We’re NOT Friends

It’s funny how you think it’s okay to finally trust someone again. You give them the benefit of the doubt and think because there are no strings to play with things will (obviously) be different. You trust and you try even though there’s absolutely zero reason for you to and a small part of you feels good that this small connection can be kept. Friendship is always good. Right?

Little did you know though that the strings were hidden and all this time you were still being played for the same sorry fool that you have always been. I’m surprised at how much finding out little truths can still hurt because frankly, I don’t love you anymore. You don’t take up any space in my heart and every day that I wake up knowing that and not thinking about you in that way, I couldn’t be more thankful. So why does the reality still upset me? Why does finding out what you’ve been doing this whole time while trying to be “my friend” feel like such a blow to the gut?

Maybe it’s because I actually believed that you were a better person than that. I’m sure you’ll play the ‘friend’ card again but you and I (now) know that’s just complete bullshit. Straight-up capital B U L L S H I T. I have to give you credit though – you come in all smooth with your lines of friendship and remorse and you mold yourself into that sorry person so damn well. If I didn’t hate when others toy with people (especially with me) I would say that I’m totally impressed. I’m not though.

You know, I’m almost sorry that I saw the recent pictures from both you and her and found out that all this time you’ve actually been together. I’m almost sorry that the comfort I was starting to feel at the idea of being your friend has been completely shattered. Only almost but for the most part I’m glad. I’m glad that I learned (again). I’m glad that I know the truth (again) and this time instead of ignoring my friends’ pleas to not be your friend, I’m going to listen to them. I’m going to put my foot down and I’m going to stop being nice because you obviously don’t know how to appreciate it. Knowing that really does make me a little sad but if there’s one thing we have taught me it’s that I have to value myself more and stop letting people use me.

So you asked, ‘Can we be friends?’

NO, we most definitely cannot.

To Write Love On Her Arms

I have a tattoo on my inner left wrist that says LOVE. Lately, I have been staring at this tattoo and have been wondering ‘Why?’ Before anyone thinks that this is a post about tattoo regret, I will have to sorely disappoint you. This post doesn’t come close to that as I don’t regret my tattoos and I am quite sure I never will because they all hold meaning to me; even if the message gets lost or ‘logged’ at some point along the way. No, when I say that I have been looking at this tattoo and wondering why, I’m talking about the message this tattoo represents and why I still struggle to accept it. But I should probably start from the beginning…


When I was younger I used to hurt myself. Honestly, I can’t tell you the moment I started to do it. I cannot tell you the exact date, what time it was or where I was (although I was probably hiding behind the locked door of my bathroom). I can’t describe how I was feeling or what the trigger was that made me start; but I started and it took me seven years to stop.

From as long as I can remember, I have felt a deep-rooted sense of inadequacy, not just in my physical appearance but also in the make up of what made me, me. Whenever I thought of myself I always fell short. I was never good enough in every way and I was always just on the wrong side of ‘right’ and ‘okay’. Perhaps it was the insecurities of my physical appearance that enabled the growth of the insecurities of my person; but whatever it was all these insecurities just grew and grew and grew and I got sadder and sadder and sadder.

I was unhappy and desperate to feel something other and for some reason, this was the only way to make me feel better. It was the only way that I knew to make the focus on my inner pain stop because although temporary, there was a different kind of pain for me to focus on. That outer pain was like a release of the angst and hurt and frustration that was locked up inside of me and it felt good every time. As horrible as it sounds, it made it easier for me to cope with myself – to cope with how much dislike I had for myself both inside and out.

It was when I was at university that two things happened. One, I discovered To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA). Second, a girl who I met at the beginning of the school year who quickly became my best friend sat me down and gave me a good long talking to. Not in a mean way, but over time through numerous long talks and lots of crying, she helped me process my pain. I had never really had an outlet for my feelings; everyone knew me as the bubbly, smiling, happy girl because I was good at ensuring people never saw the sad me. I never had a person who I could comfortably talk to about how I felt about myself and how I coped, without thinking I was a suicidal nut-job they had to stay away from. Eventually, I decided it was time to stop hurting myself and to try loving myself more. Who cares that I’m not that pretty or that I’m not as smart as every other person around? Who cares that I’m slightly overweight and awkward and can’t wear cool and sexy clothes like other girls? It was time for me to start believing that I had redeeming qualities – there must be a reason people like me, right?

