What Should I Read?

I still get questions on what book to read.

Unless I talk to you personally, I would not know your needs and wants. And if I do know your needs and wants, I would need more time to talk to you to figure out what type of readings you prefer. Then I would be able to help you out to pick reading materials. I prefer meeting in person but I have to go to the office on Mondays to Fridays. I do not go out of the house on Saturdays and my Sunday starts at 11 A.M. until about 10 P.M. In between scheduled hours, I will either be working on personal projects, dining with my family and the boyfriend, or snuggling under my blankets investing time in quality sleep.

So yeah. Since meeting you in person in unlikely, I do not think I am in any capacity to dictate you what you need to read. However. I can share with you what I have readand re-readfor the past 10 months of this great 2017. (Not great. Just OK. Learned a lot though, as expected.)

But before listing it out, I would like to make clear that for me reading is a very personal activity. I find it logical to say that it is a lot like eating. You think you do not like the taste of something but if it is cooked right, you can make exceptions. Seperti dengan gue dan sambal. Gue ga suka makan sambal atau makan yang pedas-pedas karena the fire of cabai will throw me off balance and my taste bud will not register taste due to me being kepedesan, ingusan, keringetan dan lain sebagainya. Tapi entah kenapa, I can stand the crazy heat of makanan Manado—and McDonald's McSpicy Chicken. The same goes for books and reading materials. I might say I do not like chick lit but, man, I can finish Lauren Weisberger, Sophie Kinsella or Emily Giffin's book in one sitting. And there are days when I prefer hauling their book up on the plane when traveling. I do not like chick lit but I still do read them and gush over the thought of the dreamy men they wrote in the pages of the book. It is in the way the author writes. Lorong tempat buku-buku itu ada bukan my first preference when going to the bookstore (seperti bagaimana makanan pedas bukan pilihan pertama gue ketika harus menentukan asupan untuk perut) but there are days when I do not mind leafing through their pages

What I am trying to convey adalah be open to a lot of choices. Mungkin lo ga suka baca yang "enteng-enteng" karena sastra adalah yang terbaik! I will roll my eyes at chu. Yaaa ndak apa. Choose what you think fits you best. Reading takes time so you do have the right to choose how or with what kind of material you should spend your precious hours. Right. Sudah cukup ngelanturnya.

So what do I read? For your ease, the list is divided into two: online and offline.

