I just graduated from high school, along with my batch mates. Do I know how to describe it? Was it the happiest day of my life? Well, I felt so fulfilled. At last, school uniform days are over.

As usual, in any occasion that involves saying adieu to people, I walk out as quickly as I can because I just hate goodbyes. I've always been a huge crier as well. I saw many of my peers taking pictures, also with the teachers, from the balcony, when I was about to take a picture with my parents taken in a photo-booth. How I wish I could do that. I wish I could ask my parents to wait for several minutes and allow me to circulate around the room and make memories into photos. But I just never want to say goodbye.

I was overwhelmed by the thoughts of leaving my classmates who have been around for four years, batch mates that I got to share my middle school and high school years with, and of course, my former teachers. I almost cried thinking of them. But the one that made me start to cry first, was my first class adviser in Binus Serpong. We were walking on the aisle, supposed to shake hands with all the teachers and we were congratulated by all of them. It was another great feeling that I had that morning. And there she was, on the end of the long line of teachers, hugging her former students. I stood waiting for my turn to be hugged and tears were just secreted in instant. She was my parent too. Whenever I fail or succeed, I think of her too. I want to do her proud as badly as I want to make both of my parents proud.

What did she do to make me feel that way toward her? The impact that she gave, is what has supported me for almost six years.
She picked me as a class secretary.
Here's an explanation to why it still matters so much to me.

I was very certain that I would do, one thing in my life: the arts. Be it in piano, singing, violin, choir, or theatre, any forms of performing arts.
After I hit puberty, everything changed. It happened almost simultaneously with the length of time when I was supposed to discover, instead of losing my identity; when I was supposed to open up to the world but I hid myself instead because I did not feel good whether I was good enough or not.
At that time, I lost my direction. Re-navigate? I was around 12 or 13-- I was clueless. I spent days whining, regretting, and blaming others. Then I started to blame myself, which ended up in a self-hate. To make things worse, I was bullied and it just made everything that I ever worked for, seemed to be useless if people would still identify me, the way that those bullies did. It made me value myself less. I was even younger when it happened. How on earth was I supposed to know how to handle those things? Lady Gaga or Glee did not exist yet. Nobody taught me how to work out my differences. As a result, I created a distance with everyone that I knew.

Somehow, she seemed to be unaffected by my initial responses to all the bad things that happened to me. She appreciated me keeping down all the agendas and reminder in the student's diary which has been a habit of mine. She also noticed that I was able to keep all my notes, papers organized-- I always got a response that it was quite a surprise to anyone I've known. All of sudden she picked me to be a class secretary. I earned a token of appreciation for it. So I guess it just came down to her that I could give a little help for my classmates with all the list of tasks and deadlines.

I have continued to get used to being asked about when to submit an assignment, keeping a group-work paper, until my final year in high school. These sound like little, insignificant things but considering that I was severely struck down by negativity, these things have helped in the recovery.

Now, it's no longer a habit. It is my way of life. In any field where I work, I hope to provide others with my, never-ending obsession with organized papers, neat schedule and my eagerness to make an improvement. I have decided to pursue a major, and a job, that would enable me to keep track of financial transactions, and a huge part of the requirement that should be met consists of being trustworthy and organized, aside from detail-oriented.

As I started to see her again days before the graduation and to the last time I she'd ever see me as a student, I realized that she was the one who made me feel that I was appreciated and I could do something else; she was the one who taught me that I could be judged also because I kept on doing things that could help others, not for a mere first impression. She was the one who put a more meaningful definition of trust from others and being trustworthy. She was the one who initiated the process of self-appreciation. It's hard to keep on loving myself but I'll achieve it wholly soon. She encouraged me to join student council, which brought me to a perspective that there are people who were very supportive and waiting for a growth in different aspects of my life.

She was the one who has given me a new direction, so that I did not have to live with regrets, that I could start over and somewhere along my journey, I can always find time to enjoy my first true love again. I'll just do whatever it takes for me to use up the raw materials that I've had, and work my ass off in the university just for me to be more purposeful and handy, not only just keeping track of things. I am eager to be given greater roles, life-affirming challenges and better meaning and appreciation of who I am.

To anyone who reads this: that is the power of a teacher-- generally, an educator or an adult. Homework and project irritate us, but they can do things that change one's life. Now, I understand what "Guru Pahlawan Tanpa Tanda Jasa" means.

After what she's done to me, I am pretty sure that she is one that people who I'll definitely share the result of my life-long struggle and hard-work.

This worked like a domino effect. One thing leads to another. I went from mediocre in Mathematics to almost achieving 100 in grade 8 final Mathematics exam. I have improved my English skills, which I never imagined that I could. I was involved in several organizations and it was a huge contribution to my learning process. I spent my break practicing violin by myself and I finally joined my school's orchestra. I was not able to swim but I finally could, for at least swimming stroke, for less than 100 metres. Heck, I would still be afraid of 180-cm depth pool if it weren't only for a grade in Physical Education. I have finally improved my score in Chemistry, a subject that I recently enjoyed, frankly. I tried to audition for a college in the U.S.-- a huge deal, but there was no pressure and I just enjoyed the experience and glad that I tried. Que sera, sera.

