6 Ways To Live The Life You’ll Love.

This is an unbranded sponsored content; but the content is written solely by me,
and brought to you with love, as always :)

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When we let other people write our life story, we are signing ourselves up for disappointment. When we let our parents, our friends, our boss, our colleagues, or some celebrities shape the way we view the world, decide what we are supposed to like or dislike, or define how success looks like; we are actually living their life instead of ours.

What life would be like if you can write your own life story—and be really honest about what is it that you really want? About what is it that really matters to you? If no one can give you any pressure, if you don’t have to answer to anyone, if you don’t have to find excuses, what kind of life do you want for yourself? Write your own story.

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Once you have envisioned the life you really want for yourself, start taking small steps to actually live your dream life. Whenever you’re about to make a decision—no matter how small, look at your own life story–the one you have written on your own; and ask yourself: “Is this decision going to take me closer to my dream life?”

You need a strong will. You can always dream of an ideal life, but you can only get there with a commitment on your side to get closer to it every single day. Follow your dreams.

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If there are things you’re really good at, if there are things you really love with all your heart, if there are things you’re truly interested in, pursue it with perseverance. It is not a coincidence that the word passion was derived from a Latin word that means: to suffer.

Passion is overrated. The real question is: what do you want to do with the thing you’re so passionate about? Do you want to keep working on it? Do you want to be better in it? Do you want to master it? Do you want to do something good with it? Do you want to share it with those who need it? How much you’d willing to suffer for your passion is what separates movers from dreamers. Pursue your passion.

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Make sure that you do your very best in every single thing that you do, no matter what it is. Brewing a cup of coffee, preparing a simple lunch, getting caught in a terrible traffic jam, mopping the floor, hugging a friend, holding your lover’s hands… whatever you do, always strive to give your best at that very moment.

Always ask yourself, how can I give more? How can I make people happier or feeling better after they interact with me? How can I offer more of myself, my skills, my talents—or anything else that I have to the people around me?

Deliver the unexpected. When someone is asking you for a cup of coffee, give him a cup of coffee and a slice of banana cake on the side, with a personalized thank-you note. Give them more. Give them more of you, and give more to yourself, too. Try doing this in every aspect of your life, and you’ll see how it will change you from the inside.

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As a struggling perfectionist when it comes to my passion-driven projects, I find solace in the book SHOW YOUR WORK by Austin Kleon. He told us to simply show our passion project and share it to the whole wide world—even if it’s just a tiny bit of it, every single day.

If you want to write a novel, write 1 page a day and in a year you will have a 365-page novel. If you want to have a food photography exhibition, take a picture of a person’s breakfast every single day, and in a year you’ll have a collection of 365 breakfast meals of 365 people. But just do something, now.

Don’t wait for something to be perfect, because it will never be. Don’t wait until you get better at something, because you will always want to be better than better. Don’t wait until something happens, because you won’t have any guarantee that it will happen. Stop making excuses. Just go ahead.

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Step out of your comfort zone. Do the things you won’t normally do. Change the ordinary. Face your fear. Do not settle for less.

The more it feels challenging or frightening; the more reason you need to do it: because it means that you’re about to cross a junction in your life that will take you further in life. The idea here is not to be successful in it. If you’re afraid of riding a roller coaster, you are allowed to ride on it while closing your eyes and screaming your heart out and crying excessively afterwards.

It is okay.

What’s important is to know that you have tried. It’s just like those times when you dare yourself to fall in love again and find your heart broken again, but you end up smiling after a while, knowing that it only makes you stronger. Because you know that you have the capacity to love someone so much and that you will always have the courage to try again.

You just need to remind yourself again and again, about how strong you are. To know that no matter what life throws out at you, you’ll be ready to face it, because you know everything will be okay; that you will always survive.

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SPICES: A Valentine’s Writing Boudoir

SOLD OUT!

If you are:

  • A woman, 22 years old or above and
  • A single woman looking for something exciting to do this Valentine’s Day, or
  • A woman in a relationship but having no plan to spend Valentine with your partner-in-love, or
  • A married woman, but somehow crave a private women-only connections over the weekend

If you answered ‘yes’ to those questions:

Maybe SPICES is something for you. Because aren’t we all–publicly or secretly–wanting to spice up our lives, in one way or another?

Which is why I’ve decided to hold SPICES: a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s writing boudoir at a secret loft somewhere in Central Jakarta (this Saturday, February 14, 2015). There will be heart-warming girls’ talk, writing sessions, luscious sweets and savories, caffeinated giggles, seductive music, intuitive dialogues… and many more.

