Gue baru sadar kenapa nangis itu bikin capek, soalnya banyak anggota tubuh yang kesakitan saat gue lagi nangis. My heart aches, my head hurts, my eyes burn as if there is some hot laser pointed at them, and all my body tremble. It is a traumatizing experience, so traumatizing that I’d do something else, mostly eating and watching funny TV shows, before I am about to cry – so I won’t cry.
While writing this very line, I went back and forth with my writing. Starting the paragraph with English, and then realized that I am better articulated in Indonesian, that I can express more feelings and emotions in my native language. And I realized that I am really not that good anymore at expressing myself in Indonesian – no matter how much Indonesian movies I watch during winter break and all those Pram’s book I read. But I am also no better in English, and most importantly, I have no emotional attachment to it.
That just describes exactly how I’ve felt the past few months – I don’t belong here in the land of the free, but the land I call home seems so far away and unreachable, literally and figuratively. And for the very reason, I can’t help the tears from falling despite the many bags of pita chips and pirouline I’ve eaten and the number of cheesy dramas I’ve watched – they can’t even be a good distraction for me anymore.
The past few months have been the loneliest days I have experienced in my life. Being a student in the US for almost two years now does not change the fact that I am not white, it does not change the fact that I am not wealthy, it does not change the fact that I am a Moslem and I can’t do most of the bonding or “fun” activities people like doing here, it does not make me feel connected when a classmate talked about delivering $600 pizza from Chicago for someone’s birthday. Being here for almost two years still does not make me feel like I belong here. I am still a quiet international student who observes and makes comment on the topics I know for sure – which mostly is not of most people’s interest here. I don’t belong here.
Being far away from home for almost two years still make me think of my family and friends at night. It still makes me think how nice it would be had they been here with me, to congratulate me when I got my first distinguished performer grade ever at school, to tell me “everything’s gonna be okay” when I got the lowest score for accounting class, to share my joy with when I became a finalist for an entrepreneurship competition, and to tell me “you did great and you’re a winner to me” when I did not win that competition.
At this point, there just have been too many times that I wanted to share my frustration with someone I trust and would be able to understand me other than my therapist, someone who knows me. But that person just don’t exist. They did exist, until two years ago.
The difference in culture is no joke. Difficulties connecting with locals is incredibly frustrating. But, distance, too, is no joke. It turned me into a stranger to people I’ve known for years – people I’ve been calling friends and best friends. Every time we talk, it seems like I irritated them most of the time. I felt like I irritated them so much that I just don’t want to ruin the friendship that way, that I’d just rather keep it all to myself. Cause too much negativity will ruin their feelings, their day, and our good relationship. What is a good relationship, btw? Maybe these days, in the days of my age, a good relationship is one just showcasing all the positive side of you, cause hey everyone’s got problems of their own. But no, I’ll just blame it to the distance. It’s not people, it’s distance and other circumstances in life. Or maybe it’s just me being an overthinker and drama queen.
Anyhow, I guess… somehow I’ve grown apart from one of the best things in life: a true relationship. I don’t know what a good relationship is, but I think a true relationship is a relationship where you can become your true self, expressing your true feeling, and still feel safe after that. I guess the absence of that is the one that made me feel lonely and made my heart ache pretty badly, and messed my brain quite seriously.
But then I think to myself, it must just have been one of those days, the days when you forgot the lyrics of your favorite songs – it frustrates you. But the lyrics will come back one day. The day that I hope is not too far in the future.