What is The Worst Vacation You’ve Ever Been On? And What is Your Dream Vacation?

To be honest, I’ve never been on a really bad vacation. Of course there were moments I absolutely hated during vacations, but they didn’t instantly mean I despised the vacation itself. There are always good and bad parts of certain things.

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July 12th & 13th, 2021 – Listening to TWICE’s Alcohol-Free.

To be honest, I’ve never been on a really bad vacation. Of course there were moments I absolutely hated during vacations, but they didn’t instantly mean I despised the vacation itself. There are always good and bad parts of certain things.

I hate getting on and off a bus, though I am fine with the bus ride itself. I wish I could just teleport in and out the bus without having to climb the stair, knocking over seats and people and wondering where to sit — all the while dragging a heavy bag and making sure my head doesn’t bump the roof. I also dislike aisle seat because I don’t know where to look for the rest of the ride. Should I face front? Should I watch the TV? Should I look at the window even though I have to risk meeting eyes with the person who sits beside me? Or maybe I should just look down on my lap and make up my own TV show inside my head.

Continue reading “What is The Worst Vacation You’ve Ever Been On? And What is Your Dream Vacation?”

What is The Best Vacation You Have Ever Been On? And What is Your Favourite Vacation Memory?

My best (and also most favourite) vacation memory gotta be my second trip to Bali. The first time I went to Bali was for school trips. Because it’s a schedule-packed trip to Surabaya and Bali, with hundreds of students, the experience was more exhausting than refreshing for me. It almost felt like a prolonged P.E. class, only with more travels and bus seats for resting instead of wooden chairs.

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July 10th & 11th, 2021 – Listening to IU’s LILAC.

My best (and also most favourite) vacation memory gotta be my second trip to Bali. The first time I went to Bali was for school trips. Because it’s a schedule-packed trip to Surabaya and Bali, with hundreds of students, the experience was more exhausting than refreshing for me. It almost felt like a prolonged P.E. class, only with more travels and bus seats for resting instead of wooden chairs. The crossing to Bali from Java island using ferry ship was also uncomfortable because it’s done in the middle of the night when we’re all tired and greasy from days not taking a proper bath. Even after we arrived in Bali, it still took us a day to reach the hotel (due to hectic schedule).

Continue reading “What is The Best Vacation You Have Ever Been On? And What is Your Favourite Vacation Memory?”

What’s Your Happiest Summer Memory From Your Childhood? Do You Usually Go On Vacation During The Summer?

I don’t have anything that comes up to my mind. It’s not that I don’t have any fond memories from my childhood, it’s more like I don’t remember the exact time those memories actually took place. I didn’t compartmentalize my memories by season or month, so it’s hard for me to recall them. It doesn’t help that summer literally doesn’t exist where I live. So when you ask me about “summer memories”, chances are I can’t remember any since my memories are not associated with summer.

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July 8th & 9th, 2021 – Listening to Park Yun Seo’s The King.

I don’t have anything that comes up to my mind. It’s not that I don’t have any fond memories from my childhood, it’s more like I don’t remember the exact time those memories actually took place. I didn’t compartmentalize my memories by season or month, so it’s hard for me to recall them. It doesn’t help that summer literally doesn’t exist where I live. So when you ask me about “summer memories”, chances are I can’t remember any since my memories are not associated with summer.

Continue reading “What’s Your Happiest Summer Memory From Your Childhood? Do You Usually Go On Vacation During The Summer?”

Illustrated Journaling Challenge Day #2: To the Cat Lady

12/01/2021 – Listening to Stray Kids’s My Pace.

My best friend; she loves cats. She owns plenty; at least three at a time. Since most of her cats are stray, they come and go as they please. There are also a lot of cats in our campus. She makes sure to name each and every single one. Even during holiday, she sometimes expresses her concerns on whether the cats are capable to find food or not.

Her boyfriend also loves cats. Once my friend joked that he would probably prefer cats over real human children. One of his dreams is to own a cat farm (does this kind of thing exist?).

