Out of My Own Skin

Today, I went out for dinner with my brothers bringing my Tulisan Green Grass Hobo Bag that holds my green Topshop wallet I had since 11th grade; my secondhand Samsung S5 my friend gave me, my mom’s Xiaomi Mi Power Bank; a Fujifilm QCam analog camera; a couple of fine-tipped pens; a USB drive I last used a couple weeks ago to print out my thesis draft; and  a peach nylon pouch that I used as a makeup bag.

The bag contains four things: Etude House Precious Mineral ‘Blooming Fit’ BB Cream that I got since my early college years from my mom, a knock off beauty blender I bought at Foodhall so that I can reach my credit card minimum purchase limit as I was trying to buy two packs of q-tip, Etude House Big Cover Tip Concealer in beige — the first piece of makeup I bought out of free will in Jakarta, and a Wet n Wild lipstick 507C ‘Blushing Ball’ that I got as a present from my friend as she got back from the United States. I used to have so much more, but it got lost along the way as I was too careless in keeping them.

So in the car, as my brothers are joking with one another I decided to put on a makeup. Why not? I used The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Face Mask earlier shower today. My skin should’ve been pretty cleared out and although a bit dry, it just feels like a good day to wear makeup as we’re going to a mall in the south of the town for dinner. So I applied my three set makeup with the help of my phone’s front camera. At first, it feels weird, it’s been weeks since I last wore makeup and even I can count the times I wear makeup this year with my two hands. I made sure to thin out my layer of BB cream by wiping the top off a bit with a dry tissue. I also got a reaffirmation from my brother that my makeup wasn’t too thick. Then I proceed with my dinner.

As I got home pretty full and now with a Starbucks venti Caramel Macchiato leftover, I changed my clothes to my usual nightwear: an oversized shirt and shorts that guaranteed have a couple of holes in them. I then walked to the bathroom, find my usual cleanser — Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener (I swear this post is not sponsored by any brand whatsoever, my mom just like to think that I am really accustomed to Etude House product and due to my low interest in beauty stuff I don’t care about it and I’ll just use whatever product my mom bought for me) with Watsons Embossing Cotton Puffs.

First wipe — oh, there’s less makeup residue than what I expected.

Second wipe — of course, there are more residues than one would expect.

Third wipe —  wow there’s still some here and there, is this cleanser even effective?

As I proceed on grabbing my fourth cotton puffs of the night I looked at myself in the mirror. Honestly, I did not look so different from the time I put on my makeup.

Obviously, my lips were not as pink and glossy, my neck became a tone darker, my acnes are now visible, my face got a bit red from all the rubbing.

But really, not a huge difference.

I made sure that I had my makeup completely off by proceeding with the fourth wipe. The same conclusion was made. I continued washing off my face using Mentholatum Acnes Creamy Wash that I have been using for the last month — not knowing who really bought it and for whom, it was just there inside my bathroom. To finish off everything I used Wardah Lightening Face Toner. There, there. So much effort is put to clean up makeup that barely looked there; the ‘natural look’.

And there I found that maybe that amount of makeup is enough for me. That maybe the mascara I bought in Rotterdam was actually unnecessary and whatever brand of eyeliner I used to have on my peach bag is not needed. Maybe every piece of makeup I have is not needed — for I looked the same and I feel the same. But then I realize it’s not actually the makeup result that I really liked; it’s just that the fact that I tried improving myself to be more presentable to the community standard. Yet at other times, I feel empowered.

Or maybe I just like to spend some time painting my own face, realizing some parts of my face that I liked and some I really don’t. That I like putting it when I feel like it and for most of the days being comfortable in my own skin. Even sometimes I put on makeup as a reminder to take care more of my skin — look at how much effort it takes to clean a thin layer of makeup compared to sleeping off the dirt on my face every night since I thought “oh I don’t put any makeup I don’t need to wash my face tonight”. Sometimes, talking about makeup products like talking about that new designer collection that you cannot afford is also fun and the experience of buying one is also exciting.

