Beyond Repair

It is one week before three years.

The last time I ever felt that deep, soothing, embarrassing, red feeling of non-quantifiable warmth seeping, like from afar, yet it inhumed every doubt I ever had in the past 548 days before. It was extremely delicate and light that seemed too perfect to be readily available by my very eyes. I thought that perhaps, the odds were finally in my favor… but what was ethereal, I learned, should be treated cautiously. If it was surreal, it was probably never real.

Of course it wouldn’t end in an Eden filled with blooming flowers and colorful leaves. Of course it was doomed. Of course someone ate the forbidden fruit.

Of course I was wrong.

Grief that was carefully concealed, moved to the land of possibilities. The entire performance was imbued with sparkle and elan, until finally someone needed a fresh air to breath. To think. To realize that the malefic seed was gnawing every last drop of confidence that was seriously crafted.

You can put faces outside, soaked in a beautiful blue lagoon, sip the finest cocktails, enjoy the most luxurious box of chocolates. But the hollow, the cavity, that concave little hole of shit, is not to be treated with a drugstore receipt. A profound understanding of why and how it happened, the consequences, the possible treatment, the alternatives, are to be considered in a well, thoughtful manner.

You could be ruined beyond repair.

Until the point that what was once nifty piece of work seems to be dull and outdated. The idea is obsolete. The people are assholes. And everything associated with this beautiful grace is in no way more than cock-and-bull story. It was magical, it is still supposed to be magical, but your senses are telling you that it is all unreal.

Roots of bitterness clasp you hard enough to break your conviction. That at the end of the day, the world is nourishing human loneliness. Just what is the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all in the pilgrimage of soul-searching, tumbled across roses filled with thorns.

Someone will be at the end of this tunnel, waiting to restore the belief that is lost, to show another person that love and compassion are still alive, and very much relevant. Everyone else is enjoying this sweet delicacy — it is not a privilege.

It truly should not be a privilege. It’s supposed to be a basic human right that is not too difficult to access.

Only wish for one thing: no more pyrrhic tales. Please. Make real-life halcyon days a reality.

Rest well, lovely souls. If I can, I will put you in my prayers. Good night.

What I’ve Learned From Being Single

It’s my 16th month of being single and I’ve just finished reading a novel titled “How To Be Single”, so it’s easy to imagine where I might have drawn the inspiration of this post from. But really, I think I’ve had these thoughts fleeting in my mind for a couple of months now, after I’ve recovered from all the bad dramas of a broken relationship and endless, sleepless nights where tears stained my pillows almost permanently every night.

After all the crazy break ups with the people I could picture a life with, you would think that I would go crazy and believe that all this hype of love and being loved is just a pure lie, or more accurately, a freaking bullshit.

 

Well, I did think about it that way.

 

But then I changed my mind.

 

So here are some of my thoughts on what I’ve learned from being single:

 

  1. You are not entitled to have the obligation to live your life alone

 

A girl can dream. And one of her biggest dream is to have someone who loves her and who stays by her side in going through this whirlwind of life’s mischief, together. Yes, it’s cheesy. Yes, it takes a shamanic magic to make that come true – what with all the beautiful girls out there that our possible prince charming could choose – but it’s a pathetic idea to live a life alone. REALLY. So even though my heart is broken, and my former man has flown away with his own choice to leave me, and my soul is writhing by picturing another possible failed dates, I promise myself that I will love again, and someone will love me back, again. How will that happen? I don’t know. I guess it’s time to believe in miracles.

 

  1. How will that happen? Treat your love life as seriously as you would treat your professional life

 

Because things are simply getting a bit serious.

I think that at some points, it just dawns on you that you need to settle down. Especially in this Indonesian (or Asian) culture in general, it’s hard to dodge the sad, earth-shattering fact that women are STILL treated differently when they are unmarried. No matter how successful you are in your career, no matter how financially stable, full of achievements, gorgeous looking, I-have-it-all you are, this sick society is still going to pity you. That’s the word. But they don’t do so to men, not as often and as intense.

