How are you doing at the moment? I know you are keen on listening to Wynton Marsalis’ album as well as you are a fan of The Black Crowes. Your musical flirt to Jazz and Fusion is something dad couldn’t understand being a pure rock ‘n roll fan himself. He told me once listening to jazz was like listening to a bunch of musicians playing their own notes, which was true to some point.
You still smoke, don’t you? Especially after dad and mom don’t mind you smoking. You are proud to have cool folks but I warn you smoking will kill dad 7 years for now. If you knew what smoking did to your skin and hair, you would stop immediately. But then again, you are young and carefree. Afterall you earn your own money to buy cigarettes by dancing. You’d rather do modern dance right now as there are so many modern dance gigs to do. Cherish your ability to pick up new dance well and fast as 7 years from now, you will be a semi professional Indonesian traditional dancer. Beside classic Javanese & Balinese dance you have already mastered, you can add Jaipongan dance in your dancing career later on. Those interesting years are good learning moments. You will visit excellent places and meet various intriguing, inspiring people.
By the way, how was the lesson with Monsieur Nursal today? He is an eccentric bloke, isn’t he? What a colourful person he is. Take good example of his french pronunciation which is bcbg (bon chique bon genre). Right now you are dreaming of visiting France someday. This will come true, trust me. Within 6 years you will explore Brittany, Normandy, Aquitaine, Bordeaux region & Massif Central. And last but not least you will visit the region where dad named you after: La Lorraine. Everything will fall into place the moment you put your step on French soil. You will then dare to call yourself a Francophil. The other big dream to pursue a master degree on French literature at La Sorbonne, Paris will fade away eventually. As there would be other circumstances you’d need to consider. Carry on reading Balzac, Hugo, Camus though. This will form you as who I am today.
Things have not been easy for you this time. Hanging out with the boys from philosophy section has set you to think about the real purpose of your life. What do you do on earth. What your legacy will be. You believe you are unique. You are one of a kind. This is a turning point in your young life when you dared declaring yourself a feminist. Dad finds it very brave of you. Blame it on Simone de Beauvoir’s La Deuxième Sexe, Oriana Fallaci’s courage or Christiane Amanpour’s determination, you have sworn to be and stay independent. All your feminist heroes are single. You would be surprised to hear my recent feminist role models are working mothers like Marissa Mayer (Yahoo CEO), Sheryl Sandberg (CEO Facebook) and Nellie Kroes (Vice President European Commission Europe Union). Those are powerful women, mothers and married to a man who is not intimidated by them. Plus they are not afraid showing their femininity. They embrace it instead of reject it. They use it properly to present themselves accordingly, even when fighting the old boy’s network. I bet it is hard to imagine for you now. However, there is bad news I have to tell you, after two decades in certain regions in the world women rights have not been set as they are supposed to be. Sad but true. I hope this won’t stop you reading many more books of inspiring women. The hunger and thirst to knowledge remains though. Stay curious and do not stop asking question!
Stt, remember that Indo Dutch guy you met two days ago on Kuta beach? Go on a date with him. He is interesting and he looks good. 6 weeks after your first date with him he is going to express his real feelings for you. Grandma would be glad if you let her read his letter, especially those sentences written in Dutch. 3 years from now you will marry him! Don’t be afraid, once being married to him, you stay a feminist as he doesn’t mind this at all. He accepts you being outspoken.
Dear, things you believe now have to be adjusted or even banned when you reach my age. Take hairdo for example. In the picture above, taken on the first date with that Indo Dutch guy, your hairdo is a bob style. You believe women past 35 year should not have long hair cause it would be too girlish. Excuse me if I disagree. I turned 41 today and still love my long hair. Look at my recent picture taken last week. I hope I am ageing graciously like vintage wine. The long hair suits me, it doesn’t turn me to a girlish middle age woman, does it? Ah, the heck with that term. Age is just a number. By the way, you would have loved the dress as do I. Alas, it is to short to my liking, while I believe you would not mind wearing it.
A very happy 20th birthday to you Yoyen. You will find peace and balance which you are searching for. Only not now. You will find it after a worthwhile journey of 10 years ahead from now.
This letter is written for myself (Yoyen is my nickname) when I was 20 years old. A moment of reflection from myself at my 41st birthday today.