Becoming Human

This post is an answer dedicated to my Psychology and Organisational Behaviour final exam question, which asked me to evaluate myself following a behavioural assessment test. Yes, it is different from all the poetic and personal writings that I’ve had so far, but I believe posting something like this once in awhile will be useful.

In this essay, I would like to evaluate and analyse the results of my behavioural assessment test for my cognition, entrepreneurial potential, and emotional intelligence exploration, which will be done using the knowledge that I have gained throughout this course. I will then criticise my weakest points and explain how I plan to improve these aspects. Before we begin, it is important to note that I made the decision to choose these three people to assess me as they are currently my closest friends who have known me intensely for quite some time as of right now. Therefore, the judgements that they make of me should be wiser and more accurate than anyone.

Before taking the assessment, I wanted to see how accurate I was in assessing myself. Hence, I made several assumptions. First, I presumed that I will excel in my cognition as I am confident in activities that involve conscious intelligence. The way I perceive, think, and understand things set me apart from most people in a novel way, like what everyone says about me. Aside from that, I sensed that I would have a considerably high result on my entrepreneurial potential, mainly because I like to have control in everything that I do and I love anything that challenges me. But for emotional intelligence, I quickly presumed that my results would be below average. This is simple to explain as emotions are my least developed trait and I often do not understand what certain feelings mean. As for empathy, I tend to keep it closed solely for the people of whom I care about and know deeply. Sadly, I do not care about most people despite my greed in wanting to know others for the sake of pure curiosity.

209AB53D-7985-452E-B0C3-AFA91228C118 2
HOME – Nikon FM, Portra 400

Without a surprise, my results showed that I am mostly correct. The results of each factor of both my cognitive and entrepreneurial potential are above the average results of other people, so things such as systematic thinking, problem solving, risk-taking, and locus of control are part of my greater qualities: proof that I have the capacity and ability to become an entrepreneur and a leader —not to mention I have great influence and inspirational leadership towards others, according to results and real life occurrences. This fits the assumptions I made of myself, which means that most of my characters are in the Arena field of Johari’s Window, known to others and known to myself. Hence, it is safe to say that both my closest friends and I see me as the same person.

A FRIEND – Nikon FM, Portra 400

My emotional intelligence is a bit more tricky to conclude however, as I am neither consistently weak nor consistently strong in each factor. Emotional intelligence consists of 5 factors: self-awareness, self-control, social skills, empathy, and motivation.

To begin with, my closest friends believe that I have a higher degree of self-awareness than I think I do, but we both agreed that I lack heavily in self-control. For social skills, I am not very good nor am I fond of building bonds, but communication is my second greatest strength, which means I am able to communicate suavely with others something that I know of myself very well, as I often use my communication skills to control others cleverly. But my interpersonal skills, which is essentially social skills itself, is my fourth least-developed weakness. Therefore, my relationships with others along with my social-skills ultimately suck. My empathy result surprised me, however. As it lies within the Hidden Area / Facade of Johari’s Window. Meaning, I consider myself owning greater empathy than average, but my friends think I have much less. For motivation, which I believe is achievement drive, I prove to have a higher score than average. But if motivation consists of a positive general mood, then I may lack motivation a little as positive general mood is my greatest weakness.

Now that an evaluation of my results have been finished, I will now discuss about my weaknesses, primarily focusing onto the ones that I desperately need to improve on. They are: self-control, intrapersonal intelligence, and interpersonal intelligence. The reason why I did not choose positive general mood and stress management despite the fact that these two are lower, is because the two aspects can fall under self-control.

Self-control is the ability to control emotions, thoughts, and behaviour in the face of temptations and impulses. It is knowing how to discipline myself from pursuing the things that I want but that might not be in my best interest. Undoubtedly, self-control is heavily influenced by emotions and the degree to how strong my demand should be fulfilled. Because my curiosity in experiencing the things I want always surpasses the speed at which I evaluate the risks and consequences of them, and I never really excel at managing my emotions (results show that I am just average), my self-control tends to fall apart. I will move to behave according to what piques my curiosity, regardless of the outcomes fulfilling it may have. This had actually produced quite hazardous (however meaningful) experiences, like challenging a number of “respectable” people in a heated argument for a light example, which later results in long-term resentment from the other party. But the way I’m constructed, I never truly regret anything in life.

