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Friday, July 28, 2023

C'est la vie 💖

Finally back in Indonesia. For the summer holiday.

Today I took the Bluebird taxi home, the driver was old and friendly, asked a lot of questions about me which felt very sincere and genuine. So I told him about my life in Switzerland. He was so fascinated and curious about how life is on that other side, so I told him the many things I love about the country, about how different it is compared to Indonesia without trying to compare the two countries in a condescending way of course; just basic, realistic comparisons.

At the end of our conversation, he said to me:

"Miss, I'm so happy to hear your stories. I'm so proud to see you thriving there even though I know it must be tough to live in a foreign country all by yourself with no help. You and your family must be very strong. Really, and I really mean it, it makes me happy to hear about it. I think it's very inspiring"

And just like that, my heart felt the warmest warmth I have ever felt in a very long time. And truthfully, I have never heard such a kind, supportive and empowering message said to me like that from the people I would actually love to hear the most from.

Living in a foreign country is indeed very tough, a lot of us quit and return back home. Very few understand this, most just see it as "oh wow you're so lucky, you must be doing well there". It's not at all like that. It's hard. Every time I return home to Indonesia for the holidays, not a single family member of mine ever recognizes this and says something encouraging like how that taxi driver did. This is why I always believe that kindness is usually found amongst strangers. The closest ones just often take you for granted. Mais, c'est la vie. Nothing is perfect. But kindness is real and it happens to you in different ways. 💖

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Almost Over

Just 3 months until 2022 is over?? I don't get it. I know we always say this but it truly feels like this year went by so so fast. This year has been so fulfilling but incredibly mentally challenging as well for me, it's not easy, it never has been. I was thinking the other day..where do I get my energy from? And I realized, most of the times, I get my energy from sadness. I channel my sadness into making something, perhaps that is why I like smileys so much? Because they make me happy or feel better? It's funny isn't it. Our hearts are so gentle, our minds are so fragile, we need to take care of them. Nurture them with things that make us happy. Love ourselves completely. And embrace our vulnerability because it is actually our biggest strength. 💖

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Duality of Us

 I don't know how to explain it. It feels heavy. It feels suffocating. It's stuck inside me. I've been trying to get rid of this feeling, but it stays. The past few months have been difficult. I have been trying to heal myself through various ways, but it's just not working. I'm disappointed. A recent chain of events this year have triggered me to remember my past, some hurtful things that I didn't even remember, and now I understand that that was my brain's self-defense mechanism to cope. I erased it, or buried it (?), until recently it resurfaced again. I'm disappointed. Of how I was treated back then. I always felt like I was an outcast, like I didn't matter, like my opinions were never valued, that my being was not beautiful enough, that I was less from everyone else. Whether the matter of fact is true or not, it does not matter. That was simply how I was made to feel as a child and a teenager. Whatever I do, was never enough. I hate that feeling. So I decided to take control of my life and "do things my way", "care less about what others think", and simply "love myself if no one else does". I took control. I still do. But it also hurts when I remember these things. In fact, the very people who made me feel this way, still makes me feel this way. How sad. Isn't it funny. I am a mother of two who takes pride in being the best mom for her kids (or at least I try), but I am also, also a child who was hurt and never really got over it. I am a lost adult child wandering, seeking, craving for love, but I am also a mother so full of love and life. There are many sides of a human, now I understand. A part of us can be broken, but the other part can be extremely strong that nothing can shatter us no more. We learn to live with both.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Alone or Lonely?

What is love? Is it to forgive over and over again? Is it to set yourself free? Is it to compromise and give and not expect in return? What is love? 

Love is a strange thing. No matter how much we have it, it can still make us feel lonely. Even when you love yourself too. The mind continues to wander. Where else can I find more love? Do I even need more? Or perhaps it is that I have too much of it? Maybe that is love. This curiosity, this quest. It is the journey of love.