I myself am not fond of animals. I do like seeing them in photos, through videos, or watching some National Geographic documentary about them. But I don’t own a pet and I am not interested too. Honestly I am not fond of cats. They’re fascinating creatures, I’ll admit, but I don’t think I can grow enough affection to care for them. I like putting distance between myself and them. I don’t find comfort in them. I don’t think stroking their furs will make me feel better when I am sad.

My best friend strongly disagrees (or at least unconsciously she agrees that it does not make me feel better, but she refuses to admit it; anyway, that’s not really important here). She sends me photos and videos of cats from time to time, just like I send her photos and videos of my baby sister. She always sounds happy when encountering cats, just like I’m always excited to spend some time with my baby sister. I guess she loves her cats just as much as I love my family. She’ll get depressed whenever one of the cats she owns get sick or lost. She also feels sad when we find wounded stray cats and tries her best to bring them to a veterinarian.

It’s been almost a year since the last time I met my best friend. Whenever I see cats, I think of her. Are her cats okay? Are the cats in the campus okay? Does she find new cats? Because of her, I have fond memories associated with cats. Even though I don’t like cats myself, they are precious to her. Once I encountered a limping cat with dried blood on its fur and I texted my best friend right away. When I came across cat’s food discounts, I remembered her. It’s weird how much influence she has on me. And vice versa. Whenever she comes across something that is my favourite, she will give me a shout-out. A new song from the artist I love. A donut discount. An opening of new bookstore.

I can’t wait for the day when we can meet again. I am looking forward to grab a box of donut with her and eat lunch together with cats purring right beside the table’s legs.

The Maze Runner Series, Ki Hong Lee, and Being a Mental Health Advocate

2020.10.01 – Listening to ONF’s Good Good.

Last week I was binge-watching The Maze Runner movies (all three of them) and binge-reading the books (also all three of them). I was struck by how different the movies and the books are, but also how each had something I especially liked about them.

For those who haven’t watch or read the series, please beware of spoilers.

SPOILERS ALERT!

I actually watched the movie first and only picked up the book right after watching the third and final movie. The Maze Runner movie was released in 2014. I remembered getting hooked up right away after watching it. I recognized Thomas Brodie-Sangster (the one who played “Newt” in The Maze Runner) was also the same person who played Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones. Newt and Jojen were my favourite characters, so I was excited when I knew Thomas Sangster played both characters. Unfortunately, both characters died (poor me, or poor them. Mostly poor me).

To be honest, I knew Newt was going to die even before I watched The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure (the second and third), which was why I hadn’t been enthusiastic to follow the series. From 2014 to 2019, I basically avoided the series. At least until last week, when I picked up the second movie as my Artist Date plan for the week.

The Scorch Trials, to be honest, wasn’t really my cup of tea. It was a lot of actions and less of thoughtful decisions. Basically Thomas and the gangs kept getting betrayed, had to escape to different places, getting attacked, and so on. It also focused a lot on Thomas, which was a pity, since there were also a lot of other characters I would like to dig deeper. The ending captivated me though, and I immediately picked up The Death Cure afterwards.

If I had to rank the movies by which I liked the most to the least, the order would be The Maze Runner, The Death Cure, and The Scorch Trials. The Death Cure was thrilling and thought-provoking. In this movie, I took a liking on Minho (played Ki Hong Lee). I was already familiar with Ki Hong Lee as an actor. I had watched several of his short movies (mostly by Wong Fu Productions) and seeing him as Minho, a strong, sarcastic, and short-tempered character, was a whole new different experience. I got so interested that I re-watched The Maze Runner movie again just to see more of his acting. The final verdict is that I really love his acting and his works (he has an IGTV series, Mr Soulmate, which is also very entertaining).

I read several articles on Minho’s characterization and was told that his sarcasm and other traits were shown more through the books. Which is why, after having a marathon of the movies, I had a marathon of the books. And damn, it was good.

