Do it because it’s fun. Because it brings you joy; because it’s meaningful to you. Do it because it gives you simple tiny pleasures. Do it because it makes you smile, because it fills you with energy and inspiration, because it brings warmth into your heart. Do it because your life feels more exciting when you’re doing it. Do it because you have always wanted to; because you have always dreamed about it, because you enjoy spending your time doing it; because you know deep in your soul that you need to do it—not for others or numbers or algorithms, but for you. For you.

The view from De Klok

I took another digital detox this weekend—I limited myself to a 5-minute screen time on Saturday and Sunday to quickly check my business account. I closed my social media account for the rest of the days. I spent my morning journaling, then perched myself on the couch, reading Natalie Goldberg’s The Great Spring while sipping my coffee and slurping my chocolate avocado mousse. I had a long sound-bathing session and journaled some more; then, in the afternoon, D and I went to De Klok in Spaarndam-West to have some Radlers, chill, and read. I watched people’s boats passing—couples on a picnic and their dogs.

We stopped by Mari Rasa to grab my comfort food: nasi goreng and tahu isi with peanut sauce dip. In the evening, we went to the Altini’s for a pizza dinner and a stroll at Westerpark—and I caressed their ‘guest’ Chartreux: so fluffy, soft, and cuddly. It reminded me of Moortje—the neighbor’s black cat who went missing a week ago. I used to stop and play with her on my way home from Albert-Heijn.

On Sunday, I burned incense: Lotus and Angel Dust—an homage to my roots. I once told my friend I wanted a house that smelled like a yoga shala. It was amazing how the sense of smell can transport you to a different mental state. I had another sound-bathing session under the skylight—the sunshine pouring over me, continued reading Goldberg, dove into my journaling practice, and then returned to The Great Spring. In the afternoon, Dita came over. I told her I had some Indonesian food to share. We discussed life, work, books, creative pursuit, and food upon shared Radler, coffee, and tahu isi. We both love Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and Ferrante’s novels.

Then the thunderstorm came, bringing fierce and frightening lightning that seemed like splitting the sky open. I remember I used to be so afraid of lightning as a little girl. I would wrap myself in a thick blanket and close my eyes and ears so I couldn’t see or hear anything. My parents needed to nudge me to get me out of the blanket when the storm passed because I wouldn’t know otherwise. Under the blanket, I was numbing myself from anything external. It was an isolation, a space capsule, a shell—it felt protective and vulnerable at the same time. I still felt like that little girl hiding under a blanket some days.

I always thought I was not made for the constant social interaction and stimulation social media offered. Lately, I feel sick after scrolling social media for over ten minutes. The choice was to ignore that feeling or respect it. I used to do digital detox most weekends and wanted to do this again. No emails, no checking of DMs. I wanted to start again from Friday evening until Monday morning. To reclaim my mental space and experience the world rather than just looking at it pass by from a little screen.

I started getting my paints, pastels and brushes out. I was still too depleted to paint, but I did some color swatches while listening to Sandi’s landscape note-taking course, doing sketches from Emma’s and Sarah’s Patreon, and accepting that creativity can ebb and flow. Still, we always have a choice to do something nonetheless: to pick up that pen, that brush… ourselves. To build a habit of creating and expressing without having to end up with a finished piece, without any agenda apart from letting things out, without any expectation of an aha moment. It just is.

It had been a tough week.

I learned long ago that you cannot please everybody—but I was so wired to do so. It is in me, and I am still trying to unlearn it. I still have to remind myself repeatedly, every single day, that I only have one life—and I want to live it the way I want to… now, every single day.

D and I watched Kim’s Convenience on Sunday evening to wind down. We laughed. I brushed my teeth and took a long shower before bed. I washed my hair. I sprayed Berdoues above my pillow. I dreamed about returning to high school—at a student council meeting, planning for a school festival. I dreamed about eating together at a long table, blurry conversations.

I woke up to the Parade music from Paprika by Susumu Hirasawa. Cyan told me to watch this Satoshi Kon’s movie a few days ago, and I did. I love it.

It was Monday morning, and I still felt like marching in a dream.

Journal Pages Beradadisini

There’s one thing I re-learned this month:

In our daily interactions, it is essential to remember that what people do or say is often a reflection of themselves – their thoughts, beliefs, fears, and life experiences. For me, reminding myself about this allows me not to take things too personally (at least, not as much as I did in previous years).

It was still a slippery slope.

Sometimes, someone’s words can still hurt me so much that this knowledge doesn’t make me immune to the pain. However, these days, I made a conscious effort to bounce back, to be disciplined with my thoughts by not indulging myself in replaying the hurtful interactions word by word—or to take a pause and breathe, and do something cathartic to stop myself from fueling the fire.

It was funny, right?

The way we could still remember hurtful words someone said to us 10, 20, 30 years ago, and how we carried that within us until today—making us doubt ourselves or beating ourselves up because of that—when the person who said these words might not remember anything about it anymore. These days, I am learning to let go of this burden of thinking that I should be carrying those words. I realize I have the power not to listen, internalize things, or believe that everyone’s comments have the same weight or should be treated with the same attentiveness and care.

