Monday, August 8, 2016

Fanfiction 2.0

A Proud Fangirl.
Pada jamannya, kalimat tersebut sempat gue sematkan dimana-mana dengan bangga. Mendadak menjadi bagian dari identitas gue. I know right, dasar generasi Y, suka sekali kasih-kasih cap di jidat sendiri.
But then again, a proud fangirl was once became the most representative way to described myself. The year was 2009 and I was in a serious relationship with some of hottest guys on the planet, a boy group guys.
Walaupun kalau mau dikilas balik, gue sudah berstatus fangirl jauh sebelum itu. Dan bahkan bukan sekedar fangirl yang belakangan ini lengket dengan artian penggemar dari sebuah kelompok musik dan tari—yang kalau gue pikir-pikir lagi, sungguh lebih tepat disebut groupie. But a true fangirl, the nerd and geeky kind of fangirl... I have a hardcore feeling towards Harry Potter, Star Wars, and a bunch of other likely items. I still do, actually. Until the very second of now.

Mungkin, cetusan soal sekali fangirl akan selalu fangirl itu memang benar adanya. Maybe it'll stay forever in our blood, sebagai suatu hal yang pelan-pelan kita tinggalkan seiring bertambahnya umur dan drama di dunia nyata sehari-hari. Tapi begitu sewaktu-waktu the memory, the hysteria somewhat triggered by something, the feeling is still there dan kemudian kita akan menghabiskan berjam-jam berikutnya bernostalgia, merasakan kembali excitement dan terheran-heran, kok bisa sih dulu gue secinta itu sama sesuatu yang kurang penting begini?
Menyesal nggak? Itu pertanyaan berikutnya yang pasti akan terlintas kalau membicarakan kebodohan-kebodoh fangirling di masa dulu. Dengan lantang gue akan jawab: no, not even a little bit. I was embraced the fangirl title like a proud armor once, dan masa itu adalah salah satu fase terbaik dalam hidup gue.

Beberapa hari yang lalu—atau malah sudah lewat beberapa minggu, ya...... Okay, beberapa waktu yang lalu, gue dan Je sempat menyisihkan waktu untuk acara rutin nginep-nginepan kita. And we ended up not sleeping at all, perkaranya adalah karena keisengan Je buka-buka blog lama kita yang isinya adalah fanfiction jaman dulu! Yes, we did used to wrote a fanfiction! Bahkan menceritakannya disini saja membuat gue tertawa ngakak.
Jadi alkisah, dulu sekali... di tahun-tahun awal gue dan Je mulai berteman dekat, di atas berbagai macam perbedaan, kami menemukan persamaan yang bisa dibilang menjadi salah dua "lem" yang membuat gue dan Je merasa sejiwa dan sehati hingga sekarang; kami sama-sama senang membaca dan menulis. Tentu saja bukan hanya dua hal itu yang mengawali kebodohan dan kehebohan kami dulu, ada satu persamaan lagi (at least, persamaan pada saat itu) yaitu kami sedang sama-sama demam kokoreaan. I said kokoreaan here because I'm far too ashamed to said the word K-Pop. I'm so sorry.
Jadi kala itu, gue dan Je dengan segala visi-misi canggih nan mulia kami yang gue sudah tidak ingat bagaimana ceritanya bisa mencapai kesepakatan untuk team up dan menulis sebuah fanfiction berjudul Princess Stories. AAAAAK. Dari judulnya saja sudah ketebak kalau ceritanya akan super duper cringe worthy.
Kenapa bawa-bawa Princess? Karena salah satu drama Korea favorit gue dan Je adalah Goong alias Princess Hours, tayang sekitar tahun 2006an. Drama dengan setting fiktif, circumstancing a make-believe story about South Korea as a constitutional monarchy semacam di Inggris sana. Dan catatan saja, gue dan Je adalah the masters of copycat kalau dalam urusan tulis-menulis fanfiction. Well, nggak 100% tiru-tiru tentu saja, but we indeed (for several times) ripped of some of our favorite scenes in various Korean drama—and other television series too, if I'm not mistaken, baik lokal maupun interlokal. Cerita yang kemudian kami olah dan kami selipkan di bagian-bagian strategis fanfiction kami.
Kok bangga sih kalian, itu kan berarti kalian nggak original? Ladies and gentlemen, it's a fanfiction after all. Sesuatu yang kami tulis sebagai bentuk kecintaan kami upon everything kokoreaan. Baik kulturnya, makanannya, tempatnya, musiknya, dramanya, dan tentu saja orang-orangnya.

