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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pretty Girl Rocks

I am pretty. Goddammit I really am. I'm not just pretty nice, pretty strong, or pretty awesome; or, as some would say, pretty stubborn, pretty annoying, pretty aggravating. I really am pretty. I got complimented a lot wherever I go. I mean, being an Indonesian in LA is already a pretty niche position, there aren't that many of us around. We're not Philippines or Hispanic, we're just…different. However, these days the compliments were going extra strong. People actually like looking at me. And let me tell you: It feels sooo good.

This is not the first time I felt this way. I think every time I fall in love or started a new relationship I got this feeling too. You feel pretty and significant when you are in love and being loved, so naturally you will enjoy looking at yourself in the mirror more. Endorphins work wonder on our complexion and poise and our whole self in general. Our skin aglow, our smiles brighten, our eyes lit with hope and wonder; in short: we're love-struck. Every inch of our body screamed 'love' and 'affection', and since we are in (almost) constant happy mood, the world seems to be so much nicer and absolutely wonderful.

But you know what else triggered that endorphin, perhaps even bigger than love itself? Success. Self-confidence. Freedom. Knowledge that you got your sh*t together.

I want to say I got it all together, but I didn't. Or, to be exact, I haven't got it together. The euphoria of the battlefield (a.k.a my divorce) has waned and now I am able to see clearly the desolated path lies before me. I am still struggling with my new job and I am worried that I might not cut for it. I don't know how I can save enough money to go home and visit my family next summer. I am swamped with homework and online course, and I haven't had full 8 hours of sleep since July (note: people who knows me well understand how big of an issue it is for me). I miss my family, my step kids, my cats. Things honestly do not look rosy for me.

Yet I rocked wine-colored body-hugging shirt dress and black combat boots to my work meeting. I downed (free!) samples of liquors and wines at the LA Women's Expo with some girlfriends, then conclude it with the all-famous LA's Danger Dogs. I went to carved pumpkins festival and had a blast (Cthulhu for prez!!), wandering around for almost 2 hours. I met a dear friend for the first time ever, despite the fact we both living near (or in) LA for 3 years. I went to Seattle and experienced 36 hours of awesomeness of Rail Tripping (yes Amtrak, that's what I will call it from now on). I danced Balinese dance for the first time (and totally failed at it). My days are long but people has never been nicer to me, which makes the 6+ hours commute each day totally worth it. Life is awesome.

In a way, that's what makes me glow: the notion that life is awesome. What's more important is the understanding and knowledge that not only I have the right to experience life to the max, I also can do it. I am no longer the timid puppy waiting for the master to come home, I am a wolf running free in the wild. I felt like I have been pushed to run in Iron Man race (which, by the way, will never happen in real life) and so I grudgingly did and feeling like I was gonna die; but I survived and I look back in surprise thinking: "Holy sh*t! I actually did it!".  I know my strength. I know what I am capable of. I am also very, very proud of myself. It's beautiful, myself is; beautiful even though kinda chipped here and there, but I won't change it for anything because the broken bits only enhanced its beauty. Yes, I bloomed; and goddammit how I glowed!

Knowing my strength also allows me to be me. There were days, nights when the old me came back with worries and fear, questioning everything and instill doubts in me. It is uncomfortable, but it is not permanent anymore. For instance, when I get worried whether or not I am 'good' enough for my beau, I would toss my head up and said bravely, "I can always walk away". [Though with a little quiver still. I really dig him]. Not that I intend to, but the notion of what I can do gives me strength and confidence that I need. I am no longer tethered to 'What if…", which is very good, because not all What-ifs are preventable or manageable and I'll be wasting my time and energy fretting over them. As a presidential candidate said: "The shackles have been taken off me!"

No, my previous relationship was not the shackle, as tempting as it is to claimed it as one. My shackle is my doubts, my lack of self-confidence. My shackle is my own mind tethering me to 'safety' in order to get a happily ever after where I will be safe and sound. My shackle is my fear of not being accepted, of having to live by myself and unloved. There is still a good part of me shackled, especially in the manner of self-confidence, but I am looking forward to be free from it and strut my way in the world. Even now when I am only halfway (ok, maybe 2/3 of the way) freed, I can feel myself rising to the challenge, blooming and more receptive to the amazingness of the world. I am free, with my five senses spoiled and my heart filled with love. Is it really a wonder I look so different these days?

There will be times, challenging times ahead; because God likes to challenge us and Universe likes to tease us. There will be times when the mood of my writings will be more somber or even downright devastating (again). But that could wait. For now, I am enjoying my grinning face and my easy going struts. For now, I enjoy the compliments and the dreamy look from people who seen me. For now, I enjoy planning and filling my days with fun and laughter, as well as pursuing my ambitions. For now, I enjoy this feeling of self-confidence and freedom, and the pride in myself as well as the pride of knowing I got my sh*t together. And no, you can't take that away from me. Nobody can. Enjoy this smile fellas, you'll be seeing this smile for quite a while.

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