Of Fries and How To Be In The Relationship of Your Dreams (2 of 5)

Lesson #1 here

Lesson #2 Be in love with YOUR life

If you want to have any chance at being in the relationship of your dreams, you have to start by being in love with your life. If you feel your life is ‘crappy’, I can guarantee that even if the perfect man showed up in front of your door, it wouldn’t make any difference.

In the past I had always ‘tolerated’ life. I didn’t particular like a lot of things about my life, and I didn’t do much to change it. Instead, I expected the men I dated would come and ‘rescue’ me from life. If I can just find the man of my dreams, I thought, then my life will be happy.

Newsflash: It doesn’t work that way at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Last year, I decided it was time for me to create the kind of life that I love. I looked at every area of my life – career, health, hobbies, family, friendship, travel, relationships, etc and took responsibility for making each area fulfilling for me. One by one until I could finally wake up and say that I love my life.

It’s no coincidence that I found the man of my dreams in the process of creating the life I love. And the coolest thing is that for the first time, I didn’t want him to rescue me or listen to my complaints or sob story. He wasn’t my ‘escape’ from life. He was part of my life – a life that I love.

So before hunting down for the perfect man, take a look at your life and ask yourself: Am I in love with it? If the answer is no, then it’s time YOU start creating the kind of life you’d love. Once you’ve done that, the relationship of your dreams will be just around the corner.

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Of Fries and How To Be In The Relationship of Your Dreams (1 of 5)

As promised, I’m here to share five lessons I learned on how to be in the relationship of your dreams. For those of you who haven’t been following the journey of how I met the perfect man, you can do so here.

One of the most valuable things I got out of my self-development course (Landmark) is that I am responsible for my life. That I not only have a say, but I actually have THE say in how my life goes. And that if something isn’t working, I have the power to do something about it. So for those of you who cringe at the word ‘responsibility’, here’s a head’s up: Everything I’m about to say will be based on the notion that YOU are responsible for creating the kind of life (and relationship) you want. And look, I’m not saying it’s the truth. I get that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. However, ‘responsibility’ is a place to stand, and it will give you more power to live your life as the ‘CAUSE’ of it, rather than at the effect of it.

On that note, here’s the first lesson:

Lesson #1 Admitting that you don’t ‘know’ everything

I used to know everything. Like every single thing. I knew exactly what kind of man I was looking for. I knew what he should be doing for a living. I knew that he wouldn’t be Indian. I knew where we would live. I even knew what our lives would look like – we would have dogs and no kids. We wouldn’t get married. We wouldn’t own a house.

Man, that’s a lot of knowing, isn’t it? At that time I didn’t see how ‘limiting’ it was to KNOW everything. I thought I was so smart! But it turns out by me ‘knowing’ everything, it was equivalent to putting myself in a box. Not only that, I was also trying to put whoever I was dating inside a box – I had to make him fit into what I already knew.

When I started falling for and dating Mr V, I had to confront the fact that this wasn’t at all what I ‘knew’. He wasn’t the kind of guy I knew to date, yet it felt so right and he made me so happy. What’s more, I started to want all those things I ‘knew’ I didn’t want. I remember Mr V asked me on our 2nd date if I wanted kids, and to my surprise, I didn’t respond with a No. I was slowly breaking out of my own box, and it was so liberating to not know for a change!

So I invite you guys to give up that you know everything. In fact, give up that you know ANYTHING. Life is full of discoveries and surprises, and you might meet the man of your dreams if you come out of your box:)

Lesson #2 here

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Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part V (Final)

Part I here. Part II here. Part III here. Part IV here.

I said what I had to say, and then sat there in silence. The ball was now in his court. He turned to look at me and said “Okay, well I think you’re really great and cute too..” I held my breath waiting for a BIG ‘but’. “And,” he continued, “I’d like to see where this goes too”. I nearly jumped with joy! In fact, my initial response was that of disbelief. I responded with “Really??”

The next day, we agreed to go for a bite after our class. There weren’t many places opened at that hour, so we settled for McDonald’s. I was more nervous than usual, and I knew it was because I really liked Mr. V and wanted it to work.

I made a joke about how when our mutual friend offered to set him up on a date, I was almost tempted to blow off the whole thing and not say anything to him. His response was that while he was glad I didn’t do that, he was still interested in exploring the world of dating. He asked if I would be okay with that, and I’ll admit it stung a little, but I played it cool and responded with “Yeah, sure”. He asked if I wanted him to tell me when he went on dates. I said I did. Then he asked if I would do the same. I told him he didn’t need to worry about that because I wasn’t interested in dating anyone else.