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 20.25.59

So I got LOVE inked over the scars on my arm as a reminder of what I’ve been through, what I promised I wouldn’t do anymore and what I promised I would try to do more of. I needed to love me, for me.

Coincidentally, seven years has passed since I stopped and so we come full circle to the beginning of this post. Lately, I’ve been realizing not much has changed, particularly in the way that I see and think of myself. What are words inked onto the surface of my skin if the message doesn’t sink through to my heart and mind? It is obvious to anyone who knows me now that I am still struggling (really struggling) with self-acceptance. It has been especially difficult since coming back ‘home’ and finding myself alone in my own companionship more often than not, which gives me ample time to think.

Work has been incredibly frustrating and I know it has only been three months but every day that I step into my office is one more day that I realize it’s for me. The work is interesting enough but I don’t feel suited to the job and my inability to wholeheartedly invest my energy into work makes me feel like I’m letting everyone down. If my lack of passion doesn’t make me look like I am stupid/lazy/outright incapable, it definitely makes me feel like I am all that. I’m trying to understand and yet the concepts keep slipping through my grasp.

I have also been struggling on a personal level to feel a connection with my island ‘home’. I’m trying so hard to make this place MY home and to try to be more Indonesian (whatever that means) and yet nothing changes. Sometimes I feel that the longer I’ve been here the more I feel like a fish out of water; stranded on dry land without anyone to pick me up and bring me back to sea. I’ve met others like me who’ve grown up abroad and have now returned to make a home here and they’re so happy. They’ve found their connection to home and they’ve found the balance between being simultaneously a local and a foreigner. I watch and I listen to them and I envy the picture they paint of confidence and happiness.

They’re the same as me and yet so different that I can’t help but think what’s missing in me that I can’t be like that? It makes me wonder if I’m not trying hard enough to fit in and be happy here. Am I too much of a snob? My inability to feel comfortable ‘at home’ makes me feel like I’m doing everything wrong and I don’t know how to change that. I look down at my LOVE and I feel myself being sucked back into the same mental space that I was in seven years. I fear that I’ve just uncovered the black hole I thought I had so long ago left behind.


I don’t mean for this post to make me sound ungrateful for the things that I have in my life. I’m blessed to have the life that I lead and to have the opportunities that are available to me. I’m very grateful to have a strong support system with loving friends and family. I know I get to experience many things that many others have not, others will not and others don’t have the chance to choose. I am lucky and I know that. I just wish that sometimes it could be easier for me to be more grateful for me, the way that I am, not wishing to be anybody else.

Of that Woeful Week of Mishaps…

Have you ever had one of those weeks that seem to just swarm with negative energy? Where even the little things don’t seem to work out just right? You’re busier than usual, the pace has picked up, you’re mentally and physically drained; the energy seeps out of you faster than you can regenerate it on a half-assed night’s sleep? You tell yourself as long as nothing major goes wrong everything is going to be okay because there are just two more days left until the weekend; you can, after all, handle the little things going wrong. But then it happens. That big bad thing you were hoping wouldn’t happen, materializes in slow motion in front of you and before you can even think or blink or react – BOOM! Then all you can do is sit there in shock, not sure whether you should break down crying or just resign to the forces of negativity that have been pervasive all week.

Ever had one of those weeks? No? Well, I just did.

It was Wednesday afternoon and I was sitting in the office, about to start a ‘catch-up’ meeting with the new senior consultant who joined the team. We were laughing, sharing funny observations and I had agreed to help my new colleague with something tech related. It was a simple matter of copying and pasting a folder from a CD to my USB – my USB that was (at this point in time) literally my everything. Can you see where this is leading to? No? Well, to cut a long story short, something went wrong between the copy-pasting, ejecting and unplugging of my USB to inserting it in the other computer. I soon found myself staring at a pop-up notification telling me this:


NO – my brain was telling me. NO, this is NOT possible – my brain was insistent. I sat. I stared. I could not comprehend what had transpired in the last five minutes that would result in me staring at this screen in a somewhat stunned zombie-like trance.

