long story short, I survived

on welcoming 26 and saying goodbye to 25

valentina citra
5 min readJan 3, 2024
a picture I took near my home

During my 25, I survived the storm in my workplace.

I fully understand that any kind of work is always challenging. But last year was the hardest for me. The storms were like never wanted to stop—one storm after another. I remember I prayed in one empty meeting room. Probably God laughs at me because I’m not God’s most obedient worshiper.

But surprisingly, I survived. God answered my prayer right after I recited my prayer.

I survived the storm. I got a better job in a new place.

During my 25, I survived the most devastating heartbreak.

I tasted the bitterness of betrayal. I was witnessing how my heart shattered into pieces. The pain that I’ve felt throughout that time was out of depth.

The heartbreak took away half of my 2023. I spent it in sleepless nights, liters of tears, numerous bad dreams, millions of unanswered questions, a lot of self-worth questioning, kilograms of weight loss, and once-in-a-while panic attacks. I can say that the heartbreak robbed me of all the good things I should’ve experienced last year. But we’re never able to predict how long the heartbreak phase will last, right?

Here I am now; I survived. Although I never get the apology and closure I deserve, I’m still standing tall.

I survived. With a huge scar, a huge hole in my heart along with the trauma. I survived the pain that I carried along within myself and healed. But I’ve ever read that healing isn’t linear. Healing is an individual process, so yes, I’m on my healing now. I’m slowly outgrowing all of the griefs and pains.

During my 25, I survived the urge to take away my life.

Sure, the episodes sometimes come and that makes me feel like I’m not worthy of any kind of love. But my people are so loving, they love me for who I am, and do not take some distance or unfriend me just because of some chemical imbalance in my brain. Sure, sometimes I take some pills to help me stop the loudness in my head, but it comes less and less.

Maybe it is because I realized that the only thing I owe right now is my own life. Maybe because I realized that in the end I’d eventually die and I have no other choice but to continue to live — why the rush? Maybe because now I’ve found more reasons to stay alive. And maybe I just don’t want to leave my mom in confusion and grief.

I wouldn’t be able to make it this far without the love and support from my people and friends.

During my 25, I survived 4 months in Jakarta.

A new job opportunity brought me to the capital city. It’s been a constant fight for a space in TransJakarta. To breathe in the polluted air. To stuck in traffic. To commute at least one hour a day to the workplace. To feel like 24 hours isn’t enough to get everything done. To adapt to the fast-paced life of Jakarta.

Also, to leave my people behind. I had my mom crying at the train station on the day I left my hometown. To be ripped from the new chapter I’ve built after my heartbreak.

Jakarta is tough and I can say that it’s not easy to befriend this city, but I’m sure I can survive another months, even years.

During my 25, I survived a lot of things and was able to experience a lot of things; I had another solo trip, I wrote more, went to my favorite band’s concert, rode MRT for the first time, learned something new, went to art galleries, museums, and libraries more often, finally went to the gym by myself, resumed my muay thai class, and surprisingly, I’m attracted to this guy.

I think it is amazing that after my biggest heartbreak, I somehow can feel what is it like to have a crush on someone when I thought I’d never sip the taste of love anymore. It stunned me to see my heart had been molded into something new with the thought of him. Having a crush on him is a choice I made without realizing it.

It’s bewildering that despite the incredible amount of pain, loss, and grief I’ve been going through and yet, all the love I have refuses to go away and/or die. Even after he rejected me.

Yes, some of my people called me a fool and it was a mistake that I confessed to him even though the confession was unplanned. I don’t think that I’d do some kind of Lemon Law in real life.

On the first day of my 26, I was so happy since the rain was my companion to start my day. It’s been a long time since the last time I walked in the morning rain.

The next thing was I had this session with a psychologist. This wellness session from my company was nice. I got a lot of insights and I realized that it’s still a long way to untangle the tangled threads. The psychologist also congratulated me for today is the day I was born. The same thing is also done by my co-workers. They said the classic ‘happy birthday’ to me and I wish them the good things in life.

After the office, I cut my hair and treated myself to an udon. As usual, I did those all by myself. Strangely, I felt warmth despite the annual birthday blues. Do you think this is because I’m getting older?

On welcoming my 26, I resolve to survive the torments of yet another year even if it kills me. In addition and a bit of contradiction, I also pray for ease and gentleness to come.

I hope you, too, can find joy and excitement in the little things, experience the world fully, celebrate those changes and constants in your life, and find any reasons to keep you pushing through.



valentina citra

a living mayhem with wandering mind | write in ina / eng | @aleviannt_