Chapter 23 : What Does 23 Actually Feels Like

It’s November 2014 now and it finally hit me that I’m turning 24 years old soon enough. Time does fly, doesn’t it? Before I turn one year older next year, I would like to part with a nice note with my Chapter 23.

What I have been or am going through during this Chapter:

1. I am currently at the age of bloom. Bloom, bloom, and bloom. I found what my passion really is, what I seek in life, what I want to be. The map is out there, laid out on the table, right in front of me. I open my eyes to every opportunities out there. When one door closes, another open and as you have heard, the latter is the better one.

2. With regard to relationship, before Chapter 23 started, I used to have specific type(s) and traits I look for in a man. Now, many of those changed, some still stay, some are completely gone. I (still) look for someone with intelligence, sense of humor, not a lot of drama (because I have spent my whole adolescent years being a drama queen, that takes like a quarter or a third of my life, I don’t have much time to deal with drama anymore at the moment), good in engaging conversation (trust me, you think this one man is smart but then you converse with him and ugh, he has no idea who Charles Darwin is, or thinks that Ebola is a country). At 23 years old, I realized that you can resist beauty but you can’t resist charm. Being single is the best, although – again – this is arguable. Personally, I’m enjoying a high life of single woman right now. No drama, no pain in the ass/nonsensical/childish fights over nothing. I couldn’t care less if I don’t have a boyfriend anytime soon because I’m a firm believer that everything happens in its own time. While others dream of marriage, family, babies, I dream of a career, an independence (financially and emotionally) and think on how I can contribute to the society. I want a healthy relationship where my future man can give me the distance we both need. Who wants to get calls every 2 hours a day? Isn’t a simple, sweet, but short call in the morning and night enough? I don’t invade my man’s space and privacy so I expect him to do the same. A man who loves movies and literature still impress me, and by movies I don;t mean Rambo or Rocky or whatever. If a man loves The Godfather trilogy, that’s enough for me to give him a gold star – maybe two if he watches Citizen Kane.

3. I started to be more appreciative toward my parents. I understand their concerns and their fears as parents. And if you think scolding or grounding the kids is easy for them then you’re completely wrong. It’s hard for them too, especially now we’re adults. When we were little, we couldn’t do anything without their help, they feed us, they teach us how to walk and talk, they potty-train us. God knows what else they do for us. But now that we can do everything by ourselves without their help, it is going to be heartbreaking for them.

4. Life is beautiful. With its ups and downs, and boy – isn’t it quite a few – but it should not break us. On the contrary, it is for us to enjoy and to learn from. When I see those who are unfortunate, homeless, sickly and lonely, my heart aches. The reality opens my eyes and I lost count on how many times I say to myself “God, how lucky and blessed I am.”

5. Studying is fun, not always, but fun nonetheless. See number 4 above and when you are able to study in schools, with teachers and friends, then it means you’re rich, my friend. Very rich. You have no idea how many people out there –  struggling through hardships just to able to get a proper education. It is true that education is not everything, but everything starts from education.

I look forward to the next Chapter in life. Bring it on, 24!

That Forbidden Zone

When you contemplate and realize that you can do things beyond your control, be it for the greater good or for worse, you enter that forbidden zone. You are in awe of that unchartered path you have never even set your foot on. Darkness descends into lights or lights dim slowly into the dark, it really does not matter as long as you have guts.. to explore, to go through and to grow.. You have guts, somewhere inside you.


Double Standard

I will just skip the usual debates around sexism, feminism, chauvinism, and gender equality. I will not dwell into a delicate territory of defending women instead of men. Nor will I present any theory or quote from famous feminists. But allow me to write a few occurrences about double standard in our society.

