Two One Nine

I feel the generation/ cultural gap between my mum and me widen into a chasm whenever we talk about relationships. The way she dated when she was my age is so different from the way I date now and I think we’re both aware of that. I feel her self-consciousness when she tries to relate to me and my love life. What begins as an awkward navigation through questions about me and O, becomes underhanded insults towards me.

Why does he like you?

Maybe he’s just trying you out for the time being?

I know the undercurrent too well. When I was little, my mum would warn me of my friendships with people who weren’t Chinese – they don’t understand us, soon enough they’ll reject you, best to stick with people like us. Now that I’m older, I know that this is her projecting her fears onto me. She did this then and twenty years later, she’s still doing it now. I know that this is an expression of love (in a way), her trying to protect me. She’s worried that O will eventually reject me but all I get out of conversations like this is that I’ll never be enough.

The other day I saw this meme that said immigrant parents were tasked with survival but immigrant children get the privilege of seeking self actualisation. I really love my mum, she is the strongest woman I know and I will never know the extent of the sacrifices and resilience it took to forge a new life in a foreign land. Maybe the way to bridge the gap is to remind myself of this – that my parents are fearful because of their experiences and the fact that I’m carefree is a privilege that’s come from a sheltered upbringing, which my parents gave me.

Two One Four

Today I had lunch with O and as I saw him walking towards me down the street, I knew that nothing was wrong at all. He was his same happy self and definitely not feeling any of the anxiety I was feeling.

We went rollerblading and while we were waiting for our rollerblades, I asked him if we were okay. He said ‘yeah, I think so?’ with a bit of surprise in his voice. I said that recently I’d been feeling like I was the only one wanting to hang out and again a little surprised, he said ‘really? I suggest things.. don’t I?’ I shook my head. Then our rollerblades came and that was the end of our conversation.

I get the feeling that he’s not the type to be forthcoming with words or feelings and probably feels a bit uncomfortable in conversations like that one, so I’m content with how this chat went. I communicated how I felt and he knows this now, so I guess the future will tell if he’s taken that on board?

Anyway, turns out my anxiety was for nothing and I’m glad for that 🙂

One Five Five

I was still a little annoyed when I saw O today and less chatty than usual because all I kept thinking about/ obsessing over was whether or not I should bring it up with him. Eventually I did – I said that I was annoyed with him yesterday, and he asked why. I said that because he was hard to make plans with and he said yeah, that is true and apologised. Then I asked if he was actually just bad at making plans or if it’s that he doesn’t want to see me. He said that he was just bad at planning.

So that’s good I guess! He’s just bad at organising. Glad it’s not because he doesn’t like me 🙂

He text me after I left suggesting days we could hang out this week and said that he wants to try being more organised. Now I feel bad that I’ve made him feel bad.

Ugh, so much emotional labour! I hate that I can never just experience my own feelings, and I have to take on the way I make other people feel as well.

One Five Four

Today O and I were meant to see each other and it didn’t end up happening and now I’m wondering if it’s because he is genuinely too relaxed when it comes to organising things… or if it’s because he’s actually not interested.

On Thursday night before he went home, we said that we’d see each other today and he said – “sometime after lunch?”. So today after lunch I text him to try suss something. He was slow at replying and after a few texts I didn’t hear from him for a couple of hours. I’m trying to be cool about this and see it as a miscommunication/ misinterpretation – I thought it would be some time in the afternoon that we would hang out, and he probably thought it was just loose plans?

When it neared 5 and I hadn’t heard back from him, I text him again asking if he was still keen to do something or if I should make other plans. He replied saying that he was still keen, just got caught up with a board game and for me to come over for dinner. Before I replied, he sent another text saying that a friend from out of town had come over unexpectedly and for me to go ahead and make other plans if I had options, then suggested ideas for other things we could do later in the week. I told him to go ahead and hang out with his friend.

He replied saying that his friend wasn’t actually going to be free until 10 so I could hang out with him until then. That really pissed me off, I don’t like being a placeholder. I said no, that I would stay where I was. His reply said for me to let him know when I was free during the week or if I would want to hang tomorrow after church. I’m not entirely in the mood to see him but I said yes to tomorrow in the hopes that I’ll feel better by then?

I can understand that things come up (friends visiting, etc) and that it makes sense to prioritise that, but the way he goes about organising things really frustrates me and I honestly don’t know if that’s all it is – just a difference in attitude towards planning – or if it’s that he doesn’t like me.

The other hard thing is feeling this frustration but not feeling validated in it to be able to have a conversation with him about it. I’m scared of those words that society has created for girls – nagging, bossy, controlling. I don’t want to be labelled with any of those but at the same time, I need some indication of timing because that is the way I like to plan out my days. I kept my afternoon and evening free because I thought I was seeing him.

Alongside the frustration I feel is also embarrassment. Embarrassment because this has affected me in the first place. I don’t want to be upset over this, I want to be casual and chill about it. I don’t want to give more reasons for society to perpetuate the crazy girlfriend stereotype, you know – the one who keeps her man on a leash.

Probably I’m also just feeling a little passed over for something else, and the frustration is a reaction to a fear of being rejected. The not knowing if this is how he is, or if it’s how he is with me, because he’s indifferent to whether he spends time with me, scares me a lot. Maybe if I knew that he does like me and wants to spend time with me, that he’s just bad at planning, then some of the frustration would be alleviated?

One Four Zero

I haven’t written about him in a long time. Mostly because I’ve had other things, other people on my mind, because my life has been filled in other ways- not because I haven’t thought about him.

Truth is, I still think about him most days, and not just once or twice. I still wonder what he’s doing, where he is, who he shares his life with now. I thought I wouldn’t anymore, especially now that I have O in my life. But I do. And I want to stop but I don’t know how or when or why I can’t. The thoughts manifest into dreams and I can’t escape him even in my sleep. I like to think that I think about him less as more time passes but honestly, I don’t know that it is. That scares me. How much longer will this failed love haunt me?

I believe that we carry all the tenses of our being, that all the past versions of who we were shape the who we are. Maybe it’s that the past versions of who we were roll into who we are now, that they’re intrinsically woven together. The girl who had her heartbroken is so familiar to me still, it’s hard to differentiate what was then and what is now. I can still draw up the pain of rejection and unrequited love and feel it keenly. Certain songs will instantly knock me back to that place of brokenness and hopelessness.

The one thing that I keep coming back to is knowing that I did all that I could. I said everything I wanted to say and that’s all you can ever do. There will be people who don’t reciprocate the way you feel and that’s life. But I will never have to regret not saying enough. If there’s any regret, it’ll be on him.

Some months ago, I couldn’t fathom a life that didn’t perpetually mourn the loss of him. Now I can recognise that the loss is an event in the past and while my present self can remember what that awful time was like, I’m not currently experiencing that loss at the moment. I’ve been reading The Body Keeps the Score and learning that we need to integrate painful past experiences into our present so that we can live freer futures. So that’s progress right? I’m part of the way there! One day I won’t think of him anymore, in the same way that I don’t think about my first boyfriend. I’m not there yet but I will be, one day.

One Two Zero

Last night I stayed over at O’s place. Fuck, it is nice to be in the same bed as someone again, to be cuddled and held. His beard gave me a bit of a pash rash and I had to make up an allergy excuse for why my mouth area was so red to my family today. I really like him, and I’m going to miss him a lot when I go overseas next weekend!