Fact: The week had finally hit rock bottom. I was staring at a screen that was essentially telling me that I could kiss the work I’d done over the last six months, in both my previous and current jobs, good-bye. Was there a back-up? No. Was my reliance on my ever-trusty, ever-faithful USB misguided and completely naive and possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done? Absolutely, yes and it was devastating.

Same-same but different.

Same-same but different – this was not accidental, it was unknown…

For as long as computer-related technology has been in my life, I have never had issues with USB flash-drives or external HDs. Most problems came from the computer itself so if my laptop had died on me that day I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised. That my USB failed me? It’s ludicrous! I spent the next 2.5 days Googling solutions and downloading every program that I found but nothing worked and I only kept seeing more error signs. Although it hurts to acknowledge this reality, I’ve now accepted that I won’t be seeing any of my files again and have to practically start my work from scratch at the office (breathe – do not cry). The lesson has been learned and I am now saving everything in four locations; but it hurts to admit that I wish I had been smarter sooner and done that from the start (as I know I should have).

This week sucked. Beyond sucked! It was the worst kind of suck that could happen. I just hope that next week is going to be much better.

Staycation Life

It was hot. The kind of heat that felt like it got deep into your bones, streamed right through your blood and had the potential to make your skin melt off – it was that hot. Sweat poured in steady streams down the sides and back of her neck and she could feel her face turn that awful tomato red whenever she’d get overheated doing sports or from being in the sun for too long. It’s a good thing she didn’t take a long shower this morning because it would have been pointless 20 minutes into their walk in search of the rice fields as she started sweating profusely. She could smell the dirt on herself though – the smell of day-old unwashed hair (she is a regular hair washer and yes, she knows it’s bad) and the smell of clinging dirt to skin – and she hated it. The humidity had spread itself over the area like a blanket, clinging to their pores, while the sun had risen to its peak and beat a steady drum of heat onto the top of her head.

She struggled to put one foot in front of the other, while trying to not focus on the burning heat radiating from the soles of her feet due to improper footwear, and wondered if this trek would ever end. Every time she looked up thinking they would almost be at the top, the path only seemed to continue onward. They weren’t talking anymore, the only sound you could hear was their breathing as they continued silently on. Only the occasional gust of cooling winds made the journey bearable as it washed over them like a cooling balm, soothing their overly heated bodies. When the wind would blow they’d stand there like dolls swaying in the breeze as they’d stop and breath life back into their bones.

Yet, despite the heat and the struggle to get to the end, looking around her, she knew the top-view would be worth it. As it was, the elephant grass swaying lazily beside them and the sun enhancing the vibrant colors around them as they made their way up was a very welcome sight. As they reached the final bend and came atop the ‘hill’ she stood overlooking the scene before her. A gust of wind pushed her hair back and while she closed her eyes she felt a sense of peace wash over her tired bones. Yes, she thought, this was definitely worth it.


That was a little peek into last weekend’s ‘staycation’ when my friends came over from the big bad city and we went to stay in the ‘cultural hub’ of Bali. It was our second day and we decided to take a ‘stroll’ through the rice fields and then ended up walking 15KM that day! It was long, tiring, extremely hot and since I didn’t have proper shoes with me, it was also hellishly painful. BUT in the end it was well worth it! Not only was it a satisfying break away from ‘reality’, it reminded me of the true beauty that lies in the heart of my little island home.

The rest of the holiday was spent eating delicious foods, drinking lots of coffee and sunbathing and reading by the poolside. Suffice it to say, going back to work last Monday was a real pain especially when all I wanted to do was sit in the sun instead of be stuck in an air-conditioned office all day. I can’t wait for the next time I get to do this again (whether alone or with friends)!

