A Letter to Little Me—30-Day-Writing Challenge#2

Hi Little Cita,

I miss being you. So young and free, living without burdens. No worries about the future. I miss wanting to grow bigger and older like you do, now, every birthday and new year makes me sweat.

I really like you, your cool nature, boyish style, bravery, straightforwardness, and you are very practical. I envy you because you could be happy by just blowing bubbles or playing hide-and-seek with your friends. I also admire the fact that you’re a late bloomer.

When I miss being you, I read your diaries until your teenage years. They never get old.

I remember when you always tried to find where the rainbow ends, then you lost track of the way home. At that time, GPS was not invented yet. Your mom was very mad. But the next days, you repeated the same thing. Because you wanted to shower with the rainbow lights and slide on the curve like what you saw in cartoon movies.

I remember you entertained bus passengers on the way from Lampung to Padang by mimicking all TV commercials that you easily memorized at 4 years old.

I remember you always make recaps of TV series episodes that were booming at that time and shared it the next morning to your classmates. Nobody asked you to do that, you just loved doing that.

Then you skipped school to go to library or cyber cafes. At that time, people in your country didn’t even know what internet was. You skipped classes selectively because you didn’t like the subjects and you thought internet gives you more knowledge than a 1,5 hours boring lesson.

I remember that since elementary school until college, you always fell asleep during muhasabah (renungan suci) while your friends and every one in the room were crying out loud.

And you wore men’s hair wax on your hair!

You PAID your brother to do your math chores but then afraid if you would get the highest score, so you erased some of the answers.

You even prayed wearing man’s cap instead of woman’s mukena.

When you’re 4, people know you as the girl who asks shocking questions. But two years after that and onwards, they tell you to stop.

There will be times when you believe all the negativity people throw at you on your intelligence, look, achievement, ways of life, points of views. Comparing you with your brother and other girls. You will meet a lot of people that kill your dreams and what you believe, even since the age of 6 years old.

They say you’re not as smart as your brother and not as gentle as how girls should be. They say your tongue is too sharp for a girl. They say you’re not beautiful and they call you a rebel. They tell you how to feel, behave and what to dream. For dozens of years, this will haunt you until finally you get tired of being scared and dictated.

I wish I were there when they made you feel low and insecure. I wish I had told you earlier so that you didn’t need to undertake this insecurity and hold grudges for so long.

Don’t worry that much about math, you’ll get high scores on it from elementary school to high school. By cheating of course. I remember how you hate math so much that you plan to destroy math from the world. At my age, you’ll forgive math because there are so many other things to destroy; ignorance, injustice, stupid stereotypes, and pop culture rubbish.

Don’t complain about the color of your skin, you’ll be proud of it.

Don’t hate your body, you will look good even in yoga pants.

Don’t worry about losing friends, selection is important. In your teenage, when you enter a room of people, you look around and wonder if they like you. At my age, I look around and wonder if I like them.

It’s ok if you cant and don’t want to fit in. The only person you should not lie to is your self.

You will be sad witnessing people come and go in your life, even those who were so close to you. But that’s the only way you learn about life.

You will be betrayed so many times, but that doesn’t make you innocent. You will betray people too. That’s how you learn that everyone deserves a second chance.

Looking at you know, I realized no matter how much I missed being you, I would never be able to do that again. What I can is to learn from you. To have that passion and chill back. There were years I forgot how to do that. I didn’t feel happy.

But I will make us proud. Promise.

Cheers,

The Adult You

This is for You

**This is actually an old writing from my R.I.P blog that I wrote in the end of 2016. I repost this in favor of someone who said that he often visited my old blog to read this post whenever he felt down. You, you know who you are, this is for you. 🙂

This writing is for you who are in your mid 20’s—and older—but still feel discontent about your life, always feel that you haven’t achieved anything to be proud of.

This is for you who sometimes doubt about chasing your passion but too reluctant to do something that you hate doing.

This is for you who think that life is not as optimistic as you thought it was when you’re seven. You had never thought that you would have landed in your current situation.

This is for you who have decided to leave your comfort zone and now sometimes question whether it was the right decision.

This is for you who have failed and been rejected many times that you just want to give up.

This is for you who feel that every day is just another new low, no matter how hard you try to make things work.

This is for you who think that you could’ve been more than your friends with all your talents and skills, but at the present you don’t. And that hits your self-confidence.

This is for you who feel that anyone lives a much better life than you, including the welcome-girl/boy at the restaurant.

This is for you who feel like the whole universe conspire against you.

This is for you who hold a degree yet believe it’s a mistake.

This is for you who keep comparing yourself with others.

This is for you who feel like your parents and family think of you as directionless. And you sometimes feel that they could be right.

This is for you who feel bothered to tell people about yourself.

This is for you who keep telling people, “I’m okay”, when you’re not because you believe you can’t show people that you’re weak.

You, whoever and wherever you are, you’re not alone.

You are in a transition phase, okay? A transition to somewhere better and greater. This is just a phase. It’s temporary, no matter how long it will be, it’s temporary. It doesn’t define you and your future. Many people have been through this, if you’re never in this situation, it means you have no dreams. The poorest man is not without a cent, but without a dream.

But, only believing that it’s temporary is not enough, YOU have to make it temporary. No change will ever happen if you do not make it happen, if you’re just planning without execution, if you’re just laying on your bed all day, if you’re just hoping for a miracle (because it doesn’t exist!), if you’re just doing things unrelated to your dreams, if you let other things distract you from the big picture, if you just keep your eyes glued on social medias of the lives other people are trying to portray. Because it’s not only what you believe, it’s what you do.

