Sunday, May 09, 2010


There was a song by The Pretenders that my baby sister used to love. I’m not sure what the title was but it’s got a line that says ‘there’s a thin line between love and hate’. It took me forever to really understand what that meant but when it finally made sense, I realized that there is a thin line between a lot of things really.

It’s there all the time in relationships. The boundary of this thin line is most tested in crisis and how far we decide to push it solidifies or dissolves the line, neither of which are good. Relationships are a tricky thing to master. The only relationships we find ourselves in that requires more effort to pull away from is family relationship, anything else requires effort to REMAIN in it.

Someone said to me once that the older he got, the more defined his idea of ‘the one’ became and the more difficult it was to find her. I had asked him then if it probably was because he had become more critical and demanding with the passing of time and he assured me that it was the contrary. To a certain extend I agree with him. We learn from our experiences, certain experiences leave us wanting a replay, others leave us swearing never again, so yes, I suppose we get a clearer picture of what thrills or pisses us as we grow older.

However, I do not believe age has anything to do with common sense when it comes to deciding when and where to push our luck. Being in a relationship is all about decision. There is always the basic reason why we were drawn to the person in question and almost all the time, that basic reason has very little to do with logic, but it is good enough to make us decide we want to know them more, hoping of course to make them a part of our lives. But give it a little time and we’ll begin to see that this awesome person is human after all (full of flaws). Now this is the point where an important decision comes to play - do we want to hang around long enough to understand if the flaw if acquired and can be shed off or if it is an in build part of this person? And if so, is it something we can (or want to) live with?

Everyone has two lists of things to decide to stand or not - The list that is about the other person’s flaw - does he slurp his soup? Does he pick his nose? Is he good looking enough? Is he rude and crude…etc, then there is the other list, about this person’s flaws in relation to you. Does he criticize you all the time? Does he use you as his punch bag when something or someone else upsets him? Does he put you down to make himself feel better about his flaws? …etc

Sometimes we tell ourselves, I can put up with that even if I don’t like it because it will help me understand him better. That is just being in denial. There are a lot of ways to understand a person without putting up with their bad behaviour, ESPECIALLY if it is in the slightest disrespectful to you. If he starts off being disrespectful now, trust me, you don’t want to hang around to see what he’d do when he’s caught you in his net.

If he picks a fight with you because he is upset about something else that has nothing to do with you and you put up with that, no matter how understanding you think you are being (hey, we all get upset and misbehave and should be graceful to our loved ones when they get that way….right?), you are only helping in dissolving the line between respecting you and being able to be themselves and remain true to their emotions. What that does is, the offence will get bigger and more frequent until one day you cannot see the line at all…..on the other hand, you ought to be able to accommodate a person’s negative emotions. You don’t want him being afraid of showing his frustration before you because you’d take it the wrong way. The balance here is making him understand that as long as HE can see the line between being frustrated at something else before you AND still know it has nothing to do with you. He can break all the plates he wants.

Tricky situation isn’t it? What I am saying is that each boundary line is personal and each person has to decide for themselves what they are willing to put up with. It is important though to remember that when a behaviour gives you a bad feeling. No matter how small it is (compared to the bad feeling you got from it). DO NOT IGNORE IT. One day you’d pat yourself on the back and say “good job (Naan)”. Trust me, that’s a lot better than finding yourself in a situation that would require years of healing and possible therapy to be normal enough to cope again.

So look out for those thin lines and MIND THEM.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

First Kiss.