Eventually we moved on to other topics, and all in all we had a good time, but when I came home that night, I knew I wasn’t okay.

The next day, what he said still weighed heavily on me and I couldn’t let it go. I asked him to call me when he could, and when he did, I told him I wasn’t okay with this arrangement. I gave him two choices: Either be all in, or we stay friends. There was a moment of silence, and I could tell he was caught off guard by this ultimatum. He said he liked me a lot and really wanted to explore where things could go with me, but that he also needed to be true to himself. With that said, he chose being friends.

I was extremely disappointed, but again pretended to be cool. For the rest of the day, I kept wondering whether I did the right thing. I had broken up with men before, and each time I had been sad and hurt, but I was not familiar with such sense of loss and disappointment. It didn’t make any sense for me to be this upset – we hadn’t even started dating yet!

Later that night, we both realized there were things left unsaid, so we spoke on the phone again.

He asked me what I was afraid of, and I told him I didn’t want to re-live my past of being with men who dated different girls at the same time. I said I was done with all that, and I wanted to be in a committed relationship now.

He said he didn’t want to have multiple partners, and that he was looking for a committed relationship too. He also said he wasn’t dating anyone at the moment and reassured me that the connection he had with me exceeded what he’s had so far with other girls. And that I could be the one. But I was asking him to sign an exclusivity contract and we haven’t even started dating yet. That wasn’t something he was comfortable doing at this stage.

When he put it that way, it got me thinking. He was absolutely right. Why was I forcing him into an exclusive relationship when we haven’t even been on a first date? And why was I already approaching this from a relationship context? We were just starting to date. The whole point of dating is to get to know one another and see if we want to take things forward. Why did I want to skip all that?

I realized it was all to do with my fears and insecurities. I was afraid of losing him, and so the only thing I could think to do was to ‘lock’ him into a relationship. When I understood what I was doing, I wanted to laugh because I’ve dated guys who had tried to get me to commit from the very start, and I had pushed them away saying they were too clingy and desperate. Now I was doing the exact same thing.

Once I came to this realization, I immediately felt lighter. I told him I understood where he was coming from and that he was right. I took back my ultimatum and asked that we revisit this conversation again – perhaps in a month’s time – to which he agreed.

And so he took me out on our first official date.

He met me at the train station and held my hand as we walked towards the bar he picked. I usually try to keep physical contact to the minimum on first dates, but it felt natural and comfortable to hold his hand, so I didn’t object.

We got a table in a more quiet and private corner of the bar. It was perfect because we could talk without having to shout over the music, but still could hear the music and had direct view of the live band.  We talked about all sorts of things, danced a bit, and every now and then he would place his hand on my knee. It was by far the best date I’ve had.

At one point when we were both quiet, I turned and asked him “What are you thinking about?” To which he responded with “Why don’t I show you?” and proceeded to kiss me.

Now, I was never one to believe in magical, fairy tale-like kisses. In fact, I found first kisses to be awkward and sloppy. But… that kiss… I kid you not – it was the best kiss I’ve had in my entire life.

I used to ask couples how they knew they were right for each other, and always heard the same response: “You just know”. I never understood what they meant by that.

That night, I finally understood. As my head rested on his shoulders after that fairy tale-like kiss, I just knew. It was weird and crazy and surreal – at the same time exhilarating and magical.

Our second date was a week later and equally wonderful – he took me on a motorcycle ride and a stroll along the beach, followed by food and ice-cream:)

While I was over the moon, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was dating other girls. He said he would be honest with me, and he hasn’t said anything up until then, so I guess there was nothing to worry about. But there was a part of me that was scared. I was falling hard for this man and a part of me wanted to hold back because there was a possibility that he’d hit it off with someone else.

A couple of days after our second date, he said he needed to talk to me and pulled me aside after class. He looked me straight in the eyes, and said in a serious tone “I’m in”. I didn’t get what he meant, so I gave him a confused look and asked “In what?”. He repeated again “I’m in”. I still didn’t get what he was talking about. Finally, he said “This relationship. I’m in. I don’t want to be in it half-way anymore, I want to be in it fully”. I was so excited and I couldn’t contain myself!  “Reaallllllllllllllyyyy??” I squealed. “Yes, really” he said with a reassuring smile. He then took out his phone and deleted the Tinder app. In that moment, he made me the happiest girl alive.