(And they’re going to suddenly do awkward things to hide their judgments when you tell them you’re single, but your instinct works, thank you very much)

I don’t want to be pitied for the rest of my life, so I at least have made a plan. When I’ve reached a point where my professional life is stable enough, which means I have a satisfying job with at least a clear career development plan for the next five years and it pays all my bills and my needs, I will hunt for a man. No kidding. Hunt for a man. I will be in charge of my own happiness and be a high achiever in my love life as well. I will improve my appearances, search everywhere, ask my friends to set me up on dates, enlarge my circle of acquaintances, do religious rituals, and I even think of online dating. I’m not pathetic, I’m just increasing the odds of getting married and having children and being free to soar high in my own professional life without “being feared by men who are attracted to you”, and finally letting the society shut up. It’s a goddamn free country and I’m allowed to make a personal project.

 

Well, not now, but not too far from now. Maybe in less than five years.

 

  1. Even so, you still deserve someone who loves you back the way you want them to

 

That’s why I find it odd that some of my girl friends are still in a relationship where they are constantly hurting. What’s the point of being in a relationship where there is a constant need to explain yourself over and over again to someone who just don’t understand? What I learned from all of my failed romances, if I can learn anything, is that communication is key. Be brave and tell them you’re disappointed, angry, and unsatisfied. Explain the logic behind your statements. The wrong ones will shrug it off and tell that you’ve been overthinking it or you’re being too pushy but if they really love you, they are going to compromise for the better. Especially if it’s about fundamental concerns. If they aren’t, you may be settling for less than what you deserve.

Don’t expect men to understand or read between the lines. It never happens.

 

  1. Do not, do not, take your partner for granted

 

When I was in a relationship, a partner’s presence was appreciated, expected, and then taken for granted. But when I’m single, it’s just I’ve been reminded of how convenient it was to have someone ready to hear all your stories, offer consolation and assurance that everything’s gonna be okay, and simply be there to give emotional support. Sometimes, we’ve got so used to having someone spare their time, money, and energy to be with us. We complain about the inability to go to some fancy cafes, the long distance, the “very rare phone calls this week!”, less gifts and romantic gestures. Finally, when your partner has flown away to spend 2 days with you, thousand of kilometers away from their workplace, and you complain about not being able to spend the whole week of his days off together, think again.

Think of how sometimes, your partner is underappreciated. When you’re single, this is something you’re going to miss.

photo-1436891678271-9c672565d8f6
Picture’s taken from here 
  1. And finally, as they say, miracles happen every day

 

I recall that I could be in a relationship with a new, exciting guy, always at the time when I felt content with myself.

I have always been a desperate romantic, and my everyday state is being mildly desperate about my lousy love life. But there have been times when I got so desperate I even went on being depressed. Then I realized that no one, no one in this world would love me if I hadn’t been able to love myself. So I did, and I am still trying to. Because people are drawn to somebody who is enjoying what life has to offer. Somebody who is happy, and has a positive outlook on life. Someone like this evokes a radiant, irresistible glow, and who doesn’t want to be with someone like that?

I think I’m perfectly okay and qualified to meet the one. It’s just that for now, I haven’t been finished with my own life, and somehow that has created a barrier to let someone else’s life mixes in with mine. Perhaps I need to let go of my fears, and my unhappiness, and my constant worry and negativity. Only then can I let someone get into this hidden shell.

 

Only then can I let myself find the love I’ve always dreamed of.

Everglow

 

You’ll never stop loving someone. 

Anyone who has carved their names in your heart can never stop being your someone special. There will always be something that reminds you of them. The particular way of how that person smiles. Their styles of writing. Their angles, habits, and behaviors. They change and morph over time, but there is always something that instantly piques your interest, whether or not they are the people you used to know.

Love is a powerful feeling.

So powerful until one dares to say that moving on is a myth. Or more precisely, there is no moving on from somebody. They live on in your life, more so in your memories. Affecting future decisions, emotional stability, and the way someone perceives the world around ’em. These particular people who have left our lives are the ones who leave their presence eternal — the ones who leave us with their everglow.

Let them go, you may.

Cherish the new people coming into your life. The ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. Time ticks and no one has got eternity for their sorrows at night. No one wants to dwell in the sea of torture for the rest of their lives.

But these people, though they might be gone,

The light that they left us will everglow.

