I remember those nights. I was being so charmed. The brightening smile that gave me butterflies in my stomach. Unexpected lift moves when we were dancing together. Stumbling on my high heels only to have a strong arm to hold onto. Being challenged. Being adored. Love at first sight. All shy and suddenly sexily naughty. The words whispered into my ears that I would remember for life. Crazy yet mesmerizing. Playful and spontaneous like we should always be at this wonderful age. Being young. Being wild. Diving into the moment. That kind of stuff. It used to be something that made me me. But now, I only let out a smile of relief at the mere thought of it as if it was something that’s done and gone and this startles me.

I seem to have become something else that part of me knows is foreign. I think carefully before I act. I weigh up all the pros and cons. I see everything, everyone as a kind of investment. I’m rational, logical and practical. I might make bad decisions but I don’t make mistakes after mistakes. I know when to stop because I already know what happens if I don’t.

I don’t overdo things, I don’t revisit the past, I don’t hold on to anyone, anything because no one, no thing is of such significance. It’s not that my heart hasn’t been touched but I simply don’t allow anything to be more important than my dignity, pride and well-being to me. I switch off feelings when I need to. I walk away and never look back. I keep my head cool. I make a conscious choice to continue to be this way simply because it works.

There will be no more, let’s do this because why not, because I now have a million of answers to that why-not, to the temporary fun that used to sweep me off my feet, the boy who would leave this country very soon and his would-it-be-worth-our-time. There is no more, why are you here at this hour?, because I already know how it would end up and “the thrill” or “the raw emotion” is no longer a good enough reason. It’s not thrilling. It’s lame and actually hurting.

My genuineness and everything that’s beautiful about living in the moment for me were abused, misunderstood, and ultimately ruined. I realise that most people are pragmatic and mediocre; they view the world in a very plain way; they are after pleasure for pleasure’s sake; they fail to appreciate and enjoy the context and everything in between — the things that make me feel human. This is not a bad thing. It’s indeed normal, I suppose, but it has no taste to me and I can’t do anything much about that. I adapt and I learn to fit in. I treat them the way they want to be treated. It’s a win-win situation, boring but manageable to me.

Looking back, I can’t help but wonder what is it exactly that has made certain people so crucial to my changing, and now that I have changed, how it would have been if it had been this me who met them at that point in time. I would definitely have never said what I said, done what I did, or let any of them get so close to me that they had the power to crush me so bad. Heck, I wouldn’t even have met them in the first place. But then, without them, there would be no me now.

They have helped me learn so much about myself and what I could do better, making me realize that the nature of me and them is very different and none of this is a big deal. Life is just life, shit happens, things change and people move on. Most of the time, it’s not even about me. I’m just a tiny part of this giant machine whose engines never stop. Life surely doesn’t wait for me. It doesn’t come with a manual either. I just have to figure it out by trial and error and be patient with myself.

I suppose this is all natural — growing up, making mistakes, learning from mistakes and changing. I shouldn’t be scared that I might lose the raw part of me that seeks out to the world, demanding to feel life authentically, that one part that makes me young and alive because deep down I know for sure that the nature of me would never change. All of that spontaneity, the sentiment, sensuality stay true regardless.

Perhaps one day, when someone comes and asks me that why not question again, I will just take his hand and follow him, leaving all the rationale behind to enjoy us and this youth. I will still be that girl who’s all about the moment, the build-up, the fuck-this-shit-I-make-things-happen. And it can only get better. It’s better because I now know what to do, who to choose, why there needs to be this rawness, and that’s when the risk is worth it and I let me be.

I often remind myself that, no matter what happens, I do not give up on myself. I won’t live life ordinarily or lose that special something about me. To me, that’s what this whole thing is about.