There is an old Indonesian saying: "A peanut who forgets its shell". It means a person who has risen up to power, fame or wealth, then let all of those supposedly good blessings get into his head, turn him into a snob and arrogant person, make him forget that afterall, he is still a mere mortal.
Over the years, on TV, on the news, in the history books, all around me, I learned that it's actually human nature to have this "peanut forgetting its shell" tendency.
Well, let's see.
From history books, we read that over thousands of years, mighty kings, rulers, emperors, pharaohs, rose and fell. Now read today's news. It still rings true today.
We learned about the famous sirens, queens, and courtesans of the past, the magnificent women who captured the hearts of powerful men and twisted them around their pretty little fingers: Cleopatra, Cora Pearl, Sophia Baddeley, etc. What happened to them at the end of their days? Now look at today's celebrities. Especially YOUNG celebrities. Some of them who are famous just for being famous. Sometimes their only claims of fame is just a leaked sex tape.
There are still many more examples.
Question: how many of these supposedly blessed people, when they are at the top, still can maintain their true sense of self? Maybe not many. Or maybe there are more than we thought. Nevertheless, in my personal humble opinion, it is a very difficult task.
It's so easy to judge. Whenever I read a piece of news about the most recent Lindsay Lohan's act, I'm tempted to think smugly: "If I were at her place, I'd never do something so stupid. She's young, and beautiful, and talented, and rich, yet she's so self destructive. Who needs a drink when one has what she has?"
Well, of course, if I were at her place, perhaps I'd be just as confused as she is. When you are at the top of the mountain, the view looks very beautiful indeed. But at the same time, everything you see becomes surreal and blur. You cannot see clearly that there are rocks and puddles and deep holes and traps down there.
Let's see in a much smaller scale. Let's say in my case, at work place. Since the very first day of my professional career, I've been taught these two golden rules: "Rule number one: the boss can do no wrong. Rule number two: if the boss is wrong, see rule number one."
Well, if you are a working girl like me, you will know what I mean. Anyone with subordinate, whether only one or one hundred thousand, will have this tendency to think that he or she is always right. Why? Well, look at the rule. More often than not, a boss, especially if he or she is a charismatic leader, will be surrounded by "yes men" or "yes women". When you are the boss, these 'yessers' will agree to everything you say, right or wrong. If you say that the cat is blue, they will nod. If you say the sky is green, they will say yes, indeed the sky is green. If you say "I want your lunch!", they will give them to you and will do without eating.
Another scenario. Let's say, later when I become a wife and a mother. There's a saying: "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy." Also this one: "Happy wife, happy husband." Well, if that's so, how easy it would be for me to get convinced that what I think and what I want is the best for the whole family? When perhaps the whole family want other things, but won't say a word because they just want Mommy to be happy! What does my husband want, really, really want? Perhaps all the time he only complies with what I want! Now, THAT is dangerous!
I really love these little heart-shaped earrings! They make me smile...
Well, there is also a saying: "A nail that stucks up will be hammered down." It means, if you don't want to get hammered down, you'd better lay low with all the other nails. There are times when I really want to stand up tall and straight and shout from the rooftop: "You're wrong!" However, I also know that sometimes, it is wiser to be silent and wait. Wait for what? For the right moment to speak up, of course! Afterall, there is also a saying in the Bible:
"There is an appointed time for everything."
The world is not always in black and white. Forcing your way to rightness on everybody else is missing the point entirely.
And if you happen to be at the top, or in somehow superior positions, what can you do? What can I do?
"As special each and every one of us is, we, afterall, are mere mortals. We were born naked. We make mistakes. We get sick. We grow old. We were made of dust, and someday, you, me, all of us, will return to dust."
And that's a very humbling thing to remember. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of that today.
Batik shirt (tucked in): Barata Batik (pesisiran batik). Black wrap skirt: tailored. Taupe swing jacket: DKNY. Red heart-shaped earrings: Claire's Store (USA). Red obi belt (worn backwards): Mom's (vintage). Copper-color purse: Guess (thrifted, an ex coworker sold it to me). Copper-color heels: Yongki Komaladi. Bracelets: Shanghai
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