I guess it was expected that Joey and I would eventually part our ways. We tried so hard to make it work but when both of you want two different things in life and in a couple; you are two individuals rather than a team there is only so much one could have pushed for. We were fundamentally very different people, I suppose we turned a blind eye to that fact, which now I realise is the main pillar for building any relationships. ‘Compatibility.’ Common interest, common theme to make it easy. Because there are going to be days when you won’t want to work so hard, it might be job/might be friends/ you just feel like not being 100% that day… but the moment you do so, the castle walls shake and they threaten to fall. Compatibility gives momentum, the inertia for a relationship to keep going.
It is hard to be a foreign graduate in training. I want to continue training in a place where I get good support throughout like I do now. I still have at least 5 or 6 years to come out of the other end. And by this point, I have put too much effort to even think about jeopardizing my career. I agree, I am taking baby steps but I know the direction I am heading to and my end goal. The tortoise won the race, remember? Without right support, all these accomplishments I have achieved for these many years will be valueless. Instead of being stepping stones they’d start becoming just another point on my CV that the judge panel won’t even consider worth a second to cast an eye.
I don’t want to do a long distance relationship for that many years. If Joey feels secure and feels his life belongs there in the crib he grew up on, he is right to do so. We all know what the call of a home feels like. For me, it is too far away. The idea of spending my youth days in isolation eats me. I have been trying to push myself to go out and do more things these many years. I worry, if I move to a place to that distance from a phone signal from my friends and my family; sleeping on my anxiety on the days the internet connection has failed again, I will feel trapped. Especially because I don’t know how to drive yet. Don’t ask me why? I don’t know yet. I stress on the word ‘Yet’. I will fail to appreciate the comfort his house has to offer, the peace and the breath-taking view it is blessed with. Then what is the point?
Still, I contemplated moving there with him after I became a consultant. I would have to look for a part time job near or on a driving distance from the area. Now its at least 3 hours driving one way on a good day. Maybe it will be easy, once I control the wheels. It’s not like I don’t love the place, I adore it. But, he didn’t give me any options. He was fixated on his decision of being there all his life. He showed no effort, to think of any other ways. All my life, I had been afraid to be a frog in a bucket. I didn’t know, some people choose to be that way. The comfort of it was too valuable to lose. I couldn’t offer him my long term plan. I didn’t say any word.
There is compromise and there is sacrifice. To those who don’t understand it, you have to know ‘it is a big difference’. On the surface, it sounds like I made a career choice which is partly true. I was going to be a middle aged woman living with a man in a pretty house underneath a green hill where his backyard extended to, with an abundance of space where horses could run and a firewood stove burning through the night not like what my mom used to have but like the houses in stories. Open sky, thousands of stars, skylight in the bedroom. Being chauffeured in a fancy car to the town. This was some girl’s fairy tale. That girl may have been me. But, I have come so far to settle at this stage of my life, to not be offered an option and to only be a companion to someone else’s loneliness. To be kept under oblivion about the future and to not receive back all the energy I have invested . My guts told me ‘not to’. If I did, I had nothing for me. I would have lost it all.
We respect each other’s decision. I only regret one thing. Of never asking him on the first date ‘What was he looking for in a relationship? Did he want to be married in the future and have kids? What was he willing to do for us?’.
‘I feel like he didn’t have a sense of us. It felt like this is your and it is mine’. I vented to my friend after we broke up.
‘Exactly. I felt the same way’. She replied, having been in a relationship with an Englishman for 2 years and eventually broken up.
Maybe there were cultural influences too, the subtle ones that were playing us in the background that we didn’t know of.
‘Emotional growth and becoming emotionally an adult is eventually learning to face the hard truths and the hard realities, not running away from the inevitable undesired outcome and making the tough decisions even though it may hurt for a while. Having the courage to be emotionally mature hurts but not forever. It hurts only for some time and when you recover you would have become wiser, become more self aware about things you previously did not know about yourself, from lessons learnt from those experiences and you’ll grow emotionally.’ My other friend said, word for word.
I have a group of such emotionally mature intelligent friends who are willing to understand, empathise and analyse both the sides of the story. Like me, they are respectful of his decision too. He had to stand up for what he wanted too. We have to be selfish, it is important to love yourself first to give love to the other. The decision was right. For him and for me. Now, I have more sky over my head to roam about than on the field where horses could run.
Was this musing anywhere talking about women in career or decisions in relationships a modern woman today chooses? I don’t know. Standing up for job, personal and family life sounds like one. Doesn’t it? 16 years olds are getting married and settling down. Why can’t I? Why can’t we? Just get to agree, or agree with your partner right? Is it wrong to be not 18 or 20 anymore and be a passionate individual looking for a soul mate but wanting to lead an independent life with a uterus?
The problems don’t end there. My colleague tells me, at the airport she was stopped by the officials asking her to show the documents that her children were hers and she was not kidnapping them. ‘Because they have their father’s surname’, she said. ‘And it’s especially hard if it’s interracial children because I look very different to them’.
‘What will you do?’ My friend queried me recently on a similar subject, ‘With your surname? Are you going to change it?’
‘I don’t want to’, was my reply. ‘I went through all that, through the medical school to put a Doctor on my title and my parents/ my family put up with me for all these years and now, when I am finally established I have to give it away?’
‘You could use your family name to practice medicine and adopt your husband’s on others? Double barrelled names are weird and too long. It’s a torture for kids. Unless your last name is Dick. Imagine being a urologist and the nurse announces Dr Dick will be here shortly to see you. Then you can change you last name as soon as you get married’.
‘Modern day women’ are difficult to keep up with. And we don’t deny that. We think of us, our future, our needs too in a relationship. If that is not acceptable and not something you thought you might have to compromise for, you ‘sir’ are not for us. Its easy to say, easy to promise, hard to action. Those 16 years old didn’t have much to consider at that age than what we have to consider now.
I read a quote once on the internet. ‘You can choose your husband. But your kids can’t choose their father’.
Our decisions are not from the heat of the moment but from intuition, premonition and thousands of years of natural evolution. They shaped from choosing the biggest and powerful alpha males of the clan with their sturdy appearance and ability to fight; to also the artists, museums, philosophers and dancers with petite slender bones over time. Our needs of physical security evolved with less threats of the wild animals and the calamities to present day where emotional securities have become more important. It is grinded in us, in our chromosomes and in our instincts. And as simple as men may think it is, it actually is not.
And as much as it breaks heart, it is one life and a big decision, to not think objectively. Here is me being honest, if a woman left you for someone else despite saying she loves you, I don’t doubt it. I don’t doubt that she was honest. But she had to choose to make you a chapter and not a whole book. I don’t doubt it was a very difficult decision for her but ‘there is a difference between a compromise and a sacrifice’. A Queen only sacrifices her crown for a king. A vision for a vision, a devotion for a devotion. It’s all or none. Castles are filled with jokers. She knows, Jokers will come and go, what are you?