Through the book, I took more understanding in all the characters, the plots, the universe, and how it differs from the movies. I like how it ends in the book, since they didn’t find the cure so Newt’s death feels more inevitable than in the movies, where Thomas’s blood is deemed as the true cure (which means in the movie, he actually had the chance to save Newt). I like how Newt’s death was known to Minho in the movie. He at least deserved to see his long-time friend for the last time, even in death. In the book, Minho didn’t even get a goodbye or a letter and he didn’t even know that Thomas killed Newt (that’s just so sad). I like Teresa better in the movie since I can sincerely understand her motives for betraying Thomas.

And I love Gally, both in the book and the movie. Played by Will Poulter (known by his role as Eustace Scrubb in Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Gally is possibly the most complex character in the series and the one who shows the most character development. He began as one of the main villains, but then proceeded to be the one who saved Thomas and the key character in The Death Cure plot.

END OF SPOILERS.

After finishing The Maze Runner series, I began researching more about Ki Hong Lee. He had mentioned in several interviews that he was grateful and feeling honoured for the chance to play an Asian character in a Hollywood movie. I was not familiar with Hollywood industry or about Asian-American in general, but this made me realize that it’s a breakthrough for an Asian to get roles with strong characters like Minho in The Maze Runner. I mean, I rarely find any movie or TV series from America who has Asian as lead characters. I remembered all the hype when To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians got movie adaptations. I definitely enjoyed the both the books and the movies, but being unfamiliar with Western film industries, I had never noticed the significance before.

In an interview on CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment)’s YouTube channel, Ki Hong mentioned how once he had thought about changing his name into something easier to pronounce (an English name of some sort), but his mother was against it, saying that if people can pronounce names like Tchaikovsky they surely can put an effort to pronounce names such as Ki Hong Lee.

Ki Hong also stated that since there aren’t a lot of opportunities for Asian actors to have an acting career in Western film industry, it’s up to him to create the opportunity. I think I admire him a lot for saying that. Yes, most of the times, opportunity doesn’t come to us. And sometimes looking for it is not enough. We just have to create it by ourselves. Success is not a paved road after all. We have to begin by something.

Many of The Maze Runner casts are mental health advocates. I think I somehow found my way to those kinds of people, like Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Ailee Xu, Stray Kids, BTS, Halsey, and many others. I found myself deeply interested in this topic. For the last two weeks, I had been working on a concept of psychology app for a scientific project competition in my university. I realized that I still have a lot to learn and there are so many ways to help people who struggle with mental health. When my team presented our idea last night during the preliminary stage of the competition, we were given warm response. It seems that more and more people have become aware of the importance of mental health and it is nice to see. I don’t know whether my team would be able to advance to the next stage, but even if we don’t, it is still a fortunate opportunity and I feel proud of what we’ve achieved. The last two weeks have been really busy with college assignments and preparations for the project, so I hope I can take a breather today and tomorrow, before starting to take off again with different projects next week.

Note: I plan to pick up The Fever Code or The Kill Order next. I have noticed that reading a lot, instead of watching YouTube or being buried in college stuffs, improves my mood throughout the day. What about you? What do you do when you need a surge of serotonin?

Entry: 20191231

I don’t want to make an elaborate entry in my bullet journal. This evening I’ve done a painting, and I think that’s more than enough to describe how I feel about myself this year. Two hands, with the same black core but different colours on their fingertips. That also defines how I am as someone who has bipolar disorder. I like the base colour—even though somehow yellow was never my favourite colour. But I used a lot of yellow in my journal lately, and I know it just means a phase in my life. A phase that might pass or return. A phase that is neither right nor wrong.

The painting was not at all artistic. My younger sister blatantly called it ugly, but I know it is not supposed to look nice. My 2019 doesn’t look nice overall—it’s a whole lots of mountains, steeping too up or too down. I don’t particularly like it, but I accept it that way. I never meant it to be pretty. I didn’t even use real brush. Just wet tissue and my own hands. I let the white parts blank—I don’t think pouring any colour there will be appropriate. I don’t want to. It’s good just as it is. I don’t want to add anything into it.

