For Adventurers Clad in Long Robes

I have always been fascinated by the idea of being a valedictorian. You know; standing in front of people, delivering a speech that will hopefully change the world—or simply waste a few minutes of people’s lives.

The very foundation of using your own words and voice to instill a drop of water in the bucket we call “our generation” is a peculiarly foreign thing to me, and thus, fascinating.

Unfortunately, even though I believe I have the passion to deliver these words, I did not have the qualifications to do so in my graduation ceremony. That day, I sat in the middle row of the great hall with shame and listened halfheartedly to the valedictorian’s speech.

I must say, the speech itself felt so fabricated with all those subliminal advertisements of our university it even made me sick. But the person who spoke in front of us seemed like your typical good kid. I even wondered seriously whether this person we call the valedictorian actually enjoyed his campus life.

Judging that he had less fun experience during university just because he was smarter than everyone else was, of course, not a fair thing to do. But as I sat there and pondered about all these explosive train of thoughts, I began to truly wonder whether this person, this valedictorian, at the very least, really wanted to deliver the speech. Continue reading

Getting Back into Writing

Recently, it feels so hard convincing myself to write something new. You know, be it a novel, a short story, or even a short poetry. There’s always this inexplicable part of my heart that just wouldn’t listen, no matter how hard I try to tell myself to write. Something is clearly holding me back, and I don’t know how to fight it.

Maybe the cause of such phenomenon was my fear of expectations. Of living up to a certain standard. Of not disappointing anyone with lousy, uninspiring prose. I’m constantly haunted by a phantom of failure—a projected hallucination of all the walls around me crumbling, should I fail to live up to everyone’s, and my own, expectations.

Continue reading

Of Friendship

I think there is something twisted about early education in Indonesia: they told us that we must never sort and pick our friends.

In reality (at least, in my reality, since reality itself is subjective by nature), we get to pick our friends even from the earliest stages of our lives.

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Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/men-sits-of-sofa-1036804/

Continue reading

Watching the Knots Unfurl

Don’t you find it funny that people drift apart for no reason?

The other day, I accidentally met one of my childhood friends in a shopping mall. The very first thought that came to my mind once our eyes met was, “Crap, now I have to make small talks.” And I don’t know if my friend realized it, but during that moment, the only thing I wanted was to escape from him, go home, and bury myself under a pillow.

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Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/architecture-black-and-white-building-business-264471/

Yes, I have been called an introvert a number of times, but I really doubt being an introvert would drive me so much that I couldn’t enjoy a short, innocent meetup with an old friend. Especially since nothing bad ever happened between us; it’s not like he was my ex, or he bullied me in school. If anything, our past relationship was cool. Continue reading

Writing a Letter to Myself

In some occurrences between my slumber and waking, I often get strange visions. You know, the ones strange enough you couldn’t help but realize you were still half asleep.

For instance, I once had a strange vision of meeting my younger self right there, inside my room.

 

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Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-sleeping-935777/

 

My younger self sat in the corner of the bed. It felt really strange seeing myself there—as if I was looking into a mirror, only that the mirror reflects things from the past. In any case, I knew exactly what I was seeing; a phantom from my childhood who refuses to disappear in my sea of consciousness. Continue reading

Decisions that Change Your Life

Once, after receiving my very first job offer letter, I went to the nearest Starbucks, bought a venti-sized beverage, and contemplated for hours whether I should take the job or not.

I remember the interview went quite well. The CEO especially showed a great interest in recruiting me as soon as possible. I recall trying to tell him that I hadn’t even received a confirmation letter from the university to state that I have graduated, but he insisted for me to give him a prompt response for the offer he made.

 

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Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blur-brown-close-up-coffee-311276/

 

I should have been thrilled to get the job. I mean, the company might be new, but the team looked solid and friendly. The industry sounded promising. The office location was reachable by Transjakarta. The company was funded by one of the biggest conglomerates in Indonesia—basically, there was no apparent reason for me to refuse at the time.

And yet, it took me hours before I made up my mind and took the job, simply because I was afraid I would be making the wrong decision. Continue reading

Celebrating “Growing Up”

So last Sunday, I met my high school friend, Irene.

She was on a much deserved vacation, and she wouldn’t be staying for long. That alone was enough reason for me to send her a message and ask for a quick meet-up. Because let’s be real, people. It’s always nice to reconnect with friends, right?

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Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/table-in-vintage-restaurant-6267/

I don’t even recall the last time we met and had a good conversation, since she now lives in Australia. So I have to admit I got a little nervous right before I ordered an online motorcycle taxi to meet her. My paranoid self just loves to imagine the awkward pauses, the detached conversation, and ten million other ways our meet-up would go wrong. Continue reading