Now that an entire semester has passed, where should I begin?
Mungkin sudah saatnya kamu melupakan apa yang memang tidak pernah diartikan untukmu. Mungkin sudah saatnya untuk akhirnya membuka diri kepada kemana ini akan membawamu. Walaupun masih sakit, aku yakin suatu hari kamu akan pulih; dan aku yakin kamu akan menerima lebih dari apa yang kamu inginkan.
Jangan putus asa sekarang-
You are more than just a fallen dream.
-Jakarta, 28 July 2017
Tidak disangka sudah hampir satu semester aku lewati disini, di Institut Terbaik Bangsa*. Ya, aku sadar bahdwa ini semua hanya akan berjalan untuk dua tahun, dan setelah itu aku harus berpisah dengan mereka ke negara asing. Maka dari itu, aku ingin mencoba lari sejauh mungkin diwaktu 2 tahun ini. Aku telah membuka diri ke hal-hal yang dulunya aku anggap “taboo” dan aku sedang mencoba untuk tidak terikat kepada sesuatu yang dari awalnya memang bukan untuk mengikatku. Dunia ini, dan kepercayaanku atasnya, lebih dari hanya sebuah tulisan. Aku sadar bahdwa aku harus lebih terbuka & lebih menerima.
Bersama dengan itu, aku yakin Tuhan ingin aku mencoba untuk lari sejauh mungkin. Sebelum akhirnya waktuku disini habis. Ini hanyalah awal dari penjelajahanku. Dan aku berharap, pada akhirnya, aku bisa berlari lebih jauh dari apa yang awalnya aku bayangkan.
-Bandung, 28 November 2017
I am well aware that 5 months is an awfully long time to not appear in writing. That I’ve gone beyond people’s remembrance of my blog’s existence to even write here anymore. Within that time, however, I found myself experiencing an abundance of things that I would often bookmark as something I’d write about. But I could never find the right words to illustrate them correctly. To tell you the truth, I have made several attempts to write again but they always end up as unfinished drafts that would leave me unsatisfied with how lacking I am in my flow of words. In fact, writing this now, I have absolutely no expectations of delivering these words to you knowing just how terrible I have been with my blog. Regardless, I am still here writing.
Anyhow, remember when I wrote about crying two days in a row out of ‘plain fear’ when I learned that ITB had accepted me (that plain fear being the realisation that I would not pursue my undergraduate degree in America)? Well, I think those two days have changed me incredibly, in a way that I am now numb towards whatever life proffers to me. Between those two days, I felt something inside of me poured empty. There is nothing left there, and that nothingness had morphed me, almost immediately. I don’t know whether or not that’s a good thing: that I no longer expect a lot of things from life, but I realise that that has helped me experience things in a more pleasantly surprising way.
When I first introduced myself to Bandung, say, I was pleasantly surprised at how brisk the atmosphere was; especially around the boarding house I lived in for three months before moving to a more commodious space. The tiny room I had occupied was equipped with two very broad windows which allowed natural light and wind to enter very easily so I would always open them as far as they could go. In the morning when I wake up all groggy, the room would be filled with an unbearable chill piercing into my body: I had to first close the windows to sleep in.
I shared the same experience when it comes to meeting the friends that I have now. To tell you the truth, I walked into ITB with absolutely no intensions of making friends. I wanted to graduate as soon as possible, with no strings attached to any human being. And I had my faculty’s benefit for that: in the School of Business and Management, it only takes us three years to complete our degree. But that all changed when I decided to meet the other new students of the international class who transferred from Abu Dhabi over breakfast, right before re-registration hour, and when someone courageously gathered all the *noisy people into one, (anti-)depressing, group, that of which consisted of people I would have never imagined to be friends with.
Because I don’t yet want to introduce these wonderful human beings to you and end up writing a novel about how things unravelled from there on, I thought it would be better to keep quiet about this first, especially noting how terrible I am at procedural writings. But yes, life happened to want me friends. And truthfully, I don’t hate it.
It’s interesting to say that people from my past have said that I have gotten a lot happier. Which is true, because I am a lot happier than who I used to be. At the same time, however, I find myself breaking down emotionally, most of the times physically, because of how overwhelming the changes that I have had to endure have been.
What sort of changes?
Well, first of all, there’s this almost inevitable trend amongst college students (note: not applicable to everyone on certain conditions) called “living alone” that subsequently carries “individualism” along with it too. As someone who’s never done a difficult day of work, who has the memory of a goldfish and the carelessness of a Zahra Thania towards money, deadlines, times of eating, and time in general, and who constantly has a personal driver who would take her as her heart pleases which consequently fails her at navigations, it’s plausible to say that I was not terrific at taking care of myself. In fact, I can not take care of myself as mannerly as other people. Which I suppose could explain why the only reason I ever really contact my parents is when I fall sick, or basically when my gastropathy and headaches come running to me like a train.
And then there’s also the academics that I have to keep up with. Although the studies in SBM aren’t tremendously challenging or at all difficult when compared to other faculties, since they are mostly comprised of exhibitions and group projects, managing the time and mind to actually sit down and study the core understanding of it, is. I’m sure that if I had the same ambitious drive back in high school, I wouldn’t be as disappointed with the results of this first semester. Regardless, I am not regretful.
All in all, now that the storm is over, I think it’s fair to say that although things didn’t work out as I have planned it to, I am wholeheartedly pleasant with how things turned out to be. It’s true. If God has decreed something for you, irrespective of your plans, desires, and sufferings, what will occur and how it will unravel is entirely up to God. Whether or not they seem to be in your favour, in the end, you will learn to understand that what God has decreed for you is what is most suited for you. You may not see it now, since your existence in His plans is not necessarily strictly until death, but you will come to see it some day.
In my case, I just happened to see it now after a long time hurting myself.
“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
I was thinking about you in the afternoon of the last day of the national examination. But along the way, I realized something odd about my thinking of you. So I wrote a letter for you that day, intending to make it my last for you.
13 February 2017
For someone who I once knew to be thoughtful,
You know —now that my memory is growing ever so distant and you seem to be clearer in my mind, you were nowhere near special. You owned no distinctive features and you liked all sorts of different things that didn’t have a place in my heart. You also had a depressingly bad taste in music, which I hate and which I couldn’t do anything about. I also doubt you even read books. Now that I’m thinking of you after everything has passed, I wonder what the importance of our encounter was. There seemed to be no shared meaning, and it passed so easily. It was simply the type of encounter that you become hopeful of at first, and slowly notice how painfully deluded you were for ever thinking that way. And writing this today, at this moment that I’m listening to a playlist I made under your *name, I almost wish we had never met. It could have been easier on me, and I could have spared a few more space for other people in my heart. So if you asked me whether or not I “remember” you, I will tell you that I don’t. Because I have chosen not to, the same way you had chosen to.
I’ve been thinking about how I can tell you how much you actually mean to me. I have a feeling I can’t do that now though. Because all the while I know you, I’ve only known you from afar. So here’s a letter I wrote for you three weeks ago. A couple of days after I last saw you.
23 February 2017
For someone who I once knew to be thoughtful,
I hope you’re no longer upset about the world, or about anything you were upset with in the beginning. If anything all I want for you is genuine love and care, and most importantly faith in God. I worry about you the same way I worry about my close friends, despite never meeting you as often. Though our encounter may no longer share a meaning, I will continue to hope that my small existence in the corner of your mind (or heart: whichever you like) allows you to remember that I was once there, and that you’re probably still in mine, right here: *pokes into my own heart*, along with many others.