It’s messy and confusing. It’s rushed and feeling scared. It’s 2019 for me. And it has ended.

OUTRO: When I read this entry again today on July 16th, 2020, the painting was hung above my room’s window. Somehow I feel proud that I’ve made that painting and that I’ve survived 2019. It’s halfway through 2020 and I’m definitely doing a lot better than last year.

Quotes Collection: Daisy Jones & The Six

Taylor Jenkins Reid

1. I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.

2. You do sometimes sit and wonder why it wasn’t you, what makes you so special that you get to be safe. The world doesn’t make much sense.

3. Love and pride don’t mix.

4. That’s the glory of being a man. An ugly face isn’t the end of you.

5. Who the fuck do you think you are, cheating on me? You think there’s a woman alive who is better than what you have?

6. Someone who insists on the perfect conditions to make art isn’t an artist. They’re an asshole.

7. When you put your life in your music, you can’t be clearheaded about your music.

8. I wore what I wanted when I wanted. I did what I wanted with who I wanted. And if somebody didn’t like it, screw ’em.

9. It is what I have always loved about music. Not the sounds of the crowds or the good times as much as the words—the emotions, and the stories, the truth—that you can’t let flow right out of your mouth.

10. When you have everything, someone else getting a little something feels they’re stealing from you.

11. It’s like some of us are chasing after our nightmares the way other people chase dreams.

12. I don’t believe in soul mates anymore and I’m not looking for anything. But if I did believe in them, I’d believe your soul mate was somebody who had all the things you didn’t, that needed all the things you had. Not somebody who’s suffering from the same stuff you are.

13. They’re songs. You pull them out of wherever you can. You change the meanings to fit the moments sometimes. Some songs came more from my heart than others, I suppose.

14. It’s so strange, how someone’s silence, someone’s insistence that something isn’t happening can be so suffocating. But it can be. And suffocating is exactly the word, too. You feel like you can’t breathe.

15. Appreciation from people you admire changes how you see yourself. Everybody wants somebody to hold up the right mirror.

16. I mean, there were a lot of teenage girls that wanted to grow up and be me in the late seventies. I was keenly aware of that. But the only reason people thought I had everything is because I had all the things you can see. I had none of the things you can’t.

17. History is what you did, not what you almost did, not what you thought about doing. And I was proud of what I did.

18. Art doesn’t owe anything to anyone. Songs are about how it felts, not the facts. Self-expression is about what it feels to live, not whether you had the right to claim any emotion at any time. Did I have a right to be mad at him? Did he do anything wrong? Who cares! Who cares? I hurt. So I wrote about it.

19. But loving somebody isn’t perfection and good times and laughing and making love. Love is forgiveness and patience and faith and every once in a while, it’s a gut punch. That’s why it’s a dangerous thing, when you go loving the wrong person. When you love somebody who doesn’t deserve it.

20. Do you know what you do with that level of trust? When someone says, “I trust you so much I can tolerate you having secrets?” You cherish it. You remind yourself how lucky you are to have been given that trust every day.

21. Here’s a lesson for everybody, take it from me: Handsome men that tell you what you want to hear are almost always liars.

22. You have to have one person in your life that you know would never do anything to steer you wrong. They may disagree with you. They could even break your heart, from time to time. But you have to have one person, at least, who you know will always tell you the truth. You need one person who, when the shit hit the fan, grabs your stuff, throws it in a suitcase, and gets you away from the Italian prince.

23. I wish someone had told me that love isn’t torture. Because I thought love was this thing that was supposed to tear you in two and leave you heartbroken and make your heart race in the worst way. I thought love was bombs and tears and blood. I did not know that it was supposed to make you lighter, not heavier. I didn’t know it was supposed to take only the kind of work that makes you softer. I thought love was war. I didn’t know it was supposed to … I didn’t know it was supposed to be peace. And you know what? Even if I did know that, I don’t know that I would have been ready to welcome it or value it.