I remember the first time I bought a full set of makeup from Martha Tilaar counter in a department store nearest to my house and the cashier thought that I was preparing for a theater performance (it was not, I was actually joining a beauty class, FAILED miserably and realized that I got no potential to become a makeup artist). I remember the time my friend got so surprised to know that I recognize a lip tint palette from a picture of a packaging of an up and coming beauty brand. I also remember getting so confused when a friend asked me to help him to look for a good shade of lipstick for her mom at Tonymoly while I just knew right then that Tonymoly sells makeup and not shoes (LMAO). I also remember when my friend laughed at me for using Wardah as my go-to brand for skincare since she thought it was not ‘sophisticated’ enough. I also remember being so lost during the time my friends are talking about contour sticks and the time I was so proud of buying The Original Beautyblender that I immediately told my friend to “invest in one ASAP!!!”

Sometimes I feel like whenever someone suggested that I have to use makeup was to cover my ugliness, but I have to realize that sometimes people are just curious about my skin, what I would look like if ‘decorated’ with X product, or would I be willing to let people test their makeup skills on me. Of course, it’s different when I have other people put makeup on my face. It sometimes feels uncomfortable, but it is interesting to see how other see the nooks and crannies of my own face and how they either emphasize the good and hide the bad. Like a painter, each hand has a different touch and it is interesting to see yourself as the media but with your unique features and the makeup artist ideas coming into one.

From this, I have to teach myself that makeup does not define a person. “Oh, you like applying makeup? That’s cool. Oh, you don’t usually wear makeup? That’s cool. You look beautiful either with or without.” I also need to improve my makeup skills ’cause although I don’t plan to wear it often I have to at least look on point at the right moment. As for now I don’t think I’ll ever be so invested in makeup nor do I intend to wear makeup more often. I just come to appreciate it more on myself and especially by myself. For I can be beautiful inside my own skin as well as from the outside, and so are you.

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A House is Not a Home, But At Least I Want My Own

I’ve always wanted to have my own house. Painted with bright warm colors, big windows, wooden floorings topped with fluffy rugs, and ideally situated somewhere cold — and definitely will have air conditioning system installed. I would have a kitchen with uniformed-colored utensils, complete with an oven. There will be a long dining table nearby the kitchen island.

The color palette will be dominated by monochromatic colors with a little blue and yellow accents in some random spots. I’ll have a separate playroom decorated my favorite paintings and posters, a corner dedicated to my toy collections, a library filled with my collection of books and comics. Scattered around the room will be little souvenirs I got from my travels. I imagine my fridge displaying reminders and letters from loved ones and be full with my favorite food and drinks, and maybe I’ll have a specific counter for snacks.

Maybe not specifically a house. Maybe an apartment, a condo, a mansion, a palace, a gazebo. Maybe one room with my own personal bathroom is enough — even one without bath tubs, I can (compensate to) dream of.

Maybe all I want is to get out of the place I refer to as ‘home’ now.

Maybe all I want is a chance for solitude and get out of my shell at times I want.

Maybe all I want is independence. Since the 1st grade of elementary school. Funny, how one little girl can dream of leaving home that early. Funny, how that is the one dream that has always been constant.

I just don’t want to wake up to be wishing not to ever wake up again.

I just wish I can start my day positive, despite the negative things I have to accept everytime I wake up.

Maybe so that I will be accepted for my personality, not merely habits I have while I am unconscious.

Or maybe that it’s better just to stay asleep.

For I have been called a bastard, a demon-borne, an ungrateful kid — all for turning out to be the unideal homemaker.

And for it had been compensated with “love”, “care”, and money. But all of it no longer seems enough to hold me now.

I want to get out.

I want to have an ideal home. My dream home.

Or should I just turn into a demon?

Valuing Beauty

A couple days ago I met a friend, a guy my age who I have been friends with since almost four years ago. We were hanging out with a bunch of other people in a feast celebrating our friend’s birthday. We talked, we laughed, and before everything started we coincidentally bumped with one another in a corner of a mall.

