There are many days in a woman’s life when everything changes. The first period, the first kiss, the first time you fall in love. But there is one day, when things really change. It’s the day you realise the man you’ve cared for, have loved even, for a long time just doesn’t love you back.
Once, when I was 21, I thought that I was in love. It was crazy. We argued about everything, and fought all the time. Our fights were not constructive arguments. They were full-blown nightmares. I even remember telling him once that he made me want to die, and he used our fights as a reason to get high. We said “I love you” at the end of every phone call, but that’s only because we thought we should. We thought it was passion, when really it was almost like a game to see who could hurt each other more. He was the man I thought I should be with, same home town as my mother, spoke the same language, ate the same food. Maybe it was too much the same. Maybe I was trying to make up for the fact that I wasn’t “Malay” enough that I had to date someone who was pure Malay.
We were together for a long time though, but there is no doubt in my mind now that had we stayed together, we would have burned each other to cinders. One day I decided that I had fought for the relationship enough, and I just let go. What did he do? He got stoned. Then I looked at him, at all the things that he had ever given me, and I realised, he didn’t even know me enough to love me. What he loved was the idea of me. The person he loved, was who he wanted me to be. It was never who I really was. I know I hurt him when I left, but we would have lived in pain had I stayed. And even though I was the one who left, I cried for months after.
Women. We can be so smart that we have two degrees, a million certificates, own a business, have rent paid in time and be able to manage a dinner party for ten without breaking a sweat but when it comes to love, we are reduced to idiots. When a man strays and messes up, we sit there and think about all the things we did, or didn’t do. We wonder where we went wrong. Did we give him too much freedom? Did we not give him enough? Were we never there for him? Or were we there too much? Was our cooking not as good as his mother’s? Were we not like his mother enough or too much like her? Did we put on too much weight? Did we lose too much weight? A million questions and a million insecurities followed by a million tears.
What would you do for love? Would you fight until there is nothing left of you? Personally, I have held on, and I have let go. When I held on, I kept faith in us, and when I let go, I did so having faith in him. I was so busy having faith in him and us, I forgot to have faith in me. Sometimes though, you just need a man to fight for you or at least with you. Sometimes you just need a man to say to his family and friends, “this is the person I want to be with regardless of what you think,” and you need him to have some faith in you, and in you and him. As hard as it is for a woman, a relationship can’t just be about you fighting alone. It’s like a doubles game, where it is you and him against the world. What happens when he just doesn’t rise to the challenge and fight with you? What happens when you realise that you were just something to fill a gap. What do you do? You cry for days, weeks, months, and sometimes years, and then although it will take time, you have to have faith again… this time it’s faith in yourself.