Click here for details. And let’s spice up our Saturday’s Valentine.


photo credit: Journal BW via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMG_1792 via photopin (license)
photo credit: CHOCOLATE CAKE!!! via photopin (license)
photo credit: Flickering flames of the Diwali diya via photopin (license)
photo credit: via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMG_1792 via photopin (license)

Tuesday: A Celebration of Acceptance.

[dedicated to n.n.]

Tuesday is the day when mixed emotions are starting to get into you–sometimes they irritate you to the point where you feel like you’re about to boil up in rage or break down in tears any time soon. It seems like challenges, obstacles, and responsibilities are being thrown your way every now and then, and they start to weigh you down. It’s hard, difficult, and overwhelming, but you know that you just have to appear… fine.

Tuesday by Nico WijayaPHOTO BY NICO WIJAYA.

But you know that you are not. You are not fine. You are not okay.

Sometimes you feel so tired pretending to be so strong and in control all the time while you are actually stressed and frustrated and afraid and worried and confused. You feel as if you have to be the strong one on behalf of everybody else’s sake, and after a while, it feels suffocating. Sometimes you ask yourself why it seems like you’re the only one who is making an effort. Why it seems like you’re the only one who tries. Why it seems like you’re the only one who cares.

But Tuesday is a celebration of acceptance. This is the day when you can tell yourself, that it is okay to not be okay. You can’t be fine all the time and it’s fine–because we’re all human after all. You make mistakes and let things slip through the cracks. Things don’t go as planned and relationships don’t end up with a happily-ever-after. But such is life.

We do things we regret sometimes, and say the things we do not mean other times. There are moments when we hurt people we love or break a promise we have once made. It’s only human to be imperfect, and it’s okay to admit this. To accept the fact that we do screw things up sometimes and that we make mistakes every once and a while, because this is how we learn our lessons. And Tuesday is a celebration of acceptance. It’s a day to celebrate the way you accept yourself in your entirety: accepting the fact that it’s okay not to be okay, accepting your past mistakes and regrets, accepting a side of you you’re not to keen about, accepting the bumps and imperfections you’re about to encounter in life.

And exactly because this is the way you are and this is the way life is, there are times when you just need to reach out to those around you. To seek help. To deliver an apology. To ask for guidance. To mend broken relationships. To say the things you’ve kept hidden for so long. And to let someone to take care of you.

Because those people you love and those who love you, they need to know that there will be times when you need them, too–just as much as they need you.

Monday: A Celebration of Labor

[inspired by a.b.]

Monday is waking up early in the morning to the sound of the alarm clock, knowing that it’s time to venture out and embrace the challenges and opportunities that will soon come your way, and both are equally promising. It’s a day when you remember that the word passion is derived from the Latin word patior–which means to suffer or to endure. You know that there’s beauty behind your sweat and tears and fatigue, as there is labor behind every dream that comes to life. And you–you have your eyes on your destination already, knowing that you’ll get there eventually, and that you’re not going to give up so easily.

Monday by Nico Wijaya

PHOTO BY NICO WIJAYA.

Monday is a celebration of labor. It’s the day when you’re most grateful for having the ability to give a part of yourself to serve others; for having the skills that is needed by the people around you; for having the capability to solve a particular problem; for having the patience to persevere when everyone else has given up; for having the desire to bring your best self in every single thing that you do.

This is the day to remind yourself that everyone has their own role in the world, and no role is too small if you put all your heart into it. You know that feeling of being dead tired as you finished your day, and as you finally climb into your bed at night, already half-asleep, you feel all your muscles relaxing and then you realize that you are smiling: because you know that today you have given all of you: all you can, and even more.

There is a good kind of fatigue, like the kind you have after running a marathon or washing your car or preparing dinner for the whole family–and this is one of those fulfilling fatigue. You can feel the difference when the fatigue is satisfying; when you know that you can’t do today better because you’ve done your best. Because you have used all the skills and talents you’ve acquired along the years. Because you have given your 100% percent to the task and it always feels amazing.

Monday is the day to rekindle your relationship with why you’re doing the things you do. It’s the day to curl up with the reason behind your waking up early in the morning or your coming home late at night, the flame behind attending those long meetings and typing for 8 hours non-stop until your fingers hurt, the dreams behind braving the storm on your motorcycle in the afternoon and the hellish traffic jam in the evening.

