Saturday, February 20, 2010

...i'd follow you to the moon in the sky above...

Currently listening to: So Amazing - Stevie Wonder & Beyonce

Bunderan HI, Jalan Thamrin, Jakarta, Feb 2010

I can't even begin to tell you how immensely happy I am everytime I'm comfortably perched, safe and sound, inside the warm confines of my room, with a cup of steaming hot coffee by my side and classic The Corrs tracks playing softly on my iTunes. The rain is pouring heavily right outside my window as we speak, framing everything with its gloomy shade of grey. The bed is warm, the house is quiet, and the streets are empty. Lovely.

This is my idea of a personal heaven.

I remember feeling antsy, if not downright insecure, during my seven-hour flight from dear ol' Melbourne, worried I wouldn't be able to adjust, worried I wouldn't fit right back in once I touched down and got rightfully slapped with a hearty dose of reality. I guess I just had my own set of assumptions that hindered me from letting loose; I wasn't sure if everything would be okay, if for some reason things wouldn't feel the same way, somehow, because they have changed during my absence. My excitement was shrouded by little pangs of senseless doubt.

I think it had more to do with the fact that I wasn't sure if I could even remember that angry, misunderstood, overcompensating drama king of a kid who used to live here before fate - if such a concept even existed - decided to turn things over and send yours truly to fend for himself in the land of kangaroos, foul-tasting breakfast spread, and - regrettably - premature skin cancer. I could barely remember the chaos that used to be my life back then; how I so desperately tried, and screwed up, and failed miserably, and was then forced to repeat the vicious cycle all over again, right under the scrutiny of others around me.

I was a mess. A walking, breathing, screaming mess.
Maybe that was why I grew weary of my own less-than-shiny personal records and chickened out, unwilling to look back, to remember, to reminisce at first.

Now that I think about it, I had no idea what got into me.

Fast forward a couple of days, or fourteen, and now here I am. Comfortably settling in, albeit reluctant to let go, stubbornly, still. I've had my share of good days, and some awfully bad days too. I'd visited many of the memorable places I grew up in. I'd met some of the amazing people I shared my younger years with. It feels odd, almost sentimental, to realize that this cluttered mess of a metropolis holds a significant portion of my most treasured memories; the endless mall-trips, the compulsory talks-over-coffee sessions, the precious moments, and all the long traffic hours spent in between. Admittedly, the whole experience is sobering in its own way.

If there's one thing that I find repulsive about Jakarta, though, it's the fact that, regrettably, freedom is an absolute luxury around here. The paternal is neurotic and perpetually tense, while the maternal is sharp-tongued and excessively nosy, convinced that prodding her nose into other people's personal matters is a fully-justified right. I have become so guarded lately - overly cautious, even - but my all-smiling facade is wearing thin. I have now resorted to finding refuge in caffeine highs and fleeting moments of serotonin-induced emotional relief - namely, friends.

But I guess I really should stop complaining. Like always.

The last five days in particular had been bliss, absolutely divine, with the solid presence of a certain bespectacled hunkydory in a purple top, whose killer smiles and sappy sweetness have painted my days with multiple shades of happiness. I had never been happier, ever. It almost felt like I was living in a dream. And now that the clock has turned and the week is up, I don't know what I'm supposed to do with myself. I'm left with this giant gaping hole of nothingness.

In the pleasure of throwing in a vague, philosophically-inclined statement in between incoherent paragraphs, let me be less than modest here by saying that dreams only feel good because they cease to exist when we wake up.

More often than not - to quote a certain guitar-strumming Mayer bloke - when we dream, waking up is the hardest part, always so. It sure as hell is, especially when the dream we're dreaming is a giant build-up of all the things we're not allowed, or privileged enough, to call our own.
And what other purpose do our dreams serve if not to indulge our tired little souls with inane thoughts of what should and could have been?

I'm awake now. And the thought of knowing that cuts me open like a knife.

...Two full weeks to go.
The days are long. The clock's a-tickin'.
My last glimmer of hope is slowly losing streak.