“The light that you left me will everglow”

 

 

A Realistic Take on Fairy Tales

As a young girl, I grew up with the notion that fairy tales existed. That someday a ‘prince charming’ would somehow come into my life and carry me away by his utmost perfection. A standard description of a prince charming was someone who had to be handsome, smart, wealthy, healthy/athletic, romantic, understanding, patient, kind, and……. Well, basically he possessed all positive adjectives.

This bubble of imagination was always further amplified by what seemed to be a never ending fairy tale feeders: movies that almost always had ‘happy’ endings, couples who were so good at faking themselves and made spectators thought that there were never any conflicts between them, magnificent weddings with meticulous ceremonies, and streams of ‘romantic’ pictures/musics/online posts/advertisements, etc.

We all grow up believing that fairy tales exist, that a person who will be a perfect companion with perfect qualities lives somewhere in this gigantic world full of secrecy and lies.

 

Don’t we?

 

I do.

 

I was a firm believer on fairy tales. I saw love as a purest thing a person can live with. I believed that love was never supposed to be a betrayer. That love, once found, would always stay: tested and true.

As I moved to being in my teens, however, I discovered that I was, indeed, not a princess waiting for her prince charming riding a white horse. As much as I wanted to stay firm on my fairy tale belief, there it was, the previously undiscovered territory: Rejection. Unrequited love. Tragic stories. The ‘long gone and moved on’. I did not comprehend, back then, that love could hurt someone so bad that he/she would never fully recover.

Moving on was never in my dictionary. The day when I woke up finding my first love was not in love with me was a hard slap. The first break up felt like a sharp razor blade. The first experience being cheated on was like a melted ice cream cake on someone’s birthday surprise. It was meant to be, it was meant to be, but the fact that separations are inseparable risk from being in love is a dormant beast waiting to be woken up.

It shook my belief on fairy tales. Forever.

As a young adult, I saw more inconsistencies. Like so many people who decide not to get married because living with themselves is just enough, and they are happy and content with that (and I’m happy for them, too!). Like how come people who have been in love for 8, 9, 10+ years could just break it off like no year has passed by. Or people who have just met for 1 month can somehow add longevity to their own tales and swear to God that they will forever live side by side. Or random stories of how people can just meet and tied up – dialed wrong phone numbers, saw a cute girl in a café, met in their first day of new job, watched same gigs together, greeted by old acquaintances, met in job fairs, match-made by friends or parents. Unbelievable.

And yet, people have got married for a lot less. High rates of divorce cases are solid proof that love does not always stay forever and ever. Somewhere along the line, it may transform into roses filled with thorns. There are also arranged marriages where two people who don’t love each other get married for the sake of various reasons – parents’ consent, cultural requirements, economic needs, or just plain bad luck. Surprisingly, some of these marriages survive, loveless perhaps, where their hearts are somewhere else, but survive nevertheless.

 

I’m now standing in the line of young adults going through someone’s wedding ceremonies. Watching their eyes glistening with hopes and dreams while holding their prince/princess charming’s hands, clasped together decorated with bouquets of flowers and streams of well-wishers. I am happy for them, of course. IMHO, one of the highest achievements someone can make is to succeed in finding someone who makes them brave enough to swear to God that they will protect, love and care for each other forever. Forever is a long time, but somehow they think it’s not long enough.

As a young adult, my views have shifted much. What I deem as ‘fairy tales’ are now different from what I previously assumed. I understand now that fairy tale is just that. That love is a raw emotion, adjective, noun, feeling, material that will always have its ups and downs. Prince charming exists, somewhere in this world, but with his own flaws and inconsistencies. He/she may or may not be good enough, or cause everlasting peace, but when the time comes to see deeper, they are indeed the perfect companion. All I need, and all you need too, is someone who makes us at ease. Whether or not they are charming is just another unimportant story.

After all, love is not always supposed to end up being buried side by side with funny sayings on the tombstones. Because there can never be someone who is perfect enough to be and to love another person – they are just there with different needs and have found contentment in each other.

I came to the conclusion that we make our own fairy tales. And when it comes to love….

Ah, je ne sais quoi.

I Want To Explore With You

Spoil me with words that only lovers can say. Greet me good morning to assure that you’re safe and sound. Let me imagine the days and nights that you have to go through, so I can get a picture of how to be on your feet. I want to know how it feels to be you so I’ll know how to treat you well. Let me be the one who makes your day brighter, because I want to explore with you.

