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My Boy Is Moving On

There is a lingering thought that stayed with me since I came back home. Although my body is here, my mind keeps flying to where you are, where I used to be. I can't help but to think that that girl still lives there, that she's still going on her usual routine as before I left. It opens up all possibilities of being near you, of seeing you now and again, of having an entirely different life. That lucky girl, I keep thinking, I wish I had stayed like she did.

Then, a couple days ago, you told me: you're moving away. The future isn't decided yet, but whatever the outcome, you're still going. I was instantly excited for you. This new place sounds awesome and it's about time you're moving on with your life. I couldn't be happier for you. But it later on occurred to me that you'll be leaving a huge chunk of our memories behind—including your bedroom walls that I painted on. Every night when I fantasise about giving you a surprise visit or having stayed and sleeping in your arms, I dream of that room—those teal walls, that tiny bed, the carpeted floor. This new place will be somewhere I've never even heard of before, I won't know how to get there in my sleep, I won't be able to sneak straight into your room when you're away. This new place won't have the teal walls I painted with your favourite characters for you or even my figure forever imprinted on the sheets.

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How I Fell Out of "Love" with You

I don't remember exactly when it was, but I think I sat up one day and realised that you are not the kind of person I want to be with for the rest of my life. To be honest, I don't remember ever thinking wanting to be with you for the rest of my life before either, but it suddenly struck me. It may seem like such a sudden epiphany, but I believe it was the result of watching you self-sabotage yourself for years, of your ineptness at practically everything and of the lack of your interest in my well-being and character, that I finally thought that I don't want this anymore. At that moment, I think I was ready to grow up, to welcome adulthood in some way—even though I didn't know it yet. At that moment, I swear I wanted a man, no longer interested in boys.

That was also the first time in my life that I fell out of (what I used to believe, in some way, was) love with someone, without first having to meet someone new. It was the first time I decided to stop having feelings for someone because of myself, because I wanted something different for myself—something ultimately better. The few months afterwards felt strange—almost lighter—because I wasn't constantly checking my phone and concerned about whether a guy found me repulsive/attractive, but in a good way. It was a whole world of possibilities and I was ready for anything, because I wasn't looking.

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Themes:

How Are We Supposed to Respect Our Elders?

Why is it that people keep saying "Respect your elders!" but nothing about doing the same for the young ones? Most religions teach us that God hates people who disrespect their parents, hence it is sinful. What if we respect our parents but they don't have the courtesy to treat us the same way? What does it say about them?

Why is it that people keep saying that "We're young, we don't know any better." But adults make mistakes too, old people makes mistakes too. What does our age have anything to do with it? What qualifies them to know more, to be able to judge better and choose the right things? Aren't we all humans in the end?

Parents can be authoritarian. It's appropriate when we're little, I suppose, but why can't they treat us like equals after we've gone through all these things that forces us to grow up? They say we don't listen and they say we don't tell them anything. But they're the ones who don't listen; I tell them things all the time. But they nod it away and humoured me as if I was still 3 years old, playing house. And when they realise that I tell them something significant, they do nothing but get in my way. And they wonder why I don't tell them things.

Parents almost always change their minds. One minute they're lamenting about how you choose career over education, the next they accuse you of draining their wallet by pursuing a higher degree—despite the generous scholarship you manage to pocket. They judge without question, unwilling to understand our point of view. They're quick to point out our flaws but hesitant to name our strengths. They passive aggressively criticise our behaviour/personality, but somehow unable to see their own faults and wrongdoings. God forbid we criticise them!

They demand respect from us, but refuse to reciprocate.
They quickly see our shortcomings, but unable to acknowledge the same in themselves.

Parents push and pull at use, like a tug of war. Telling us we could be anything, but quickly reject our dreams. Telling us we should have a principle, but will not listen to what we stand for. Telling us the world is tremendous place, but confine us to our beds.

So here I ask you: how are we supposed to respect our elders when they won't respect us?

Themes:

The Sanctification of Taylor Swift

Ever since her album1989 came out, people have been treating her like such a saint. She seems to have perfect skin, perfect body, perfect voice, perfect mind and perfect personality. I think it helps that she sort of swore off boys there for a while, making her an incredibly independent woman and, therefore, the perfect role model. With the release of her latest album, it just seems as if her previous sins were quickly forgiven (and forgotten). Everyone was talking about her calling out sexist comments about her writing songs about her past lovers. People got behind that quickly, completely disregarding that her previous songs were slutshaming and unfeminist themselves. She talked about how Ed Sheeran writes songs about his past lovers and got no judgment for it—therefore making the whole ruckus a sexist act. Okay, let's talk about Adele then, who also writes songs about her love life and got no prodding of her personal life nor judgment about her men. She's also won tons of grammys, in her mid 20s and writes deeply emotional songs. But no one's said anything about her love life—at the very least not with the same intensity as Swift's.