And here we are, five months later, I’m still the happiest girl alive:)

I hope you guys enjoyed reading my story, and rest assured there are more stories to follow.

In the next blog post, I’ll be sharing lessons I learned on how to be in the relationship of your dreams. Stay tuned!

Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part IV

Part I here. Part II here. Part III here.

First of all, I have to apologize for disappearing. I could blame it on the holidays, but that’s really not the reason why I didn’t write. The real reason I didn’t write was because I was afraid. I was afraid my writing wouldn’t do justice to this amazing man I met. I was afraid my writing wouldn’t be..well.. perfect.

I had a conversation with someone about this, and he said something quite eye-opening for me. He said perfection exists when you have a barometer in which you measure it, usually against a precedent. But when you’re creating something new, there’s no precedent. How can you measure something that’s never been created before? By which standards would you measure it against? And if you can’t measure it, how can perfection exist?

The conversation happened so casually, but it’s one of those conversations I know I’d never forget because it completely altered the way I view the writing process.

Anyway, let’s get back to the story, shall we?

After I broke it off with T, my attraction towards Mr V started to grow. I remember an instance where we were talking, and I couldn’t hear a word he was saying because I was too distracted by his lips and kept picturing what it would be like to kiss him. I also recall gazing into his brown eyes as he was talking, and feeling like I was completely drawn to them. To him.

This was a really weird experience for me. It’s only been a month or so since we started talking, yet the attraction was so strong. And it wasn’t just lustful or superficial. There was more to it than physical attraction. In that split second, I knew I couldn’t dismiss it without exploring what “this” was. Only problem was, did he feel the same way too?

I knew he liked blondes. It came up in one of our conversations. In fact, there was a girl he’d been talking to. She was blonde. And a nurse. There was no way I could compete with that!

Don’t get me wrong, I know I can flirt and be charming. I could spend a bit more time getting to know him and figure out what makes him tick. It’s a strategy that’s worked well for me in the past. But I wasn’t interested in coming up with a plan to ‘charm’ Mr V. I didn’t want this to be another one of my ‘missions’ i.e. get the guy to fall for me and once he does – mission accomplished. I was genuinely interested in Mr V, and I really wanted him to like me. Without the seduction, without the flirtation, just me.

Over the next few weeks, we continued to meet in class. We talked on the phone every now and then, and he sometimes gave me a ride to the train station after class. One night while giving me a ride, he showed me a photo of a girl that he was planning to go on a date with. I took a quick look at her photo and almost squealed with excitement. She had dark skin and black hair – in fact she looked Indian or similar. If he’s dating Indian-looking girls, then I definitely have a chance! And, the best part, I looked way cuter than her! There was a part of me that was a bit annoyed though. If he was willing to date her, then surely he could date me – so why hasn’t he asked me out already??

That date didn’t end up happening, and I silently celebrated when I found out. At the same time, I realized he could easily find another date. Worse yet, what if they hit it off? What would I do then? Stay in the friend zone and wait around for him to realize he wanted me all along? I definitely didn’t want to go down that path. So, what was I going to do about it? Since charm and flirtation were off the table, there was really only one way: Yep, I have to actually tell him how I feel. Oh gosh. As much as it made me cringe and turned my stomach into knots, I knew there was no other way. I had to tell him, and I had to do it soon.

2 weeks, 1 overseas trip, a million pep talks from my friends and sisters, and 2 tattoos later, I finally mustered the courage to send him the “let’s talk” message. I said I had something to tell / ask him, and that I’d like to do it face to face. We would be meeting at the leadership course that night, so we agreed to talk afterwards.

At the end of the night, he said he’d give me a ride so we could talk in the car. As we headed out to the parking lot, we stopped to have a conversation with some mutual friends, one of which said to Mr V “Hey, aren’t you like looking for a date? I’ve got this friend I’d love to set you up with!” I was horrified but of course pretended to be cool. I stood there thinking Damn it, can you guys just shut up!

Luckily he didn’t seem all that excited by the idea, and we finally walked towards his car. I started rambling on about random things – which is what I do when I’m nervous.

We get to his car, and here I am, fidgeting in the passenger’s seat, my hands are clammy, my heart is racing a thousand miles an hour, and my stomach is doing cartwheels. He, on the other hand, appears to be calm and collected as he slowly drives out of the parking lot. I try my best at pretending to be cool and in the process make a random joke – to which he responds with a light chuckle.