In terms of how to improve my self-control, I would like to begin with developing my emotions, that is understanding and managing my emotions better, which means allowing myself to feel things when they come to me. One of the biggest tragedy that occurred to me, the day I understood that I had to sacrifice my dream to reduce the burden I impose towards others or the day I lost the person I wanted to be with after giving my all, was when feelings and attachments to transient things cloud my judgement and ruin my logic for a long period of time. It makes me think more without substantial results. Because of those events, I decided to stop myself from ever accepting emotions and learned how to cut ties with my feelings. However, in doing so, I’ve also wasted experiencing many meaningful events without feeling anything significant. It had also detained me from believing in my intuition. I need to relearn the virtue of allowing myself to feel things first, and put enough trust in myself that I would act accordingly in the face of emotions.

Apart from that, I need to strictly remember that taking upon my curiosity might end up with me being deeply damaged both mentally, thereafter physically. Despite the knowledges I might gain, I must be aware of the side-effects acquiring this information may have towards me. Although that will surely be of a great challenge.

BRAGA – Nikon FM, Portra 400

Intrapersonal intelligence is similar to self-control, as intrapersonal is the internal communication that I have with my own thoughts and the relationship that I have with myself (this all occurs in my mind). And I talk to myself a lot, you see. My mind bears a heavy task since I rely on my thinking greatly. It’s what allows me to walk proudly with the cognitive intelligence that I have. But sometimes I neglect the personal care and kindness that my mind needs. As I mentioned briefly before I have a very abusive mind, which means I destruct myself quite often and I like to blame myself along with belittling who I am for when things go wrong. It grew to me as a habit, perhaps even inherited from my mother. To improve the relationship that I have with myself, I should trust myself and become more aware of who I am, but most importantly, learn how to be kinder with myself. I need to understand that not everything wrong in life occurs because of my fault, or because I am not “enough”. I need to understand that unfortunate things can occur because of the faults and sins of other people, or simply because life decided that they should.

Interpersonal intelligence refers to how well I am able to act socially, which mainly includes social interactions and a positive general mood (this may entail having an extroverted personality or the liking towards people in general). Although communication is my second greatest strength, having a positive general mood is my greatest weakness: I’m more of a realist than an optimist. Plus, I am indisputably more of an introvert, as large groups of people of whom I am not familiar with often exhausts me or give me anxiety. I also do not have a great liking towards people in general: I choose the people I want to understand. To be honest, I don’t yet have a grand scheme on how to improve my social skills. Most people tell me that I need to know how to have small talks, but I hate small talks because they seem to me like nothing but a waste of time. I understand that at some point I must know how to have small talks, but right now is not the time. So instead, I developed a small strategy. It includes befriending extroverted people, which have been successful as three of my closest friends who assessed me are all social butterflies and extroverts themselves, and slowly opening myself towards others: taking my time to adopt a liking towards humanity itself.

With this I believe I will become better at being human.

Langit yang Diam

4 bulan. Aku memiliki 4 bulan saja sebelum aku harus berangkat dan tinggal di negara asing. 4 bulan sampai semua rutinitas, tempat-tempat yang aku sering kunjungi, dan orang-orang yang aku suka temui, tidak bisa kusentuh untuk satu setengah tahun —atau lebih? Aku belum tahu. Hal-hal yang telah kususun untuk hampir 2 tahun di kota Bandung ini akan segera menghilang. Dan aku tidak bisa mengembalikkannya.

Berbincang dengan Langit
—M. Aan Mansyur

“kupikir lebih indah membaca
bibirmu ketika kau tidak
mengucapkan apa-apa. aku

semata mau melihat benakmu
bergetar—merah muda
dan tidak berdaya.

seperti sebatang leher
dan kehendak. seperti sepasang
mata dan tempat sembunyi.”

Olympus Superzoom, Portra 400 by Balthazar
Olympus Superzoom, Portra 400 by Balthazar


izinkan aku untuk pamit lewat pisah. Untuk melupakanmu satu persatu lebih dahulu. Agar kesedihan menjalankan hari-hari tanpamu tidak akan datang kepadaku ketika aku sudah tidak bisa apa-apa tentangya. Agar aku bisa kembali ke sebelum aku pergi dan bukan hanya kamu yang menghuni pikiranku. Karena aku ingin memiliki tempat untuk mengingat orang lain. Dan karena aku tidak ingin dipaksa untuk merasakan kehilangan, as I have always been, tapi karena aku memilih untuk merasakannya.


Keywords: post-midterms, clumsy, morning coffee, returning to film, honey, birthdays, drowsy —rest, baby.

