I’m not a big fan of crowds. It took me about ten minutes to pause and think whether I should mingle around — signaling that it’d be okay for people to invite me to take photos with them — or I should be the one inviting them to take photos with me, or I should just leave the photo studio, as the actual photo shoot (for our last moments as our school’s student council members) was done. The latter seemed “productive”; I grabbed my tote bag, bumped few fists, and rather stealthily left the studio.
“What an unproductive day,” I humphed as I sat in the local coffee shop to relieve a bit of the pressure; regretting how much time I could have used to do my statistics exercise, had I not joined the whole handover ceremony and photo shoot thing.
Perhaps it wasn’t necessarily the undone statistics exercise, as I still managed to spend the most of my idle time reading my history e-book for next week’s exam (which was quite productive); rather, being in the crowds was, nonetheless, tiring, as few of you introverts might understand.
For the last few months, I had been being (more and more) cynical towards my friends’ (in particular my fellow student council members’) view about our student council organization: how the concept of viewing your colleagues as family is overwhelmingly invaluable; how solidarity, friendship, and stuff is number one, and all of those kind of things; which, at least to me, seemed overhyped.
I had always viewed the organization simply as a medium to try to understand how the “outer world” works; and one to hone some potentially useful skills along the way. Such an individualist, you might say.
And yes, I am (though perhaps in some other way than it was before). It had never occurred to me to actually feel (or even to try to feel) home here. Heck, I even hated jokes and wished people would stop pressuring this introvert being to talk (unless it’s needed); just to simply show up already requires enormous amount of effort. Even the tiniest understanding is so appreciated.
But, well, we’ve gone through these two years together. I should say I’ve managed to get my internal self completely adapt to things; although yes, I still prefer not to mingle too much if I don’t need to.
I finished my coffee and got back home.
I took the lapel pin off of my uniform’s collar. The pin was gold-ish, compared to the blue ones of those of other non-student council member students, and it’s got my name written on its back.
“Two years, eh?” as if the pin whispered to me, as I paused and stared into it. I don’t want to sound cliché, but boy, it did bring back memories:
how my friend Ezra and some others went door to door at each classroom D-Day, dragging people to participate on our first event Bulan Bahasa;
how all of us stay up until 10 PM in our friend Gerry’s place to fill up a photo frame with ‘thank-you-teacher’ message-written sticky notes for our Teacher’s Day (and oh, the fried rice was somehow so good);
how my friend Zaki seemed to be really into Rizky Febian’s “Nona” he put it on the speaker throughout the entire week of our Sports Week (Porak) Fortimentum; even, until this very moment, the tiniest part of tune immediately reminds me of myself being a ball boy when the event was on;
how I once skipped Friday prayer without guilt while I was still in the printing shop, in the middle of nowhere in Yogyakarta during Rapat Kerja II, just to edit and print AD/ART documents which weren’t even used in the end;
how I miraculously found a hidden embroidery shop to make our Gowes to Charets event winner tote bag prize just D-1 (after days going all around the town to find one) yet the shop was so good we made it just in time for the celebration ceremony;
how I was probably so hyped about (read: mistakenly checking the calendar for) the big iftar that I arrived in all the dress codes a week early;
how I was so frustrated at my team’s piling up deadlines for our Charets Open that I literally cried one night; though one might accuse me for taking too much responsibility alone and not letting others do the work (sorry my friends Najib, Yasmin, and Lalang).
and from how I once thought of signing out of the student council recruitment Pemilihan OSIS Dua; saying that I wanted to dedicate my time to be among the boy scouts (which I signed out of instead, after just a month getting into) to being our Vice President (even with all the incompetence and absence — I truly regret and beg for all of your forgiveness on behalf of OSIS LXVII Trimitra) until just today.
As I put the lapel pin down, it suddenly felt empty. I didn’t realize how big of a deal all of this were. Yet that moment, it felt real.
In the last two years, I learned a whole lot; though that would be an understatement, as even the word ‘enormous’ or something even bigger might still fail to represent how much I would have regretted, had I done the otherwise.
Indeed, most of those experiences are either funny, weird, painful, even stupid, or at the very least inspiring and all but “objectively essential or productive”.
I had past regrets being in the student council; I thought perhaps I would have made even a mightier straight-A student had I not got into this realm of “objectively inessential or unproductive” organization with all of its damned traditions.
But boy, now I know that’s not how it works. It really isn’t about the “objectively lacking of essence or unproductivity” which hold me back — it might not even be true; and even if it was, this is a goddamn high school! Not like me being a med student in Harvard or anything.
Perhaps the fun, the weirdness, the pain, the stupidity, the absurdity, and even the lack of “objective” essence and unproductivity are the way.
It’s not even about whether you’re being more of a “professional” or so into the realm of friendships or what all of you call “kekeluargaan”.
Just do your shit in your very own way for the organization; and be proud of it. It might not going to feel anything big or amazing to everyone. It might only going to be simply nostalgic. And perhaps, it is always meant to be that way. Nonetheless, you’ll be grateful for it.
Enam tujuh-tujuh belas, beres.