You know that you’re enduring all this for a beautiful reason (or a beautiful person), and so let Monday be your celebration of labor. To know that no matter who you are, no matter what you do, you do make a difference in someone else’s lives (and yours), every single day–even if you (and them) do not realize it, yet.

And so thank you.

Thank you for doing what you do, and for pouring your heart into it today.

Sunday: A Celebration of Rebirth

[dedicated to n.n]

Sunday is about staying in bed for a while as you slowly gather your consciousness while thinking about how blessed you are for being able to wake up to another day, warm and dry. You stretch yourself and feel the crispness of your bed sheet against your exposed skin–realizing that this is another thing to be grateful of. You stay in your bed for a while, and spend the next 3 minutes counting your blessings, no matter how trivial they may sound: the roof over your head, the alarm clock, the pillow, the faint sounds of the birds, the wonderful memories you are able to cherish… the ability to cry.

Sunday by Nico Wijaya

PHOTO BY NICO WIJAYA.

You know that tears cleanse our soul. It’s a beautiful way of knowing that you can still feel something to this extent. It shows that you have worn your heart on your sleeve, you have loved hard, you have tried your best, you have risked it all, you have let your guards down, and that you have braved the one thing a lot of people are not yet dare to cross: to be vulnerable.

So, cry.

You know better than to not let those tears flow on your cheek. It’s okay. Your body knows how best to heal your soul, and so let it help you. We always think that it’s good to let things go, but it’s just as important to let things in. So let it in. Feel what you need to feel. Do not chase it away too soon. Be patient with yourself, be gentle with your heart. It’s Sunday, anyway. 

Let Sunday be your gift. A day to be spent on you. A day that ends the working days and a night out dancing and partying with your closest friends; a day that is about to welcome another week where you’ll be making another set of memories and walking various dimensions of life–so let Sunday be yours. Craft your desired future and dream about the you you’ve always dreamed of. Have a conversation with yourself on how you’d like to see things unfold in your life, why you’d like to experience these things, and how they will make you feel.

Spoil yourself on a Sunday. Make it a day to celebrate your rebirth–and invite yourself to be your most loving and wonderful company. Do the things you love to do by yourself; things that will make you appear childish; things only you may understand: dancing slowly in your pajamas to the tunes of Hindi classical music, daydreaming while brewing your perfect cup of coffee, lighting scented candles and making a list about the things you love about yourself, playing with your dog and snuggling with your cat, cooking an elaborate lunch and serving it beautifully for a solo feast, going out to buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of your favorite flowers…

Fall in love with yourself once again on a Sunday. Slow down and just enjoy the feeling of being you. Today is your day. Remind yourself of how meaningful it is to be you–those experiences in life that have made you wiser and stronger, those encounters that have given you memories worth remembering, those instances where you thought you’ve ruin it all but things turned out to take care of itself and ended up okay, those moments when you were afraid to fall flat on your face only to find out that there was someone there ready to catch you…

Fall in love with your life all over again on a Sunday. Celebrate the life you’ve lived: for you have been there and now you’re here, for you have been crushed but you survived, for you have been heartbroken but still–you will never give up on love.

And smile.

Smile, because though life may not be perfect all the time, you know that with everything you have celebrated today, you have no reason not to.

The One Who Never Leaves.

All of us have that one person in our lives: the one who never leaves.

The one who never leaves is both always and never around. He is here, but at the same time, he isn’t.

NW.

PHOTO BY NICO WIJAYA.

You cannot hold his hands or kiss his cheek or hug him from behind anytime you like. He is not going to text-flirt you or call you every single day or pick you up for a night-out (that will end up with an episode of snuggling in a couch, talking about dead authors and unheard poems). He may not give you presents on your birthdays or send you postcards from faraway places when he travels. You cannot run to him when you’re having a breakdown and cry on his shoulders–seeking a familiar comfort on the slope of his neck that you have known by heart.

At first, you think you love and hate him with a more or less similar intensity. However, the more you try to hate him, the more you realize that you can’t. Of course, he is not perfect. He has his own flaws. He has his own issues. But he has also loved you and hurt you so deep, to the extent that both the love and the wounds have transformed you completely–you will never see the world the same way ever again.

And then you get it.

You can’t hate him simply because you love him too much to be able to hate him. After all the ups and downs, fireworks and turmoils, late night romance and silent tears, no matter how sad and lonely you feel, deep down inside you know that all you really want is for him to be happy. It surprises you, at times, that you are actually capable of loving someone that way.

