This week I had a minor distraction after having recovered data from one of my old laptops (serving me the time spanning grade 12 of high school to my second year of university). Browsing through my archived documents, I found a few boy-related gems, such as a message written by one of my friends ending in "its very hard for me to come out and say this but would u like to go out with me? p.s please say yes lol", and this list I wrote of reasons why I liked my second crush: (NB: I was a douche when I was 16-18 years old. Also, I had/have a thing for people with slightly crooked teeth)
-realised my name was a palindrome the first time we met -always texts me/replies straight away
-is really tall and has broad shoulders -has well defined eyebrows and a small nose (for an Arab) -is smart but not competitive; funny, attentive, responsive -is masculine but not afraid to be feminine -exercises (approx. 13.5 hours a week) but is good humoured about it -has a good appetite (ate: 1 cheeseburger, 2 quarter pounders, 1 maccas soft serve cone, and 1 rapper snacker last time) -met my parents -likes me for me (not my achievements) -likes a natural look -met my parents -has a style that can look rock or RNB
-remembers the ferris wheel from The Notebook
-is subtle, gentleman, never vulgar
-has crooked teeth
-dresses nicely -a lot of girls are crazy about him
LMAO at recording his dietary intake, and also at the fact that I wrote he had met my parents twice. Also, at the Notebook dot point; and the rock/RNB one. Also, the whole thing..
Besides these cringe-worthy findings, I also discovered a transcript of a conversation I had with a guy about a snowflake pendant I was given when I was barely 15years old (so please make light of how seriously I took the Batman series).
***: I like your necklace Thanks, it's got a story
***: ..? Have you watched Batman and Robin? ***: Which one? The one with Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy
Well this is supposed to be the necklace that Mr. Freeze gave his wife. He loved her so much that she made him want to do so much good. But all his good intentions led him down the path to hell. [**dat melodramatic teenager]
A guy gave me this to symbolise the way that his good intentions were leading him to make choices going down a toxic path, and to show me that he didn’t want to pull me down with him.
That was the first time I ever liked someone, and the first time I got dumped. So I wear this necklace to remind me of the consequences of putting myself in that position again.
I was 19 at the time of that conversation. Needless to say, I probably scarred that guy I was speaking to for life. More importantly, as far as I can remember, that was the first time I ever demonstrated signs of self protection. True, it did stop me from getting emotionally involved with other people, and saved me from getting hurt, but it also stopped me from falling for anyone, and both unknowingly and ironically symbolised my becoming a bit of an ice queen.
So why do we self-protect? There exists the principle of the human ego, and the decision to put your ego and its protection above the chance of it getting wounded by another person. There is a well-known dichotomy of self-protection and connectedness goals in romantic relationships, where these competing goals are activated to different degrees within the same person, with variables such as self esteem and past experiences coming into play (some people with lower self-esteem will prioritise self-protection goals above connectedness, directing them away from situations where they need to trust or depend on their partner).
This is conveyed in the "hedgehog dilemma" in Arthur Schopenhauer's parable Parerga und Paralipomena;
'A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature...By this arrangement the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then people do not get pricked.'
In other words, a certain degree of introversion is developed following human intimacy because of its resultant substantial mutual harm, and unfortunately this can lead to cautious behaviour and weak relationships. It's sad but true; I've demonstrated this self-protecting behaviour repeatedly to people who genuinely went out of their way for me.
However, rather than using the framework of the aforementioned dichotomy, it is possible to look at things from an alternate view, and see that by letting your ego rule you, you are allowing your past experiences to limit your future ones. I've been in a situation where I was involved with someone who clung onto every personal element of himself so tightly, that I felt I barely knew anything about the person he was-eventually it became a self-fulfilling prophecy where his lack of intimacy made him easy for me to let go of.
I'm going to fall into my pattern of quoting Gambino lyrics;
'I wish I could say this was a story about how I got on the bus a boy and got off a man more cynical, hardened, and mature and shit. But that’s not true. The truth is I got on the bus a boy. And I never got off the bus. I still haven’t...'
There comes a time where we must realise that everybody gets hurt, and everybody inflicts pain unto others. It's immature to cling on to early experiences for such a long time, and at some point we need to let go of them.