What I read onlinebased on the site I've bookmarked on my browser and sites I recall as interesting:
  • The New York Times. I subscribe to the New York Times. All access. News coming out of the site is what I read every morning on the way to work. That is why if you have seen my Twitter account, you will see a lot of links from the New York Times. I find it fascinating, like that time when Putin wrote to the American people as an Op-Ed Contributor (find the link here).
  • Haaretz. I used to subscribe to Haaretz too for about three years or so and then it started to lose its luster on me so I stop subscribing. I still do visit the website every now and then to get updates on the going abouts in Israel.
  • FiveThirtyEight. Stumbled on Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't in a bookstore a few years back. That is how I got familiar with his website and statistics. I like their take on the numbers which sometimes speaks volumes.
  • Lapham's Quarterly. The Quarterly's About page opens with this sentence: "Lapham's Quarterly embodies the belief that history is the root of all education, scientific and literally as well as political and economic." Being raised in a community that kept on screaming that "History repeats itself!" for the bulk of my years in school, I felt that Lewis H. Lapham aimed at me when creating the site (not a fact but I can relate to many of his writings!).
  • The Atlantic. This I have read since high school. I remember distinctly how I stumbled on this. It was 2007 and I was bored so I went to the internet to search for things I can read. That is the first time I found out that the US has a National Magazine Award. I had time so I went on reading the majority of the articles nominated. One that caught my attention was Sandra Tsing Loh's critic titled Rhymes with Rich on Leslie Morgan Steiner's Mommy Wars: Stay-at-home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families. I did my research afterwards to find that the history The Atlantic is quite fascinating. But ultimately what hooked me to it is the fact that my all-time favorite author, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was a contributor. Plus, it went on to win more National Magazine Award. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the senior editor of the magazine, won the Essay and Criticism category with his essay titled Fear of a Black President. I stopped my online subscription a few months ago and started buying the print instead.
  • Vanity Fair. I visit the site mostly to see Leibovit's works but there are times when you can stumble on some great writing on their cover stories too. An example would be Ezekiel Emanuel's Growing Up Emanuel written in 2013. I took notes when reading that article untuk siap-siap kalau sampai satu hari nanti dipercayakan sama Tuhan dengan keluarga yang anaknya laki-laki semua. Vanity Fair does have some good article lying around but it might take a bit more effort finding it.
  • The Gentlewoman. If you are a native Jakartan and have roamed through the aisles in bookstores, you must have seen the print version of The Gentlewoman. I have never bought the print version but they do publish the stories on the site. Link posted will lead you to the library. My personal favorite is their profile on Tilda Swinton purely due to their description of how she lives her life in Nairn, a town in Scotland. She raises her twins with limited access to media. Oh, the things you learn from reading. The rest of the profiles are equally interesting. Though for me, Tilda's stood out. 
  • Oxford American. I love the design of the website. Writings are interesting but do note that, unless you subscribe, there is a limit of 5 free articles. Pick and choose.
  • Esquire's What I've Learned Archive. I still do read men's magazine though mostly in print. The online versions are sometimes too clickbait-y that I prefer avoiding it in its entirety. But there are some gems hiding in the corners of the site. Esquire's What I've Learned archive is one of which. If you want more, give Tom Chiarella's writings a read too. I first read his writing when reading his Letter to a Young Drinker on Esquire's Drink Like a Man book.
  • Jacobin. Dubbed as the "leading voice of the American left", Jacobin is an interesting site to visit. Apart from their lovely web design, the writings written do provide perspectives. I wondered if I should place it here on the list but what the heck. Read it.
  • Pitchfork's Reviews. What I read when I ran out of music to listen to. Some get their music from the radio, some from friends, some from, I don't know, places. I honestly get mine from Spotify's Discover and Apple Music's recommendations. But there are days when your ears cannot handle another jazz note or are sick of Gregory Porter. I cannot turn to my music players so I go back to the basics: I read music reviews. If I find something I like reading, I search for the album and give it a listen. My most recent discovery is Amine's Good For You though he does resonate a little Chance the Rapper-y vibe (which I love so maybe I do lean towards some tone only).
  • Harvard Business Review. Yes, because I still get a lot to learn when dealing with my day to day work. The subscription notices do get annoying though. Thankfully, the office subscribe annually so I have the full version on my hand or laptop monthly without having to spend a buck.
  • Whiteboard Journal. You'd probably wonder when if I read any Indonesian sites when online. I do but barely. Whiteboard Journal is one of the local sites I frequently visit. Content's local but it does not feel like a local website (which is good, for me, in all honesty). I read most of the articles on the Focus section as linked above.
  • The New Yorker. I read this only when I find an interesting title on their Twitter account. Again, the subscription notification is quite annoying but, hey, that is how they get their money. No hate.
  • Wired. I think this was one of those magazines that I mentioned in my weird magazine-related monolog I wrote sometimes ago. But I do love Wired. It is filled with nerdy stuff. The highlight for me was that one time in 2016 when Barack Obama became the guest editor at the magazine. I really like it when presidents write. I do not know why. I just do. Apart from that, the magazine and site are filled with scientific this and that which I enjoy reading.
  • Man Repeller. The freshest writings I have read in 2017 by far. This is what I read when I am on lunch break. I think Leandra's writings are the kind of fashion-related writings I like reading without having to wince at things I find odd. I also dig their Real Cool People Real Cool Apartment section and the MR Money Diaries. You probably won't like it as much if your fascination about New York City and New Yorker, in general, is relatively low. Very cool.
  • Articles from my Twitter's List. I have three lists on my Twitter accounts: News, Not News, and Dudes. These I read only when my day is done and I have time and energy to be emotionally drained. Because sometimes things you read on the internet are not things that will make you happy. Should probably source links for cute puppies videos.

Banyak uga ternyata. I'll stop here for now. The offline writings that I read will be uploaded separately. I am currently on obat flu karena my nose is clogged and I had to battle a nasty sore throat yesterday. I'll (probably) update this list too in case something new comes up.


Ta ta for now,
Athalia Karima Yedida Soemarko.

Jakarta, 3 Oktober 2016.

Ketika seorang tiada, apa yang tersisa? 
Karya—tulisan, nyanyian, lukisan, syair, pahatan, puisi, gambar atau goresan. Manusia dengan segala keterbatasannya mencoba menyampaikan apa yang dirasa melalui karya.

Menulis, merangkai aksara menjadi kata.
Menyanyi, menjahit nada melantun suara.
Melukis, menyatukan warna menggambarkan suasana.
Bersyair, mengarang larik menuturkan sabda.
Memahat, membuat nyata khayalan yang awalnya tak ada.
Berpuisi, mengumandangkan bait kata bersahaja.

Karya.

Ketika satu hari nanti nyawamu tiada, karyamu yang akan berbicara.

Dengan segala keterbatasan yang ada, aku menulis, menggores tinta di atas kertas, menekan jari-jari pada tuts gawai. Nyata atau maya, buah pemikiran dan rasa dituang dalam bentuk kata, kalimat, dan paragraf.

Sepenggal tulisan dalam satu surat elektronik yang diketik pada suatu Senin malam dalam perjalan pulang sambil bergelantungan berpegangan mencari keseimbangan untuk tidak terjatuh karena lajunya bis TransJakarta. Entah apa yang sedang dirasa.


