"WRITER@WORK" BY.THE WORDPLAY WARRIOR

Writer@work. I often write that, either here or #writer@work on my social media pages.

In real life, I am indeed a writer. I don't just write in here. I also work as a freelance writer for a digital content company.

I also love writing fiction, poetry, and feature articles. You are bound to find more in here.

What else do I do?

I am also a part-time English teacher and a freelance translator. Other than that, I'm just living my life and doing my best.

It is all so simple, isn't it? Well, it should be. Why ruin it with unnecessary drama?

Oh, well. This is real life. You can't really escape it. The only thing you can do is deal with it the best way you know how.

Writer@work

 

"THE EXPRESSIONS I PERSONALLY DON'T ALWAYS BELIEVE"
3/26/2017

As a non-native speaker, I sometimes find English confusing. There are some expressions that I personally don't always believe, like:

1. "I'm just saying."

I can't help this. Every time someone or anyone ends their long-winded speech with this line, I'm just skeptical. I don't buy it easily.

You're never really 'just saying'. What's the point in doing so when all you want to do is just 'get those words out of your head and through your mouth'? It doesn't make sense to me.

There's always an intention in every word you say/write, no matter how small. Even if it means what I've just mentioned - letting others know what you think or/and how you feel, especially about certain issues, it is still an intention.

So no, I don't really believe in anyone who claims that they're "just saying". Because if it's really, literally true, then you're just creating more noise in the open air (or in this case, trivial content in the digital world).

It's even worse if it's useless and somewhat annoying, like you're intentionally picking a fight or something.

2. "Just joking/kidding."

I admit that I can get really too serious sometimes, depending on the mood. It also depends on the joke, though. The sexist, misogynistic type? You're seriously looking for a death wish with me.

I sometimes still believe in this expression. I get it; you're trying to make me laugh. You expect me to and wish that I don't get angry too easily, no matter how thoughtless your jokes can be.

However, I can be a really tough crowd if I find your jokes: sexist, offensive, and insulting. How will you know? Well, I can't tell you everything here. Learn to be thoughtful for once in your life.

If you still insist on examples, I'll give you two of the easiest ones:

Yes, I've mentioned that sexist jokes are the best way in earning a death wish with me. Let's not go there, shall we? Too disgusting.

Another thing is about my weight. I mean, I'm not stupid that you need to remind me all the time. I know what I look like. I have the mirror and know how to use it like most people do.

Once or twice, I can still let that slide. If you use that joke every time we meet - whether just for kicks or some serious intention in embarrassing me in public? Then it's just a matter of 'when' before I decide to stop hanging out with you, like...at all. Why?

I no longer find you worth my time nor attention, that's all. I don't need shallow, small-minded people who think that they're doing me a favour by constantly insulting me that way.

If you're secretly insecure, I hope you're smart enough to find other healthier ways to tackle that. Just leave me out of this. I'm not friends with people like you just to be your emotional punching bag. I've got better things to do.

I need to keep my close circle clean.

My point is, don't use this expression as a mere excuse to get away with your big mouth. Believe me, people can tell the different. They're not as daft as you might always believe.

If they get angry over your stupid jokes, then perhaps they're entitled to do so and you probably deserve it. Deal with it. After all, words bear consequences.

Actually, I wanted to add "No offense" as the third expression on this list, but I changed my mind.

I know I'm serious and temperamental. I'm not going to pretend to be funny just to get people to like me more. This is me. Take it or leave it.

No worries, this doesn't mean I want to be too hard on other people. I'm not that cruel and I still find that exhausting too. I'll probably just keep quiet and ignore you when I'm not in the mood.

Consider yourself lucky if that's my reaction to your stupid jokes. Other days, I might make you cry...and I don't want that to happen way too often.

By the way, you're welcome to enlighten me.

R.

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"DEAR GOD: Spare Me The Same Old Nightmares"
3/23/2017

It's the same old, blood-thick dreams
creeping and crawling in my sleep
violent and deep
pushing me down under
somewhere in this bottomless black hole
lost in the dark abyss

A punch in my mouth
teeth shattered, off my gums
acid blood in my tongue
too scared to let my lips part
spitting them out
white kernels in a pool of blood

Dear God,
Spare me the same old nightmares
I just want that wisdom tooth taken out
not the whole batch...

