Sunday, January 21, 2007

So she has done it, my sister has. She has finally, finally, morphed into an incredibly normal and functional teenager who demands the rights of her own life to be handed down to her. "Trust me," she insists. I know how to take care of myself. I want to club. I want to chill out and hang out with my friends. I want to stay out late. I want. I want. It doesn't matter how hard I try to tell her that it's not possible, that we are different- this family is just... different. Always was, always will be. We are sick and twisted roots that have run deep into the ground and deep down into the perpetual murkiness of the dark, breeding and breathing for far too many years to be truly and fully expunged.

Her mind is set. Doesn't matter if its selfish, since we are all selfish to begin with. Doesn't matter that we have taught ourselves and taught each other to be selfless, sacrificial, and submissive since young. We would kick each other under the table and rebuke each other when the wrong word was accidentally uttered. Bite your lips. Swallow those words. Control yourself. Grow up, grow up. Be sensible, even though you are only a child, because we cannot afford to be children in this life that we live in. We cannot afford to make senseless and careless mistakes that leaps out of overwhelming emotions, suppressions and oppressions.

But no, she says. What have we done to ourselves? What have we done to each other? This is sick, Faith, don't you see? Don't you understand? We have to get out. We have to move on. Enough is enough for her. She is sick and tired of being the little obedient and perfect girl she used to be. With a bursting streak of rebellion and conviction, she wants a life that she can call her own, without duties or obligations, without all the pressures and expectations and baggage that comes along with it. Her mind is stubbornly set. I hate her for being so selfish. I envy her for being so selfish. I can never do that. I will never do that. So she is leaving me behind, or rather, I have chosen to be left behind, to take care of the secrets and burdens we used to hold together, to please the people that needs to be pleased. But how can I blame her? How can I blame her when we are neither wrong nor right? I cannot blame her because it simply boils down to this: We have made different choices. Our minds are set. Our minds are all set. Love me the way I want to be loved. Want me the way I want to be wanted. Come to me, as the right person, in the right role, at the right moment, with the right words, and I'm yours. I'm yours.

I believe that no one is alone. I believe that in actual fact, we choose to be alone. Because our minds are all set. We choose to love certain people, and we choose to push certain people away. When those we love doesn't love us back, we claim that we are alone. When those we don't love, love us, with all the passion and dedication they have, we reject them and we claim that we are alone. We set standards on what kind of people should love us- the smart ones, the mysterious ones, the kind ones or the popular ones, among other infinite categories- and exactly how people should love us. Even if we don't openly admit it, the ugly truth is that we secretly want these expectations to be met. I know this because I am guilty it.

I went out alone yesterday. I have never gone out on my own before. I wanted to go to cityhall and just walk around but I kept getting lost in my own mind and before I knew it, I was wandering aimlessly along orchard road, drenched in the rain, shivering and wondering where the hell to go next. The rain makes people miserable and depressed. Couples share colourful umbrellas and friends run for cover in the nearest shopping center where they shop until they drop dead or they eat and warm their cold bodies from the cruel weather. Oh and then there was the small talk that was everywhere, with mouths opening and closing and smiling and laughing with sounds coming out like a long murmur of unending chatter.

Being alone felt strangely wonderful since I didn't have to abide by the written and unwritten rules of social interactions and niceties. But there is strength in numbers, and so as wonderful as I felt, I also felt extremely small and defenceless. Faith, you need a reality check. Wake up and look at yourself in the mirror. Yes, yes. I completely forgot that I am scrawny and small-sized, that I might be 19 but my physical appearance belongs to that of a 13 year old kid, that I tend to hunch and look at my feet when I walk as if I am about to fall, and it is only when people stare at me that I am reminded of how the world sees me. Surprise, surprise.

In my mind, I am a 50 year old woman who struggles to get out of bed each morning and has to ask herself daily, "Do you want to live, or do you want to die?" Simply getting through each day is not an option, because it is not good enough for me. I don't want to be, to just breathe in and out and eat and shit. I want to live. I want to live life to the fullest. I want to live for God. I want to do everything I possibly can to make a difference in the lives of those around me. If not, I would rather not live at all. Because it is so so very fucking tiring and meaningless to merely stay alive and it is just not worth the effort to fight all these demons and scars and nightmares day after day after goddamn day if nothing substantial and purposeful is constructed at the end of it all.

