24/7: 23

The state of aloneness.

The idea that I glorify maybe a little too much in my life. I am surrounded by people whom, I think, concern about my life the way I don't want them to be. Most of the times it feels too much. Some of the times it feels like you are owned, and your opinions and decisions don't matter. Hence I really value the time I get to spend alone. It's really hard to explain, especially when there are also times I feel like I need company and attention—though I never so desperately asked for it. But do I have the choice to control the way people act towards me? Of course not.

A lot has happened in a year. I continued my remaining classes in uni, all by myself, because all of my friends had graduated by then. But long and winding roads later, I made it. It happened not without a struggle, I would say, especially when you're alone and not feeling like yourself most of the time. So I congratulated myself, not only for graduating, but to had gone through them all. I also found a job not long after. Not something I had expected, so there is that. Life has been so so much better in a way.

This year, I started to live alone again since I have to work outside the city. So that means I have a monthly salary now, and live in a semi-apartment near my office area, afar from my family. But these facts alone apparently haven't made me feel like an adult enough, and independent human being, so I had to book a ticket to Vietnam alone to celebrate this year's twenty four seven. Alone, alone. And without a letter of consent to anybody either, including my parents. Because what screams adulthood more than not telling anybody about your travel abroad plans right?

But why?

I'd say, why not? I'm 22, and I have prepared the money, and well, I did survive in some foreign country before, so why can't I make it just fine this time? Until I realized that convincing my parents wasn't really the thing I was trying to achieve, proofing them that I'm capable of my own being was.

Sometimes I think this was the case of my relationship (of any kind) towards everyone. The idea of being dependent on anyone or anything terrifies me. I try to convince everyone that hey I'm fine, I can do it without your help, so thanks for the offer! Which I can. But even if that's the case then does that necessarily mean that one should be alone just because they can do things independently? I don't ask for attention, so when I'm exposed to it, and especially when it happens so naturally, I become so reluctant that it's such an impossible thing.

I imagine being on the other side of the boat, where I want to give my feelings to somebody but couldn't. Where I want to help, or at the very least, make sure things are going okay for my loved ones, but doesn't have the power to. How it would kill me when I don't have enough knowledge over that. I think it over and it really doesn't feel so fair...

Sometimes people loved the wrong way. My mom and her worries, and early morning texts, and sudden afternoon phone calls. My dad with his (also) worries, and corny jokes. And past flames maybe with their hate speeches or unintended feelings, well, who knows?

During my solo trip last week I felt the most of myself. And it's really the weirdest thing because the feeling always, and only happens when I'm not around anyone who knows me, and moreover in somewhere really, really foreign. No one knows my name. At one point I told some dude my name was Jude. And though he didn't get the reference, it still felt really nice.

I didn't go to so many touristy places since it really wasn't the whole point. I hopped on one cafe place to another and just sit there writing and drawing, and sometimes maybe having a dead-end conversation with strangers who speaks sufficient English whom I'd never meet again. Things I wouldn't have done if I were to travel with a company. I'm calling it a self-made retreat, this time with the background of Ho Chi Minh city and the smell of warm egg coffee.

I don't want to feel restrained, ever, so I don't want to make people feel restrained either. Hence I should exist between my own space and the people who cares for me. There should be a place where you could be happy for yourself without having to drive people away. Though having to understand that people do things their very way is still a lot to consume, I believe it's a good start.

Here's to year 23, and the love that surrounds.



Office OOTD Recap

It has been around two months since I started my first official job. I'm lucky enough to find the opportunity not long after my convocation in February—yay yay!

During my unofficial working days—as an intern—at a fashion magazine, and a start-up company, I have never really had any established rule on what to wear to the office. Especially when interning as a fashion and beauty editor, where I spent time attending events and conducted shoots, I was expected to look, at the very least, up-to-date. So when I applied for jobs later after university, I thought, maybe this is the time I'll start to dress less fun and more business to the office. Apparently the company I'm now working for doesn't really put too much concern on that matter. Although it might be fun to think of me dressed in fitted blazer and patent heels.

Since you're here, here's a recap of what I wore to the office last week. My mood changes everyday, and I guess it shows... Haha!