R.

(Jakarta, 15/3/2017 - 6:00 am)


 

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"THE STATE OF MY BEING"
3/23/2017

Jobs have been kind of slow and I am worried about money...like, again. I know I've got more time to write, which is good.

However, I still need to pay the bills. That can't be avoided.

What can I do now? Where do I go from here? A full-time job or fighting for more freelance gigs and money?

More writing stuff? Yeah, I make sure that never changes. I believe I'm already on the right track now.

I just need a different strategy, that's all.

R.

 

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"THAT LONELY PIANO IS LONGING FOR YOUR TUNES"
3/20/2017

That big black piano looks dusty in the living room. A week has gone by and I haven't even cleaned it up.

I don't even want to touch it.

That piano used to be very well looked-after, down to the edge of the string and keyboard. Black and shiny on the surface, looking elegant.

To you, it was more than just a musical instrument. It was your partner-in-crime, whether in composing or performing on stage. Its clinking sound had always been perfect to go along with your beautiful singing voice.

I understood and shouldn't be jealous. Silly, it was just a piano. Besides, this was how you made a living - especially for me and the kids.

Did you have any idea just how proud the kids and I had always been with you? Once they told their friends at school:

"One of our dads sings and plays piano. He's on stage and on TV."

I remember that worried look on your handsome face. (Your ageless, handsome face - no matter how old you'd get.) You never wanted us to be the media target. Spare the kids. Let us be the only who know this love. Not all could and would understand. A lot would simply judge.

Let this love be our business for always. I understood. Your over two-decade-old career was still at stake. It didn't matter that you had the talent and charming personality. Moral issues were always there. Well, even when this was supposed to be between us alone.

A lot of things I could get and also cherish. Your seemingly nonstop work schedule. I was the one who mostly did the house chores and took care of the kids.

But when you returned home, you really did come home. Your cellphone was mostly off. You really spent your time with me and our kids. I was so happy.

I miss waking up to the clinking sound of your piano. No matter how late you'd slept the night before, you always woke up earlier than me. Perhaps inspiration had been your biggest energy. I'd always stayed next to you with a cup of your favourite hot mint tea. Just sitting there and quietly listening to you, before the kids woke up and I had to drive them all to school.

Didn't you know? You were my earthly paradise. The kids are missing you too. This house has been too quiet and gloomy lately.

There were other things that I couldn't understand about you. Your vacantly staring eyes. Sometimes you pondered in silence alone.

Then, those suspicious minor tunes. The gloomy lyrics you'd never got to finish. (I'd checked the bin under your piano.) Those nightmares that had stolen the peacefulness in your sleep, even in my arms.

Love, what kind of ghosts that had burdened your thoughts? You never wanted me to know. Sometimes we argued about them. Not long after that, you started growing quiet and quieter...

...until a week ago...

I don't know when I'll ever get to understand. My love, the love from the kids, the music...as we had here. None of them were good enough to keep you here, to stop you from leaving...

...to wake you up from your eternal sleep, which you'd been after and worked on for so long...

May have sympathised, a lot have been wondering. I still don't want to talk about it. They only know that I was the one who found you.

Now your face is everywhere, but this time with grieving headlines. I want to get angry, because you're no longer there. How could you? Now I'm hurting and suffering. Why? Why, love? Why did you choose to die instead of staying here with me and the kids? Why? The kids are very sad. They asked me if somehow, they'd made you angry.

I'm staring at the piano, now as lonely as I am. Your tunes are no longer heard. This silence feels eternal, a frozen symphony.

The kids are away. They don't need to see what I'm gazing at the mirror right now:

A heartbroken man, with tears running down...

"Whatever happened to love, sweet love?
Did it fade away and die?"