And I hate that plane for taking you away.
Just when I was just beginning to feel again.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

...pour me a heavy dose of atmosphere...

Currently listening to: Vanilla Twilight - Owl City

Main Street, Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Dec 2009

It has been slightly more than three days now since my arrival back in town.

The food is good, the sun's still scorching hot, and the town has received a fair share of rainy days during these past couple of days. I love it when it rains in the morning; there is nothing more serene than having the calming, fragrant scent of rain-washed grass caressing my nostrils ever so gently when I wake up.

The traffic is crazy in this town; motorcycles always get in your way when you drive, that's just how it is up here. I can't go anywhere without some form of personal transportation, and I always have to go through a long-ass argument with Dad whenever I need to use the car. The city council builds new highways and roads every other day, creating even worse traffic disruptions all around town. Everything is dead cheap but my allowance is limited, since both my credit and debit cards are no longer active, and my personal bank account was closed a long time ago. Freedom is a luxury; everything around me is too organized, too bland, too predictable.

Apparently here I'm always either too fat or too skinny.
My skin is always too light, or too dark.
My face is always too round, my cheeks too chubby, my complexion too pimply.
My hair is always too brown, or too short, or just plain ugly.

My clothes never look presentable. My shoes are not sleek and hip. I don't have my perfume collection with me and I feel like I constantly smell like hell since my body always chooses to perspire liberally whenever I'm here. People stare at me when I go out with a tote bag dangling on my right shoulder and my favorite rainbow-colored wristbands strapped around my right hand. I can never wear slip-on shoes along with a pair of check-patterned shorts without Mom telling me how ridiculous I look.

Everything has to be "normal", everything has to look "common", and "safe", and "regular", nothing out of the ordinary.
Everything has to look just like how everything else looks.

Apparently, the society thinks I'm never gonna be able to keep up with the ups and downs of its fast-paced lifestyle. That I will never be good enough to jump in, never worthy enough to be allowed a space inside its superficial, beauty-worshiping bandwagon.

So I don't look like one of those good-looking, big-eyed, olive-skinned, speech-impaired halfies whose only specialty is parading around looking impossibly pristine, one after another, overcrowding my TV screen all day long. I don't go around town attending every single high society gathering there is, aiming to "accidentally" spill my champagne into the shirt and/or dress of any given celebrity in the hopes of guaranteeing a spot in one of those countless morning gossip shows. I'm not the offspring of some rich businessman who spends his day dumbing out, living a glamorous lifestyle straight out of a Gossip Girl episode. I don't have a sports car, I don't live in a three-storey, multi-hectare house. I'm as ordinary as you can possibly get, probably with the addition of a top-quality koi fish or two in tow.

And that is exactly why I don't fit in.

Just because I don't give a rat's ass about my weight, or my disastrous fashion sense, or the well-being of my ever-darkening skin. Just because I don't speak your language nearly as much as you would ideally like me to. Just because I don't make such a big fuss about relationships and marriage. Just because I'm not obsessively fixated on finding a soulmate to the point of being desperate and pathetic like everybody else. Just because I don't care about what's been happening around here when I was gone; all the drama, the backstabbing, the endless bouts of paranoia. Just because I choose to not judge people by how they look, what kind of shoes they wear, what bags they carry, or how many lush cars they own. Just because I don't even make an effort to try to conform to the standards you have set and tick your boxes. Do all these things give you the right to judge me back?

By "you", I don't mean you. Or you. Or you. I just mean people in general. Or not.
Your call.

I guess I'm just gonna have to shut up and deal with it.
I want this holiday to be a happy, enjoyable one. I don't need all this.

How I wish all the good food I've been scoffing down my throat could somehow make up for all the negative energy I've been taking in. But there will eventually be a time when ignorance alone won't be enough. And I'm not sure if I'm ready.


Let's see.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

...and why do we miss what we never had?...

Currently listening to: Lost Then Found - Leona Lewis ft. OneRepublic

Panorama St, Clayton, February 2010

Around this time next week, I will be home.