Gue dan Je lalu menghabiskan berjam-jam berikutnya membaca ulang bab demi bab dalam cerita jadul kami itu. Kemudian kami mendapati satu fakta yang mengagetkan, we actually did a pretty good job writing the fanfiction. Mengingat itu adalah pertama kalinya kami menulis bareng, dengan kemampuan menulis yang pas-pasan pula. Tapi setelah dibaca ulang bertahun-tahun kemudian... it was a gooood fanfiction! Bahkan di beberapa bagian, it was very good. Terlalu bagus sampai-sampai kami heran sendiri, "Kok bisa sih kita nulis kaya gitu? Like, hooooow??" Jawaban yang dihasilkan dari hasil ngobrol lama ternyata sangat sederhana, karena kami menulis dengan hati.
Do not underestimate the power of fans, man. Fangirl maupun fanboy, apapun itu yang mereka idolakan, punya superpower ajaib yang bisa membuat mereka sanggup melakukan apa saja dan itu adalah fakta. Makanya banyak fans di luar sana yang terlalu cinta tapi salah kaprah, membuat aktivitas fangirling dan fanboying mereka terkesan lebay dan sangat amat nggak penting, sangat amat nggak masuk akal juga.
Acara ngobrol gue dan Je berlanjut—dan pada saat itu kalau nggak salah, waktu sudah menunjukkan pukul 4 pagi. Pertanyaan baru tercetus, "Kita masih bisa nggak ya nulis sebagus dan serinci itu sekarang?" Yang kemudian dijawab, "Heyyy... Kenapa nggak?!" Dan itu, teman-teman, adalah detik dimana gue dan Je akhirnya memutuskan untuk memulai Project Fanfiction 2.0!
Eh, tapi kan kita sudah nggak update sama kokoreaan lagi? Itu adalah hal yang baru terpikiran oleh gue dan Je belakangan. Karena memang begitulah adanya. Faktor umur, faktor kesibukan, dan faktor hilang feeling membuat kami mulai meninggalkan Korean-lalaland sejak lama. Well, lebih ke gue sih yang sudah total tobat dari keseruan itu. Agaknya hal-hal berbau kokoreaan yang masih lumayan sering gue lakukan sekarang cuma sesekali mendengarkan lagu-lagunya, sesekali ngikutin kabar terbaru SHINee, dan sesekali lunch di Korean restaurant favorit gue. That's it.
Or so I thought. Sampai tiba-tiba gue nyeletuk—entah dapat ide dari mana pula, "Je, kita walaupun sekarang bukan K-Popers lagi tapi kan kita K-Pop...corn!"
Kemudian hening. Kemudian, "HAHAHA IYAAAAA!" Sahut Je. Indeed, gue dan Je masihlah penggemar berat segala jenis Korean drama. Get it? K-Popcorn? karena sambil kita nonton, we eat popcorn. So world, here comes the new branch of K-Enthusiast: the popcorn. :D

With that, the new deal was sealed. We're going to write yet another fanfiction! Yay! An adult installment dari fancition kita yang terdahulu.
Who's we gonna write about? We're not gonna tell. Let the imaginary becomes our little secret and we'll let YOU decide which Korean hotties yang muncul di kepala kalian saat tokoh-tokoh itu mengalir di cerita kami. Fun isn't it? Gue sebenarnya sudah nggak sabar untuk memulai menulis chapter pertama gue. Tapi kesibukan gue dan Je masih menghalangi kami untuk brainstorming lebih lanjut, let alone start writing. But soon, I promise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Avid (Electronic) Reader

I'm a fool for breakthrough in technology. There, I said it.
Kalau benar di masa depan dunia bakal terancam oleh serangan para robot yang pada dasarnya adalah hasil penemuan dan pengembangan teknologi oleh manusia sendiri, gue mungkin adalah salah satu yang bakal masuk ke perangkap mereka duluan. Easily because 60% aspects of my life wouldn't be able to function normally without technology, gadget, and the parts.
Dan memang tidak bisa dipungkiri betapa perkembangan teknologi sekarang ini sangat mempengaruhi keseharian kita. Baik maupun buruknya.
Salah satu bentuk kemajuan teknologi yang bisa dibilang paling banyak merubah pola hidup gue adalah terobosan yang bernama eBook Reader. Memang sih, nothing beat nikmatnya hunting buku beneran di toko buku, thrift store, atau bahkan perpustakaan. Tapi gue adalah segelintir orang yang pada akhirnya lebih sering memilih buku dalam bentuk elektronik dibanding bentuk fisiknya—yang rata-rata gue beli setelah gue membaca versi eBook-nya, lalu karena bukunya exceptionally great akan gue beli buku aslinya buat koleksi.


I'm a tidak-ada-hari-tanpa-bacaan kind of person. The anxiety of having no book to read is real, I told you. Jadi memang gue cenderung selalu membeli buku dengan jumlah yang tidak seimbang dengan kemampuan membaca gue—bukan karena nggak bisa membaca cepat, tapi karena sulit menemukan waktu luang untuk membaca supaya lekas selesai.
Sistem yang gue terapkan adalah to read at least a chapter a day, dengan cara begitu gue minimal bisa menyelesaikan satu buku dalam satu bulan. And since reading a book is a pretty relaxing activity for me, gue biasa membaca buku sebagai penghantar tidur.


Then again, why read an eBook? Because I find it work for me.
Gue adalah tukang coret-coret buku, jadi fitur highlight dan block-note di eReader berguna sekali untuk gue. Gue tukang baca buku gelap-gelap, the main reason why my eye sight is getting worse by day. Gue juga pelupa, entah berapa banyak buku gue yang terselip entah dimana dan/atau yang dipinjam orang tapi nggak balik. Tapi dengan eReader, nggak ada lagi cerita gue kehilangan buku. Dan alasan favorit gue adalah how I can order any book from the tip of my finger. Open the apps, place order and pay the price, downloading it in less than three minutes, and read it right away! So practical.

Of course, ada kalanya gue rindu dengan bau khas buku yang memabukkan itu. Biasanya kalau sudah begitu I take a break from my gadget dan membaca ulang koleksi buku-buku fisik gue. Atau kalau sedang ada waktu dan ada uang lebih, I will make a trip to the book store, buy one or two real books once in a while.
Whatever it is, yang penting adalah budayakan membaca, apapun bentuk bacaannya... buku fisik, eBook, even audio book—yang kadang gue sendiri juga lakukan, kalau mata sedang berat, I prefer to let the mysterious voice on my reader apps telling the story for me, and it's fun too.
" I like the best to have one book in my hand, and a stack of others on the floor beside me, so as to know the supply of poppy and mandragora will not run out before the small hours. "
Dorothy Parker, The Collected Dorothy Parker

Saturday, June 18, 2016

We Owe It To Ourselves To Be This Kind of Woman

I'm kind of in the mood of sharing inspiration/self-love stuff lately—as you may already noticed. And this particular article from Thought Catalog is definitely need to be read by more people, it is THAT important. 
Since I was a child, I always am the stand-tall-alone type of girl. I'm not a big fan of the obligation to get attached to other people for whatever reason. No, not because I'm anti-social. I simply just enjoy my own company more.
The following points in this article are basically sum up how it feels like to be that kind of person. And yes, we do owe it to ourselves to be this kind of woman.