("Minetta Lane" - Tommy Page)

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"THAT LONELY PIANO AND ME"
3/18/2017

That piano is lonely,
longing for your tunes
Once upon a time,
this room was full of joy
with beautiful melodies
and you singing so lovely

Now that piano is lonely
No one's playing
those jolly tunes of love
This room feels hollow
Silence is a cold torment

I'm like that piano
missing you every day
No more songs of love and devotion
just an aching memory

I thought all of this was enough
like I did my love
Eventually, you chose to leave
this whole life, here on earth...

...of course, including me...

R.

(Jakarta, 10/3/2017 - 6:45 am)


 

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"THE DELAYED EMOTIONAL REACTION"
3/18/2017

This happens to me sometimes. Whenever something tragic happens, I tend to have a delayed emotional reaction.

My first would be to stare at it right on, my face lacking expression. Then after a while (sometimes even a few days or so), I start having those feelings burst out of me. Sadness. A sense of mild depression.

After that? Tears. Sometimes I even have to take a whole day away from the world, completely by myself. I have to finish crying without anyone looking. I'd rather be alone.

I don't want anybody to see me like that. Ever. They're more used to seeing me happy. They like me better that way. I hate to disappoint them.

I've stopped wondering whether this is normal or not. I'm just waiting for this same old storm to pass.

As always.

R.
 

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"HUMBLE BRAGS: From Timeline To Timeline"
3/16/2017

From timeline to timeline
everybody's got their stories
all the guts and glory

Status1:
"I am a simple man
even with this new ride
from Papa's old collection of cars
since he needs more space in his garage"

Status2:
"I don't want to complicate this
I don't even feel that pretty
but those guys say they want to be with me"

Status3:
"Stamps on my passport
time to get me a new one
despite this long, queuing line"

Status4:
"I am grateful to have completed this religious duty
anyone want to join me?"

Status5:
"I am too happy
I don't care if my backstabbers still bitch about me"


From timeline to timeline
from time to time
there are always tales to tell
Join the club, you might just as well

R.

 

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"THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT SOME WHATSAPP GROUPS"
3/15/2017

Thanks to Whatsapp, we can do a lot more than just texting each other. We can send cute emoticons, pictures, and videos. We can update our status and profile pictures.

Now we can also do a video-call instead of a regular voice-call. Another thing is to create a Whatsapp (WA) group, where people can talk about stuff in the same chatroom. These groups exist with different reasons and functions. Some are for family and relatives, friends, work colleagues, clubs/communities, and even mini-groups for other stuff.

Some have strict disclaimers/rules, others...well, not so much.

It is a lot easier if a WA group has clearer rules on what to say/post and not. For example: only work-related stuff is allowed in the chatroom. That way, you are entitled to protest if a nosy co-worker secretly snaps a shot of your brand new shoes, then post it on the group chatroom with a tagline: “Ooh, are those from your rich bule* boyfriend?”

If I were the boss, I’d fire that co-worker in a heartbeat. That is inappropriate and unprofessional.

However, it is a lot trickier if the group has no clear ground rules. You might think these are killjoys, but still necessary. Managing a big number of people in a groups is challenging. They do not always want the same things and some of them can be very, very dominant and selfish.

Another issue to underline here includes: sexist, misogynistic jokes on WA groups.

You could be that guy who loves posting pictures of half-nude or naked women with jokes on them...and thinks it is okay. Even if the women in the pictures are fully-dressed (some even in their hijabs), you still find a way to harrass them. Just post those pictures on the group chatroom with this tagline: offering the other men in the group as if those women are nothing but merchandise items:

“Ayo, dipilih...dipilih...sebelum keburu diambil orang...” (Come on, take your pick...take your pick...before other guys have them all...)

Since you find that funny, you expect the whole group to laugh – despite being inconsiderate with the female members at present. At least you do not know those women in the pictures personally. They are not your mothers, sisters, wives, or daughters.

So why should you bother? You always get away with everything, being a man and all in this patriarchal society. They will always be on your side, normalising your behaviour – no matter how VILE and DISGUSTING.

How about if you are one of the women in the group, being forced to put up with such sexist, misogynistic jokes – day-after-day-after-FREAKING-DAY?! Will you play along and think it is okay, since you have no idea who those women are? As long as you are not the target, does that mean you are safe?

