a fragment of losing the battle and leaving the comfort
“If one day you could get something tattooed on your skin, what would it be?” he muttered loudly in the midst of the rush-hour noise, traffic, and bustle somewhere on Bangka road
“Memento mori” I promptly responded
“Explain it to me,”
“It’s just a reminder that we’re all going to die eventually, so cherish every moment we have right now.”
Every beginning has paired with an ending. On coming and leaving, it never gets easier each time. Never crossed in me that I would be imprisoned in this chaotic, gigantic concrete jungle, but it turns out to be the best escape plan I’ve ever thought of. Every part of this city was full to the brim with the pace, sweat, energy, and hope they brought with them on each walk.
Reciting from Ika Natassa, “Jakarta is not a city, it’s a book full of stories”
Indeed. Jakarta holds every secret that we had, hidden beneath the rushes and pollution or muffled by the horns of passing cars. Jakarta redefines you in every way. Once you were engaged in it, it changed every aspect of you, and you could never go back to being the same person. Nonetheless, this metropolis shows us how tough we can be. It’s like you were trapped in a bubble that forced you to exert the best survival skill you have and I find myself discovering how far I could be with the decision I made.
All the memories come flooding back write this. They overlapped each other; the midnight tour from Central to South, evening run, cafe-hopping, aimless walk, and bus ride home, the faces I passed every single day. It took me several months, to finally realize this city was gonna be my top-tier escape room. And the decision to leave this city, for good, had drowned me in pieces.
It was perhaps the worst three months before leaving when I had my hardest time. I began to question why things should be this way, why I don’t even have the ability to make my own decisions, and why I had to return to my hometown when I could live my best life here. The debate is inevitable each time I had my phone call with my mom. As the minutes went by, my ego began to alter me into the most ignorant person I could be. I pictured myself running at the best pace, ever when that unbearable chest pain hits every time thoughts of leaving popped up on a fine evening and screwed myself as I running from this decision, staring blankly at people passing by, and going back home since the feeling felt easier somehow. The pills of reality getting harder to swallow since I lost my reasons to stay. Getting closer to my graduation date and starting my job-search era which resulting nothing, and anything I thought could be the reason to stay here, they left.
I became more pragmatic during the next two months. To think that I’m the eldest daughter and the fact spending more time at home wouldn’t be so horrible. I had to look after this family, and being a thousand kilometers away would only add more reasons to stress them out. Or am I naively looking for ways to lighten up my walk to leaving this city(?) I don’t know, it just.. I was being too hard on everything and poisoning my mind.
The remaining time was spent feeling more content and grateful. I began capturing every little detail of my room, the road I traveled on, the flavor of my favorite food, the bitter aftertaste of my favorite local coffee, bringing closure to the people, things, and moments I once had, checking every item off my wishlist of places to visit, strolling this city, and spending the finest possible time with my friends. The war within me began to quiet down, and I found myself both lost and winning at the same time. The morning I leave, I had anticipated myself breaking down, yet everything felt so light. As the flap went out and the wheels of the plane went up, I knew it has come to an end.
I realized what I learned during the hard phase is I became vulnerable with acceptance. The time that goes by doesn’t cure me, acceptance does. Shedding layers that muddied your idea of who you think you are. The process of “grounding” my ego, re-arranging priorities, and letting every situation and life decision be what it is instead of what I think it should be and making the best of it.
And luckily, i survived.