"-and I am a writer," I publicly introduced myself at one of Congress of Indonesian Diaspora's public forums.
As mentioned in the previous post, I believe that an individual is multidimensional. A woman could be the VP of a bank, as well as an art collector, mother, wife, and daughter. Rarely does one solely invest on one particular area. So, why did I succumb to reduce myself to one descriptive word?
Well, unfortunately in life, I do not lavish in infinite time, instead I, like most people, am constricted to short spurs of time where we are, usually, either prompted or allowed to explain who we are as a person before rambling on with a question, comment, or description that is much more pertinent to the topic at hand. Due to this limitation, I often constrict my identity into tiny boxes, which are strategically selected according to the event or audience.
To give a little bit of background, two of five speakers of this particular forum were a young active player in the media and a self-professed story tellers. No one explicitly stated that they dabbled in theatre or other mediums of art, or worked in the health industry, therefore I presented my "I am a writer" card. A card that I try to keep hidden as often as possible. Oftetimes, this aspect of my identity only gets revealed at the end of our main course. Unlike my "I am an artist," "I am a global health enthusiast," or "I am a student" cards, this particular one has become somewhat of a 'Wow!' factor, as well as a vague portion of myself.
I suspect that the reason behind it is that I have yet to produce a significant body of work, other than a children's book, several published articles in the media, this blog, and a stack of conference papers. I have yet to establish the genre that I am primarily invested in. So, when a group of other Indonesian students approached me after the session and asked, "What type of writer are you?" I answered, pathetically, "Children's?" Yes, there's a question mark there because I do not particularly write one type of piece, instead I fashion myself as a free chameleon.
I write what I want, when I want, and how I want. I don't particularly work towards a certain type of book, actually, I don't even write books at all. More often than not, I jot down the overflowing words into a page, struggling to contain it in a coherent manner and shuttle it from my brain to my sore fingertips. Yes, many a times, showers are spent thinking about the next piece or a new piece of characteristic for the heroine of my work in progress, however rarely do they dictate what is produced for the public to see nor come close to the final pieces.
Again, this is just a continuum of the last piece on identity. The question is far from being answered. Maybe, it isn't answerable.
|One's forte is, in some ways, one's most prominent characteristics|
F. Widayanto's pieces from "Drupadi Pandawa Diva", August 22 - 30, 2013 at Galeri Nasional
After sort of quickly skimming through this piece I realized a tendency to discount certain passions or even, dare I say, abilities, especially when you were that kid that I hated to write for at least half your life and somehow, accidentally stumbled into a world of words. In figuring out who I am, I have come across opportunities to put the process in front of the public. In retrospect, perhaps, that is not the wisest decision, but at the very least it will help me evaluate years to come and maybe, just maybe, it will be good enough to be shared and help others in paving their journey, as well.
At the very least, I know that I have benefited from other people's tales. Every week, at least once, I wonder about an inappropriate topic. Last night's was "how do you feel when one of your parents died?" No one ever talks about deaths or the funeral or loss. On the contrary, many talk about their weddings, the joy of finding out about a pregnancy, or a great party that someone just threw. Sometimes I don't know how to get somewhere or to understand another person's signals. Often, I don't know how to react or respond, as it seems that I lack the natural instincts to do so. Since there aren't much candid testimonials available, I end up referring to pop culture's list of music and movies. I waited for that boy to call just like Rachel in Friends did. I am paranoid about losing my parent's financial support after watching the first episode of Girls. In a way, that void could be filled by another young adult's blog or my grandmother's stories of her younger days. Perhaps, this blog could be just a sliver in the larger database of many people's recorded experiences.
*Author owns the rights to all photos above
*Author owns the rights to all photos above