Monday, July 2, 2018

How I Broke Down with A Hug

I have never been someone to express my feelings freely. People see me as confident and maybe sometimes even arrogant but the truth is, deep down I fear rejection.

I came to know this only this past Saturday.

Mom asked me to deliver some durians to my grandmother. When I saw her, I was shocked to see that she had only 3 upper front teeth left and is going to have another one of her molars removed due to pain in the roots. Time has turned her softer than before, and now she looks like an oversized bunny with permed grandma curls.

Then she asked me some Chinese words that she didn't know. She does this every time I pay a visit because (a) nobody else is willing to teach her, or (b) she never bother to ask anyone else - I'm not sure, but I do teach her every time she asks me.

Then it was time for me to go home, and I was spurting nonsense about how she should go watch TV with grandpa and shit, before finally saying, "I'm going home. Come, let me hug you before I leave."

The first hug I'd given her in my life. Normally I'm a very reserved person and it's hard for me to deactivate that mental barrier to actually hug someone on my own initiative.

Then I quickly walked away, and she suddenly said, "乖宝贝”, something she never said to me. (She calls her grandsons and younger granddaughters that but never me.)

I turned my head back and looked at her, she was smiling that cute grandma smile of hers with her 3 loose front teeth. I gave her a weak smile in return and walked out the door, making sure to lock the door behind me. Once the door is shut, tears started streaming down my face and it wouldn't stop.

I was crying the whole way back (thankfully everybody was out that night) and was still crying when I reached home. 15 minutes passed and the tears were still coming. For a while, I thought I had depression so I consulted Keith who knew a lot about this condition.

But he told me it wasn't depression, it was just love. I wasn't done crying then. It took me a good 30 minutes to calm down. 

By then I had a full-blown sinus attack and I couldn't breathe. My eyes were puffy and swollen. I had to take anti-histamine tablets to relief the symptoms.

Fast forward to the second day, I look like I just had double-eyelid surgery.

I didn't know what made me cry that day - I wasn't feeling particularly happy or sad at that moment but now that I seriously think of it, I think I felt wanted. It feels like a promise that she'd be there for me even if the whole world is against me.

And it feels good.

You see, I'm never good at socializing, although I try my best to talk to people.

I have always been left out - in primary school I wasn't in any of the girl groups, my past time was fighting with guys (yes Jared I'm talking about you) and defending myself from being bullied by my table mate (yes Soon Teck that's you), I didn't really have a best friend so when my aunt asked me who's my best friend I said books were my best friends, a response to which she laughed at and said I was a nerd.

But aren't books your best friend? After all, books are not conniving bitches who will stab you in the back and pretend they are the victims. (This is a story for another time, but you see, one of the reasons I couldn't trust anyone was that some bitch made up a lie to accuse me and my group mates of theft when I was in first grade. Imagine the mental trauma that I went through.)

So I wore this invisible armour and kept my distance from everyone except Jesselyn who always good-naturedly called me an old hag and Li Siang, whom I occasionally tutored after school while waiting for mom.

In secondary school, I was lucky to have found a good friend in Mei, who sat with me for maybe 3 years straight. I was blessed to have her. She has the heart of the ocean, always so forgiving and having so much kindness and compassion in her.

In uni, I had trouble finding a law buddy because I didn't bother to build a good rapport with the seniors until I find myself all alone, unwanted. In the end, James adopted me and suddenly I have a mini-family in law fac. [Thanks James :) It meant a lot.] I was blessed to have Win Li and Angie, and then Chiu Chee and Pei Chi, as well as Caitlin, YY, Qi En, Hao Yi, Ben, Alvin, Jun Leong (and many others), and Agnes, Sandra and Erin - these people add vibrant colours to my uni life.

Now I have to admit that I'm not the easiest person to deal with. I can be an annoying bitch sometimes (sorry Ruth and Catherine) but most of the times I'm just aloof.

With that invisible armour around me, I always pretend that I don't care, until I realized that it's just a sham. Something I devised to fool myself into thinking that I am the void.

This past Saturday, I felt a crack in that amour. I realized that I crave acceptance after all.

And that requires me to dismantle my armour.

It requires me to open myself up to emotions.

It requires me to start accepting myself for who I am.

And I'm gonna start doing just that.

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