Do not underestimate any little daily goals because they contribute to the big goals. Don’t underestimate yourself, you’ve been brave enough to leave what you believe you don’t want to see yourself in the future. No matter how hard it is now, it will still be better than doing something you don’t like. Youth is not forever, better spend it on something you like to remember.

This is not a matter of age, number or degree. No degree is better than others. You may have a degree in medicine but still fell discontent. Anyone can be in this situation. Because it’s a matter of personal dreams trapped in a phase.

At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.

You don’t need to burden yourself with the thoughts of being successful at such young age. It doesn’t matter if you can’t be a young college-dropped-out billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg. It doesn’t matter if you can’t publish any novels before 20 like Jane Austen. You are you, you are meant to be you. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Breathe, live, love, laugh, and believe, “This is just a phase. I was born to be adorable.”

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(For Some People) Life Begins at 26

Hello Blog World! This is my first post on this new blog. Before, I had one on Blogspot that I started in 2009, but I decided to shut it down for good for some reasons:

  1. Some of the early posts were about fashion with useless, embarrassing, shallow narration. Yeah, I’m not proud of my past especially with the hashtags I used at that time.
  2. It’s too pink, both the layout and content. Not the charismatic, elegant pink, it’s Barbie pink, and I’m not a fan of Barbie. I’m Patrick’s fan.
  3. For some of you that already know me in person or have been friends with me on socmeds, you might notice an obvious difference on my look that I had changed publicly in 2015 and I don’t wanna be related to that person anymore. I want to start fresh. For those who don’t know, here’s the clue, I used to be the Pink Power Ranger. Is it a clue?

I’m now 26 y.o. The age where I understand what Britney Spears means by “not a girl, not yet a woman”. Even though I’m not a fan. I’m Patrick’s loyal fan. Just Patrick.

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In Indonesia, people get married at young age, some of my friends are already Mrs. Somebody with kids, some are already ex-Mrs, and the rest are settling down with their career that seemingly they will do for a long time or forever.

They seemed settled down and satisfied. From the outside.

In the west, people say that life begins at 30 or 40, because at that age you’re (hopefully) financially stable and have the confidence that makes you shine. You’re in control of your self and life, you have the bargaining power. In Indonesia, things go a bit different; life starts whenever you’re married. Meaning that my friends who are already married are supposedly in one of the happiest states in life.

Anyway, I have never been 30 or married yet, so I don’t know if it’s true. But I know that mine starts at 26. Why? Because renaissance always comes after a crisis. I’ve been through that so-called a quarter-century crisis when I looked around and everyone seems to be doing so much while I am still here wandering around with my flat shoes looking for what was missing but I didn’t know what that was.

When you’re a student, you have structures and conventions to support you. It sounds like you have a life or identity. Then, you have to make grown-up choices after graduation. I got a job right after I graduated. While many people were struggling to get jobs, I booked one easily, so I thought I should enjoy it until other socially-constructed goal is achieved; marriage. The downside of getting a job directly after graduation is that you don’t have time to think whether it’s what you really wanna do. In 25 years of my life, I always had been occupied or distracted by other things that couldn’t make me feel content. Lucky that I haven’t been married yet, otherwise I could’ve been distracted for a longer time.

Actually, this self-discovery process could’ve been shorter if only I have mentors in my environment when I was teenager. But my parents are so simple minded, I can never discuss with them about life, study or passion, I didn’t have anyone directing me the right way, hence I started looking for mentors from outside my family.

At my 25, I stopped working the job after three years, I joined many communities and took various activities; arts, yoga, gym, dance, knitting, education, charity, even a singing course. I ran a culinary business, but short lived. Because the field was not what I am passionate about. Lessons learned: Business is not only about opportunity, it has to be about passion. If you do it without passion, you’ll lose opportunity. But passion pushes hardwork that can create opportunities.

I did this because I wanna see how people who live their passions are, what makes them different, succeed or fail. From what I observed, people who work hard for their passions is more fulfilled emotionally—and most are financially superior—than, let’s say, the modern slaves after 20 years of working. I compared my theater club director, who is an Indonesian renowned playwright, to the lives of my parents. My parents retired after 35 years of dedication, what did the companies do to them after that? Nothing. They’re forgotten and replaced. Meanwhile, on my theater club’s 20th anniversary, I quietly looked at how my director enjoyed his hardwork and dedication to arts and his ideology. Pride, passion, price, and prestige altogether sparked in his eyes. I want to be like that, I want to grow old like that. I don’t want to be like my parents.

Now, when I see other people, I see them differently. I used to see them for what and who they are at the moment, what they have and do. Now, it’s different, I picture them in 30 years later. What we do today is what is going to save and define us in the old age. When I turned on the TV and watched typical slapstick comedians, I felt pity for them.

I doubted before whether 26 is already too late to start. But hey, I said the same thing when I was 22. I said 22 was too late to think about passion, you should just try to accept the flow. Now, I wish I were 22 when I figured this out. But toast can’t never be bread again. The best I can do is not to make the same regret when I am 28.

I have to start from zero, but there’s no instant success that’s long lasting. It’s hard that I have to give up some other things temporarily. It’s the hardest. But give me two years, you’ll see the difference. I have never been as certain about my self as I am now. Hence I am really excited about this year and what it’s going to be.

Some of you might have already figured out things in life earlier than me, some perhaps are still trying to figure out, some could be still in hesitation like I was. Those who already did should help those who haven’t.

Find your passion. Have a faith in it. Do it consistently. Live it. And share with others.

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