I Lived a Double Life, and I Regret It

this is not a story about how i became a secret agent and kill bad people.

This is a story of me, not admitting my passion, for the sake of “shame”.

Since I was a little kid, I have always been a noisy kid. I have always liked to connect with people. A lot of the time, it worked, and I made new friends. Some other times, it didn’t, and I have some new people calling me “that noisy freak”.

And I used to not give a rat’s ass about it.

But then comes puberty,
where “being cool” is something important. You started to care about what others think. You started to care about what society perceived you as. You started to care about what you really care about: self image.

And this is where things went wrong for me.

I started being someone I’m not. I tried to fit in the society. Going places where everyone has gone before, trying food people have tried before, and even doing things just for the sake of not being the one who doesn’t drink at all on a “Never have I Ever” game.

And then there comes what’s worse: professional life.

For the first few years (yes, I started working early), I have no idea where I want to position myself in society. Shall I be “the great one” that everybody looked up to? Shall I be “the invisible one” that no one recognized? Or shall I be “the shady one” that people hated but a way smaller group of people loved?

And I chose to be “the acceptable one”. I tried to fit in EVERY single part of society. When I got with the drunk, I drink like a camel. When I got with the funny ones, I tried to be funny. But most importantly: I have to still look like a super professional guy in the eyes of my authorities: My Family.

My family knows nothing that I have a second life. My family knows nothing that I have tried drinking way too young, My family knows nothing about my “side-career” as a musician, MC, and standup comedian. My family knows nothing about my girlfriend(s). I chose what to show to my family. And it ate me inside.
I can’t talk to my mom when i’m having problem with my girlfriend, or when a client paid my fee too late for me to pay my bills. Even, when I have to go out of town because of a gig in the other city, I always said it has something to do with work. “A client wants to build a factory in Bandung”, “the boss wanted me to do some site survey”, or “I’m meeting this new client”, are some of the best reasons I can think of. And honestly, they suck.

I lived in a constant fear of being found out. What if my mom’s relative or colleague watched my performance by chance? What if one of my drinking session got busted by a drunk colleague? So I built lies on top of lies, and it got more and more elaborate. It really felt like I have two personalities. No, TWO DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS.

Until one day I decided to come clean.

“Mom, I’ve been doing standup comedy”
“Huh? what’s that? Hahahaha”

“Also, I’ve been playing music professionally”
“Wow, You got paid for music? are you famous? Hahaha”

“Mom, I have a girlfriend”
“She better be pretty…. and Chinese. Hahahaha”

*these three statements happened on different days, months apart, because I need to muster my courage, bit by bit*

And I was stunned.
It turns out, I don’t need to hide ANYTHING. Not from my mom.
Mothers do not just listen. They understand. They accept.

Those days were the days I slowly break the wall of lies, and every honesty made me live my life better, and enjoyed it more.

It’s okay to feel like you disappoint your loved ones, but you never know what they really feel unless you tell them. I felt like I disappointed her when I chose a career path out of my academic background. I cried a little when I was about to tell her that i’m choosing communications as my career, despite of my shiny diploma from Informatics.

“Does that make you happy?”
“…Yes. This is what I want to do”
“Then do it. As long as you’re happy, that’s what matters. I can only nurture you so far, until you can make your own decisions.”

That was the day I decided to not live a second life.
And I think you should, too.

Our life, is ours and ours alone.
It DOES affect people around us, but in the end, you’re the one who lives it.
Live life, love life.