Count the days till you’re finally done with work. Cherish the time when both of us know that meeting someone in person is always better than just having phone calls. Turn on the video while we’re waiting for that day to come, exchange pictures of our habitats, and keep on updating each other, because only then do two hearts feel that loneliness may just be a myth. Make me feel the breeze of sea and let me guess the turbidity of a swamp. I’ll make you feel this chilly weather and pouring rain, because I want to explore with you.

Let us glide away on soapy hills. Face the uncertainty, and fight for what we think we deserve. Let us be the people we want to see, and let those personas break the already built walls. Tell me your fears and I’ll tell mine, but move cautiously through the closing doors, knowing that enough is never essentially enough. Understand that our paths may cross, but be prepared to defend the values we both hold so dear, because I want to explore with you.

Come ride on trains with me. Revisiting the past is a key to have a full understanding of the present. I want to know why and how you become the person I know, and I want you to understand why and how I’ve become the person you adore. Dissolve me into the people you knew, because then I can expect to be the person they think will be the best for you. Be a person so great that I can brag about, and you’ll see why I turn out to be competitive. Maybe I’m a fast train going on a mountain, but fear not, because I want to explore with you.

We drop the words on chatting lines, or you versus me in a night. Maybe you and I say things we shouldn’t say and we continue to fight. If no one surrenders then we’ll not be satisfied. Don’t let the mist cloud our judgment, so please be rational. Know that when words don’t come out as it should, it’s not the time to leave. I will miss you, and you will miss me too. Don’t leave if you just want to leave, because I want to explore with you.

Do good deeds and throw away a decent celebration, before this grace gets too far and too hard to swallow. But don’t do so before I settled myself well and had the time of my own life. I will notify if my heart can follow yours, as I am a firm believer of age that breeds wisdom. I want a passion that plays before anything is taken into being institutionalized. Maybe we still need to figure things out and be true to ourselves, but either way, we’ll find the perfect time for a perfect match, because I want to explore with you.

I want to wear the colour I cherish when I feel like myself. I want to wear a smile that shines better than you could ever tell. You should not shiver on your sneakers if you treat me well, as I shouldn’t be the one who’s been unwell. I may or may not return to you, but if I can be myself without a thought of change, then at that very moment of day, you’ll understand that I want to explore with you. 

The Love I Deserve

It’s not easy to be me.

Especially when it comes to love.

I’ve had my fair share of bad memories of loving someone and risking my heart in investments that, from the very first start, I believed would not give the expected return. I should’ve just seen things clearly from the beginnings, but I always tell myself that it can still happen. As what I’ve written several times, I always cling to the tiniest little glimmers of hope, most surreal eye contacts, and the most insignificant gestures. I’ve fallen in and out of love too many times it almost feels like a bad habit that I should break. I questioned myself in between seconds of desperation, about what was so wrong in me that kept on attracting the, well.. the wrong ones.

Even so, I’ve always believed that the person who loves me for who I am will come eventually.

But there came a time in my life when I felt almost completely numb about loving and being loved by someone. At one point, I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, I should just stop romanticizing anything anymore. From the start, I erased all expectations. Have I gone bitter? I guess I have. I only asked for those people to stay, not so much of a request, but what did I get? Another series of treacherous acts.

I’ve never 100% believed in the notion of ‘love of your life’. After all, the very concept of ‘love of your life’, ‘your half’, and ‘your significant other’ was cruel from the start. Should someone not be happy if he or she is living in their stage of singlehood? Why is society dictating us to have this… this concept of being complete only when you’ve found someone who completes you? What if I do feel completely complete by being with myself?

That very realization shaped me into the person of whom I know perfectly well, someone who has been recreated and furnished by each and every unfortunate events. I fell in love with myself. With its good side and bad side. I embraced the qualities that were hand-crafted, made only for me, made only by me. I focused my efforts into having the best version of myself. I never did focus on anyone else anymore.

But what I didn’t realize was that, through that way, through this nonchalant way, I actually found someone whom I can love, and who loves me back. 