  • Apparently people still think that, in general (mind you), a divorcée faces more difficulties in finding a new boyfriend/husband/partner. Why? Well, simply because she is a divorcée. Oh please, last time I checked, human beings are able to think with logic. And by logic, I mean brain. Excuse my sentiments here.
  • A few weeks ago, one of my law professors taught us about theory of law. He presented an interesting point on how law is shaped not just by history itself, dated back as far as Roman Empire existed, but also by mankind, customs, and norms. Law consists of substance, structure and legal culture. He mentioned to the class, “Take as an example, is a Moslem male allowed to have more than one wife? What about a Moslem female, is she allowed to have more than one husband? Or in Catholic teachings, is divorce acceptable?”. The class answered, of course, “Yes, by Islamic law and by Islamic customs as well as the religion teachings, a Moslem male can have more than one wife. However, a Moslem female cannot have more than one husband. As for Roman Catholics, divorce, in the eyes of God and the church, is not acceptable, “till death us do part..” is the wedding vow.” My professor then continued, “Yes, that is correct, as I have said before, law is very much a product of our history. The structure, substance, and the legal culture of law are heavily influenced by history. Some evidences of this are; Islamic marriage law that allows a Moslem male to have more than one wife but prohibits a Moslem female to have more than one husband. This law was established centuries ago. Next evidence is, as you have answered, the divorce matter for the Roman Catholics. These are just a few examples of the ways law is shaped. Later that night when I was on my way home, I kept thinking, “Wow, double standard exist centuries ago, it exists now, and to some of our disappointments, will always exist, and gender equality is always impossible, or  perhaps someday, ‘almost’ there’ at best“.
  • Someone once asked me: “Why do trains have seats reserved for female only, men can be tired too and deserve to seat?” See, this is how double standard penetrated double standard. It’s like the Inception movie, but not really that. I, myself, am still trying to find a plausible response for this question. Practically, I never take those special row seats when men sit on them, unless they kindly give their seats.
  • Or what about weekly ladies night at clubs or restaurants? Ladies parking? Hello?

Please (un)double standard, when possible. And God knows when.

men women

Feminism or Whatever You Want to Call It

Set aside the fact that I am a feminist, let’s recap what I (and some of you, if applicable) raged against for the past couple of years:

  • Why oh why, any man or woman, are not willing to give their seats to the elders and/or pregnant women in public transportation? Just why? Because you cannot stand for some minutes? Before you decide not to give your seats to those who clearly need to sit down, do you even know how painful your whole body is when you are pregnant or when you are an elder? When you become one of them, don’t you just wish that you can have a seat, even just for a few minutes?
  • Apparently in this 21st century, when you don’t have boyfriends or girlfriends, there must be something wrong with you. Like, nobody wants you, for instance. Gosh, what is wrong with people?
  • In addition to that, when you finally obtain your degree from university and people know about it, the first thing they ask is: “oh, that’s good, have you any boyfriend/girlfriend?” and when you do have one, the question will be: “great, got any plans to marry soon, we’re looking forward to the invitation”. Seriously, 3 out of 5, or worst, 4 out of 5 people in my country ask such questions. As if life cannot get any more shallow. The only fact that makes me suppress my anger is; not everyone is from same countries, thus, not everyone is  as shallow. Many of them are cultured and open-minded, I believe.



Emmerson thought me how to be an anti-heroine, in a way..

I’ve been contemplating about a lot of things for the past few months. Pondering about ideas and possibilities. I wish I can interpret Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” in a decent trail of thoughts. But darn me for even trying, at all. Even after I spent a lot of times to understand Hamlet. Surprisingly, it was not Hamlet or Shakespeare – the master par excellence, it was Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose essays I read but not really read and it’s all coming back to me now. His essay of ‘self-reliance’ is an eye opener for me. For me to be original, to be a non-conformist, to understand that it is okay if it is different, to take chances even if the outcome is unknown, because it will all make sense in the end. The final destination that I will reach in the future, where I stand and proudly say; “I never look back because the future waits ahead of me.”