Salam,
Athalia Karima Yedida Soemarko.

I Quit Instagram.

I'm done. Tjoekoep soedah. I still take fairly awesome photos though. 

Fueled mainly by the annoyance on how much time is wasted on scrolling through endless posts and my low tolerance level on looking at people yang luarnya bagus tapi dalamnya siapa yang tau, gue minggat dari Instagram. I quit. I did not conduct a feasibility study on how I would survive without it prior or leave a farewell note to announce my departure. I just leave. I actually thought of deleting my account but I figured nanti kalau gue mati at least the people in the photos would have an accessible way to remember that they were so very loved by me. I kept the account but I have stopped posting.

I quit Facebook in university and Path around… 2013? I cannot recall. Oh! And Snapchat. I deleted my account a few months after creating it. So, as far as I can remember, I have this blog and my Twitter account. And that's it. Those two are enough to occupy my spare time.

Honestly, it feels liberating, betul. Tapi juga ndak segitunya kok. I sometimes think that the effect of getting off social media is hyperbolically stated as life changing. For some, maybe. Buat gue it was ya udah aja. Now I do hold my phone less though karena I no longer feel the need of posting things I see. This makes my Momma happy. The highlight of it to this day is the fact that I have more time reading things that I personally curate and not shoved at me because it looks great on the 'Gram. 

Kalau ditanya orang kenapa, I tell them that for me it got really sumpek—/sum·pek/ (a): sesak, sempit, pengap. Plus I am still at a point where I do not need to be on social media to promote the work I do or to sustain my career. Saya beruntung karena saya memiliki pekerjaan yang tidak bergantung sepenuhnya terhadap media sosial. I am not a performer, an influencer, a model, or whatever else is out there that requires greater exposure. I have a relatively interesting job that I do day to day from a desk which tickles my brain and fulfills the majority of my needs. For that I am grateful and because of that I can sashay out of social media with no major consequence or impact to my life.

As for my photos, I have it all on my phone and camera. Phone mostly karena kamera gue berat banget dan ganti-ganti lensa itu agak merepotkan tapi gue ogah turun ke mirrorless. I'll post some below for the fun of it.

July 2017. Handining's illustrations are my favorite.

July 2017. Persimmon or kesemek sold on the roadside when visiting Passer Baroe.

June 2017. Sipping tea from old school tin cups in Mega Mendung.

June 2017. On the platform at Depok Baru train station.

June 2017. Captured from inside the Commuter Line train, three people on a bike in Tebet.

May 2017. Street art viewed from the car route to the office.

May 2017. A bouqet of local flowers arranged by Roselyn. The colors are divine.

May 2017. Asha with her yellow life jacket floating around our pool.

May 2017. Padang showed off its sunset before I departed home ending my less than 24-hour trip.

April 2017. Clouds over the roof of a temple in Teluk Gong.

March 2017. A shot of the sea taken from the sky.

March 2017. Development - Part 1.

March 2017. Development - Part 2.

March 2017. With my two favorite North Sumatran at Wiki Coffee, Bandung.

March 2017. Bike, cables, and blue sky.

March 2017. We need more public spaces. Alun Alun Bandung is a lovely example.

March 2017. Riding against the traffic on a becak.

March 2017. Jalan Otto Iskandar Dinata, Bandung.

February 2017. Leaves at home.

February 2017. Senja di Jakarta.

January 2017. I still read.

So glad to be off that grid,
Athalia Karima Yedida Soemarko.

A Series Of Incomplete Entries.

I have 82 drafts sitting on Nerdus Maximus' page.

Delapan puluh dua tulisan—beberapa masih mentah tak berbentuk; seperempat tertulis dengan nada terlalu tajam for the general public; sedikit tentang cinta; dan mayoritas tentang kekesalan dan kekecewaan akan minimnya budaya membaca di Indonesia.

Hari ini gue membuka laman blog untuk menulis beberapa kalimat di entry baru yang I'm pretty sure won't be posted any time soon. Lalu terlihat lah angka 82 tersebut di samping kiri dashboard. Sembari membaca kembali beberapa tulisan yang sudah lama diterlantarkan terbesitlah pikiran, "Ini mah kalau mau diselesaikan semua ndak akan ada waktunya tapi kok sepertinya (meminjam frase yang dicanangkan oleh anak muda zaman sekarang) beberapa entries ini kalau dibuang sayang." And come to think of it, I have never stopped writing. I just haven't found the time to complete my incomplete thoughts.

So I'll post some hereincomplete, raw, uneditedcopy pasted from the original Draft entry.

By the way, ha-ha. Asli gue ngakak sendiri baca my own old, unpublished entries. Ada beberapa post yang akan gue lengkapi dengan komentar Athalia 2017 ketika membaca yang ditulis Athalia 2000something. Komentar Athalia 2017 ditulis di bawah judul draft tersebut highlighted in blue.

