Ten Years Later

I hate the thought of having to feel weird about coming home. I have here in my flat a pair of luggage, a box, and a backpack; and it’s strange to see them all ready for my flight in the next ten days. I’m half excited, half anxious because this time, it’s gonna be “for real” and I’m bringing with me ten years of my life back home. It’s not as if I’ve been living in the other hemisphere – not even out of the country – but I’d love to exaggerate things a bit, so I will.

When I left home for university ten years ago, I had a grandiose plan. I brought with me some big dreams. I’d be this, I’d be that. And I dreamed and daydreamed of them at every chance I had. I did imagine gathering flattering titles and then landing on a really nice job in the metropolis, where I’d have to always put on corporate clothes and talk big things with big people. Sooner, I’d be rich. I was ambitious. In fact, very ambitious and it was a good thing, except that life, surprisingly or not, didn’t go as planned.

I thought…I thought…I thought of so many things…of a different kind of life – one that’s different from what’s coming home with me. 

Ten years later, what have I become?

Precisely not how I imagined it. I look at myself in the mirror and I am ordinary and life’s definitely far from grand. No titles garnered, no flattering awards, no overwhelming place that I personally own, no car, no hacker-friendly bank accounts. Oh, and not yet married, got no kids! But I managed to work for a company though small was award-winning, and where I had to look business-y when talking big things with big guys. It somehow made me richer – at least a bit richer than when I was just imagining life after school. That’s basically the story.

When I think of all those years and chances gone, it’s only failure after failure I could see. Errors, I’m made of errors. The beautiful token expected of a ten-year story turned into a rusty trophy made of brittle pieces. Many times I asked myself, “What have I done?”

Then I see my bags and boxes all packed with my story of ten years away from home. “Who have I become?” I smile a pretty one because there are so many things to be truly grateful for. I had my plans but God had a story to tell.

My purpose for leaving home was university but life took me to a maze full of right and wrong turns. I made it a point to be always different but I found joy in sisterhood, friendship, and belongingness. I prayed so hard that life be grand but I bumped into its simplicity and I felt the bliss.

I was wrong to believe that this decade-long adventure was all about beating expectations and chasing dreams. Nobody told me I was to live a story to make me understand who I am, accept what I am not, and be grateful for all that there is.

Thank God. It’s been lovely. Now, fly me home.

Love,
Ayna

 

Ten Years Later

A Promise of A Goodbye

“Maybe because some things have changed.”

Nah, it’s not some things, love. Everything has changed.

You wrote down your promise, now I have to tear it up. Every strip I make of it will bear every bit of hurt that lingered – the hate that wakes me up midday and midnight, the joy that steals me from what’s real now, the stories we’ve made, and the last few questions that will perhaps remain unasked. All of them gone as I kiss your promise goodbye.

Because we are now at the end of our forever. This is where I let all of it go – the dreams we daydreamed together, the so many nights we skipped sleeping, the so many days we chose to rather spend alone than spend with the rest of the world, and all the times rather spent to sweet nothings.

Now, I free our love, let it fly somewhere out a space we will never know of and from where it will never find its way back to us.

Thank you for every bit of everything. It was worth a story after all. But it ends here, now. And I leave here my tiny hopes for us I’ve been holding for a while. And the only thing that I have to offer now is peace, and a wish for you. May you find the love you’ve long been looking for.

Goodbye.
Ayna

A Promise of A Goodbye

Dreams under renovation

I had the answers back in kindergarten…but they were neither right nor wrong.

It doesn’t matter where I am: under my blanket, in the shower, aboard the metropolis train, walking to my office, guiltlessly devouring nutella sandwich at our lone table at home, or out somewhere a space only I knew of. My kindergarten teacher’s question would haunt me like a creepy mischievous shadow, “When you grow up, what would you want to be?” And in like a snap, I’d see an imaginary canvass, white and clean. Empty.

I had the answers when I was a kid – a pocketful of confident answers. And I must have told my teacher of them with a wide grin unveiling my carefree broken smile. Now that I’m a grownup, I would usually catch myself in chunks of introspection and retrospection, and how the thoughts weave themselves together often throws me a full-blown smack kicking me out from my own life. Mind-boggling realizations, often irritating, but a fairly good way to kill time.

At this point in my life, where [perhaps] I’m supposed to have already figured what I would want to do for the next half a century, I’m only finding myself stuck with a fair display of options, not with a headstrong decision. Admittedly, I would want to become all of my many options: a fashion designer, a wedding planner, a businesswoman, a novelist, a marketing director, a professor, a performer, an actress (kidding), a photographer, a surfing champ, a painter, a diva, an all-genre dancer, an interior designer, a genius and all other versions I’ve imagined of myself. But fine – there’s no way I can be everybody, that’s absolutely and regretfully understood.