24. It’s easy to disguise almost anything as a love song.

25. I wasn’t scared of regretting not having a child. But I was scared of regretting having a child. I was scared of bringing an unwanted life into this world. I was scared of living my life, feeling like I’d anchored myself to the wrong dock. I was scared of being pushed to do something I knew I did not want.

26. Passion is … It’s fire. And fire is great, man. But we’re made of water. Water is how we keep living. Water is what we need to survive. My family was my water. I picked water. I’ll pick water every time. And I wanted Daisy to find her water. Because I couldn’t be it.

27. No matter who you choose to go down the road with, you’re gonna get hurt. That’s just the nature of caring about someone. No matter who you love, they will break your heart along the way.

28. You can justify anything. If you’re narcissistic enough to believe that the universe conspires for and against you—which we all are, deep down—then you can convince yourself you’re getting signs about anything and everything.

29. You can’t control another person. It doesn’t matter how much you love them. You can’t love someone back to health and you can’t hate someone back to health and no matter how right you are about something, it doesn’t mean they will change their mind.

30. But at some point, you have to recognize that you have no control over anybody and you have to step back and be ready to catch them when they fall and that’s all you can do. It feels like throwing yourself.

31. I’d chased this life with all of my heart. I wanted so badly to express myself and be heard and bring solace to other people with my own words. But it became a hell I’d created myself, a cage I’d built and locked myself in. I came to hate that I’d put my heart and my pain into my music because it meant that I couldn’t ever leave it behind.

32. A part of me wishes you wanted kids, because my kids make me so happy. But … I think in order to be happy like I’m happy, you need different things. And I want you to have whatever those things are.

33. Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.

34. I decided I don’t need perfect love and I don’t need a perfect husband and I don’t need perfect kids and a perfect life and all that. I want mine. I want my love, my husband, my kids, my life.

35. I’m not perfect. I’ll never be perfect. I don’t expect anything to be perfect. But things don’t have to be perfect to be strong. So if you’re waiting around, hoping that something’s going to crack, I just … I have to tell you that it’s not gonna be me. And I can’t let it be Billy. Which means it’s gonna be you.

36. Don’t count yourself out this early, Daisy. You’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet.

37. Your life isn’t about me, honey, my life is about you.

BTS & Me, In Steps and In Time

 

Two weeks prior to uploading this post, I felt very anxious. This post feels both too personal and too unnecessary, too trivial and too attention-seeking. It feels more like a childish rant, and I hesitate on whether I should post this on my blog or not. But despite the childishness, this one tells a part of my journey. And someone might need to read this. So here it is: a story of my connection with one of my favourite artists, and how their journey filled in my journey as well.

I first knew BTS in 2016. I was in high school and a friend of mine showed me Blood, Sweat & Tears music video, days after they dropped their WINGS album. Many of my friends were crazy about BTS. They persuaded our dorm director to play some of BTS’s songs every morning. They also played those songs during basketball practice in the afternoon.

(Left to right) SUGA, JIMIN, V, Jungkook, JIN
 

For me, I fell in love with the intricate stories behind WINGS album. Then I listened to their previous album, HYYH, and got captivated by their seemingly depressive lyrics. I liked SUGA (one of the members) right away and his other persona, AGUST D. I felt inspired by their aesthetics. I found comfort in their music. I found someone whose stories I could relate to.

Back then, I didn’t know that I was struggling with depression and anxiety. I hadn’t known that I have bipolar disorder. I just thought that I got exhausted easily and felt extremely shy in many social situations. I thought it’s just me being out of touch from people around me and always got swayed by my intense mood swings. Life had been a struggle. But I stayed alive. I survived high school, got into the university I wanted, and one day I knew that I was in trouble. In a city far from the support of my family, I had no one I can rely on. I couldn’t show my tears. I was unable to express my emotions. I was afraid people around me wouldn’t have the capability to understand my struggles. I crashed down, a bit deeper than I usually did, and that was the moment I knew I needed help.

