Tag Archives: rejection

Rejected and Alone: Part 3

One thing I have learnt about human beings generally, is that when people need something from you, they will keep chasing after you…but once you get to a point where you have nothing to offer, you become almost non-existent. No one remembers you, or needs you for that matter.

The way I see it, human relations are so fickle. It’s just a matter of ‘scratch my back, I scratch yours’. So what happens when you’re not in a position to scratch someone’s back? You become irrelevant. To date, there are people who only call/text when they need something from me.

Interestingly, those from uni call/text when they need revision materials from undergrad, since I always had my books and other reading materials in order. Then those from bar school call/text because they need some samples of legal documents. Some will even skip the “Hi…” part, and delve straight into the crux of the matter… “D’you have a sample of a petition…?” etc.

In the wake of this blatant rejection by my acquaintances, I’ve had enough time to ruminate an awful lot about relationships generally. When you have nothing to offer people, or when they do not need anything from you, only the truest will stand by you.

Popularity is like water on your palms. One minute you have it, and the next it’s all trickled away. When you’re popular, you’ll attract all types of people; both the genuine and the fake. With me for instance, I had to ward off flagrant sexual advances from my fellow students and lecturers.

I remember this one time on Valentine’s Day, a married guy in my class asked me out and I turned him down. “We need to enjoy these bodies we have because at some point they’ll just turn to dust,” he scoffed. My personal principles wouldn’t let me entertain his advances, knowing he was married.

Nonetheless, we still remained friends, and he never stopped pursuing me. He was just one of many admirers, whose advances I had to turn down. I got the feeling those who hit on me were doing it for all the wrong reasons; some thought my position made me easy to get.

I suppose that was the same reason even married lecturers came after me, and with them, since they had the ‘power’, when I turned them down some gave me bad grades just to prove a point. It was implied duress, and it hurt, but that didn’t weaken my resolve. My position, wouldn’t compromise my principles.

At some point I even dreaded interacting with male lecturers because I had realised my straight A’s came from lecturers I rarely interacted with. Eventually, I graduated with a Second Upper, and while I personally wanted a First Class, that was still good enough for me.

Deep down, I hoped people would see me for me, and not the popular class president I was, but I doubt anyone ever did. At least no one I know so far. My classmates had all the best words in the dictionary to describe me: “charismatic, diligent, kind, the purest soul, selfless…” etc., yet all that was easily forgotten when we finished school.

When I needed an internship after finishing undergrad, a few months before getting into bar school, the ones I contacted did not come through for me. It was my turn to seek their assistance, but the few ones I sort assistance from turned their backs on me. The other day I was going through my contacts, and out of over four hundred contacts, there was not a single person I could comfortably call.

Currently, my close contacts are a wavering five or seven… and even out of these, I am not sure there’s anyone I’d ask for assistance if I needed any. The relationships I’ve had so far have made me sceptical about seeking people’s assistance because the rejection is too much to bear.

As an introvert, I feel more inclined to retreat into my cocoon; my personal space, where I don’t let people in. I’m afraid of letting people in because experience has taught me most people will stick around until they have nothing to take from you. So yeah, right now I feel rejected, and alone… but at the same time, I feel peaceful, and at ease.

I’m not troubled by the thought of disappointing someone when I turn down their invitation to a casual night-stand; or stomach-churning anxiety, as I wait for people I texted/called to reply my texts/calls. It’s awfully lonely, but also very peaceful.

I miss having normal conversations with someone because they just missed me, not because they need something from me. At this point in time, I’m not even sure who my friends are… One thing I’m gradually learning though, is that it’s during these low moments when we know who our true friends are.

Positions of power/authority might delude someone into thinking they are loved, but that love is truly tested when one has nothing to offer… money, connections… etc.; ‘friends’ disappear when that money/power disappears.

Of importance, is that true friends are as rare as diamonds. When you find someone who treasures you for you, not because of what they expect from you, or what they think you might offer them, hold them close; because those are the true gems, and they are extremely rare.

Rejected and Alone: Part 2

Fast forward to three years later… As I had feared, I have not met or talked to most of my classmates. I was lucky enough to meet a handful in bar school, but since everyone was obsessed with passing the extremely difficult bar exams, very little time was left for socialization.

