A journey to remember

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I’m not ashamed of the fact that I occasionally visit psychologist just to consult about my everyday life. I know that I’m not the most miserable person on earth, but it doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a professional’s help on my problems.

One thing I like the most about my sessions with psychologists is that they often challenge traditional paradigms that lead me to think outside the box. Here are my most favorite quotes I got from my psychologists:

  1. “You have to know the reason why you fall for him, otherwise, you won’t have any good reasons to hold on when life gets rough between you two.” I find it’s so true in so many ways! This advice fits better in reality rather than “I love him for no reason” as we often heard from a fairytale. It’s always good to do some reality check and ask ourselves, “Is it worth fighting for?”
  2. “Dating at this age is no longer about getting through the thick and thin together. Every individual should be responsible for their own problem instead of dragging the other one into their personal problem.” I know it might not sound ideal, but again, it’s always good to do a reality check! It’s not a healthy relationship if you have to fix your loved one’s problems over and over again. Both people in a relationship should have a strong will to change and help themselves; and
  3. “Negative thoughts towards anything new after an incident is actually a good thing. It means you learn something from your past mistake and you choose to be more careful to prevent the same thing from happening again. Give yourself some times to heal and it will eventually fade away.” It was such a relief for me to hear that!

I’ve come to learn that what we often heard among the society is not always the perfect fit. We’re only human and angelic advice is not always working well due our imperfections as a human. This is a real life after all, not a fairytale! Try to get real and feel the different!

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I can’t stay forever mad with the people I used to care about. It can take a year, or maybe, it can take a decade, but I will eventually forgive them for what went wrong back in the past. Be it in personal or work relationship, no matter how bad it was, somehow I always found my way to have them back in my life. It might not be as close as we once were, but at least, they are not my forever enemy.

Why would I want to do that? Because they used to mean a lot to me and whatever they did wrong could never change the good memories that we used to have.

For starter, at some point, I always manage to be friends with my ex crush. Yes, they broke my heart, but in most cases, I used to broke their hearts too. It’s actually my loss if I decided to get rid of the beautiful memories I used to share with them. I would never forget the way they made me smile, the butterflies in my belly, and all the little things they did to comfort me, and most importantly, to make me feel loved. Once I fall in love with somebody, they will be forever mean something to me. I may never feel the same way again, but they will never be a stranger and I will always have a tiny place for them inside my heart. Once in my lifetime, they were my fairy tale, and they will always be my favorite stories to tell to my grandkids.

I will also stop hating the bosses who made me want to leave the companies I used to work at (I’m not saying I hate all my former bosses though). Back to the times I worked with them, each and everyone of them had contribution to my career development. They challenged me, they gave me opportunities I was unsure if I was capable of, and of course, they rewarded me even more than I thought I deserved sometimes. I am not who I am without my former bosses, and I’m thankful for that.

And finally, sooner or later, I will forgive ex best friends who betrayed me. I used to hope I could grow old with them, as people always say; best friends forever. Seeing my hopes were torn apart couldn’t be more heartbreaking to me. I’m already used to have envy people trying to ruin my happiness, but I never expect to watch my best friends doing the same thing to me. But still, there were some reasons why I called them my best friends. They helped me in the lowest points of my life, they woke up in the middle of the nights just to hear about my bad days, they were once the people I chose to be my family.

I’ve come to learn that my Mr. Wrongs were actually learning to become a Mr. Right (even if it’s most likely for someone else but me). They had to make those mistakes so that they knew what they should do to become a better man.

My horrible bosses were not pure evils or whatsoever. The crazy pressures they had were just beyond their capacities as human back then. If they are good enough, someday they’ll come around and they’ll eventually learn how to become a better leader for their teams.

Finally my former best friends… from all people in this world, I know better how kind and how good they actually could become. Hard times in life changed them, yet whatever their pain and struggle was, I sincerely hope they will soon find a light at the end of the tunnel. And if they will ever find themselves guilty, more important than my forgiveness to them is actually their forgiveness to themselves. That way, they will learn how to stay kind even when this life gets rough.

Again, this total forgiveness may take ages for me to get there. It’s not the forgiveness itself that is hard to be done; it’s to forget the way they once made me feel. Not to mention how hard it is to heal a broken trust. It’s definitely not easy, but doable.

Everyone makes mistakes, and so do I. And at the same time, everyone needs time to heal, and so do I.

Many years ago, I had a colleague and also a good friend who was well known for her kindness. She was very generous, friendly, compassionate, and cheerful. It was all the reasons why I was so comfort to be close to her.

And then someday, we had a big problem at work. She did a terrible mistake that could jeopardize her career. I had no heart to let her down, not after all the hard works she had put into. Not to mention that my team’s mistake was my mistake too. So there I took the bullet. I was very sure that I would be able to handle it way better than her. She would be devastated if she had to pay for her mistakes herself, she wouldn’t be able to cope with it.