 

It was 2017. BTS’s year, they said. They achieved many things that were unbelievable at first. They released music that I still could relate to. They still sang about loneliness, impossible dream, people who looked down on them, and the support they received from people around them. It was 2017, and I took one step forward. I faced myself, trying to find what’s wrong with my life. I crashed and burned, but I also understood myself a little better. I realized that there were many traumatic events in the past that I never truly addressed. It was 2017. I took one step forward into healing.

But healing was difficult. Healing was feeling a lot of pain. Emotions that I buried deep inside began to surface. Problems that I ignored for years showed their face. I was terrified. It was 2018 and I was so confused. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t know who I wanted to become. I didn’t know why I was there. There were so many questions. I faced so many monsters, just realizing that they had drained my life energy for a long time. I tried to sever my ties with them, but they kept coming back. It’s 2018, and BTS—whose music had been my pillar of support—had grown so big. It was like they healed so much faster than me. It was like I was no longer in step with them. They had moved on from their struggles. They had lived their life. They had enjoyed their adventures now. But it’s 2018, and somehow, I was still here. I felt left behind. I no longer sympathized with their music because I no longer understood. They were happy and I wasn’t. They had become so mature and I hadn’t. They had forgiven their past selves, but I was still fighting against my inner demons. It was a childish feeling and I might make it sound more exaggerated than it actually was, but that was my feelings. It’s 2018 and I felt so alone.

JIMIN, Jungkook
 

But you know, I gotta stay alive too. So, I welcomed 2019, filling my bucket list with a lot of things, let my mind wander, let my desire take me wherever I want to go. I distracted myself with so many plans, so many responsibilities, so many projects. I tried to feel alive. And maybe I did. It’s the first half of 2019 and it seemed BTS was living their life too. I rarely listened to their music because I felt that the me at that time was still not in sync with their journey yet. I felt like I was still unable to forgive myself yet. So, without realizing it, I was being harsh to myself. I put my energy to perfect an ideal of myself instead of taking care of the current me. So, when August went and September greeted, I crashed. I crashed, fell, and didn’t know how to climb back up. I was angry and frustrated. I was sad and exhausted. I didn’t recognize myself. I didn’t know where my journey leads me to. So once again I screamed for help. I desperately wanted to get out from the hole that’s trapping me. But I was so scared that climbing up would not change a single thing. If my legs still sway, if my head doesn’t clear, that hole will swallow me again. It’s that moment I knew there needs to be a change. That distracting myself isn’t the answer. That pretending I’m okay isn’t a solution. That I am not okay right now and it’s okay to admit it. I’m not okay right now but I will be. I will make sure I will be. So, it’s almost the end of 2019 and now I know healing is near. Now I know what BTS has been through. Now I know what I am going through.

From No More Dream to Persona, it’s a story of pain and healing. Of licking wound and watch it fading. Of being lost to finding oneself. Of losing a dream and being rescued from the darkness. Of suffering in silence to being light up in joy and happiness.

J-HOPE, V
 

2020 will come soon, and I wonder what it will bring. What kind of me I will meet next year? Would I like her? Would I be proud of her? Would she be okay in 2020? What would she discover? Am I near to okay right now?

I don’t know what the future may bring, but I know it’s another chapter unwritten yet. I gotta fill it up with a better me, a near-okay me, a me who finally understands what it is to being happy, to truly enjoy the present moment.

It’s not 2020 yet, but let me tell you what I know.

Things will change, wounds will heal, and I gotta stay alive to see it happens.

 

Depok,
October 24th, 2019

 

NOTE: All the pictures used for this blog were taken from BTS – HYYH Part 2 Album Concept Photo. I took ones that were my favourites, and I apologize since the photos didn’t include all the seven members. It’s neither because of I’m a solo stan or other photos don’t appeal to me, I just took ones that I liked and I thought suit this blog post.