Monday, 3 November 2008

I Love You, I Love You NOT

It’s astounding, and sad really, how many broken people roam the earth. Everyone has a story or knows someone who does.
*He left her after making a trillion empty promises that he had no intention of keeping and then one day, at the drop of a hat, married someone else. No explanations.
*She left him after months of getting to know each other, and then at a serious juncture in their relationship, got hitched to the perfect stranger.
*They were good friends, but he/she was more emotionally invested in the relationship than the other…or maybe he/she was just too chicken shit to try to make it work…
*They were great together, but he’s philandering ways got the better of him…
*He doesn’t make enough money, so her family says…
*She’s not white or skinny enough…
*Sorry wrong gaam, only thorough-bred in-breeders accepted…

You name it, I’ve heard it all. Everyone (well at least 99% of people) has experienced the heart-wrenching, soul-gutting, wrist-slitting, mind-fucking anguish of Rejection, in some way or form.

I’ve come across hundreds of stories, literally, over many years. I have my own story that has a life span of less than a year, with the NOT-so-happily-ever-after fairytale ending occurring barely 3 months ago. I’m not in the tree business, so I don’t pine for things that were never meant to be mine. However, every now and then when I feel that twinge of regret or remorse, a minor inclination to want to languish or throw a pity party, I resist the urge to stick a fork into my left eye and proceed to pull myself out from the depths of the alluring despair by doing something physical, like running or stabbing pillows.

So what is it about Love/Infatuation that makes us so stupid? We forget all reason…we become blind. We justify, substantiate and validate opinions about realities that don’t exist. Cognitive Dissonance for the relationship impaired. “I saw the way she looked at me, we were meant to be”…Dude, news flash, she was looking at the Bentley parked behind you. “I just know he likes me too, why else would he talk to me so frequently”…erm, maybe because he’s been trying to get your friends number?
We are casualties of our perceptions. We make assumptions based on ambiguous and arbitrary pieces of information that mean nothing. And if that is not enough, we believe those assumptions to be true, therein creating our own lies.

But what if he/she really was into you. And you really did have an undeniable connection? And you didn’t make up that shit to satiate your romantically starved ego? What if he/she was just and asshole, then what?
Well then time to pack up and go home. No point in staying at the circus when there’s no one performing because then you’re the fool. I see people everywhere who are lonely, yearning, pining, brooding, damaged…broken.

Lives of quiet desperation…an existential drought.

There are the Wallow’ers. The ones who refuse to move on. It’s easy to blame yourself. To sit and wonder where on earth did you go wrong. To believe that he/she didn’t want to be with you because you weren’t good enough…that you didn’t fulfill a certain pre-determined set of criteria…that you just didn’t make the cut. There’s a masochistic degree of comfort in a negative emotion because it requires little or no effort and provocation. It comes naturally and seeps into your soul, like Darth Vader.

“What if” Syndrome. What if we did things differently? What if her parents hadn’t gotten into the way? What if…
Every potential partner will always be compared to The One. They will find every reason to cling to hope that has long been lost, desperately looking for signs, thinking that the person will change his/her mind and come running back to them with arms wide open like some corny Meg Ryan movie. The darkness is more comforting than the light, because the light would mean that they, God forbid, would actually have to come back to reality and make an effort to live and not merely exist.

Then there are the self-proclaimed Assholes. You know, the fool masquerading in the cold contemptuous fa├žade that hides a wounded animal. They acquire labels and when someone calls them on it, they become defensive and aggressive. The detracting and condescending “fuck off, don’t come too close to me because I’m an asshole and I will hurt you because the last time I let someone in I was screwed over royally and I’d be damned if I let it happen again” defense. They punish themselves for allowing people to hurt and reject them. Their self-deprecation denies them of any form of real happiness, often compensating their emotional voids with vacuous physical activities. It’s easier to hate yourself for allowing the other person to hurt you the way they did, because homicide is illegal and a mortal sin. And it’s more likely that many people don’t automatically stop liking the person who is a cause of their pain.