Ian Ellis was the coolest boy in school. He had promised me a kiss for my birthday, it would be my very first kiss and I was excited. I turned 13 yesterday. I've thought and talked about the kiss, with my best friend Tania, for the past 2 weeks. I had also told Auntie Melissa. I couldn't tell mother, she never understands such things. I didn't sleep much all night; I kept feeling funny in my stomach, like a tickle, like butterflies. My very first kiss from the boy I like the most in the whole world! It would be during the school dance and I was looking forward to it, I even had my best dress ready, a week before; just to be on the safe side. I saw him across the hall, he was talking to Henry Paul and looking at me, I wondered what they were talking about. Maybe Henry knew Ian would kiss me. I was standing right next to Tania and my palms were sweaty.
"Wow, your very first kiss Maria," Tania gushed, looking at me, rather excited. I tried to smile at her but I was so nervous, my mouth felt dry. I tried to look calm yet I could feel my body tremble lightly. Auntie Melissa had given me tips about kissing a boy. I think she knew that I liked him very much. Tania and I saw him coming towards us and she quickly vanished, leaving me standing alone. I looked away, pretending to wipe something off my wrist.
"Hello Maria," he had said. I feigned to look startled.
"Oh, Ian." We stood there in an awkward silence for a moment. "It was my birthday," I said nervously and almost kicked myself. How dumb.
"And I am here to give you a kiss."
I was looking at his lips as he said it, he must have just eaten something, he had crumbs at the corner of his mouth. I hoped he’d make it quick before the dance ended. Oh I'll be embarrassed if anyone saw us. It was dark enough and no one was near the entrance but us. Just then, I remembered that I had just had a tuna sandwich! Oh no!!!
"One minute," I said, looking away, I felt myself blush, I reached into my pocket and pulled out my lip gloss and some chewing gum. He stood there smiling at me, making me even more nervous. I chewed the gum for a few seconds then swallowed it - I didn't know what else to do with it. My hand was shaking as I began applying the lip gloss; I hoped he didn't notice it.
"Is it flavoured?" he had asked.
"Eh? Oh, I don't know," How dumb; of course it was flavoured and I knew it! I didn't realize kissing a boy would make me that nervous. Ian seemed calm and that made it even worse for me.
"Ready," I said folding my arms in front of me, then folding them behind my back. Arms. What nuisance, what should I do with them? Auntie Melissa had said to let them hang loosely by my side at first, thank goodness I remembered that just in time. I let them drop, but I held them so stiffly I felt like Uncle Barney in his military parades. Ian was still looking at me, at my mouth actually, and smiling, at my mouth actuall. Oh no, maybe I had put on too much lip gloss, I thought. I quickly reached up and wiped my mouth.
"Ready," I said again. It felt as though I waited forever, I glanced around quickly, we were still unnoticed, I hoped he’d make it quick before the dance stops and someone sees us. I should close my eyes I thought, so I shut them up really tight and waited like forever. First, his lips touched mine very gently. I had that funny feeling again in my stomach, almost like a painful tickle, I wanted to laugh and cry all at once. I held my stomach with one hand and my skirt, really tight, with the other. Suddenly he thrust his tongue into my mouth. I gasped. That was what Auntie Melissa had called a French kiss, I think. She also said it was supposed to be nice, but all I felt was his tongue wiggling furiously in my mouth, from side to side. How do you respond to that? He began thrusting deeper, as though he wanted me to say "aaaahhhh". I just let my jaws dropped lower and his saliva ran down the side of my mouth – that was very distracting. Should I let him have my tongue? I stuck it out a bit and he quickly sucked it into his mouth.
His mouth tasted like fermented taco burps and he had too much Saliva drooling. How gross. He pushed his tongue back into my mouth again, this time, as though trying to touch my tonsils, My hands instinctively went up to his shoulders, I wanted to push him away, but this was Ian Ellis and I liked him very much! Auntie Melissa did say something about holding his neck or his face while kissing him, so I did, hoping it would help me feel more in tune with the whole thing. Now he's exploring my gum, teeth and whole mouth with his tongue. I could smell raw onions on his breath; I wondered what he had eaten. I didn't have that nice feeling in my stomach any more. Our teeth rubbed a few times, it was rather unpleasant and all I could think was ‘unhygienic’. Suddenly the music stopped and we jerked apart. Ian had a goofy smile on his face; he seemed quite pleased with himself, as though he thought he had knocked me off my socks, and I had never been more glad about the end of something like I was about that kiss. I smiled at him; He was Ian Ellis after all and I still liked him.

© Naan Pocen