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WE NEED TO BE COMFORTABLE IN  OUR OWN SKIN
This may not come naturally to you at first, and that is okay. It might take years of conscious practise on your part, to eventually feel confident and comfortable with who you really are at the very core. But take that time, and be sure to get yourself there. You owe it to your heart and your soul to honour them, always. And don’t ever let anyone make you feel as though you won’t be accepted for who you are. If you feel the need to make changes and to better yourself, please do, as long as you are making those changes for you, and for nobody else.

WE MUST BE CONFIDENT SAYING YES, AND SAYING NO
Never, ever, do anything to solely please somebody else. If saying yes makes you happy, then say it. If saying no will make you happier, then say it. Don’t hesitate. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have a high level of choice and freedom in the way you lead your life, and the choices you are able to make daily. You’re one of the lucky ones. Don’t ever willingly hand over your gift of freedom to somebody else. Compose yourself, decide what you want, and express that decision with confidence. Never feel guilty for doing what feels right, or for who you are in this moment. You don’t owe anyone a dime.

WE NEED TO BE GRACEFUL WHEN WE ARE WRONGED
Our defence mechanism will instinctively raise our guards, and prepare us for war when we believe we are coming under attack. But as the saying goes, an eye for an eye will only end up making the whole world blind. Hitting back in anger will not undo what was done to us. And it cannot, and will not, make us feel better in the long run. Distance yourself from those who continually choose to bruise you. Don’t tarnish yourself with the toxic paint from someone else’s brush. You were born with the strength to rise above it. Turn the other cheek, and don’t waste another precious one of your thoughts or seconds on the way others choose to behave. That is none of your business. Don’t choose to make it so. Continue to carry yourself with the grace and integrity that you always have done.

WE NEED TO BE, ALWAYS, KIND TO EVERYBODY
Kindness is possibly the most important one of all. A true act of kindness can only come from someone who carries a good heart. Anyone can have a good heart, so long as they choose it. If ever you find yourself at rock bottom with seemingly nothing to offer; know that you will always find the gift of kindness residing within you, ready to pour out of your soul, and into the lives of others. Whichever path you choose to take, be sure to be kind to everyone you meet along your way, including those who can do nothing for you. You will meet them all again, someday.
But don’t forget to be kind to yourself. We are often our own worst critics, and tend to dwell on mistakes, and not pay nearly enough attention to all of our successes and triumphs. All of us could do with a sprinkle of kindness on each of our days. You never know the kind of day that somebody else might be having. Your words or actions might just be everything they are desperately seeking.

WE NEED TO BE AWARE THAT OUR BEAUTY IS FAR MORE THAN OUR LOOKS
We know that all of our looks will begin to fade one day. We know. Yet we choose to side-line this knowledge. We place such high importance on the physical appearance of ourselves and of others; quietly knowing that it shouldn’t matter, but somehow finding that is still does. We often discount the real, hidden beauty that can be found within. Ask yourself, if everybody was blind, how many people would you really impress? Start by bettering yourself from the inside, and the outside will follow in turn.
When it comes to relationships, don’t make the vain mistake of choosing the person who is the most beautiful, choose the person who makes your world the most beautiful place that you can imagine. And know that the you right now is beautiful, regardless of if anyone sees your beauty or not. Just because something cannot be seen, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Trust me when I tell you, people will always be able to feel it.

WE NEED TO BE BRAVE WHEN WE ARE SCARED
The feeling of being afraid is a good one, because it reminds us we are all human and not a damn single one of us is invincible. It reminds us that we are alive. It reminds us that we are so very small and fragile. Sometimes you will feel a little fragile. Maybe a whole lot fragile. But know that fear is merely a hologram; an image we conjure up ourselves from the darkest depths of our souls.
Battle your way through the fear, and confront the voices in your head that will always be there trying to convince you that you are worthless and incapable of greatness. The more times you do anything, the easier it becomes. You will probably look back a year later, and wonder what the hell you were so scared of in the first place. It’s just life. Don’t find yourself at the end of it wishing you had challenged yourself more, pushed yourself harder, worried less, and taken more risks.

WE NEED TO BE HAPPY FOR OTHER WOMEN'S SUCCESSES
Hating her won’t make you feel, or do, any better. Jealousy doesn’t suit you anything like happiness does. And what you need to know, is that having what she has won’t truly make you happy, because you are not her. Her path is so very different to yours. Your needs and deepest desires are innate to you, and only you.
We need to lift each other’s spirits up high, send out the warmest of wishes, and embark on our own journeys of success. When you radiate genuine kind and positive thoughts, those are what you shall receive back from the universe. Wise men and women will never enter the ring with karma. They know better.

WE MUST BE SELF-LOVING, BEFORE WE BEGIN TO LOVE OTHERS
You have to fall in love with yourself, first and foremost. You need to be whole on your own. Don’t purposely leave yourself incomplete, naively believing that someone else is meant to fill in your blank spaces. They cannot. They can only add to the foundations you have already built within you; but those foundations are down to you. Make them as strong and unbreakable as you can, for they will need to last you a lifetime.
Discover what excites you, and what you loathe, what turns you on, and what keeps you lying wide awake in deep thought at night. Find out who you really are, because only then will you be able to see the one you are meant to be looking for. Take your time. The world will still be here, waiting. Love has no time-keepers.

WE HAVE TO BE OUR OWN CHEERLEADERS
Don’t ever be waiting for someone to pick you up off the floor and shake you awake to your life. If you do find yourself in a time of need, be still, and look inside yourself. Everything we could need will already be residing quietly within us; waiting patiently for us to seek it out. It all rests on your shoulders. Your life will be what YOU choose to make of it. Maybe you’re not quite where you hoped you would be by now. But that’s okay. Just keep going forward. Sometimes you will crawl, and sometimes you will fly. You are amazing; don’t ever forget that. Encourage yourself. Fight hard for what you want. Believe in yourself, and the message you are carrying here on this earth, for no one’s message will be the same as yours.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Little Happy Habits

Credit: These wonderful bits and bobs below are not mine. It's something I read here and there then jotted down on my journal as a reminder and as an ultimate guide that I practice almost religiously (yet sometimes I did hilariously failed). Although I don't exactly remember where are these tips originally came from, still, I want to share these amazing 25 happy habits that you should too considering do and include in your days!

