The thing about keeping the company of individuals who come largely from the same socio-economic background is that it tends to make you arrogant. It makes you complacent, and with complacency inevitably comes ungratefulness. At the beginning of the year I thought I wanted to get to know people outside of my little bubble that is largely cocooned from the real world, and I thought I wanted to do so because 1) the guys that I know from this bubble have turned out to be disappointing; and 2) I thought, for once in a really long time, I should try to eat some humble pie, get off my high horse, and stop thinking I'm better than everyone else just because I happen to speak proper English, write really well, and can spot a grammatical error without even thinking about it. Oh, and just because I'm in law school.
It sounded like a good enough plan - until it utterly failed. A guy whom I thought was cute wanted to ask me out but I reverted back to my usual habits the instant I found out he went to SIM. A conversation with him in which I inadvertently spotted grammar errors and pronunciation errors also killed whatever faint interest I harboured. Modest ambitions, too, don't do much for me, not even when these ambitions, when judged according to the background from which they arose, are not modest at all.
As for giving people a chance, the two people I thought I would try to forgive have once again gone back on my shit list, simply because I am what I am: negative, indulgent, unforgiving. I'm not a nice person, and simultaneously I tend to be extremely hard on myself, to the point where sometimes I can't distinguish feeling repulsed at seeing someone because of him, or because I'm still upset at myself for falling prey to cheap gestures and empty promises.
This thing about keeping an open mind, not judging, giving people a chance - it's much easier said than done, especially when you've spent your whole life doing the precise opposite. I genuinely can't even say it'd be nice to stay friends with ex-boyfriends because I genuinely, honest-to-god, fundamentally do not care, and whatever steps I may or may not take in the distant future towards a friendly scenario in which the word 'friend' would cease to lose all meaning when applied to the guy in question, those steps will be taken for my own interests, not his.
But then again, we are all self-serving. We are all judging other people according to where they go to school, what clothes they wear, whether they drive a car, how much money they make all the time. You only want to stay friends with the ex-girlfriend to make yourself feel better, less guilty about the damage you have caused, and you know as well as I do that if the situations were reversed, you wouldn't want to stay friends with her and you'd be doing exactly what she's doing right now. Your desire to keep "being her friend" is self-serving because you only care about what you want, not what she wants. Maybe it'd serve her better if you just fucked off completely, ceased to give a shit, and forget anything ever happened; but because you want to hold on to the broken pieces, nevermind that your hands are bleeding copiously from the cuts, you insist on making claims about being there for her whenever, wherever, about caring for her, as if you still have the right to. I mean, really. At least respect her desire to stop the bleeding before she bleeds out completely. At least have the decency to stop thinking about yourself and think about her, who still stupidly hung on when you went off in pursuit of something (someone) else two months after the shit finally hit the fan, who stupidly thought she could handle a nefarious situation and fell prey to cheap gestures and empty words because her self-esteem was shattered to such a tragic degree that any sort of male attention, even one that was not good, was enough to make her abandon all her standards and get herself into yet another stupid, thorny situation. Why wouldn't anyone not want to have Roger Federer's babies? It sure as hell beat carrying the child of the indecisive, emotionless wishy-washy assholes she's had the misfortune of being involved with.
As for the part about judging other people, when I come across people that judge me because of where I go to school or what clothes I wear, I start to wonder why I should even feel bad that I do the same. The phrase "a girl like you" does not make sense when all you know about me is that I go to law school. The phrase, in fact, only serves to put me on a pedestal that I don't deserve because there is nothing special about being in law school, and the fact that you think there is, and therefore set me apart from everyone else, only serves to enable me in my unfair sense of entitlement that I really wish I could shake. And so sue me if I have no interest in going out with a guy that chooses to exalt me by default, because there will come a day when the curtain crashes down on his expectations and he will see that I am just human, like everyone else, and there is really nothing special about me after all.
I apologise if what I'm about to say sounds absolutely and disgustingly indulgent and self-absorbed, but I have to say it: Sometimes I really wonder if life wouldn't be much easier if I were more plain, less intelligent, more average. There is so much baggage attached to looking a certain way, being led to believe you look a certain way, and going to a certain school and being led to believe you're special because you go to a certain school. Whether it's justified or not, this is how I think now. I set my standards (well, theoretically anyway; I hazard to talk about "standards" now after the unmitigated disaster that's been my love life over the past two, three years) according to how I perceive myself and the kind of life I expect myself to be living a few years down the road, and according to these standards in a perfect utopic setting, even Roger Federer wouldn't measure up because I'm afraid he might not be intellectual, analytical, perceptive and well-read enough. It makes you wonder why we strive so damn hard for perfection when it doesn't exist. Roger at his best never had a full season in which he won all his matches; maybe he lost three at most, but he still lost. It makes me wonder why I think I'm entitled to the best and nothing but the best when my version of the best is almost the same as perfection, and when I have not done anything special or important to deserve this illusory idea of "the best".