The dinner ended pretty early (although not really in my book). The gang decided to continue on with the night playing pool while he excused himself to go back home early. Before he departed he said, “you look different”.

“Hm?” I replied.

“You… with your makeup. You look prettier,” he said.

“Wait, what. Are you messing with me?” I was honestly frazzled. I’m not used to this.

“Yeah… I want to say this earlier, but I don’t feel the timing was right. But yeah, you look different… prettier. I was strucked when we bounced to each other earlier. You with that dress, the heels, and the make up. I almost didn’t recognize you.”

That day I was wearing my favorite black knee-length dress that I think is appropriate for a casual get together, a 3-inch heels my mom told me to try out and test out since it’ll be the pair of shoes I’ll be wearing to my brother’s wedding next month. I was wearing a 2-year old BB cream that I store in my thin, pale makeup bag, added with a little bit concealer I just bought earlier this mont. I finish up with a layer of pink lipstick — although I’d usually prefer red, but I lost my lip pencil. I also didn’t have an eyeliner and my mascara-application skill is a mess that I decided not to apply any ink around my eyes. I forgot to wear my favorite dangling earrings that day — which I think is a huge missing piece in my look.

He still told me I look beautiful.

If this was our usual day with the bare-faced me, I will take it out as a friendly tease and would have started a banter, telling him to “shut up” and he would reply with a high-pitched laugh, knowing his flirtatious joke worked on me. But that night, I decided to take the compliment.

“Thank you,” I said. “It means a lot. I did put some work today.”

“I like it.”

“Yeah, especially since it’s rare to see me like this.” I bashfully tried to explain myself.

He nodded. Some of our friends are there and nodded.

I smiled.

For the second time in my life, I felt beautiful. For the second time in my life, I felt beautiful because of people’s justification. For the second time, the affirmation of self-beauty came from a guy. For I think those were sincere.

Or will I only feel validated if my beauty is reaffirmed by a guy?

Or that I can only be beautiful if I follow the society’s standard?

Or that I actually cared more about what people think than I think I do?

Or am I ever beautiful being myself?

And did I ever successfully convinced myself that I, myself, is enough?

Am I strong enough to embrace my own beauty?

Surviving the Big Durian

It comes to my attention when my two friends and I were discussing surviving living in the city of Jakarta and about the matter of privilege. We were first talking about how we would react to disruptive people in a public place. I said that I would always “rise my glasses and give them a deadly gaze”. We then conclude that it was one of my defense mechanism. We then proceed to discuss, what kind of survival skills we would need as we are living in a big metropolitan city such as Jakarta?

First, language. The three of us were enrolled in the international program of our university. Although Indonesian is our mother tongue, we also considered talking in a local accent as an advantage, how it helps us to sound more aggressive and even affect our personality. You can use a Betawi-like accent, Bataknese accent, or different accent and tones to make you sound a bit more familiar. A warning is that speaking in broken Indonesian when you’re an Indonesian will get you weird looks and some people may call you arrogant for simply being “too westernized”. Being able to speak proper Indonesian will also give you an advantage if you’re a foreigner in order to avoid scams or simply to get friendlier with a local. A local Jakartan would usually be excited to meet a foreigner and they will try to talk to you in broken English, referring to anyone with a blonde hair as a ‘Mister’. Imagine if you can respond back to them in Indonesian, they will all be so impressed and you’ll gain so much more respect. One time I was eating out with a German colleague in a traditional restaurant and he ordered an extra sambal in Indonesian. The waitstaff was so impressed we got a complementary dish.