In my head, I work up the courage to tell him, and then talk myself out of it, over and over again. This goes on for what seems like hours, until he interrupts my thought process “So, let’s get this difficult conversation out of the way”, he says. “Difficult conversation?” I ask, still trying to play it cool. “Well, you said there’s something you wanted to tell me. What is it?”, he asks. Shit, quick, make something up! I can’t think of anything, so what comes out of my mouth is a bunch of Ums and Uhs. I mentally kick myself in the butt and decide to go for it.

“Okay so”, I start off “I know we don’t know each other that well yet… “ I pause and take a deep breath. No turning back now. “…but from what I know of you so far… I really like” I continue talking and avoid any eye contact with him “So, I just wanted to say that I like you.. I think you’re cute..  and I’d love to see where this goes…” I can feel my face turning red  “Anddddd .. that’s it… I’m gonna shut up now” I quickly finish up, still avoiding eye contact. OMG. I can’t believe I did it. I hold my breath and wait for his response.

Final part here

Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part III

Part I here.  Part II here.

Ironically, I had started dating an Indian guy at the time. Let’s call him T.

T approached me on the street as I was walking home one night. I was thrown off guard and didn’t find him particularly attractive, and it didn’t help that he was Indian. But he seemed harmless, and I’d just been on two bad dates in a row, so I figured I had nothing to lose and gave him my number.

We exchanged some messages and he sounded like a decent guy, so I gave it a shot and went on a date with him. If I was being really honest with myself, I was kind of hoping it was one of those scenes from a movie where one finds love in the most bizarre, random way. I mean, what a cool story to tell people that I found love on the street- literally! I had already created this perfect story in my head, with a fairy-tale happy ending – all before I even started dating him.

In a way, it’s like I was idealizing an order of fries – imagining how heavenly they would taste, thinking these would be the perfect fries – before even actually having a taste.

So we went on a date. Although we had a good conversation, there was no chemistry on my part. The fries didn’t taste as good as I imagined them to. But…. I really wanted to believe in that story. I wanted him to be the perfect fries. So I continued dating T, with the hopes that I’ll wake up one day and the ‘feeling’ will hit me. Except, each fry that I put in my mouth didn’t taste better than the previous one. Each date I went on with him didn’t change the way I felt.

Three weeks into the so-called relationship and I was frustrated, exhausted, and nowhere near to feeling anything. I didn’t even want him to kiss me.

During this three-week period, Mr V and I started talking. I guess after seeing him in a different light, I let my guard down and naturally became friendlier towards him. I even fessed up to him about why I’d been ignoring him. We started off talking about the leadership program, and the conversation flowed naturally onto other things. I was surprised to learn that we have a lot of things in common i.e. he too enjoys writing and poetry. We also began exchanging stories from our dating adventures.

I shared with him the whole situation with T. Our mutual friends encouraged me to push through and make it work, and I asked him what he thought. I remember his response so clearly because it made a huge difference to me. He said he comes from a school of thought that deep down, you know what you want. He also assured me that whatever I choose is the ‘right’ choice, and there is no ‘wrong’ choice. It was really just up to me.

What he said made me realized that I knew the answer all along. All I had to do was apply the lessons I’d learn from the past: trust my instinct, and if the fries don’t taste good, then I don’t have to force myself to finish it!

And with that, I broke it off with T. Although I was relieved and had no regrets about my decision, there was a part of me that started questioning myself. Am I just hopeless with relationships? Should I stop trying? Am I ever going to find that person?

Little did I know, that person was already right there:)

Part IV here

Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part II

For those of you who read Part I and have been waiting to find out how the perfect brunch relates to meeting the perfect man…  here is Part II

It was March this year, and I had just enrolled into a seven-month leadership program. On day one, I see this skinny, average-looking Indian man (let’s call him Mr V). He was wearing glasses, a light-pink, long sleeve button-down shirt, and black trousers. He had neck-length hair which he tied up into a smal pony tail. He appeared well-mannered and friendly. We exchanged a few polite words in the kitchen while he ate Daal (I assume that’s what it was) from his lunchbox.

During those few seconds of interacting with him, I was busy mentally assessing him and had decided that he was one of those goody-two-shoes, entitled Indian boy. And what was up with him being so nice and helpful? Who’s he trying to impress? Not to mention the fact that I had a no-Indian men policy. Dated them before and it’s pretty much been a no-go zone for the past 10 years.