1. Take pictures of yourself when you're feeling happy, not looking perfect.

2. Do dishes as you dirty them.

3. Keep less stuff. Don't keep anything in your space that isn't purposeful or meaningful.

4. Don't shop as an activity.

5. Learn to cook something you like more than what your favorite restaurants makes.

6. Talk about things that aren't people.

7. Stop judging others, even if you're right about them.

8. Drink enough water.

9. Make time to do the things you loved to do when you were littlewatch Disney movies, coloring, play out in the rain.

10. Let your negative feelings guide you, rather than suppress you.

11. Call your person.

12. Keep flowers on the table and light candles at night.

13. Wake up remembering that every morning is a fresh start.

14. Eat good things for your body.

15. Don't procrastinate.

16. Always put your clothes away.

17. Be nice to everyone, even if they aren't nice to you.

18. Peel your gaze away from the computer screen away every 20 minutes to give your eyes a rest then continue your work.

19. Don't delay answering email and messages.

20. Practice mindfulness with others. When having a conversation, be fully present in what the other person is saying and keep it two-way talk.

21. Take a nap if you can, but keep it under 30 minutes.

22. Give yourself a boost of caffeine once in a while.

23. Remind yourself that your body is not something for you or others to judge.

24. Read one chapter of a book per day, you'll most likely to be finished within a month.

25. Laugh. Laugh a genuine laughter.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Keep Calm and Keep Calm

For all the time I've been doing an unnecessary amount of self-talk here, I think this will be the first time I'm talking thoroughly about my job.
I used to dreamlike hundreds oblivious youngsters out there, to have a glamorous, awesome, out of the world kind of job. Tapi hidup mana sih yang semulus itu? Bukan hidup gue yang jelas.

Setelah lulus kuliah, gue lumayan lama menganggur di rumah... bukan lama lagi sih, lama banget! Alasannya adalah karena waktu itu gue adalah satu-satunya perempuan di rumah, jadi gue memiilh untuk menunda mimpi gue dan sementara stay saja di rumah, mengurus ayah dan adik gue.
Keputusan yang sebenarnya diam-diam masih gue sesali sampai detik ini. Kalau saja gue tidak memilih jalan itu, karir gue akan dimulai satu setengah tahun lebih awal. And who knows where would I be now?
Tapi kembali lagi, masanya sudah berlalu. Gue mau pelihara gondok dalam hati karena merasa salah pilih jalan juga nggak ada gunanya lagi sekarang.
Lalu akhirnya, gue mulai bekerja. Di tempat dan di bidang yang jauuuuh dari rencana dan cita-cita gue. Di sebuah travel agent yang masih merintis dengan gaji yang sedang-sedang saja.
Di awal masa bekerja gue, I loathe myself for being trapped working there. Gue masih punya ambisi untuk mencari pekerjaan yang menurut gue lebih pantas untuk diri gue. Hanya saja, mencari pekerjaan itu kan susah-susah gampang ya... dan ternyata lebih susah lagi mencari pekerjaan sambil bekerja full-time.
Beberapa bulan lewat dan gue mulai belajar menikmati ritme pekerjaan gue. Masih belajar, bahkan, hingga sekarang. Pekerjaan ini terhitung sulit untuk gue dengan alasan yang sebenarnya nggak bisa dijadikan alasan: gue nggak mempersiapkan diri gue untuk bekerja di bidang ini. Jadilah semua yang gue kerjakan sekarang terasa baru, asing, dan membingungkan. Makanya nggak jarang gue melakukan kesalahan dalam bekerja. Satu, dua kali bahkan terhitung hampir fatal.
Truth be told, I'm not yet in the place where I can fully enjoy my job. Gue masih dalam tahap working to pay the rent. Yang penting uangnya.
Dalam hati yang terdalam gue masih berdoa untuk mendapatkan sesuatu yang lebih baik, pekerjaan yang bisa menjadi passion gue. Or at least, to finally fall in love with my current job for the sake of the job itself.
Bukan cuma sekali gue sempat berpikir untuk nekat resign dan mencetuskan sendiri horor dalam hidup gue, horor karena harus kembali jobless. Tapi gue nggak seberani itu. Ada juga kalanya gue pengen ngebalik meja kerja lalu keluar kantor detik itu juga sambil ngamuk-ngamuk karena kesal dengan pola kerja kantor yang terkadang bisa nggak ada cocok-cocoknya dengan cara kerja gue.
Seriously, though... jargon Keep Calm and Drink Tea itu super sulit kalau sudah dihubungkan dengan urusan pekerjaan. Gue rasa nggak cuma gue saja yang merasa begitu. Boro-boro minum teh, minum air mineral saja bawaannya pengen nyembur kan ya?
So basically, it take all my strength and my determination to control myself and to tone down my ego to keep up with my work. Pun kayanya nggak cuma di kantor yang sekarang saja. Kalau suatu hari gue akan pindah pekerjaan, hal yang sama pasti akan kembali terulang. Mungkin itu sebabnya ada pepatah, tumbuhlah di mana kamu ditanam. Bukan pekerjaan kita yang harus menyesuaikan diri kita, tapi kita yang harus pintar-pintar putar otak dan olah rasa supaya bisa bertahan di pekerjaan kita... that's why they pay us for work, no?