Racer jacket: thrifted from some vintage store in Tokyo; Skirt: STRADIVARIUS; Shoes: PULL N BEAR

Hat: HM; Tshirt: some ITC place from years ago I think???; Jacket: ZARA; Pants: ZARA; Shoes: ZARA

Scarf: stole it from my Mama; Sweater: ZARA; Jeans: PULL N BEAR; Shoes: ZARA

Dress: MONKI; Socks: TOPMAN; Shoes: DR. MARTENS

Shirt: HM; Skirt/Pants (idk really): some pop-up bazaar from years ago; Shoes: PULL N BEAR



The Art of Getting By

Taken at Stasiun MRT Bundaran HI

If you are, or have been, 22, you must have known the feeling of being at this age. You are a student, in some well-known university, and that's great, but if you haven't graduated by now it means you're wasting your time. You are young, in your early twenties, but at the same time you're old enough to find a job, so if you're already graduated but not doing anything then it means something is up with you. You are perfectly single and having so much fun with your circle, yet at the same time you are also expected to have a partner to whom you can share all the complicatedness in life with, because of course your friends are not gonna be there forever—at least that's what they tell you. Or you already have a degree, and a job, and a partner, then what?

Today I woke up with a classic 22-year-old feeling of what is this? I go to the office and do what I'm good at, but there's an occasional thought of is this what I really wanted? I work at a company I actually admire, but every time the question do I want to be in this field for the long run? pops up, I don't know what to answer. Moreover, today at the meeting every single entity I saw looks like they already have their life all figured out. From which dressing to put on their salad lunch this afternoon, to which car they're buying their kids in 20 years. Meanwhile I literally can't have an absolute view for anything.

I'm not trying to drag anyone into my deep hole of thoughts. In fact I believe that paranoia is one of the things that makes a human, a human. It's perfectly normal to be concerned about what you're doing, and whether you're happy with it or not. Sure some people grow their own business at such young age, sipping tea breakfast while working comfortably from home. But Emily Dickinson also started to become an influential poet only after her death, when her sister found out stacks of poems she has been keeping her whole life—apologies for the emo reference. Right now I question about life more than I ever question about anything ever. And even though I know the only thing to solve this is to find an answer, I also am not sure if there really is one. I tend to overthink about this matter more than I could put into words and that's what makes it really scary.

What really puts a plot twist into this is, one time a friend of mine told me that in some ways she admires me because she thinks I know what I'm doing—cheers if you're reading this! And no, I don't want to ruin her notion by telling her that HEY, I'M LOST, I'M COLLAPSING TOO! Instead I smiled and say, Thank you, appreciations are so rare these days.

The closest analogy I could think of people is as if they're travelers; some make plans, some just go impromptu. Some have google maps, some just don't bother buying internet data. Is it wrong to be lost? Is it wrong when things don't go as planned? The journey will still go on no matter what. What carves our path is the choices we make along the way.

When I travel to a new place, I tend to google everything. What and where is this place I'm traveling to? What makes it special? What should I do there, what food should I try? Is the people nice or do I have to prepare a pepper spray inside my tote bag? I do this so that I don't miss out on anything and moreover, feel safe traveling around. However, even if I have already done a 'research' beforehand, I still have a hard time—given my indecisive personality, too—making a decision to what place I should visit, or things I should do. The more you know, the more you question, therefor the harder it is to make a decision. I want to be an artist, but also want a stable monthly income. I want to be with my own family, but it always makes me believe that I'm better distant. I want to settle without the feeling that I would miss out on whom I haven't already met. I want to do all things at once if I could, or have the chance to, but do I? Do we?

Imagine you're budget traveler and you have to stay in a really bad and shady hostel for one night before you could continue your trip tomorrow morning at 7. The bedroom smells, the bathroom smells, your roommate is foreign and just won't speak a single word in English,—how does this dude even survive—and the street noise from outside the window is not doing any favor either. The thought of spending one more minute inside the hostel kills you more than the possibility that any criminal in the area will do. But whatever you do, the whole thing will also be over by 7 tomorrow morning. You will leave and take the bus somewhere else, and continue live your life in peace.

Life is like that, too. You were happy once until you realise you aren't. It will show you how to feel like yourself in ways that you should. And you will—feel like yourself. Eventually things will get better and you'll be finer than ever. Of course things may go downhill again somewhere in the future but by now you should have learned how to not be afraid, not entirely because you have the answer to everything, but because you will get through it. Your right choices and stupid decisions have walked through it together with you too.

Life will still go on no matter what choices we make. You will be faced with enough, if not too many, choices in life. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. Maybe then your wrong choices lead you to the right ones... well, who knows? Whatever you're facing right now, I face it too, other people face it too. You're sad. You're scared. Only remember that this too—just like other things that have happened before in life—shall pass. Your problem, it will come and it will also be over. And you will be okay. It's a lifetime cycle and is inevitable. Same thing goes to your confusion. There will be a time that you finally figure it out. Now you can only make the most of what you have, never let it leave you. So when things get out of the way—and things will get out of the way—you will still have every reason to live, and move on.


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