There are the born-again whores and players who are the promiscuous version of the assholes. They believe that their promiscuity numbs the pain and is the road to enlightenment. They have a vendetta. One person hurt them, and the whole world needs to pay, one screw at a time. They create emotional havoc wherever they go by making false promises and leaving a trail of blood, lies and tears…no one is spared. They are shallow and arrogant because walking around screaming “Screw the World” is actually easier and better than feeling something. They over-compensate for the devastation that they once experienced and seek to go all out get their revenge, even though their vengeance is often fruitless and hollow.

We all cope with rejection differently in various stages, like grief. Our reactions may not be that simple and sometimes it’s an amalgamation of the different stages in the grieving process.

I am a spectator in his life, watching helplessly as he struggles to get through. I’m sure that some days are better than others and at least he smiles and laughs when I see him now and then. But the mischievous and playful glint in his eye is long gone. Eight years ago his life came to an abrupt halt. It’s been eight years since her parents said “No”. Eight years of external and internal battles, the war has left him mutilated. His entire approach to life is different now. He exists. Every woman that will ever come into his life will always be compared to her. They will never meet his expectations and if he does decide to get married one day, his poor wife will have to suffer because of it. She on the other hand doesn’t seem to care much, she’s happily married to someone else and life goes on.

I get frustrated. He‘s a great guy, he has so much to live for. He has wasted enough time, but it’s not too late. He can change, everything CAN change. But he has to WANT it to change…and as long as he doesn’t want to, there’s nothing anyone can do. It’s a lost cause. I feel deeply for him although I don’t want to save him. I just want to urge him to save himself, before he wakes up one day and his whole life has passed him by.

I’ve realised that to a large degree, you can control how you feel. You can control how you act and react to situations. You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you choose to sink or swim. You can decide to move on, and be the better for it. You can decide that one person is not going to influence who you are intrinsically. That one person is not going to change who you are. You can decide that the problem was not with you, but with the less-than-significant other. You can make up your mind to move on without being bitter, resentful or vengeful and trust that when the real One comes into your life, you’ll be able to recognise him/her without being clouded by tears and bad experiences or bogged down by unnecessary baggage. You can believe that you are better off without him/her and that The Almighty SWT knows what He’s doing.

Approaching three months is already too long for me. The grieving is done. I respect myself too much to give that moron another minute of my precious time. I respect myself too much to want to wallow in pathetic despair while he doesn’t give me a second thought. I respect myself too much to allow myself to be changed by the circumstances surrounding his Ass-holiness. I liked him, but I LOVE myself more.


  1. Isnt it weird. i was just thinking to myself i'm over her. I didnt realise it, but i got over. and i dont her, just feel nothing for her. Ppl who are callous with the feelings of others always pay in the end. Balance. Thank you Azra for this nice read.

  2. This post resonated with me. I agree that u have the choice to sink or swim, to go thru life just existing or to really live. In a way it's true that one nasty experience isn't enough to really change the person u intrinsically are but everyone is the sum of their experiences. And i think it's almost impossible not to be tainted in some way after u put ur complete trust in someone only to have it shattered. I'm told that i've become bitter n heartless, i think i have just become more risk averse. I'm glad it took u only three months to realise what it took me three years to grasp. Ure a quick learner :-)

  3. This is totally off topic but this was extremely well written, the subtle innuednos and sarcasm helped to describe something serious without becoming boring

    Possible career avenue?

  4. I've just been listening to Amir Sulaiman's, "She said I prefer a broken neck to another broken heart", your post is somewhat resonant of it. :)

    I've been canvassing opinion on the following, do let me know what you think,"If hearts didn't get broken, then poems wouldn't be professed, songs wouldn't be sung, books wouldn't be written, and movies wouldn't be made. Or perhaps they would, love has been known to instigate such acts of expression, but they would be significantly fewer and not nearly as good."

    A lovely read :)

  5. im going back to read this again cos it was so darn well written :P

    but my fav piece is -

    "Approaching three months is already too long for me. The grieving is done. I respect myself too much to give that moron another minute of my precious time. I respect myself too much to want to wallow in pathetic despair while he doesn’t give me a second thought. I respect myself too much to allow myself to be changed by the circumstances surrounding his Ass-holiness. I liked him, but I LOVE myself more."

    m w a h

  6. I think sometimes we are more angry with ourselves...because we allowed him/her to 'do that' to us. The betrayl of the other person is one thing...but when you head is saying 'I told you so' it's even worse!!