Monday, May 2, 2016


"So, this is  my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."
– Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Unimaginative Storyteller

Sepanjang hidup gue, ada lebih dari tiga orang yang mengatakan kalau membaca tulisan gue adalah hal yang menyenangkan untuk dilakukan. Tentu saja, pujian tersebut cukup membuat gue besar kepala.
Dan sepanjang hidup gue juga, gue sudah mencoba menulis banyak sekali cerita. Dari cerita iseng-iseng yang ditulis di selembaran kertas yang diambil dari bagian tengah buku sampai beberapa cerita yang di-publish di blog—dengan percaya diri diperuntukan buat dibaca seisi dunia.
Pengalaman dan cerita kurang enak soal menulis pun gak kurang-kurang dan ada bermacam-macam, dari yang sekedar tiba-tiba terserang writer's block berkepanjangan sampai tertimpa kejadian yang nggak enak beneran.
Kesenangan gue dalam menulis semakin menjadi ketika gue dekat dengan seorang teman yang hingga detik ini masih menjadi partner and my biggest critic in writing. It have been a one hell of a ride we've through together as a writing-friend.
Nggak usah ditanya berapa banyak waktu yang kami habiskan untuk membahas project menulis kami; hours, days, years! Dan nggak usah ditanya berapa judul cerita yang tidak selesai kami tulis dan dengan berat hati harus berhenti ditulis di tengah jalan. Lengkap dengan rasa bersalah yang berkepanjangan dan air mata berderai-derai.
Masalah dan halangan gue dalam menulis sebenarnya hanya satu: gue bukan orang yang pandai berandai-andai. In a way, I can tell a story but I can't make a story. An unimaginative storyteller indeed.
Jadi, setelah (entah untuk keberapa kalinya) I'm scrapping out yet another unfinished story and basically thinking out loud, can I actually write anything like at all? My answer is, yes, I can. At least my personal blog is alive and well taken care of. Yang membawa gue ke pertanyaan selanjutnya, lalu kenapa tiap menulis cerita fiksi nggak pernah beres ya? Dan akhirnya gue harus mengakui, dammit, I'm no fiction writer. I'm just a writer.
But still, I want to write something outside my usual writing—the regular stuff I posted on the blog. Dan jawaban kemudian datang dengan gilang-gemilang; I'm gonna write about myself! Of course, it's gonna be a fiction *wink, wink* but since the story I'm gonna tell is about me, my people, my life, my foe, my love, my everything... I won't face that stuck feeling and confusion about what to write. I'm writing me!
Jadi dengan itu, gue akhirnya merubah total format dan design Girls With Tales, my other blog yang memang dibuat spesial untuk diisi dengan cerita fiksi. Dan kebetulan juga, my co-writer on GWT, has been face the same writer's block for a while too... sehingga ketika gue mencetuskan soal re-writing my old story and change it into a whole new one, she said that she seems to need a fresh start too. Lalu resmilah GWT dirombak ulang, dan cerita-cerita baru kami sudah di-launching beberapa hari yang lalu. New look, new stories. A legit fresh start.
And I can't pictures how excited I am about my story, Future Hearts. Yeah, the title must be sounds familiar, it's the title of one of All Time Low album that I use because I feel a strong connection with the sentiment behind it.

It's sort of an ode to the mindset we've had doing this over the years. We've always been looking ahead and we've always been looking to the future. Everytime we've had a misstep, rather than freaking out and not being able to recover, we've always looked to what's the next thing to do. I think that Future Hearts was just kind of a way to brand it, to figure out a way to sum that up. "
Source: fuse, http://www.fuse.tv/2015/04/all-time-low-interview-future-hearts

I hope this one can be my ultimate project that can be continual and last long, at least long enough for me to end the story right.
Please, do visit my other blog and read the story, it's written right from our heart, so we're not only writing it... we love it deeply!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Seeing Parents As Human

Belakangan ini, tiba-tiba hidup gue dikejutkan dengan banyak sekali pelajaran hidup yang tidak diduga datangnya. Kalau mau diceritakan semua, fix, bisa-bisa blog ini akan resmi berubah judul menjadi Ulfa Dzikriya: A Biography.
Tapi ada satu hal yang paling membekas di ingatan gue. The story of me and my parents.
Hubungan gue dengan orangtua gue tidak bisa tepat dibilang mulus-mulus saja, tapi tidak bisa juga didramatisir dengan melabelinya sebagai hubungan yang penuh lika-liku. Pada dasarnya hubungan gue dan orangtua gue sama menyenangkannya dan sama ribetnya dengan hubungan orang lain dan orangtua mereka pada umumnya.
Mungkin yang membedakan adalah fase dan proses gue menyadari kalau orangtua gue sama manusianya dengan gue yang baru gue rasakan belakangan ini.
Gue, adalah seorang anak rumahan yang cenderung menurut pada peraturan yang berlaku di rumah orangtua gue. Sepenuhnya sadar diri kalau rumah tersebut adalah rumah mereka dan gue cuma numpang, so I must live by their rules.
Masa-masa bandel? Oh, tentu saja masa itu pernah dilalui juga. Kenakalan remaja pada umumnya; coba-coba merokok lalu ketahuan si Papa, contohnya. Atau lagi pacaran di teras lalu ketahuan sedang cium-cium pipi si pacar oleh Mama juga pernah. But I never been a naughty daughter, ever. Keras kepala dan selalu punya prinsip sendiri, iya. Tapi selalu jauh dari ribut-ribut besar sama orangtua sendiri. Amit-amit, jangan sampai deh ya...