PS. I’m also very much aware of how much I have failed at keeping up with the Blogging101 course. Today is the last day and I have pretty much missed the majority of classes over the course of the month. I’ve tried following some things and improving my blog in bits but I haven’t done a very good job of it. I want to do it though, especially in improving my ‘About Me’ page and so on, so I will continue to do so in bits over time!

Holiday Mode: Fully ON

This week has been slow and except for Tuesday, it has been extremely unproductive as well. The reason for this is that there are two major religious holidays being celebrated in Indonesia right now.

galungan1Galungan, which was celebrated yesterday (15 July), is a Hindu holiday that is mostly observed by the Balinese (where the majority of Indonesians are Hindu) and it marks the day the ancestral spirits come down to earth. The last day of the celebration is marked by Kuningan, which occurs 10 days after. Although it’s not a national holiday (red day) the majority of my office have taken leave (myself not included) meaning there were less than half of us in the office yesterday.

Then there’s Idul Fitri (Eid al-Fitr) or Lebaran, which is one of the major national holidays (two red days) in Indonesia and will be celebrated tomorrow (17 July). This holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy-month of fasting and most of Muslims go back to their hometowns/villages to celebrate with their family and friends.

oke-hidangan-lebaranAs a result of these holidays, the streets are quiet(er) than normal and the office is even more so – we’re functioning at about 30% capacity here! Even though my ‘stay-cation’ doesn’t begin until tonight when I go to the airport to pick up DA, the holiday mode has been fully switched on and the ‘Closed’ sign has very clearly been hung on the door to my brain. In holiday mode, all my thoughts have become mixed up in a somewhat chaotic jumble. I’m constantly switching between catching up on missed days of Blogging101, to searching for new blogs to read/follow, to compiling ideas and inspiration for my next tattoo, to browsing online shops for the perfect black clutch; it’s no wonder that I have no concentration left to spare for actually doing work-related tasks at work.

This will be my first holiday since I left my old job in Jakarta and started my new one in Bali – there was no break in between and I’m quite excited to finally be able to get one! I’m looking forward to spending this weekend away with DA as now that everyone else in our group has left the country, it’s just the two of us in Indonesia (even though we’re not on the same island, at least it’s the same country). It has been a while since I have been to Bali with friends (an acquaintance we’ve known for a little while is joining us); the last time I was here was with my ex and the time before that was as a party crazy teenager with crazy party friends.

I was planning on spending this afternoon updating my blog with the things that I missed during Blogging 101 – such as editing my ‘About Me’ page – but unfortunately time has run away with me, it is now time for dinner and after that it’s time to head to the airport. I hope I will be able to get to it sometime over the holidays (it will be nice ‘relaxing work’) or sometime next week! Until then, holiday, here I come <3

Sundayze Drifting…

IMG_20150712_183720There wasn’t a single cloud in the baby blue sky. As far as her eyes could see, there wasn’t a speck of white fluff marring the endless expanse of blue; it was just blue everywhere, like it went on for days. Fickle winds would occasionally sweep its way across her path, sometimes gently swishing the black curtain of hair that fell to her shoulders, other times almost slapping her across the face in violent gusts that threatened to tear away the bobby pins that kept her hair off her face.

Just as her hair would swish, so too would the trees ripple and sway with the wind. Maybe it was because there were no clouds in the sky to block the sun or maybe it was just the first time she was really paying attention to the trees, but the green leaves seemed to shine a little more vibrantly today. As if they’d come alive as the sun shone down on them with all its strength. She tilted her head back as she strolled casually along the beach’s footpath, enjoying the rays of heat that broke through the canopy above and warmly caressed her face. She took a deep breath through her nose as she closed her eyes and imagined herself away.

If she just blocked out the background noise, save for the whooshing of the wind and the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore, she could almost believe that she was lying down on a boat in the middle of the sea. A boat that was unhurriedly drifting further from land and transporting her away from all the worries and thoughts that played in her head like a never-ending movie reel. She let a small smile crawl across her lips as she thought about escaping like she so badly wanted to – no, like she so badly needed to. It wasn’t just a want anymore; she could feel the desperate negative energy trying to crawl its way back under her skin and knew more than anything she needed to get away, even if just for a little while.

