I still had a vivid memory of the New Year 2000 when people called it “The Millennium Year”. It was 21 years ago! The year was called the Dragon year and it was super special. All the people crowding the road shouted Happy Millenium Year! Happy Dragon Year! My family and I was going around the town brought trumpets and horns. People dressed in silver. The year was fantastic because we finally write 20 at the beginning of the year instead of 19 and I recalled it was the first time I didn’t forget that it was the new year. One day in September, I planned a great idea of making a birthday card to my dad with dragon caricature in front of it. I thought about it, I dreamed about it and I drew it. On my dad’s birthday, I gave to him only to get a shrug on his shoulder and he asked “What’s this? Why did you draw so ugly like this?”. I was so young to get my heart broken by my dad. That day I promised to myself to not give any gift to my dad ever.

This paper toy is not mine, I got it from a cafe. It was cute for me. However, some people might not appreciate it the way I do.

My dad was a super talented artist. He drew passionately, carved wholeheartedly, and crafted story breathtakingly. One day, he was so intrigued by a famous novel “Anak Bajang Menggiring Angin” (Anak Bajang Herding the Wind). The novel was a Javanese version of Ramayana. Anak Bajang were ugly unborn children. To capture the poetic part of Anak Bajang, here is the quote (which I translated myself).

The ocean waves wanted to swallow the children, but with their ship of death, Anak Bajang swam in the sea of the lives.

Anak Bajang Herding the Wind- Sindhunata, 1981

My dad carved the Anak Bajang and it seemed alive until someone saw the statue actually moving. My dad was scared and sold the magnificent statue. Instead of following his dream of becoming an artist, he never made any arts anymore and worked as a civil servant who has a regular paycheck. Sometimes, you don’t have to follow your dream for the sake of your family.

Contrary to my father, as a kid I was quite a dreamer. I was often found in library, immersing myself in a book and let myself lost in it. There was a pseudoscience test in the school that became a hip back then in early 2000s. The test was about the left or right brainer we are. I got 90 points or something for my right brain and the “psychologist” told my mom that it was a struggle for me to accept reality. My mom was worried that I couldn’t live in reality so that she scolded me when I wrote something after I read novels or story. “Why do you keep writing? It’s useless!”, she complained one day. I never wrote again at home. That was why, blog is quite an escape for me.

I made several blogs and I often use alias names. It was scary for me to show who I really was. I started this blog when I was a bit sure of myself. There was a time when I shared a poem in other blog I made to my friend who was in an abusive relationship like I was. She cried while reading my poem. She said that she felt how painful my relationship was and she could see how the abuse from her then relationship hurt her. My poem helped her to make a decision for her relationship. She broke up with the partner and that was why I felt a bit sure of myself, that somehow my writing helps people in one way and another. I also noticed that my students love my drawings. My drawing is not so pretty but they think it’s cute. One of my students saw me drawing manga-style picture and they went “Whoaaa Miss! You are a great mangaka!”. I said no, I’m still an English teacher. Somehow, eventhough my parents or teachers often disapproved my drawings, my students seemed to like it. Despite the quirkiness of my drawing, I can help them to enjoy drawing while teaching English.

One story that I can relate the most and it’s still a moving story for me is a Greek mythology about Chiron. Chiron was a son of Kronos (Saturn in Roman) and a Centaur who was unlike other Centaurs. Other Centaurs were violent and savage, yet Chiron was just and wise. He taught knowledge, shared wisdom, and healed others. He was also the teacher of Heracles, Achilles, Jason, and Asclepius. Since he was Kronos’ offspring, he was immortal. One day, Heracles accidentally shot him with a poisonous arrow and he got hurt so bad that he gave up his immortality. He was unable to heal himself. He was then put among the stars of constellation Centaurus.

Sometimes, we are the Chiron who got hurt from others and never fully recovered from it. Trauma didn’t make us a superhero. We got scared, anxious, and refrained ourselves from contacting other people. That’s a natural reaction of getting trauma. However, through our pain, sometimes we can heal people just like Chiron.

Last year, I said to myself that I want my inner child got healed from the pain of rejection she got 20 years ago. I said to myself that I didn’t break any promise that I made for myself. It was just a celebration for me that I was able to survive although the rejection hurt me. I asked my dad what was he wanted for his birthday and gave him a present for the first time. Like a Chiron, I gave up the immortality of my painful experience and helped my inner child heals. She might not fully recover but her dreams of drawing and writing are now put among the stars. I let the dream to shine brightly.

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