Why do we fall?

Prologue

“Why do we fall, sir?”-Alfred, Batman Begins (2005). Yeah, why? It has been a while since I last wrote a post, eh? I agree. It’s time to start things again, before 2016 ends. So, first of all, I want to open this prologue with a statement. Almost everytime when I went back to Jakarta, something bad happened. It could be anything, such as insomnia, random sickness, nausea, and many others. Those bad things depend on the weather. When I’m talking about weather, I’m talking about two kinds of weather. First is the environmental weather, the second is… social weather. When I had bad encounter with social weather in Jakarta, one of the bad things most likely happened too. I mean, I already hate Jakarta for what it is. When there are things that make it worse, my mind will go crazy… and that’s when those bad things happen.


Body

I came back to this freaking absurd city on Friday, December 23rd, since it was a long weekend until Monday. That day was fine. My travel set off from Bandung at 5.15PM. The travel time itself was pretty… long. I arrived at 9.15PM. My father, on his way home too from work, picked me up at the pool. That night, I read a lot of things regarding web technologies. It was fun. The next day, which is today, I woke up pretty late, around 8AM. I wasn’t having the best sleep. It also happened, every single freaking time. I could never have a proper sleep in Jakarta since I started living in Bandung. Although the bed quality in Jakarta is way more better than I have in my dorm, I feel like, I am more convenient living there. I just don’t feel my home is my home… anymore. Well, today, it couldn’t be worse than I could imagine.

Since my 3rd year of study, web development had become my main interest. I started slow, with just HTML and some basic CSS. I even got rejected two times when I applied for an internship in two companies. Third time’s a charm, I got my internship in June-July 2015 as a front-end web developer. However, I didn’t really enjoy my actual work because it all revolved around WordPress. I couldn’t really develop my web development skills, especially in front-end since usually, WordPress projects come with a theme, not the one built from scratch. In the process, however, I made some few designs as well. At that time, I wasn’t the most creative person in the world. Not even near. I rarely read articles related good interfaces and such, unlike now. Now, I am always eager to read things like web performance, web technologies, user interface, and user experience. They really help, because when I develop something, eventually these knowledge will be useful and will be implemented consciously or subconsciously.

My fourth year. My thesis… at first, I wanted to make the “design”-thingy, but a friend of mine who chose the same topic took it first. So, my supervisor told me to find another option. And this option, must be implemented on an existing online course application, such as Moodle/Sakai. Yes, another CMS. I took it with the theme “essay grader”. I, for one, who hated Artificial Intelligence subject back then, chose the essay grader theme, which would need a lot of knowledge about Natural Language Processing. I didn’t even know about that back then. I thought it could be as simple as using a library then I would integrate it to the Moodle. Turned out, it wasn’t. That aside, in the process, I did a lot of web-things, too. I made a web for a National Indoor Archery Tournament “Ganesha Open 2015”. It was my first web opened to public. IT WAS SO BAD. Yes. I had no sense of artistic. I only used what I knew. HTML, CSS, Bootstrap. The interface was bad, no Javascript interactivity, and… yeah. In a nutshell, I will just call it bad. I’ll rate it 1 from 5. Time passed, onto my 8th semester. I screwed up my post-internship report and my college internship supervisor was kinda mad at me, because I didn’t contact her during the 7th semester at all. It was my fault. That happened, I was really afraid I couldn’t graduate this year. My thesis progress was slow and needed to do another internship. In March and April 2016, I made two static page for giggles. One was a landing page for my DotA2 team, the other one was an analog clock for global timezone using canvas with mouse wheel events. I will rate them both 4 from 5.

Holiday approached in May. Last week in May and I was still searching for an internship. I couldn’t be more desperate. I applied for the one near my dorm in Bandung, but they didn’t reply. As I grew desperate, I tried the one in Jakarta. I hated to do it, but… for the sake of my graduation in 2016, I probably would do anything. I got contacted and came to Jakarta for an interview. The interview was similar like my last accepted internship. The quiz, was more a logical-thinking one contrary to the first two companies that rejected me. They (the first two companies) gave me a front-end specific test, which was to design something, and I sucked a lot at that time about designing. Weeks gone by, that company accepted me as an intern, but during the interview they told me that they misread my application as a full-time, not an internship. So, they offered me to do an internship, followed up by a full time job. This gave me some thinking. I didn’t want to do full time in Jakarta. There were so many things that would shackle me from doing things I liked. So, it maybe a decision I would regret soon. I thanked the person who interviewed me for his time and in further, apologized because I had wasted his precious time. Five days before May ended. Suddenly, out of nowhere, there was an email in my informatics assemblage mailing list about an internship for a front-end developer. AND IT WAS IN BANDUNG. It was located 4 kilometers from my dorm and I was able to reach it 20-30 minutes using public transportation. I sent my CV to them and they contacted me for an interview. I came to the interview. There was no test and I was like, “What?” I just got accepted just like that. I don’t know whether the interviewer believed in me or the company was currently in desperate need of a front-end engineer. I took the internship. It was good for me, because I needed to discuss with my thesis supervisor regarding my progress.

