Marcella Purnama

Marcella Purnama is a blogger and author of What I Wish I Had Known: And Other Lessons You Learned in Your Twenties. She has just realised that marketing a book is ten times harder than writing one.
459 articles written by Marcella Purnama

By now, you’d have probably heard the news: I am married. Tjokro and I tied the knot in a simple, intimate ceremony in Melbourne last weekend, and the day was just magical. I don’t just say that because I’m biased (wait, maybe I am), but it really was a blessed day.

I am yet to find time to sit down and tell you all the crazy stories about preparing two weddings and a marriage, (believe me, this is going to be my next book), but over the past few weeks I did write a few bits and pieces on my Instagram account.

This post is a compilation of those stories in leading to the wedding. And since I am no longer obligated to keep our prewedding photos a secret (not that I ever did), here they are.

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Dear Poy,

Today would be one of the last times that you’d sleep beside me. I know, many times I’ve complained of my inability to get a good night sleep with you kicking me every three or four hours. But now, as I sing you to sleep (and yet you still refuse to close your tired eyes), I begin to feel a pang in my heart.

Today would be one of the last times that I’d get to sing you to sleep.

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I’ve always dreamed of being published, yes, but I haven’t had the chance to dream of being on air.

Nevertheless, the opportunity came along for me to talk about my book on UFM 947 radio, a Jakarta-based radio for mothers (yes, their target market is 25 to 35-year-old women, most of them moms), and I had so much fun talking on it.

Honestly, I prepared next to zero. I have no idea who the host would be, what questions would be asked, nor the tone of the talkshow. Since I knew nothing, I decided it would be better to just do nothing. I jotted down some points I’d like to talk about, then I went to sleep.
But when I walked into that studio the next day I realised that I didn’t need to prepare a thing, as the radio host has masterfully prepared the segment to be as smooth sailing as possible. If you listen to the talk, you’ll realise how much effort he has put into researching this book—he literally read the book from cover to cover, picked the juiciest bits to talk with me about, created a storyline for the 60-minute segment that covered everything, and was able to make me at ease throughout the talk.

Really, I couldn’t have asked for a better host.

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Planning a wedding is tiring.

Yes, it’s a happy time—I’ve been looking at pretty things with hefty price tags and dreaming about them in an obsessive-compulsive way, albeit never going to have those things at my own wedding. That kind of happiness.

A friend has recently, politely, told me that it’s two months to the big day. It hasn’t really sunk in, actually. Should I panic? Is it actually still a long time away? Or is it such a short time away? Should I start obsessing about every single little thing?

Like, I probably should contact my florist and talk about the details. Yet I’m still indecisive on the exact colours of the bouquet I want for that day. I probably should finalise the transportation for our (my fiancé’s and my) big happy family during their stay in Melbourne. Yet I’m still too lazy to make any decisive plan.

We haven’t decided on the songs. Yes, we’ve decided on our walking-down-the-aisle and first dance song, but I never realise that we actually have to choose a song for signing the register, ceremony recessional, reception processional, and so on.

And that’s just the Melbourne wedding.

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I’m a proud person.

How proud? Well, I’ve immortalised my tendency not to ask for help in a chapter on my book. Yes, it’s that extreme.

On that chapter, I wrote about my reluctance in using ‘connection’—for example my father’s or my friends’—to get a job. I argued that if I’ve gotten a job due to someone’s help instead my own ability, I would forever: a) be indebted towards the person and b) be questioning my own skills as I don’t know whether I’m good enough for the job.

So I rarely ask for a favour.

And if I do, I’d make sure that the favour is something that’s easy to do for the other party—something that’s not going to take too much effort for them. Something like asking for information.

But apart from those information-seeking questions, my lips are sealed.

Yes, I’m odd.

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I feel like writing. At the same time, I don’t feel like writing.

I feel like reading. But at the same time, I don’t feel like reading.

Have you ever had that feeling? Of wanting to do something desperately, but at the same time rejected the very idea of doing it? Then you’re contemplating whether you should do it, toying around the thought of actually doing it, only to back out to make a cup of tea, to turn on the television, to listen to another song. You procrastinate, although you know very well that you’ll think about doing it as soon as your head hits the pillow tonight.

You’ve never had that feeling? Lucky you. I’ve had this feeling like twenty times in a day.

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I was having coffee with my sister one afternoon when I received an email. The email, actually. It was from an editor at an Indonesian publisher, and she was asking me whether I’d like to write a book about university life and beyond.

It was October 2015. After that, over 100 emails have been sent and received. And now I have a big announcement to tell, as I’ve just received the official cover of the book.

Ready? Here it is.

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Some years ago, I went through my closet and took out clothes that I couldn’t and wouldn’t wear anymore. The ‘couldn’t’ clothes were easy to choose: most of the things that didn’t fit should go. I said most, because I was definitely still keeping that dress that I haven’t worn even once because I’ve gained weight since. One day.

The ‘wouldn’t’ clothes were more complicated. I know there were a lot of skirts that I’ve outgrown, but they were still in perfect condition. And I’ve probably only worn them twice my whole life. Not to mention the t-shirts and baggy jeans that have gone out of style.

After a few hours of deliberating, I’ve finally made my decision. It wasn’t bad—I actually managed to take out two tall piles of clothes, which were going straight to the donation bin.

Then Mom came.

My mother saw me tidying up, so I asked her to go through the pile, just in case. ‘This one’s still good,’ she said, taking out the red tank top out of the pile. Then she noticed the baggy jeans and made a disapproving look. ‘That one’s quite expensive, you know,’ she said, putting it on top of the red tank top. And so on.

In the end, three-quarter of the clothes went back to my closet.

That day, I learned two things. One, is to never show Mom that you’re doing spring cleaning. Two, is that the original hoarder in the family is my own mother.

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Last weekend, my fiancé and I looked at each other in the eye way much more than in the six years of our relationship combined.

I mean, how often do you actually stare into your significant other’s eyes for more than three seconds? Rarely, I’d presume. Perhaps when you say ‘I love you’, or when you’re extremely annoyed of him being late and thus giving him the look. But still, rarely.

Oh yes, we’ve survived our prewedding photo shoot. Two full days of it.

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