The one who never leaves will always be around as you’re stepping into the milestones of your life: a relocation to an exotic country, an international best-selling book, an around-the-world trip for a year, a death in the family, an engagement, a marriage, a first child. He may be there to congratulate or console you (either in person or via Facebook), or he may not. But you know that he is (and will always be) the first person that comes to mind when you’re having these big moments in your life. And for a while, in the midst of euphoria or tragedy, he reminds you of the person you were, the person you always are, and the person you choose to be.

The one who never leaves is there inside of you as you’re listening to your favorite songs. When you’re visiting beautiful places and dancing with beautiful strangers. When you’re having a cup of coffee, gazing out the window, and realizing that you’re looking at such a lovely view. He is in your heart when you’re spending your time doing the things you love, as you’re falling in and out of love with somebody new, when you finally have the courage to kiss someone and be vulnerable again after a long time.

You know that this is how the two of you arethat you have gone your separate ways and lived your separate lives. No matter how close you are to the one who never leaves, there is also a distance now–one that is not merely physical–that you cannot trespass; unless he allows you to. But you will never know if that will happen, or whether you would want to cross that distance once again. So you are moving on with your life, your heart has healed from its swells and bruises and only gotten stronger.

If you’d like to be really honest, there will always be a glimmer of hope, no matter how faint, that the one who never leaves will be the one you can hold and hug and kiss every single day, the one you can cuddle and snuggle with whenever you feel like it, the one you can wake up to in the morning and fall asleep with at the end of a lovely evening. But soon, you ditch that hope and smile as you slip into another sunny day of yours, knowing that life is good the way it is. He has appeared in your life and you know that it’s enough of a blessing in itself.

Today, whether he’s here or not does not really matter anymore–and it does not bother you at all. Because despite everything, you know that he will always be the one who never leaves.

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Go Ahead, Paris! #3

DISCLAIMER: Beberapa waktu lalu, saya diundang meliput perjalanan dua pemenang kompetisi Go Ahead Challenge dalam gelaran Paris Fashion Week 2014; dengan tiket pesawat, akomodasi, serta uang saku selama perjalanan ditanggung oleh tim penyelenggara. Meskipun demikian, saya berangkat dalam kapasitas sebagai independent blogger yang berhak menuliskan dan melaporkan (ataupun tidak) mengenai apapun yang saya lihat, alami, dan rasakan selama perjalanan tersebut;tanpa sensor maupun suntingan dari pihak penyelenggara. Bagian pertama dari seri ini dapat dibaca di sini dan bagian kedua dapat dibaca di sini.

Pernahkah kau bertanya-tanya tentang apa yang tak kelihatan? Tentang apa yang terjadi ketika lampu dimatikan dan layar diturunkan?

Banyak orang silau dengan gemerlap–sesaat melupakan apa yang dibutuhkan untuk sungguh-sungguh berkilau. Di baliknya, ada serangkaian pemikiran, kerja keras, air mata, perdebatan, juga perasaan nyaris putus asa. Tentang tertidur menjelang dinihari dan kembali terbangun bersama terbitnya matahari–menantang dinginnya angin dan menahan gigil untuk tetap berdiri anggun di tengah suhu yang semakin turun.

Lain kali kau bertemu seseorang yang kau kagumi, tanyakan padanya apa yang terjadi ketika lampu dimatikan dan layar diturunkan. Karena setiap orang, tak peduli seberapa berkilaunya ia, punya perjuangan dan pergulatan sendiri-sendiri; yang mungkin tak pernah kau ketahui. 

***

Area resepsionis di Le Meurice nampaknya jauh lebih besar dibandingkan luas seluruh lantai di hotel tempat saya menginap. Diapit Place de la Concorde dan Museum Louvre yang terkenal itu, Le Meurice memang bukan sembarang hotel. Hotel berbintang lima ini kabarnya sering didatangi para seniman kenamaan dari berbagai belahan dunia. Salvador Dali, misalnya, pernah menjadi salah satu tamu reguler di hotel yang menyuguhkan pemandangan Tuileries Garden itu.

Ketika saya tiba pagi itu, masih dengan wajah mengantuk setelah tidur larut malam sebelumnya, lobi hotel Le Meurice telah disulap menjadi sebuah area showroom. Berbagai brand dari desainer terpilih berkesempatan memajang karya-karya mereka di sini, untuk dipamerkan kepada para buyer yang akan datang menjelang siang. Di ujung showroom itulah saya menghabiskan waktu sepagian.