I understand that everyone, including myself, is grappling with their shadows and demons. And sometimes, these internal struggles manifest as projections onto others. I am also guilty of these at times, especially when I wasn’t at my best.

When I sit down to write about my fears, worries, and belief systems, as well as the things I love and hold dear to my heart, I can better grasp how they influence how I think, act, speak, and treat others. I also recognize the power of cultivating self-love in shaping our thoughts, actions, and words.

Reminding myself that everyone is dealing with their own shadows and demons (including ourselves), allows me to approach things with more empathy and compassion. I understand that sometimes we project our insecurities onto others without even realizing it, so what people say or do does not reflect our worth or value.

These days, when I hear something someone said that hurts me, I will sit down and ask myself three questions:

  1. If I am filled with love, joy, kindness, fulfillment, and contentment, will these words/interactions still hurt me? Which of my fears, beliefs, values, or insecurities were triggered?
  2. Would I say those things to others if I am filled with love, joy, kindness, fulfillment, and contentment? Is there a way I can reframe/say it again in a kind, compassionate way—or is it better for me to say nothing at all?
  3. Can I take anything from those words/interactions that will support my growth to be the version of myself I have always envisioned?

I read Karen Russel’s short story “Ava Wrestles the Alligator” a few years ago in her short story collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.

Although the story itself was full of magic and metaphors—an alligator theme park, a ‘ghost’ boyfriend, a Bird Man, a swamp prom, and a gecko crown, there was one sentence that popped up in my mind from time to time even when I wasn’t thinking about this story in particular.

It was a sentence written by Ossie—Ava’s sister—in her letter to Ava: “Sorry, Ava, I have the sound of more words, but I could not remember the shapes of the letters.”

The sentence made me pause. I reread it. Again. Again. And it was just becoming more beautiful each time. It encapsulated so many things I could not explain. It gave me this funny feeling in my stomach, the one you have when you are about to ride a roller coaster. I was mesmerized by that sentence.

I picked up the story again this weekend, and as I read it, I found the little details about that story I had forgotten—until I stumbled upon that sentence once again. It was still beautiful. It still took my breath away. And I know that in years to come, even when the story has faded from my memories—everything blurs with other short stories I have read and loved—I will still remember this one sentence.

Perhaps, this is how we remember people.

We tend to shape our memories of them based on the limited time we spend with them—and our memories of them, over time, will be replaced with one single word, one single interaction, or one single feeling. We may never truly understand that person in their entirety or remember everything this person has said and done—only the ones that somehow resonate with us at a particular moment, something we choose to compartmentalize.

Something we choose to remember.

Beradadisini Love Letter to Self

I took up a personal journaling project this week: writing a love letter to myself before bed. I work on a thin A6-size handmade paper journal I got from a paper artist, Els.

The journal is thin and small enough, so it doesn’t overwhelm me. It feels like I am only going to work on a small project. However, the handmade paper, with its textures and colors, is also beautiful enough to make me feel like I want to do something with it every evening.

The love letter is simple, concise, and short. I thank myself for what I do that day—even as simple as cooking meals for myself or taking the time to rest. I praise myself for the smallest achievement that day (like not being angry when things go wrong or treating someone kindly). On tough days, the letter can be full of words of comfort and assurance. I write all the things I wish to hear. The letter is me telling myself, “I see you. I hear you. I know how hard you try; I understand what you’re going through.”

I think most of the time, we can be too hard on ourselves when we do something we regret or when we make mistakes. We can keep talking ourselves down and replaying the scenes of what we think should not happen repeatedly.

But most of us don’t take enough time and patience to appreciate ourselves when we do something good, don’t mess things up, or make an effort at anything—no matter how small.

Writing a love letter to yourself is about acknowledging ourselves—and appreciating those efforts that we often take for granted, such as getting out of bed in the morning or making it through another challenging day.

To me, this project is a lovely way to use my tiny journal at the end of the day. It is also a calming, creative, and relaxing reminder-to-self that my effort counts—and that I am worthy of love and appreciation from myself.

“Would you like to try working on a tiny journal where you’ll write love letters to yourself from time to time?”


This is what standing up for yourself can look like:

Keep doing the things you love doing the way you enjoy doing them, even when everyone else tells you otherwise. Let your heart sing the tune of its soul; even if you’re the only one finding it beautiful. Do not let anyone or yourself crush your spirit or take away your capability to dream, to love, to wonder. Celebrate yourself.

Standing up for yourself does not have to look aggressive. It does not have to feel like a fight. It’s not always about convincing others or explaining yourself and your decisions with the hope that everyone else understands or accepts your choice.

Standing up for yourself can also look like something ordinary—something small; like a tiny wildflower sprouting through a crack on the highway. It can look like something persistent—some tiny flickers in the dark that just refuse to die. It can also look like those quiet moments when you whisper to yourself,

“It’s okay. Keep going. I got you.”

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Hanny illustrator
I am an Indonesian writer/artist/illustrator and stationery web shop owner (Cafe Analog) 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.