Sampai setahun belakangan ini, gue tiba-tiba banyak dibuat menangis oleh orangtua gue. Kenapa? That's the story I wanna tell this time.
Waktu usia gue masih 6 tahun, salah satu mimpi gue adalah menikah dengan seseorang yang mirip dengan Papa. Impian klasik gadis kecil ya, our dad is the mightiest superhero in the whole world.
Ketika usia gue 9 tahun, gue punya cita-cita baru lagi: mau menjadi secantik Mama, yang jago dandan dan selalu pakai baju bagus kemana-mana.
Menginjak usia 15 tahun, gue berubah pikiran, my mother is literally the most annoying person on the planet and I don't wanna be like her at all. Mau ini dilarang, mau itu nggak boleh. All I wanna do was screaming out loud to her face, "Mom, this is my life, not yours! So stop bothering me!"
Kemudian di usia 18 tahun, gue tidak lagi memimpikan sosok Papa sebagai pria ideal. Not when he didn't even able to keep his own marriage last.
Di ulang tahun gue yang ke-22, Papa dan Mama mengatakan ini pada gue: "Ulfa, hidup dan jalan kamu terbentang luas di luar sana. Jangan takut akan melakukan kesalahan yang sama dengan kami, jangan takut nasib kamu akan sama dengan kami, jangan takut untuk hidup."
Akhirnya, umur gue genap 25 tahun. Dan kali ini, gue lah yang menggengam tangan mereka dan berkata: "Papa dan Mama jangan khawatir soal aku, kalian sudah melakukan tugas yang baik sebagai orangtuakujauh dari sempurna, tentu saja. Tapi baik, baik sekali... aku sekarang sudah tumbuh menjadi perempuan dewasa dan perempuan baik-baik, aku sudah tumbuh menjadi manusia seutuhnya yang siap menerjang segala rintangan dalam hidup."
Dan saat itu gue tersadar... lebih-lebih dari orangtua, mereka pada dasarnya adalah manusia. Manusia biasa, sama biasanya dengan gue. Bukan superhero, bukan juga orang menyebalkan.
For the first time ever in my life, I see my parents as human.

Papa bukan lagi sosok yang gue takuti, tapi sosok yang gue segani dan gue sadari ternyata adalah teman diskusi yang sangat menyenangkan. Mama bukan lagi sesosok tukang ngatur-ngatur dalam hidup gue, tapi sosok yang memang terbukti mengenal diri gue lebih baik dari diri gue sendiri.
Dan semua hal yang mereka katakan pada guebaik dalam bentuk nasihat, dalam bentuk omelan, sampai dalam bentuk serangkaian doa di secarik kartu ucapan ulang tahunterbukti benar adanya.

Dan gue kemudian akhirnya menemukan jawaban dari one million dollar question yang gue kira tidak akan gue temukan jawabannya: when will you know that you finally growing up?
My answer is, you'll know that you finally become a whole person when you start seeing your parents as human. An equal human being. As human as you are.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Marching For March

You see what I did there in the title? Yeah, holy moly it’s March already!!
I’m slowly freaking out here. Is it just me or this year actually flashing by so fast, just like that.

And last month, especially, was crazy fast for me. With only 29 days a month and an insane amount of work I have, sure, February has gone in a blink of an eye.
I have been so caught up in my job that I don’t have time to be active on social media (I miss posting stuff to Instagram!), to take any pictures, to bake a cake, to download new music and new series, let alone to blog. And as a result of working too much, I end up catching a very bad flu and have to take couple days off from work.
But now I’m back, I feel healthy and awesome and pretty much ready to rule the world—my own world, per se.

I do really hope this month will give me a little space to breathe, though. It’s not that my job is demanding that much effort from me. It’s only me, the crazy workaholic-wannabe who sort of pushing myself too much.
But then again, everyone who live up to their career must’ve felt the same way with me, no matter how tired it made us, having too much work is always better than not working. Sooo… I’m not really complaining here, just a reminder for me—and for you too, that it’s okay to slow down once in a while and give us a little break and me time that we deserve.

And I’m (still) really looking forward to writing a decent blog post here. I don’t know… maybe a review or a merely simple Chocolate Cookies recipe will do. Because I’m not kidding, I’m kind of still figuring out how to successfully curating a good blog post in the middle of my working schedule, it’s hard. Anybody who have tips, please, do tell me. So I won’t end up blabbering about an unnecessary update about myself that clearly not even remotely important for anyone else but me.
Then again, we’ll see. And I do really hope you have a blast in this month, March better be another good one for us. Let’s do a virtual fist-bump for that!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reading Challenge

Helloooo!
Been a while since the last time I'm chit-chatting about something here, huh? Maybe around two weeks since the last time or so.
But today I suddenly want to blog about books and reading and books and reading. Just because lately I've been so obsessed with taking care of my Goodreads account—mostly since I joined the famous Emma Watson's feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf. I just can't get my hand off of the Goodreads mobile app.

This is definitely not a paid post by Goodreads, this is all me and how I feel that Goodreads is a genuinely good social media, if not one of the best I've been using for so many years.

One of my favorite feature from Goodreads is the 'Reading Challenge'. It's basically a tracker for your reading progress. How it works is pretty simple, in the beginning of the year Goodreads gonna offer if you willing to joined a pledge about how many books you want to finish before the year end... and that's it. After that, every book changed from your 'currently reading' to 'read' list will be count along as a progress.

For this year, although I'm a little bit embarrassed, I only pledge 15 books to read throughout 2016.


And hey, look at that, it's only January and I already fell behind schedule. Seriously, Ulfa, try harder.

Well as you can see in my sidebar column, I'm currently re-reading Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series—for about 116 times. Already on the fifth book now, The Princess in Pink. You know, the one with Mia and friends go to prom.
I'm also currently reading Henry Manampiring's The Alpha Girl's Guide. Manampiring is an up and comer writer in Indonesia right now if you don't know about him yet. And my only reason for buying and reading his book is because I'm curious about how a guy writing a self-help book for a young adult girl, although I'm no longer a young adult anymore. Unless me being a young adult at heart is counted. :p

So I'm thinking to update this Reading Challenge to blog from time to time, maybe along with some book review too. It's sounds like a good idea.

