Everything Else

Music 4 Mondays (19): The one about all because of you

I’m forced to fake a smile, a laugh
Everyday of my life
My heart can’t possibly break
When it wasn’t even whole to start with

I recently rediscovered Kelly Clarkson and I have to say that her voice and songs totally blow me away. Who would have ever expected an American Idol alumnus to make good and become a Grammy award winner, beating veterans along the way?

“Because of You” stood out, in particular. Apparently written when Clarkson was merely 16, it describes the emotional baggage that weighs and prevents everyone for loving and trusting again. The MTV left me in tears because the loneliness and helplessness echoing the lyrics and video resonated deeply.

I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me

I do not come from a privileged family. When I was a child, I barely saw my mother as she worked long hours in order to bring up her two girls. As a result, I was forced to be alone and independent from a very young age.

I could still hear the sounds of children playing in the playground below my flat as I stared out of the windows, caged in because my mother was not at home and I wasn’t allowed to go out on my own during the holidays. I could still see the sympathy in the A&W cashier’s eyes as he allowed me to buy a $1.10 drink for ten-cents less because my mother had only given me a dollar and was standing a good distance away, having been thrown into an angry tizzy because of my badgering requests to buy a soft drink.

When my form teacher in primary school started picking on me everyday for no apparent reason, I would cry alone at home but did not tell anyone. That was one of the most painful and lonely period of my life. For two whole years, I endured her verbal abuse, her taunts and her cruel jibes in class in silence. There were times when I contemplated suicide because I was so lost, so confused and so humiliated by the public lashings. I had nobody to turn to because my family was never there. When I finally graduated, I turned my back on the school with my head held high.

Because of you
I find it hard to trust
Not only me, but everyone around me

But the combined damage was done. Everything adds up and in the end. I believed that I was inadequate and flawed in many ways. And that was made worse by secondary schoolmates who messed around with my head and told me I was an emotionally burdened and insecure individual.

For years, I carried those memories with me. I did not dare to trust fully in people, not even my closest friends. Many times, I was driven by jealousy and possessiveness because I rarely had anything and I did not want to lose anything or anyone dear to me.

I’ve learned the hard way
To never let it get that far

It’s only recently that I began to grow and be my own person. I gained the confidence that I never had, and believed in myself and my talents. Taking a good look around, I rediscovered who my true friends are, those who did not need me to buy their love and affection. I changed and become a better daughter, friend and partner.

I will not make the same mistakes that you did
And I will not let myself cause my heart so much misery

It took a long time but I finally saw my true reflection in the mirror. I saw myself and chose to be who I am, rather than what I have to be. There may have people who made me the way I am but I want to break out of that mould.

I can’t carry on blaming them for who I am today.

Kelly Clarkson – Because of You

The organised chaos


The sista came back for lunch today and we – Mum, her and I – sat at the kitchen table sipping our tea and munching on snacks. I can’t remember the last time we did that, the three of us sitting around the table and enjoying some familial time together, but it sure felt good. It also threw up some pretty funny and serious conversations.

Me: Why are you doing things in reverse? People get married first before buying a flat.
Sista: I don’t want to get married because I want to get a flat, you know what I mean?
Me: Huh? But as long as you two know that you are getting married for love and not for the flat, why does it matter? He didn’t propose by saying “should we get a flat?” right?
Sista: (ponders for a moment) Yeah, that’s true.

Me: So when will you be getting married?
Sista: Not so soon. Probably at the end of the year.
Mum: Good, good. If she is getting married at the end of this year, then you will be getting married next year.
Me: My boyfriend hasn’t proposed. Besides, I’m still young.
Mum: He should.
Me: …….

Me: You should have a baby before you hit 30. Biological clock and all.
Sista: Me?! I haven’t got any maternal instincts at all. If a baby wails, I would probably give it a good smack.
Mum: When it’s yours, you would think it’s cute and adorable when it cries.
Sista: That’s true.
Mum: You should give birth while I have the energy to look after your child.
Sista: That’s no reason to have a child, Ma!!
Mum: Oh yes it is. She (gesturing to me) will have her mother-in-law dying to look after her children since Jimmy’s brothers haven’t produced any. I can then devote all my attention to yours.
Me: I’m not the one getting married!!
Mum: You should be.
Me: …………

Next time, I should just keep my big mouth shut and let them natter away.

After that, we took the matriarch to a nearby Starhub shop where she finally got the mobile plan changed (to one that allows her to send SMS, she is very funky now) and a shiny new Nokia clamshell.

Now, my future brother-in-law and I have this ongoing joke where I would demand he buy the Sista a “bling” (read: ring) for their engagement. While at the shop, the Sista showed me a text message from her significant other: “Tell her I’ll see her around and that the bling is on the way.”

To which I instructed the Sista to reply: “Better make that a big bling!”