The bottom-line is, that I have been dared to do more for six years. Thanks to her. And I'll miss her more than I ever.

Selective Eating Disorder

Glad that the first two parts of the exam trilogy have ended. There were targets achieved and some disappointments but at least it's over.

Now, I can focus on my university application, entrance test and especially SBMPTN. Aside from that, I'll have to learn several skills that'd be handful as I grow older, such as driving, cooking and waking up earlier. But most importantly, I have a few issues with my health that I'll have to learn to deal with as well-- my parents may not be around later and this scares me.

I discovered the term "selective eating disorder" in the beginning of my grade 12 year and I've had a strong feeling that it sums up my eating habit or lifestyle that's been practiced since I was in elementary, ever since. Or at least it's a close description to that I have been doing. What is selective eating disorder? As the name suggests, people with SED are picky-eaters, but worse, more selective and irritates people even more, especially when you're a teenager or adult. This is what you see in children, which is normal, but commonly it's over as they grow older. This isn't about the intention to reject some foods in a diet, because even if people with no SED choose to not eat some foods, they'll still be able to eat them anyway. They just choose not to. Nor it's similar to anorexic, orthorexic or food phobia. It's a different thing-- people with SED are just highly selective and specific. When I eat food cooked in a a particular way, that I never ate before, it's either I like it or I immediately spit it out and feel traumatic about eating it again. Removing food out of my mouth happens in a fraction of a second-- after the moment I first start chewing it. Mostly, I don't like something -too new- in my mouth. This is not an exaggeration.

I heard someone with SED only wants to eat fries her for entire life. That's insane. I consider myself lucky despite of the short-list of foods that I am comfortable with:
anything that isn't spicy
anything that does not have too much herbs and onion
chicken: breast only, only the white seasoned part; thighs are accepted only if it's fillet or chopped, like karage
duck: breast, roasted or soup; only if it's not as a piece altogether with the bone (?)
beef: only tenderloin and obviously not too chewy. sliced, minced, or as a sausage
squid: fried, until I can't feel the texture
pork: only roasted or chopped
fish: grouper has to be steamed, gourami has to be fried, crevally has to be charchoal-grilled, and no sushi. that's all.
fruit: only tomato, avocado, orange and pear, as juice...
green vegetables: none of them. not even chopped herbs. salad? only carrot with mayonnaise (a lot) or boiled until soft (I am told that it's too soft for most people)
cakes: anything that does not include fruit or dried fruit, but definitely, chocolate
corn: roasted or shredded, like in bakwan, is fine, as long as it's not cooked in sayur asem,
fried red onion: only if it's still crunchy
It's self-diagnosed, but this is pathetic anyway. While everyone is trying out different foods in different restaurants, putting effort to be healthier; I am stuck with only those options. FYI, I know when I just don't like some foods, e.g. I prefer chocolate instead of strawberry ice cream, and I can still compromise.

Lacking green vegetables and fruit is currently my concern-- finally, it concerns me after 18 years. The reason why I am concerned about having zero green vegetables and extreme lack of fruit, is because

1) I was studying Biology for my exam, and I got a bigger picture of how foods affect my body
2) Two people that I know, died of cardiac disease. One person passed away because of complicated diabetic-related issues. Meanwhile, I was struggling so hard in my P.E class and I've been afraid that my heart isn't healthy anymore
3) At the same time, I was thinking of my grandmother, who passed away, and how disappointing it must have been for her that I still couldn't eat healthier which she'd always asked
I was afraid that I will not survive my 40, heck, even I don't think I can survive in my 30 with all the demands of working hard 24/7. I have a lot of plans and goals but what if I can't even have the enough time? I will waste my parents' hard work. What if all the food that I've eaten affect how I look, how I think and how I behave? If it's true, then my foods are what trigger my insecurities, which have been horrible for the past six years.
Then I reached another low point in my life, when my stress became physical again-- combined with the exhaustion, one dietary mistake etc, my digestion screwed up, my abdominal and my head was in pain, my back and shoulders felt so heavy, and I started to lose weight again. I had to skip one exam day because of this.

I tried to figure out how to get out of this situation as fast as I could.

