“I can still remember when
at the tender age of ten,
Mother told me I could be anything at all…”

I love that song, Ma. You know why. We used to argue about this a lot. I know you always care about me like all mothers do for their kids, but you worry too much. You need to learn to let me go. It’s not easy, I know, but life does go on.
And now I’m all grown-up. Don’t you think it’s about time that I made decisions for myself?

“We’ve been told for all our lives:
This is who we have to be.
Close your eyes, go back to sleep.
Don’t ask questions, don’t ask why.
Just do exactly as they say,
but I don’t think that I can take the pressure…”

You’ve questioned my dreams. Artists, writers – no certain future for them, you used to say. Go to university (which I did). Study. Graduate. (Check, check.) Get a normal job. (Huh?) Date a nice guy (well, your version of a ‘nice guy’, I suppose. Get married at 25 the latest. Have kids. Have normal, smiling family pictures like my older sister does. The ideal, picture-perfect of what normal Indonesian women should be. How typical.

“Well, lately…everywhere I go
somebody wants to know
if something’s wrong with me,
because I’m not like them…”

Sorry I disappoint you again, but what’s so wrong about being Ms.Independent? It doesn’t mean I don’t need anyone. If they say I scare some guys off with this attitude, then what kind of guy do they expect me to end up with?

I’ve moved out to live on my own. I’ve challenged myself with a job I never thought I could finally get. Many times I choose not to come home during weekends or even tell you when I fall sick and can’t get out of bed, even when you can always send my brother over to fetch me home. The idea is, I have to be able to take care of myself first before I can start caring for others more. That’s the only way to go.

You haven’t had a chance to visit me here and see how my new life is. Don’t worry, I’m just a phone call or a text away. We’re still living in the same city anyway. I’m not abandoning you.

I’m happy here. I’ve finally started opening my heart up again after a very long time. It didn’t last, but I’ve faced the consequence like a sensible grown-up should. The good part is, now I know that letting a guy walk me home doesn’t mean I am giving up my independence or anything else that is ‘crazier’, if you know what I mean.

Let’s just say, Dad had taught me well. And don’t worry, because you’ll always be my Ma – even when you no longer take care of me.


(Jakarta, 13/8/2014 – @Couchsurfing Writers’ Club, Anomali Cafe, Setiabudi One – 8:00 – 11:00 pm. Theme: “Independence” – inspired by Hoobastank’s “The Pressure”)

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