Would life be easier if I were someone else, more like the average Singaporean female on the streets who think nothing of going out in a baggy t-shirt, shorts and slippers, who don't seem to care that they are fat, who don't seem to care that their partners are fat and ugly? Would life be easier if I didn't have a university degree and think that a guy who aspires to be the top salesman in his company is absolutely wonderful because I sell chicken rice for a living? I have thought of being average as a curse for as long as I can remember, and it is because of this mindset that I worked my ass off in Jurong Junior to get myself in a position where I could choose my own future and not have it chosen for me (eventually, though, it turned out I might have chosen wrongly, but oh well). Increasingly, though, when I look around me, it seems as though the price I'm paying for my great expectations is my happiness.
The truth is, I've been feeling really empty for a really long time. I throw myself into tennis because trying to make something work, to get myself competent in something new, distracts me from all these problems that I don't want to address (that, and of course, I flove tennis). But there's only so much tennis I can watch and play until the temporary gloss of the excitement waxes and wanes, and I'm once again lying on my back staring up at the ceiling in the darkness of the night, trying to fall asleep but can't because all the problems have come rushing back to me.
"It could be worse" has been my new mantra lately, and most of the time I really do believe that it really could be worse when I start begrudging my life. But right now, I don't see how it could be worse. Who cares how much money one makes if one isn't happy? What could possibly be worse than being alive, but deeply unhappy? Someone like that is probably better off dead.
Remember the guy that coached me out of the goodness of his heart and his burning desire to halt my assault on the beautiful game of tennis with my crappy playing when I went to KR to hit against the wall last Wednesday? During those couple of hours he made two comments that made me mentally raise my eyebrow. First, he said something to the effect of how I didn't look like someone who'd ever taken the MRT in my life. Second, he was telling me about the air-conditioned indoors tennis courts at the Four Seasons hotel, and when I asked if it was expensive, he said that he found it expensive, but I might not think the same. Turned out it costs $40/$60 per hour to play tennis at the Four Seasons hotel - and for some reason, the guy didn't think I'd think that's really steep.
We're judging everyone all the time. Even when we don't realise it, we're judging people all the time. I'm not sure what gave him the impression that I was someone who would regularly fork out $120 bucks per session just to play tennis indoors and with air-conditioning, but that was what he thought - and he knew absolutely nothing about me, not even the fact that I'm a law student. Would he have thought differently if I'd worn a ratty t-shirt and my Jurong Junior (super comfortable) PE shorts?
Even if I wanted to stop judging, I can't stop other people from judging me. I can't control the kind of impression they form of me, the kind of value they place on the fact of my educational background. Even if I wanted to be average, I think I've come to a point where it's impossible to even attempt to pretend to be average. And you know what? I can't believe I'm referencing Gossip Girl, but - much like what Nate said to Blair in last week's episode, I think I'm done apologising for who I am, for my opportunities, for my comfortable lifestyle. If that currently makes me unhappy, so be it. I'm not going to settle for less just to have something with no care as to whether that something is even good, and in the meantime, I'm just going to keep on shouldering on like I've always done.
On a much less heavy note, some tennis ramblings:
1. Dinara Safina crashed out of Miami. I think the only two top 10 players still in contention from the women's side are like, the Williams sisters. I'm really not sexist at all when I say that the WTA sucks and that men's tennis is far superior to women's tennis. The regularity of upsets on the women's side has made the women's tour a complete joke.
2. I watched Dinara and Marat play mixed doubles against Gilles Simon and Alize Cornet at this year's Hopman Cup and it was soooo awesome. I have a soft spot for Marat and I still like Dinara despite her inconsistency (I love the way she's always really hard on herself; even when she came back from 2-5 down in the decider against Cornet in Melbourne, she still called herself an 'idiot' because she didn't play well) and watching Brother and Sister play together gave me a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. Dinara deferred to Marat a few times, and when Marat lost his temper (as usual), Dinara gave him a pat on the shoulder in encouragement.
3. I'm so sad Marat is retiring at the end of the year. I'm SO sad he lost to Gael Monfils two days ago. He had match points and was up two breaks in the last set but he still ended up losing. Watching that Hopman Cup match made me see what a talented player Marat truly is - his timing and his shot selection, especially when taken together, are just spot-on and lethal. I enjoy watching Monfils too, but he's still got many more years to go on the tour considering he's the same age as me, but Marat is retiring at the end of the year. And I really wanted to watch him play Andy in the fourth round which would've happened had he won. But he lost. And it's just damn sad.
4. Lleyton also lost in his second round match to Gilles. What the fucccck. All my old guards are losing and I'm not getting my nice comeback story. DAMN DEPRESSED.
5. Roger is playing at approximately 5 AM tomorrow morning. WHAT THE FUCK. Why isn't my darling getting the evening match? I'm just not going to wake up for it; it's way too tiring, and I must admit that I'm rather nervous about his opponent. Taylor Dent, who looks fucking scary in his action stills, is a qualifier who has beaten two top 20 seeds to set up his fourth round meeting with Roger. And Roger has never played him even though they're the same age and have been on the tour for the same number of years. It's always tricky playing an opponent you've never played before, especially one riding on the high of his previous victories. I have faith that Roger will prevail, but I think I'd sit - or rather, sleep - this one out.