last one, i promise

by justine

there’s actually one special person to thank for my mind-numbing phobia of getting hurt. surprise surprise, it actually doesn’t stem from my ex-boyfriend (he left me with years of emotional baggage including but not limited to low self esteem, psychosis and irrational paranoia, but that’s another post entirely reserved for a particularly bad day).

i just figured, life was going so well, something was bound to screw up my mood for the entire year.

my most life-shaping best friend, we’ll call her M (because i’m so original and creative that i can’t be bothered to think of a witty pseudonym for her, instead choosing to go for her initial cos i’m just oozing inspiration from a poisonous insect bite on my foot), i met in high school. in retrospect, it was less of a friendship than it was me hankering after her like a stray dog, eager for a word of kindness or a laugh or smile or just some acknowledgment. i worshipped her. she could do no wrong.

anyhoo. we got along fine and dandy except for moments when we didn’t. and by “moments” i mean months. by months i mean a periods of time long enough for a fetus to pass the stage where pro-choicers and pro-lifers argue whether it’s a real human life anymore. and by “didn’t get along” i mean she just cut me off from her presence (which i remind you, was likeĀ  air or something to me) for shits and giggles. then after the emotional abandonment gig got stale she’d come back contrite (i wonder), apologise, and like the happy coprophile that i was, i just lapped it all up. mmmmm… yummy!

so lather, rinse & repeat till i finally couldn’t stomach it (haha) and gave her The Ultimatumā„¢ – fuiyoh, damn gaya right? it’s like i grew balls overnight – do it one more time, and we’re through. of course, in a plot twist even m. night shyamalan wouldn’t have foreseen, she disappeared one day and starting bitching about me behind my back.

i fell apart like a weepy little girl. like i got dumped by my boyfriend. i couldn’t eat. couldn’t sleep. lay in bed listening to her favourite songs while covering my pillow with snot. you know the drill. but that was a good 6 years ago and at the time i actually believed i learned some sort of life-affirming, chicken soup for the soul lesson: don’t stand for people treating you less than you deserve and you won’t get hurt.

cue twinkly time travel effects and we’re magically in the year 2010, where i am hotter, wiser and more awesome. and while i’ve had to put my foot down a few times (because humanity sucks that way) i’m still susceptible to this kind of pain caused by the same inevitable brand of puerile bullshit.

and you can’t avoid it.

you can’t think to yourself “i’m not going to let them get close, yo. burn me once, shame on you. burn me twice, shame on me!” because people, with their idiosyncrasies and their flaws and their strengths and their stupidity and their awesomeness and everything else just weasel into your life, and eventually your heart, and you can’t deny it to yourself even if you put on your most aggressive game face to the world. those closest to you can still see it. and in this pathetic, quivering, fragile state, you half wonder if someone you least suspect is one day going to use it against you.