Second, language (again). Aside from speaking Indonesian, being able to speak in Indonesian traditional language is also helpful — not just the accent. There were hundreds of traditional regional language but the common ones you can find in Jakarta are Javanese, Sundanese, Padangnese and a little bit of Hokkien Chinese will also be helpful. These are considering that there are many people migrated from the said area to Jakarta and many professions are dominated from those origins. I myself speak a little bit of Padangnese which is helpful in doing wholesale or when ordering in a Padangnese restaurant. Even referring to them in their language will really help to familiarize yourself with people in the certain environment in Jakarta, like referring to the vendor in Mangga Dua with “Cici” and “Koko” or greeting someone with a simple “Samlekum!” in Meruya can get you far. You would want to be seen as friendly and that you’ll be treated even friendlier by the people in the city. Learning an Indonesian traditional language as your third language will be as useful as being able to speak Spanish in the United States. You might think it’s unnecessary but it will actually get you far in life; at least in Indonesia. Also, speaking in traditional Indonesian in front of your Indonesian friend will also impress them too because frankly, not enough Jakartans appreciate their tradition and heritage to appreciate the importance of a traditional language.

Third, martial arts. I wouldn’t say this is necessary but with a good amount of street thugs around the corner of public places, having learned a martial art will be pretty helpful. But this goes for everywhere around the world. Some of the popular traditional art includes Pencak silat or joining Merpati Putih which you can pick it up in different places. My brother once enrolled to a Pencak silat class managed by a local mosque, when they are 28 years old. With the movie ‘The Raid’ being set in Jakarta, it has inspired many locals to learn traditional martial arts and at the same time made us all paranoid on the extent of how the local premans (street thugs) can intimidate us people that martial arts may seem necessary.

Fourth, dress appropriately. A majority of Jakartan are Muslims so most people will dress to close off their aurat (body parts that require clothing). Many women wore hijab as they go out, considering the population as well as how people value modest clothing here. One of the common way to dress it to use modest shirts and jeans. It is best to wear anything below the knee and tops that covers your shoulder. This is a tip on the most appropriate thing you can wear although in places like malls and modern cafés people are more open to a more casual fashion.

Fifth, say no, say yes — but say anything with confidence. Indonesian are famous for being hospitable yet at the same time passive. Be assertive and it will protect you from many things, including during the time you haggle or negotiate for a parking space you’d find closed off by an orange cone. You can either ask a good polite request or give out assertive questions to people in this town. But remember to always be respectful and respect your elders. Most people in this town are pretty conservative so it is important to be mindful of others.

Learn as many things as you can before you go around because it will be best to know how to get around things here to avoid shady people — it’s the basic thing you have to know before you simply go anywhere. Knowing standard retail prices, knowing the local emergency number, knowing the basic route of the city’s public transportation will be a good place to start. And once you’re sure, go ahead. Jakarta is not as scary as you might think and once you got through all of its layers, you will be greeted in one of the most welcoming people you’ll ever know. We’re all pretty crazy, and you can always be crazy with us. Communalism is the value that was held very dearly here, so if you’re welcome to the idea of the Big Durian, you’ll sure enjoy the smell, the taste and the experience provided in this crowded city.

A Thank You Note

It’s been a week ever since myself and my 17 friends-cum-teammates finalizes our final performance for the Criminal Law in Practice class. After months of practicing our moot, writing up documents, summarizing cases, tons of readings, arguments, one visit to the emergency room, 20 pans of pizza and bottomless coke, we’re finally done. We sum it up with the two-hour session of karaoke, three birthday cakes, and one big pot of sukiyaki for each and every one of us.

And then entered a new month; our group work is done, only the group chat remains. Group pictures and embarrassing photos of the member filled the chat album. From what begun as a group of 9 guys and 9 girls from two different social circles came into one to act out an adaptation of the prosecution of a notable case in Indonesia. I act up as a co-leader to the group and were playing the character of the convict. It first begun as all fun and game, continued with perpetual stress and then ended up with a big sigh of relief and remained a nickname for myself, “Mami”.

A week has passed and I don’t remember clearly the legal theories we had all used, but I remember all the jokes we made — be it funny, corny or borderline offensive. Funny how even now we boasted our group dynamics despite the different personalities in the group. We may all have personal vendettas to one another and as a group, we have common rivalries but all and all it ended up in laughter.

