I have to be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve been kind to myself in the past couple of weeks. If you feel the same way or is just purely interested in how I would put my story into words, then by all means read on.
It is so easy and far too tempting, to open someone else’s Instagram page and measure yourself by what you see. Trust me, I know how bad it can get. One night, I was bored and I went on to this girl’s page. She doesn’t know who I am. We’ve never even met and yet the sight of her face was almost as familiar as the people I see every day.
Two minutes later I was on the phone with my best friend, bawling my eyes out. All because I was bored. It’s akin to drugs, I suppose. You think you’d feel better, and don’t get me wrong, for a few minutes it was a blissful distraction, but you don’t know how much damage it causes.
How unkind you’re being to yourself.
I wasn't beautiful, when compared to her.
I felt uncool, when compared to her.
I felt so insignificant, when compared to her.
The thing is, the only person comparing was myself.
I knew better than this.
It feels like floating on open ocean, seeing an island you know you should go to but having neither the fight nor will to swim. It hurts, how much I want to land on shore. But I owe it to myself. I owe it to the little girl I once was and the woman I am going to become. I have to fight. We have to fight.
All these negative thoughts about yourself, it’s just in your head. Say ‘fuck you’ to those voices. You don’t belong in my mind. I am my own person, with my own journey to explore. The journey has not and will not be easy. I don’t need to compare myself to anyone. I love me. In the end, the only person who can pull yourself together is you. Sure, being around friends or loved ones help. They truly do, but this one you have to conquer yourself. Because that’s the only way victory will last.
So, here’s my note to myself and to my sisters; do not go down without a fight. The tides will change. The current might pull you in and you’d think you’re drowning but you’re not. Maybe one day you can make the ocean your friend and rise with its tides instead. Rise above the negativity. Be kind to others. Be kind to ourselves. Close your eyes and feel the soul inside you. Say, “I’m sorry. I love you. Thank you for existing.”
If any of you made it here, congrats! Thank you for being here and there and everywhere! I love you. Remember to love you too, okay?
Written by: Kalyana Sidra Wardhana
Its 12’o clock on a cloudy Sunday afternoon and life seems slow, the tempo of the day akin to that of a mellow Sinatra song. Having made a list of things to do, and having not checked any of them makes the blues seem synonymous with how you feel about yourself on a daily basis. Looking around, everyone seems to be getting their life on track. Getting things done, making their dreams come true, while you sit on the floor can’t even pin point a direction that would seem fit to travel on.
Every new year, there’s hope that things would be better, that this year life will finally fall into place. Little does one realize, that life is already in place, waiting for us to steer it along the winds of our aspirations, thoughts, and desires.
But instead of steering it, I’ve been sitting on deck, slowly wading through the waters, with trust that the winds will do all the work. That’s why it’s always been new year, same old me, for the longest time.
Engulfed in thoughts about how everyone is living their life, trying to achieve similar feats, trying to walk the path that society says is best, hearing the heart but not listening to it has resulted in me being so far behind that it feels almost impossible to catch up. But what are you trying to catch up to? When unaware of what rhythm suits you best. It’s like trying to be a hip-hop artist when this entire time Jazz has been the calling.
Out of tune, but still playing.
And that’s the thing.
We can be out of tune and still play, until one day we sit in silence and hear the notes and realize that a little bit of tuning will make the strings sound the way we want them to. Or perhaps, like any object we see, some of us repair the old and make it work just fine, some of us discard it completely and buy a new one. So, while, for some people the choice would be to completely clean the slate and start fresh, for some it would be to mend that which we can and continue knowing the problems and accepting there’s ways to get past them. Guess most of us, use both at different times, but whichever way, we must know there’s always that slight room for a difference.
That’s the thing you kept forgetting, that no matter how hopeless change might seem, if only you tried to get past the hopelessness, you would. Takes effort, takes courage, takes time, takes energy, but most of all takes heart, mind and soul. Can’t look around and feel envious of those who have things going well, because the only difference between those people and you, is that they’re actually taking steps. Some big, some small, but they try never the less. So instead of feeling sorry for yourself, accept your reality, use it to change what you can, and let go of what you can’t. Feel comfort in knowing that if you’ve made it so far, you can and will go further. Your strengths can outshine your flaws but only if you acknowledge those imperfections in the first place.
"Only if one can see the darkness, will there be appreciation for the light", is what is said, and perhaps it’s one of the truer things that’s been spoken out there.
Not for anyone, not to fit in, not striving to be perfect, I want to still be me, just a fresher, better version. The ball has always been in your court, now all that’s left for you to do is take the first shot.
