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Sunday January 12, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday January 12, 2014 MYT 9:54:35 AM
by ariel pheh pik teng
The writer discovers the true meaning of expression.
I GREW up in a family that is unlike any other. Occasionally, I wonder if we were haphazardly put together as a practical joke by unseen forces of the universe.
We are a mismatched bunch. Words spoken to each other are minimal and family activities are sparse. It is as if we were allergic to each other.
As I bumbled my way into adulthood, I held on to the notion that we love each other very much, but we are just lousy at expressing our affection.
This bothered me a lot, the same way how a door left ajar makes me very anxious.
I am compelled to shut it, open it and shut it again, and repeat this several times until I am that much closer to having peace of mind.
I have the unfortunate burden of being diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). But, I digress.
Once, I was away for a period long enough for me to miss my family dearly. When I got home, I instinctively felt the urge to embrace my parents and siblings.
However, the thought of doing so immediately felt foreign and strange in my mind. I hesitated, and the moment passed all too quickly. I swallowed an act of affection that I so badly wanted to do all these years. I was afraid.
It was at that moment when my suspicions were confirmed. I have become a person who is uncomfortable with expressing feelings of intimacy. And it may be too late to change this.
There was a time when my sister was sad. I wanted to hold her and console her, but I did not. There was a time when I was reunited with an old friend. I wanted to give her a hug, but I did not.
Being obsessive-compulsive, I involuntarily run these moments through my mind repeatedly, but they are versions of which I will actually hold my sister close, or hug a friend.
Ironically, I find solace in my disorder.
Interestingly, all this changed when I met a man who abruptly turned the world as I knew it upside down. His name is Eric, and he is the love of my life.
I suppose our story is your typical boy-meets-girl. We were friends from school. When we were old enough to realise that the feelings we shared could be more than just platonic, it was time to go our separate ways.
It was a difficult period when being young and foolish left unrequited feelings and questions unanswered. We parted with animosity and were then separated by continents. The only way forward was to move on, yet a question of “what if” lingered for the longest time.
A decade after our regretful parting, news that Eric had returned reached my ears. I had to see him again.
Perhaps, there was still a possibility of being friends. I was a nervous wreck, fearing that he would refuse to return my messages. But he agreed to see me, and what happened next was entirely unexpected.
When our eyes met, it was as if the past 10 years did not happen. Conversation came easily and we were both extremely comfortable in each other’s company.
It was effortless, and after all these years, our feelings for each other hadn’t changed. By the end of the week, we became an item and have been inseparable ever since. Being together with Eric has been so breathtaking that he makes me forget that I had OCD.
When you have OCD, there never really is a quiet moment. You would constantly run events over in your mind, or repeatedly check if things were perfectly placed. It is exhausting.
I don’t know how, but Eric makes all that go away. He takes away the clutter. I am finally at peace with the world. Growing up, I conceded that I may never be comfortable with showing feelings of affection. I promised myself that I would never date, never be involved with imperfect things.
However, Eric has patiently shown me what it means to love. From the first time he held my hand ever so tenderly, to the way he holds me in his arms, he has selflessly opened my eyes to a whole new world. I now know that I am worthy of being loved and also capable of returning love. And how wonderful this feeling is!
Perhaps, it was written in the stars that I should grow up in a family that is averse to expressing affection, and then a wonderful man would come along to bring out what is innate in me. Eric has proven to me that it is never too late to tell your loved ones that you really love them, and to show them that you truly mean it.
I hope my family reads this, because that is exactly what I will do, before it is too late.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Heart & Soul, boyfriend, Eric, OCD
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