Friday, June 18, 2021

I'm Fine But —"

"What do you do?", new people I meet will ask me. "I'm a designer and book author", I tell them. Yes, a designer AND author. Pretty ironic though that this author hasn't been able to write anything for the past two years. Not even a single page. I even struggle in writing a blog post nowadays. I told this to my husband the other day and he said to me, "just write whatever is in your head at the moment". Ah, yes. How could I have forgotten that. Perhaps I have been asleep for too long. 

"How are you?" 

"I'm fine", I will most often reply with a smile. I'm fine, I really am. I just like to omit the second sentence which is supposed to follow, which actually depicts more of the reality. 

 "I'm fine. But, my life is complicated". 

My life is complicated. I just don't tell people. I want to be honest with you. Having an autistic child is not easy. It's far from easy. It's like having the stress and exhaustion of raising a toddler, but multiplied by 10. Just multiply everything by 10; patience, strength, effort, time, energy. As a family, our dynamics are completely different. Our routine is different. We cannot do what other families do. We do what other families don't do. When it's summer and everyone heads to the beach, we go to the mountains because we will always look for a place where no one is around. It's a quiet life far from others, but very noisy within our very own. Our son is very loud, always screaming. And so I learn to be quiet, to balance the noise. Our son turned 7 this year, and yet we still do the exact same things since 5 years ago. He still eats the same food, watches the same cartoon, likes the same toys, and for us parents, we relive these moments every single day like a loop. It's very repetitive. I wish there was a "Stop" and "Next" button in our lives, but there isn't. So I learn to accept that this is my story. Our story. 

As our son's screaming becomes louder day by day, the noise in my head has too. The volume levels are just so high my head hurts. They say it takes a village to raise a child. But where is that village? I don't see it. I am certainly not in it. In this whole wide world, there are only two family members who actually care, support and help us in dealing with our life-with-autism struggles. Said two people are my own mom and dad. The others just look at us, as if their stares help moreover make us feel any better. There is no village. It's a very small circle. The definition of 'family' has been redefined in my head.

My life is complicated, but I'm fine. I have learned to compartmentalise the things in life so one does not affect the other. I don't let our complications affect me in being me. I'm still my old cheerful self who loves life. I still get up excited for Mondays (new week woohoo!), I still get dressed, I still work, I still create, I am still grateful for all of it. I am learning to untangle this tangled ball of yarn that is my head, and perhaps writing can help. Just remember: never let your struggles defeat you. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Hello, 2021!!

2020. What a strange year. It started with big hopes, high expectations, a strong sense of optimism that 2020 will be a new decade for great, amazing things to happen, but it rolled into a mix of confusion, fear, panic, stress, anxiety, apathy, and sadness for the loss of so so many people. It became a collective feeling of "we're all in this together", but also divided because of the many ways we each decided to respond to it; to wear a mask (or not), to stay at home (or not), to meet friends (or not), to travel (or not), and once again we retracted into our own bubble and decided to think of our own safety and less about others because "you do you". We blamed the government, we blamed other countries, we blamed strangers, and we developed a sense of helplessness because really, what else can we do. So we focused on our very own lives, decided to learn something new, explored a new hobby, discovered new interests, and we started to enjoy our alone-ness. 2020 became the year of self-revelation. We finally met a new version of us inside us, and we loved ourselves even more. And therefore, 2020 wasn't so bad afterall. Goodbye, 2020. In all the mess, there was progress. 💖

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Diana Rikasari for Paddle Pop

It's finally out. Gave me goosebumps honestly. Thank you, Paddle Pop, for sharing my story. It's an honor to represent your spirit of "play". To play, to have fun. This ad is for the little kids who love to play endlessly. Never lose that in you. Play is where great things happen. 

A short story about this ad, we were supposed to shoot this back in August in Indonesia, but due to the lockdown at that time, I wasn't able to travel, hence the switch to using a replacement of me instead. Thank you to the behind-the-scenes team who were just incredible in making everything happen, starting from the casting to the production of my sketched designs. Woohoo! #PaddlePopMainYuk

Monday, November 2, 2020

Hello, November.