Okay, so she may be a kind-hearted, generous person who truly cares for her fans and warms up to people easily. I'm not saying she's the devil. I'm actually a fan of her songs for a long time. But let's not exaggerate who she is. She's a mere human being, who makes mistakes and knows about the world just as much as the next guy. So she's beautiful...NOW. I mean, come on, what she looks like now has gone through a lot of alteration from her natural look. She used to have extremely curly hair, terrible fashion sense and quite thick glasses. Now, when people think of gorgeous T.S., they picture a straight-haired girl with on-point makeup and immaculate outfits—who is not even her actual self at all!

So let's just realise that Taylor Swift is human too. She doesn't have to choose between an angel and the devil, because she's neither.

Themes:

Friendship.

From watching movies and reading stories when I was little, I had an image of what friendship is like: My life will consist of friends and best friends. The way I see it, it's going to be one circle of best friends and then the rest of the world. But I was wrong. Having been on this earth for over 2 decades, I know that now. Life is never that simple. I thought I would find my best friends—which I met in middle school—and they would be the ones who know me best and I would feel most comfortable with them. Then everyone else I meet afterwards—except my life partner perhaps—was just formality; I'd have to meet them but they won't create an impact. Boy, was I wrong.

Since I was in grade school, I always stuck with one circle until graduation—unless when I had no circles at all. Then middle school came and I clicked with these girls and I didn't look for any other circles. It was so comfortable, why should I leave? Until, of course, they wanted me to because I was being a jerk. Then I started seeking other circles, joining different events and meeting new people. In hindsight, this created an entirely different middle school experience for me than my best friends. They often talk about these people they were all close with, but I wasn't even there. Instead, I was in a completely different circle. A couple, actually. And it was all fun and I loved it! We lost contact and grew apart but it meant something to me, although it doesn't concern my best friends in the slightest. That was my first sign.

You know what people say about living abroad, that you'll create bonds with other ex-pats and it could last forever? That's true. That's how I found my other circle of best friends. What's more, it includes my long-term boyfriend Firu. We have so many different inside jokes, we've traveled to many places together, worked a summer job together and shared our woes. I remember feeling lonely whenever I came home to an empty home after hanging out with them. They're the ones I share my first years of adult life with, trying to figure out how life works and who we are. And, although there are so many things I don't know about them or they don't know about me, they will always be bonded to me through this special connection. This feeling of having gained and lost the same things I have.

Sometimes I feel like I would of course be most comfortable, most true, when I'm with my middle school best friends. They were here first, they knew me when I was at my worst and they stuck with me. But...these days I'm afraid to be my whole self around them, although they probably don't judge. I just can't shake the feeling that I often don't fit in. They went to uni in this country. They knew all these people I don't. They played all these games I've never even heard of. And sometimes I just find myself not caring...

And then I go and hang out with my Germany best friends. My face is hot from all the laughing. All these foreign words I've been meaning to use, they get them. It's funny. We don't listen to the same songs. We hardly ever talk when we don't see each other. But we can always fall back to how we used to be when we were there. All these memories we've acquired, all this history. They mean something and I can always feel myself holding back tears at the thought. They remind me of a better life I once had when Firu was within arms-reach and we decided our own fate.

That is not to say that I've never felt like an outsider with them—I feel like that with EVERYONE—but all the history and inside jokes more than make up for it. Maybe I have been away from Indonesia too long is all. But they were like a piece of home for me.

DARI AWAL LAGI

“Selanjutnya!”

Leila meraih paspor yang disodorkan oleh petugas di atas meja. Sambil mengangguk tanda terima kasih, ia pinggul lagi tas punggungnya melewati bagian imigrasi dan menuju pengambilan bagasi. Ditengoknya layar monitor berisi informasi penerbangan satu persatu. Di mana kira-kira kopernya akan diletakkan?

Belum lama setelah menemukan nomor penerbangannya, conveyor belt mulai bergerak. Para penumpang lain yang sedari tadi menunggu langsung bersiap-siap memanggul barang masing-masing. Tidak jarang yang menunggu di bangku terdekat, sementara barangnya diambilkan porter.

