words, worldly wisdoms & wanna-be photography

Posts tagged “courage

2012: Looking back

WARNING: Don’t read unless you have an enormous patience for grammar mistakes and wrong spelling and colloquial language. I was moody and grumpy and tired when I wrote this so a lot might not make sense. Sorry!

I’m back! And as promised here the posts informing the interested ones among you what I’ve been up to (I actually said what I’ve been up to in the last couple of months but I figured a reflection on the whole last year would be just as good). About some of the mentioned experiences and happenings I’ll probably post something more detailed sometime so I just talk about them briefly.

First the good things that happened to me (I was actually surprised that there were more than 5 bullet points on my list):

1. This May the Mia Patria Choir (MPC) from Jakarta, Indonesia has come to Switzerland during their Europe tour! The MPC is basically a professional catholic choir from Indonesia singing and playing music partly for services (then church music) and for shows (traditional Indonesian music). Their coming to Switzerland was my personal highlight of 2012: I’ve never felt so truly, satisfyingly happy before or after meeting them.
My family and a lot of other family friends spent with them 2 amazing weekends – my family was among the most active because my mother was part of the organizational committee and therefore we practically went to all their shows and had to stay the night nearby (when they had concerts at two close places which were far away from our home town).
During that time I had the chance to meet amazing, lovable people from my home country and being surrounded by Indonesian culture and music and food got me on such a high like never before. I was part of the photographing team (I was ‘appointed’ by my mum) and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. A lot of our family friends take photographs in their free time too, and having all those more experienced photographers around was wonderful and extremely beneficial – at times I felt like an apprentice learning from masters.
I won’t say more though; I want to recommend them and their music in a post later this year.

2. + 3. I bought myself a new camera! I’m still so excited by looking at it and getting all giddy inside…. don’t ask. I’m weird. But yes, this is the second highlight of my year and it’s – I actually have told you that already but it’s so worth repeating – a Canon EOS 550D and it’s my biggest treasure and I love it and I’m so satisfied with it. I’ve saved money for a camera for such a long time and I still can’t believe that I finally did it.
I’m not that proficient in handling it yet but I’ve realised that slowly, I’m making small progresses along the way and I’m very happy with the way things are at the moment. (Wow, how eloquent of me.) I started out mostly shooting in half-automatic mode and a couple of months ago I finally began to take photos in the manual mode. It was frightening at the beginning and I often confused one setting with the other but I’m making less and lesser mistakes now.

Coupled with this event is actually a recent one: I got a brand new, only-for-me-to-use 1TB hard disk from my dad! Yay! You probably never thought that a 17-year-old girl could get that excited over a hard disk but I can. I am. I’ve been hijacking my dad’s own hard disk for far too long and my photo archive is getting bigger and messier every day. It’s actually a win-win situation: My day gets his own hard disk back and I finally found a place large enough to contain my photos. The negative side was the many hours that I spent sorting out new files and old files I had next to my photos and the many more hours I spent on categorizing and sorting out my photo archive. It’s finally done though and I’m super, super happy.
And because I have an actually organized archive now it’s so much easier to look for photos for my blogs… which is awesome for me and awesome for you.

4. I finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge 2012! I set up a goal of reading 30 books last year which I eventually and very narrowly only managed because of all the school books we had to read. Thanks, school! You are useful for something after all.

5. I got to travel to amazing places! There was Sicily with our school choir this spring and then my Singapore-Indonesia-tour this summer (I’ll post about both.) of which the latter was even more amazing because I got to see my cousins and my grandmother and the whole extended family again. I didn’t always felt at ease there (my ‘condition’ unfortunately didn’t vanish for summer holidays) but it definitely felt like home and like heaven and at the end of the summer I looked back with good memories in my mind.

6. This autumn/winter highlight was the Florence + The Machine (FATM) concert which I attended with a couple of friends. FATM has always been one of my favourite bands ever since I discovered them but I think that after the concert they started to play an even more important role in my life. Especially Florence Welch, as lively and energetic and creative as she is, has always been an inspiration to me and thus seeing her live on stage got me on a high shortly before the concert, during the concert and shortly after the concert. Doesn’t seem like much but these days I’m craving for even the smallest bits and pieces of happiness.

