Sunday, February 05, 2006

When there's nothing left to burn, you must set yourself on fire.
- The Stars - Set Yourself On Fire

At my RGS 10th anniversary reunion yesterday, my friend and I were talking about how I admire people who manage to respond to everything without having negative baggage weigh them down in that they've manage to retain their optimism and cheerfulness without letting all of life's experiences colour their reactions to the things that happen to them. At the same time, I told her I felt being cynical and guarded was far more true to life than being perky and cheerful all the time, and that I would much rather be that kind of person than allow someone else to take advantage of me and waste my time, that I'd much rather be a person who everyone views as tough and independent, because that's what viewed as successful. I didn't spend all my life going to some of the best schools and going through everything I've gone through to squander my potential on - quite frankly - a non-high-powered, non-high-paying career. And everyone knows nice people don't get far in a corporation.

That's not to say that I'm not a nice person. I truly care about my friends and will do my utmost to help them as far as I can. And I love trying to make them happy. But I'm not like that at work, and I've admitted, some of them has spilt over into my personal life. And I do miss the days when everyone I met came away with the impression that I was a really nice girl.. even though I really despised the word 'nice' back then. Think Clementine's outburst in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:
I just don't think "nice" is a particularly interesting thing to be.It doesn't reveal anything. Nice is pandering. Cowardly.And life is more interesting than that. Or should be. Jesus God, I hope it is... someday.
But I look at the person that I am now, look at how much I've changed since my school days, how the Rafflesian quality in me really came out during my time in university and work. My natural response - like most of my best friends - is usually sarcastic, and we show our affection for one another by mercilessly teasing each other, something which some of my newer friends had to get used to (particularly my boyfriend in university) and that I really enjoy the little exchanges that come out of it. I don't mean provocative ones as they're usually rather sardonic, intellectual and to me, ultimately funny. And if you've read all of that, it's probably highly unlikely that people's first impression of me is that of niceness.

Where am I going with this? I don't really know. It's just that I admitted to that same friend that everyone who meets T. and knows about our past relationship tells me he's a really nice guy. And for some strange reason, that comment always gets me for a number of reasons. First off, I do miss his niceness. Secondly, I feel like yelling at them: I'm nice too, I can be quite sweet even if I pretend not to be, why is it no one says that about me? And why is it that so many more people go up to him and make friends with him at Zouk in one day than I get in a year? Yes, I do have a competitive streak in me and it's not very pretty. And I know what I'm feeling is stupid and irrational and I'm really trying my best to ignore it and make it go away, but... damn it, if there've been so many other people telling me that they could never figure out why I'd date 'below my league' and am such a good catch, then where's the evidence supporting those statements? And I guess, at the end of it, while I know comments like that are meant in a good way - to tell you you're dating someone fantastic, that you have good taste - but I guess because of the particular circumstances of my situation and also because of my massive insecurity, I do hear it as, "he's such a nice person... clearly you're not good enough for him." And, no, it's not just with the most recent ex that I've felt that, but also with my JC boyfriend who I have to admit, I never quite felt good enough for given all his great qualities.

My university boyfriend remembers my first words to him were that I'd make a brilliant friend, but not a great girlfriend. I'm happy to say that I was correct on the first point, and way off base on the second. But in truth, I still do think that of myself. I'm a little too much of an RGS girl to be demure or submissive ever: I don't take crap from anyone and I don't like people wasting my time. Just yesterday, a guy told me he thought I was rather intimidating because while I'm clearly attractive, but can be very direct and refuse to take any nonsense from anyone.

I don't know. I don't know what it is men want, but I honestly don't see anything wrong or bad with the way I am. Yes, I do wish I could be some other things, but at the end of the day... I really have no wish to find myself subservient to or dependent on anyone.

This is a very rambly post, I know. I haven't had that much sleep and I'm really trying not to think too much about something that's providing me with that much-needed kick in the rear to finally get myself out of a particular rut. I'm just trying to focus on the actions I'm going to take rather than what caused them because that's just a little painful for me to deal with right now.

No comments: