Sunday, March 19, 2006

Versions

We tell stories of the events in our lives, stories that define us, and as we grow older and gain perspective, these stories change. Sometimes we stop seeing ourselves as victims and acknowledge the part we had to play in bringing about our sad and sorry outcomes. Here is one of my mine:

1. He was my first love and I adored him terribly. Such a bad boy which was half the attraction (although being a good Catholic Convent girl) I could never admit it. Naturally I tried to "reform" him. And he responded (or at least I thought he did). He started going to Church, I took him for Confession, we were all set for a life together, oh I don't know, maybe ten years down the road. He was a bad boy but now he was getting good. He loved me back. I know he did. Those other girls, they were not suitable. OK, so we always got bored talking to each other; those daily phone calls, I would look forward to them, but when he was actually on the phone, there were many pauses filled with the silence of two people who didn't really have anything in common, or anything to say to each other. So what? He became progressively crueller. Hurt my feelings. Then I found out he was fooling around on me and broke up with him. We got back together that same day because I forgave him. And besides, she didn't mean anything, she was in trouble and he was just trying to be nice. She was a friend and going through rough times and he was there to hold her hand. Hmmm. Hold her hand. I didn't like it, at 17, that seems a terrible betrayal, but still, I guess I could live with it. Especially since he said he wasn't gonna give her up. And then, we broke up anyway when he was leaving to study in KL. We broke up because my Mom insisted, but really, he didn't put up much of a fight. Just let it be. And less than a year later, he tried to get back together. But by then, I realised that he bored me. I had come to KL too, my horizons were expanding, I met many new people and I couldn't bear the thought of those interminable phone conversations, saying nothing, leading nowhere.

2. Well, he was sort of my first boyfriend, I was attracted to his bad boy reputation, but I should have known, he was bad through and through. And dumb. Really dumb. I think I can forgive a man anything except utter stupidity. He never had anything interesting to say. Didn't read so he couldn't discuss books. Or ideas. The mind of a three-year-old. Really dumb. And... he cheated on me. That bloody stupid good-for-nothing. With a stupid bimbo junior from school. He was cheating on me the whole time. They did everything but actual sex, (he told me later) and then of course, she dumps him and he comes running back. Can you believe it? He comes running back to me after he is left out in the cold. One of my colleagues in the newspaper went to college with him. She told me she used to talk to him because she felt sorry for him. He was so pathetic, no girl gave him a second look. That's why he came running back to me after he got dumped. He suddenly found himself girlfriendless and unwanted, a fucking reject. When I first saw him at a press conference and learned that his Dad had pulled strings to get him a job at a rival newspaper, I was contemptuous. He looked at me, expecting recognition, a greeting, some form of acknowledgement, but I turned away coldly and ignored him. As a newbie, wet-behind-the-ears reporter he was now less than nothing. Beneath me. Not good enough to associate with. And I would never forgive him for cheating on me all those years before. When I hate, I hate for life.

3. I went into that relationship with my eyes open. We were not suitable for each other, me for him or him for me. Really. We had the misfortune of having best friends who were going out with each other who decided to play matchmaker. Although I knew who he was, even before that and had been terribly attracted to him. (Everyone knew who he was - he was famous, notorious in our small circle and I gained a certain notoriety going out with him) Let's face it, he was cute. And at 17, that counts for a lot. I now feel sorry for him. When you're a teenager you want to have a partner who is fun and flirty and wild like you. He wanted to talk about sex. I wanted to quote Scripture. I mean to say, what? She was the girlfriend he was supposed to have. And I, funny as it may have seemed at the time, was the intruder in their relationship. Of course we bored the hell out of each other. When you're not meant to be together, when you have nothing in common, that's what happens. And there is no way of papering it over. You either live miserably together, for the sake of appearances, or you cheat on each other. Better still, you break up and stay broken up. When he admitted years after we had broken up that he was fooling around on me, I was furious. My pride, more so than my heart, took a beating. I wanted to hurt him back so badly. So, when he called, practically in tears to tell me that his then-girlfriend was leaving for England, I laughed and said she would find some nice Englishman and dump him because he was worth so little. "You've changed," he said with a sob in his voice. "You're a bastard," I said evenly. And as you know, it doesn't matter what you say or do to bastards. They have no feelings we need care about. He never called again and we stopped speaking. Years later, I saw him and turned away. He was my my first mistake, the first in a long line of losers I dated and I would just pretend it never happened. That he didn't exist. You see, I always secretly felt I was too good for him. And when someone you're too good for cheats on you... As I said, it was more pride than feeling. Maybe if I see him now I will nod and smile. And maybe he will turn away. But at least, I'll feel a little better about it.

4 comments:

goldennib said...

I got my copy of The Sedona Method and I have read through Chapter One so far. I like the idea of letting go. And after his explaination, I can see how it might be done, even the most difficult emotions.

Sorry, I got distracted. My neighbor is over and telling me how bad the world is and it is going to come to an end soon because of all of the wars and the weather is changing. Every time I bring up how things are not really any different than they ever were, he brings up something different. I am now letting go of my need to prove the world is not ending.

Getting back to why I'm here:

Your versions of your story made me think back on my own stories and how my own perceptions have changed.

I would like to live more in the moment and not get so wrapped in my feelings. Not be so engrossed and consummed by them.

Jenn said...

Your neighbour sounds like the kind of person I try to avoid (maybe it's good you're moving).

I recently had lunch with two of my ex-colleagues and all they did was bitch and bitch and bitch about work, their boss, the office. It was so incredibly boring.

I'm so glad you got the book. Tell me where you are at with it...maybe we can read it parallel (I read like a thousand books and secretly suspect I would get more out of them if I were reading them with someone).

Living in the moments - letting things just be, that's a challenge. But I think you could probably swing it.

Grey Shades said...

Forgive and forget isnt in our dictionary is it? Yeah i'm a grudge holder through and through!

Jenn said...

Yeah, but I'm trying to make it part of my dictionary. These grudges, really, they aint worth holding. It just messes up our life, diverts energy from the really important things.