“…There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. For of one will, the actions will be harmonious, however unlike they seem. These varieties are lost sight of at a little distance, at a little height of thought. One tendency unites them all. The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. [195] See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency. Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. Act singly, and what you have already done singly will justify you now. Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, [196] I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. The force of character is cumulative. All the foregone days of virtue work their health into this…”

Excerpt From: Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Essays.”

Give me intimacy, I’ll claim us as a whole

Because when you decided to spend the rest of your life with someone, intimacy is one of many things that keep the relationship afloat, especially during hard times. Intimacy is not meant to validate you as a person, it gives you relieve and reasons to claim yourself as a whole. Claiming all of it, your past, present, future. And it is certainly not about sex only, it is intimacy in every aspect of your life, like how you read and understand each other, how good you want the coffee to be, and being able to be together every step of the way without damaging each other. And even when the damage is done, there is nothing that can break you to the low point.

Hold Us

The clouds and the sky molded into one,

How the two of us shape good into existence,

One thing truest and purest our love might not be,

But in minds, in hearts, blood and fleshes, we feel resonance with every fibre of our being.

Call it mature or nubile. I think it’s the same.

Just a few days ago over pasta, portobello, cookies and ice cream and black coffee (I can sum these up as lunch, but I opted for details anyway), I just realized something has changed in my 20s.

Physically changed. Checked. (Duh)

Mentally changed. Checked. (Wiser but still a bit volatile, who isn’t?)

What I realized was that I changed in almost every aspect. From the way I think, speak, learn, work, read, dress, watch, eat and drink.

  • Before I reached my 20s, I used to think with my heart. My judgments were clouded by emotions and feelings. Now, when I think, I think rationally. I don’t completely cross out what my heart says when I think, but now I’m more logical and my thoughts make sense. Just like how an adult supposed to.
  • Before I reached my 20s, I just blurted out what I wanted to say, without even thinking of the consequences or how people might perceive it. Now, I make an attempt to restrain myself when I speak of something or someone, sometimes I can be blatant and honest, when it’s necessary. Because at certain times, people just need to be mean and truthful, they have to.
  • Before I reached my 20s, I thought learn hard is enough. The more I grow and age, I learned the hard way that hard is not enough, good is not sufficed, it has to be harder and better each time. Push limit and boundaries, you’ll find how rewarding it can be. And of course, ora et labora.
  • Before I reached my 20s, I felt that working together with others is always better in so many levels. Nowadays, I can enjoy working with myself and working together is still a good thing to do. Heck, you need to work together with people. But, I’m more careful and restless when it comes to work these days. When you reach 20s, no one gives a shit about you but yourself and luckily your family still does.
  • Before I reached my 20s, I read all kinds of books. The best ones, great ones, good ones, bad ones even the worst ones. I read everything from sappy romance novels (no, it is not porn, it is romance, two different things, guys.) to chicklits to Austen, Brontë, Nabokov, Tolstoy, Margaret Mitchell (who doesn’t fall in love with the Scarlett O’Hara epic?), Fitzgerald, and so forth, I can go on all day. Now, I can count by fingers how many sappy romance novels or chicklits I read.
  • Before I reached my 20s, I used to be a tea person but right after I entered law schools, I pledged allegiance with coffee (2 tea spoons of white sugar, may be more but not less). Now I prefer my coffee black and a bit bitter, I only put one tea spoon of sugar into my coffee or sometimes none at all. I used to be a Baskin-Robbins or Ben & Jerry’s fan, now I prefer Haagen-Dazs.
  • I used to wear whatever that I think looks alluring or sexy on me, but without much of intellectual considerations. Now I know that less is more, sexy is great but with style and brain to balance it.

It’s amazing how your life begins every single day.

Love Is in The Air

Figuratively and literally. And it’s Frank Sinatra!

I have something to admit, I had a huge crush once on an aviator, it was Europe and it was spring. Perfect setting for romance. Back then I felt like a young lady in 1920s-1930s admiring an aviator. How many times that you can meet an aviator in your lifetime? I was lucky.