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Nur Imroatun Sholihat

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14 Jun 2023

I Am Too Soft for This City

  • June 14, 2023
  • by Nur Imroatun Sholihat

Have I mentioned that one of my secret favorite things to do is blog walking? There’s something captivating about strolling through the depths of someone’s (even stranger’s) mind. A personal blog, in my opinion, offers a window into the intricate complexities of an individual’s train of thought. What a great thing it is to have access to someone’s mind by reading their posts.  

Recently, I revisited one blog that stuck in my mind even after years of reading it. I decided to delve into the posts that I hadn’t explored yet. After wandering around, one particular entry gripped me in its emotional embrace. I didn’t close the tab after I finished it as I was captivated by the poetic expressions that totally describe my feelings:

“As I willed myself not to cry, I realized I was probably too soft for this city. And that I should probably drink more water…. And, yet, I’m too hard for other cities. I can’t seem to find the right fit.” (I Am Too Soft for This City, Generation Meh)

For years, I found it difficult to express my confusion about the fit living space for me and then the author squeezed my struggle in just 4 sentences.  It was as if the post had eloquently captured my perplexity regarding finding a suitable place to call home. These sentiments mirrored the conversations I had with my friends, where I expressed the struggle in discovering a sense of comfort in my current residence, Jakarta.

Navigating the capital city, in my opinion, demand a high-level resilience and a strong-as-stone heart. Someone with delicate feelings like me often can only cry for what I and other people in this full-of-inequalities-and-unfairness city have to go through. I am aware of how overwhelmingly tiring it is to breathe in this bustling, fast-paced urban environment while being sensitive like me. It’s a metropolis with relentless demand and perpetual motion that will leave anyone behind unless they run. Yet, here is the land that offers the most opportunities and growth--stuff that I recognize as necessary.

“And that I should probably drink more water.”, the author wittily continued expressing their feeling towards the city. It’s a beautiful metaphor that in this kind of city, we need to take care of our well-being more. Indeed, I need to stop ignoring the importance of physical and mental well-being, even when I live in a stressful city.

On the other hand, some cities exude a gentler aura, embracing me with warmth. I find comfort in slow peaceful living but after months, I would find myself feeling out of place. I seemed can’t fully integrate my aspiration of having a meaningful impact with this softer lifestyle. There is a reluctant nod from me because turned out “Yet, I’m too hard for other cities” also fits my situation.

Then I remember an old piece of advice my dad said to my mom: “No matter where we go, there is always a neighbor we can’t genuinely get along well with or something that we couldn’t completely accept. The Prophet in the hadith had discussed this as well so let’s be grateful for where we live.”.   

While I acknowledged the truth in that advice, I still wish I can find the environment that fits me the most. I know this constant search for the right place leaves me disheartened at times. However, I hope that someday, I will stumble upon a city that balances growth and tenderness. I pray that one day I can find my rightful place in this vast world--the perfect equilibrium between my inner world and the external environment. Though the path may be uncertain, I believe that there is a city out there, a home out there, that provides me with the harmony I seek. I believe someday I will find it. 

Oh wait, perhaps I had found it...


(For now, I will try to enjoy Jakarta.)

image source: Ahmad Basyar on Pixabay


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Jakarta, Indonesia