It has not exactly been too long since my last post but I do feel like I have a lot to write about.
I have been in Rockhampton, away from family, friends and home for over a month – 34 days to be exact – for an overseas military exercise. And even though there is a lot to write about being out here itself, this post is about something that happened about a week after my 21st birthday – eight weeks ago.
As much as participating in this overseas military exercise was supposed to help take my mind off of everything and everyone that was bothering me back in Singapore, some situations and people out here do take me back to thinking about those same things every now and again.
Despite my many previous attempts, I just could not seem to find the best way to explain what happened and express how I feel without sounding petty and feeling like a victim.
A part of not being able to write about it might also be because I had not really figured out how I truly feel. But I think I have a better grasp of things now.
And my conscience will not allow me to write another post without addressing what happened – something about being honest with myself, I guess. So here goes…
- Someone I grew to trust and felt I had a connection with finally decided to tell me everything about me that bothers them after seven months of knowing me.
- Some of these issues being me sexualizing everything, having a big ego and being arrogant.
- They spoke on behalf of everyone else and so I challenged the idea that ‘everyone’ felt the same way.
- We both then asked the other people that were around what issues they had with me.
- And when no one seemed to have anything to say, the person then continued to encourage the rest to be honest and not worry about hurting my feelings.
- Some of the others did join in, adding their two cents thinking the whole thing was a joke.
- I agreed with some of the points brought up while also defending myself for the parts I disagreed with.
- This incident made me feel alone – like no one had my back. I kept to myself for a couple of days and it was the lowest I have felt in a long time.
- Over time, I made slight adjustments to my behavior and things seemed to be better.
So, now that you know what happened, let me tell you how I feel.
Firstly, to be fair, I did welcome the criticism thinking it was our usual passive-aggressive banter. So I am not vilifying the person who decided to be honest with me.
And let’s be clear – it was also not the criticism that hurt me. It was how and when the criticism was delivered to me – in front of a group and seven months after knowing me – that deeply hurt me.
In their defense, they acknowledged the fact that the way they did what they did – in front of a group – might not have been well thought out. They also reminded me that we have had similar conversations one-on-one but I did not seem to… Change?
Well, I have always been pretty clear about not changing who I am and how I am for anyone. Plus, I had not known they had a ‘real issue’ with me when they pointed out certain things when we were talking one-on-one. So I guess it was a miscommunication.
Secondly, it is also important to mention that out of the five people that were there the night of this ‘intervention’, two people have told me that they cannot be bothered to have any ‘issues’ with me and another apologized for adding his two cents – as a joke – after realizing that I felt hurt.
So the whole ‘everybody feels this way about you’ theory has been debunked.
Now, when I say that things got better, I mean things seemed better on the surface. Everyone interacted with me normally.
But internally, I still felt really hurt. And I am sure you would be too if you were in my shoes.
Before I got the confirmation that not everyone had the same issues with me, it felt like I had to walk on eggshells around everyone. I could not figure out why I felt so hurt by people that I have only known for seven months. And I also started to question if I was really the problem.
Then it hit me.
I may have become too invested in some of these people I see five days a week, that I feel like I became a recurring character in my own life. In other words, if life was a reality show, I feel like I had subconsciously demoted myself to ‘friend of main cast member’ instead of actually being a part of the main cast. And that sucks.
I just could not seem to help how much I care about some of these people and what they think of me. And it is exhausting not knowing how much effort to put in with people when you do not know how they feel about you or how long they are actually going to stick around. I found myself overthinking even the simple things.
The truth is, I know that is not the way it should be. My mind – just like everyone else – tells me how I am being irrational. But my heart just did not seem to acknowledge or believe that…
I realise that as of right now, everything is actually cool. The way I have left things with everyone is actually pretty normal. It is just my high expectations that make me feel like things are bad.
It is really not that deep.
And when I get back, the process of reintegrating myself into the platoon will really be the deciding factor as to how the rest of my seven months serving the nation will play out.
If it is easy, I guess I can continue working on the friendships. But hopefully this time, I will be doing that part time instead of giving it so much importance.
If it is tough, I will have to activate lone wolf mode and do my own thing.
At the end of the day, I just need to remember that it is not that deep.
But until I get back, I am going to make the most of the time I have left here in Rockhampton. I shall return as not a changed man but an evolved one.