Will you laugh about them too, believing that this whole thing is harmless? Just words and pictures. They do not (have to) mean a damn thing. You should not be too “baper” (bawa perasaan = bloody sensitive) as most guilt-free, simplest minds out of ignorance would say. Besides, it has been considered ‘normal’ for centuries. Why does it have to change now?

I do not know about you, but sexist, misogynistic jokes are GARBAGE to me – NO EXCEPTIONS. It does not matter if you are older than me; I am not afraid of telling you this – even saying it to your face if you are really asking for it.

There are friends who have experienced this similar issue. Of course, the first thing is to tell the sharer and the admin of the group. If they get the hint and stop, then it is a damn good thing. You will not have to feel sick to death at the sight of such digital garbage in the group.

But what if your complaint/protest is not taken seriously? Worst of all, what if you get attacked instead, being accused of ‘spoiling the fun’ or ‘being unable to take the joke’? What if they gaslight you with the word “baper”?

You are entitled to get angry, because you deserve the comfort they refuse to give – even if you are (considered) a minority. It is normal to feel insulted, disgusted, and ashamed at what they do. Guess what? It is also understandable to feel betrayed, especially since other women in that group seem to play it safe by keeping quiet. Maybe they think those sexist, misogynistic jokes are okay too.

Maybe they still do not know or are not as brave as you in speaking up. Either way, their silence still hurts you. The way they belittle your complaint/protest is a lot worse.

Is it because they prefer dressing up more modestly than some of the women in the pictures he posts with such jokes, then it is okay to slut-shame them too?

Frustrated already? I do not blame you. Perhaps you have done all you could to let them know that no, this is not a laughing matter. This is a serious issue. If you are that educated, then you should never put up with any of it.

Unfortunately, it is true what some people say. Education is not just a right, an obligation, nor a privilege. It is also a choice, which somehow they still refuse to take. Sad but true, but there is not much left to do.

There is no bloody point in wasting your energy by trying to get your message across the ignorant. It is like talking to brick walls, which is basically useless.

Just leave that WA group. You do not need such toxic masculinity in your life. About them? Well, just hope for the best.

R.

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"BETWEEN THE JACKPOTS AND THE BLACKOUTS"
3/8/2017

Between the jackpots and the blackouts
I saw your faces everywhere
My head was indeed full of heavy clouds
Some of you were already dead
and I was really scared

In and out of consciousness
a constant battle between light and darkness
trying hard to scream
drowning in an endless bad dream
swallowed by my own bed, it seemed

"Please, wake me up!"
I felt my spirit bounced all across the room
My body was like a sack of rag doll
unable to move, not even to crawl

Between the jackpots and the blackouts
No alcohol-fueled hangover could match this up
silently crying out the name of God...

...until one morning,
my spirit rejoined my body
awake as I could be...

I'm still alive today.

R.

(Jakarta, 23/2/2017 - 8:30 am)


 

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"JAKARTA WOMEN'S MARCH AND THE POP CULTURE IMPACT AT @AMERICA"
3/6/2017

So I ended up becoming a part of history last Saturday. I joined Jakarta Women's March and attended The Pop Culture Impact at @America, One Pacific Place, afterwards.

How was it?

It was interesting. The Long March wasn't really that long, only from Thamrin to the large spot outside The National Monument. That is also close to The Presidential Palace.

It had gone peaceful that day, with about 700-800 people joining in. Some of us were wearing anything pink or purple. The signboards were also interesting, like this one:

"Less Cat-calls, More Cats"

There were speeches through loud megaphones and art performances. (Music, dancing, singing, and theatrical plays.)

After that, we attended The Pop Culture Impact at @America and it was just as marvelous.

What do I still hate? People who still believe that "cat-calling" is harmless and 'just a compliment'. (Fucking compliment my ass!) People who believe that women shouldn't be so bloody sensitive and just be grateful that at least they still get noticed.

May the really big cats get to claw deeply that their faces bleed...

R.

