Amoeba, Day 5
I was a really notorious child. Pretty much since the time I was in grade 1 to the time I reached grade 8. I was a stubborn, defiant, and a troublesome student and my mom used to be called to the school at least once every month. Let’s just say, I was this really ugly duckling without any friends, who also had a massive crush on the local classroom Prince. Quite reasonably, my favourite story, also was The Sleeping Beauty.
I was such a fool. Such a naive, gullible, dreamy fool. I did all sorts of things to get attention and worse, I did all sorts of things to be liked. What I am today is because of the fool I had been. I was a people pleaser. Anyone could make me do anything. I always knew that but I realised it the other day when one of my very dear friends (let’s call him X) was rather upset. His reason for being upset was very simple. It was honest and straightforward and I could understand what he is going through. He texted, “I feel I have no friends.” And, I was trying to understand why is it that he is feeling this way. All of us feel lost, conquered, brokenhearted sometimes..and it may seem it’s normal. We forget about these feelings and move on. However, if we try to dig a little deeper, we realise, these feelings aren’t just superficial but they come from a time in our lives we call childhood. “I guess some people are not meant to have people around them” is what got me worried, leading to an immediate video call. You see, X is a very beautiful person. He’s taught me things I can’t forget, he has had a huge impact on my life he doesn’t know about, we’ve had some great food and conversations together and he was one of the few who are around to accept me for who I was. We’ve only known each other for a year. And, I guess, that’s a decent amount of time to at least consider me as his friend. Idiot. I mean, he does. But, I know he’s reading this because he’s my number 1 fan so I just wanted him to make his idiotic face and smile a little. Anyhow, he really doesn’t have any friends but the people who exist in his life love him endlessly. Does that validation matter when you’re low? No, it doesn’t. It makes us want more. It makes us feel dissatisfised with what we have. When asked about, the people in his life, he mentioned these few acquaintances, some from college, some from his office, some he met somewhere else but no one of them made him feel quite at home. He helped all these people somewhere or the other in their lives. With jobs, recommendations, references etc. But they never really reciprocated or becomes friends. He complained about it. He said whatever he does for someone is never really enough. He does and he does and he does. But, he never gets it back. I heard him for a bit and then I remembered what Joey (from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.) once said. There was a whole episode about it but it did leave an impact. There are no selfless good deeds. So, basically, every single time, X was helping somebody, he was expecting something in return. He was expecting these people who he helped, with money, with jobs, with other work, to be friends with him. That’s how his mind thought would be a good way to start a new friendship. Otherwise, why do something for someone with all heart and yet, expect something in return? He’d never watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S so I forwarded the episode number to him, after a long discussion on this topic. He went ahead and watched that episode and replied, “Bro, I think you were right! I sometimes help people to be friends with them.” Sometimes, it takes a mirror for us to see our reflection. I never brought it up but I was exactly like that in school. I simply did not have the potential to be friends with somebody who liked me, genuinely. I did not know how to differentiate between someone who just wants to get something done or someone who had really begun to like me. Girls were very mean. And, guys would just discuss these other girls with me. After all, I was the runt of the class. I was never anyone’s first preference. I was never called to parties, sleep overs, meet ups. I don’t know what was so wrong. I was the one who was gossiped about, lied to, made fun of. Was it my teeth or my attitude, my carelessness at not keeping secrets or my dress sense, my disability to not have things to discuss or my ground level self-confidence. Childhood was hard. School was even harder. It was scarring. I was lonely, my parents were trying to build their careers and I was aping the most perfect girl in the class. I wanted clothes like hers, bags like hers, friends like hers, I wanted to dance like her, play like her, debate like her. But, all I ever was, is a Chinese edition of the most perfect girl. Useless, quality-less, and a mere parody. I had no one. Except my brother, an encyclopaedia and Enid Blyton. My favourite teacher had gifted me a book titled “The Naughtiest Girl in School” on my birthday in 2005. That girl was my (s)hero. She was lonely too. People didn’t like her either but she made sure to leave an impact when she left. I wanted to be exactly like her. Ape someone. Yet again. In the hope that I’ll be likeable. I did a lot of illegal stuff for a lot of people and I had it all pinned down on me, every single time. Fuck the reciprocation; I created my own hell. I was to be expelled from school that same year because of a rumour that had started about me. But, I guess my mom had learnt to negotiate with the Principal after so many incidents. I was a miserable disappointment to a rather intelligent set of parents. Things stayed the same till 2009 until boarding school became my ultimate rescue. For the first time in my life, perhaps, I was liked for who I was. Those two years were a dream. There were all sorts of girls from all sorts of places, with all sorts of upbringing. I didn’t have to care, no one knew me. I could have been anyone I wanted and that’s where I became my best version. Not only did I have friends, I had dorm mates. I had people who’d tell me straight to my face if they’d had a problem with me. I’d have 2 am conversations with my girls in the washroom, we would steal tuck together, get punished together, study together. It was not friendship that I was experiencing. It was sisterhood. After eight friend-less years of existence, I finally had sisters. Today, even ten years later, we talk. Maybe once in a few months but always on our birthdays. What I’m trying to get at is, all of us are in our own timezones. All of us understand the meaning of things and feelings in our own time. I stopped caring about pleasing people a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean I never did it. I owe nothing to anyone anymore. It’s just that I’m a generally resourceful person so people come to me for help. And, I happily assist them because this stuff really excites me and keeps me on my toes. But, I keep no expectations. Because I see no point of it. If someone wants to do something for me, they’ll do it. If they don’t feel like, they really shouldn’t. Nothing good comes out of a deed, that’s carried out, half-heartedly. And, I personally have learnt to only do things with a whole heart or not at all. So, if someone comes up to me and tells me I’m fat, I will not start working on myself because I’ve got to prove this person wrong. I will only do it, when I feel is the right time, for me, and for myself. I want to owe it to me, not to some right-winged weightiest who thinks it’s okay to call my face hot but my body, a single-celled amoeba. He didn’t call me an amoeba exactly; he definitely meant a Kaftan though. However, I am a biology student, I can’t help with the terminology sometimes. That’s all. Phew. By the way, Enid Blyton was a female. I learnt that just a few years ago. Yes, that’s the only takeaway for you, in this blog post. Bye, Srishti