I am thinking about smoothies, but the books and recipes don't tell much about them-- they only say they are delicious. Please be reminded that I am picky. When people tell me that something is delicious, it does not have any effect on me. Even when perfectly-photographed, garnished and designed on the plate like it's a palace. There'll be a thousands of follow-up questions. So if anyone knows people who love smoothies, it'll be helpful if I can ask them some more specific questions (um, most likely it's going to be a lot). And I am also thinking about chopping green vegetables, since I am planning to start learning how to cook anyway-- so I'll start eating them from smaller pieces, until I get used to the leafy texture. If anyone figures out another way of doing it, it'd very appreciated. Also, I do not know anyone who managed to get rid of being picky-eater, um, adult picky-eaters or anyone who is still a picky-eater so if anyone knows people having similar issues like me, I'd like to get in contact with them because I just have to learn from other people's experience.

I never told this to anyone, my parents always see me just being short-minded, when in fact, it is just so hard for me to try a new thing. They seem to believe that I just have to force myself, which I've tried and failed for so many times. I've tried so many times to force myself eat several of these but I always spitted it out instantly I don't know why. I also do not want them to worry about their son having a disorder, because there's the stigma that when you have an eating, or mental disorder, you just can't get rid of that and that's more embarrassing than a cancer.

But this is treatable. I am sure of that. I have to get my mind used to new things. I had to remove my carrot salad out of my sight, now I am perfectly fine. I did not eat fried red onion until I ate my first mie goreng Jawa. It can be a snack now. I unknowingly ate -something-green- in my homestay parents' homemade guotie. If only that green stuff never existed. I tried eating a strawberry, watermelon and pear, as a fruit, and I couldn't last for another bite. I tried a Mongolian hot pot and Fujian bamboo dishes because I mistakenly thought it was just a regular chicken-broth soup and biscuit. But least I know how they taste although I feel traumatic. It still scares me until now. I just have to get used to it. (And believe that I can *cheesy*)

There are three things that I hope I'll be able to change; my over-reaction toward smell, texture and taste. I know that most people will tell me that eating isn't supposed to be a pressure (well I don't want it to be a pressure too) so I guess I'll have to start having a mindset that every new food encountered will extend one day of my trip somewhere-- healthier lifestyle can help to prolong our lives, right? Hopefully, everything works!


On the New Year's Eve, I applied to Berklee College of Music's Music Business and Management program, with instrument major in violin. I never thought I'd hear a response from them (how short-minded was I?) then a few weeks after I got scheduled for an audition and interview. It was really, really really really unexpected, I was rushed with all the stuff. I was only given a week before facing the admission faculty (I owe Mr. Hengky and Mr. Brian a lot!) So my father and I flew to Singapore and stayed in my aunt's apartment again. A few hours after we landed, we went to the School of the Arts, where the audition would take place.

Being brave is not my strongest suit but they told me that I was very calm-- the most relaxed participant they've met. I did a mistake and I smiled. I put my hands inside my pocket and my body just swayed around-- I never thought my body could have 'casual' conversation. I spoke with no hesitation, FINALLY.

One thing that made me feel relaxed was how T-shirt became the audition formal-wear. I love these people!

I was surprised by their reaction because I was often the most anxious one. They seemed to appreciate that. I was just an autodidact violin learners, with only a few number of classes taken in violin, but I somehow auditioned in front of them... I played in front of the dean faculty of admission of Berklee, who could've walked away so easily in the middle of anyone's performance. 
I did the aural test as well-- thankfully four years in ABRSM Classical Piano training came in handy, although I still forgot some of the part. 

Once I walked out the audition room, I felt so, empowered (I really mean that word). There was actually wind breezing all over my place (it was somehow possible, since the school was not really -indoor- at all). All the insecurities, anger towards those bullies I faced for almost three years, seem nothing to me. Yes, I failed to live up to other people's expectations, and I do not feel sorry now-- I feel thankful that they've felt that way instead. It is my fuel, so I can go somewhere.

Did I learn something? A lot.

I discovered that it is, my one true love. It is my passion.
Throughout my performing experience, I did not hang out with the other cast or orchestra members as expected. Same thing always happened when I was on the other group. I was often left. My parents seemed to be concerned about that-- which made me feel upset. The fact that they noticed such thing, strike my heart and the wound was left untreated. But did I quit? Have I ever thought of skipping one rehearsal? There was always something greater than my fear, shame and anger. It is one thing that I'd possibly exchange for my legs, which I won't use for running or playing soccer. One thing that I'll definitely do if it is going to be the last thing I do. One thing that I want to share with whoever I'll spend the rest of my life with. One thing that will always call me for whoever I am. It is what comes in and out of my head when I feel sick. It is what makes me happy-- a cliche but it is a truth.

Also, I learned that I am capable of doing things, after all. I was finally able to let my weight off, to let all the worries about 
what happens next. Berklee was a huge deal. Yes. I wonder if I could get accepted or not, but since I could not pay the application fee, I would never even know. Ever. It surprised me that it did not bother me. Finally! No regret! I was just relieved that I tried. That's all I needed. 

It is kind of dream deferred for now. But for any traces I left, convergence is the key word to describe them. The reasons of me doing things, are hugely affected by my passion. I just take the longer road-- hey nothing happens in instant.