We exchanged brief hellos and hugs on the corridors, and soon after each one of us would proceed to our different destinations. If we happened to ride home together, we would spend the entire time discussing legal issues. When we sat our bar exams we parted ways again, only bumping into each other intermittently at the courts during our pupillage.

Again, like with the brief meetings in bar school, our random encounters at the courts were brief, and it was even worse than before because we had court timelines to meet, lest the matters we were attending to were called out before we got to court. We could not afford to appear incompetent in our pupil masters/mistresses’ eyes.

That is how my relations with my classmates became almost non-existent. Funny thing is, even when I was doing my undergraduate studies, I kind of knew the ‘friendships’ were only short-term. Given my introverted nature, I was always guarded and consequently, my ‘inner circle’ was very small. Deep down I knew most of my classmates were mere acquaintances, who would disappear from my life once we parted ways.

I usually think of those relations as functional work relations. We were working towards a common goal, and each person had to play their part cohesively. That way, we would be successful in our endeavours. Throughout my undergrad, my phone was always ringing off the hook, because there was always something my fellow students wanted to enquire about regarding classes; and as such, I was always at their beck and call.

Nonetheless, there were red flags along the way with regard to the transient nature of our relations. As I’ve mentioned, my phone was always ringing when we were in session. However, that was never the case when we went on holiday; only a dozen students would try to call/text to check on me.

Owing to this, I tamed my expectations, since I did not want to let the thought of my popularity fool me. I was only popular because somehow my classmates needed my services, but minus that, I did not have a personal relationship with majority of them.

Therefore, it was somewhat obvious that the popularity would only last until I was out of that institution. Funny thing is, when I ‘rarely’ bump into any of my classmates, we usually regard each other with so much respect and warmth. There is still that lingering camaraderie, but it’s usually a classic example of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

When this year was starting, I decided to reach out to some of my old acquaintances, seeing as years were just passing by and we were just growing distant. I was kind of fifty-fifty, anticipating most would ignore my texts since they did not really need anything from me… Turns out I was right, sadly! Majority did not bother to acknowledge my texts. Needless to say, that did not come as a surprise.

Rejected and Alone: Part 1

Difficult moments bring a lot to the surface. The hidden truth is revealed; the good and the bad, but mostly the bad. At least in my opinion. Lately I have been reminiscing an awful lot, possibly because I recently finished my pupillage, and now I’m in that ‘professional limbo’ where I am technically not a student anymore, yet I have not been admitted to the bar.

Ideally I should have found a holding over (post-internship) position to work while I await my admission to the bar, but as it turns out, finding a job nowadays is anything but easy. Ergo, I have more than enough idle time on my hands. It is this ‘interesting’ predicament that has seen me spend more than enough time strolling down memory lane.

See, during my undergraduate studies, I was my class’ president for the entire duration of our law course. I remember this one time, one lecturer who had taught us in our second year walked into our class two years later, and was surprised to find I was still the class president. “She is still the class president?” He asked, patently surprised. “You guys did not pick someone else?”

“She’s very nice…” “We love her…” “She’s very competent…responsible…” multiple voices rent the air simultaneously.

“I cannot hear what you’re saying if you all speak at the same time,” he interjected.

One of my classmates, who was seated at the front, raised her hand; and seeing as she was already known to the lecturer from our previous interactions, he picked her. “We did not see the need to elect someone else because she is very good at her job,” she said, and the rest of the students said “Yeah,” in agreement.

I suppose the lecturer did not have much to say because he just smiled and said, “I see”.

Every now and then, some of my classmates would come up to me and tell me that if I wanted to run for any political seat they would vote for me, but since politics has never been my cup of tea, I would just tell them politely that I was not into active politics. My sentiments notwithstanding, they would tell me they would still back me up if I ever changed my mind.

In a nutshell, my relationship with my classmates was very cordial. I served them diligently, and they never missed a moment to let me know how grateful they were for my services. A few days before sitting our final exams, they organized a small ‘surprise’ session, where they gave me gifts, among them being a pencil drawn portrait of myself. I loved it.

Their kind gesture caught me so off guard, because most of the times I’m the one who does things for people, never expecting anything in return…so this was definitely very unexpected, and as such, a breath of fresh air. The noble act moved me to tears, and much as I hate crying in public, I could not help it. Next day some teased me, calling me a cry baby.