For thirty days, I'm gonna have to trade the comfort of living in a quiet southeastern suburb for a temporary perch in a not-as-quiet inner suburban town at the outskirts of Jakarta; the dry and scorching hot for the humid and rainy; the traffic poles and flickering headlights of Princes Highway for busy, crooked inner-city streets full of beggars and buskers; the steady Broadband connection I have here for a less-than-awesome cable Internet subscription... The list goes on and on.

In less than one week, I will be inhaling the putrid, pollution-ridden Jakarta air. Soon I'll find myself getting caught up in the middle of the city's chaotic, seemingly endless rush-hour traffic jams. I'll stuff myself with so much good food that by the end of the trip, my long-time hatred towards those vile, judgmental weight scales can be further justified. I'll get myself reacquainted with Starbucks Puri's omnipresent comfy couches, rightfully so. I'll be able to get ridiculously-cheap movie tickets on weekdays. I'll gratefully take my time in catching up with old friends. I'll finally be able to shop without having to feel excessively guilty.

Heck, even my dormant seventeen-year-old rebel may or may not choose to resurrect himself and thus drive my twenty-one-year-old psyche back into the foul-smelling realm of thinking that authority figures are lame and life without cars is as troublesome and painfully uninteresting as watching Heidi Montag disfigure herself on camera.

Don't judge me. I was a bitter kid.

*smiles at the thought*

It always feels sad, and somehow sentimental, you know, talking about home.
The thought of going home feels eerily distant, unknowable, foreign. For the whole notion of having a 'home' still escapes my senses after all this time.

What does 'home' actually mean to this tired, wretched soul?

Yes, I have a roof above me, sheltering me from the sun and the rain. I have a bed, a half-decent wall art I continually show off to a nonexistent set of admirers, some shelves stacked with books, a pet fish housed in a far-too-small tank, and probably way too many clothes. This dwelling space has its own address, and my partial "ownership" of this property is temporarily bound by a lawful contract. This is where I sleep, and rest, and eat, and do silly stuff when noone is around.

Is this my home?
Well, yes, and no.

I have been away from my forbearing nest for so long, I'm now starting to view my life as always being in transit, not knowing where I could reside or when I should step up everytime this intriguing journey spins, or takes a turn. The many fragments of my life are sprawled, stretched thin across the globe. It takes far too much effort just to keep them all together, strewn across but not assembled, complete yet never whole. Within all the chaos I have somehow found myself a comfortable shed of hope, yet everything else seems cold and blurred.

It's like stepping into uncharted waters; you never know just when the waves will come and take you in. There must be a place to which you can always run and hide, if only to shield yourself from the engulfing chill the splashes bring with them. A place full of warmth, and love, and a plate of chocolate chip cookies whenever the need for comfort food comes around.

As sad as it is, I don't think I have such a place.

My comfortable bubble of a universe is scarily turning into one giant forest of uncertainty, crippled with fear and senseless paranoia. Gone are my innocent days of youth, when the world was an endless playground of sorts, the sun was but a big round ball of cheerful positivity and every rainbow arch housed a gleaming pot of gold at the edge of the horizon.

Reality is a bitch; it sucks the happiness out of you mercilessly, leaving nothing behind. It wakes you up and shoves its overwhelming presence down your throat, suffocating you.

When life calls, all I wanna do is escape. Hide. Run away from the absurdity of it all and just get back home, where the entire repertoire of my disentangled symphony lies.

Yet it becomes too hard when I can't even figure out which direction I should be heading to.


For now, let me pack up my bags and leave for that giant metropolis I once called my home. Both in a literal and figurative sense. This trip is like a final ode to my blissful days of youth, and the sorrowful prologue to the start of my mundane, adult existence. The final curtain call, one last chance to feel sparkly-eyed like a child, oblivious to the fact that once the game is over, my dreams will get pushed aside and reality will kick in.

After all, to quote a famous saying, I believe that home is truly where the heart is.
And since this solitary longing, this burning fervor in my heart is not yet willing to surrender and rest, I guess I'm just gonna move on, and keep looking.

For now.

"Why do we say things we can’t take back?
Why do we miss what we never had?
Both of us fell to the ground,
The love was so lost, it couldn’t be found..."