Saturday, May 21, 2011

Of an old song and an old book

There are two parts to this post (yet another long one. Nyarr!). The first part is about a song I've been thinking about. And the second part is about a book I've been reading, or rather, an excerpt from that book.

I've been thinking about this song.

It's an old song that came out one year before I was even born. I don't particularly like the song. In fact, I'm contemplating whether or not to hate this song. The reason why I'm thinking about it is because the singer, Charlene, is singing about her situation (whether it was real or not, I'm not sure), which is something that could very well be my situation in the future. In a nutshell, the lyrics are sang from a woman who is probably way past her prime and has enjoyed a good life travelling around the world, messing around with guys, living the life. But in the song, this women is giving advice to a married woman with children, telling her that even though she feels unhappy with her marriage and a discontented mother and dreams about doing the things she will never be able to do because she's married with kids, the woman singing advises her that all the 'fantastic things' she's done in her life is nothing compared to having what the other woman has, which is a family. At one part of the song, she sings (or more like, speaks) "Hey, you know what paradise is? It's a lie...but you know what truth is? It's that little baby you're holding, and it's that man you fought with tonight. The same one you're going to make love with tonight. That's truth, that's love." And then she goes on to sing about how she cries for unborn children that might have her complete.

I have many reasons to hate this song. Coz' it makes single women like me worried that if we don't get hitched to someone and have kids, we'll end up old and alone and regretting it. It makes women like me think that finding a guy, settling down and starting a family is more important than anything else. It makes women like me wonder if getting out there and living our single lives, doing what we want, how we want it, is not going to be worth anything later in life. And I hate it mostly because this could actually turn out to be true.

Just recently, I got into another round of conversation with the same guy I had a slightly drunken conversation that I talked about in my previous long waffling post. At one point we started talking about 'true love' again (that question he was dogging me on in our last drunken conversation), and then he commented on my recent Facebook status about this article.

Some of the girls who commented on my FB status are more skinny than curvy, so I'm wondering why THEY would be so happy. Bygones. Anyhow, the guy I'm talking too saw my status update and asked me this question: Do I really NEED a boyfriend? After all, I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself, going on vacation to US, learning how to scuba dive, getting involved in many activities, etc, etc.

Getting technicalities out of way, I'm sure no girl ever actually NEEDS a boyfriend. The question is more whether I actually really want one or not. And it's quite funny now that after a long history of lamenting my lack of love life (most of that lamenting done on this blog itself), I'm now so used to being single and independant that I'm seriously considering if it's best just to stay that way for the rest of my life. But, as I told my friend, I'm also wondering if I'll end up regretting that choice later on in life when I'm old and frail and alone. On the other hand, I may also end up regretting getting hitched to someone. To me, I'm considering 3 possible scenarios:

1) I meet my 'Mr. Right', get married and live mostly happily ever after (every relationship will have its up and downs, but the important thing is that we learn to deal with it and still love each other). That would actually be my ideal situation. And it would be a great plus if we made beautiful babies who grew up to be fantastic people that actually took the time to take care of their folks. In such a case, I would certainly have little or no regrets in my old age because I know I'd have family around and people who love me.

2) I meet a guy, get married, have kids, and then life just spirals downwards from there. Could be either we reach a point where we cannot even sleep in the same room and can't talk to each other without getting in to a fight. Or worst still, we decide to get a divorce. And to top it all off, the kids could turn out to be an irresponsible bunch that fly off the Australia after we spend RM20k a semester trying to get them through uni, only to find out they've failed the course, decided to run off with some guy/girl and never call home again. In such as case, I still end up being alone and regretful in my old age, and I would not have gottent the chance to do all the things I would get to do if I had remained single. So what's the point?

3) I remain single, do whatever I wanna do for the rest of my life, make good friends, visit the world, experience new things, without having to endure all the emotional hoohah of marriage and potentially bratty kids. And then spend my old age withering away in an old folks home, where the news of the week is that another friend of mine passed away, and I would be planning the best way to commit suicide without leaving a bloody mess for the old folks home helpers to clean up.

Scenario 1 would be greatest. Scenario 3 would be great as long as long as I have energy to run around and enjoy my life. Scenario 2 would be just about the suckiest situation to be in. And while I would certainly love being in Scenario 1, if I had to choose between living a life in scenario 2 or 3, I would choose Scenario 3 and be alone for the rest of my life. However, in order to get a shot of living out Scenario 1, I have to run the very real risk of it spiralling downwards to becoming Scenario 2. Which is what I am damn shit scared of happening. My fears are not unfounded. I've grown up in a home where my mum constantly finds a way to be annoyed with my dad, my dad is completely exasperated with my mum's impatience, they currently both stay in separate rooms, and their kids, including myself, hardly ever take the time to actually sit down and spend time with them except if it's someone's birthday or some festival. We kids are not close to our parents (there are reasons for this, of course, and if you know what it's like, you'll know it's not an easy situation to change) although we still carry out our filial duties in terms of providing for mum and dad. Somewhat.

