Oh, where do I begin?

2019 has been very mindblowing to say the least. Everything was happening all at once and up to this day I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of them. I was so reluctant to leave 2018 behind, but thank God 2019 brought so many blessings that I lost count. What did I do to deserve…these?

I met the love of my life, got engaged on my 26th birthday, got accepted at residency program, and on top of it all, I got married. I never thought that getting married, being commited to someone would be “it” for me. (Again. This year’s filled with “who would’ve thought?” phrase). But deep down I know it’s meant to be. The timing, Allah’s timing, couldn’t be more perfect. It’s planned seamlessly, carefully, down to the last detail (I got goosebumps just by thinking about it).

Before being introduced to my husband (it feels so weird writing that word) my mum tried to set me up with a bunch of men. Doctor, engineer, teacher, you name it. Didn’t work out, obviously, because I was a hard shell to crack. I had to many “what if”s. But from those interaction I learned to adapt(?), to communicate with opposite sex who didn’t have the same interest as me, learned to open myself up a liiiiiiiittle bit for strangers. Learned that not all strangers were bad. Being in Madiun also helped. I was exposed with sooo many friendly people, so like it or not, I tried to be friendly too. They opened up my mind a liiittle bit more. I was also living in a house with very persuasive friends. Who loved to take me out, experience something new. They made me realize that I wasn’t that unworthy. I learned to be a liiiittle bit more confident. That’s why I always said that being in Madiun for a year has changed me.

When we first got in touch (via whatsapp) I was so sure that this would not going anywhere. Whatever “this” was. Too many awkward moment, too many oh my god I’m stuck what do I say next” episodes. But thank god for my best friends, who always came to the rescue. They went as far as replying my chats with him. Pushed me out of my comfort zone for real. Made me see with different point of view. And my sister, who, at that time, was being a much needed buffer between me and my mum.

The internship program ended, and I still wasn’t sure if he’s the one. Well. He was kind and all. But I wasn’t feeling it. Our convos were platonic and superficial. Or was it bc I still put a high barrier between us? I was still hoping that my someone would be a doctor. He was 34 and looking for a wife. He made it clear to me, couple times, that he wanted to get serious with me. But marriage wasn’t in the list of my short term plan. I wanted to take residency program, I wanted to study, wanted to see what the world had to offer. And I surely didn’t want to lose focus because of any issue that came within marriage. So I decided to end it (whatever it was). But again, he didn’t give up on me. On February his sister got married and he finally came home after months of being in military base. Then we finally talked. His laid back personality surprised me. He said yes to all my request (if I hipothetically wanted to marry him); he’s ok with me being a resident in Surabaya, with us being apart during my residency, said I didn’t have to be active in the organization (for military wife) if I didn’t have any spare time, didn’t mind that I was bad at house chores, etc etc etc. His patience!

Being jobless during that time provided me with tons of time to reaaaaally think it through. The pros and cons. I’ve consulted with many people. And they all said to never waste a man with good intention (of marrying you). In the midst of it all, the registration process for residency program started. I absentmindedly filled out the form & began preparing the documents. Yep. I decided to pursue my dream first. He was on board with this, and that surprised me too. I thought he’d forced (or maybe persuade) me to live in Jakarta / to pick another university closer to him. “Do whatever makes you happy and comfortable, I will do nothing but support you,” he said. I should’ve been over the moon, but my neurotic head wouldn’t stop spinning. Now I know why it never worked out with anybody else. No one knew how to handle me like he did. My anxiety drove everyone crazy. But not him. He’s just like a big calming wave that was ready to engulf you with its warmth, the water felt nice and familiar. He absorbed all your fear and worry. And just like wave, there’s literally no way out of this man. He’s one persistant man. I was so afraid of falling into something new. It looked pretty and appealling but I was so afraid of letting someone love me.

In the end of February he brought his parents over to talk, and formally ask my dad for my hand in marriage. My parents were thrilled. It was decided that the wedding would be held some time next year (per my request. God, I need time to breathe). I started to open myself up a bit more. Our conversations have improved and I discovered some sides of him that I never knew before. He also went all out in expressing his feelings, something I used to loathe but later admire. And I grew fonder of him. I also spent some time visiting his work place in Bogor. He showed me around and I finally caught a glimpse of what he did for work. Again, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I was jobless & waiting for the entrance exam around April. Its as if God provided me with time to get closer and get to know him first. I was also blessed with the presence of my niece. I learned a thing or two about taking care of newborn and what to expect in motherhood. It didn’t ease my anxiety, but at least I’ve kinda sorta experienced it. And that’s a big deal for an anxious person like me.

The entrance exam went smoothly and he gave me his fullest support. In the interview sessions we often got asked about our future place of work. Some of my friends have had definite place to come back to (they were on full scholarship from local government), they didn’t have to worry about getting a job. I was applying with my own money hence I didn’t have any contract with any place. It became a bit complicated when you didn’t have a place to come back to. Everyone would assume that you’d want to start a career here, in the big city where the number of pathologist were more than enough. That’s a big no no. And that would probably reduce the chance of you getting accepted. Again, I realized that maybe it’s all meant to be; during interview sessions I always used his job as a shield. I told them that I’d go wherever his mission took him. And that seemed more than enough to silence em all. If it weren’t for him, I’d be dead speechless. He wasn’t there through it all but I swore I could feel his presence. Even in the most stressful situation he, in a way, managed to help me out.