7. Last but not least – I finished my final paper! Yay! I first didn’t know if I should put it in the positive or negative list because it’s been so much work. And with ‘much’ I mean enormously, life-consumingly much. I swear, I don’t think I could ever describe the amount of hours I worked on it properly and the endless frustration that came with it (especially since you didn’t need 95% of the painfully patiently collected research material in the end anyway). Eventually, after about 9 months researching and working and frustrating on it and pulling some all-nighters for last corrections I managed to write a 60 (65?) pages long paper (with appendix though). I don’t even want to think of having to do that on a regular basis in university next year…

Looking back it does seem like I had a good year but I probably should show the other side, too:

1. We moved house. And it’s painful to think about it and I admit I still wouldn’t feel slightly at home if it weren’t for the fact that my family lives here too but I guess it will take another couple of years for me to accept this place as my new home. (It’s only a couple of houses down the street but it feels like a completely different world.) I don’t know if I’m ever going to write about this experience (and I tried a couple of times, believe me) but I do know now that you can shed a gazillion tears for an old, wooden table. Or for a bedstead. Or for a white wall.

2. At the beginning of the year I actually started to count the times that I hung out with my best friend. We both have very different schedules and other people in our lives too, so that for a couple of years we haven’t been able to see each other as much as we’d like; but I don’t think it has reached such an all-time-low as last year. And that was the year I was counting and actually could improve the whole situation by communicating more with her (we both are also non-texters…) but I just don’t know – every time I felt like I could do something with her I was way too tired for any kind of interaction or communication, especially with human beings that I know. And I should probably receive the ‘worst friend award’ for this, I know, but at so many days I felt so incredibly tired and at a lack of energy.
It wasn’t even always the physical energy but more of an inner one, you know what I mean? I generally get frustrated with other people so easily and it always takes me a lot of this inner energy to interact with basically anyone. This year my energy has been needed at other places too, so I guess that friends were somewhere near the bottom of my priority list. (It sounds rude but it’s true and I wish I could find a nicer way to phrase it.)
Moreover, we both, my best friend and I, are very relaxed about our relationship. I won’t say that this lack of time together doesn’t have its effect – because it does. It does so heavily, and when I once used to know so many facts about her, I’d be glad if I can get 5 things right about her nowadays. Lack of intimacy has caused a change in the superficial part of our relationship which revolves around the momentary well-being and preferences of the other. But the essence of our friendship, the core of it and what has brought and kept us together for all these years – that hasn’t changed and, I hope, will never change.
The problem that we both know this leads in me (I’m not 100% sure about her) sort of taking this friendship for granted, which, I know, I never ever should do. And I hate it but I can’t help it and I don’t know how to fight it and it doesn’t occupy my mind as much as it should these days. I guess, I can only hope (and work on it!) that this year our friendship will get much more intimate again.

3. And last about my ‘condition’ (I have to find a better name for it): I don’t know how eloquent and articulate I’m going to be (probably not at all) because I’m not used to writing about it – and I’m still not 100% ready for writing about it – but I’m going to try to describe the general state of this year in a couple of sentences. (I’ll write a couple more posts about it later this year.)
I actually thought for a long time that at the beginning of last year I experienced the peak of my ‘condition’. It was quite dramatic then, I guess, because I showed it like never before (and I was never supposed to show it). I don’t know how many people noticed, if anyone has noticed but I felt pretty naked and exposed at that time, especially because so many things coincided then and I was overwhelmed by the gigantic pile of emotions I had on a weekly basis. But then this autumn/winter happened. I already told a couple of people (not that there are many who know about this personally, so ‘a couple’ = max. 3) that I was bettering and it’s going upwards and whatnot but I didn’t realise that I experienced a new aspect of my ‘condition’. Looking at it, I think that you could compare spring 2012 to a raging storm because then I was the loudest; but this winter seems more to be of the ‘horrendous aftermath/possible build-up for another storm’-silence kind because my anxiety etc. more often than not expressed itself in physical pressure I feel (and leads over then to mental pressure) than in outbursts as it did once.
And I should probably elaborate and explain more but it hurts to think about it and it’s giving me a headache on top of it all. So I’ll just stop writing here until I find enough courage again to continue.

All in all (and I might elaborate here more on a separate post) if there’s a lesson I learned in 2012 than it’s this: Patience is a virtue. Don’t rush into things. Be patient. (Because waiting for a better state is painful and after a long time of anxiety you tend to rush into positive things the moment you get a glimpse of them.)


2 years!