---
Benci Sama Cinta.
Original version.

Benci Sama Cinta yang dipublikasikan dalam blog ini beberapa tahun lalu was so heavily edited that it is safe to say that it is a completely different piece. I wrote it with full-fledged emotion at the height of my sadness when losing my grandfather. Gue merasa kalau versi awal yang gue tulis dan simpan langsung ke dalam Draft folder terlalu mentah, terlalu revealing. Jadi tak racik lagi lah the shorter version dan subjeknya pun dibuat rancu. You might have thought that it was written with a romantic-type of love as background. Tapi setelah beberapa tahun tersimpan, I think it's readyand I think the raw version of me is ready tooto be seen by the general public.


I assume that was not the first time when you felt scared. Ada kehilangan lain lagi kah yang membuat lo membenci cinta?
"Mungkin ada."
Apa lagi yang hilang karena cinta?
"Waktu."
Waktu hilang karena cinta?
"Ya. Waktu hilang karena cinta yang ternyata tidak imbang."
Could you please explain.
"Dua orang. Satu hubungan. Kekuatan jiwa dan raga ditumpahkan dalam hubungan tersebut. Ternyata yang ditumpahkan tidak imbang, malah ternyata terbagi-bagi. Kepada orang lain."
Apakah cinta akan pernah imbang?
"I don't know."
Dan lo membeci cinta karena takut kehilangan dan takut gemuruh itu kembali?
"Ya."
So how have you been operating?
"Gue menghindar dari cinta. Atau dari preferential treatments, from or to me. Jadi semua rata dan netral. Gue juga berfokus kepada output-nya.Jadi ketika sesuatu atau seseorang hilang, gue akan fine saja."
Why would you be fine?
"Karena gue tidak pernah merasakan perasaan di atas rata-rata."
Merasakan apa? Kehilangan? Apa yang akan hilang?
"Siapa yang akan hilang. Orang-orang yang gue sayang. I was scared when they go, they would take a piece of my heart with them. And then I will be incomplete."
Jadi lo takut karena lo takut kehilangan.
"Yes."
You are scared of them leaving and taking a piece of your heart with them when they go.
"Betul."
Why are you scared of being incomplete?
"Karena I cannot operate well if I am not complete."
Maksudnya?
"Ya. Kalau gue tidak utuh gue harus mulai lagi dari nol and that takes time."
Really?
"Ya. That's just the way things are."
Can you now recall when this started?
"Mungkin ketika kakek saya meninggal."
Apa yang lo rasakan?
"Something shook uncontrollably."
Tolong deskripsikan.
"Ada gemuruh hebat selama tiga menit setiap harinya mulai dari hari ketika gue menerima berita bahwa beliau pergi."
How violent was the quake?
"Pretty violent. Seingat gue titik tertingginya ketika gue melihat ke arah rumahnya dan beliau tidak ada untuk melambai tangan ketika gue berangkat kerja."
All right. Tadi lo bilang you used to hate love. Jadi sekarang sudah tidak lagi?
"No. Sudah tidak lagi."

---

Miring, Tapi Jangan Sampai Sinting.

Law school Athalia thought she knew everything. She doesn't. Tapi. Professional Athalia sekarang tahu bahwa there is no such thing as Balance 101. Adanya adalah menjalani hidup setiap hari, mengambil keputusan setiap hari, dan siap menghadapi konsekuensi dari keputusan tersebut di hari mendatang. Point is, I am starting to think before I do things. (Which I find weird karena dalam entry ini gue tulis "I think I think too much") But, hey, whatever.


I think I think too much.

Semester 6 sudah berlalu dan saya dengan lega bisa berkata, "Phew. I'm glad I survived that one." Sekarang jeng... jeng... jeng... Fase baru kehidupan telah tiba: skripsi! Tapi itu masalah nanti lah ya. Quick update on what has happened between January to June 2012... Gue baru menyelesaikan kompetisi pengadilan semu ke-4 gue which just so happen to be my last competition untuk masa undergraduate gue. Cukup sudah waktu yang telah saya habiskan di depan komputer mengutak-ngutik legal documents selama berbulan-bulan lamanya. It's really time to refocus dan sekarang juga adalah waktunya untuk kembali ke jalan yang benar dalam arti harus mulai membetulkan siklus tidur dan makan. Sekarang ini, which is June 2012, gue memutuskan untuk tidak mengambil semester pendek dan enjoy my last summer as a student. Dan to be perfectly honest di sini lah semua mulai kacau-balau.