From a you that’s been waiting to be better
Written by: Rishya Dutt
Loneliness comes in many forms—whether you’re in a crowded Shibuya crossing in Tokyo during rush hour, or when you’re driving home alone on the highway, or binge-watching TV shows in bed on a Saturday night, even when you’re among friends and family. Loneliness hits you at unexpected times in the most unexpected hours. It's common and pervasive, but no one talks about it enough. People see loneliness as a taboo, it’s like a shadow that you’re trying to hide in your closet, but you can’t because it keeps following you around.
I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for hours now, switching back and forth between social media apps, looking at what people are doing and wishing I was with them. Thinking why no one asked me out on a Friday night. Thinking why I didn't ask anyone out on a Friday night. It’s like a perennial way of exposing yourself to the fear of missing out. Missing out on people, on moments, on adventures. It breeds envy and unhealthy comparisons, and it seems like people are actually having fun without me. The sad thing is, I am aware of this, of the fallacies that we construct on social media, in which all of us are somewhat responsible for. However, when you are so well-fed with disillusionments, you unconsciously start to believe that they are true.
It’s so easy to feel lonely on nights like these. Sometimes when you tell people that you are, they’ll say “Just shrug it off. Find something to do, make yourself busy.” Then why do I find it so hard? Maybe they’ve never spent an entire night just lying there in bed with a crippling anxiety, thinking of all the failed relationships that lead them to being alone and lonely on that night. Maybe they have. Maybe they’ve had it worse. But the truth is, nobody actually gives a fuck. Some of your friends don't deliberately leave you out, some of your friends just forgot to text you, maybe some of them chose to stay at home themselves.
Sometimes loneliness is not merely about being alone. Sometimes it's about being with someone that feels like a stranger, or about not knowing your place in this world. Sometimes you can’t help but think that your loneliness is a product of your failed relationships, or from deliberately alienating yourself from others.
But sometimes, you do need to be on your own. You should be your own go-to person, your own best friend, that one person you can always rely on. You should know how to be alone because you are still loved even though your anxiety tells you that you’re not. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave a room for self-evaluation too. Maybe you even should start re-evaluating yourself, maybe you’re the cause of your loneliness, maybe you are the toxic person in the relationship. Whichever the case, you should always embrace your loneliness.
You should stop deciding whether your emotions are good or bad emotions. A friend once told me that there’s no such thing as a good or bad emotion, having emotions is what makes us human and it’s what we do with it that counts. Some emotions are necessary for you in order to grow. Just like how loneliness helps you grow, teaches you how to be alone, and how to be with yourself. If loneliness puts you in a dark place, then you can’t expect other people to fish you out of there. You’re the only person who can get yourself out of that place. Loneliness feeds itself from your own anxiety and will eventually eat you alive. No matter how much love you’re showered with, no one can make you truly happy but yourself.
If you find yourself watching Vine compilations alone on a Friday night and having self-pity for it, remember that your self-worth is not determined by how many people are close to you or understand you, or how many texts you get on a Friday night asking you to go out, your self-worth is not determined by any kind of relationship at all. It all comes down to how you treat others and how you treat yourself.
I think it’s no one’s job to make other people feel happy, not even your family, your friends, or your significant other. But sometimes it is our job to remind each other that we can be.
Written by: Hanny Mardiyah
When we live in an ever-competing world, it’s always tempting to look up because that’s where we want to be – or at least that’s what we’ve been told to be. Ever since we were young, we’ve always been told to get the best grades, get into the best schools, and work for the biggest companies to get the best salaries. It’s always about being the best. This is what caused those sleepless nights, drinking way too much coffee, and stressing yourself out because someone else might land that internship if you don’t prepare yourself enough for the interview. Everything in life feels like a competition. If you’re not good enough, someone else will replace you.
This competitive way of thinking is what makes you feel so replaceable. So stop. If you’re looking up and comparing yourself to everyone who is more, then your neck is just going to get tired. It’s time to be realistic. There’s ALWAYS going to be someone who is more – whatever – than you. We live in a world with more than seven BILLION people, so of course there’s bound to be someone who is smarter, funnier, or better at tennis than you. And you know what? That’s okay. It doesn’t matter if someone is more than or better at something than you because everyone is wired differently.
No one else has gone through what you’ve gone through; so don’t worry about other people so much. It’s okay if you haven’t figured out what you’re good at or if you still can’t find something you enjoy doing. Sure, there are a couple of those super lucky people who found their passion ever since they were 3 years old, but hey, they probably haven’t traveled to 20 different countries like you did. You never really know what other people are going through either, so just focus on yourself and take your time.
The truth is, half of us probably don’t even know what the heck they’re doing either, so don’t feel pressured. Cut yourself some slack and just work at your own pace. Go pick up a new hobby or try out that new restaurant down the block, you’ll never know where inspiration might struck you.
