I am still her.

An almost four year old girl with short hair, petite body with big tummy. Discriminated by the blood of my blood. Did not understand why my own flesh and blood would visibly show their distaste whenever they saw me. Thought that alienation and mockery were normal form of familial affection.

An awkward gangly tiny five year old girl in yellow dress on her first year of school in an unfamiliar metropolitan city. Everything felt different, cold, calculating, and hostile towards her naive mind. Apparently, chaotic concrete jungle was not made for her.

A chubby-cheek seven year old girl whose hand already learned how to write suicide note. Someone who was ridiculed, made fun of, teased, and taunted for being different. Something that stood out like a sore thumb in the middle of Jakarta born-and-bred children. Someone whose mental health was gnawed upon everyday for her six years experience in elementary school.

A constantly-infuriated eleven year old girl who just learned she finally had the ability to breed. With her temper, zero identity, selected friends, and body that was made up of unacceptable fat and hideous face, she did not know how to fit in. Her favourite pastime was hiding out in a little room in her grandmother house.

A destructive thirteen year old girl who constantly fought her parents for not understanding her —when she in fact did not understand anything about herself. Her best weapon in concealing her emotions was by barking out cruel and harsh words, and pushing people away. Her sense of entitlement was built up during this period.

A clueless fourteen year old girl who only knew how to escape her life through fiction, fanfiction, and going on vacations to little town three hours away. Her first and only instinct was to flight instead of fight. She would prefer to run away from everyone and everything that she thought could not understand or love her.

A sixteen year old girl who felt empty inside. Someone who was feeling down all the time because she felt like something was missing in her life. That someone had abandoned her. Someone that, after almost ten years later, she realized was herself.

An eighteen year old girl who was adjusting to a life in the closest thing she had to elsewhere. She felt alive when she was away, being accepted in a city that was holding the world's biggest sports competition. Meeting her favourite actor was the highlight of her life until then. She received proper kindness from strangers by being herself. Judgement and opinions could not touch her.

A twenty one year old girl who accumulated three and half years worth of experiences that included crying alone while driving her car under heavy rain, pushing people away under the guise of depression, spending a day not eating, spending all day binging on movies and tv series, stressing herself out and contracting GERD, finishing her undergrad thesis with the support of various people in her life, getting out of toxic friendships, and having a different kind of loneliness.

A twenty three year old girl who got her first kiss from someone she really liked and ended up writing a whole book about her experience in trying to be romanced by him. Her first encounter with proper romance ended up with her feeling a different kind of loneliness that other people came across with.

A twenty five year old girl who properly fell in love with someone who she feels like she has loved a thousand lifetimes before. Someone who is both familiar and foreign at the same time. Someone who could fight off her demons. But someone she let down over and over again because apparently she is incapable of showing someone that she truly loves him. All she knows about loving someone inadvertently hurt the people that she loves. What she thought she knew about love has always been far off from what they need from her. She never thought it was possible to be more useless than what she thought she knew. She thought she should have gone a la Cecilia Lisbon instead.

I am still her. Feeling not enough and too much at the same time.