My cocky self also decided that since Indian men tend to fall for me (well, is it considered cocky if it’s true? :P), I’d better not interact with this guy much or he might think he has a chance.

So I spent the next four months of the program pretty much ignoring him. It was a class of about 20 people, and I was friendly towards everyone except him. I was civil towards him and exchanged pleasantries, but I made sure our conversations never lasted longer than a minute, and that we were never seated next to each other.

Everyone seemed to like him and only had good things to say about him – which annoyed me even more because come on, don’t they know that no one is that great? He could be a sociopath for all we know!

Fast forward to one fine day in July.

It’s 10 minutes before class and I’m walking through the hallway to get to class. Mr V was standing there, and I almost didn’t recognize him because he had gotten a haircut. When I finally realized that it was him, I could feel my jaws drop. He looked so good I literally could not stop staring at him!

Not surprisingly, I started taking more notice of him from that day on and found myself being impressed by the things he’d share in class. I began to see him as a nice person, and now that I saw him as attractive, my cockiness disappeared and was replaced by insecurity and doubts. He probably has girls throwing themselves at him. Plus, he’s a nice guy. I’m not a nice girl so he probably wouldn’t want to date me anyway. He’s probably looking for a meek Indian girl to become his house-wife, and that’s definitely not my cup of tea.

Fine, I’ll admit he’s nice and cute (and has a reallllly nice butt!), but there was no way it was going to work out between us. All he can be is my eye-candy when I’m in class.

During this time, I’ve come off my 6-month men-tox and started dating again.

Part III here.

Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part I

A year ago, I did a self-development program – Landmark – which completely altered the course of my life and opened up a whole new world for me. From being someone who was unfulfilled and constantly trying to find the ‘next’ thing that would make me happy, I was able to create a happy and fulfilling life I didn’t have to escape from.

A key part of creating a life I love included being totally honest with myself about what I want. And so I had to cough up – to myself and others- that while I kept saying I love being single, deep down I was just scared and I actually did want to be in a relationship.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I started dating again. This time, it wasn’t just to pass time or have more stories to tell – but to have the kind of relationship I’ve always wanted. For those who have been following my blog, you know that I haven’t had a lot of success in this area. But I’m about to say (type) something very radical: I’m thrilled to report that I finally have a success story to share with you guys!

Let me tell you how it happened.

I’m a huge fan of brunch, and of course fries. The two don’t really seem to go together though, so my alternative for fries that I can justify eating for brunch is hash browns.

There are tons of cafes in my neighbourhood, and in over a year of being in the area, I’ve tried a few cafes, and narrowed down to only 2 cafes that served great brunch.  My definition of a ‘perfect brunch’ consists of: scrambled eggs, avocado, grilled tomato, mushrooms, spinach, avocado, and as I said, hash browns.

Neither of these 2 cafes served hash browns though, and I’ve googled cafes in the area which serve hash browns (yes, that’s how desperate I was), and found none to my disappointment. Anyhow, I would alternate between these 2 cafes as there’s wasn’t one café that had everything I wanted on one plate, let alone have hash browns.

There’s this one café which is also walking distance from my place, and I often walked pass, but never paid attention to. I’ve read a few good reviews about it, but each time I passed by, I got this feeling that it ‘wasn’t my style’. The place just didn’t have the usual ‘vibe’ I look for in a brunch place. So I never thought to give it a try in the one year or so that I’ve lived in the area.

Not long ago, I woke up and went for a walk while deciding where to have brunch between the 2 cafes. I wasn’t too hungry, so I kept walking along and came across this particular café. Instead of walking pass, for some reason that day I stopped in front of the café. They had outdoor seating which I love, and I was surprised I didn’t notice it before. I decided I might as well go in and take a look at the menu. So I walked towards the counter inside the cafe, picked up the menu and there it was:

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Everything I wanted – all on one plate! Even the hashbrown! I almost couldn’t contain my excitement as I sat in that lovely café and devoured the best brunch I’ve had in a year.

So that’s how I found my perfect brunch:)

I’ve probably left you wondering how on earth this relates to my success in dating, didn’t I? I promise I’ll bridge it for you, but before I do that, I’d like to hear from you guys. What did you see, and what lessons can you take away from my perfect brunch incident?

Part II here

Of Fries and Where Is The Love?

