It’s true and I am going to tell you how.
Truth to be told, I was a rather selfish person by nature. The youngest of the lot, lavished with much love from my family, blissfully ignorant of our financial situation, envious and jealous of others because they had better things or toys, left to my own devices and filled to the brim with irrational anger during my teenage years, unappreciative of many things because they come so easily…
I was not an easy person to get along with, let alone grow up with. At many points in life, my sisters absolutely and utterly hated me, heh. Okay before you go feeling so sorry for them, they were sometimes mean to me okay! But that’s part and parcel of childhood, so I am probably no different than most of you. Everyone had their own demons and problems, intensity is subjective.
I have plenty reasons for my behaviour. But this post is not about that, so I won’t get into them.
So yes, my selfishness.
I don’t remember the exact year or person. In my hazy memory, it was Mrs. Lee, one of the few ex-headmistresses of my primary school who later tutored me in Math. I think her mother had just passed away, and she was talking about taking care of her deceased mother’s body, preparing it for the funeral. It was quite off-putting to me — try explaining corpses to a frightened kid. I probably asked her something along the lines of, “You dare to touch the body?” and she replied, “Of course, because it is someone you love.”
It didn’t make sense to me then. However for some reasons, her words stuck with me like a dream for the longest time. As I grow older, I would revisit the thoughts of when my parents would eventually pass on. Would I be brave enough to overcome myself and selfishness and take care of them as a child should? This phobia has decreased over the years actually, so my parents have to live for at least another 50 years before I can successfully conquer my fears! ;)
After Ryan was born, I used to play with him for a while then call for my sister or his carer to clean up his mess. You know, things like poo and puke. I was most repulsed — baby poo is yucky green and damn disgusting okay! Change his diaper, no problem! Just don’t expect me to wipe his poo-smeared buttocks with wet tissues. Hand him back only after he is clean, thanks.
It took many, many months but now I am okay with cleaning up Ryan after he visits the throne room. I don’t necessarily like it, but I don’t mind doing it. A few drops of his pee accidentally splashed on my skin? Just wipe or wash it off lah. I no longer shudder nor obsess about the contact.
This is probably a small or even a non-issue to some people. Well, we are built differently. I suppose I am lucky to have the time to think about such things. Took a while to psyche myself up, and I know a lot of people do not have that luxury.
At first I wanted to elaborate on certain incidents and thought processes during my grandmother’s stay in the hospital. I just decided not to, out of respect for her privacy. In a nutshell, my grandmother recently found out that she had colon cancer. Last week, she underwent an operation where the doctor removed 1ft of her intestines. She recuperated in the hospital for a week — her recovery was very fast actually — and now she is staying with us for a bit.
It was way past midnight in the hospital ward. My grandmother was most likely counting sheep in her dreams, having dozed off to sleep hours earlier. Again, I was left alone with my thoughts — probably not the wisest thing to do since I do go off-tangent at times. Sometime during the night, I made the conscious decision to remove all irrational fears of taking care of her, because she is someone I love dearly.
I don’t want to wait until… you know. Would be way too late by then.