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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Story of Forced Attention or The Story of Leave Me Alone Please

This is a story of unrequited affection, and how uncomfortable it can be for everyone involves. Called it anti-Valentine story, but I'd rather called it "A Cautious Tale for Us All" or "Leave Me Alone, Please". 

Let's call her M. I met M through my husband, she is an old friend of him and had been a special person in my husband's life for years. My culture in Indonesia had taught me to respect elder people, and it was easy because I acknowledged that she was indeed a kind woman and one that my husband really care and adore. Yet I also acknowledged that she could be somewhat a drama queen and would demand require a good deal of attention, and if I got too close to her I could get burn. This did not impact my respect towards her, just making me extra cautious.

Then it all started.

First it was the e-mails. I ended up telling her that although I do respect her checking in on me and tried to established relationship/friendship with me, I am quiet by nature and not accustomed on communicating so intensively; plus I was still adjusting to my new life in US and I needed some time alone. Then it was the text messages. Again, I felt unease to have to answer text messages from her. A part of it because I was really not use to communicating that extensively - not even with my mom and family, we are one independent bunch - and another part because I didn't feel close to her at all that merit extensive communication. One time after a long period of no contact she send me message saying "Who is this?", which made me replied to her telling her that was my number. When I told my husband what happen, he said uneasily that it might be her way into tricking me to text her. I became less and less interested in communicating with her. Then she text me and rudely asking whether it cost money to text her. My husband tried to defuse the situation but it escalate to the point where I was rudely treated in her place when we came to visit, and followed by a lengthy letter from her which even my friend [whom I showed the letter too] exclaimed that it was really a rude letter indeed. After a while I thought it had all died down. Alas, I count my chick too soon. Just recently she texted me again and said: "For someone who does not like texting, you are pretty active in Facebook". 

Emotions are running high in me, and I don't know where to start. I feel violated. I feel betrayed. I feel unfairly judged. Who is she to force herself at me? Who is she to trick me and shame me for not accepting her "kind gesture"? She is not my mother or a part of my family. She is not my friends who had been with me through thick and thin. She does not read my writing, share the same interest with me, or have anything in common with me. She does not know me at all, nor did she express the interest to get to know me better. It was so obvious from our exchange that the thing she wanted from me was my attention, it's not about getting to know me or my well being, it was all about me giving her attention. And I refuse to fold in. I braced myself and tell myself that with her personality, sooner or later it would go down to this anyway. One wrong answer or other things that displeased her and it will go kaboom, better now than later. Yet it still made me feel so sad, as if I was the bad guy here. I do not wish to harm her, yet she forced herself to me and made me have to build this wall between us, made me have to be strict and unpleasant towards her. I don't want to harm anyone, yet she made me do it. And it breaks my heart.

If there is anything good that can be said about this whole experience, it is a reminder for myself to never, ever force my affection to someone else. And also to realize that people might not think the way we do. There are a multitude of reasons [both ones that I can easily explain and those that I couldn't explain] on why I don't feel up close and personal with this woman yet I can be like best buddies to someone I just met in Facebook; and I don't have the obligation to explain the whys to anyone. It sucks when someone is just not that interested in you like you are to him/her, but hey that's life. This is a life lesson that we probably get in our elementary school (5th or 6th grade, or even pre-school!), and in the course of life it will imposed itself again and again: rejection by a dream job you've always wanted (or any job in that matter), rejection by a cool friend you want to hang out with, rejection by the girl/boy whom you were so convinced is your true soul mate, rejection by life (e.g. not having money when you really need to buy something or go out), etc. Life is just full of disappointment, but it doesn't give you the right to hurt someone else or retaliate when faced by that disappointment. It is what make us grow, it is what make us a better person. 

I wish I could hurt her the way she hurts me, I wish I could violate her the way she violates me, but does it even matter? Even as I write this piece, my anger has subside and only the unhappiness reside. Yet that too will eventually passed, nothing in this world is forever and I would be a fool to hold grudge against her and thus making her a part of my life. Let her past, my conscience said, let her past. Her actions, lies, and interference are unpleasant and unjustifiable, and I would have to meet her again one day [and might get hurt again]; but I won't let her be a part of my life by holding grudge against her. There are other far worthier thing to do.

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