I recall the main point of Dr. Meg Jay’s book, The Defining Decade. It implies that the twentysomething stage is so crucial in the sense that the decisions one makes at this twentysomething period are what would stir up all the succeeding decades of one’s life. It may not apply to everyone but it makes sense, doesn’t it? Reading that book added a lot of pressure to my self-evaluation. In fact, it got pretty scary I wanted to shred the pages to stick-thin strips and burn them all to ashes without a chance for revival. Scary because if my kindergarten teacher would come asking me again, “When you grow up, what would you want to be?”, I would only see myself laying down the cards – my many options for my future (which has now arrived as the present); one card representing each of my dream figure – and I’d stop there. “I don’t know.” Bad news is I’m most likely just a few days away to my future. Maybe even too late to figure my shit out.

Such an anxiety-infected circumstance ain’t new but is rather ironic coming from someone adored for being smart, gifted, multi-talented. That’s the picture (with no intentions to brag, just a little bit) and perhaps the problem of indecision rooted from the burden of having multiple choices. I recall an artist mom mentioned that to me and I also recall agreeing to it right then and there. My family, friends, workmates and my boss recognize my skills and it does flatter me to know so. How could I not feel grand about being praised, sometimes even overly? My heart would swell up, but true as well that the praises would oftentimes make me lose my breath – and palpitate. Maybe it’s just me, but they often come in as overwhelming I could barely handle. Then that would set me off questioning myself again, “So which one do I do best?”…”I don’t know.” But I honestly want to do all. But knowing that I just can’t, there is then the fear of missing out on all the others in favor of one. Or two.

Then there were Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, name the all-time geniuses. They were all over the early society, each of them an authority in almost all disciplines, the renowned in every profession. They were everybody that they wanted to be. Nah, never mind, my argument would surely come invalid though. Apparently, I’m no genius, end of story (and that’s f$@#-all-geniuses frustrating!). 😀

Now, after many times of skimming through my brain lobes, nodes and membrane – I actually just mean my thoughts – I realize I have been looking only at my dreams with the challenges prerequisite to them, but not at every possibility that could unfold like a red carpet that would lead me to my glory days. Because honestly, I doubt my own gifts. And I bow down to my fears, which is equally the same as poisoning my enthusiasm for my dreams. Of course I know all that. I apparently, have this mistaken love for my own fears.

Tomorrow I still won’t have it all figured out. But the thing I’m quite sure of is that I don’t need a time machine to go back to kindergarten and collect the answers I once had. No, that little kid didn’t know much, not even enough. Perhaps a few more twists and turns, then I’ll get myself an answer as to who I would want to be for the most part of my life.

It’s a whole new world I’m in now, totally different from my playfully colorful kindergarten. And it looks like I’m going to need a whole new set of answers.

Wish me well, folks! 🙂
Love, Ayna

Dreams under renovation

A Love Long Overdue

I lost my best friend to the decision we made long past – to gamble such a one of a kind friendship for a love we thought we could survive. We made a pretty long run for it, and all seven years of giving up and fighting for it again, gone now and not a piece of that past seems repairable. Like every broken piece could only hurt.

I am uncertain as to what point I have for writing this. What’s undeniable though is that I miss my best friend [badly] and it hurts to realize that time, and perhaps all of the universe, has buried our friendship that was witness to a very lovely story in the past. I wish we could talk again the way we did, without inhibitions, just frank, but with hugs kept ready in case one had to cry or lose temper.

It’s safe to say that I was everything to my best friend and I liked it, only that I had most of my decisions shadowed by fears, hesitations, and my unacceptance of the reality I was faced with. I lost grip, gave up, and left my best friend fighting alone for nothing. I loved my best friend but this was often tainted with my doubts about the future, our future. I used to imagine it but each time I did, I would end up losing engine at a crossroad; from there I would stop. I chose to.

Now, what more could I ask for my best friend than the happiness deserved. I didn’t stand for what my best friend was fighting for. So maybe this time I could do good in wishing well.

I hope you are happy now. If we meet again one day, you might never hear the same words I used to say. You just have to remember that I loved you in some special way.

A Love Long Overdue

My Birthday Wishlist

Yo ho, it’s time for another wishlist! I got here a few stuff, which I’d love to name, in hopes that at least two of my friends, and I mean my brother and my sister, would see this list…and you know what should happen next. 😀

1. A quality set of colored pencils. I miss killing time with some hobbies, honestly.

2. A thick sketch pad. No more pages to draw on. Pity.

3. Lots of white and silver paint. I believe that every now and then I will find something good to paint white or silver. Can be a broken toy, an old ladle or something.

4. Half-dozen pairs of pants. Other than the two most probable reasons why I don’t have a lot of pants (a. I didn’t have time to shop when I had the money / b. I didn’t have money when I had time to shop), I’m not sure, too, why I don’t have at least enough pants.

Or yeah, maybe because I’ve cut most of them more than halfway through the length. I have a good number of shorts. 😀

5. A lovely scarf. Always a gift I wish for!

6. Time. *Now wishing for the impossible.* Someone please buy me at least half a year more because I’m so damn not ready for thiiiiiiiisss, hohoho!

But then, it’s TICK-TOCK TICK-TOCK. In 18 minutes, it’s gonna be my <insert figure here>th Birthdaaaayyyy! Waaaaaaaahhh…

To God, my God, please bless this day.

Inshallah.

