Sunday, December 18, 2022



“Why was there a conflict? How did I end up in these situations?”

Over the past 9 years, these questions have often arisen in my mind. Sometimes it is urgent to answer immediately, sometimes I feel the answers are so complex that I find it difficult to describe them. I think all of this started from the collapse of our"glory" period with my family, 11 years ago. My dad decided to retire early from his company. From there, our family life changed by almost 180 degrees. Due to educational reasons, my older sister and I decided to stay in Sulawesi, hoping that after graduation we would return to our parents. Mother and father decided to clear land and cultivate crops in Aceh, mother's birthplace, with my younger twins.

The first two years since separating from our parents are actually quite smooth because we were cared for by our mother's best friend while there. However, all the conflicts started to arise when I continue my high school studies in Surabaya, where the family from the father's side resides. In short, my grandparents took care of me and sent me to school. The family in Surabaya felt that because of our parents' economic ability, which at that time was very low, it was better for me to be raised by them. At that time I was 12 years old, didn't understand anything, and just went with the flow. It turns out that living with my grandparents’ family opened up old wounds.

My Grandmother’s wounds on our family were directly and indirectly vented on me. Unfinished anger and conflict with my mother were taken out on me. Maybe the position that I can describe myself in while living there is living like a "house cleaner". Doing so many house chores, demanded not to make mistakes. Once I make a mistake, they use my parents’ names to punish me, especially mentioning my mother. "Incompetent" and "disrespectful" is an almost daily words that I have to put up to. For the first time, I know how it felt like to live in a "broken family". My beliefs that families should love and appreciate each other are shattered by the treatment I got from my grandparents and other families.

I feel I have to keep contributing to just be acknowledged in the Surabaya family. I always have to earn my love for them. I have conflicted feelings between being grateful because they can send me to school but all of this was paid for with the wounds they gave.

"Why did I want to reconcile?"

I want to make peace because I want to live my life without grudges. Sometimes I still get angry when I remember past events, but I try not to hold grudges. Because I want to live my life to the fullest, unfettered by pain and disappointment that continues to gnaw at me wherever my feet go. I can't choose what kind of family I will be born into. I can't choose what kind of family my father was born into. But I can choose to try to forgive. Because in my heart, I see my father as the son of my grandmother and the older brother of his siblings. As deep as the wounds I carry, my father feels them even more deeply. I want to live peacefully and without grudges. Even though in reality not all siblings and families can love each other equally, I don't want this pattern to continue in our families.

“What decisions did I make?

I chose to step away from that toxic environment. Not living with them actually makes me much happier and saner. Even though the wound was still there, not living with them really helped. I also decided to understand that "they didn't know any better". I am compassionate and privileged to meet and learn from people who listen and support me while they don't. Although indeed all actions are choices, I still pity them because they didn't know any better.

"What actions did I take?"

Let go of that attachment by being financially independent. I also start to rearrange my mindset about traveling to find peace. One of the first steps is to start loving myself and Loving all forms of feelings that are within. Also, I try to understand further what my little heart wants. I am reconciling again with the teenager Andjani, meeting and surrounding myself with positive things, and listening more to things around me.

I also try to be more grateful for the things that happen in my life, writing down my worries. I maintain good relations with the people I care about like my mother, father, brothers, sisters, and friends. Swimming is also very helpful to calm my frantic mind while playing and studying makes me very excited. And maybe, what I still want to understand and defend right now is “I am who I am, with all my processes. I cannot force these processes and changes on others and we have to respect that.”

"What did I learn?"

That this is the process of life that I have to live with all the highs and lows, Good and bad. For all the pain. hurt, disappointment, pleasure, gratitude, fear, anxiety, joy, etc all lead to a single point of understanding. That live is a process.



Farida Andjani Azzahra

(A student from the School of Reconciliation)


Translated by:

Ari Budi Santosa