So the stupidly small and defenceless me, became so very shocked and dumbfounded when I realized that I had somehow landed up in The Real World- the one that everyone has been talking about; the one that everyone has been visiting every waking hour of their life. I thought of calling someone out to keep me company. I looked through the list of names and contact numbers I had in my handphone. My handphone is a very useless devise for me and I have always detested it. I hate that I am able to be contacted. I hate to be within reach. I hate that in this day and age, numbers and wires connects us. But what if I wanted to contact someone? What if I needed someone to be within reach? There were people I could call. There was the boy who was obsessed with me, who reads every word I have ever written in this blog and who smses me every day like some love-sick puppy. There was my ktv buddy, who already booked me in advance for Valentine's Day. There was my lesbian lover. There was my ex-best friend from my secondary school days. There was my crazy pen pal. There was my dear Ms. Journalist.

I am not alone. There are a great number of people I am on intimate and affectionate terms with, who would readily be there for me. But people have little invisible strings attached to them. People have lives of their own to lead. People have problems and troubles of their own to solve. Every time I thought of calling someone up, I panicked with guilt and worried that I would become a burden to them, that they would be busy, that they would only spend time with me because they were nice people who would definitely feel obligated to be nice to me, to do their duty as a friend. So what the heck, I would rather be alone.


No. That is a lie. The truth is that I called my ex-best friend up, and she didn't answer the phone. The truth is that I smsed her, and she didn't reply. The truth is that I was disappointed. I wondered if I was there for her when she needed me, because she was not there for me when I needed her. Oh she must busy, I thought. She must have her reasons. The truth is that I was hurt, because I wasn't in a good mood. The night before my sister said she didn't want to come home, even though it was 3 am in the morning, because she was "turned off" and "pissed" with the fact that I was on the brink of tears when I pleaded with her to come home. Was it a matter of trust? No. I trust her. I trusted her too much. I trusted that she would understand me, completely. I trusted that she could hear the concern and the worry in my voice. She didn't. She thought I was overly emotional and fake. She thought I was blackmailing her- this family is famous for it. She felt that her boyfriend understood her better than I did. But how can I blame her? How can I blame her when we are neither wrong nor right? There is no need to apologize. There is no need to point the finger of blame at anyone. It just happened. As simple as that.

I have a friend who told me that she didn't believe in friendship. That we have different friends for the different stages in our lives. That nothing lasts forever. That we are simply making use of each other to get by. That you cannot rely on anybody but yourself. That you cannot trust anybody but yourself. Maybe she is right. But if it is true, isn't it so terribly exhausting? I don't know how long my relationships with people will last. I don't know anything. I only know that it simply boils down to this: We have made different choices. Our minds are set. Our minds are all set. Love me the way I want to be loved. Want me the way I want to be wanted. Come to me, as the right person, in the right role, at the right moment, with the right words, and I'm yours. I'm yours. If you don't want me, someone else will. If I don't want you, someone else will. And life, goes on.

6 comments:

Miao said...

Sometimes the people we are closest to are the ones who understand us least. I've had similar problems with my brothers so I can relate to how you are feeling.

Like you said, life goes on. Things will pass. And I am certain that some day your sister will understand. It may take days or years for her to realise. But I'm sure she'll eventually come to understand you. :)

SirWhale said...

Hi I think it should be "And life goes on" in the last line, without the comma. Unless you want to use the comma to separate "life" and goes on. Or if you want to sound tired.

siti* said...

..definitely feel obligated to be nice to me, to do their duty as a friend.

maybe having that kind of responsibility/duty isn't such a bad thing. it's like a marriage before THE marriage. also. it's not a 'duty' per se if the friend is plain happy JUST to commit her/his time to you in spite of their busy schedules. sure we're all selfish people but perhaps not to such a great extent. maybe it's time that we remind ourselves that there IS such as a thing as a 'grey area'.

oh. and you'll never be a burden to me. i just hope that i'm not one to you.

Anonymous said...

sirwhale u r irritating

estelwen said...

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.

Jingoistic said...

the anonymous comment is hilarious. My thoughts exactly!