Tuesday’s Tale: Geeky Marriage Proposal

Using one of my favourite songs ever, creative ideas, and touching words, I definitely have to include this video as my top proposal videos list.

Makes me wonder, how will I get proposed? Hmm… I’d like to uncover the surprise one day :).

How about you? What’s your dream proposal like?

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Rebound: Only this isn’t basketball, it’s relationships

Published on Meld Magazine last week!

IT’S funny  just how heartless we can be when our hearts are broken. Marcella Purnama reflects on the pain of being a rebound and feeling like a distraction until someone better comes along.

The only thing sadder than being the “other” person in a relationship, is being someone’s rebound. And no – I’m not talking about basketball.

My first experience with being a rebound was in the short period between a farewell party for a friend leaving for Bali (a trip I didn’t end up going on for various reasons, but that’s a different story) and my end-of-school prom night.

The man in question had been my best friend since junior high – right up until he got together with this girl in senior high. Our friendship had crumbled.

But when he broke up with his girlfriend and prom night drew closer, we found ourselves reconciling at the goodbye party.

To my utter disbelief, he then left me a bouquet of roses, complete with a love poem, in front of my house on prom night shortly after – gifts I didn’t discover until the next morning.

While I didn’t really expect the roses or the poems, I knew something was up. I’d heard way too many stories of boys acting strangely after a breakup to take this as just a sweet gesture.

A few days later, he left on his end-of-school trip, leaving me alone with my confusion.

But it didn’t take long for the gossip mill and the miracle of technology to bring me the news: he’d gotten back together with his girlfriend.

Just in case you were wondering, and if you have been following my relationship columns, this is the guy in “My friend, you have been dumped“.

Suffice to say I was shocked. Never before had a guy acted amorously towards me, only to get back with another girl. But as far as first rebound experiences go, I’d say I got off easy. I mean I didn’t even become emotionally attached to him or anything.

But it was crazy to see what a guy can do during his relationship “mourning period”. And I did learn an important lesson from the whole thing  – if any of your friends of the opposite sex have just experienced a breakup, never, ever, and I mean, never, try to get close to them, even if it’s just out of genuine sympathy to cheer them up. Let their mates of the same sex do that.

Now if I had only taken my own advice…

My second rebound experience was completely different story. To say the least, it was a bit dramatic. Here’s the fairy tale version:

Once upon a time, there lived the gorgeous, stunning and feminine Princess B. Many handsome, young princes had approached her for her hand, but in the end, it was Prince A from a faraway land that got the honour of being her partner.

After being together for quite some time, Prince A knew in his heart that he wanted to be with her forever. One day, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes.

But not long after that, Princess B started to have second thoughts. She decided to flee from the impending nuptials. Feeling betrayed, Prince A jumped off the cliff into depression. With Princess B nowhere in sight, his friend, Commoner M, tried to heroically save him from the pit of gloom.

Suddenly, Prince A became unusually nice, giving Commoner M signals that he was interested. She picked up on these signals but while she was interested in Prince A, fate had a mind of her own. Commoner M chose not to show Prince A how she felt. Instead she disappeared and let the two royal highnesses got back together again – as she knew they would – but it hurt like hell to do it.

Well, I don’t even know what to say about that. Don’t play with fire or it will burn you, maybe?

I guess I should have learnt my lesson the first time around. Being someone else’s rebound can be really painful. You feel used and unwanted, like you’re just there to distract the person until someone better comes along.

But if I ended this article by just bemoaning the terrible experiences I’ve had being a rebound, I’d be a hypocrite.

I’ve been on the other side before.

I remember making someone my own rebound. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.

I was in junior high at that time and in puppy love with a senior. After a short courting period, he gradually made his exit. Someone else tried to court me shortly after, while I was still in my mourning period.

Guess what happened next?

But… my record of being someone’s rebound and making someone my rebound is still two to one – so I guess I’m forgiven, right?

Well, maybe not.

It’s crazy, really crazy, what we can do when we’re broken-hearted. But it’s even crazier for me to think that I can try to cheer my friends up who’ve been through the same ordeal, or try to distinguish between love and loneliness, when I’ve been guilty of being on the other side.

Have you ever been someone’s rebound? Have you ever made someone yours? Share your experiences with us below.

She’s just not that into you

Read the published version on Meld Magazine.