 

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"ADDICTED TO HEARTBREAK?"
3/6/2017

I think I'm addicted to heartbreak
just another old routine
probably to help me become lean and mean
far away from where I've been

I suppose it's what I can still take
since it's always been the same
such a familiar game
with none or all to blame

Have I risked too much at stake?
Love's gone twisted
Faith's been gradually eroded
Soon I'll be too jaded

Maybe I'm addicted to heartbreak
at least the ending is predictable
like welcoming the same old trouble
before rising again from the rubble

Still the same old, lone warrior
with a heart covered in battle scars
too proud to knock on doors
carrying on, even with a stagger

Will I be able to put up with another?
Those sweet-nothings start to hurt my ears
No more illusions to convince me, I fear
just burning reality and it's crystal-clear...

R.

(Jakarta, 22/2/2017 - 1:10 pm)


 

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"I'LL NEVER LOVE ANYONE ELSE LIKE I LOVED YOU"
3/3/2017

Surely, you often hear this line in cheesy/sappy romantic movies. Perhaps someone you broke up with said that too as a last resort to keep you from leaving.

Maybe it was you telling them that. "I'll never love anyone else like I loved you."

What had crossed your mind when you said those words? What did you feel? Did you really mean what you said or was there that famous motive behind it?

Most importantly, did you believe that? Would you?

Honestly? I would. Well, even when I refuse to say it out loud and to their face. Why?

It's nothing romantic, sentimental, nor sappy like what you might think. It's not even the last pathetic attempt to call off the breakup and beg them to stay.

It's accepting reality as it is. In other words, we're all bound to love each person differently in our lives.

Of course, it's impossible to love two or more people the same way. How do you know? How will you ever do so?

We're all bound to love people differently. There's no doubt nor comparison - and there should never be.

Even parents love their kids differently and it's not always about favouritism like we often easily accuse them of. Maybe your sibling needs them more than you do, so that's why they take up most of your parents' time, attention, and energy. Perhaps your parents see just how well you are on your own.

That's why they let you tend to yourself. Maybe they're also tired. No wonder, when you expect them to give them same amount of attention to you too, that just doesn't happen.

You're allowed to feel that your parents have been spoiling your sibling like crazy and just unfair to you. In reality: who knows? Maybe that's what they only see: two or more kids with different needs.

It's the same thing with friends. You can say you have many, but only a selected few you really trust. The list can change or stay the same.

Friendship is dynamic. People grow through time, but - unlike blood-relations - you get to choose whether you want to stay or leave. There's no moral burden like abandoning your own family, no matter how badly they have mistreated you.

If you can still work out your differences with each other, then perhaps your friendship will stay as strong and long as a happy marriage.

With lovers? It's obvious. You can love the same person in many ways, but you can't really do the same way with two different people. You may try, but the results might vary.

Those you have loved and still do have different personalities. They may share some of the similar traits that you love so much, but they're still not the same. They can't possibly be the 100% carbon copy to each other.

Different people, different personalities, and different approaches.

Does that mean the quality for each love is different? Does it always have to be that way?

You decide.

R.

 

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"THE PRISONERS OF JEALOUSY"
2/28/2017

Love is what I feel
What we have is real
With you, I want this to be
as long as eternity

If love is what you feel
then you should have no fear
Soon we will seal the deal
and I'll be nowhere but always near

This is love
This should be enough
even when things are tough
and trials are rough

How do I get to keep that smile on your face?
Your constant wrath leaves a painful trace
You often stare me down in disgust
suffocating me with your distrust

Another...who?
There's only you
Why so blue?
Love, I still need to breathe too

What else can I do
to prove this love is true?
You make me walk on egg shells
Should I start crawling on broken glass?

Please...
don't let me run out of steam
or soon this will be a dying dream
It would mean so much to me
if you stopped drowning yourself
in such vile jealousy...

...because it's such a pity
and things can get deadly...

R.

 

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"THE OLDER WE GET..."
2/27/2017

You may add anything you find more sensible after this sentence:

"The older we get..."

What would you add? The more sensitive we become? The closer we are to death?