I'll see you on next update then, Loves!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dream Board


It’s 4:59 PM waktu kantor gue and I already finished all my work for today, so I have some time to spare before my office hours end… let’s talking about something fun, then. How about, we talk—I mean, I write and you read—about dream board.
Mumpung masih hangat di awal tahun nih ya, gue rasa topik soal resolusi, wish list, dan dream board masih super relevan buat diobrolin.
Seingat gue, di posting yang lalu-lalu gue agaknya sempat membahas soal resolusi tahun baru and how I’m not going to do that this year. Terus kenapa tau-tau bikin posting soal dream board? Karena di agenda 2016 yang gue beli (bonus dari majalah sih lebih tepatnya, LOL) ada satu page yang bertuliskan MY 2016 DREAMBOARD. Dan gak seru kan kalau bagian situ gue kosongin begitu saja sementara halaman lainnya penuh dengan segala macam coretan dan tulisan gue. Jadi itulah asal-muasal tulisan soal dream board kali ini.

First thing first, I’m so sorry about the bad quality of the pictures. Karena gue mengambil foto-foto ini dengan kamera ponsel, diedit dengan aplikasi instan di ponsel pula, and my office don’t really have enough light to brighten the photos.



So anyway, for the sake of filling out my new agenda’s page gue akhirnya mengisi awan-awan di halaman itu dengan hal-hal yang kurang-lebih bisa dianggap sebagai ekspetasi, harapan, dan tujuan gue tahun ini.

More love, less drama
Di akhir tahun lalu, gue membuat perjanjian dengan diri sendiri. Janji kalau gue nggak akan terus-terusan maksa jadi orang dewasa yang sok keren, sok mandiri, dan sok kuat. Karena dibalik semua sok-sokan itu, jadi apa adanya tetaplah yang paling baik... not to mention, paling masuk akal. It's not like we have a lot of time to do drama anymore now. Jadi tertawa ketika senang, menangis ketika sedih, bersandar ketika lelah baru gue sadari bukanlah hal yang memalukan untuk dilakukan.

Score a better job
It's not that I hate my current job, hanya saja gue cukup percaya diri kalau gue bisa mengerjakan sesuatu yang lebih besar dari pekerjaan gue sekarang. So yeah, I really wish I eventually can score myself a better job this year.

Keep up the blogs
Tahun lalu, gue merasa cukup berhasil mengurus Le Retenoire ini dengan baik. But in the other hand, I badly failed in taken care of Girls With Tales. Jadi tahun ini, I'm gonna force myself to fill both blogs as perfect as I can. Wish me luck, folks! I'm already in such a good start now anyway and I want to keep it that way forever and ever.

Balance my saving account
Since I started to work last year, punya tabungan segudang adalah cita-cita utama gue. And this year, I'm gonna make it happen! Also, to be honest menabung is not my thing... I'm such a big and reckless spender. So this is definitely gonna be a huge challenge for me.

Buy at least one thing from my want-to-buy list
I have two kinds of to-buy list. Short term and long term. The short term one berisi barang-barang yang relatif terjangkau dan bisa segera dibeli dalam waktu dekat. While the long term list consist mostly more pricey stuff, yang gue harus menabung cukup lama untuk akhirnya bisa kesampain membeli salah satu barang dari list tersebut... and this year, I'm going to.

Be more dicipline
Gue termasuk golongan orang yang gemar berencana but sucks in doing it. Jadi tahun ini, dengan segala macam dan sekian banyak rencana... I really do hope to be able to be dicipline enough to at least able to (start) execute them.

Having fun!
This is my last and probably the most important goal for this year. Apapun kesempatan yang akan dunia berikan untuk gue, I want to seize it dan I want to have fun in the process of seizing it.


So... Darlings, how about you? What do you write on your 2016 dream board?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Blogging Plan

Awal tahun 2007, saat itu blog adalah salah satu fenomena yang baru musim di Indonesia. Di tahun itu kayanya nggak ada orang yang memiliki kemewahan akses internet yang nggak punya blog, lepas dari benar-benar bisa mengisi blog mereka dengan baik dan benar atau nggak. It’s somewhat become a new trend, having an online diary where you share your private life to the whole internet world (before the era of instant social media kicked in, of course.)
Gue adalah salah satu yang bisa dibilang terlambat ikut-ikutan terkena demam blogging. Baru di sekitar pertengahan 2008 gue membuka blog page, my very own blog page yang gue ingat waktu itu gue lakukan atas dasar bosan di pertengahan libur panjang setelah kelulusan SMA menuju hari mulai kuliah yang sangat ditunggu-tunggu. Daripada nggak ada kegiatan, I have plenty of time to kill dan juga punya sinyal internet yang selama ini cuma dipakai untuk browsing ini-itu saja—which is still absurd for me, to realize that I survived life before a rapid internet grow.
Dan setelah membuka blog pribadi gue untuk pertama kalinya, I found a new world… dunia yang nggak gue sangka-sangka akan menjadi passion gue. Di awal masa blogging, kebanyakan yang gue posting adalah curahan hati yang setelah gue pikir-pikir dan rasa-rasa sekarang, agaknya sangat kurang di-filter. LOL.
Untuk kebanyakan orang, blog cepat kehilangan keseruannya karena cenderung sulit di-manage. True, that. Pertama, untuk bisa efektif nge-blog kita harus bisa menulis, itu harga mati… blog tidak sama dengan social media sejenis Facebook atau Twitter yang cukup diisi dengan sepatah, dua patah kalimat saja. Selain itu, keterampilan mengolah gambar dan foto juga penting, because most people need a visual aid to enchant them. Hal lain yang menambah ribetnya blogging adalah perkara membuat layout blog page kita menjadi menarik, so it’ll cost most blogger at least a minimum knowledge about HTML and stuff. Dan yang paling penting, konten.
Yang terakhir ini gue, jujur saja, bahkan setelah hampir delapan tahun berkutat dengan blogging, masih belum juga menguasai ilmunya.
Masalah gue cuma satu, produktivitas blogging bergantung pada mood… dan mood tersebut kadang datangnya sebulan sekali, kadang dengan extreme-nya malah berbulan-bulan sekali.
But then again, pembelaan gue selalu sama, meh… I’m not even a professional blogger, kenapa juga harus ngotot update blogger regularly? Jadi dengan modal cuek bebek begitu, tanpa terasa bertahun-tahun berlalu dan gue masih saja terobsesi dengan blogging—meskipun jarang-jarang.
What I love the most about blogging is the idea of how simple it is for us to afford our personal space in this big, big internet universe. It’s free, even. Dan satu alasan sederhana lainnya, gue suka menulis. Gue nggak pernah menyebut diri gue penulis sih, hanya seseorang yang kebetulan suka dan bisa menulis saja… gue bahkan nggak cukup percaya diri menyebut diri gue blogger, considering my obvious slackness in blogging a new post. Instead I use my own term, a blah-ger. Because that’s what I do in my blog, just rambling about whatever I want, blah-blah-blah.
But it’s fun… even after years passing by, it’s still fun.

