Entry Five: The Art of Getting By

At Eternity’s Gate/The Sorrowing Old Man by Vincent Van Gogh

Let me begin this entry with, a hello.


hi, it’s nice to greet you again. I also want to say sorry to you, to this platform and to myself. Many months ago when i decided to start a medium I made a promise that this would be a media for me to jot down everything i want as a therapy, a coping mechanism in which i believe as a more effective way to say what stress me out through tangible words. As you may notice (or not) i have been abandoning this site for nearly two months. Although i keep writing in the mean time (a frantic-stress writing pieces, i’d like to call them that way) but it never feels right. When i write for myself, there’s something rudiment, something scarcely whole. Like I’ve been hiding in the shadow.

In those gap months of hiding in absence, many things had happened. I’ve talked before about how i fell into dark episodes of my mental breakdowns. At this point of life after that, I’ve been living my life so, so careful. Too careful even. It’s like walking on the bridge of fragile thin glass. Every step i make, i tiptoe-walk so the glass won’t break and shatter into dust. There is this massive fear (if not anxiety) that blow me while i’m trying to loosely creep up without grip (but more on that later on another writing entry)

I recently learned the word Get By. Which apparently translated to Indonesia as Melalui (To Cope/To survive). One night in a conversation with dear friend, we talked about how our lives lead to no permanent destination. How we live just to get by things. He, after a brief moment of silence and a few sips of coffee, said that, whether you walk through the storm or to just wait for it to pass, we’re all getting it by. In its sense, it’s an art. He said it between nonchalant jokes but little did he know that i keep thinking about it for so many night afterwards. First of all, In what world miseries are art? To me, art is enjoyable. Life’s miseries are not. The struggle we went through however heroic and compelling, were never beautiful like the way art supposed to look.

I accidentally stumbled upon Jake Gyllenhaal’s old interview when he promoted his movie Velvet Buzzsaw (the movie sucks btw. Sorry, Jake) in which he said that his father always taught him that art should be able to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I tried to approach things with what he said on that interview too, and no it didn’t work. I don’t find miseries comforting solely because the disruption leads to many interpretations of meaning, and so like any meaningful things, it will eventually make people wiser. Let’s just say that i’m simply not a silver lining taker. Matter of fact, i hate Silver Lining. I don’t believe i could take out something meaningful from my mental health’s downfall, nor i thought i can enjoy the ride in the hope that it will somehow mature me.

But i think it through lately, i keep trying to see it from different views, was i wrong to think that society has normalized, even aggrandized this rough life (to be fair, the context refers to whatever it is people keep mistaken as a struggle to get where they need to. Exhibit A: I remember what my dad said to me when I told him how mentally drained and physically tired i was to get through things. To which my father replied with something along the lines of “i used to have it worse and it made me who i am today” as if he was tougher and invincible from it)

Put it this way, people wear them as if it was a badge of honor because they’ve made it, or living with it. All i could see is, people are so proud that they are the war heroes, once fought in a battle field albeit come home in a body bag, or a casket. Is that all the art of getting by people keep throwing to sugarcoat the bitter truth? Or life’s obstacles are truly something else i can’t view because i have not yet used the right binocular to see it?

But on the other hand, being proud of what we’ve come through is a must. Celebrated, if needed. Then again, back to the start of this writing piece, if writing all these times had been my way of coping, my way of surviving, does this mean i disrespect my own writing given the fact that i write a lot about my pain and struggles?

At Eternity’s Gate (2018) — dir. Julian Schnabel

But upon writing that question above i finally had my own answer (and it’s quite brief and simple) :

I did view it wrong. I’m blind to the fact the what I’ve been through (those miseries and hardships) and the way i through them are two different things. The art lies on the many ways we get through it: the tools, the strategies, how we come up with an idea of holding on to something or tiptoe walking so that we can cross a fragile thin glass bridge without breaking it. My friend had it right. To walk through the storm or to wait it pass, those wit and resourcefulness to trick the storm are what we should called art. And yes, i also wrong about few things about art, it doesn’t have to be beautiful or meaningful but as long as it comes from within mind and heart, it is art. So does the will to survive.

It’s 3am from where i am writing this right now. But I sincerely hope you understand the gibberish i just wrote down to you. I can’t promise i will write to you very soon although i’m trying real hard this time. But until then,

Stay safe and sane.





a tiny bug dangling over the lamp dreaming of becoming wordsmith. Inq📩 sekarlintanghapsar@gmail.com

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a tiny bug dangling over the lamp dreaming of becoming wordsmith. Inq📩 sekarlintanghapsar@gmail.com

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