Di sinilah, beberapa desainer asal Indonesia berkesempatan memperlihatkan rancangan mereka kepada dunia dalam rangkaian Paris Fashion Week 2014. Selain koleksi Tex Saverio, di ujung showroom itu saya juga terkagum-kagum melihat-lihat koleksi dari Peggy Hartanto, Toton, dan MajorMinor, dan sempat mengobrol dengan Toton Januar dan Ari Seputra-nya MajorMinor tentang rancangan mereka yang khusus dibuat untuk pasar Eropa.

Fashion adalah industri yang kompleks,” kata Sophie Gorecki–perempuan ramah yang saya temui di showroom pagi itu. Sosok penting di balik penjualan koleksi Tex Saverio ini bisa berbahasa Indonesia dengan sangat baik. “Dalam industri fashion, pekerjaan tak berhenti ketika kita menghasilkan karya yang indah. Itu baru awal. Selanjutnya, ada rantai distribusi yang panjang dan berbelit, proses produksi yang memakan waktu, sampai kemampuan negosiasi dan membangun jaringan untuk memikat buyers.”

“Di balik keglamorannya, fashion sebagai sebuah industri adalah sekumpulan kerja keras, tekanan, dan disiplin tinggi untuk bisa menghasilkan koleksi yang indah dan diterima masyarakat secara konsisten, tepat waktu, dan berkualitas,” kata Angela Quaintrell. Ketika kami mengobrol, saya baru tahu bahwa ia adalah konsultan dari Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE) yang berbasis di London. Dengan asyik, saya mendengarkan Angela bercerita tentang CFE–sebagai sebuah inkubator bisnis khusus untuk para desainer fashion. CFE membina para desainer agar dapat memiliki kepekaan dan kelihaian dalam mengarungi industri dan bisnis fashion internasional. Merekalah yang turut membawa desainer-desainer Indonesia ke pentas dunia seperti Paris Fashion Week ini.

***

Saya bertemu Tex Saverio di ruang bawah tanah sebuah hotel yang tak lagi saya ingat namanya. Lorong-lorong dan anak tangga sempit mengantarkan saya menuju sebuah dunia yang tersembunyi di bawah permukaan: dunia yang dipenuhi model-model berwajah gugup, foto-foto dan sketsa, juga gaun-gaun gemerlap yang berjuntai dari gantungan di sudut-sudut ruangan.

“Kamu mau jadi cacing atau jadi naga?”

Siang itu, Tex–desainer muda yang didaulat dunia sebagai Alexander McQueen-nya Indonesia setelah rancangannya dikenakan oleh Lady Gaga–mengenakan kaca mata besar dengan pinggiran hitam, cardigan warna sampanye, dan celana pendek cokelat muda. Kami duduk-duduk dikelilingi gaun-gaun indahnya di ruang bawah tanah itu, mengobrol tentang fashion dan hal-hal lain yang muncul begitu saja, dalam percakapan santai yang tak sungguh-sungguh punya agenda.

“Kalau ingin menjadi naga, kamu harus siap bekerja keras. Apapun pekerjaanmu, jangan tanggung-tanggung dalam menjalaninya,” ujar Tex. Suara dan pembawaannya tetap tenang selagi ia mengisahkan pergulatannya meyakinkan orang-orang terdekat saat pertama kali hendak memutuskan untuk terjun ke dunia fashion. “Jangan menjadi cacing. Baru ketemu susah sedikit, ngeluh.”

Hal inilah yang selalu diingat Tex sejak ia menentukan jalannya sendiri untuk mengejar impiannya di dunia fashion pada tahun 2001. Saat itu, ia langsung terjun bebas ke industri fashion tanpa sempat belajar banyak dari rumah-rumah mode ternama. Perjalanannya adalah rangkaian percobaan yang sebagian gagal dan sebagian berhasil. Ia tersaruk-saruk sendiri dan mempelajari segalanya secara otodidak. Rancangannya yang dianggap ‘aneh dan ajaib’ pun tak serta-merta diterima dengan baik.

“Penolakan itu, dimana pun, akan selalu ada,” ujarnya seraya merapikan lengan cardingan-nya dan tersenyum. “Yang terpenting adalah seberapa besar kepercayaanmu terhadap karya-karyamu sendiri, dan seberapa besar kesediaanmu untuk juga mendengarkan apa yang diinginkan oleh pasar. Idealisme dan kreativitas saja tidak cukup.”

***

Hari itu, salah satu gaun rancangan Tex yang akan dipamerkan dalam fashion presentation di Paris Fashion Week dalam waktu kurang dari 30 jam, tersampir di lengan Sylvester. Pemuda itu hilir-mudik dengan sigap untuk membantu model-model mengepas gaun-gaun. Wajahnya nampak kencang.