    Very well written;)

  7. I read this post thrice's really nicely written---thank you.

    Sadly, I have had "all of the above" experiences...and unfortunatly I was one to have trouble moving on after a heart-break...until my sister told me something...'Don't waste tears over someone who won't waste tears on you...'
    I decided to pick myself up and look the world straight in the eye and shukar, I'm a better, stronger person for doing that.

    It is true what you say...we choose how we handle situations---we either sink or swim (as you said).
    We all must just bear in mind that eveything happens for a reason and we should not question why the Almighty has given us anything (bad or good)...coz you know, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade :-)

    Yes, when you find yourself heartbroken, take a period to mourn (cry, throw things, eat chocolate and ice-cream...), but don't make the mistake of staying in that hole. You crawl out (albeit a bit bruised), dust yourself off and face the world again. And if you have the misfortune of getting your heart broken again, don't despair, coz remember, whatever doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger :-)

    Glad it only took you 3 months to get back on your feet after the the incident..

    Once again, thanks for this post---it made to think back to how foolish I was when I was younger and in love...

  8. OH - I really believe in the "what comes around goes around" theory. Never in the history of Man, has anybody ever been able to just do as they please, without suffering the consequences. It may take a week, a month or a year but "Elke Hond kry sy dag"...the wheel turns and that is Karma. It is evident throughout history...Nations that achieved greatness at the expense of others always witnessed a bitter demise ie. Romans etc. I can't tell you how many times I've personally witnessed the theory in my life. So I believe "Do unto others as you would like to be done unto you". Thanx for the comps :P

    WIP - I've had a very traumatic life, especially my childhood (I can't go into details because we'll be here until tomorrow) and if I could choose, I wouldn't change a thing because it has made me a better person.
    So I concur, we are our life's experiences.
    But my concern is what happens AFTER the broken heart. I've been lucky in that I have had other tragedies in my life that made me realise that this was nothing in the grander scheme of things. I do believe that you can learn the lesson without letting it affect you negatively. For instance, I'm much more cautious about guys but I'm still hopeful and optimistic that there'l be one that stands out. And I will Not punish him for the crimes of the asshole because I'm wiping the slate clean. Yes it was horrible, but its over now. I'm a little wiser so I know what to look out for the next time, and I wont let bitterness rule my life because I'm too good for that, I deserve better. And its time to move on and up.

    Nooj - Thanx...I love writing... I should have been a journalist. I'm hoping that one day I'll be able to put my 2 brain cells together and actually write a book...a memoir, "the life and times of..." :D

    Khadija - I have discovered that I write my best material when I feel pasionately about the subject. I also write some damn good poetry when I'm depressed :D
    Its not experiencing the grief thats the problem - by all means grieve. But grieving for 5 years is not the answer.
    But there comes a point when people have to realise that its time to take the lesson and move on. Waiting for that person, having false hopes, thats not the answer either. Its about being realistic, having courage and respecting yourself enough to let the scars heal and moving on without the resentment.

    Shafs - :D xoxo

    Trinity - We are betrayed not only by the other person, but by ourselves too. Like I said, its easier to hate yourself because you can't kill him.

    Everyone - I think that aside from the betrayal, we haunted by failure. People dont like to fail in life, and it leaves us feeling helpless so we tend to over-compensate in other areas of our lives to make up for it. We are afraid to fail, so we push ourselves to succeed in everything. But there are times when failure is inevitable...we can't control everything. We can, however, control how we deal with it. And as my mother always says, "theres always an upside to everything, just look at the rose that is surrounded by shit (fertilizer), it blooms regardless and its even more beautiful"

  9. I read, re-read and read your post over and I been thu some stuff, but the part that got to me *Sorry wrong gaam, only thorough-bred in-breeders accepted...bring back some memories

  10. TCQ - Its taken 3 months because there were other instances where it took much longer...but I always come out on top, especially after I learned to respect myself, because I've set boundaries to what I will tolerate and what I wont. Shukar to that. Whatever doesnt kill really does make you stronger.

  11. Princess - Trust me girl, you wouldn't want to be in that family be surrounded by that mentality...and have it perpetuated with your kids. Allah SWT has been kind to you, He knows you deserve better. And even if we cant see reason or the goodness that came out of the situation at first, because of the pain that clouds our vision, we will eventually see it later.