I know it’s been a while since I blogged. To be honest it was mostly because I didn’t have much to share in regards to relationships and men since I declared a “men-tox” in January. 

So what have I been upto all this time? Well, the amazing thing is once I started focusing on myself and my life, instead of chasing after someone else, I was able to create a life that was fulfilling for me. Some key highlights of what’s been happening with me: 

  • I am now running drama and poetry workshops for young people 
  • I just produced my first-ever short film
  • I went to Kenya to volunteer at an orphange 
  • I recently quit my job in order to pursue my passion 

It’s a completely new experience for me to wake up each day and be thrilled about the life I have. Life without men was drama-free and peaceful. For the first time, I was able to simply be happy with myself and my life, without needing someone else to make me feel loved and validated. 

All of that was great, and I’ve never felt more complete. But it also made me wonder if my new-found optimism and fulfilment meant that I’m ready to get back into the dating scene. 

Some friends suggested I try online dating, and my first reaction was “ew no!”, which made me think wow, when did I become someone who judges something before even giving it a try. So I gave online dating a try, mainly to prove to myself that I’m not a judgmental bitch. And I gotta say, the whole online experience made me realize I actually AM a judgmental bitch! If they have bad grammar or like Justin Bieber, they’re off my list. If their favourite pastime is clubbing, they’re off. If they’re too keen, they’re off. If they answered questions in a dull and predictable way, they’re off. 

So anyway, I came across this guy who states in his profile that he’s “above average intelligence”. At first I found that to be really cocky, but then I became intrigued and saw it as a challenge. So we started to communicate. 

Today we met up for the first time. He seemed like a cool person, and we have things in common which is nice. But there were no sparks- at least not from my part. I wasn’t wow’d by who he is or what he said.

At the end of the night, he messaged me to say that he likes me and would love to meet up again. I knew there was no point dragging it on, so I told him I didn’t feel the chemistry and didn’t see it leading anywhere. He appreciated my honesty and wished me luck with what I was looking for.

I told my friend A about it, and he asked me “What is it that you’re looking for?”

That question made me realize that what I want – beyond finding someone with a shared passion – is to be in love! I want to experience something that sweeps me off my feet. Not a logical arrangement or something that “works”, but something magical. 

I read an article recently which talks about why you shouldn’t settle for someone that doesn’t blow you away. Here’s an except from the article: 

If you aren’t blown away by someone, you won’t be capable of falling in love with him or her. That’s what love is.

It’s being caught off-guard. It’s being surprised — shocked, even — that a person who feels so right really exists.

That’s what I am looking to experience, and today was nowhere near that. You could argue that I only spent a few hours with him, and that I may be swept away if I gave him a chance. But I have learned to trust my instincts, so I knew this wasn’t it. I’ve also experienced having a first conversation with someone where it turned into something deep and magical, and being absolutely blown away by who that person is- so I know what that feeling is like. 

A part of me is a bit scared though. What if I’m no longer capable of being blown away? What if I’ve become so numb that I won’t ever be wow’d by someone again? 

Thoughts? 

Of Fries And Forgiveness 

For those of you who’ve been following my blog, you may recall this post about the man I thought I was going to marry, who lied to me that he had cancer (and lied about everything else).

It’s been three years now, but I haven’t really been able to move past it.I have been through breakups before, and had gone through family troubles when I was young, but those incidents weren’t a match for the pain I felt when this happened. It was as if someone ripped my heart up into pieces. More than that, I was ashamed of how stupid I had been. That’s when I gave up.

Screw relationships, screw love, screw it all. Everything was a lie. There’s no happy ending waiting for me.

And with that thought, I locked the door to my heart and threw away the keys so that even I couldn’t get in. I figured there was no place for my heart in this loveless life.

I started dating men I saw no future with. Men who explored the curves of my body but never the corners of my mind.

I went through a series of unsatisfying relationships and made a hobby out of accumulating pain. I told myself I would never forgive this man for ruining my life. I was determined to hate him forever, and clung tightly onto the anger and resentment for the past three years.

A few months ago though, I came to the realisation that ‘hate’ was too big a burden to carry. It drained the life out of me, and something needed to change for me to live a fulfilled and happy life. I knew what the answer was, but I had been resisting all along: the only way I could free myself was to forgive him. But how could I, after everything he’s done?

I then learned that the definition of ‘forgive’ is ‘to give up the right to resent someone or the need to punish them’. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you condone their behaviour, it simply means you stop resenting them and in doing so, set yourself free.