My Birthday Wishlist

Monday Migraine Sent Me Home

This is by far the most unproductive Monday I’ve had since I started working, and I blame that terrible migraine, which I could feel blaming me back now, endlessly.

People call it the Monday Blues – that bad and restless mood you get out of having to drag yourself back to work after being a couch potato for an entire weekend. I never hated Mondays for the “drag” though. I hate Mondays for the almost impossible traffic they cause at the very start of the week. This traffic I’m talking about includes the infuriating overloading of all city buses. I swear, it sucks.

But my migraine started even before the Monday traffic. It started just when I woke up and rose from bed and felt dizzy while rummaging for an outfit, while taking a long bath, while doing everything needed to be done before leaving for work. And “everything” there included how many times of going around, up and down the house – that I couldn’t keep track of.

In the bus, I became a sandwich filling or a raisin in a bread, stuck and squeezed and immobile because I was stuck and squeezed. But I was grateful to notice I could still breathe even if I had to hold it for a couple of times. Sure I felt sweat on my nose there.

In the morning, at work, I had to stop every ten minutes and close my eyes, look away from the monitor, and just let them rest. The migraine was already knocking on my skull. Then, I had to eat lunch earlier because I couldn’t stand my hunger, I knew hyperacidity was already on its way and I couldn’t stand that, not while at work. I was getting dizzy in the first place.

In the afternoon, I had to stop and rest like every five minutes, and bury my head in my red pillow. I just had to. My eyes were freakin’ tired and my brain wasn’t working, I thought my brain cells escaped my head. And there was this pinching sensation on the back part of my head. It was excruciating, I wouldn’t last over five minutes working on emails.

‘Til I decided I should go, after considering the advice from my office-mates that I better take a rest at home. I did. Because the migraine was getting too bad, I knew I couldn’t manage an overtime for today, not even just until 06:00 – my timeout.

So I went home, rode a bus where I was fighting the pain by trying to nap. I’ve been longing for my bed the whole day! When I got in the house, I hurried upstairs to my bed and… “ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz…”

“ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………………………..” *snoring*

Monday Migraine Sent Me Home

Things I Worry About At Twenty-Something

Never would’ve realized these things if I, for once or twice, did not get irritated with myself asking these questions over and over again. 🙂

1. What to wear tomorrow? When I get home from work, I don’t usually spend a while longer in my office clothes slash outfit of the day. Of course, they’re already dirty with soot and sweat. So by the time I change for bed clothes, that’s also the minute I start figuring out what to wear the next day. Slacks? Skirt? Dress? What colors am I going for? Heels? Flats? How about the hair-do? And all that outfit shits. It’s both exciting and frustrating; frustrating when I’ve already gone drowsy and I still haven’t figured it out. Then in the morning, I wake up to panic for not having decided what to wear. So I rush to my outrageous heap of clothes, rummage for a good matching outfit, and that takes me…well…a good deal of time, which in such case is bad. And if I spend a little more time rummaging, I’d arrive in the office at 9:02. Two minutes late! Phew. (Thought: Blame the traffic, not me. HAHAHA!)

2. Have I got enough coins for my bus fare? I should know better now how precious it is to be able to find a seat in the bus on your way to work. Otherwise, you have the right to remain standing all throughout the ride rich in “inertia moments” – those sudden brakes that pull you to that stranger in front and bang your head against his bag; and then push you to another stranger behind and you have to say, “Sorry”. Awful.

For that, I make sure I got my both hands to pin me in place the whole time. So before I leave home, I also make sure I have enough coins to pay my exact fare. Not bills because I don’t have an extra hand to take my change and toss it in my coin purse and dunk it into my bag.

3. What to eat for lunch? What time can I eat lunch? I always wonder what time exactly I can eat my lunch. It’s irritatingly amazing how blood red flags and deadlines can keep you pinned down in your station. Bad thing is that the canteen is way down the ground floor. Then you get to look at the bottom-right corner of your monitor, it’s already 3:00 PM; worse, 4:00 PM. Happy lunch, yeeeaah! 🙂

4. I’m not gonna be late for work, am I? Well, I worry about this everyday, starting when I’m halfway through the travel, or oftentimes when I’m just about to grab my bag and go. As calculated, I have to leave home at 7:45 to 7:50 AM. But because of #1 (What to wear) and this unnecessarily long time in the bath, I often take off at 8:00 to 8:10. It’s not like I’ve wasted thirty minutes but when you know traffic is readily waiting to welcome your day, five minutes is just so damn precious!

5. Where to find a pretty dead twig for my soda bottle vase? An unnecessary worry, fine. But because everytime I open the cupboard I see my empty Sola bottle stripped off of its label, I then start to mentally tour around the neighborhood and scout for a pretty dead twig that looks rustic enough to match our apartment’s intended interior. When I go out to buy food, groceries, whatsoever, I look around for this pretty dead twig but so far always unfortunate.

6. MY LAUNDRYYYY!!! When will I ever run out of dirty clothes??? I don’t need to explain this, right? I don’t usually put off doing my laundry but it’s just awfully unbeatable! Good Lord.

Now, if I think of it, at twenty-something, I still think nonsense…a lot. 🙂

Things I Worry About At Twenty-Something