Opening Pandora’s Box

Can we just pause for a second and admire how beautifully S writes? You have gotten so eloquent, S. I am humbled to be a co-author of this blog.

I think S opened the pandora’s box of sorts with the last post, and the right thing to do, I suppose, is for me to 敞开我的心房, and explore a corner of my heart that I have never attempted before.

“I am too busy with school to get attached. 

The starting premise I reckon, is how very much like S, I don’t really believe in the institution of marriage. Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy for those who find their soul mates and decide to live with their significant other for the rest of their lives. I think it is wonderful and beautiful. When I say I don’t believe in the institution of marriage, I mean I don’t think it is for me. Although I should add sometimes I do feel like a hypocrite. Much as I say I don’t see myself getting married, I do look forward to meeting that “one” person that will make my heart go 小鹿乱撞 and fall head over heels. I still dream of that fairy tale ending. But alas, perhaps fairy tales are just fairy tales.

A lot of my friends are shocked when they hear that I don’t want to get married. They are also perplexed when I tell them I have never gotten involved with another person before. Ever green! On hindsight, it seems I always took the easy way out. When pressed with such questions, I simply gave the answer that I was too busy with school to be bothered with relationships. But we all know if there’s a will, there’s a way. If there is no will, then of course, there’s no way. And that, in all honesty is probably the real reason for my ever green status.

I think S got it absolutely right. Family has got everything to do with it. But I do have my reservations. And here’s why.

“I don’t want my kids to go through the same childhood as I did. 

I attended my friend’s church service last weekend (and no I am not Christian in case you were wondering). I was speaking with this lady that recently got married. We were talking about my less than enthusiastic response towards marriage. The lady soon revealed that she came from a single parent family. Instead of being skeptical and adversed towards getting married, she told me that (before meeting her husband) she had always looked forward to getting attached and starting a family of her own. And her lesson from her own broken family was that she had to be careful selecting the right partner so as to make sure that her children will grow up in a loving family. Does it make any difference whether a dysfunctional family remains together, or if the parents get divorced eventually?

I don’t know. But the fact is that people from broken families do still find themselves getting married and setting up their own families. Some unfortunately reliving and re-enacting what they experienced years ago, some fortunately, leading a much happier live with their new loved ones.

Regardless, here’s my side of the story which hopefully can elucidate why I view marriages the way I do.

“My father is a gambler.

I guess I am fortunate than most. My family is relatively sound. No violence, no abuse. No drugs. But the skeleton that lies in my family’s closet is my father’s gambling antics. And that alone is sufficient to wreak some havoc.

I wouldn’t dwell into the details, but I guess I am lucky that my dad never turned to the loan sharks. He never gambled beyond what he had. But what that also means is that he gambled away all of his CPF savings, and my parents at one point had to sell our 5 room flat to move into a 3 room flat to pay off his bank debts.

Needless to say, money has always been a topic my parents argued and quarrelled over. And the arguments also ranged from how my mom was the sole breadwinner (my dad stopped working in my secondary school days) to how my mom was the only one concerned about their children’s education.

Vulgarities often flew across the room, and there were lots of shouting and screaming. But you know what’s the funny thing? Every now and then, they would still go to the nearby market and have breakfast together and buy breakfast back home for my brother and I. This is also the reason why I do think  they still very much care for each other and treasure each other’s companionship. And this is also perhaps why I still believe in my fairy tale ending one day. But the fact is that the quarrels and the shoutings and the screaming did happen, and that had an impact on me. And I don’t want that to happen again. And it seems the best way to achieve that is simply not to get involved.

I guess you could say this is also one of the reasons why I have always studied really hard, and that I am now in law school on a scholarship. I wanted to make my mother proud, and I never want my parents, my family to worry about money ever again. Sometimes, when I look back, this makes me sad, because I don’t know if I am living my life, or if I am living in my family’s shadow. But I digress.

So yeah. That’s the backstory.

“I think I have sky high walls all around me.

My closer friends always told me how when they first got to know me, they thought I was very “dao“. Cold, smug, arrogant, whatever you prefer. And I think it’s true. It’s probably because I have built around me walls to protect myself from all the craziness at home, for fear of getting involved in confrontations, and for fear of my friends finding out about my family.

And I think over the years, how it has evolved is that I take a really long time to open up to another person. And I do suspect it has gotten to a point where I no longer look at a person how others would. Which explains my single hood.

Does that make any sense?

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One thought on “Opening Pandora’s Box

  1. Firstly, thanks for the compliments! I’m very humbled to co-write this blog with you as well, I think your blade is sharper and gets bloodier more often than mine.

    About the lady acquaintance that you talked about, I sometimes wonder about whether I’d feel different and more positive about the institution of marriage had my parents actually gotten the divorce and ended things proper instead of wallowing in bitter resentment. If I had grown up in a docile single parent family that meant that I wouldn’t have to learn to breathe in the toxic atmosphere of hostile indifference, I might still have sufficient hope to power myself through harping for a good relationship and aspire towards marriage in a more positive light. I think it’s more terrifying to be stuck in this kind of rotting marriage, because there was no divorce, there was no proper cremation and admitting that it was a mistake and the love/affection freaking died and it’s okay because there are other things to move onto.

    Sometimes I find it even more sad and miserable that two people happily got married with hopeful bliss about their futures with each other in it end up being bitter companions who end up relying on each other just because. Of what? I am not sure. Fear of dying alone? Fear of having to suffer through the pitying looks of others? Fear of losing out compared to the other lucky bitches in the universe?

    The “dao” face is one of the most highlighted attributes when people talk about me. The most 无奈感慨 I have in defense whenever someone mentions this to me is that I didn’t freaking choose to have this face. Also, the utter mismatch between the perceived nature of my looks and my actual personality compounds the misperception. It’s like having an additional layer of the distorting funhouse mirrors outside my walls.

    The walls, like you mentioned, that have been built over the years to prevent myself from getting scalded over and over again by all the blistering drama at home.

    I suppose the saddest point of it all is that everything will forever only convey articulate sense to our own selves who have gone through things that we aren’t even aware of their effects on us. While it is undeniable that there are people out there who no doubt have the abilities to understand adequately, it takes a lot of time and effort and most importantly, luck, which some of us simply lack for reasons unknown or nonexistent. Isn’t this why some people, try as they might, over and over again, still end up failing miserably and desperately out of love?

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