Tas pertama menampakkan diri. Lalu disusul yang kedua, ketiga dan seterusnya.

Leila menunggu dengan sabar, sesekali diliriknya jam tangannya. Oh iya, belum diganti ke WIB. Mama bilang ia akan menjemputnya dengan Papa jam sepuluh. Sekarang jam berapa? Semoga mereka tidak capek menunggu kalau bagasinya lama. Dirogohnya kantong, dinyalakannya telepon genggamnya. Percuma, ia tidak bisa menghubungi mereka. Tapi minimal ia bisa melihat jam.

Itu dia! Koper besar berwarna keemasan dengan inisial LM di atasnya. Buru-buru Leila mengambil koper itu begitu bergulir ke depannya lalu ditarik pegangannya sambil berjalan menuju pintu keluar.

Udara panas dan lembab langsung menyambutnya. Sekilas ia sudah merasakannya tadi begitu keluar dari pesawat. Tapi kini hiruk pikuk orang yang lalu lalang di bandara meski sudah selarut ini membuatnya terhenyak. Bau asap rokok yang menyengat. Keriuhan para penjemput yang mengelu-elukan nama masing-masing orang yang dicari. Langit tak berbintang yang entah tertutup oleh polusi yang pekat atau lampu yang terlalu terang. Sampah yang terlihat di pojok-pojok jalan dan ruangan. Bapak-bapak yang tergeletak di bangku-bangku tempat menunggu.

Semua keraguan lenyap dari benaknya. Kini ia yakin: ia sudah pulang ke Jakarta.


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JAKARTA, INDONESIA

27. 11. 2015


Blog post ini dibuat dalam rangka mengikuti Writing Project #DanBernyanyilah yang diselenggarakan oleh Musikimia, Nulisbuku.com dan Storial.co

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me


  1. When I read, I mouth the words and whisper them, creating a sound almost like chanting a mantra. And I sometimes do it in different accents, just for fun. This is strictly for recreative reading, not for research or other purposes. It takes me twice as long to finish the material but just that much quicker to enjoy.

  2. Even when I'm happy, I love listening to heartwrenching songs and reading painful stories. Definitely much prefer them to happy-go-lucky and cheerier things. They keep me alive in the rawest sense. That's why I love musicians like Daughter, Snow Patrol and Mayday Parade. Also the reason why I'm always nostalgic.

  3. Since I was little, I've always remembered people's birthdays. Well, the important ones. This is due to Dad's idea to create a bio book that I can make my friends fill. Needless to say, I still remember past crushes' birthdays and I can't seem to forget...

  4. From around the end of middle school until around the middle of senior year of high school, I wished more than ever that I was a guy. It made no sense to me to be a girl when everyone else treated me like a dude (including myself). Someone told me that he was glad I was a girl but then he, too, didn't treat me with respect. No guy ever did. Not until Firu, of course.

  5. Sharpening my canines is one of my hobbies, especially my upper right one. I usually rub it with my tongue or against my lower lip, sometimes until the latter bleeds, or bite my fingers (yes, fingers, not nails). When my fingers itch - but cannot be satisfied by other fingers, I use my canines to scratch them.

  6. Before I decide to have a crush on someone, I make sure I get all the facts straight. I always make sure I know their strong and weak points and weigh them carefully before chasing after them. That's why I never had crushes on guys who will eventually be a bad influence on me, nor have different religious beliefs. With Firu, this is multiplied several times before I decided to ask him out.

  7. Gross but true: I like the smell of my own fart and arm pit. Until a couple years ago, I thought everyone does too (not mine, their own) but, apparently, that ain't true. But I can't stop loving mine. So when even I can't stand it, you know I'm already too smelly to be acceptable.

  8. Back when I was a kid, I used to sleepover at my cousin's place with my sister. We three would train to stay up really late, roaming the internet, watching TV, playing games, what have you. My sister usually turned in first, then my cousin, then me. Usually, I roamed chatrooms on ICQ or Yahoo! Messenger, not knowing how dangerous it was for a 9-year-old - naturally, I pretended I was way older.

  9. One day in 3rd grade, all the girls ganged up on me because they felt that the homeroom teacher wasn't being fair to them. They said, they couldn't see why I should be allowed to draw in class when everyone else would get scolded if they did. Before they cornered me, they asked the teacher himself and he said because I kept getting good grades anyway. Apparently, that wasn't enough so they started calling me names when no one else was in the room. To be honest, I wanted to cry so bad but like hell if I were going to let them see me crack. So, instead, I smiled. And they went speechless.

