Friday, October 28, 2005

The story of armoured hedgehog

Before you read any further, this particular post is not for the passing surfer but for friends who have said they care ...

This is the story of an armoured hedgehog who grew up in a small middle class family, who always felt targetted even as a kid. Where others were praised as models of good behaviour, she was always the rowdy black "sheephog", disciplined by caning and admonition that she was irritating.When the stockmarket crashed in the '80s and the parents met with trouble, life only worsened; scarcely a year went by without the hedgehog being beaten (quan da jiao ti style) and being told to reflect on the reason why she was beaten. Gradually, the hedgehog realised that everything that went wrong was always her fault, that perhaps even god hated her 'cos she was irritating. The solution was simple, to be the best student she could be, to avoid triggering volatile tempers.

Terrible strategy; the hedgehog merely triggered a comparison game that never quite endedwith school. Worse, some friends perceived her as a teacher's pet wannabe. Catch 22 : to tell friends the truth would invite pity or worse being despised by others who wouldn't understand; not telling means friends who are offended by refusal to confide, worse, they think she's tooproud to talk.

After years of being told she just wasn't good enough, ugly, fat and irritating, the inability to tell meant that whilst she could mentally invent friends who sympathised, most real friends just saw her as a loud , friendly individual without a care in the world. Creating a busy life as best a student could meant that when exhaustion took over , loneliness in the crowd was all the starker - only those who've ever been lonely when out partying with friends can ever understand the irony of that. Though the abuse was never sexual, the emotional and verbal abuse meant this hedgehog thought of all men as bastards (of course, some ungentlemanly guys were partly responsible. )

So that explains why the hedgehog developed into a loud, sarcastic indiviual who thought of love as the name of a blitzgame and friends as people to be maintained at a distance. Of course, some other influences helped ; that classmate who told her to stop apologizing for everything 'cos that wasn't sincere (what a relief to realise that everything wasn't her fault!) or that other classmate who plainly hated her 'cos she wasn't a "beautiful people" rep (erm, haven't discovered the solution to that one!) Being brash and outspoken resulted from the thought that if you're gonna be slagged anyway, you might as well have your say.

The hedgehog learnt never to let her guard down, 'cos when you treat others with sincerity, you might just be deemed a fool, friend or not. She also learnt that sometimes when others are not in the best of moods, you might just catch a backlash for no particular reason. Somewhere along that path, depression took over. Being told she was a failure, cursed in language rivalling a bluestreak and slapped/punched occasionally was no joke. The financial crisis didn't help, the 10 year crap happens period didn't either. No amount of counselling helped in the darkest periods of depression and hedgehog was abandoned even by god. Only when you've walked through the darkest of times do you realise that those platitudes that others mouth at you are just so much bs.

Frankly, only after hearing the lifestory of another tough life guy did hedgehog realise certain truths. Besides being grateful to this stranger, hedgehog realised that friends may well benefit from some of these truths:

1 What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger
2 The past can never be changed, only the future
3 One day, you'll look back and smile at what was blatant misery
4 That day comes around 'cos you're a survivor
5 Melting that glacier of a heart and breaking down the walls are a
gradual process, so friends have patience

Lastly, people who seek to tear you down aren't worth your time, neither are those who can't accept you with all your faults, the best revenge on your enemies is to live the best life ever!

so what's your story?