Singkat cerita, perjalanan perkuliahan gue memang agak sedikit absurd. From the moment I stepped up into university, I wanted challenge. Gue ogah kuliah pulang kuliah pulang. Plus pelajaran pada waktu semester pertama juga agak krik dan memberikan gue lumayan waktu untuk mengambil aktifitas lainnya. So I took up moot court, ajang dimana mahasiswa di tantang untuk memecahkan secara hukum kasus fiktif dan prosesnya, kawan, berbulan-bulan lamanya. Hampir semua kompetisi yang gue lewati harus melewati seleksi nasional, artinya gue harus kerja keras untuk unggul dari anak-anak Indonesia lain yang ternyata tidak kalah tangguh dan juga memakan waktu. Secara ilmiah sudah di buktikan bahwa if you do something repeatedly for 30 days itu akan menjadi kebiasaan atau habit. Gue berkutat dengan jadwal ketat selama tiga tahun, being busy has become more than a habit. It has become a way of life. Dan sekarang gue liburan... Yang artinya jadwal gue kosong melompong dan rasanya... Aneh.

Kalau memang lo pernah membaca blog entry gue yang lainnya maybe you will know that sewaktu gue ga tau mau ngapain dan bertekad untuk duduk diam di sanalah otak gue berulah. My brain can do this thing where it backflips, run 1000 mph, and just... Membuat skenario-skenario yang hampir nyata dari yang tidak nyata. But I needed to think. I need to figure out what is wrong with me.

Ternyata, seletelah di telusuri sekian lama, I figured out that hidup gue ga seimbang. Gue pernah menulis tentang Sibuk 101, a message to people out there to stay busy. It worked, to a certain extent. Dan harus gue akui yang gue tulis juga ga ada salahnya tapi hidup itu ga ternyata selalu hanya untuk kesibukan. Gue ga bilang sibuk itu salah. No. Being busy kept me alive and well for the past three years. Tapi sekarang saatnya belajar beberapa hal lain yang life has to offer.

Here it is, folks, Balance 101.
  • Independent vs. Interdependent
Satu hal yang membuat gue cinta sekali akan kesibukan adalah the fact that you focus so much to your work dan dengan demikian masalah yang ga ada hubungannya dengan hidup lo akan secara automatis tidak akan terdaftar di pikiran lo. I didn't give a bleep tentang masalah-masalah orang di luar sana, orang yang dekat ataupun jauh karena yang ada di otak gue hanya ada: Hari ini gue harus bikin satu dua tiga empat lima. Itu selesai, terlalu capek untuk mikirin yang lain lagi. Blek. Tidur. Besoknya terulang lagi. Kuliah, buat tugas, meeting kiri kanan, urusin tugas lomba, kecapekan, tidur. My life was fine, baik malah. Prestasi ada; semua terurus dan tertata rapi indah. Hidup gue. Sendiri.

Liburan ini gue kembali "pulang", menemui orang-orang yang bisa dibilang gue tinggalkan selama tiga tahun terakhir. I went home to find out that ternyata ga semua orang bisa lari cepat dan ternyata hidup yang seperti itu hanya membawa kebahagiaan untuk satu orang saja. Jamie Cullum sang a song yang berjudul You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You. Salah satu baitnya berkata, "You may be a king. You may posses the big fat world and its gold. But gold won't bring you happiness when you're growing old." Ternyata presetasi juga demikian, kawan. I was too busy to care. Gue pulang dan gue sadar kalau no man is an island. Kalau gue lari sendiri untuk meraih cita-cita, yeah sure I can go fast. Tapi dengan gue berjalan dengan dua orang atau lebih, I can go far. Ambil waktu untuk peduli dengan sekeliling lo. Jangan lupakan orang-orang di sekitar lo. It gets lonely up there when you're successful. Lo perlu temen. Jangan tinggalkan mereka buat kesuksesan lo sendiri. Fokus memang perlu. Tapi kalau mata itu selalu di arahkan ke matahari bukannya akan ada iritasi? Take some time, look around you. Ga semua orang di dunia ini sekuat lo. Pegang tangan mereka. Kalau mereka kuat, lo juga kuat kok.


---

Air.

Ditulis di Koi Kemang circa 2013 ketika gue mencium bau sengat yang familiar.

There is a reason why I refuse to sit indoors in certain cafes. From all five senses, my sense of smell is deadliest when it comes to unleashing emotions. A whiff of familiar smelling air pushes my brain to a territory known to none. I have built, in my mind, a graveyard. Thoughts unwanted, contemplation gone rouge, and pointless memories are all dumped into it. It is guarded with multiple locks and has only one key - a smell. Some people see, some listen, some feel, but I smell. It might sound odd. When I take a deep breath, my mind registers the smell of my surrounding. Thus when the memory is no longer necessary, I dump it along with its smell registry. The thing about air... It is so abundant that one never actually plans to be surrounded in familiarity. It catches you by surprise and you are suddenly engulfed in mental pictures of the things of the past. That's the thing about living. As long as you are alive, all thoughts and memories are alive too. Today I learned that you are not supposed to dumped it all in a graveyard. I have to accept that not everything in life is bright and beautiful. I made mistakes. There are broken pieces in memories. There is beauty in brokenness. It made you who you are. Live and always love.