For me, at least, it's 'the longer it takes for anything to heal'. Yes, more or less the same like 'the more sensitive we become' part.

It's not just something physical. It's the whole nine yards.

Your spirit may still feel young. You have to keep it that way if you want to continue learning. That's how you roll in life.

However, your body cannot fool you anymore. After 30, everything starts slowing down. Push yourself another five or ten years until it takes its toll. You're lucky if you've always been the healthier, more athletic type.

Is it too late to change? Probably not, as long as you're still breathing. There's always that window of opportunity to learn something new, no matter how little.

That way, you have to look after yourself better. No more falling sick during travel. Reduce those sleepless nights whenever you can. Listen to your body when it says: "I've had it. Please, I need a break."

It's also true that the older you get, the more you need to maintain your emotional state. You don't always have to see eye-to-eye with everybody. You're not here to please them all 24/7 while losing yourself in the process.

So what if they think you're too serious and feel too much? They should be more grateful; that means you care about what really matters. You don't have to pretend to be funny just to get them to like you more.

You're just being you, just like they're being them. Not everybody has to be a comedian. It's all good.

At least you're not the type who pretend you're all cool when you don't feel that way. You're not always that good, although you still try to be considerate with other people - even when it's rather impossible these days. It's not always about you, so it's best not to take everything way too personally and sulk like an angry little brat.

So, it's normal that the older you get, the more careful you should be with a lot of things. Your lack of physical health shows just how you look after yourself. Your big mouth (or in this case, fingers) can reveal your true character no matter how hard you try to stay cool.

Words can never be taken back once they're out. It doesn't matter if you claim that you're the grown-up who's always right. How you address the issue and treat other people you talk to still count.

You should be the driver of your ego, not the other way around.

R.
 

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“NOTHING BUT A CULTURE OF SILENCE IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE”
2/22/2017

I’ve been transported back in time

something familiar

yet also bizarre

the same old Twilight Zone

with the same old Culture of Silence

 

Oh, what a pain

Here we go again

The same old policy still reigns

opening mouths, typing fingers

loud voices, empty messages

 

Nothing, nothing, nothing...

 

Am I still one of them?

I have no say, because they don’t give a damn

My voice is always cut off with reprimands

“Just follow The Culture of Silence”

That’s always been their best defense

 

“Sssh...it’s only in your mind,”

they always say.

“Everything’s fine.”

Or: “What’s your problem?

Why won’t you just shut up and listen?”

 

Nothing, nothing, nothing...

 

This Culture of Silence

builds nothing but walls

of blissful ignorance

You may try to climb

and up you crawl

but you just don’t get the chance

because some of them use the digits of their age

just to make you feel small

 

Let’s try not to take it personal

In their eyes, you’re nothing but trouble

so abnormal

They just want to act like nothing happens

What are you trying to dampen?

 

Nothing, nothing, NOTHING!!!

 

Nothing,

because there’s no point in trying

They’re so caught up in make-believe

that silence will get the problems to leave

a picture-perfect Twilight Zone

where The Great Pretenders may never be dethroned

 

I’ve always been that element

treated more like a poison

or a red rose’s thorn

With them, I can never win

I suppose I no longer fit in

 

Why am I still here?

Will they be happier if I disappear?

They might complain one day

that we don’t talk anymore

but I remember the last time we did

and I wonder: “What for?”

 

Nothing...

R.

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“THE EX-GUARDIAN OF THE ISOLATED CASTLE AND THE CHARMING WARLOCK”
2/21/2017

Should this tale begin with “once upon a time”, although not that long ago?

When it comes to romance, The Ex-Guardian of The Isolated Castle is mostly a skeptic instead of being the more hopeful one...deep down inside. If love or whatever it is those sick puppies refer to these days were a god, then she’d be an agnostic.

Then The Charming Warlock came into her life, treating her like a princess. The Ex-Guardian had no recollection on how to feel and act like a princess. She didn’t even have a memory of such things, back when she used to live in The Isolated Castle with The Other Residents.

“You are always so strange,” remarked The First Princess snobbishly, the only princess in the castle. The Mighty Queen has two daughters, but for some strange, unexplainable reason, only one can be the princess. “Only strange ones attract one another.”