Dear followers and readers

As mentioned in my previous post I’ve been very busy (as usual, actually) and hardly had time to post anything on this blog. Last week was, in fact, the very first week I didn’t have to worry about anything and I took time off to relax and recharge. Some of you who might know this blog from its very beginning know that around this time I post a lot since it’s Christmas time and New Years Eve and this blog’s birthday. But I deliberately took time off from writing here as well, since (bloggers probably know, non-bloggers probably not) it always takes a lot of time to prepare a post and for me, being a self-conscious introvert, it also takes a lot of ‘energy’ and a little bit of ‘courage’ to share something of mine with you all.
Especially with my inconsistent blogging I’m always wondering how and if your responses to my text posts and my photos change over time or  if you expect something from me (and then what).
I actually started this blog just to write for myself – the thought that I might get followers never really occurred to me – and now I’m trying to find a balance between self-expression and meeting your expectations. I’m a person who, at times, gets rid of things in my system by writing. I’m fully aware that more than half of you follow and read this blog for the photos that I post (I guess visually inviting posts will always attract people more) but I need this space here for my writing as well.
This summer I’ve learned in an Economy workshop project of my school that in a market you, as a company, only have a chance of survival if you have a clear concept. Transferred to the blogosphere, this means that WordPress is the market and my blog is my company. And if you’ve been reading my posts for a while you’ll surely have noticed that I have no concept whatsoever. It’s basically a gigantic mess consisting of teenage angst, rambling, observations, photo posts, music posts etc. around here.
That you all, after two years, still follow me and accept all the sides of this blog is an incredible honour for me. I can’t thank you enough for all the support you have shown me in the last two years, the encouraging words and the fond comments. The many, many likes that I got for my posts. That I get the honour of being linked on some blogs, of being recommended to other people, is the biggest gift I ever received since I started blogging and it makes me super teary and thankful when I think about it. The professionals among you might think that it’s nothing but your appreciation for my work is something I’ve never dared to dream of and now have so generously (and surprisingly) received.

All in all, thank you so much for sticking with me and I’ll hope we can go this road together for at least two more years. Cheers!

Stella

PS: I’ll be away now until the second of January. From then on, I’ll post a text about what I’ve been up to the last couple of months and (hopefully) another one about my personal experiences with introversion and how it has influenced me and my life. Also, I’ll probably queue some posts for my photo blog, so if you’re interested for photos – wait for me there!


visions (/of love and death)

There are too many things on my mind right now. Too many to count, actually. Too many to write. Since I’ve got holidays right now, I should be writing much more than usual – at least that was what I thought – but instead my writer’s block refuses to fade away. I simply don’t know what to write about. And once I’m being inspired, my inspiration comes from little things, not big enough to be worth to write about, in my opinion.
But two days ago I got a very nice mail-review on my blog, which totally made my day. In it the person stated to have always wanted to start a blog, but just never knew what to write about.
And this sentence reminded me so much of myself in the beginning; I felt insecure about what to post: insecure, if someone would read it or just like it or if someone was interested in what I was writing at all. Now I don’t think that way anymore – or at least that’s what I used to think. I guess, that after posting photos everyday, I slipped again into my early state, this insecurity of what to write about.
But after reading the mail-review 2 days ago, I furiously wanted to set an example and so I’m ending up here, writing a post about what caught my eye today, although it’s not something too big:

’cause there’s no comfort in the waiting room
just nervous pacers bracing for bad news
and then the nurse comes round and everyone will lift their heads
but I’m thinking of what Sarah said:
that “love is watching someone die.”
What Sarah Said – Death Cab For Cutie

This morning I was listening to one of my favourite bands, Death Cab For Cutie. And somehow it was the first time that I really listened to the lyrics of this song because I just never noticed this beautiful, blue and mostly true passage: “Love is watching someone die.”
It was just one of those moments, you know, when realization hits you, realization of something that you somehow always have known all along but never managed to put in one, single sentence.
And therefore it never came to my mind – in this one, single, complete sentence – that actually, if someone’s dying – and you really love this someone – you’ll stay at his side, no matter how painful or how long until death has taken him. Love is not finished once death has come, but stays for much longer. Love is not walking away. Love is the willingness to take pain and hurt upon yourself to make something better for somebody; to sacrifice your comfort for someone beloved.
When I was ten, my grandmother died. It was New Year’s Eve when we heard that she was ill. We flew back home to Indonesia, but of course it was too late. When we arrived it was New Year and she already deceased. It was the most cruel new beginning I’ve ever experienced. First I was in such a shock that I couldn’t say a word; but one moment later I was crying my heart out. I admired her so much and though I didn’t get much time in my life to get to know her, the few years I spent with her were enough to make her one of the most important persons in my life. Seeing me so broken, my cousin dragged me to the coffin so I could say a proper goodbye to her. But instead I squirmed free of her grasp and ran away. I feared to face the reality, the truth, the beloved face.
I regret it until now, that I couldn’t see her last expression properly. That I prefered to look away.