One of the members asked me, “Would you like to change something?”. Thinking deep my answer should’ve been a yes, but as of now I only wish that we have a variety of examiner present during our moot. But then again, maybe this is enough. And for it, thank you.

May we continue on this budding friendship of 18.

#AkhirnyaMamiSenang

A Talk on the Aged and Old

I spent a whole Thursday with my friends, some of her cousins and friends of her cousins to a local theme park. The party consists of four 20-year olds, two tweens and four teenagers. We spent the day planning on screaming our lungs out while trying different rides on the park. But there’s a condition: I’m a scaredy cat. The thing is, every single of my friends who are my age are the same.

It’s not only our apprehension to height, speed, swings and twists that held us back, but our fatigue kicked in and even one of my friend uses his ‘rising cholesterol level’ as a reason to back out of rides. Us, the 20-year olds, spent most of our time eating (we ate at three restaurants and bought multiple snacks on the go) as being on the rides are too scary for our mentality and to our physique: the pounding heart, the anxiousness, the headache. While we were complaining and sitting out our rides, the youngsters rode the roller coaster multiple times in a row and asked for more while laughing, maybe at us for being a coward.

It is then when we raise the question, “are we old?” Entering an age number that are now wholly different, we felt the pressure we had never felt before. And what is to blame? Our age. The number. If we were on the edge of being 19, what will be blamed is the condition that “we’re not feeling it” — but aging seems to be a better excuse by the time we entered the big two-o’s, a defining new age.

Both amazement and jealousy went through our mind: how can the youngsters be so energetic? It is ironic as we should’ve been enjoying our times spending a good effort on fun activities with our supposedly youthful energy. Yet the chance to have something to blame on becomes a good excuse. Maybe in reality we’re just too lazy, too unenthusiastic, or annoyed with the child-spirited vibe coming off of a theme park. Or instead our screw got loose and being less daring comes out of the fact that we are more aware of risks and consequences, be it a part of growing up.

This is just a written concern coming from the four of us, which we thought of while enjoying a portion of beef bowl in the conditioned room while the teens and tweens are running around having another try of a tower-drop ride. This is so bothersome, but we had already spent a whole lot energy screaming our lungs out during the time we rode a boat through a doll house.

Is getting old(er) a truly scary thing?

2015: Year in Review

2015 went in a blast. This is my year in review.

  1. January: spent my celebrating the new year at my hotel room in a hotel at Jerusalem while wondering about the political safety between the tension of Palestine and Israel. Was pretty inspired by Jordan and thankful for its weather. Finished my Omra trip and thankful for the opportunity to see the holy places and for getting a good dose of traveling experience.
  2. February: finally going to Yogyakarta for the first time with my parents and my dad’s siblings. Started my fourth semester and at the same time is focusing on my blog: journaldelajournee.blogspot.com and caught up with my high school friends. Legit does not understand anything about the lectures I’ve taken.
  3. March: the least productive month. I cannot recall anything much from this month except for being so frazzled in the midst of bad organizational structure of a particular committee.
  4. April: got hospitalized for appendicitis and had to miss the first mid-term test of the semester and feeling grateful for it. Was involved in an event which I’m not very proud about, but it is a good lesson for saying ‘no’.
  5. May: my brother turned seventeen, which is a big deal. Began taking care of my physical fitness (but not really). Finally catching up for a lot more time with my campus friends.
  6. June: finals coming in and was pretty frantic, was posting the least amount of post within that month. Began the month of Ramadhan, however, was inflicted as I don’t feel very spiritual about it this year. Began taking up new responsibility on an event.
  7. July: learned so much about legal studies with my seniors, and was pretty upset for the fact that I don’t have enough comprehension as my peer on the major I’m pursuing. On another note, finally earned my first commission from blogging. Celebrated one of the (what I felt) the most festive Ied al-Fitr with my family and were very thankful of the long break from school. Regretted not taking an internship, but I know that I was not ready.
  8. August: getting back on the groove of being an MC and is an amazing confidence booster. Getting a lot more serious with my classes as semester 5 began. An awesome month with good food, good company, good spirit. Met a lot of new people and learned so much. Begun sending out postcard as a new hobby.
  9. September: went to my first concert in YEARS and enjoyed my heart out. Finally going out to more event, whether alone or with others and appreciated more Jakarta scenery.
  10. October: had one of the worst birthday ever. The month pass by so slowly and left no good impression. The first published version of this post even forgot to include the month October on the list as it was so unremarkable. This also becomes a reminder that I’m now a grown adult in my 20s, but being older, I weirdly embrace my more child-like interests and became more expressive after an emotional breakdown. My friends said it’s a good thing for the timid me, but I don’t know.
  11. November: Finally got a knack of Go-Jek’s Go-Food as I had so many take outs. Finally feling good about being in a law school. Hosted one of the funnest event. Spent too much money but I got all its worth on books, foods and experiences. Begun writing stories again and felt super inspired.
  12. December: done with fifth semester and were very chill about finals (I don’t know whether it is a good or a bad sign) and pretty busy preparing for a winter program in South Korea due to uncooperative campus administrative system. Pretty excited for the new year which I know I’ll be spending at home because I don’t like staying out late. Ha!