---

Untuk Yang Layak Diperjuangkan.

2014. Dua ribu empat belas. Tahun yang lumayan bikin pening. Ketika sudah memasuki umur di mana teman-teman gue sudah mulai menyiapkan pernikahan, gue masih, ya… I was still doing things Athalia's way. 


Sendiri berani, berdua sehidup semati.

Dulu gue bisa dengan semangat membara menanamkan kalimat tersebut kepada orang-orang yang sedang... apa ya... berjuang untuk bertahan. Athalia sucks at romance and is not a believer of relationships based on merely on that feeling you all call as love. Gue tidak berbakat dalam segala yang berhubungan dengan keunyu-unyuan dan romansa. Menurut gue perasaan tersebut hanya angin lalu. Tapi gue paham betul kalau janji harus ditepati. Maka dari itu, I take extreme caution ketika memilih untuk mempercayakan hati. My research process is long and in-depth. Gue pernah mengulas dan mengibaratkan kalau memilih pacar lebih sulit daripada memilih presidenGirlfriend, that ain't no lie. That has to be done. And, goodness gracious, it is easier said than done (only if you do not set a strong foundation the first time).

Kenapa? Karena berjalan berdua tidak membuat hidup menjadi lebih mudah.

"Gue mau nikah tahun depan," cetus seorang teman dengan mantap. "Oh? Sudah siap?" tanya gue sambil menyendok sesuap nasi. (It's weird how these blogposts are always inspired by lunchtime conversations dan biasanya gue yang lapar sementara teman-teman gue ngelantur dengan ide-ide ajaib mereka. I love my friends.) "Yep!" jawabnya mantap. I stare at my friendI know she's ready. Dia jago masak, perhatian terhadap pacarnya, baik hati, cantik, soleha, dan lain sebagainya. Perfect wife material.

Lah gue...? Gue ga bisa masak—because I was at this point where I believe that women are no longer slave to the stove!—dan gue ga bisa nyetir. Gue baru akan mulai masuk industri professional. Gue masih sering gundah gulana tentang bagaimana gue bisa memaksimalkan waktu gue untuk membantu mempercepat perkembangan negeri ini. Gue secara finansial masih belum mapan. Dan gue masih belum sebaik hati, sesabar, dan seperhatian orang lain terhadap pasangan mereka. I operate my life with extermely high-level of cuek bebek. Kalau bebek bisa dicuekin, gue cuekin juga mungkin. Gue sedang berada dalam posisi di mana gue ga tau mau pilih jurusan apa for my graduate school. And there are my girlfriends prepping themselves up for marriage.

Marriage! The smallest unit of society established based on love between two individuals.

Based on love. I don't even know what love is! Bloody hell.

---

September 2016.

Apparently I copy pasted this WhatsApp conversation to the Draft folder. Entah apa rencana gue. Mungkin lima poin ini tadinya akan gue kembangkan untuk menjadi sebuah entry.

[16:52, 9/5/2016] Athalia K Y Soemarko: 1. I think, I read, and I write.    
[16:52, 9/5/2016] Athalia K Y Soemarko: 2. I have a weird educational background.           
[16:53, 9/5/2016] Athalia K Y Soemarko: 3. I get very curious on ideas and concepts.
[16:53, 9/5/2016] Athalia K Y Soemarko: 4. I think out loud.
[16:53, 9/5/2016] Athalia K Y Soemarko: 5. I am not easily amused.

Write All The Time.

"To Quentin Roosevelt
December 24, 1917
Dearest Quentin, 
Mother, the adamantine, has stopped writing to you because you have not written to her -- or to any of us -- for a long time.That will make no permanent difference to you; but I write about something that may make a permanent difference. 
Flora spoke to Ethel yesterday of the fact that you only wrote rarely to her. She made no complaint whatever. But she knows that some of her friends receive three or four letters a week from their loves or husbands (Archie writes Gracie rather more often than this -- exceedingly interesting letters). Now of course you may not keep Flora anyhow. But if you wish to lose her, continue to be an infrequent correspondent. If however you wish to keep her write her letters interesting letters, and love letters -- at least three times a week.
Write no matter how tired you are, no matter how inconvenient it is; write if you're smashed up in the hospital; write when you are doing your most dangerous stunts; write when your work is most irksome and disheartening; write all the time! 
Write enough letters to allow for half being lost. 
Affectionately,
A hardened and wary old father."

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th U.S. president and a father of six children. The letter above was taken from Dorie McCullough Lawson's Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children.

Inikah Rasanya Cinta.

Inikah namanya cinta? Inikah cinta? Cinta pada jumpa pertama.
Inikah namanya cinta? Inikah cinta? Terasa bahagia saat jumpa.