Atmosfir di ruang bawah tanah itu terasa sedikit tegang. Samar-samar bisa terdengar teriakan frustrasi, perdebatan sengit, juga helaan napas panjang. Rupanya, salah satu gaun indah nan ramping yang menjadi pamungkas dalam koleksi Tex tak bisa begitu saja pas pada sembarang model. Belum jelas siapa model yang bisa membawakan gaun itu esok hari. Seharian ini, mereka belum menemukan seseorang dengan ukuran yang pas benar.

Ketegangan itu mengingatkan saya pada sebuah adegan dalam kisah Cinderella, ketika Pangeran berkeliling ke seluruh penjuru negeri untuk menemukan gadis yang kakinya pas dengan ukuran sepatu kaca yang sedang ia cari pemiliknya. Saya tak tahu apakah Tex ikut cemas (atau gemas) dengan persiapan menjelang fashion presentationnya esok hari, karena nyatanya, ia terlihat begitu tenang dan terkendali. Mungkin ia tipe orang yang percaya bahwa everything will eventually falls into place.

“Ketika kamu sungguh-sungguh ingin masuk ke industri ini, kamu tak bisa lagi merancang sesuai suasana hati dan keinginan sendiri,” ujar Tex. “Ya, ketika mood-nya tepat dan inspirasi didapat, rancangan memang bisa dihasilkan dalam waktu yang relatif cepat, tetapi industri tidak bekerja seperti itu. Kamu harus bekerja sesuai jadwal. Dan inspirasi tidak bisa ditunggu hingga datang sendiri. Kita harus menyiapkan setidaknya dua koleksi dalam setahun: spring/summer dan autumn/winter. Ini berarti hanya ada waktu 6 bulan untuk menyiapkan koleksi ready-to-wear: termasuk riset, memilih tema dan warna yang sesuai dengan trend dunia dan permintaan pasar, membuat puluhan rancangan, mencari bahan-bahan, mengawasi seluruh proses produksi, menyiapkan katalog, dan seterusnya. Ini waktu yang sangat singkat. Kalau hanya mengikuti mood, kamu tak akan bisa bertahan. Disiplin, komitmen, dan kerja keras adalah tuntutan yang harus dipenuhi.”

She fits!” seruan itu terdengar tiba-tiba dari ruangan lain yang bersebelahan; seperti pekik kelegaan bercampur kemenangan. Seorang model yang luar biasa tinggi dan kurus, dengan kaki yang juga luar biasa jenjang, melangkah melewati ambang pintu dengan gaun pamungkas Tex–yang ternyata pas dengan ukuran badannya. Sepertinya tatapan semua orang tertuju pada model itu; selagi ia berjalan pelan memeragakan gaun rancangan Tex yang bertema Parametric: perpaduan bentuk-bentuk geometris untuk menciptakan sebuah gaya futuristik yang romantis.

Akhirnya, ketegangan di udara siang itu mencair juga.

***

Saya tak tahu ada apa dengan Tex dan ruang bawah tanah, karena fashion presentation-nya dalam gelaran Paris Fashion Week juga terjadi di bawah permukaan tanah. Menyelinap lewat sebuah pintu di samping Palais de Tokyo, saya menuruni anak tangga demi anak tangga menuju sebuah klub bergaya dungeon dengan dinding-dinding yang dipenuhi grafiti.

Semakin jauh saya menuruni anak tangga, suara musik semakin jelas terdengar. DJ tengah memainkan lagu-lagu dengan irama menghentak, diiringi artwork geometris yang berputar-putar di layar yang teramat besar dari atas panggung. Lampu-lampu sorot membentuk lingkaran-lingkaran cahaya di lantai. Di dalam lingkaran-lingkaran cahaya inilah para model berdiri memamerkan koleksi terbaru Tex Saverio–sementara para penikmat fashion dan buyers dari berbagai belahan dunia berkumpul di luar lingkaran-lingkaran cahaya, mengagumi dan menjepretkan kamera dalam gelap. Salah satunya, nampak penyanyi asal Indonesia yang sudah bermukim di Perancis, Anggun.

“Cratfmanship. Itu satu hal yang membedakan kualitas fashion di Indonesia dengan negara-negara Barat,” kata Tex. “Kita sebenarnya sudah punya craftmanship yang hebat, tapi banyak hal yang harus dibenahi untuk bisa bersaing di dunia internasional. Infrastruktur pendukung untuk industri ini harus diperbaiki, misalnya agar kita tidak perlu selalu sourcing bahan ke luar negeri. Kualitas SDM juga perlu ditingkatkan. Ya, PR kita masih banyak.”