What I wish I would do more in the following year:

  • To watch a lot more movies. I missed out so many blockbusters and local film in 2015.
  • To practice taking more pictures.
  • To write and write more.
  • To take independent classes outside campus.
  • To learn more language.
  • To earn my own money.
  • To gain professional experiences.
  • To edit more films.
  • To study effectively.
  • To be more and more inspired!
  • To be more committed to exercising (and… diet)
  • To have more fun.
  • To stay ever grateful.
  • To nurture my spirituality.

Now I’m pretty excited to welcome 2016! How about you, what is your 2015 in review? :-)

A Little Rant from An Old Friend

It was November 21st where I got a bunch of notifications from multiple people asking me the same question: “Have you watched Digimon Tri? What do you think about it?” Being an avid Digimon fan since the year 2000, had finished the whole animes for multiple times and despite never being into the games except some few, my friends would share their excitement with me when it comes to Digimon. I cried when I heard Toei Animation announced they’re making Digimon Adventure Tri — a new installment which follows the continuation of Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure Zero Two, set in 2005 where the kids had become teenagers.

By that very date, my trackpad actually broke that I panicked for not being able to watch the first movie of the six-part OVA (or the four episode specials, for us international viewer) as soon as possible. Then it comes to the time when I finally begun to watch in anticipation. Wada Kouji’s new rendition of Butterfly began and I also began to cry. This is it: they’ve grown up. All of us grew up and this is the little present from them to me, to allow me to see them and caught up to them. I wrote this post as I am listening to the Digimon Adventure soundtrack playing on my iTunes. This feels so dear to my heart, but the thing is after the first movie, Digimon Tri does not make me feel nostalgic. There I said it.

Taichi (or Tai, whatever you want to call him) grew up to someone that I do not longer recognize. Sure he still plays soccer, sure he still has a crazy hair, sure he had his goggles tact to his neck. But the moment we all see him so indecisive about his future, the scene in which we see he reluctantly began to put an offense to defend his own friends and city, the moment he hid his emotion a bit too well that he became a recluse. He became so out of character that this development can almost be considered offensive. I can totally see Daisuke (Davis) having such dilemma as it is just his character, but Taichi? Really? This is our future diplomat and knowing Taichi, he should’ve had the ambition to become a prime minister already. The only moment we saw him that vulnerable is only before Agumon evolves to Skullgreymon and that the circumstances made sense. If Taichi kept on acting that way, I won’t be surprised if Skullgreymon appears a few more times.