I was right that I would be just fine. It was hurtful to me too, but I was fine. But then just a little while after that, somebody came to my desk and brought up that old issue to me and my colleague I protected. As usual, my colleague became pale everytime somebody questioned that one problem she created. I could see a strong fear on her face. So there I fought for her, again, until that other person gave up and walked away.

After that other person left the room, this girl I was fighting for surprisingly told me this, “If I were him (that other person who just left the room), I would also do the same.” She said it as if it was my fault to stand up for her! What was even worse, she started to try so hard to make friends with the people who attacked me for her mistakes. Maybe, she was just trying to be nice like she always did, but really? Didn’t she realize what she did only made me look like I was the bad guy?

As she left me to take care of the mess she made all by myself, I finally realized this girl might be kind, but she was not loyal to anyone. She always wanted to play safe, she would never take anyone’s side no matter how much she owed them, and now if I think about it again, her kindness was actually a shield to protect her interest. She tried so hard to be likeable so that she would always be protected.

Learning from my past experience with this one former friend, I started to be able to recognize similar traits on the people around me.

In the beginning, they look like a pure angel. They are kind, always help others, always see the very best of everyone, and they barely speak anything ugly about anyone else. They always try to look for the bright side of everything and sometimes, it can make us feel like they take side of the strangers rather than our side. With that being said, their kindness will make us choose to ignore that feeling thinking that maybe, they only try to help us to see everything positively.

They look perfect, until this life starts to get rough and they start to reveal their true colors.

This kind of person will never fight back. Never ever hope they will try to protect you because they won’t ever risk themselves for someone else. Instead, they will hide behind someone else’s back looking for protection. And then they will just stay quiet and watch the battle from their safe place until it ends.

They are kind, but not kind enough to stand up for us. Not helpful enough to support us when we need it most. It’s all merely because they refuse to fight their very own fear. They know they can help, but they prefer to stand still or even to run away. And they do not hesitate to make friends with enemies just to protect themselves. They do not hesitate to leave us bleed alone in the battlefield either.

It takes times to learn someone else’s true color. I might sound cynical, but it’s now hard for me to trust someone who seems too kind to be true. Someone who is averagely kind is often better than someone who seems overly kind. I’d rather be careful with the people who try too hard to please me in our first met. Maybe, they only need to use me as their shield. A shield they will leave behind anytime I’m no longer favorable to them.

Being kind is not about giving out some delicious snacks for everyone, telling good jokes to make people laugh, nor about asking how someone else’s weekend was going; it’s about doing the right things even when it’s no longer easy to do it right. And a good person will definitely take sides and give a full support anytime it’s necessary. A real good person doesn’t run and hide to play safe, let alone betraying the one who takes the hit for them.

I’ve come to learn that a real angel doesn’t always look like an angel. They might not always put a pretty smile on their faces, they don’t always try to please everyone they meet, and they don’t always do the sweet talk and baby nearly everyone they know. As always being said, don’t judge a book by its cover, you’ll never know how your judgment could do you wrong.

Did you know? Real love is tough. It’s not always pretty. It even looks ugly, sometimes. It doesn’t always please you, it doesn’t always make you feel completely happy, it’s a bumpy road, it’s definitely not as easy as a fairy tale.

Someone who loves you, cares about you, will tell you the truth. An ugly truth, perhaps. It’s not because they don’t love you anymore, it’s just because they want what’s best for you and your life. And when they truly care about you, they tell that truth right in front of you. They won’t backstab you, they will always be bold enough to be honest with you.

Someone who cares about you will not make everything always easy for you. They want you to earn it. They don’t want to spoil you the whole times because they don’t want you to be irresponsible with your own life. They want you to grow up as a person inside.

Someone who sincerely loves you will never give up on you. They will do everything in their power to keep you in their life, and it includes all the fights that have made you feel uncomfortable with the relationship itself. If they just let it fall apart, it simply means they just don’t want to waste their precious times on you.

This theory is one theory that I believe is always right. Be it romantic relationship, friendship, and families. If they care about you, they will take a risk to tell you the truth, and they will take an extra miles just to help you to become a better person than you were yesterday.

Again I tell you here, if your lover never pisses you off, most likely, you haven’t dated them long enough. If your friends only tell all the right things that make you happy, you guys aren’t close enough. And if your parents have stopped lecturing you, then most likely, they have finally given up on you.

Believe me, real love is tough. Nobody is perfect and neither are you, and the people who love you the most are the people who will tell you your imperfections a lot more often than everyone else. If you keep hating them for telling you the truth, you are preventing yourself from being loved. What’s even worse, you’re preventing yourself from being a lovable person who gets better from times to times.