  12. Wow what a great read and i'm sure almost everyone can relate to it in some way

    3 months Azra you lucky girl.

    I think the most important part when ending a relationship is closure. Now in order to get closure one needs to face the realities of the situation which is often easier said than done and brutal honesty is required not only with yourself but with your partner it makes no sense wrapping your words/thoughts up in cotton coz in that way you hurt yourself more and it gnaws at you from the inside. Its all about burying demons at the end of the day and after that there is no harm in remembering the good times.

    Also there is no better feeling when you actually wake up one morning and realise hey i'm ok and all is good.

    The becoming a bastard part of your blog I can relate to but thankfully it didnt last long coz thats not who I am and yeah i've buried my demons and looking to start off fresh :)

  13. LoL Azra, me happy with who I married! and yes I would not wanna be in that family. Certainly not

  14. @ kay-

    Light Is More Important Than The Lantern by Nizar Qabbani

    Light is more important than the lantern,
    The poem more important than the notebook,
    And the kiss more important than the lips.
    My letters to you
    Are greater and more important than both of us.
    The are the only documents
    Where people will discover
    Your beauty
    And my madness.

    there is something about the madness of love that is as appealing as it is sad

  15. Sometimes in life we think we know whats best for us refusing to see "the so much better" that lies right infront of us.

    you have to make a conscious decision, you can choose to wallow in self pity or to let go as hard as it may seem, pick up the pieces and move on. We always have a choice.

    very well written piece:)

  16. @ azra..

    this is so real to each of us...even a string of people colliding in the same space:-

    "We are casualties of our perceptions. We make assumptions based on ambiguous and arbitrary pieces of information that mean nothing. And if that is not enough, we believe those assumptions to be true, therein creating our own lies."

    @ nooj.. that was incredible! i loved it... :)

  17. Great post.Im guilty of being the stupid girl in love hoping that life will eventually give me what i want,only time will tell.

  18. I love nostalgia and enjoy it. It makes me feel good about myself. It makes me feel human. I find some old stories that can make me smile and cry at the same time. Not many have the blessing of that emotion.

    I would suggest the same for you. That’s how you can change a potential negative into a positive. Others would label you loser but you will have something you can cherish.

    If we don’t have memories and feelings and a sensitive side, there will be no difference between us and wooden closets and stony slabs. I am proud of myself… I am normal… are you?

  19. @ Sami S - I cannot be nostalgic about something that was a colossal lie. It wasn't real. Everything I thought about our "relationship", my perceptions...his words, were all based on Lies. And I cannot "cherish" what was a lie...

    I'm already in the positive because I have put myself first in the situation. I will not let his arrogance control who I am and how I feel...I've already won this battle.

    I am true to myself, I don't need to ponder and reminisce on things that mean nothing. I feel no joy, I feel no sorrow. I am Me. And I am real.

  20. Azra darls,

    very well written. But it is these experiences that make us whatever we are, good or bad, moody or melancholy, bright and happy or whatever.

    Never regret any experience in your life unless and until you end up losing a limb or two in the process. Whosoever said that it is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all was spot on. Being in love, even if it is for a few weeks or months, is a heavenly experience.

  21. i think its from a movie but here it goes


  22. I am all for, having our experiences shape and change who we are. But is it worth it?
    Is the lesson we learn worth the price we pay? I can say that there were some lessons that was not worth the price I had to pay for it. And it was that high because I chose to make my life difficult. And that is my fault. But the lesson is still important.

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  24. Trinity... Eating poison and dying is better than dying without eating it. at least you know the taste of it.

  25. Long before you provided the links, I took a ride down your memory lane. Not really memory but the lane you just left behind you. But nevertheless I read it again.

    You are a better person now Azra arent you, much better than many of them out there, who get the sting and they turn to bite the rest of them.

  26. You were right. VERY cynical. I feel like an amateur already.

    'I’m not in the tree business, so I don’t pine for things that were never meant to be mine.' I'm gonna remember that line next time I feel like crying because some random chocolate-addicted woman felt the need to break my non-existing heart and what I really need is a kick in the butt for being such a wimp. Well, I'm not really a wimp: I don't need a hanky!