Suffice to say, I don't want to live the type of family life that my mum and dad are living right now. And hence, I'd love to hate the song "I've Never Been To Me" because it sends the message that being married with kids is the best thing you could ever do with your life. Which could be true, or it could go completely the other way and make your life absolutely miserable.

And I'm 28 years old, which makes me at the prime of my life and I'm running out of time to decide whether or not to go the way of marriage and family or the way of singledom. If at some point, my maternal instrincts activate and I decide that I REALLY want to have kids, it may very soon come to the point where that ship has left the dock and there's no way I can jump on it anymore. And I'm not just talking about my biological clock ticking away here, there is another reason for it (which is kind of explained in the 2nd part of my long-winded post). But even if I do decide I want to go the way of marriage, I don't have any potential partners at the moment. And finding the right guy is not easy. My friend was is a bit bewildered on why it is so difficult for me, as he seems to have the opinion that there are many guys out there who would want a girl like me.

Interestingly enough, in one earlier conversation (we've had a few other meet-ups since our first drunken conversation, just so you know), he voiced his suspicion that the reason I'm hesitant to get into a relationship is because I think that I don't deserve to be loved.

And just like the song, I'd love to hate what he said. Because the fact is that I don't consider myself a person with low self-esteem. Therefore the notion that I'm afraid of a relationship because I don't deserve to be loved, which implies that I am a person with low self-esteem, should by all means piss me off.

But unfortunately I hate to say it, but he could be right as well.

Which leads me to my thoughts about the book excerpt. This same guy that I've been having these fascinating conversations with recently lent me a book. It's a really old book as well (like the song) which came out in 1989. I would have been 6 years old and in kindergarten at the time, and funnily enough, the book is called "All I Really Need to Know", I Learned in Kindergarten - Uncommon Thoughts on Uncommon Things" by Robert Fulghum. It's basically a collection of the writer's thought on various topics, each of which are short write-up of only 3 to 4 pages each.

In one story, he talks about his thoughts on children playing hide and seek. And then talk about how adults like to play hide and seek, in their own way. The excerpt is as follows:

A man I know found out last year that he had terminal cancer. He was a doctor. And knew about dying, and he didn't want to make his family and friends suffer through that with him. So he kept his secret. And died. Everybody said how brace he was to bear his suffering in silence and not tell everybody, and so on and so forth. But privately his family and friends said how angry they were that he didn't need them, didn't trust their strength. And it hurt that he didn't say goodbye.
He hid too well. Getting found would have kept him in the game. Hide-and-seek, grown-up style. Wanting to hide. Needing to be sought. Confused about being found. "I don't want anyone to know." "What will people think?""I don't want to bother anyone."

This hit a bit too close to home for me. I've said before on my blog that I don't like people feeling sorry for me, which is why I keep many thing to myself. So while this may sound like I'm going off tangent from the earlier topic, it does relate. Please bear with me. :)

At the end of 2010, I paid a visit to a doctor for a medical check-up. To be specific, it was a gynae and it was the first time I'd visited a gynae. He did some tests, and told me to call back in a week and see how were the results. When I did, it turns out they had found some mild 'abnormal formations' on my cervix. They had to do a biopsy to remove the abnormal cells and check what it was about. So I took a day off, hopped into a cab to the hospital, and went in for the biopsy, which was done in about an hour or so while I was out like a light, after which I took the cab back. Didn't tell anyone about this, by the way. After another week, the doctor explains to me that I have a virus. Not anything that will kill me, and there a chance that the virus goes dormant, in which case I won't have anymore problems. However, there is a higher chance of the buggers recurring and causing more abnormal formations in my cervix. To cut long story short, I am at high risk of cervical cancer. Which again, will not kill me as long as it's monitored. But there is a risk that the buggers may cause enough mayhem in me that I will one day have to have my cervix removed. This could happen within the next few years, or next decade or more.

And once that happens, I can never have kids.

So while that's not too much of a concern for me right NOW, it comes back to the point where I know my time to make a decision is running out. If I do decide to go the way of marriage and children, then I don't have much time left to make that choice. But then there's always the problem of finding the right guy. Plus now there's the additional problem of getting a man who's willing to invest in damaged goods.

On the bright side, it's the weekend and you should watch this vid and smile coz' it has dancing monkeys!