The character development department of Yamato (Matt) is also a bit lacking — it is as if he is the same Yamato we knew on Digimon Adventure and that Zero Two is just a dream. Compare Zero Two’s Yamato to the Tri. It is as if he hasn’t matured enough; and that he has no chill and incapable of laughing. Some of his acts were also would be more suitable for Taichi, as Yamato is supposed to be the cool one. The relationship between the characters had become so loose and it is sad to see that Yamato has to remind Taichi of their adventure in the DigiWorld as if it is nothing. His brother, Takeru (T.K.) had grown up and gotten boring. Is it just simply the consequence of growing up, to become boring?

The only characters that I think still true to the first two installments are Mimi and Koushiro (Izzy). Mimi being her sassy self is always a refreshment. Koushiro always been a nerd and it’s funny that still no one listen to him blabbing about the distortion in the Digiworld. Their hinted romance is so cute that it became one of the few things that might save this whole series. It is sad that Mimi-Koushiro is a thing and Takeru-Hikari ship are not hinted to sail. It’s like everyone’s OTP ever since the start.

Joe is a dick, as usual. It’s so sad to see him not coming to join his friends to save the world alongside with Gomamon, especially knowing that he had once missed a test to save Iori with his crest of honesty/responsibility that I think is just a meaningless title as for now. Sora, our future fashion designer who is now stuck in a love triangle dresses very poorly and still have a bad case of helmet hair. God save her. Maybe its the character design that I don’t like as a whole, but this is just sad.

The new character, Meiko is cute and so far likable. Her partner Digimon is the right balance of cute and coolness which I really look forward to. The secret organization stuff is just weird and would only make sense if the world does not freak out. I mean, remember who saved y’all from Devimon? You watched the whole trippy fights from the human world and now you’re acting surprised? As if. Go ask your local DigiDestined for consultation as they’re spread all around the world. Or are we just going to forget Zero Two at all? Even the main DigiDestined of Digimon Adventure Zero Two were only seen in a short, mysterious and dark clips that don’t give us anything.

I really hope that Digimon Adventure Tri get better by the long shot. The Digimon overall looked as cool as ever although Agumon gotten so skinny that we wonder, had he been playing in too many episodes. I hope these characters come to their senses, as the series is really about the Digimon and the DigiDestined. I am this protective as they had been such a friend since I was little and they deserve some dignity.

Should I really start writing my own fan fiction to fix this mess?

A Dilemma of a Gryffindor

It was a Thursday afternoon, my friends and I were waiting for the class to begin as we were discussing out Pottermore’s Hogwart’s House assignment. My friend who had yet taken the test by the o-glorious Sorting Hat claimed that she’s positive she will be a Hufflepuff. Another one were proudly announcing that she’s a Slytherin. Then the two of them suggest another friend to join Pottermore in order to take the Sorting Hat quiz, assuring her that she’s ‘totally a Ravenclaw’ which my friend were excited about. Before I admit myself being sorted a Gryffindor, my Hufflepuff-per-sé friend said that “Good thing we’re not Gryffindors! They are soo boring!” Being the supposedly brave character that I was destined – or um, sorted into, I tried to neutralize the conversation that everyone is special as they are despite their assortment. In a Divergent-esque argument, I said that you can be ambitious, resourceful, brave and be knowledgeable at the same time to ease the tension in a true Hufflepuff fashion (ha! Ironic). I was ashamed that I cannot bravely pronounce that I am a Gryffindor at the time.

“But still, Gryffindor sucks. They had always been perceived as a hero as if we are nothing.” Now, this looks more like a political analysis by the left wing, but I cannot say that they were wrong. J.K. Rowling, a Hufflepuff, had written the book beautifully but only in the perspective of a Gryffindor. They are valued for whatever charm (not a pun to Professor Flitwick’s Charms class) they have that is carried out their bravery while other characters from other houses seemed one-dimensional. The friendship circle was also seen as if each circle belongs only exclusively to one house while inter-house friendship is overshadowed by the great amount of rivalry between the houses in getting their name recognized for the House Cup.

