As a college student and as an adult, I started losing bookmarks.

I have lots of cute bookmarks, and there were times when I realized that some of my bookmarks have been missing; and only two were left. I bought more bookmarks and in a year, I realized that I have lost three. Probably it was lying around helplessly in some of my drawers, or in my huge bookshelf—got hidden under some books, still buried between the pages of a certain novel I haven’t finished, or slipped under my bed sheet—since I love reading in bed.

Not so long ago, my boyfriend got me this beautiful bookmark.

It looked a lot like stained-glass you spotted at those colorful church windows; the colorful pieces make up the shape of a peacock. Since then, I have had three episodes of panic attack when I couldn’t find that peacock bookmark; while my other bookmarks are lying around peacefully on top of my bedside table.

It was like those moments when you thought you’ve lost your mobile phone. In desperate anticipation, you emptied your bag, preparing yourself for the worse, then with a thud your mobile phone hit the floor; along with mints and an almost empty tissue pack and keys and name cards and your purse, and you realized that you didn’t lose it, and it was there all the time.

At the time I couldn’t find that peacock bookmark, I would feel the chill down my spine, and my mind was racing: what was the last book I read, did I bring that book to the office, in which bag I carried that book, did I left it here, did I left it there?

I would emptied every drawer, every bag, every book lying on the top pile of my bedside table desperately, flipping every page frantically, my heart pounding. I felt feverish. Annoyed. Mad. I would go crazy and started swearing silently. And then when I was close to giving up; madness turned into sadness. The realization that I have really lost it crept in.

And then, suddenly, I would find the peacock bookmark somewhere 😀 Inside my laptop bag. Hidden under my pillow. Buried inside my make-up case (how?). But then the feeling of relief showered me like summer rain in wintertime.

When I’m about to travel, I’ll be looking at the book I’m about to read on the plane; and I’ll ask myself whether I want to bring the peacock bookmark along with me. I’ll ask myself again and again: what if I lost that bookmark in a faraway island, a foreign country? I won’t be able to retrace it, won’t be able to get it back.

It’ll be safer to just use the peacock bookmark when I’m reading at home. I might misplace it, lost it for an hour (or a day), but I can just search my house or my bedroom, knowing that though I haven’t found it, the bookmark must be there, hidden peacefully, somewhere.

However, I can’t resist the urge to take the bookmark with me when I’m traveling: to have it between the pages of my book when I switch on my reading light, to trace the texture with my fingers as I gaze out from the cabin’s window, to be reminded of my boyfriend whenever I take a glimpse on it.

I know that no matter how careful I am, still, I might lose that peacock bookmark. Probably it’ll slip from the pages of my book and fall to the ground when I’m about to hop into a tram. Or leave it under a pillow at a hotel room somewhere. Or drop it on the floor when I’m about to board the plane.

But it’s worth the risk; and the panic attack.

A lot like love, don’t you think? You know that one day it will crush you and break your heart in a thousand different ways, but no matter what, you keep seizing the chance anyway, for all it’s worth 🙂

hanny

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Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash
In the end, self-care is not always about doing the things that make us feel good or give us instant gratification. It's also about doing the RIGHT thing: something that is good for us in the long run—even if it may feel hard at times.
Hanny illustrator
Hi. I'm HANNY
I am an Indonesian writer and an artist/illustrator based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I love facilitating writing/creative workshops and retreats, especially when they are tied to self-exploration and self-expression. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am, documenting life—one word at a time.

hanny

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