In May I got the good news. I was accepted! I called him immediately and his first words were, “Selamat ya, kebanggaanku…” and again I was stunned at how much his words affected me. That exact moment I knew, I was slowly, surely, falling into him. June rolled in and for the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid of facing the deadly Idul Fitri question (kapan nikah?) anymore. His big family met with mine and I thought, “wow this is serious. What do I get myself into?”

Pradik (Pra pendidikan PPDS) & MKDU started waaay early, but it wasn’t as hectic as I thought it’d be so we decided to get engaged on my birthday. July 13th 2019. I never thought he’d be able to produce such sweet proposal in such short notice. I came up with a long ass answer and the crowd were cheering and clapping. They were basically surprised, someone as stone-cold-hearted as me could… fall in love? Lol I couldn’t believe myself. Somehow someway the wedding was moved to December. Good god I gotta get ready. During MKDU program I often left the class early to prepare the legal documents needed for our marriage. I did it all by myself, even if I had to go back and forth to Kelurahan/Kecamatan/KUA. My daily mantra was “one step at a time, the only way out is through“. Marrying a military guy also meant another extra effort of collecting and preparing extra documents (different than the ones needed for civil marriage). I spent a whole week in Bogor to do the so called Nikah dinas where we underwent some writing, interview, and physical tests. After it’s all done we had to meet with his boss, his boss’ boss, his boss’ boss’ boss and so on. God I was a nervous wreck. My anxiety was sky rocketing. But he’s always there to calm me down. It all went smoothly considering it only took a week for us to get it done (others usually spent 2 weeks or so). Thank god it all happened when I was still in MKDU program. I could easily left the class unnoticed. Again, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

August was a hectic month. 4 of my best friends were getting married. Each week was filled with bridesmaid dresses and sleepover and glamming up and party and delicious food. I paid very close attention to their events. Making mental notes about the do and don’ts. It’s still hard to believe that they belong to someone else now. September, October left no significant memories. We rarely fought. If we did, it was almost always because of my exagerrating reactions. I learned how to control my child-like behaviour around him. And its so frickin hard when his patience and basically all the things that made him who he was allowed me to be childish and needy. He’s unreal. I also learned more about relationship. It needed two to tango.

In November the MKDU program ended and we continued our study in each department. I was officially an anatomical pathology resident. I’ve made a post about the daily routine of a PA resident and to be completely honest I was stressed. How in the world could I get married in the middle of all this? How could I prepare everything? Again, Allah answered my prayers. Our job for the next two months (November & December) was shadowing our seniors. Meaning we didn’t have to take full responsibilities of the works. It lifted a bit of weight off my shoulder. But the hecticness was pretty much the same. So my stress level was still pretty high. I was so tempted on consuming alprazolam just to numb the pain (from being so anxious all the time), but I chose to ride the wave instead. (Listening to podcasts reaaally helped). Another help from Allah came in the form of stase rotation. By some miracle I was placed in a FNAB outpatient clinic throughout December. It’s known to be the less hectic stase out of 4 (female, gastrointestinal tract, musculoskeletal, & FNAB clinic). I was able to go home around 5 pm every day. It provided me with time to run some errands and stress some more. I posted daily rant on twitter just to stay sane. I cried a lot. I was so afraid that the event wouldn’t go as planned. I was busy preparing the wedding but other non- wedding-related- assignments also flooded in. I was undeniably stressed. For those who doesn’t know, I have anxiety disorder, so I get stressed out easier than most people. I didn’t know how the hell I survived to be honest. I also still managed to present one textbook reading and one journal reading in the middle of this chaotic mind. The power of a highly functioning anxious person. I obviously don’t recommend getting married during residency, especially if you’re still a junior. Phew.

The big day finally came and it went by a blur. It was great though. Far better than I thought it’d be. What can I say, anxious person always expects the worst. It was so magical and heart warming hearing him say the ijab kabul. Reality struck; I didn’t belong to my parents anymore. Someone has made a promise to take care of me from now on. I told myself not to cry, but damn!

I was given 6 days off and we were able to secure a honeymoon place in Malang, despite the holiday season. I was finally able to unwind and take a much needed break before going back to reality. Being married to him was the biggest blessing that I received this year. My insecurity, anxiety, fear, all root from the feeling of not being enough and unworthy. It somehow affects every aspect of my life. The way I’m thinking, the way I act. Being with him changes it all. Not 100% but now I know why it’s him, why now, why I had to endure years of being alone, while my friends get their own piece of happiness, why here and not there. All the how and the when and who, the questions that I kept asking in my prayers, the questions that kept me up at night… now I know why. Everything falls into place. It took 25 years to build the puzzle and see the bigger picture but every little thing that happened in my life has led me to this very path. My faith in Him only grows stronger. Allah knows best.

There’s an old saying that one day you’ll find happiness and the pain is going to be invisible. That’s exactly how I feel. The pain is all gone. I am now someone’s favorite color ❤.

Here’s to 2020!