Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Change - or be Changed?

“Oh my god! It’s so weird to hear you, of all people, say you have a boyfriend!”

I was having drinks with an old friend from Singapore – someone who was familiar with the younger, more imprudent me, and whom I hadn’t seen in years.

“I know,” I said, glancing away quickly. “Weird. To be fair, I only started calling him my boyfriend slightly more than a year ago. Before that, he was just my…”


“Um, no, not really. Stopover fuck’s more like it.”

“Is that higher or lower than a fuckbuddy in the grand scheme of things?”

“I’m not sure. He was never a ‘buddy’ – I never really wanted him to just be my friend. I think he was in a special category all by himself.”

“Ok, so when did he become your boyfriend then?”

I thought for a long while. It’s hard to say exactly when A first became my boyfriend, in both name and spirit. There was no one momentous occasion with bells ringing and birds chirping, but rather, as these things tend to go, a culmination of gestures and intimations that seemed so natural at the time, I never once stopped to think what they all meant.

Was it when he first said “I love you”? Was it when he stopped sleeping with other people – or was it when I did? Or maybe it was the moment I gave him the key to my apartment, asking that he call it his own. Or could it have been the numerous little epiphanies that I got along the way writing about him on this blog?

Maybe the truth lies in the truly mundane. I mean how many times can a girl read, and re-read, and re-read, and re-read, and re-read a single text message? (Without losing her eyesight, that is.) Well in my case, a fair estimate might be…more than a few dozen? And I still smile too. I have over a hundred of his texts saved in my phone, and my favourite one dates from as far back as July 2006.

I tried hard to remember when I said my first “I love you”. Because surely that would have given me the answer to my friend’s question. But I couldn’t. (Admittedly my excuse is that I was highly intoxicated at the time.) But I’ve said it too many times to count since. And besides, I probably meant, showed and indicated it in a myriad of ways before my tongue got into the act of forming the actual words.

In that way, I think sometimes the body is wiser than the mind. Even from the first time, I marveled at how my body fit into his. How he took my hand to cross the road while we were walking back to the hotel and how I smiled, and curled my fingers around his without breaking stride. Or into a cold sweat.

How after sex, I knew exactly how to curl up him like a limpet, resting my head along the crook between his collarbone and chest, and letting our post-coital smells spontaneously mingle.

And how we kissed. Oh, how we kissed. We only started doing this later on in the relationship, him having never been too big on ‘the kissing thing’ when he was with other women. But the first time he decided to take me in his arms, using his lips to smother, suckle and caress me with wild abandon, I was lost.

More importantly, my body had stopped enjoying sex with other people way before my mind cared to concede. In fact, it took me a streak of rather unenjoyable encounters – including one where I had to literally sneak out of someone’s apartment like a thief while he was sleeping (leaving no note, and definitely no number!) – to make me sit up and think…

Waitaminute. Whatthehelljusthappened? That used to be fun.

So where does all this leave us? I suppose with the old adage that change happens – even to the unlikeliest candidate of us all. And the best kind of change feels natural, and organic, and not impelled by anyone else but yourself. The funny thing with change of course, is that it’s only when somebody shines a ‘blast from the past’ spotlight on you, that you realise it’s actually happened.

Otherwise, you’d just think you were being you.

Ever heard the phrase, “I love you, but I love me more?” It’s a phrase that maybe Sash would have used. Or anyone with a strong, uncompromising sense of self. And in all my previous relationships, I had always felt this epic tussle between the real me and the ‘me’ that the other person wanted me to be.

It never felt quite right.

Because how much can you truly change about yourself on behalf of someone else? A lot of people pretend, all their lives even, whilst scurrying away to hide their dirty secrets from prying eyes. But I never wanted to pretend. And I never wanted to compromise. And maybe that’s why it took me such a long time, and such a lot of tries to get it right.

Because finally, I’ve found someone that I can just be me with. Kinky, quirky, funny soulful me.

And that’s what changed. I’ve found my home, my family, my anchor and my truth in another person. And I suppose, for the first time, after 2 years and 9 months, I can finally say, with some degree of certainty, that I’m content in a way that comes from knowing indeed, there is someone out there for me. Yes, for even ‘difficult cases’ like me. So there’s hope for all.

Maybe that’s why I stopped blogging – because in a way, I’ve stopped searching. I’m still me but I can’t be Sash anymore. Not in the way you know me anyhow. Ferociously hunting for the next man, the next high, the next hedonistic adventure, the next blogworthy anecdote. Just because I could. And also because in a way, playing the game and exerting my sexual power had become my heroin.

But now, I’ve realised that it’s not the end of the world when I can’t get laid with that super-handsome, well-dressed, alpha-male of a man that’s looking sideways at me across the bar…

So you see, there is simply no more sexual pathos. Or so it seems for now, anyway.

Because when I do go out looking for sexual adventure – which still happens, mind you, pretty often – I go out looking in tandem. And boy is it fun to hunt in a pack. I know I have the best wingman I could ever ask for by my side, and the best fall-back plan if things don’t work out.

Someone who makes me laugh till my sides ache, fucks the living bejesus out of me, snuggles up in the morning when its cold, and treats me with the utmost patience, respect and forgiveness on days leading up to my period.

He is my biggest adventure. And even till this day, there’s a sense of newness to our relationship. Perhaps because every day with him is a revelation of the depth and nuance of feeling that I am capable of with him.

But I can’t risk boring you with any more details. Really, the last thing the world needs is yet another rosy-eyed romantic grandiosely espousing the life-changing power of love. And please, I beg of you not to put me in that category.

I don’t believe in happy endings, but there’s something to be said for happy beginnings, and middles.

Because they’re just wonderful. :)

P.S. And that pesky monogamy thing? We have a deal that I’ll stay faithful as long as he makes sure that I always have the most mind-blowing sex a girl like me could possibly want and have. And also, that he brings home guys for the occasional dp. ;)

P.P.S. To my beloved, thank you and happy 40th.