Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The story of co-dependence: How I became so clingy

There was a time when I would answer calls from friends with a rude, "I don't want to go out." Sometimes I don't even use words, sometimes I just grunt. And then from that, I just became the sort of person who asked every single one of her friends on a Friday night what they were doing for their Friday nights and whether they'd like to do it with me.

This is a story of co-dependence. Or just simply the explanation for why I have been so clingy lately.

People around me should have a historical context. I have one sister but we were not close growing up. My childhood was spent proving to adults that unlike the other kids, I don't need an Ate to guide me. And because my mom was abroad most of the time, I also wanted to show everyone I don't really need parents.

Sometimes, I also like to show my friends I don't really need them. This is why I don't say sorry unless I feel I absolutely have to. It's not that I don't like to say sorry, it's because I don't feel sorry. I'm also not the first person to patch things up. It never occurred to me like I'm the one who has something to lose. If they leave, it wouldn't really make much difference.

This is how friends would describe me now. Someone with zero emotional quotient. Walang puso. Gustong mag-isa.

And they have evidence, too. They would offer to accompany me for lunch but I would insist on eating alone. They would ask to come over my house but I would explain that I really would rather be by myself. Weekends were spent with me left at peace with my laptop, and I would be completely happy doing just that. I just really never felt the need to be with another person - I've always felt like people take too much space, like it's an effort to talk and make them feel comfortable when I could just be enjoying the silence and solitude. Simply put, I just couldn't be bothered.

This also explains why I'm not a text person. (So if you ever felt like I've ignored your texts, don't worry, it's not a selective behavior. I just don't text in general. Phone calls annoy me too)

What happened? Like what always happens, life.

I just realized somewhere in between work deadlines and family issues and personal frustrations that I've been alone for much, much too long. That Christmases shouldn't be spent watching FRIENDS in the bedroom, or sleeping all the way to Christmas noon.

My emotional shifts are no secret to people close to me. I can be happy one day and be terribly sad the other. So one night, in the millionth night I was lonely, I decided to take a break from being myself. I decided to be with people.

I just decided to do what people do. To talk, to laugh, to share and yes, to drink. That first time sometime weeks ago gave me some degree of clarity that in order for me to have a relief from the exhaustion of being happy and sad and happy and sad, I needed to have a relief from being myself.

As my friend would put it, "sayang ang kabataan"

Alcohol is just a symbol in this journey. I started this with a drink in hand, maybe I'll follow through with more. The people who consistently tried to convince me over the last 8 years about the wonders of alcohol did a really, really bad job. They should have known better than to lecture me about being carefree or how to celebrate youth. It just pushed me further away from the idea of drinking, thinking that just like I don't need people, I also didn't need liquor to be able to feel feelings.

I didn't want to feel feelings, anyway.

Until I was halfway that bottle of beer one night, opening up to friends in front of me, saying things I previously just shared through vague writings on the Internet to strangers. And it just felt, well, wonderful.

It helps that it turns out I have a very high alcohol tolerance. That means I won't have to go through the embarrassing process of getting drunk, like I skipped steps to get to the level of treating alcohol as simply just a fun way to socialize.

I guess it's also not a coincidence that the last conversations I had with friends over drinks were the most honest ones I've had with them in our entire relationships. I guess they felt like because I was now drinking, I was also less judgmental. And I think I am.

I've also opened up to the idea of young people having fun with love. Sometimes, you really have to look at it outside this rose tinted glass of butterflies and sparks. (Although, I would still insist that the concept of electricity between two people is true)

It is in this light that I've accepted I belong to the 99% of mankind who needs to be loved in order to feel alive. Granted, I've not found that person yet but at least now I know I'm looking.

In the meantime, I treat friends so much better now, I want to spend more time with them, have a more meaningful relationship and feel the obligation to make them feel appreciated as long as I like them. I also let them know I like them.

And just like any transition in life, the first tranche can be overwhelming. Therefore, the co-dependence and clingyness.

And you know what? I'm not sorry.

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