Saturday, April 9, 2016

LIFE: Long Distance Relationships


distance (n.) 
An amount of space between two things or people.
relationship (n.) 
The way in which two or more objects, concepts, or people are connected; the state of being connected.

Ta-daaa. Let's talk relationships. Writing about something personal can be tricky sometimes. You don't want to give too much information, but you want to share just enough in the hopes of making a difference to the people reading this. I don't know how anyone could find this post "inspiring" but at least I hope it helps in some way.

Here's a small update: Currently, I'm in a relationship with someone who lives 468 miles away from me (thanks, Google.) It's a long story. But thankfully, we're not separated by oceans or continents. No time difference, only different cities.

My friends ask me how I "survive", and a few has told me I'm "strong". A few also said that it's "romantic", or "wow, it's just like in the movies!" Stuff like that. It's flattering and hilarious, but I don't think I've ever told anyone about how it actually feels to be a part of it. So for this post, I decided to get real. In all honesty, here are a few things I can say.

How Distance Helps

Technically, distance has a way of bringing you closer. The science is that communication is what makes a relationship, and the same goes with trust. Distance puts pressure on both these things. When you're far apart, it makes you constantly want to re-connect. You text, you call, or you tell each other stories everyday like a daily life report. With the distance, your relationship is anything but shallow. It's not sitting together in nice cafes or driving together to malls, but it purely comes from talking and listening. A level of understanding that goes deeper than the surface.

It also forces you to be independent. You know those people who kind of just go missing after being in a relationship because they just go on dates all the time? Well, I will never be one of those people. Being away from them means there's room for you to spend time with your friends and family. It gives you space to grow, and to not miss out on what life has to offer. You don't cling to them all the time, which in some ways, just keeps you sane. It's hard, but it gives you balance.

The Hard Side

But how do you make it work? The first thing is, you have to be with someone who makes it seem easy. Someone who checks in on you and asks how your day was. Someone who makes effort and doesn't take you for granted. For example, someone who would ride on a train for 3 hours just to come and spend time with you when you're traveling in a city near his. Those kind of people.

I gotta say, long distance feels like a constant countdown. Except you're not sure when the timer's going to end. You take it day by day without fully knowing when you'll see each other again, and once you do, time flies a little too quick and it's a tough, bittersweet goodbye before you know it. That's when the timer resets, and the countdown starts over, to another day where you'll hopefully get to see them again. (Keep your feelings to yourselves, people.)

What happens when the person you genuinely care about is so far away from you? You appreciate their presence more than anything. You start to acknowledge all the little things, like simply having them beside you. Hearing their voice becomes something rare, and seeing them in person feels nearly impossible. Well technically, without a ticket, it is.

But you try. You try your best to make the most out of it. It's not going to work if only one person is doing all they can. Both sides need to understand that they need to try to make it work together. Make time and stay honest. You don't demand, you just give. Because I guess that's how love is supposed to work. (Right?)

The Heart

So I haven't told you about my actual story now, have I? That's because I don't know how to tell it properly. I've only been experiencing it for about a month, but I can honestly tell you that aside from all the hard stuff I mentioned earlier, somehow, it's worth it.

We make it work, one way or another. We've promised to tell each other everything, and aside from the hard stuff, he makes it seem easy. We text each other everyday, and make calls when we can. He gets it when I'm busy, and I get it when he is. There are plenty of things that he does, from the small things (like a "good morning" text already waiting on my phone every time I wake up), to the big things (like riding a train all the way to Jakarta to see me.) 

I can't find the words to describe what it was like to actually see him. It was like knowing that all your patience finally paid off. This was the person you'd tell everything to. The person who understands you and makes you laugh, and probably knows all the little things about you. To be able to finally sit with him and chat, or just walk with him in a big mall that we knew nothing about, or even sit in a theatre and watch a movie that bored us to death, it was more, more, more than enough.

John Green once said, "you can never love someone as much as you can miss them." I don't know if that's true, but I think it's okay. You can miss them when you're alone, miss them when you talk to them, miss them when you see photos of the last time you were together. Miss them immensely, or sometimes just a little bit. Allow yourself to miss them. Maybe it's just your heart's way of reminding yourself that you love them still.

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And that's it! I don't know if any of this made sense. This post was long, but I guess it's enough. I'm actually in the process of making a vlog from my Jakarta trip, but the compiling and the editing are going to take quite a while. So I chose something slightly easier for now. Stay tuned!

If you happen to have any questions, or if you share the same experience, or if you simply have anything to say, feel free to leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you.

Good talk.



Disclaimer: I extracted a lot of what I wrote from Jenn Im's video here, in case you were wondering, because I didn't know how to accurately put my feelings into words, so I somehow found that as a source of inspiration. Don't judge. K bye.





Monday, April 4, 2016

LIFE: Changes and Galaxies (Pt. 2)



Disclaimer: This post is going to be very, very long. Stop now while you still can.

Oh, you're not stopping? What a curious soul, you. Suit yourself.