Dulu, gue sempat memindahkan rumah blog gue ke blog handle sebelah… ya, di awal-awal mulai menekuni blog memang gue semacam blogger nomaden yang tukang pindah-pindah alamat blog. Sampai enam tahun yang lalu gue settle di satu alamat blog, yang kemudian, shockingly and unexpectedly mengundang banyak pembaca. Hanya saja, to the certain situation yang nggak perlu dibahas, gue akhirnya (dengan sangat berat hati) menutup blog kebanggaan gue tersebut.
Setelah itu gue sempat ogah nge-blog lagi, semacam semangatnya sudah hilang separuh… dan juga, saat itu blogging bukan lagi sesuatu yang hits, memulai dari awal pasti akan susah sekali, begitu pikir gue.
But then again, setelah sekian bulan hiatus dari dunia blogging, I started to miss it. Kangen rasanya bisa cerita panjang lebar di blog, bisa berbagi isi kepala gue dengan seisi internet. So I start weighing the pros and cons of creating a brand new blog—with new address, new layout, new contain, and new writing style. Long story short, akhirnya lahirlah Le Retenoire tepat tanggal tiga kemarin, tiga tahun yang lalu.

Well, this blog is no hot-shot kind of blog seperti blog gue yang sebelumnya. But I love writing it anyway, the process of curating what’s inside my brain into a good flow of paragraphs soothe me… I don’t care if no one reading my blog, as long as I can write here, I’m happy.
For many people, drawing, listening to music, doing yoga, or even shopping are their therapies. For me, writing is… Le Retenoire has become my own Pensieve. Like how Professor Dumbledore pours out his mind into the Pensieve, then this is my Pensieve; the place where I can save all the thoughts and memories that crammed my mind, so someday in the future I can read it and remember. I even already passed the phase where I feel kind of ashamed for sharing so many personal stuff here… now? What the hell, this is my blog, as long as I manage to curate it pleasantly, why should I hide my feeling from the world?

So, happy birthday Le Retenoire… I know you’re actually just a tiny part of the World Wide Web, but for me, you’re a very big part of my world. Wait, do I look like an insane moron having a one-way conversation with my blog? But yeah, thank you for become my faithful listener and thank you for making me feel cool, having you as my blog.


------------------------------------------------------------
"Each word I write drops a little more of me onto the page.
In time, I will be the book, the book will be me, and the story
will be told."
Very Short Story

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hola, 2016!


Sooo… it’s the time of the year again, 1st January 2016 is finally here.
Sebenarnya gue nggak berniat menulis special new year post tahun ini. Simply because I don’t really know what to write. But then again, since 2008—the year I started blogging, I never missed a new year post. I think it’s somewhat already become a tradition for me, so yeah, I might as well write something too this year.

Tahun ini bisa dibilang adalah salah satu tahun terberat dalam 25 tahun hidup gue. Of course, my worst year was the year when my parents got a divorce, but it’s all in the past now. And I survived.
And then came 2015, tahun dimana gue menginjak usia 25 tahun dan tahun yang awalnya gue kira akan menjadi tahun yang sangat baik. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong… 2015 is an insanely harsh year; it’s the year where I fight a lot with my dad, it’s the year where I’m unable to land successfully on any job interview, it’s the year where I got lost contact with my mom once again, it’s the year when my laptop got broken and I lost all my important files for eternity, it’s the year I grew apart to one of my—supposedly—best friend, and it’s the year of a quarter life crisis where I experienced my very first (and I hope the last) extreme panic attack.
I know, it’s an unimaginably BAD year.
But you know what? Today I finally can say the same thing I always say every time I face a bad time: it’s all in the past now and I survived. Even better, I grow up.
From now on I really don’t want to think about the past, or about people who took me for granted, or about my dreams that haven’t come true yet. It’s a new year, it’s the perfect time to start over everything.
Restart button, pushed.
And my resolution for 2016? To live. Tahun ini nggak ada rencana, apalagi wish list yang sampai berlembar-lembar lengkap dengan checkbox yang rasanya ingin cepat-cepat dicentang satu demi satu tapi ujung-ujungnya cuma jadi sekedar wacana. Instead… I just want to live comfortably, I just want to keep fighting for the best things that I deserve, and I just want to be able to let go the things that didn’t meant for me. And that’s it.
Also, I don’t mean to jinx anything but I feel—and slightly hoping that this year is gonna be a good one. At least better than the previous year. Then again, maybe it’s just a matter of preference, seburuk-buruknya kejadian yang menimpa kita sebenarnya kalau kita cukup bisa melihat semua hal dengan fair, selalu ada sisi buruk dan baik dalam segalanya. Hanya saja, kita, as a mere human being, terkadang lupa soal sisi buruk dan baik itu.
So I guess, we better just brace ourselves towards everything that might happen this year—good or bad, sesuai perkiraan atau diluar perkiraan. Let’s try for the best and hope for the best. We’re gonna come a long way and we're going to be fine, we will survive life.

Then… see you in the other side of the tunnel and cheers for 2016!