  10. I used to love collecting brochures and the like but they started to become trash at home so I threw them away. After that, I like collecting price tags, tickets, tote bags, hats, dolls, magnets, etc. To sum up, I'm a major hoarder.

Regret.

Last night right before I slept, I was thinking a lot about regret.
It's a big part of my life and it keeps tugging at me at the back of my head.
Ever since I left Germany, it's been hovering over me like a cloud.
So I thought I'd pour my heart out here.

Ever since I graduated middle school,
there are actions I wish I could take back,
things I wish I could change,
infos I wish I had known.
But that didn't happen and here's why.

For every drop of rain, blooms a bed of flowers.

Last night I followed the trail of my past.
If I undid this action, If I took the other road, If I lived elsewhere,
there are huge chunks of happiness missing from my life.
Like what, you say? Well, like this.

If I hadn't gone to my high school,
I wouldn't've met my friend Cynthia but, also,
I wouldn't've heard the presentation from the agency who conned me.
And that, in turn, would prevent me from meeting Firu.

Okay, so let's go a different route.
Let's say that I did go to that high school,
and I did get conned by the agency,
and I did meet Firu.
And we went to Germany.

What if I had known about the portfolio conundrum?
What if I had been accepted to the art school in Halle?
What if I were smart enough to move in with Firu instead?
What if I had led a very happy, healthy life with him?

Then I wouldn't've moved to Kassel,
then I wouldn't've met Saku-chan,
who later on becomes my penpal and good friend,
even after I moved back home.
And I would've been happy. Or Firu and I could have
broken up.

Now we've come to right now.
What if I'd stayed in Germany? Maybe continued my studies?
What if I'd never come back home? Maybe graduated there?

I could've died from TB.
I couldn't've opened a commission
and earning my own money.
Maybe I'd live my life absolutely miserable.

That's why, I'm not sorry for any of my choices,
no matter how horrible they are.
It's brought me to life's greatest misery,
as well as joy. And I wouldn't trade them for
anything in the world.

The Truth About My Best Friends

WARNING: This is all nothing short of the truth about how I feel about my best friends. So, if you're one of them, I suggest you brace yourself because I'm not censoring ANY of it. But you might want to read on because there are some sweet notions in there as well. Also, I know that at least one of you would be reading and if you are who I think you are, please refrain from reading this until after your graduation weekend so that it won't spoil your mood.

A little history: My best friends and I met when we were 12 years old, in 7th grade. That was around 10 years ago. Most of us were in the same classroom, the rest met us in our extracurricular activity. We had similar interests and that's how we became close, I guess. In 8th grade, my best friends couldn't stand me because, let's face it, I used to be such a blabber mouth (read: I couldn't keep their secrets or always use theirs against them) and they cast me aside. I won't play the victim here because I realise I was a really bitchy person - still am, probably. But in 9th grade we all made up and became friends again, thousands of inside jokes and millions of little secrets later - ones made without me. We've stayed friends ever since.

Fast forward to present day. It's 5-6 years after high school. Some of us have graduated/waiting for graduation, some of us still struggle with the final paper and some of us are still waiting for their first semester, despite having gone abroad for that very purpose. Despite all that, I still feel like that 9th grade kid who never fully understands where my friends are coming from. Why? Simple, because I'm always missing out. Before, I missed out on A WHOLE YEAR of inside jokes and secrets. Not too long ago, I missed out on THREE YEARS of that! Despite still keeping in contact and everything, I guess some things are "You had to be there!" type of jokes. Sometimes I think: "Maybe if I hadn't been cast aside, I would know." "Maybe if I hadn't gone to Germany, I would understand." "Maybe if I were a gamer, I wouldn't have to feel so stupefied." But all these maybes come down to one thing: Maybe I'm just frikkin' different! My best friends, they are all very different yet they somehow manage to like similar things and sometimes even similar people. I...don't. I never understand the things that they like. Sometimes I force myself to understand because nobody would understand anything that I like. I laugh at jokes I don't get, sing songs I don't know the words to and watch everything pass me by. Sometimes it's not even that we don't like similar things, sometimes we do, but either they're more passionate about it than I am or vice versa. And when that happens I just don't know how to feel. Maybe I'm the jerk who can't even pretend like I care...