During the internship, I was accompanied by another intern, which is my junior, 2 years younger than me. I took the HTML and CSS things and he took the Javascript things. I really liked the work environment there because people were so friendly, regardless the fact that I was only an intern there. My thesis progressed steadily and my internship work also finished smoothly. My knowledge increased a lot in CSS and Javascript things. Two months had passed. I finished my internship in July 22nd. A day before it, my mentor told me about continuing my work there. I said I would consider it. This might be out of context but I was kinda touched by the farewell session. And so was over my internship. I only needed to finish the report, do a seminar related to my internship, and then… finish my thesis. I actually came back to the company on Tuesday to get my “company score”. It was some kind of paper from my faculty to the company to rate the work quality of an intern. The CTO (the one who filled that paper), told me the same thing like my mentor did, about considering to continue my work there. Again, I couldn’t decide it this fast. I needed to consider a lot of things. I needed to talk to my parents, and moreover, I should be more confident than ever to do a part-time job during the soon-thesis-defense.

I was like, “YOLO LET’S TAKE IT”. And so it happened. I took the part time job in the midst of my hectic thesis progress. Suicidal? Maybe. I also thought about it in the middle of that “journey”. It looked like a fairy tale story, but it did happen. I finished my internship report, internship seminar, and thesis defense in the range of 10 days in September. I was relieved more than ever. I only needed to address the administration requirement for my graduation later on October 22nd. Wouldn’t speak about my graduation. I was happy that day but sad at the same time. It was a story for another time. I began to go to office regularly after the graduation (and a little ‘vacation’ to Bali to attend ICoDSE). I felt like things couldn’t be much better. My knowledge increased every day, because it is the culture in the software engineering team to ‘read’ things everyday. When it comes to ‘things’ term, it is not always a ‘text book’, but it could be an ‘article’ or a forum discussion. My work, mostly consists of internal websites, but there were some external websites as well (or at least, soon to be external). That being said, I put all my heart, mind, and energy when it comes to develop front-end things, whether it is for internal or external.

Back to the original story. Someone smacked onto my face by saying, “You were not doing anything”. Then that person compared my work to other big things like Google. Completely laughable. At the same time, I was actually heartbroken. Did that person just said… I did nothing? I took that as an outright offense. Of all the toxic attitudes out there, I would classify that sentence as arrogant, disrespectful, and not appreciative. It was just the same as “my heart, mind, and soul did nothing”. This evening, I fell into a darkness I might have never fell before. My mind was whispering despair and my soul was whispering sadness. I felt like I had no reason to live… anymore.

“Why should you live when your efforts are in vain?”

“God will never help you. If He helps you, that person wouldn’t be talking like that. So, why keep hanging on your religion?”

“Maybe you should just run away from home, change your phone and SIM card, so you can start fresh.”

“That person is Islam. You are Islam. Why do you even be a Muslim if you are being ‘stomped’ by the person who has the same belief? Doesn’t Quran tell people to cherish other people and The Prophet told his followers to talk nice or shut up? Maybe you should just be an atheist and show how that person should actually act.”

“Let go of your current job. It’s useless. It’s nothing. Why work hard for something that will produce nothing?”

Alone. I trapped myself beneath the blanket. Those sounds kept bugging me. I couldn’t see the light which usually shone within my heart. It was completely black. I could only hear voices. Voices of desperation and despair. I skipped Maghrib prayer (which I regret), because of those voices. At that moment, I feared I could never live like I had before. Then… I remembered something. Two days ago, I read an article about introvert’s personality and how to handle his/her despair, one of it is… self-talking. I thought to myself, “Does this voice have an opponent inside my mind?” No. It was only that voice and that voice alone. I decided to give it a go. A flashback occurred inside my mind. This morning, I ranted on Twitter and a friend of mine gave me an advice. There was a light. That light told me, “You shouldn’t let him down”. And so, I began to oppose the dark voices.

“Why should you live when your efforts are in vain?”

If I submit to you, my efforts will truly be in vain. If I don’t, I might still have a chance.

“God will never help you. If He helps you, that person wouldn’t be talking like that. So, why keep hanging on your religion?”

If God never helped me, I would have been dead by now. I must believe His salvation will come sooner or later to that person. I should help by praying more. If I surrender in despair, that salvation will never come.

“Maybe you should just run away from home, change your phone and SIM card, so you can start fresh.”

Running away from problem is just delaying the inevitable. I need to do some progress or it will never be done.

“That person is Islam. You are Islam. Why do you even be a Muslim if you are being ‘stomped’ by the person who has the same belief? Doesn’t Quran tell people to cherish other people and The Prophet told his followers to talk nice or shut up? Maybe you should just be an atheist and show how that person should actually act.”

If I become an atheist, to whom I should ask for help during my dark times?

“Let go of your current job. It’s useless. It’s nothing. Why work hard for something that will produce nothing?”

No. I remember Arsène Wenger’s quote: ‘The biggest things in life have been achieved by people who, at the start, we would have judged crazy. And yet if they had not had these crazy ideas the world would have been more stupid.’ Rome wasn’t built in a day. I must have faith.

And then, the dark voices slowly ripped apart from my mind. I could see the light again in my heart. I felt the light was purifying my soul from the dark voices’ taint. I was in control again, and still am at the moment. The method struck true. As one of the introvert’s habit is self-talking, it could also be a weapon to free ourselves from the grasp of darkness.


Epilogue

To close this what looked-like cringe story, I will continue the quote from Batman Begins in the prologue, said by Alfred. “Why do we fall, sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Absolutely epic. I have learned to pick myself up. I really hope in the future, I will have less trouble doing the same thing. Thanks for reading and I hope this post gives you inspiration! :)

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