Pada fashion presentation Tex yang berkilauan hari itu, Sylvester dan Bram memang nampak sibuk dengan tugasnya masing-masing–namun satu sosok lagi yang nampak lebih sibuk hari itu adalah Faye Liu. Perempuan berambut lurus itu nampak sigap menyapa, mengobrol, dan menyalami tamu-tamu yang datang, selagi matanya tak lepas mengawasi jalannya acara yang tengah berlangsung. Ia adalah fashion director Tex Saverio, salah satu sosok penting di balik nama besar dan kesuksesan Tex merambah industri fashion dunia.

“Saya bisa mendesain, tapi saya tidak pandai berbisnis,” Tex mengakui dengan rendah hati. “Saya bekerja dengan sekitar 20 orang lainnya, dan mereka berasal dari berbagai negara, bukan hanya dari Indonesia. Merekalah orang-orang yang mengerti hal-hal tentang industri ini yang tidak saya kuasai dengan baik: misalnya strategi bisnis dan harga, riset, membangun jaringan, mengatur distribusi, dan masih banyak lagi. Ketika kamu ingin terjun dan bertahan di industri ini, penting juga bermitra dengan orang-orang yang tepat.”

Kamera-kamera masih dijepretkan dengan bertubi-tubi dan gelas-gelas masih berdenting ketika saya meninggalkan Palais de Tokyo menjelang sore. Paris tak lagi sedingin beberapa hari belakangan–atau mungkin, tubuh saya yang sudah cukup waktu untuk menyesuaikan. Daun-daun di pepohonan yang berjajar sepanjang jalan mulai berubah warna menjadi oranye keemasan, ditingkahi suara rantai sepeda yang samar berdesir-desir.

Seorang model berjalan melewati saya dengan terburu-buru, sambil mengunyah sesuatu. Ia sudah berganti pakaian; mengenakan jeans, kaus lengan panjang, dan scarf yang melilit leher–namun make-up dan tatanan rambutnya yang spektakuler nampaknya belum sempat disingkirkan.

Lalu tiba-tiba saja saya teringat celetukan Faye Liu: “Orang-orang selalu salah kaprah dan berkata bahwa para model tidak pernah makan. Lihat kan, sore ini, bagaimana begitu fashion show selesai mereka langsung menyerbu meja yang dipenuhi sandwich keju dan mengunyahnya lahap sambil berteriak: saya lapaaar!”

Berada di belakang layar Paris Fashion Week mau tak mau memang banyak mengubah pandangan saya yang sebelumnya sedikit sinis terhadap dunia fashionThe glam is just an illusion. Di sisi lain cermin, setiap orang bekerja sama kerasnya di industri ini: mereka sama-sama lelah dan frustrasi, juga sama-sama nyaris putus asa. Namun di balik peluh, air mata, gerutuan, dan kebosanan yang selalu bisa melanda kapan saja, sebagian di antara mereka ternyata juga sama-sama masih saja jatuh cinta pada apa yang mereka kerjakan setiap harinya.

Mungkin perbedaannya terletak pada satu hal itu saja: cinta.

***

Janganlah menjadi terbiasa.

Kagumilah segalanya sebagaimana yang pertama. Temuilah sesuatu yang baru dalam hal-hal yang sudah kau miliki selamanya. Berjalanlah di sekelilingmu dan lihatlah dunia dengan mata kanak-kanak yang selalu ingin tahu. Dekaplah setiap saat yang lewat demi menangkap keajaiban-keajaiban maupun kebijaksanaan-kebijaksanaan kecil di baliknya. Mengertilah bahwa semua hal sesungguhnya begitu cepat berlalu; dan bahwa segalanya adalah terlalu sementara. Jadi reguklah sebanyaknya selagi kau bisa. Kau tak akan pernah kehilangan waktu dengan berhenti sebentar untuk menikmati indahnya matahari terbenam.

Dan orang-orang yang pernah kau cintai itu; ingatkah saat pertama kau melihat mereka, merasakan kepak sayap kupu-kupu dalam perutmu dan jatuh hati? Dan mimpi-mimpi yang pernah kau simpan di bawah bantalmu setiap malam itu; ingatkah kau akan rasa yang meledak dalam setiap pori-porimu ketika kau memutar ulang mimpi-mimpi itu dalam benakmu setiap waktu?