And that’s exactly what I did. I wrote this man a note to say I forgave him, and meant every word of it.

What happened afterwards was a sense of liberation like I’ve never experienced before. All this time I’ve been carrying around a heavy bag filled with anger and hatred, and now that I’ve thrown the bag away, it’s as if a huge weight has been lifted.

It’s not easy to forgive someone who’s hurt you, and definitely not easy to restore your faith in humanity. But that’s really the only way to heal your wounds and experience love and happiness. For the first time in my life, I can say I am genuinely happy. I wake up each day feeling grateful for being alive. I see love all around me, and I have faith that love is waiting for me:)

Reminds me of a song:

And if you’re in love, then you are the lucky one,
‘Cause most of us are bitter over someone.

I’d like to leave you with this last thought: let’s not fill our hearts with bitterness, no matter the circumstances. Life is too short and precious to give up on love.


 

20

Jan

Of Fries And Can We Be Friends?

I got to talking to this girl during my weekend creative writing class, and I was telling her about my blog. The conversation happened over lunch – where I had a side serving of fries on my plate – of which I only had 3 pieces, yay! Sorry, just had to brag:)

Anyway, we got to talking about men, and this girl had a pretty strong belief that men and women can’t be friends. For her, the notion was absurd and impossible.

As for me, I’d like to believe that men and women CAN be friends, because most of my good/best friends are male (and if her theory held true I’d be left with virtually no friends!)

Having said that, I’m actually struggling with making new guy friends.

I grew up with brothers, so I always feel I get along better with men. Because of this, when meeting a new group of people, I find myself naturally gravitating towards men more than women. For some reason I feel more at ease around men, and the conversations seem to flow better.

So I’m in a new city, I’m meeting all sorts of people. I meet a bunch of cool people, some of which are guys. We talk, we click, we laugh. We exchange numbers and make plans to meet. I’m happy to meet this cool person who has similar interests and to have a new friend in the city whom I can catch up with.

The trouble, though, is that I wanted to be friends, but he wanted the benefits too.

I’ve had to deal with a couple of these situations in the past few months, and so I tried a few approaches to see which one works best.

The up-front approach
This is where, before agreeing to meet up with a guy, I say something like “I just want to let you know that I’m agreeing to meet you as friends. I’m not looking for more, so nothing will ever develop out of this beyond friendship. I want to be upfront to avoid awkwardness and unmet expectations.”

The results?
Didn’t work so well. One guy said he still wants to keep pursuing me in case he can make me change my mind. I guess the flaw with this approach is for someone who enjoys a challenge, saying this to them is like holding up a green light saying “come get me”

The hint-drop approach
I found this really useful for the new year, because people always ask what your new year resolutions are. If the guy doesn’t ask, I make sure to ask him so he can ask me back. To which my response would be “my resolution? Just trying to give up things that are bad for me, you know, alcohol, fries, men”.. He is intrigued and respond with “Men?” And I proceed to talking about how I have no place or time for men in my life etc. One guy responded with “but you’re talking to one”, to which I casually said “yup, guy friends are allowed”

The results?
I actually don’t know if this approach worked (hah!) It might have just made them less likely to tell me what they’re really thinking, but that’s fine by me.

The play-dumb approach
This is where I literally play dumb. If he compliments me, I pretend I didn’t hear it. Or if it’s via chat, I ignore it and change the topic. When saying goodbye, if I sense he’s leaning in for a kiss, I would just wave or give a quick hug and go off. I basically ignore all attempts and proceed as though nothing has happened.

The results?
I think this is the easiest one to do because it doesn’t require any confrontation or conversation, but it’s also the least effective. By brushing it off, he might think he needs to try harder.

I generally prefer to be upfront and honest, so we get it out of the way and just be friends. The whole playing dumb thing bothers me because I hate the idea of leading someone on. But at the same time, I struggle to bring it up especially when the guy isn’t being explicit about it. He might just go all “Woah chill the f*ck out girl I wasn’t into yo ass”

So, that’s my story. I’m still not sure what the best approach is but I stand by my belief that men and women can be friends. I’m sure there are male-female friendships which don’t work, and some of my new friendships may never work out. But there are also same-sex friendships that don’t work. The way I see it, some friendships are meant to be, and some aren’t – regardless of whether you’re male or female:)

What about you guys? Do you think men and women can be friends? And if you have any bright ideas on how to tell a guy you just want to be friends, please do share:)

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