07 December 2006

My Nearest, Dearest... Saboteur?

I was eighteen the first time it happened. Or, perhaps, it just took me that long to recognize it.

I was in college. There were exams. There was a young man... who claimed to love me... yet strangely, was most interested in me, most insistent that I spend time with him, just when I insisted on studying for those exams.

There were explanations that fell on deaf ears. There was the claim that 'if I loved him I'd make time for him'. There was the counterclaim that 'if he loved me he could wait two days to see me until my test was over.' There was, incredibly, the ultimatum... see him when he insisted, or not at all.

The choice was sadly easy.

The next time it happened it was a gaggle of girlfriends playing the part. Come out tonight and party with us. Can't, I have an exam tomorrow. Gotta get some sleep. Oh, come on, you're such an old stick in the mud. Sorry you see it that way, but I have an exam tomorrow, gotta get some sleep.

It wasn't always exams. Sometimes, it was food [oh, forget that silly diet! One little piece of double chocolate buttercream frosted devils food cake won't do you any harm]. Sometimes it was other things [what do you mean I can't smoke dope in your car and make obscene gestures at police cars on the road?]. Sometimes it was very serious other things indeed [I can't believe you'd insist on using contraception when we really love each other] [and I can't believe you'd want to put me at such risk when you claim to really love me!]

And it didn't stop after college.

And it didn't stop after graduate school.

And three decades into the working world, it still hasn't stopped.

What did stop, what stopped by the time I was twenty, was my believing that anyone who claimed to love me, but actively encouraged me to do things that would potentially harm me, actually gave a damn about me, ever.

I was lucky.

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