The Ex-Guardian has always hated her condescending remark, but what if The First Princess has always been right?

Is this why creatures like The Charming Warlock are attracted to her, instead of some prince charming – like in other fairy tales? Is this because she is no princess, but more of a lone warrior?

Why was The Warlock so charming? Because he was acting like a prince to her...at first. He treated her over dines and they had a pleasant and interesting talk.

However, there were dark sides of him that The Ex-Guardian was aware of. Not only her, but her friends noticed things too.

The Charming Warlock was playful and flirtatious with The Ex-Guardian, but somewhat indifferent to her friends. There were many things about him that made her question and second-guess.

What was he up to, really? She didn’t know when to take him seriously. She couldn’t. He was rather tricky.

It was like playing chess, where you have to think at least three steps ahead. Appear cautious, but not terrified. Put on a poker face every time he tries to get inside your head.

It was like dealing with completely two different personalities in one man – and you could never really tell which was more dominant, which one was real.

The Ex-Guardian thankfully had her sharp instinct too. All the while they were interacting, she’d never really let her guard down. Despite being perceived as ‘overly cautious’ and ‘almost paranoid’, she didn’t care. In reality, she’s always been the only one who should really take care of herself – not other mortals.

The Charming Warlock had wanted to ‘change’ her from Day One. He said that was the only way that they could be together. No, she couldn’t do that. She wouldn’t, no matter how tempted she was and how intoxicatingly inviting his spells were.

The Ex-Guardian was aware of the risk. Once she ‘turned’, she could never go back. The Other Residents of The Isolated Castle might never welcome her again.

The Charming Warlock was disappointed. The Ex-Guardian thought he hadn’t been that serious. (All warlocks are tricky. They can be anything they want for you, say anything that you want to hear. Anything to get what they want before leaving you behind.)

Very well, then. The Ex-Guardian let The Warlock go.

For a while, she was okay. She lived her life as usual.

Then he came around again, still expecting the same thing. The Ex-Guardian thought the whole thing was just a dumb joke.

However, some of her friends had different ideas. Give him another chance. Maybe it’ll be different this time.

Who were they kidding? What was she thinking? What did she expect?

A warlock is still a warlock, no matter how charming. There have been ‘fallen maidens’ he’d left behind. Sometimes he returns to them, at least for the time being.

Sometimes he doesn’t.

When The Charming Warlock left her for the second time, her fury rose. It has grown much stronger, more fierce for the past year.

The Ex-Guardian may have made sure that The Charming Warlock had never gotten ‘too close’ with her. She made sure that he could never ‘have’ her the way he had other maidens, even if her whole life had depended on it.

She thought the same old storm was already over. She thought that was it.

When he returned again, The Ex-Guardian was ready. She’d learned her lesson the hard way.

This time, his spell didn’t work as strong. The Ex-Guardian had developed some serious resistance within.

This time, he failed. This time, she made sure that he’d really get the point and just stop trying. She’d even tried to break his heart in return, only to no avail. She kept forgetting one thing:

All warlocks are basically heartless. They’re only up to what benefits them most and nothing else.

Once again, The Ex-Guardian was free of him. Unfortunately, some of The Charming Warlock’s ‘old spells’ have corrupted her mind and tainted her soul.

She’ll never look at love the same way again.

The Mighty Queen had been informed little bits of this unfortunate tale. Sadly, she couldn’t do much to ease her daughter’s boiling rage and cold despair.

“Your Majesty,” The Ex-Guardian addressed her respectfully...and rather mournfully. “I have this unspeakable, inescapable dread. Next time, how will I know if he is a true prince instead of a warlock?”

“Unfortunately, you still have to find out anyway.”

It’ll take time for the poison to wear off. Right now, her heart is still as solid and cold as a stone and her mind is still in fragments – like shards of glass that cut through every thin layer of hope.

There are nights when The Ex-Guardian will look up at the dark sky, silently whispering to The Holiest One:

“No more warlocks. Please...”

R.