I’ve only read the Harry Potter series last year, I finished the seven books in a month nearing my mid-term tests. I had always been a fan of the franchise, I watched the fourth to the last movie on the first day of its release in Indonesia – but nowhere as devoted as other Potterheads which I respect and admire. Prior to the official test on Pottermore, I always saw myself as a Ravenclaw due to my nerdiness and strike of elegance. I always saw Gryffindor as the vaguest house on the book; anyone can be brave due to different circumstances and on different times. But qualities like being knowledgeable, loyal and ambitious seemed like an eternal quality that makes the owner stand out. Gryffindor character seemed interchangeable as their bravery seemed to be a temporary struggle. We never see a Ravenclaw struggling to learn, a Slytherin self-doubting, and a Hufflepuff questioning the value of loyalty. But they can all be brave.

As a Gryffindor, I haven’t seen myself and my bravery being my greatest characteristic of power. But everyone can be a hero by their own terms regardless their House background, and sticking to the stereotype can only limit your mind. Maybe this is just a test as old as the Myers-Briggs, or really it is a true test of your potential. But don’t treat Gryffindor any less as we don’t want to be treated more. Or maybe the rest are just jealous of many of us taking the spotlight.

Again, jk.

J.K. Rowling.

(P.S. My Hufflepuff friend taught me that lame pun)

“You’re Going to Be a Good Lawyer”

It’s been two years since I attend my university to pursue a law degree. As a future Bachelor of Law (LL.B ) or as what we call it here as Sarjana Hukum it is expected that I should have found an interest in law just like what I thought I had in high school. Fighting for justice while obtaining a great range of knowledge in the midst of beautiful literature translated within the laws. Yet I feel uninspired and it made me – I mean, it still makes me believe that I wasn’t good enough for this career. I envy those who had a dream, who had learned hard enough until they found voices that guide them to their dreams, or at least voices that tell them that they have a dream. I have not got it.

Until the second week of my fifth semester, during Conflict of Laws class. It was amongst jokingly discussing my professor’s ethnic background (he challenged us, by the way) due to his racial ambiguity that he finally point out a question: “how do you prove that you are of a particular ethnical background?” Two students before me took an opportunity to present their argument, another one was left stunned. The professor then pointed his finger at me.

“You, what is your name?”

“Selena, sir.”

“Oh! Are you Italiano?” he took a guess upon hearing my name.

I can only slowly shook my head as everyone else in class giggled on his absurd remarks.

“So where are you from then?

“My parents are Padangnese.”

The lecturer for the fourth time asked the same question, now to me.

“Umm.. you can see my parents’ wedding photograph?” My answer sounded more like a challenge than anything else. He responded with another challenge: “What else?” he asked, which I answered that I have a family house back in West Sumatra to prove him. He then laughed and shook his finger upside down. Whether it’s pity, shock, or just pure surprise that an answer like that came up. True that it’s not exactly a good legal basis – but a somewhat unxpected reasoning.

“I can tell that you’re going to be a good lawyer.”

Then someone comes at the door which resulted in my professor to kick him out of the class for not respecting the class punctuality. His remarks end there, with him apologizing for the disturbance and just continued his lecture on the importance of evidence. But boy, I shed a tear within that moment. It was the first time I was recognized in a way where my potential are valued specifically in the field of law. Such sentence, a short compliment from a person I respect had changed my perspective that I can do it, I can face law school, I can be good at something, I can achieve greatness. All from a professor who was so impressed of that one answer regarding a photograph.

I don’t care that the moment was disturbed, or that no one else heard that remark. Just that alone however becomes an amazing motivation that assures me that I’m on the right path, there’s something in me that I shall believe, I am not dysfunctional.

Funnily enough before writing this post and upon hearing my lecturer’s remark, I was about to write a post titled ‘Regret on Entering Law School’. Now I realize I was just desperate for an acknowledgment and an encouragement. Although now I had not catalyzed a dream which I am sure of, I believe that I can find it someday. Maybe in law, maybe in something else. But I have to be sure that I can be good at it. And you have too.