Less than a month later, we finished our exams and it was time to bid each other adieu. While I was extremely excited to be done with law school, I was awash with nostalgia and sadness. Going by my past experiences, I knew some, if not most, goodbyes were forever. For four years we had all been working towards one common goal; to finish law school. Now that we had done that, our diverse dreams would take us to different directions… and that, is what made me sad.

Eighth station: Jesus speaks to the holy women

Eighth station-Jesus speaks to the holy women

Reflection

My Jesus, I am amazed at Your compassion for others in Your time of need. When I suffer, I have a tendency to think only of myself; but You forgot Yourself completely. When You saw the holy women weeping over Your torments, You consoled them and taught them to look deeper into Your Passion.

You wanted them to understand that the real evil to cry over was the rejection You suffered from the chosen people-a people, set apart from every other nation, who refused to accept God’s son. The act of redemption would go on and no one would ever be able to take away Your dignity as Son of God, but the evil and greed, jealousy and ambition in the hearts of those who should have recognized You was the issue to grieve over. To be so close to God made man and miss Him completely was the real crime.

Prayer

My Jesus, I fear I do the same when I strain gnats and then swallow camels; when I take out the splinter in my brother’s eye and forget the beam in my own. It is such a gift-this gift of faith. It is such a sublime grace to possess Your own Spirit. Why haven’t I advanced in holiness of life?

I miss the many disguises You take upon Yourself and see only people, circumstances and human events, not the loving hand of the Father guiding all things. Help all those who are discouraged, sick, lonely and old to recognize Your presence in their midst.

Amen.

 

Love your perfect imperfections: Part 2

I was elated; my friend had just complimented me; I looked amazing. Even though he was just a friend, his words seemed to impact my life greatly. And now that I had his validation I felt great. I was doing things right. That got me all psyched up; I maintained my low carbs diet and intense work outs. When I looked at myself in the mirror I loved what I saw. My curves were just how I wanted them. I was thrilled.

A few weeks after that night, mom sized me up as I set the table for dinner. “You’re slimming,” she remarked. I had noticed it but somehow I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

“No, it’s because I’m in baggy pants.”

“I know the pants don’t particularly fit but I’m telling you, you’ve lost weight,” she insisted. “It must be the intense work outs you’ve been doing lately.”

I didn’t want to argue with her. I just went to my bedroom and stood in front of the closet mirror. I tried outfit after outfit, to see if what mom had said was right. My clothes fit, but I could see there were some unfilled spaces that were once filled. But even as I looked into the mirror I didn’t want to admit what was right in front of me; I was slimming. Given that I was still petite, it meant that if I lost any extra weight I would appear unhealthy. I had just come out of a phase where I’d lost so much weight because I had been straining too much at a job I had, which had led me to quit after realizing I’d started feeling weak.

I couldn’t imagine dragging myself back to that phase consciously. Whenever I bumped into friends on the streets they would look at me like I was sick. I was too skinny. At the time I hadn’t met my skating buddies. We only met later after I had quit my job and had put on some pounds.

That night when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized mom was indeed right, I made a choice. I could opt to slim to please my friends, or I could just be my real curvy self. I opted for the latter. I would be myself. Whoever wanted to be in my life would have to accept me for me; with all my perfect imperfections.

Beauty is more than just the outside appearance. I learnt that ages ago when I was still a kid. I wasn’t about to let people I considered my friends dictate the life I lived. If they wanted to be my friends they would have to let me be the person I wanted to be, and slim wasn’t it.

Around that same time I found myself too busy with school work; I didn’t have much time for hanging out with my friends. When I was free they weren’t and when they were I was tied up with something. Sometimes though, I felt like I was deliberately avoiding them. Months later, last year, one of my skating buddies and his family moved. I was devastated, because somehow I liked him more. He appeared to be the head of the team, even though no one had officially appointed him. He was just cool like that. In my opinion he was the skater with the coolest moves.

That same day I found out they had moved, I called my other friend to check if he knew as he’d been out of town for the past few months. He didn’t seem to know. While we were talking I asked him if he’d be signing up for a skating competition that was being held in a few weeks’ time. He hadn’t heard about it so I sent him the link. Before we hang up he asked how I was doing and I told him I was great even though I was still feeling bereft after learning our friend had moved.

