A Dusty Hello

I've always felt... divided all these years. Out of sync, as a person.
It's like physically, I was in one place, my heart in another and my mind, my imagination were somewhere else entirely.
But now I am actually, like, literally divided. I study and stay in Singapore now, and have to spend my holidays back home in Indonesia. And it feels weird, being unable to stay in one place without thinking about the other. It's like living two separate lives.
That's an interesting way of putting it. "Separate".
Have you gone -- returned -- to a place you were fond of or met up with someone who you haven't seen in ages? And don't you ever feel like in that moment, it's like two parts of you seem to collide in a cataclysmic crash? The new you and the old you.
I found myself in a weird situation. I went back to my alma mater on Friday to chat with the Principal and for once I didn't even try to avoid the place. Too many memories, I would justify to myself. But I found myself walking through those halls, through that field and I just felt so damned overwhelmed.
Then came the scary thought.
God I wished I stayed.
I pause. I allow the taught to linger and sink in. Then I panic. I feel scared but mostly confused.
This was the first time I ever felt like coming back to my... old (?) life. But my continuing interactions with this so called old life made me understand why.
Right after this stint at my old school, I went to an dear friend's sweet seventeen party. Sweet seventeens in Indonesia are kind of a big deal. It's like a huge coming-of-age moment where you are now legal, you can get your Citizen's ID, drive even vote. And for girls, right, it's usually marked by this fancy party that you throw lots of money on. The works, like a rented out hotel ballroom, a buffet, you hire celebrity MCs and performers. It's crazy. And I was about to attend my first one.
But this experience was a bit more... grounding than the school one. I found myself in a room with people who I was familiar with but who I also felt like I didn't know at all. I know their names, their faces. Some have changed, some stayed pretty much the same. They were few faces too, new people who I didn't happen to have the chance of meeting, reminders that everyone else had gotten on with their lives while I was gone.
And worst of all, my best friend was in the center of it all. Gorgeous, more beautiful than I've ever seen her before. But she's grown, she's matured. She outgrew her awkwardness and she was stunning, smiling the whole night. Happy, but I feel so detached from it all, so detached from her.
I suck at keeping in touch. Especially with the people who remind me of who I was, simply because, well I don't really want to.
The heaviness of the night was quickly remedied by the best part of these parties: a dance 'till drop sort of deal, complete with DJ and all. Imagine dimmed lights, colorful glow sticks and the kinds of flickering lights they use for those freeze frame effects.
It was... amazing. To lose yourself, even for just a little bit on the dance floor. Letting everything out, moving like there's no tomorrow, singing at the top of your lungs. The thrill, the sweat, the heat. It was the best kind of high.
But then the night was over and my thoughts seemed to settle.
I realized I was mistaken. I didn't and probably will never wish I had stayed. What I wanted was to come back. And though that was a bit more confusing, I came to the understanding that as much as I have fault with my old life, it had so much potential to be so good.
But not then. Not when I was who I was.
With me, now? That's a different story. I'm different. I'm better, and it feels like such a wasted opportunity, experiencing my old life as the new me.
I've always but who I am in question. When I think I've found the answer, all I end up with are these Paper Girls. These facades, these personas. I can't tell if they're the real me. And the more I eliminate them, the list of who I really am is getting uglier by the second.
Maybe I'm a much more horrible person than I will ever care to admit.
But I refuse to believe that's all I am. I believe that I'm not so much finding myself but more defining. And it hasn't been easy, trying to find the better version of me who is truly the best.
It's December, and as I usher in this final month of what has been a bang up year, I've decided to really try and rediscover myself. Reintroduce myself, to the world, if you will.
And so as I stop running away from my past, running away from me, really, it's like picking up where I left of, the person I left behind, left to rot on a shelf... here's to dusting it off, here's to wiping away all the dirt.
And here's to reintroducing myself to world, with an rusted, awkward and dusty...
... Hello.
--Karin Novelia, Out to Define Herself


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