WHY is it so hard to tell a friend the person they like doesn’t like them back? Marcella Purnama weighs up whether being a good friend means lying to save feelings or telling the truth and breaking hearts.

Photo: Muhammad Adib via flickr

A friend calls you out of the blue and says he’s in love with a girl. He tells you the story of how he met her and that he thinks he can score a goal.

He has high hopes, but then you recognise the symptoms – the girl never looks for him first, never calls, doesn’t get his signals – and you know straightaway she’s just not interested.

You’re about to break the news, but then you see his eyes beaming with child-like hope and the words that come out next, accompanied by a fake smile, are not really yours.

“Don’t give up chasing her,” you say.

“Just keep on trying and see how it goes. Who knows? Deep down, she might like you too.”

Oh boy.

Why is it so hard to tell your friend that the girl of his dreams is just not that into him?

In our young adult lives, love is the norm. Conversations about boy-girl relationships rank high on the list of the most talked about topics among friends. We’re always so excited to hear someone else’s love story, especially from the one doing the courting. It’s easy to recognise the symptoms of unrequited love, but it’s hard to be the one giving the diagnosis.

I wish I had the nerve to tell my friends the truth. It would save them some cruel heartbreaks, especially after they’ve invested so much time and energy into loving someone. But then the question is, do they really want to hear the truth?

Personally I would find it heartbreaking if someone told me he’s “just not that into me”. It’s like being forced to give up before you’ve even entered the battlefield. Wouldn’t I look like a coward? Wouldn’t I look like I’m just playing around with his feelings and that I don’t take things seriously?

Just recently a friend of mine told me about his crush. As he started talking, I reminded myself I needed to be honest with him because I have offered too much “sweet talking” over the past years. I could see the symptoms. It’s harsh, but as a girl, I know when a girl is simply not interested. In other words, she was just being nice.

I tried to form my words and the first sentence I could utter was, “It’s not a good sign”.

But what came next?

He tried to make the situation sound better. Then the excuses began: but what about the time she did this? That means she’s happy with me, right? A couple of months ago, she sought out my company. That means that she misses me, right? And the list goes on…

Then I realised, he might not want to acknowledge the truth at all. He was probably already aware of the truth. He just wanted to hear it from the girl he’s been longing to date.

In the end, isn’t that what we all want? If our heart is going to break, can’t we at least hear it from the person responsible for breaking it?

There’s this unspoken decision everyone has to make when courting someone: If you find out your crush doesn’t like you, you have two choices. You can give up easily and look like a player who doesn’t really want her bad enough or you can keep on fighting for her, even though you know there’s only a one per cent chance that you would succeed.

And then there’s this unspoken decision everyone faces when they have a friend one who’s currently courting someone: Do you tell him that she’s just not that into him or do you lie and cheer him up when he’s feeling down and defeated?

Which hat would you wear? The honest friend or the supportive one?

Well, on that day, I wore both.

I told him honestly that his chances were slim, but it was up to him to decide whether he wanted to keep on going or not. If he decided the latter then I told him I would be there to listen to his stories.

But as I step back from what I thought was the right decision, I came to the conclusion that I had no right breaking this heartbreaking truth to him. That responsibility lies with another girl – the one girl that he thinks about day and night.

Do you think you should tell your friends the truth when the person they like doesn’t like them back? Share your views in the comments section below.

Do you believe in platonic relationships?

Published on Meld Magazine, Friday, 20 April 2012.

WHEN it comes to the opposite sex, how many times have you heard friends chime, “Oh, we’re just friends”. Marcella Purnama explores the topic of platonic relationships and explains why she is a skeptic.

Photo: Andrejs Pidjass

Platonic relationships form when boy meets girl and they become best friends. While some believe it can happen, others are a bit skeptical about their existence… including me.

For girls, the norm is to have another girl as your best friend. For boys, it’s pretty much the same, which makes life difficult for girls (like me) who have boys (like them) as best friends.

I’ve always liked to be friends with boys. Why? Gosh, their lives are so simple! No gossip, no celebrities, no fashion. It’s more about sports, fun and games.

When I hang out with the boys, I don’t need to pretend to look excited at their new notebook and say things like, “Aww, that’s so cute.” I don’t even need to think about not hurting their feelings. If I don’t like it, I’ll just say it, and somehow, guys can handle that kind of honesty better than girls.

I can challenge them to a game of Mario Kart, talk about superhero movies and argue over the latest match between Federer and Nadal without even trying to remember who the hell Kim Kardashian is.