Find someone who is bold enough, who cares enough, to tell you the truth and to fight for that truth, for you.

Last week, I posted an Instagram ad for 7 days period. It was the sixth ad I posted on Instagram and it was the first one got rejected. It was really confusing to me. That ad had been previously approved and I received many clicks for 2 or 3 days until it was suddenly disapproved. The content in that rejected ad was pretty much the same with 5 others prior ads I posted; the major difference was the targeted audience (it was the first time I aimed Instagram users outside Indonesia).

There was a note on my Instagram apps saying that my ad was not approved because the destination URL was not viewable or functioning properly.

There I wondered what they referred as “destination URL”. When I created my ads (six of them), the destinations were always my Instagram business profile. If they said the destination URL was not functioning properly, didn’t it mean they had a problem with their own web?

I decided to click “appeal” button and I told them my confusion as my ad was actually linked to Instagram profile and not to any other website. I also asked them when they stopped my ad and how much I would pay for that rejected ad.

Six hours later, I received a reply from Facebook team. Initially I thought, “Wow, given their huge size, their response is very fast!”

But did you know what their answer was? They were simply repeating the rejection reason that I already read 6 hours earlier in their rejection note! It was a total copy-paste from A to Z. At the end, they added one sentence saying that I should edit my URL and that’s that! They didn’t even answer my question on when they stopped it and the amount they would charge to my account. It was fast, but not helpful at all.

I sent another reply telling them that they didn’t answer any single question I asked. Then I rephrased my question to make myself clear, “Which destination URL that you referred to?” I also repeated my question about my ad period and fee. I even asked them to read my questions and answer them accordingly.

Did you know what happen after that? They sent me another robotic answer! None of my question was answered (again!).

I was really upset at that point. Their customer service’s replies were even more disappointing than the rejected ad itself. Maybe I did something wrong with my sixth ad, but how could I learn from my mistake if I didn’t even know what I did wrong? It’s their job to tell me which part was actually going wrong! I know they are busy with many other inquiries, but it shouldn’t be an excuse notably because this ad I posted was not free.

I finally realized what I did wrong with my sixth ad after three times of trial-error (I edited, posted, got rejected, edited again until it was finally approved) but it doesn’t change my opinion on Facebook team’s performance. Was that really what they wanted? Asking the customers to go figuring out by themselves? The way I see it, if I gave them 3 questions, then they are liable to also give me 3 real answers that I need.

After I managed to fix my ad, this Facebook team’s behavior reminded me of myself. I received hundreds of registration e-mails in a week and I had prepared dozens of templates to reply the applicants depends on their e-mail contents. I began to worry that I also did what Facebook team did: answering people’s questions using a fixed template!

I rushed to my sent items folder and I checked every single e-mail I’ve ever sent to make sure that I have answered any question addressed to me in users’ applications. I was so relieved knowing that I always completed my standardized answers with additional answers to my customers’ additional questions!

At the end of the day, this ad problem with Instagram has been my first lesson on customer service department in my own start-up: it’s not only about how fast you can reply and close the ticket, but also how helpful your replies to the customers are.

Usually, I’m not that kind of person who takes the work problems to sleep at night. Whatever happens in the office, stays in the office. Yes, I complain about situations at work sometimes, but that’s that. I can still sleep tight at night as if nothing happened the days before.

With that being said, running my own business is completely different to me. I feel scared, I feel okay, but then I feel scared again. I always have a new reason to feel scared about my very own big dream.

What if nobody wants to buy from my web?

What if I’m running out of money?

What if it’s not going to be as good as I want it to be?

What if I fail miserably?

What if it’s only going to be a setback in my career?

I still remember how shocked I was knowing that a friend of mine decided to quit from his own start-up. Not only I was shocked for him as his friend, but also I was shocked for myself. What if the same thing happens to me? Will I be okay with that?

My whole life, I never really experience a big failure in my career. There were ups and downs, but never a real big disaster. What if the company I own become the first big career failure in my entire life?

Career is something that I’m always proud of, and the thought that my own business might ruin that pride totally scares myself. I often sit alone and make some back-up plans on my head just to make sure that at least, I have surviving plans for my future.

I always wanted to write this post on my blog but I kept cancelling the drafts. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my fear, it’s just that I can’t seem to close this writing with something good. I wish I could tell you guys how I had conquered my fears, but that’s just not the truth. For the first time in my life, I take my work problems to the bed at night.

I guess the lesson I’ve learned is that sometimes, you just need to live with your own fear. I’ve come to think that trying hard to get rid of my fear is just a waste of times. Rather than trying to figure out how to not be afraid, I’d better try to figure out how to develop my business. Figure out how I can monetize my website so that I can earn an living with it. And of course, figure out the things I should do for my start-up so that I won’t fail miserably.