I know it’s not the exact situation as in the quote above, but it’s the closest to the situation above I ‘ve ever experienced. And when it was so hard to just look at a person already dead, how much harder is it to watch someone die?
And here I’d like to ask you if you’ve experienced something similar?

At the end of this song there was this one question that haunted me for a while (but I’m not going to write about it now):

So who’s gonna watch you die?


the tricky thing

New Year’s resolutions are always a tricky thing, I think. Last year was the first time I made a real list of resolutions and I succeeded in only four out of ten. Sadly, it’s not writing these goals rather than trying to achieve them that is harder to accomplish. I always try to find doable resolutions, with a real potential to be achieved at the end of the year. But somehow I’ve always failed.

Why? First, I kind of (intentionally) forget them during the year. But I don’t think, that if I’d remind myself each day of my resolutions, I’ll get them done; lazy as I know myself (this is really a bad trait of mine), I just postpone them to another day.
Second, I didn’t consider them well; for example I promised last year to go to the theater more often with a friend of mine. We subscribed to a kind of “club”, with which we can get the tickets cheaper, but of course it’d be just worth it, if we use them often. Which we never did. Not once. Eventually, I wasn’t keen on this subscription anymore and so failed in one of my resolutions.
And third I lacked in courage: One of my resolutions was to ask my father to watch the stars together. He’s a great astronomy fan (and that’s why I was named Stella – the Italian word for “star”) and when I was younger, we used to watch documentary films about astronomy together. But I’ve grown up, spend more time with my friends and he’s always busy working; I didn’t dare to ask him, because I might be disturbing his work. And so also this resolution fell through.

As for this year I decided that the ultimate solution to all my problems would be witnesses. Yes, witnesses. I think, I need witnesses who are able to see my New Year’s resolutions and as a result I might bring myself to achieve them, because I expect something from myself; because I don’t want you to see me failing in achieving them. (Now you might think I’m weird – and let me say: I also think I’m weird.)

Well, these are my New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Keep on writing this blog! (The single most important resolution, good for my PostAWeek stats and I won’t fail this one, promise.)
  2. This year I decided to finally do something against my boring life and this would mean searching a new hobby. (Blogging doesn’t count for me, since this isn’t something in the real world; it’s something virtual) At the moment I’ve got to choose between taking drama classes, volleyball, yoga, starting a drawing course and starting a photography course. (Question: What would you personally chose?)
  3. To write a story. A real story as in a novel or short story and the like. This year’s the first time I’ve heard of NaNoWriMo, the campaign to write a story or a book of at least 50000 words in a month, which was November then. I hope I’ll get an idea by then. And I don’t think I will succeed in writing a full story, because I’ve started so many stories but after about three chapters didn’t find any ideas to continue. Anyway, the main thing is trying, right? And if I fail, I can still try it next year again. At least I’ve tried.
  4. Continue writing poetry. I started a few months ago, mainly in English, because somehow the words just came by naturally. A few excerpts of them you’ll certainly see when I’m commenting my photos.
  5. Finally, because I know how much of a couch potato I am, I wrote down: Go jogging from next spring on. Haha, I’m really exited to see how much of this I can accomplish.

So that was it for my New Year’s resolutions. About each accomplished one of them I’m going to post something (which, btw is also good for my PostAWeek stats, haha). I hope, I’ll be able to achieve each one of them!

As for now, Happy New Year to you all!

PS: Here’s one of the songs of my New Year’s Eve soundtrack – it’s about the morning after and somehow depressing (a bit) but I still like it (probably just because I grew up with this):


PostAWeek 2011

I started two years ago with blogging at livejournal.com. I had so many ideas that I wanted to write down, so many pictures I wanted to post. But after a time, my posts were coming once in a half-year and finally, I stopped. At some point I just lost my motivation, staring dully at my blank site and trying to get something to write – but always failed.