I wanted to write because I needed a space, or a time, to vent about what I've been feeling lately. It's taking me a lot of the courage that I don't have to be writing about something so personal like this, but I just needed to be honest for a minute, and talk about what's been circling my mind over the past several weeks.

Let's be honest; passion is hard. Figuring out what you really want to do with your life is hard. Let me rephrase that: Figuring out what you really want to do with your life when you're a high school student with at least 20 different hobbies or interests and a lot of ambition but sometimes a severe lack of confidence, is hard.

The truth is that I've spent my whole life thinking I really really knew what I wanted to be and what I wanted to achieve. But then, at some point in the railroads that is high school, my train stopped. It stopped and simply... changed tracks. I thought I was ready to put my heart and soul into one dream. I thought I had a path lined up in front of me, perfectly in place, and it was just a matter of getting the train to move forward. So full of assurance, so confident in the direction in which I'm heading towards. But one day I just woke up, and realised how much I've been lying to myself.

I'll just give you the details here: Ever since I was little, I was exposed to a world where you could always feel free to express yourself in many forms. (Short explanation: It's because I was raised by a father who was both an artist and a musician.) That's when I started to develop a deep, deep love for art, and music, and all things alike. I've always loved to draw, ever since like, first grade. However, when I reached 4th grade, I started liking clothes. I was a 9-year-old girl, so of course I did. I drew clothes all the time, and soon enough I concluded that I wanted to be a fashion designer. That was it. My goal, my locked destination, my obvious dream.

I took sewing classes, illustration classes, everything. But what I never told people was how much I actually did not enjoy these classes. How much vanity I saw in the fashion world, how the industry just kind of scared me more than it encouraged me to pursue it.

Now, a year before graduating high school, I realised that I'd be a fool if I continued to pursue something I didn't actually like. I've always known, deep down, that fashion was not for me. I don't dress in high-end clothing, and I don't indulge in luxurious items. I don't find joy in looking at or purchasing branded fashion items, I actually find them useless! They're pretty, sure. But what's the big deal?

My life is surrounded by so many wonderful things that I'm still in love with. Music, art, travel, photography, and many other things that made me feel happy to be alive. If I were to pursue fashion, it would be like putting all of these things aside and focusing on an ambiguous dream that I didn't find the reason of.

The truth is I'd rather sit and watch a Broadway show rather than sit and watch 20 models walk up and down a runway in glittery outfits. I'd rather go to a wedding to take pictures of the small moments of happiness between the bride and groom through a camera lens, than go to a wedding because I made the dress she's wearing. I'd rather spend hours, and hours, and hours creating a wall mural that could inspire people, instead of spending hours and hours working on, say, a couture gown. This is what my heart tells me. That I thought I knew where I was going but I never truly did. That it's starting to look obvious, what I love and what I don't.

Some people validate this. A slight change of plans. Mistakes, trials and errors. As a perfectionist, I didn't. A part of me wants to punish myself for simply changing my mind. I had it all planned out, and then one day, I just didn't like it. I hated myself, like a voice whispering that I was already a failure, or that I was obviously going to fail.

What if my portfolio doesn't make it? What if I fail to find a job when I grow up? What if I end up as a disappointment to everyone? What if, what if, what if? It has become harder for me to actually believe in myself. I feel like a person with no direct path, no talent worth seeking, no voice worth of being heard. I'm exaggerating, I know. But guys, this is how a perfectionist overthinks. And I've had enough.

I may be a perfectionist, and I could have high hopes and standards for myself, but I need to remember that I'm human nonetheless. Right now, I'm pursuing a communication design major, which basically covers everything and nothing all at once. I don't know what my future job is going to be... yet. I could be a web designer, graphic designer, blogger, photographer, or I could even find my way to be an artist, or I could just be someone who works in public relations.

The pressure from my relatives certainly doesn't help. "What's a degree in design going to give you? What jobs are there for majors like yours? How are you going to make money?" And good Lord, honestly, I wish I had a passion for medicine, or biochemistry, or engineering. Really, I do. My friends are off to become doctors and nutritionists and here I am who simply can't share the same passion for those things. I just can't force myself to love something I obviously don't.

Speaking like this, honestly, scars my ego. It does. It takes away a portion of my pride because I thought that people could count on me for being so sure of myself and for knowing what I really wanted to do with my life. Some of my friends told me they looked up to me because I "already knew where I was going". But the truth is, I don't always know. And it worries me sometimes, but other times, it pushes me forward. I know where I'm heading for the time being, and I can only hope for the best. I'll continue to pursue things that make me happy, and I have to believe that my heart will continue to lead me into paths I didn't know existed.

Because now I understand that it's not humanly possible for me to control my life the way I want it 100%. I'm always going to know more in the future than I do now. Some things I can pursue ambitiously, but some things I can only mention in prayers.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27  
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
  
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in You." Psalm 56:3
I'm limited and I'm human. My plans have changed and my life has managed to alter itself one way or another, and I need to learn to be okay with it. One of the things I could do now is pray. Pray to a God Who has promised to never leave me, nor forsake me. A God Who promises to sustain me no matter what happens. A God Who told me to not be afraid.

Therefore I no longer am.

I'll write again someday,