I may not have some kind of tips and tricks to get rid of my fear, but at least, I can tell you this one very important principle in life: never ever let your fear get in the way. As I read somewhere in my social media, “It’s always better an oops rather than a what if.”

It’s okay to wonder “what if I fail” but it’s definitely not okay to wonder “what if I tried”. Even if I fail (and I hope I won’t), at least I have tried and I have given my very best fight.

And did you know? As Kevin Caroll once said, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough.”

Bismillahirahmanirahim, may God would bless me along the way as He always does, and I hope, He always will. Amiin.

Ever since I decided to start my own business, I’ve received numerous unexpected supports from my families, colleagues, and friends.

The ones who repost my ads to their social media without being asked.

The ones who help me to find potential sellers (one of them even told me that she was willing to work with me without being paid!).

The ones who help me to get affordable spending to support my business (I managed to get special price to help me to ignite my start-up!).

The ones who voluntarily pose as the models for my website’s portfolio (they even trust us to handle their prewedding photoshoot!).

The ones who offer me financial supports, from a zero interest loan to capital funding.

And the ones who simply support me to fight my own doubts! This kind of moral support is always heartwarming to me. They keep telling me that I can go far with this business, they share the same excitement with me, they simply believe in me even a lot more than I believe in myself!

I often look back and I wonder, “What did I do so well in the past that made me deserve any of this?”

If you; all the people who help me out, read this, then let me tell you this: you guys are awesome! Even just a simple encouragement actually means a lot to me. Building a start-up is hard, and you guys have really made it feel easier for me to go down this road. It’s going to be harder and harder, but thanks to all of you, I finally believe that someday, it can be sooner or later, I’ll eventually get there (insyaallah and amiin to this!).

There are some moments when I nearly lost my faith in humanity, but then I have this one moment that makes me believe that good people do still exist. Alhamdulillah 🙂


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I used to read a quote written by my former lecture saying that even a bad decision would always be much better than no decision at all. It reminded me of the decisions I put on hold and I asked myself, “What prevents me from making all those decisions?” I could instantly listed down many personal reasons that didn’t even sound good to myself. So there I made a couple of decisions; the good ones and the bad ones, and apparently it was so true: even bad decision was still better than no decision at all. First of all, it helped me to move on. I no longer waited for this and that; I made decisions and I started to make the actions. It also gave me a peace of mind knowing that I owed nothing to anyone, not even to myself. And most importantly, all those decisions made me learn, notably the bad ones. It’s not that I intentionally made a bad one, but well, how did I know my decision was bad until I gave it a try? Ever since the day I decided to stop putting my decisions on hold, my life felt a lot lighter and I have never been more proud of myself. Other people might not be happy with my decisions, but I only do what I’ve got to do and they can’t blame me for having courage to do the things they’re not willing to do. If it holds me back and nobody wants to make the call, then let me do the honor. It’s actually that simple, and again, it sets me free.
My biggest career goal is always running my own business. I have been an entrepreneur even since I was a seven years old. I was never hesitate everytime I saw an opportunity to earn some cash to buy toys and comic books. Graduating from college and starting my first corporate job has stopped me from doing my own business. I was too busy to do something else beside my main job. I tried to run a small jewelry business but then I got bored. I came to learn that if I want to start a business, I have to do something bigger. But of course, a bigger scale own business will also require a bigger effort! The comfort of corporate job made me decide to postpone starting a new business until at some point, it was no longer comforting to me. I still remember one night I went home feeling extremely upset with my boss and I just told myself, “I can’t do this forever. I can do much better than working for a jerk.” Right at that moment, I decided to start my biggest dream: starting my own business. Not so long after that, @thelenstory was born.
There is this one little secret about @thelenstory. There was one particular guy who made me fall deeper with photography. He was so talented he could make an old dirty lamp look beautifully glow in his pictures. I still remember that day on a boat, he took pictures of me and he smiled behind his lens. That kind of smile that made me feel the prettiest girl on earth. I didn’t know why but I just loved seeing this guy holding his camera. I even still loved it when he took pictures of me with his grumpy face! At the end of the day, The Lens Story is way more than just a girl who fell in love. The ups and downs, and all lifetime savings that I’ve spent have been the greatest leap of faith I’ve ever taken in my entire life. That one guy from my past was just a starting point. He was my inspiration, he made me believe that there were many hidden talents like him out there and I would be more than happy to help them start their professional career in photography. That was the very beginning story on how my start-up was born, and to me, that will always be one of my favorite stories to tell.

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About Me

What my blog is all about? It's all about my life; my very own fairy tale, that I would love to share. This is my story, my ups and downs, it's a journey to remember.

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