“I know you’ve put on weight,” he teased. I just gave him a mirthless laugh. I didn’t confirm or deny it. He said he would let me know when he was back home. When I hang up, my thoughts lingered on his words. ‘I know you’ve put on weight.’  I realized he was just a vain guy, fixated on my weight. I wasn’t going to live a miserable life trying to please someone who couldn’t see past my flesh. That day something inside of me died; the desire I had to be validated by my friends.

I decided I wouldn’t let them call the shots. It was my life, my rules. If they thought I wasn’t good enough to be their friend just because I wasn’t slim, then I had no business trying to force myself on them. I wouldn’t live a dejected life trying to live up to the expectations of men who had a twisted notion of the essence of true beauty; flawed men who thought they knew what true beauty was.

John Legend’s song stirred something deep inside of me.

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

If someone loves you for real, they will love you for you; with your perfect imperfections; without trying to change you into what/who they want you to be.

Love your perfect imperfections

Have you listened to John Legend’s song, All of me?

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I’m losing I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you.

The lyrics above are the chorus to his beautiful song. I’ve listened to the song a couple of times before, but last night as I listened to it, it took me back in time; to the year 2012.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon. I had called one of my skating buddies to come help me fix my skates. The wheels had worn off and I needed to get them replaced. It was a few weeks after the Christmas holiday. He had travelled; ergo we hadn’t been seeing much of each other for a while. As he unscrewed the old wheels off, replacing them with the new ones I just watched, listening to him give a detailed account of how he’d spent the holidays.

When all the eight wheels were in place he gave me the skates back so I could try them out. Gladly, I put them on and rolled on the spacious car pack outside my house. He hadn’t brought his skates so he just watched as I did my rounds. A short while later I went back and sat next to him, pulling them off. I asked if he wanted to ‘test’ them and he was only too glad.

“You’ve gained some weight,” he noted.

“Yeah,” I grinned.

“If you get bigger than that we’re ditching you,” he teased, referring to the other guys we skated with. I only laughed in response.  That day we didn’t skate much; we just talked, catching up on the days we’d spent apart.

After that day I became so cautious how I ate. I’d make sure the servings weren’t too large, just so I wouldn’t gain weight. Then I started working out more to ensure I burned any excess calories. One Saturday mom saw the food in my plate while having dinner and she commented on how little it was.

“My friends said they’d ditch me if I put on more weight,” I laughed. She laughed too because it sounded funny.

Days later, on a Sunday evening I bumped into that same guy while I was going to buy groceries and seeming awestruck he told me how great I looked. “But your stomach’s a bit big. Or you’ve just eaten?” He asked lightheartedly. The worst part is he always made his comments blithely, so I always took them as that, jokes; only that later, when I was alone the same words would come back to haunt me, making me feel like I needed to try harder to get their approval.

Everytime I ate, my friend’s words would ring in my head and that made me avoid large servings; I didn’t want to lose my friends because of something I could avoid. It all turned out fine. For a while at least.

One Saturday while out skating at night, we went to some nearby bar to get some beer. The guys were having a house party. We waited while two guys went in to purchase the drinks. As we waited outside at the parking, my friend rolled in his skates up to where I was standing and he went on and on about how good I looked. “Skating should be made mandatory for girls,” he said, “It’s the quickest way to slim.”

His compliments made me feel good and bad at the same time. Good because he acknowledged I looked amazing and bad because he made such a big deal out of my body size. It’s like my size would affect his life. Later, he escorted me back to my house. We sat on the front porch, talking, and since I was getting into the house I took the skates off. Normally, he’s not that taller than me but because he was in skates and I wasn’t, he appeared much taller that night.

When he stood to leave he grabbed my waist, pulling me to him. “You look amazing,” he told me. “Don’t change.” I flung my arms around his neck, in a goodbye embrace. His house was in the next court, which was just a few minutes away. He wasn’t my boyfriend really, it’s just that he was closer to me than the others; earlier, before we went to the bar we had sat down on a curb to catch our breath after speed skating for miles non-stop. He had asked why I refused to be his girlfriend when he proposed some months before but I didn’t tell him why. I didn’t think we were compatible as a couple. My female instincts told me we were better suited as friends.

I watched him roll away in his rollerblades and I carried mine to the house, my lips curved in a smile. It had been a lovely night.