This November I was reading a NaNoWriMo blog on WordPress and because of the many features you can get for your blog, I gained the motivation again to write and signed up.
Since this all is fresh and still fast updated I want to keep that too; because every time I’ve written a post (right use of tense, here?) I feel like I might be a genius. 😉 I mean, I just succeeded in using my time with sense.

So when I discovered that WordPress offered a new challenge for writers, namely the PostADay or PostAWeek 2011, I instantly decided to participate. Since I don’t think I could do the PostADay (I’ve got too many exams in the near future), I’m going to participate in PostAWeek 2011, which means that I’m going to post at least once in a week.

As for my few readers out there, if I haven’t post at least once in a week, just annoy me until I do, okay? 😉 You help me to keep my motivation – thanks a lot.

Love,

Stella


speak now

Today the Christmas present I ordered online for my sister arrived: the new Taylor Swift cd Speak Now. While listening to it, I read the booklet and so the prologue Taylor Swift has written (right use of tense here?). It was about to speak now itself, actually to speak up.

She wrote:

“In real life, saying the right thing at the right moment is beyond crucial. So crucial, in fact, that most of us start to hesitate, for fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But lately what I’ve begun to fear more than that is letting the moment pass without saying anything.”

At this point I stopped reading; I noticed that she’s right. I noticed that most of the (many) quiet moments I shared with other people are not basing on my shyness or that I didn’t know what to say, but because I feared to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. And while thinking of something right to say, of something appropriate, the small talk that will please my dialogue partner, I let the moment pass and in the end had nothing to say.

“I think most of us fear reaching the end of our life, and looking back regretting the moments we didn’t speak up. When we didn’t say ‘I love you’. When we should have said ‘I’m sorry’. When we didn’t stand up for ourselves or someone who needed help.”

When I was reading this, all the memories came to my mind: The times I could have defend my sister in front of my parents – but didn’t. The times I could have been the one helping an outcast being integrated – but didn’t, because I didn’t want any conflicts with other people. The times I could have done the things I really wanted – but didn’t, because I fear of being accused of being disrespectful.
Now as I’m writing this, I realize that I’ve done a lot of things wrong and instead of apologizing have locked all the mistakes in my heart, shut my eyes from the truth.
I’ve been pretty selfish sometimes, always looking for what’s best for me, so that I would not have any problems. But I never realized that by chosing to be neutral and innocent I would’ve the bigger problem: not being honest with myself.
And I have an opinion to almost everything, but rarely declared it, because I feared of being confronted with arguments; with “But what if…”s and “Proof me…”s and “See? Now what do you have to say?”s and afterwards not knowing the answer. It always has been a sign of weakness for me, not knowing the answer of something; in my earlier years the strongest people I knew had always something to say.
I just never noticed that you don’t have to know everything, that you can’t know everything. I mean, you can still be strong. You can be silent for once and strong.

“What you say might be too much for some people. Maybe it will come out all wrong and you’ll stutter and you’ll walk away embarrassed, wincing as you play it all back in your head. But I think that the words you stop yourself from saying are the ones that will haunt you the longest.”

And it’s so true what she says: it can be too much, it can come out all the wrong way. And I realize once again that for being honest with yourself, you sometimes have to take the courage and the risk to say the wrong things, but saying it in all the right ways.
In this very moment I’m taking the decision to speak up. To speak up for the ones needing my help. Defending them, even if it means having conflicts afterwards. At least, in the end, I won’t be alone, because usually the ones you help, will help you too, if needed.
To speak up when I want to do something different than I ought to do; starting to believe that it doesn’t always have to do with your culture and its ethics; but with having the right to do the things you want to do and so being all yourself. (I always have this problems expressing feelings in a foreign language. Well, I hope you still understand.)
To speak up, so that I won’t have any hidden inner conflicts in my heart anymore. To speak up, so that I won’t regret the things I’ve said or haven’t said when I’m old and looking back on my life, because my words were as honest as possible.

I know it won’t start easy; every time I’ll speak up, I will have to overcome my fears. But all beginnings are difficult, right?

“So say it to them. Or say it to yourself in the mirror. Say it in a letter you’ll never send or in a book millions might read someday. I think you deserve to look back on your life without a chorus of resounding voices saying ‘I could’ve, but it’s too late now.'”

PS: Thanks, Taylor! 😀