___

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About Someone Who Loves You.

One day, you’ll understand that the highest compliment you could ever receive is having someone who is with you; instead of having someone who wants to be with you.

PHOTO BY NICO WIJAYA.

By then, you’ve learned the hard way: that promises are not that difficult to break, that people don’t always mean what they say, and that hearts will always change its course. When the day comes, you’ll just get it: that the highest compliment you could ever receive has nothing to do with having someone who wants to spend the rest of his life with you. The highest compliment you could ever receive–on the contrary, has everything to do with having the one who is with you: right here, right now.

The most precious gift one can give you is time: the willingness to spend one’s time with you–conscious about the fact that one will never know how much time one has left in the world. What makes us think that we will always have more time? What makes us believe that there will come a perfect day when we will feel better and stronger and bolder… and only when the day comes, then we can offer more of ourselves and our love to the one that deserves it? How do we know that this perfect day will ever come? And even if this perfect day does come to us, what makes us think that the one we love will still be around?

One day, you’ll understand that I-miss-you is actually one of the saddest word one could ever say to you. You used to blush and giggle to the sight or sound of the three words, until you started to hear the unspoken words accompanying the three. I-miss-you means I-want-to-be-with-you (but I’m not). I-miss-you means I-want-things-to-go-back-the-way-they-used-to-be (but they’re not). I-miss-you means I-want-us-to-be-together (but we’re not). Now you realize that there are conscious options in every I-miss-yous; conscious options not to do something about it but simply saying it–though we know that we may not have more time.

The best I-miss-you one could ever get is the I-miss-you that is never spoken. Because the one who wants to be with you is there with you; the one who wants things to go back the way they used to be is currently making an effort to do so; and the one who wants the two of you to be together is sitting by your side: holding you as if it’s the most pressing thing in the world one is supposed to do.

Someone who loves you doesn’t need to hear a promise of forever-ever-after. Someone who loves you is not waiting to finally end up with the best version of yourself. Someone who loves you is not looking forward to the day when you can offer what you think she deserves.

Someone who loves you simply wants to be with you–for who you are, with all your flaws and imperfections, right here, right now. Someone who loves you simply wants to hold your hand and look into your eyes in silence and kiss you and smile at you with all of her being and tell you how much she feels for you, right here, right now. Someone who loves you knows that we have no idea about how much time we have left in the world, and precisely because of that, someone who loves you makes a brave and conscious option to spend that time with none other but you: right here, right now.

So be here. So be there.

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What’s So Good About Goodbyes?

I guess I always knew that the word good and bye don’t just sit together side by side like that for no reason. There must be something good in goodbyes, although I know how difficult it is to accept that–especially if you’re the one who stays instead of the one who leaves.

PHOTO BY NICO WIJAYA.

So, what’s so good about goodbye, anyway?

You may ask yourself this question as you’re witnessing someone else’s back walking away from you. Your heart is aching as the figure is getting smaller and smaller before completely turning into a chaotic blur; and you wonder what goes wrong only to realize that your eyes are already welled up in tears. You have promised not to cry this time, that you’re going to be strong, that you know this day will come, that everything is going to be okay; but there are things in life that you can’t control–like tears and goodbyes, and it’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad over goodbyes. We are only human after all.

But I know that I have experienced a lot of good things in life after goodbyes–even when I wasn’t the one who initiated it;  even when it hurts; and even when during the grip of grief I could not see how things could possibly be better. Goodbyes have made me respect myself better, pulled me out from toxic relationships, threw me into the arms of a person who are more loving, reminded me of living a life without regret, showed me the things I can and cannot tolerate in life. Goodbyes have made me appreciate the present and taught me that each moments are sacred, taught me how to be empathetic, and opened up my heart to become even more loving and compassionate–knowing that everyone has been dealing with painful goodbyes. Goodbyes have also made me so broken-hearted I spent my days chasing my childhood dreams simply to stay functioning; and unexpectedly reaped such a wonderful results which feels… amazingly sweet.

And then I kind of get it.

What’s so good about goodbyes is not something that you can answer in an instant. It’s not something for the now. It’s something that will unveil itself to you through time.

I am not going to write anything poetic or sentimental about goodbye this time; because today, it’s about you.

I just want you to remember those instances in your life when you have to say goodbye to someone–or when someone has to say goodbye to you; since you’re a little child until about 5 years ago. How many goodbyes have you experienced in life? Is there one particular goodbye you remember vividly? What are the goods coming out of that goodbye?

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