Thing is...when I'm away I feel like I have 1001 things to tell you guys, people who should know me better than anyone. Sometimes when we're together I feel that. But sometimes I feel like I can't be honest with you guys. Because we all share the good stuff but why don't we share the awkward stuff too? At least I feel like with me you don't. Maybe I'm just being super ignorant and that's why I'm so lonely. There are probably 10,001 things you guys don't know about me right now, about who I've become. One of you wrote on the farewell sketchbook you gave me: "Whether you turn like this (pretty and vain) or this (slobby and weird), I'll still be your friend." There was a time when I would believe that without a doubt. Now, I'm not so sure.

Maybe it's that hard to keep being such close friends to strong, independent women, who don't have emotional roller coasters. I'm a wreck, at least once a month. Nobody in the world could stop that, probably. I need someone to reach out to me, to say they miss/want/need me, for me to feel like it's okay to keep on living. And I need to say that I miss/want/need people sometimes too. I'm not 100% sure of myself and when you guys said I shouldn't miss you, it tears at my insides sometimes because I needed to let you know. But saying that would mean acknowledging that I'm such a crybaby and not as strong a human being as you thought I was. What if you got disappointed in me? "Who's this weak little crybaby? I thought you were our friend!" But I am! I always have a selfish wish where you guys would turn to me one day and simply ask "so what's up?" so I can open the floodgates and tell you EVERYTHING! Things you want to know, things you don't. But sometimes...maybe I'm just asking for too much. Why can't I just out with it and confess all the things I'd wanted to tell you? Maybe you wouldn't care?

Maybe you're not even reading...

Best Blogging Buddy Award

My blogging friend Joni tagged me in the Best Blogging Buddy Award. But I'm only intrigued to answer the questions so here they are. Enjoy!

1. What is something that scares you, but that you also dream of doing?
Hmm...I feel like I should be saying something like skydiving or bungee jumping. But it's really just going camping. I've never camped in the woods but it seems like such a wonderful idea.


2. What color are your bedroom walls?
Just boring white colour. Looks pretty nice, though.


3. If you had an animal side-kick/spirit animal, what would it be?
As a sidekick, I'd love a really awesome dog, like a German Shepherd or a Labrador or any more awesome type of dogs. As a spirit animal, I always believe mine is a monkey. You know, just run of the mill golden monkey like Sun Go Kong.


4. If you could own any celebrity’s wardrobe, whose would you pick?
Without a doubt, Zooey Deschanel. She is my style idol! (or any vintage-fan blogger's idol, I guess) Emma Watson's wardrobe ain't too bad either.


5. What food are you currently obsessed with/eating all the time?
There's this snack in Indonesia that I am currently OBSESSED with. I mean, I eat it with breakfast. Probably not recommended. It's called Smax, a rice stick snack in roasted chicken or cheese flavour. It's crunchy in a soft way.


6. What is your LEAST favorite time of year?
If you're asking for a date, I have none. But I hate when it's time for finals. Don't all students, though?


7. If you could choose any story to be made into a movie/tv show, what would it be?
The UGLIES trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, no doubt! How that series hasn't made it to Hollywood yet, I'll never know.


8. If you could acquire any talent in an instant, what skill would you like to have?
The ability to get people interested in me. You know, so I could get a good PR. I'm the kind of girl people think is nice and kind but never ask for. Those jerks.


9. What store/shop would you work at purely for the employee-discount?
Wow, this is tough. To be honest, I think most bookstores, nothing specific. But fashion-wise, Orla Kiely or Book of Deer!


10. What upcoming movie release are you most looking forward to?
I don't know if this movie is even in the making but The Scorch Trials (#2 to The Maze Runner).


11. What (if any) program would you like to take part in?  (Such as an educational program or a community service program.)
Project Sunlight from Unilever. I feel like it's empowering and speaks to my people, the people who need environmental and social change.


12. What’s your favorite form of procrastination?
Being productive. Haha, I know, that's a paradox. But usually when I don't feel like doing something, I do something else, which might also take effort and time. And end up creating something. That's the foundation on which my blog was build.


13. What historical person would you like to meet/be friends with?
Enid Blyton or Beatrix Potter. Those two seem to have the most extraordinary minds.


14. What’s your favorite animated show (excluding movies)?
If we put aside my all-time favourite Pokémon series and all the Japanese animes I've ever watched (and, trust me, there're hundreds!), I really enjoy the kids' show Blue's Clues. I know it's childish but I adore the animation and the routine of the show. Still miss Steve at times :')


15. What website do you think you frequent most?
Does bloglovin' count?

P.S: Because she asked to be tagged, I'm tagging frictionc and you can see her answers here ;) Also, we're both tagging ulilulelo because she hasn't done this before (so interested to see your answers!)