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"HEARTLESS: TO BE WITH YOU"
2/14/2017

To be with you
Do I really want to?
It means being cold
if possible, inside and out

To be with you
It means being ready for what's painfully true
It means trying to be content
even when it's not permanent

That's okay
I guess it doesn't really matter anyway
At least you're honest
You don't pretend to be the best of all choices

To be with you
It means changing what I am
acting like I don't give a damn
but following you around
like there's nothing better to do

If that's what it takes
in order to be with you
then there's a lot at stake
that I have to give up too

No, I'd rather not
You've always been the one I live without
Why do you keep coming back,
oblivious to what you lack?

To be with you
It means to be heartless
as love gets manipulated by lust
No, my soul will remain restless

Surely, you've asked the same damn thing
to other girls you find interesting
but no, you can never have me
No matter how lonely,
I am not going to be that easy!

R.

(Jakarta, 26/1/2017 - 9:00 pm)

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"THE STRAIGHT-AND-NARROW VERSUS THE CURVATURES"
2/9/2017

Alright, so here's the straight-and-narrow path that everyone in Indonesia is expected to go through (especially if you're a woman):

Born and raised ---> going to school ---> getting a job (at least in your early twenties or younger) ---> getting married (hopefully before thirty) ---> having kids, and so on. Oftentimes, external factors (in this case: family, friends, and society in general) also push the whole agenda to fall into place.

Yes, that includes practising the religion your parents also do - and automatically choose for you. Other 'normalised' factors include: dating and having a boyfriend/girlfriend, making as much money as possible, and...basically, trying to fit in.

However, things don't always turn out the same for everybody. Some people want to get married soon while others still want to get their masters' degree or travel the world. Some choose to have a career while others only work.

Some live longer while others die young. Not only that, the supposedly straight-and-narrow path is only a general expectation. There are many factors that can either support or hinder it.

You could choose to work first before a chance to attend college/university classes. You could get married at the age of 35 or do none of that at all, either by personal choices or else.

You could lose your faith under circumstances along the way. It's the same with many things: people don't reach their goals with the same speed or pace, or determination.

No, I don't believe in luck. Luck is often overused out of envy or superiority, and neither is healthy.

This is the world where anything goes. The path isn't as straight and narrow as you'd like it to be. Sometimes you have to take a detour, several wrong turns, or...

Anyway, life is a series of curvatures. Perhaps order is an illusion, for a sense of self-control...

R.

 

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"INSECURITY SOMETIMES"
2/4/2017

Sometimes insecurity
feels like a giant shadow
lurking in the darkness
waiting for a chance to strike

or a monster struggling to get free
so it can roam anywhere it goes
turning a soul restless
from the same bad dream every night
or even worse

A little girl in a woman's eyes
dreading the truth in every possible lie
Does he really love her,
or is he still looking for another?

A small man pretending to be big
his pompous behaviour making everybody sick
luring every girl he could, just to warm his bed
It's just a matter of 'when' before someone wants him dead

Sometimes insecurity
is a subtle trap you can't really see
You may say confidence is the key,
but this can still happen to you and me
no matter how we pretend to be
as alright as anyone can see...

R.

(Jakarta, 22/1/2017 - 9:30 pm)

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"PICKING UP THE PIECES..."
2/2/2017

Actually, I've written two entries already. However, I've been back to being busier again. It's always easy to keep me busy.

After a while, I've decided to just not post those entries at all. Not only they were past due and my moods were no longer in it, but they were also rather embarrassing.

So I think I'm just going to have a January recap here:

It's been quite a challenging month for me. First, it was a shortage of money. Second, work has been rather slow.

Third, Lev came back and wondered if he and I could pick up where we'd left off.

Of course, I said no. Not when I had to sacrifice my life here just to follow him around. Not when he mostly wanted sex (which thankfully, I never gave into it) and I had to share him with other women in countries he'd visited and returned to.

And definitely not when he could - which he definitely would - leave me behind whenever he liked. It's like, he wants to come and go as he pleases.

The result of this heartbreak? The same old, workaholic girl.

February, be kind to me...

R.

 

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