——————————————————————————————————————————

This morning I woke up with a silly realization that, “Hey, I’m someone’s girlfriend!”. Even typing it makes it sound more silly. But what struck me in awe was not the fact that I’m no longer lonely, nor the fact that I have passport to social security. It was the feeling that this love feels different from any other love I’ve had. It’s sheer and sweet, not overpowering, not intoxicating. It doesn’t feel like an urge to text someone now and then, or a crave for overdose attention, or that ho-ho, “Life’s a bitch and then you die!”. It feels almost as homey as a freshly baked bread in an ancient bakery shop. Or maybe, it just feels like it’s the love I earned.

That this is the love that I deserve.

If you want to know how I do feel right now, I’ll tell you what, I feel very proud of myself.

It’s like every cell on my entity celebrates the bloodshed dramas that finally fruit. I once made a list of characteristics that I was looking for in a man, with a tear-jerker, “Haha this hypothetical person is too good to be true!”. But now I look at the person who confessed to me hours ago and realized that sometimes, life is so funny by giving you exactly the person you want. Was I blinded by anything these past few years? No. I don’t think so. I think that heartbreaks after heartbreaks bring you closer to the one who will save the best for last. And honestly, I didn’t see this one coming.

I only did see that because I was transforming from a ‘girl’ to a ‘woman’, that I was finally be able to find a ‘man’, not a ‘boy’.

After all, boys shack. Men build homes. If he loves you, he will profess it, he will provide for you, and he will protect you.
-Steve Harvey

Honestly though, it feels natural, all this loving, giving thing. It almost feels like the universe conspires to make me happy, with this (hopefully) one last person. To sum it up in a nutshell, this is the most hassle-free love story I’ve ever had in my life. No explanations needed, it’s just what it is.

Of course, my defense has not yet fully been retreated. There are still walls that need to be climbed, the necessary protection and shield that I cover my heart with. Who knows what will happen in the future? But this precise background of earning something with hardship makes me want to fight for this relationship. I once promised myself, that if someday I ever say ‘yes’ to a person, this person better does stay. Until the very end. Winning over my conviction should not be the last heroic thing that this person should do, instead, it’s the first of many other miles.

I’m looking back (proudly) at my days when this movie quote feels totally relevant:

Girls are taught a lot of stuffs growing up. If a guy punches you, he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs, and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, every story we’re told, implores us to wait for it. The third act twist: the unexpected declaration of love. The exception to the rule. But sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending we don’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell the ones who want us from the ones who don’t. The ones who will stay from the ones who will leave. And maybe this happy ending doesn’t include a wonderful guy. Maybe it’s you… on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over. Freeing yourself up from something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is… just moving on.

Or maybe the happy ending is this: knowing that through all the unreturned phone calls and broken hearts, through all the blunders and misread signals, through all of the pain and embarrassment, you never, ever, gave up hope.

–He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)

And I’m gonna say it out loud: Yes, I never gave up hope.

On a more personal note:

Maybe you’re reading this on the rig with your eyes half-open, but I want to say thank you. Thank you for chasing me. Thank you for giving me clarity. Thank you for the special treats. Perhaps you’ll never know how much all of those sacrifices mean to me, but understand that I’m sending you this gratitude for providing me the university romance that I never had, but at the same time in a search for a lifetime partner. I once dreamed of being under the same umbrella with a man I love, running away from rain after shalat. And that was exactly what we did (I’m a pluviophile, google it up!). I once dreamed of being taught subjects by a crush that I like, in a library, and that was what we did. When I visited that old bakery shop for the first time, I honestly visualized myself sitting there with someone who loves me back, and that was what you turned out to be. I once dreamed of going to pretty cafes, watching the city lights glittering far away, and that was where you confessed. You didn’t know this and I didn’t plan it to happen, but you sum it up in two perfect days. So thank you very much.

And, just one more thing. I broke up with my last boyfriend on the 12th day of the month. I started this relationship with you on the 12th day of the month. An ending, it seems, is really a new beginning.

It’s very nice to be with someone who shares my set of values and whose moral compass points to the same direction. So here’s to cheering for the bad old days and good new days. Promise me you’ll stay. I want to see a future where one day years from now, I look back at this writing and see you waving your wrinkled hands and I’ll see my face wearing the sweetest wrinkled smile.

 

And for now, have you checked your Facebook inbox? 😀