So stop comparing yourself, it really doesn't make it any better.
Life is not a competition, so trust that right now,
you are exactly where you need to be.
Written by: Dipa Karno
Some would describe Ify Alyssa as a singer or an actress but I think she's more than just those two labels. Having met her in high school, this multi-talented persona has motivated me to always reach for my dreams and make new ones. She was a finalist in the first season of Idola Cilik way back in 2008, and is also a member of the girl group, Blink where she acted in several tv shows as part of the group. Having accomplished so much at the young age of 20, she now looks to pursue a solo career as we talked about music and more, last summer back in Jakarta.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re working on now
Hi! I’m Ify, I’m 20 years old and currently a student majoring in Music at Universitas Pelita Harapan, Indonesia. Also I’m trying to start my solo career as a singer.
Before working on your solo career, you were already on tv shows and performed in numerous stages across the country. How does it feel to have started a career at such a young age?
I'm glad because it made me experience so much at this age. How the industry treated me has also changed over time, and I enjoy experiencing that process. It also made me notice how I have grown over the years and I was able to learn from those experiences. Of course I got a chance to meet and get to know a lot of people along the way as well.
How do you balance your work, school and personal life?
Well I guess since I've been doing this for quite a long time it comes naturally now. But one thing's for sure, I have to be strict with how I manage my time, keeping in mind that I have to balance between play, work, school and family.
Seems like you're always constantly motivated to achieve more. What is it that drives you to reach your goals?
Because of my passion. I've done a lot of things that weren't exactly aligned with my passion and now I've finally braced myself to stop all of those things and focus on what I really want. Honestly, the process has been tough because now I have to do everything on my own, but I guess since it really is what I want to do, it doesn't feel like a burden at all.
Having started out in the entertainment industry at a very young age, have you ever felt underestimated because of it?
Yes of course. Often times I've been regarded as just a "kid" but over time people start to gain respect towards me when I shared my experiences and when they witnessed the things I've achieved.
How do you deal with failure?
By reflecting on past mistakes and focusing on ways to fix it or learn from it.
What kind of advice does Ify Alyssa have for the rest of us?
Stick with the things you're passionate about because you'll never really know how it'll be in the future. Don't let your talents die out, just keep on going.
For girls specifically, usually we get underestimated a lot but this only means that we get to prove them wrong!
Don't forget to always support and empower one another and not tear each other down x.
Ify has just recently released her first single, Gitar ft. Gerald Situmorang and you can check out the official lyric video below!
Interviewed & written by: Bella Utami
She graces the halls of campus with her charisma, independence, and charm. Wherever you go, you would definitely catch her swift presence. She's probably the most active girl I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and it's honestly contagious! Talking with her makes you want to go out and explore the world all in one day. She's none other than Camilia Salsabila. A senior of mine in college, she has just recently graduated and luckily I got a chance to talk to her before she takes Tokyo by storm.
Tell us about yourself and what you’re working on now
Hi I’m Camilia, I’m 21 years old and I'm currently working in a British recruitment consulting company in Tokyo. I was (and still am actually) a student in APU, majoring in IR. I’m a Pisces, and according to the Myers Briggs personality test I’m an ESTJ (Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging).
Currently I’m still a leader for IRSA (International Relations Students Association) and for now I’m just wrapping up the things I’ve been doing in APU. I’m focusing on opening up a new chapter in Tokyo. I love how no one knows me there and I can start fresh without having to fit people’s expectations.
What did you focused on during your time in APU?
I was a sub leader for RA in Spring 2015, and I was a Teaching Assistant for 2 years. I was also a camp leader for Kumon for 3 years, and I’m the president of IRSA.
You sound like one busy girl! What motivates or drives you to pursue all this?
I was never afraid to put the sky as the limit. I made this quote to always aim for the best because when you fall you’re still in a better place than where you were before. I build my confidence by setting a goal but rather than focusing on whether or not I’ll successfully achieve it, I would rather focus on the process and what I can learn from it.
How do you deal with failure?
Don’t be afraid of trying or of what might happen, you can always learn from failure and remember that time will always heal. Even if you fail today, you might succeed tomorrow. So keep trying and look to open new doors. You might be surprised of what you can achieve. In a way failure sometimes might lead you to success.
Do you have any advice for those of us who wants to achieve more in our lives?
Don't let other people’s words drag you down because you are unique in your own way. Just be yourself, yet don't get satisfied easily because there are still more room for you to grow outside of your comfort zone.
Your own interpretation of success is more important that everyone else’s so don’t let other people’s comments or opinions discourage you.
Lastly, always focus on the process not the end goal x
Interviewed & written by: Bella Utami