Almost Aborted: Part two

new baby

As I watched the rejection my cousin endured from close family members, the phrase,’ it’s only when you’re in need that you get to know who your close friends are’, made perfect sense. My sisters and I were always treated like outcasts, but now that she was pregnant, she was ostracized from the rest of the family.

While staying with us, she was warm; a side she rarely showed us; but we weren’t fooled by it; we knew it would last only as long as everyone else was against her. We knew she was using us, but we didn’t mind it; we wanted to be there for her. Apparently some relatives found out she was staying at our place, so they would try to get first-hand information from us; nonetheless, we guarded her little ‘secret’. Whoever wanted to know anything about her would have to get it straight from the horse’s mouth; from her.

Mom finally managed to convince her mom it was okay for her to keep her baby; so she went back home. Normally we hardly visit each other, but at that time we broke that unwritten rule. If we didn’t go to her she would come to us. The palpable forlorn look she had been wearing that entire time was replaced by a cheerful one. Her mom hadn’t reconciled herself with the fact that she was going to be a grandma; nevertheless, she was slowly starting to get used to the painful idea.

Eventually, my cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. At three days old, she was the first new born I had ever laid my eyes on. I didn’t know how to hold her, because I was afraid her fragile neck would snap; but I got the hang of it. When some of our cousins made snide remarks in her presence, we stood up for her. Just like us, she had no prior knowledge on how to handle babies, so we imagined the frustration and pain she must have been feeling.

The first few days after my niece’s birth, my cousin seemed distressed; her eyes were ever red and swollen; we imagined she had been overwhelmed by the whole issue; she had to wake up in the middle of the night when the baby started crying… It was hard for her.

Every last Friday of the month, I accompanied her to the clinic for her post-natal check-up. I watched as the little baby girl grew from kg to kg. It was an honour for me. The feeling was amplified by the fact that she would cry when other people held her, but when I took her in my arms she would stop. Her grandma was shocked when one time she started crying, but when I took her, she stopped and started smiling instead, staring at me with her big beautiful eyes.

Slowly, we started drifting apart. Our routine visits stopped completely. But that was after the other family members saw the baby and fell in love with her. No one scorned my cousin again; apparently they all loved the baby.

During my niece’s first birthday, everyone was invited to the party, except my sisters and me of course. My cousin had gone back to her old snobbish ways; but honestly we didn’t mind it. We had known that would happen sooner or later. Her mom called my big sister to ask if we were going, but she told her our cousin hadn’t invited us.

My aunt asked my cousin about it but she told her she’d only invited the people close to her; the same people who shunned her when she needed them. We just laughed it off, genuinely unoffended. That’s the treatment we’ve always been given since forever by her and the rest of our snobbish cousins; we gradually grew indifferent to it.

This past Easter, my niece turned four. She’s a spitting image of her mom, although when I looked at her a few months ago I thought she had a striking resemblance to her uncle-my cousin’s brother. My cousin is the only one with a baby so far; our other cousins, my sisters and I are yet to walk down that road. So now that my niece is the only baby in the family, everyone dotes on her. Recently, during a get-together which my sisters and I skipped, the ‘senior’ family members were asking the rest of our cousins to follow my cousin’s example and get their own children.

Honestly I found it ironic; when she got pregnant, the same people thought she had made the gravest of mistakes, now they hold her on a pedestal, for everyone to emulate.

My niece is clearly adored by everyone, and I wonder how she would feel if later she finds out-God forbid-that many wanted her aborted. It was easy for people to write her off when she was only taking form in her mother’s womb, but now she’s here with us, the same people shower her with affection unreservedly.  Her grandmother for instance, she was on the forefront, championing for her to be aborted, but now when they’re together, I get the feeling she loves her more than everyone else; a complete change of heart.

“Auntie,” my niece called me when I was seeing her and my aunt off one Saturday evening a few weeks ago; they had visited “I want those.”

“What?” I asked her.

“Those,” she hinted at the jeweled gladiator sandals I was in with her eyes.

I smiled. “But they’re too big.”

“I want them in my size.” She replied confidently. I hadn’t seen that coming. Her innocent request had me laughing loudly, impressed by her witty reply. So now I owe her a pair of shoes. It’s impossible to not love her; it’s hard to imagine she was almost aborted. Nonetheless, given the strained relationship we have with her family, I doubt we will be seeing much of her in the future, God willing.