"Hah. Memang bisa?" teriak gue sambil melihat keluar jendela.
"I can't hear you! Pelanin dulu suaranya," kata X.
I reached for the volume button to turn the sound down.
"Memang bisa cinta pada jumpa pertama?" tanya gue.
"I think the guys who sang the song are clueless too. Makanya mereka bertanya: inikah namanya cinta? Kalau lo yang ditanya pasti jawabannya: OF COURSE NOT! ARE YOU STUPID?!" balasnya.
"...probably."

Actually, I would say that. Or probably scream that. If whoever wrote that song asked the question to me, the song probably won't exist because I think there is no such thing as cinta pada jumpa pertama. Universe, feel free to prove me wrong. Let me meet men who fell in love with me pada jumpa pertama. Dan gue sepertinya akan butuh lebih dari tiga untuk bisa percaya bahwa notion ini benar and not just some random chance. If so, then probably I will change my grounds.

Mereka Bilang Kita Jodoh.

Mereka bilang kita jodoh.
Kamu dan aku sejalan sepikir.

Mereka bilang kita jodoh.
Ambisimu setinggi langit dan aku selalu mengejar mimpi.

Mereka bilang kita jodoh.
Derap langkahmu cepat dan aku tak pernah lelah berlari.

Mereka bilang kita jodoh.
Sikapmu tegas dan aku pun tak kalah keras.

Mereka bilang kita jodoh.
Kamu hemat berkata dan aku seorang pendengar.

Mereka bilang kita jodoh.
Tuhanmu adalah Tuhanku juga.

Mereka kira kita bodoh.
Karena setelah sepuluh tahun lebih kita masih belum bersama.

Mereka bodoh.
Karena cinta tidak bisa dipaksakan.

Mereka bodoh.
Karena tak cukup hanya sekedar sama untuk bisa hidup berdua.

15 to 16.

It's the new year! Masih punya mimpi dan cita-cita kah? Kalau masih, good for you. Kalau semangat sudah mulai sirna dan target hidup adalah uang, it's probably time to rethink things. Atau mungkin jawaban termudah if you do not fall under either categories, ngalir saja sob.

Karena gue bukan tipe yang ngalir dan kebetulan masih punya banyak mimpi, di tahun 2016 ini I set a different type of goals. Sudah cukup lah tahun-tahun hampa menulis cita-cita sebatas achieving that Victoria Secret's model body atau travelling through 6 countries in a year. Not saying that those are bad goals but on my list, a great body and spending $$$ on travels come second. Tahun ini gue ga menghabiskan terlalu banyak waktu untuk berpikir terlalu in-depth tentang hidup di tahun 2015. What happened in 2015 happened. It was not a great year but I do see it as a year filled with transitions. A lot of gear changing in 2015.

So what's for 2016? 2016's aim is pretty simple to know what I would concentrate in and pursue graduate school by the beginning of 2017. The bigger goal? In whatever field I decide to concentrate in, I want to be able to work from home and still yield financial revenue at least three times higher than peers my age who work a 9-to-5 job in a normal work setting (and the revenue increases exponentially in the coming years). Why? Because in the course of my late 20s, I want to build a home for me and a sanctuary for many. My view on how to achieve this is blurred still for now but  I sincerely hope that in whatever I do, my 2016 will not revolve around me and me only. I have 2015 to thank for this change of perspective. Or else I'd still put "Climb corporate ladder in 2016 and be CEO by 2019" as a goal. Everybody can do that.

Cheers to a great year ahead,
Athalia Karima Yedida Soemarko

King Salomon on Virtuous Women.

"Who can find a virtuous wife?
     For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
     So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
     All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
     And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
     She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
     And provides food for her household,
     And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
     From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
     And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
     And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
     And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
     Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
     For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
     Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
     When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
     And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honour are her clothing;
     She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
     And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
     And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
     Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,
     But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
     But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
     And let her own works praise her in the gates."


The biblical King Solomon was known for his wisdom, wealth and writings. The except above was taken from the New King James Version of Proverbs 31.

Atau Mungkin.

"Can I just ease into relationships, please!!! Like, I want to be able to calmly say 'Oh this is snug. How comforting. Let me stay here. I like the warmth.' But nooooo... Ini abad ke 21. Semua harus dance as hard as they can to attract a mate. You know who has to flaunt their beauty in the animal world?! The male. That's why male peacocks got pretty tails. The girl peacock would just go 'All right I see your effort. Let's have baby peacocks.' Tapi sekarang coba 'Aku harus cantik supaya I get a decent cowo.' Yang laki-laki udah ga usah usaha lagi padahal yang kelakuannya sama kadang sama seperti binatang siapa? Ya udah dong kalau kaya gitu biar treatment or the process kaya binatang juga. You go flaunt what you get to get the girl. Why do I have to be the one yang usaha?!" teriak X diujung sana.

