Maybe it was because I never saw what love, the romantic kind, looked like.
The story as I know it is, my parents grew up in a small town somewhere in Vietnam (I’m sure they’ve told me the name of it a gazillion and one times, but I can’t seem to remember). The families knew each other, one of my father’s sister was even in the same class as my mom’s. The two never really had interaction between them, just knowing in passing that he was so and so’s older brother and she was the little sister’s classmate. A war and years later, my mother was sponsored after being a refugee and was living in Ottawa, Ontario in Canada, my dad in Denver, Colorado, USA. My dad’s older sister was living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and so my maternal grandmother contacted my mom saying that she should make the trek to visit because it’s some sense of familiarity, since they all came from the same small town and all. From then, the details got all hazy, but then the grandparents had the bright idea that my mother and father should marry, and even when my maternal grandparent was really ill, got my mom to agree.
It’s not really a love story, nor is it technically an arranged marriage (even though I say it is, to make the explanation simpler). It’s a union that was formed by filial piety. My parents got together because of a request my grandparents made, and there wasn’t a better alternative to turn to.
I don’t know if there was ever any actual love involved in their marriage, at least not in the beginning, or throughout my childhood it seems. Nowadays, after 28 years of marriage, I know that my father has come to care for my mother a lot, but I don’t feel that it’s the same the other way around. At least I don’t see it, not with the things she says and the things she does.
So maybe that’s why I don’t know what the romantic love is supposed to be like.
I used to get really envious when I would be at a friend’s house and I would see their parents being affectionate towards one another. Sneaking a kiss on the cheek here, being concerned about how the other’s day was, and all that normal stuff. At my house, my parents rarely asked each other how they were doing, heck they never even asked me how my day went. When my father would try to give her a kiss, or a hug, or even try and be affectionate in any sort of way, she would turn away or push him away as if she was repulsed.
So seeing all of my friend’s parents and family being so loving, I always yearned for a household like that. It would make my heart ache and yearn for it all, and I would even get that heart twisting feel. Common thoughts growing up were always along the lines of ‘Why aren’t my parents like that? Why aren’t my parents happy like them?’ of course a lot of times it was accompanied by tears of a child who at times felt like she wasn’t loved by her parents either. But that part seemed to be more of a cultural thing, because at the end of the day my parents do care, they just have a fucking stupid way of showing it when I was growing up. Even now, I seem to have a hard time accepting that I was loved by them.
So that brings me to my dark twisty corner, one that I never can seem to stray too far from.
I know my self worth, I’m confident in most things. I believe that I am a successful person, and that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. I know that whoever I end up spending the rest of my life with would be one lucky guy to have me.
I can’t fathom ever being loved or cared for in the same ways I saw those parents when I was growing up, or the couples I see on the streets caring for each other. I can’t imagine anyone ever caring for me above themselves, or placing me in high priority. The most ridiculous thing about these thoughts are, I can always see Guy friend feeling that way towards Girl friend. I just can’t imagine anyone feeling that way towards me.
It’s as if I’m incapable of being loved for whatever reason beyond me. Maybe it’s because I can’t really grasp the idea of being loved because I don’t really know what it is or what it looks like. Or maybe it’s because I’ve never had anyone show interest in me until the last couple of years and that inserts this self doubt that looms over me.
I feel closed off from love, and it makes it that much harder to imagine being loved. No one cared for me before, so why would anyone start now? I’ve always been me, and unless I change into someone else, it’s just going to be me. I wouldn’t even know what to change or how to change to make it so that I’m capable of being loved.
I only want to be loved and cherished and cared for.
The fact that it has eluded me all this time hurts. It hurts so much and it makes it really hard to leave this dark and twisty corner of my mind. I want to believe that I can be loved, and that I deserved to be loved, but everything thus far has made it really hard to believe in that. Sometimes, I wonder if my so-deemed “success” in life required a trade off in the love department. If that’s the case, I rather be unsuccessful and struggling yet loved, than where I am in life right now.
The lack of love has made me question a lot of things, all of it being about myself. Sometimes, I find myself coming to the conclusion that I’m unfortunate, and that I’m destined to never be loved. Even to the extent that I don’t deserve to be loved by another person because I fucked up somewhere so bad and that this is karma’s way of getting back at me. I never think that the issue is with the people around me, it’s always my fault in some way that I can’t be loved.
Why would anyone want to love and care for me?