Within numbered days, I will soon turn 20. But I’ve never liked the number 20. I’ve always instead, since the day I fell in love with a boy in 6th grade whose birthday I thought was on the 19th of August, liked the number 19. As evident from my primary email addressAnd in my turning 19, I had begged God to make it my most endearing tragedy. Tragedy in the way that it teaches me to be kinder and more forgiving only. And I was met with very endearing tragedies, you see.

Bukan Untukmu

Medice, cura te ipsum.

Aku ingin menjadi rumahmu. Tempat kembali dan tempat yang kan kau rindu. Aku ingin ingin kau menatap mataku dan tidak berpaling –seluruh kekhawatiranmu membungkam dan runtuh.

Aku akan menunggu —sampai kapan? Aku tidak tahu— untuk memberimu kehangatan: menghapus kelelahan melewati pelukan. Juga ciumanku, sebuah kutukan yang tak henti menghantui pikiranmu.

Aku butuh kehadiranmu di sela sela waktu yang disisakan oleh jariku. Aku ingin menemukanmu menunggu untuk ditubuhi dan dikasihi.


Singgah untuk Pergi

Terkadang aku merasa berdosa karena telah menggenggam dan membolehkan seseorang yang tidak ku cinta untuk bersama denganku. Bertemu untuk mendekapnya hanya karena aku sedang ingin melupakan kehiruk-pikuknya dunia. Tidak ada alasan. Memang aku yang kurang ajar. Jika memungkinkan, aku ingin ia mengabaikanku: berhentilah menemaniku karena apapun yang aku sentuh akan berubah dan tersakiti.

Dan jika bukan kamu, aku.

—M. Aan Mansyur

“kau singgah. seluruh penjuru
adalah persimpangan. mengarah
ke tiada—yang banyak.

kau tahu kau mencari seseorang
tapi kau tidak tahu siapa. kau berharap:
ia mencari dan kelak menemukan aku.

kau ingin sendiri. tapi kau tidak sanggup.
kita lahir bersama kesedihan orang-orang
yang berbahagia sebelum kita.

kini tidak ada yang sungguh. kau tidak
utuh. kau tidak cukup dan kau


Taman Sari, Yogyakarta – August 2019 / Olympus Superzoom x Kodak Gold

Kita berdua memiliki ruang di hati untuk orang yang berbeda: orang yang lebih pantas dan cocok akan kekonyolan yang kita miliki. Walau orang bisa berubah (seperti yang kamu bilang) dan cinta seharusnya tidak mendiskriminasi, kita bisa memilih. Dan aku memilih untuk tidak mencintaimu. Atas dasar aku tidak bisa menerimamu, atas dasar kamu bukan rumahku, atas dasar aku menghargaimu sebagai teman lebih dari apapun. Sekian.

Rumah yang Menghilang

auribus teneo lupum.

Writing about this semester from the beginning would only be a gravely fault, for that is where the story of you lies: the most endearing tragedy I have ever met in a person – proof that my curiosity can indeed lead me to my own deaths. I have written and thought about you more than enough to make me feel incredibly tired of remembering your chronology in mine, so please, allow me to skip your part.

—M. Aan Mansyur

Aku ingin menulis surat. Meminta maaf atas nama cermin dan kaca jendela, langit dan cahaya, juga segala yang tidak percaya kepada matamu pada pagi hari. Selamat pagi. Apa kabar? Kenyataan ialah api yang berkobar di antara dadamu dan inginku. Atau segala apa yang berkibar di antara anganmu dan tanganku. Di tempat sejauh dan sedekat ini, tidak ada yang nyata melebihi hal-hal yang kabur dan mustahil disentuh. Apakah aku tidur di mimpimu?

Mencintai ialah menenggelamkan diri ke dalam lautan hal kecil yang memiliki kekuatan besar membuatku bersedih. Setiap waktu. Atau—aku takut kedalaman, kau tahu—menyaksikan hamparan hutan dari udara dan menyadari seluruh yang tampak hijau adalah kepedihan. Aku curiga pesawat ini sengaja diciptakan sebagai cara lain memusnahkan manusia dari bumi.

Rumah terakhir bagi seorang yang kucintai ialah ingatan. Memiliki kehilangan: bukti aku tidak berhenti mencintaimu. Apakah kau akan berdiri di depan pintu saat aku tiba, seperti biasa, merentangkan sepasang lengan yang selalu berharap ditubuhi?

“Returning home” – Paris, September 2018 / Olympus Superzoom with Kodak T-Max 100

I used to think that the human heart could only endure so much and that there was a limit to how overwhelming an event could be. When August began, I was excited and hopeful to see how things would unravel from here on out; with the introduction of you, of visiting new places, and of meeting new people. Little did I know that nothing of the past could have prepared me for the fourth semester. I was only lucky enough to know that subjects were quiet easy this time around, though class schedules were awfully put together – as if a child had overtaken the task. Still, despite everything that has happened, I am still here.