"Are you comparing us to peacocks?" tanya Y.

"Aarrrgghhhh!" Lalu sambungan telepon terputus.


Dari semua lagu tentang cinta, satu line dari Eat, Sleep, Repeat yang ditulis oleh the American rock band Copeland menusuk gue every single time. Kata Copeland, "Love could be a great illusion that makes fools of brilliant thinkers everyday." Aduh.

Ilusi. Yang dibuat indah oleh Hollywood. Actually, no. Hollywood tidak menghancurkan atau membuat cinta sebagai suatu ilusi. I personally think that it is just packaged in a commercial way. Karena reality in itself will not sell. Feelings sells, emotion sells. Atau mungkin gue terlalu banyak nonton romantic comedies dua minggu terakhir ini. It's probably the latter and I'm not going to put the blame on Hollywood. They are just doing their job. Good for them. Tapi gue hidup dalam realita. What I see around me is nowhere near to a utopia. Thus I must be living in the real world, where not everything is bright and beautiful. Including that thing we all call love.

If you're wondering, I was X dan percakapan tersebut terjadi sekitar tiga jam yang lalu. Y is my best friend, for obvious reasons. She listens to my rants.

Dua minggu terakhir ini, I've been on a binge, a romantic comedy binge. I'm fine. I'm perfectly OK. Everything is great. Everything is lovely. I just need to be grateful. And watch less romantic comedies, drink less wine, or maybe grow some balls. Atau mungkin, I need to fix me.

I need to fix me.

"Jangan lari dari masalah." Frase yang pendek, padat, dan agak sedikit tepat yang dikatakan ketika gue sudah terlalu lelah untuk berdebat, berpikir, dan lain sebagainya. I like closing books that I know would not end well. Untuk apa diselesaikan ketika bisa diberhentikan sekarang saja. Afterwards, you clean your mess, I'll clean mine. Gue bukan orang yang terlalu fond dengan maintenance this is probably bad and might go on the list on the things that I need to fix about me. Ya sudah. OK. Jadi gue harus membereskan diri. Where to start?

Coldplay's Fix You just pipped on shuffle a second ago. The Universe is giving me a sign. Terima kasih, Chris Martin. But for your information I have nobody to fix me or guide me home. Dan ketika gue mengetik kalimat di atas lah gue menemukan akar dari masalah gue. Can you see it?

Let's keep this one hanging.



I do a lot of that by the way. I leave things hanging.

Athalia Soemarko.

Breeze it. Buzz it. Easy does it.

There are things in life that you have to know. There are things in life that I have to know. These are the things in life that is worth knowing at this point in life:
  1. You don't have to work hard, you must work smart. You want to be different? Work smart. What is smart? Go figure it out. I assume you are smart (or at least you think you are smart). You don't understand this? Don't bother understanding the rest.
  2. You don't have to get drunk to have fun. In the end you will find out that if you have massive amount of alcohol and no friends, it is not as fun as it seems. Find great friends. That is what you have to do.
  3. You do not have to look cool to be cool. Cool, in its essence, is not being accepted by anyone anyway. It is about feeling good in being who you are. Some people were born with it, some just have to accept that they were not but that does not mean they are not cool.
  4. You do not have to try too hard to do things in life. When it is supposed to come to you, it will. If it does not come to you, try another thing. If you can do it with least effort with maximum result, get better at it. You would be at the best of your field in no time.
  5. You have to take life easily. Take pressure easily. Take depression easily. Take everything easy. Things in life gets hard but take things easy. This might look easier said than done but believe me, you would make it through. It is easy.
I'm just throwing this out there in case some people might be reading. Plus I still have 7 hours of flight to kill before arriving in Japan.
Los Angeles, April 2011.

Tulisan anak sok tahu. Twenty years old Athalia who thought she had the world figured out. Ternyata ga juga. Ternyata sampai hari ini pun the world still confuses her. Tapi ini rahasia kita berdua. Until somebody finds out the truth, let's make living look easy breezy.

Fake it 'til you make it,
Athalia Karima Yedida Soemarko.

Benci Sama Cinta.

"I used to hate love."
Kenapa?
"I do not know. I just hated love."
OK. When did you start not liking love? Should I say "benci"? Benci is a very strong word.
"I can't recall the timeline. Dan ya, benci adalah kata yang tepat."
Baiklah. Benci. Kapan lo mulai benci cinta? The question will not answer itself.
"When it started scaring me."
When was that dan kenapa cinta mulai membuat lo takut?
"I told you. I cannot remember the timeline."
Tapi lo ingat apa yang lo rasakan?
"Yes, I remember."
So it was fear and you were afraid. Afraid of what?
"Everything."
What exactly were you afraid of?
"Kehilangan."
Will you cry?
"When I get scared? I will not."
Kenapa?
"Would crying help?"
Mungkin.
"Mungkin."