Here we are. November. Many countries are now in their second lockdown. We all thought it was going to end in June, or September, but nope. 

How am I? I feel terribly homesick. I feel worried about my parents to my bones. I feel stuck. I feel trapped in a place where it's actually home but there's another place that feels more like home and I want to be there rather than here.

To be there, not here. Doesn't that sound ungrateful though? Because truthfully, you are always where you ought to belong. You are destined to be here wherever 'here' is. Here is a destiny. You just need to see it and make the most out of it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

75% Completed - or Pending?

In a week, it will be October already. As much as I try, we try, to be positive and carry on with our lives in this 'new normal', I don't think we can deny that 2020 has been extremely tough. I question myself everyday, "where is this all heading to?". A lot of our lives have suddenly been flipped upside down, leaving us feeling drowning, trying to keep afloat with whatever we have, whatever we can. Like swimming against the current, it is exhausting, worrying, depressing. What do we do then? I don't know for sure. All I know is to tackle all this one day at a time and be grateful for the smallest things in life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Is Social Media Toxic? I Don't Think So.

If you feel like you need a break from social media, or as they say, a "social media detox", maybe...maybe you're simply following the wrong accounts. In my opinion, your feed should be your mood booster, your daily source of inspirations. Instagram-ing should be that time where you get to scroll and smile and feel "oh wow that's awesome" and motivate you to do or feel great afterwards. 

In order to do this, I highly suggest you to follow accounts that showcase their work, NOT their looks or latest purchases or which fancy hotel they are currently at. Follow "ideas" so you feel inspired, not "somebody's life" that leaves you feeling jealous or left out or eager wanting to keep up. 

If you're into fitness, follow accounts that make you feel like you want to move and exercise because it will make you feel happy and good about yourself, not a fitness account that makes you feel like you need to have that perfect peachy butt. The goal is to be healthy and fit, not necessarily toned with flat abs and a thigh gap. This is the difference. We do not need to fall into the trap that a "great body" is a body that is _____. Embrace your own body. Stay active to be healthy. Do not be obsessed with a certain look or body weight. 

If you're into fashion, follow accounts that make you understand that style is personal and fashion should make you feel empowered. Understand that one does NOT need to keep up with the fast pace of fashion influencers always having the latest 'it' bags. It is an illusion, a competition you do not need to participate in. Here's an example why: many fashion influencers often share photos of them with new designer bags regardless these bags were gifted to them or borrowed. Imagine an actual follower wanting to always keep up with their favorite influencer, said follower would actually spend $1,500 for that bag. Ironically, the actual influencer didn't even own / buy that bag, they just took pictures with it as photo props. It's nobody's fault, of course. But while fashion influencers keep sharing new #OOTDs that make you want to buy what they are wearing, they are not spending a dime. In contrary, a follower might end up spending all their salary for the things they see on social media trying to replicate somebody else's feed. So stop. Buy the things YOU actually love. Shop smarter. Browse an actual shop yourself and see which products truly make you fall in love. Buy something because it sparks joy in YOU, not because somebody on Instagram was wearing it.

If you're into traveling, I suggest following a certain #hashtag compared to following a traveling influencer. Sometimes, we get caught up with the person instead of the actual place. Instead of thinking "oh what a beautiful island, I need to save up to visit that place soon", as human beings we often end up thinking "oh she's there and she's taking great photos there, I need to do that too", which basically means you're missing the point of traveling. Traveling should be about the place or the experience, not another bucket list competition because of your #FOMO with other people. By following a certain #hashtag like #waterfall or #lavenderfield, you're putting the emphasis on the place, not the person. 

I've been following only artists, designers, brands that I love so much and news / media accounts, and my Instagram is actually my happy place because I like what I see.
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