In the early of September and December, I was taught through very heart-wrenching events that I had missed home. Home to me here is not some windowed walls or a sheltering roof that had been carefully architected for shelter and rest. That is a house. Home is a feeling from a place or a person: tempat kembali dan tempat yang kan kau rindu. Home is where I feel safe and calm, where each corner of a person’s eyes, or lips, or fingertips encompasses me with warmth and kindness; where every scent and fabric of the belongings of a room envelopes me away from the riddles of the world with comfort. Home can come from friends, families, or lovers. It can also be from restaurants or poolsides. Some may have them from childhood, which I too had had but lost along the way when I was leaving Oman; and some may find them in a person that they have fallen for, which I did however wrongly.

When the flight to Germany took me and my friends away from Indonesia, the afternoon you decided that I shouldn’t matter, maka dari itu kamu menghilang, the air in my chest felt as though it had vanished. I didn’t know when you began becoming my home, but the loss of your presence made me realise then that you were. How someone as broken and as stained as you struck to me as home in a mere few weeks leaves me baffled until now. The same way I don’t get to choose how other people feel about me, however, I don’t get to choose how I feel about you too. Dan pada akhirnya,

rumah pun menghilang.

“Kembalilah kepadaku, cinta” – Paris, September 2018 / Olympus Superzoom with Kodak T-Max 100

I had thought losing you —and I say this as though I ever had you, no I didn’t— was enough of a hurting that would last me quiet some time. Before I even managed to heal these open wounds, which had aggravated with you coming back only to use me once more, December came along. And that first Friday of December is a memory I’m not fond of: a heightened state of disappointment and hopelessness of which I had to undergo because someone who I thought should accept me, or at least listen to me sympathetically, didn’t do so at all.

It may sound insignificant, but to me it had meant the world. You see, I don’t care enough about what other people think about me. I made the decision not to a long time ago after learning how damaging it was to one’s self in doing so. But the people of whom I’ve dedicated my entire life to, my parents, I couldn’t not care. So imagine how it would feel to know that the sufferings that you have gone through in the pursuit of obeying their demands didn’t matter at all. Dan pada akhirnya,

rumah pun menghilang.

—M. Aan Mansyur

“kenangan dan harapan, kata satu
penyair, dua negara yang tidak ada
di peta. kubawa keduanya ke mana-mana

dan ingatan: paspor yang selalu minta

dalam diriku: membentang jarak kedua
negara itu. dari sana hidup melimpahkan
sepi. di puisi ini kusimpan separuh untukmu

sebagai langit yang tidak tahu berubah warna
atau jendela atau buku cerita yang menghapus
kata-kata sendiri atau rumah tanpa penghuni.
kelak kau menginginkan

sepi melebihi apa pun, ketika tidak mampu
kautemukan dirimu di mana-mana. dan akan

kau paham hidup adalah upaya menerima
ketidaksanggupan dan menolak keinginan

supaya langit atau jendela buku rumah itu
melumpuhkan kau dengan sepi yang lebih
berat daripada ketanpaan”

I find it rather surprising (in a good way, some may say) that despite everything, I am still here. And this, even I cannot fathom. I had every reason to leave, which I did want to do, and considering my reckless character and determination once it is born, I could do so very easily if I wished. But entah, I simply didn’t take the chance. This story isn’t fiction, and in truth I do not possess an answer as to why I chose to persevere instead. I had no one I loved and nothing I strongly desired for. Yet, I am still here.

Perhaps it isn’t the bigger of reasons that made me stay. Perhaps it had simply been the small things; a certain word a person used to describe me when they heard of this story –“you are strong, in a lot of ways. I admire that in you”, a certain place I only kinda want to visit someday –Labuan Bajo, a cute barista in a cafe I frequently go to –hello Old Ben’s, a particular dress I wish to purchase from Mango, and a certain feeling I wish to find again –home.

Now that this has become a very old story, I wanted to say thank you.

Thank you for all the hurting, and the sad, pathetic, melancholic remembrance of the times that we were together peacefully —no matter how fleeting the encounters were. I am grateful. Really. Grateful to have met a horrible person who showed me how evil and selfish a person could be, who showed me that I am indeed kinder than another person I thought to be so wonderful of, and “good” in spite of how horrible I think of myself.

Sekarang, izinkan aku untuk melupakanmu.