I have a tale that’ll sound something out of an HBO series and Hollywood movie, part “Sex & The City” and part “He’s Just Not That Into You”.
He was something like a Chinese princeling: overseas boarding school, Oxford/Cambridge/Stanford, finance, Cantonese, Mandarin, and English fluency. I honestly wasn’t looking for these criteria at all, but fate (fortunately or unfortunately) brought us together. He was any Chinese woman’s dream come true (and Chinese parents’ dream come true). In fact, it was really too good to be true. Too fucking good to be true.
It’s mind-boggling that from such a great, privileged background, he could be so unhappy with himself and life in general. He would pour his heart out to me and cry about failures. It was tragic to see a grown man cry about something that’s not a death in the family. However, from my perspective, all was not lost; he had connections, money, brains, and ample potential if only he could see that he could do ANYTHING he wanted. Did I have sympathy? Of course I did! For someone who looked like he had it all, he felt like he had nothing and no one at all. The tragedy was so real for him and I felt it in all of his tears, as I wiped away each and every one of them to console him and to promise him better days ahead and that I’ll be there for him whenever he needed.
For my girl friends, they had no sympathy. “WAH WAH WAH, I HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY! I AM SO UNHAPPY!”, they mocked. “Fuck him”, they said. I knew why they felt the way they did. We grew up with immigrant parents and as the first English speakers in our families, we all had to work painfully for our own successes, comforts, and stabilities. We paid for our own education to prestigious schools, some of us worked our asses off for scholarships to said schools and then worked our asses off again to make our professional dreams happen because we didn’t have any connections. For someone who was so connected and so privileged like this fellow, to be unhappy, was almost unfathomable to them.
He had a lot of demons in his closet and maybe even baggage, but none of that bothered me. I never insisted he buy me anything or take me out to expensive places. In fact, all I wanted to do was eat ramen and spam with him as we watched TV together in our pjs. Maybe make some congee for him on the weekends. I’m old fashioned and simple. I didn’t even mind the countless times he seemed lost and preoccupied with his own thoughts. I was drawn to him because I felt like he connected with me and allowed me to see a side of him that very few have crossed. In fact, I’m not sure his best friends have seen this side. I wanted to nurse him back to a happy place and show him what simple living is like. It was difficult to do with a demanding job and my own stressful issues, might I add.
To all the ladies out there, here lies my mistake. I got fired from a coveted job because I started leaving early from work and asking for time off because he asked me to be there for him. I was on my phone responding to his texts instead of focusing on my presentations. My sleep debt was high because I spent most of my time with him and so I ended up working from home occasionally. In actuality, I was home taking naps then waking up to work in spurts. For the record though, I already had a culture issue with my boss, but all this stuff just added wood to the fire. For the most part, I felt like shit from all the sleep deprivation.
He was my sick puppy. That was my mistake. I forgot to care about myself and my world that I worked so hard to create. Instead of repairing my relationship with my boss, my focus was on this fellow. Instead of focusing on my well being, I focused on his happiness. I can’t place any blame on him actually because it was MY choice to spend time with him, MY choice to support him, MY choice to care about him, and MY choice to get distracted. In the end it was MY own doing. As they say, love makes people blind, deaf, and stupid and I was dumber than a brick. A fucking brick. I bet a shoe was smarter than me at the time.
Of course I never told him the real reason why they fired me, but as soon as I lost my job (and my apartment), he decided he needed some time alone aka “I’m breaking up with you”, and he did it in a text message. Apparently, I wasn’t good enough to deserve a formal explanation in person. I beg to differ. The tears I wiped away for him also beg to differ.
Ladies, learn from my mistakes. At 30, I had no job, no home, and no man. The one person I showed so much support to during his lowest moment was nowhere to be found during mine. It was like day and night. I’ll never know why someone who seemed so sincere suddenly made a disappearing act. “From my experience, he’s married or has another woman”, my brother told me. Well, if that were the case, he fooled me well. No matter what excuse I can come up with for his disappearance, the fact is I screwed it up for myself. I forgot about my own world and my own shit.
Do I have any hard feelings? Initially, a lot, but not anymore because I realized I fucked it up for myself. Lesson learned. Move on. However, I have to add that I was a fucking mess when I lost my job, my home, and my man all in two weeks. The shock was too much in such a short duration. A full week of going to sleep wasted and waking up still drunk was enough damage I could do to myself. At times, I found myself fighting back tears and when I could no longer fight them, well, I looked liked a walking tragedy. During sleepless, sober nights, I lie awake wondering what the fuck just happened.
“He’s cool and all, but you just dodged a bullet”. Even so, I hope he finds happiness because no one should feel that much unhappiness and pain, no matter how great someone looks on paper. Everyone deserves happiness and love.
Now, let’s get back to work at rebuilding my career and never be a stupid bitch again. By the way, I won’t stop loving. I’ll just love smarter next time.