in selling my pouches, I mean I don’t have an art degree, I’m just someone who loves art, but my parents encouraged me anyway.

I made a new brand called Astanya, a Javanese word where “asta” means hands and “astanya” means his/her hands as everything we do starting from the design to the packing were done with our hands (and also the help of other people’s hands). I also believe that I couldn’t have done all this without His hands. My dad actually thought of the name and I immediately felt a bond to it.

My Confetti print

In the beginning I was afraid the people who knew my pouches before would not like this new version I was creating. People were used to my hand painted pouches (the hand painted ones took too long to produce, and often inconsistent, which resulted in me being super exhausted and a lot of wasted fabrics), so I don’t know how they will like this version. Also, a thousand things ran through my mind, like “will people buy it?”, “what if no one buys my pouches?”, “what if they absolutely hate it?”.

My dear parents and sister told me to chill. They reminded me that this was an activity that was supposed to take my mind off my cancer treatment, so I shouldn’t be stressed out about it. They still need to remind me every now and then, but I am so glad they have my back. Also, after a few encouragements from my close friends and some positive feedback from friends in the blogosphere (you know who you are :D, you guys are the best!), I started getting orders!

One of my dear friends who purchased my pouch

I don’t mass produce my pouches since I want to keep the uniqueness of each design. Sometimes I also have to limit the production because I still have to go back to KL every month, but this activity has certainly helped me get my life back.

I love picking up my brushes and playing with colours, I rarely do any black or grey colours as I really want to have bright designs. I strongly believe in the power of colours and its impact to your mood. This was something even I was surprised at since before I was a very black and grey and white girl – I rarely owned any bright coloured piece of clothing.

I started making tote bags too!

I have also started doing yoga, I usually practise yin yoga. Meditation has helped me a lot. Yoga has helped me to respect and love my body, to do everything mindfully. I never expected to like yoga so much since I am a person who cannot sit still!

I go out for coffee (or ramen!) with my friends, which is an achievement on its own. I used to be so weak that I couldn’t go out and I was so ashamed of myself that I didn’t want to interact with other people. I pushed all that aside and started contacting my friends in Jogja. When they offered to meet up, I thought “why not?”.

Out for ramen with my friends, yes my hair is super curly now πŸ˜€

I dislike going to KL every month but I have to do it. I am grateful that I have friends who welcome me in KL with open arms, often I even stay at their place. They would always take me out for meals and we have a great time, this certainly takes my mind off the two hours I have to spend in the hospital.

Ramen night out (again) with my mum and a friend in KL

I never thought that I would have my own small business, and yet life took an unexpected turn and here I am. I am picking up the pieces of my life, it’s hard, sometimes I feel like I can’t do it or unsatisfied with what I have achieved and it’s normal to feel so but I’m getting there.

P.S. If you’d like to see my pouches you can visit Astanya’s Instagram or our Tokopedia shop πŸ˜€ For those who are not in Indonesia, a friend told me about Society6 and I also have a shop there though I am still in process uploading all the designs πŸ˜€

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30 thoughts on “Picking Up the Pieces

  1. yeayyy Aggy.. lucu banget rambutnya curly2 gitu.. Aku dari dulu pengen curly, sampe pernah di keriting, ternyata cepet banget baliknya lagi.. Gara2nya lihat rambut temen aku, curly , terus kalau berenang, rambutnya gak bisa basahh hihi..

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  2. Hiii ituu seperti nya ippudo ramen di gardens Midvalley ya.. (tebak tebak buah manggis)
    tips: kalo bawa yang ultah bulan iitu.. dapet complimentary drink lo (hahaha)

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  3. Looking forward to more colourful tote bags and Iphone case, Aggy, and congrats on your new business πŸ‘ŒπŸ»πŸ˜˜ Mungkin aku bisa pesen lewat society6 itu ya, blom tau berapa lama barang akan sampe tapi. It’s good for xmas pressie ideas. I know xmas is still long, but I’m an organise OCD personπŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ˜πŸ˜
    Keep healthy and take care yourself😘

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  4. Aku beberapa waktu terakhir ini suka ngebatin, gimana ya kabar Aggy lama ga baca tulisannya. Semoga semakin membaik. Lalu baca tulisanmu ini, lega aku. Selamat Aggy untuk karya-karya nya. Apapun itu kalau dibuat dari hati, nyampe nya jadi special ke setiap yang memiliki produk kamu. Sukses untuk apapun yang kamu kerjakan dan segala aktifitas kamu ya. Senang baca tulisan kamu ini dan selalu semangat Aggy!

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    • Terima kasih banget mbakkk πŸ™‚ Iya aku juga waktu denger hasil transplan sangat kecewa, tapi lha kalau kecewa terus malah nelongso toh sudah ada solusinya. Ya sekarang gimana aku ngisi waktuku aja. Thanks for your encouraging words ya mbak :’)

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  5. I was wondering how you’ve been πŸ™‚ Apparently you’ve been on the productive side. I adore your work, as I am a fan of pattern my self. I was going to purchase the tote bag but alas there’s an internal sever error. Will be back to snitch it before they’re gone.

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    • Yesss I’ve been busy doing things πŸ˜‰ but I am well! Aww thank you, still learning a lot as someone with no formal art degree but it is so fun learning new things. And thank you for the purchase! I really appreciate it 😘

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  6. Aggyyy, thank you for being such a strong positive person!
    Seriously. I’m amazed that you can make the most of what you have and just be positive over everything! (Well, maybe I didn’t see you on your lowest point but look at you now!!!)

    Btw, didn’t know about “asta”-nya before. IT’S SUCH A CANTIKKKK NAME. Bravo oom! ❀

    And fyi, aku lebih prefer pouch yang sekarang daripada yang hand painted karena lebih haluuuuus dan tebal ada padding nya! Plus dicampur dengan yg leather itu jadi makin bagus!! ❀

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    • Aaaakkk thank you Sharrrr but trust me I was not strong nor positive before huahahaha. It took me a longgg time and lots of people (including you!) to make me the way I am today πŸ’š

      Iyaaa my dad came up with the name and I thought it was just perfect πŸ’•

      Trial and error yahhh pouch yang skrg aku juga lebih puas karena aku pakai watercolour dan di atas kertas jadi lebih fleksibel aja πŸ˜† so glad you like it!

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  7. Aggy, you’re definitely not stuck, you’re thriving with your business and with your attitude to life. I’ve been such a fan of Astanya ever since I saw it the first time in Sharon’s IG stories, and the Astanya pouch I have is still one of my favorites! Whenever I see new products I feel amazed and inspired, they’re gorgeous. You definitely have the eye and skill for this. Wishing you all the best things for your health and business Gy, you’re doing great πŸ™‚

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    • Dixie thank you for your support! You were one of the first of Astanya’s customers and you’ve been supporting me ever since, really cannot thank you enough 😘

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