Yes, she wanted to float away on that boat and leave everything behind. As she let herself be engulfed by her imagination, she felt her body slowly relaxing. First her head then her neck and shoulders, until the peaceful tingling sensation had made its way down to the balls of her feet and the tips of her toes. She felt weightless as she let herself be carried away on that boat, facing up to the strong sun and the limitless blue sky.

So this is what the perfect Sunday feels like, she thought. Surrounded by the ocean, the loneliness that had crept under her skin and had seeped into her bones, felt a little less lonely; a little more okay. This is exactly what she had been looking for since her life-changing move all those weeks ago. As the weeks passed, the negative energy kept mounting and she realized she had finally reached her breaking point but she found it. She found the peace she had so been craving and it was settling.

A soft sound interrupted her reverie and she felt herself being sucked away from the floating sensation. What? What was that? She blinked, trying to bring back the boat, the sun and the blue sky – the peace! The soft sound repeated itself.

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” A deep-timbered voice abruptly cut into the lingering fog of her dream and made her look up. She saw a young man (no, he was definitely not a young man but definitely a manly man) pointing to the chair next to her. She was still slightly disoriented and she felt herself staring even as she told herself to shake her head and look away.

He smiled uncertainly and she felt a deep flush rise up and blossom on her cheeks. She laughed and told him no, there was no one sitting in that seat and she quickly shuffled to the left so he had room enough to pull out the chair and settle himself beside her. She looked away and her eyes swept the room as the heavy weight of disappointment and loneliness resettled in her stomach and her heart.

“How embarrassing… Of course you weren’t drifting away in the middle of the ocean, leaving this all behind,” she muttered under her breath. No, she was just day-dreaming in a cafe, wistfully staring out the window, completely unaware of the bustle around her; day-wishing on the sun shining brightly outside.

A soft chuckle (chuckle?) from her right made her glance sideways. It startled her to realize she had once again forgot she was sitting in a public space where everyone was witness to her crazy. She made eye contact with the manly man who was looking straight at her with a bemused look on his scruffy, unshaven face and much to her mortification, she blushed again and ducked her head.

“Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear your… muttering.” He was still smiling and he definitely didn’t look sorry.

“It’s OK…” she said quietly, desperately trying to reign the embarrassment in.

“It must be one heck of a place you keep wandering off to. For what it’s worth, you know you actually live on an island, so getting yourself a boat to float away from here wouldn’t be the most difficult of tasks to accomplish… I even know someone who’d be willing to help.”

She felt a flare of annoyance and looked at him as if he was crazy. Who did this stranger think he was, telling her what she could be doing? What did he know anyway? How could he just offer someone’s help when he didn’t even know her? He must be crazy. She shook her head and decided that it was probably time to head home. In her daze, she hadn’t realized the afternoon passed so quickly and it was probably best to get back before the sun went down.

As she packed away her things – laptop, papers, cellphone – the manly man‘s words echoed in her head. He is right – she lived on an island and could easily get away for just a little while. What was stopping her? She started to get up and walk away as she thought of the old house, the negative energy swirling inside and the way her happiness so easily got sucked out as soon as she entered what was now supposed to be her ‘home’. No. Responsibilities be damned, she wasn’t going back to that soul sucking box just yet. She stopped walking and turned around to find him looking at her curiously.

“You know someone with a boat?” she said.

He smiled a little and said, “Me.”

And so it goes…

Well, I’ve been locking myself up in my house for some time now
Reading and writing and reading and thinking and searching for reasons and missing the seasons
The Autumn, the Spring,  the Summer, the snow
The record will stop and the record will go
Latches latched the windows down, the dog coming in and the dog going out
Up with caffeine and down with the shot
Constantly worried about what I’ve got
Distracted by work but I can’t make it stop and my confidence on and my confidence off
And I sink to the bottom I rise to the top and I think to myself that I do this a lot.
World outside just goes it goes it goes it goes it goes…

– Inspiration provided wholly by the pretty awesome ‘The Avett Brothers’