You can be as frank as you want and they won’t backstab you because boys usually don’t want to talk about private stuff. There’s no messaging, no chatting on a day-to-day basis with other boys, unlike girls, so the secrets you share are safe(r) with them.

Boys use logic, so when I am clouded by my emotional blues of sadness, their words strike me like lightning.

And for a girl (like me) who doesn’t want to know about the latest trend in fashion, be in touch with America’s Next Top Model or gossip about the dress Jessica Alba wore to the Academy Awards, boys are just plain easier to get along with.

I love playing badminton, but sadly none of the girls in my friendship circle play, so I end up playing with the boys. I love playing table tennis, but it’s hard to find girls who will agree to doing anything other than grabbing a cup of coffee or window shopping, so I end up playing with the boys.

I love doing outdoor activities, but not many girls do. So when the choice is between going to the shops and going to Seaworld, the shops will always win for girls… every single time. So I end up going to Seaworld, theme parks and the zoo with the boys (again).

In a sense, boys are easier to talk to and easier to handle (boyfriends are different stories, but don’t get me started). They won’t comment on your weird sense of fashion (at least not out loud), your branded or unbranded bags or how much weight you’ve gained during the weekend.

But is there such a thing as a platonic relationship?

In my humblest opinion, when you befriend the opposite sex, it’s either because you’re just “sometimes-friends” who occasionally go out in groups and chat about random topics or you’re lovers. You can’t really be best friends with the opposite sex. On what do I base this belief? Personal experiences, mainly, but the opinions of my guy friends too.

When boy meets girl and they spend too much time together talking about private matters, sharing too many laughs and exchanging too many smiles, one or the other will end up having amorous feelings and the friendship will crumble. And then you can’t go back to being friends once more.

Looking back, every single one of the male friends I considered to be my best friend eventually did something to destroy that platonic relationship. One gave me a flower on Valentine’s Day. One gave me a love poem, twice. Another asked me out on a dinner date. The other gave me a bouquet of roses after prom night.

As yet, up until this time last year, I was still a believer in the platonic relationship. Then I had dinner with some skeptical guys who were convinced friendships between boys and girls do not exist. I began to question my belief as well. When they asked me, “Do you have a good male friend who has never fallen for you before? Or vice versa?” I couldn’t say yes.

And so today, my relationships with the opposite sex can never cross that level into becoming good friends. It’s either being just friends or being more than friends. It’s harsh, but it’s completely and utterly true.

Do you believe in platonic relationships? Share your views in the comments box below!

Tomorrow

This is a day from the past, on which bittersweet memories have been forged and tried to be forgotten. But that day, she learned something else – she let go.

She had been laying awake for hours.

It was not her fault; she just couldn’t make herself to fall asleep. Too many thoughts came to her mind – unwanted thoughts.

She curled under her yellow polka dot blanket, and started to count to 100. It didn’t help.

The day would soon become tomorrow, and tomorrow would soon become another day. But not today. She thought, not today.

She glanced at the ceiling, but to no avail. It was pitch black there, what was the use of opening your eyes?

Groaning, she reached out for her cellphone on the bedside table.

It was 12 minutes to tomorrow.

She kicked her blanket, got up to her feet, turned on the lights, and started to search for something in her closet. Behind the pajamas and the colourful stack of clothes, she took out a small rectangular black box. She smiled sadly.

With the box in her hand, she began to walk back towards the bed. This is going to be a long night, she thought. She sat down, put the box on her lap, slowly removed the lid, and straightaway found two smiling faces staring back at her. A girl, who used to be her, and another boy, who used to be hers.

He was handsome, young, and athletic, or so she thought, and he was putting his left hand on her shoulder. They were standing in front of a decorated Christmas hut in a shopping mall, taken about four months before.

The girl studied the faces for a while, run her fingers on his face, bit her lips, and set the photo aside. She saw a letter that she received a year earlier, exactly on her 16th birthday. It was just another ordinary birthday card, but for her, it was enough. Her vision was blurred by then, and she couldn’t read what the words were.

She put the card back into the envelope, and set it aside.

Then she saw it – a stainless steel ring that used to stay on her right index finger no matter what, engraved with her name, the name of the boy in the picture, and a heart shape.

Now, she was struggling to breathe.

Six months ago, the boy and the girl went to a Disney on Ice show, together with their friends. They laughed, took pictures, sat next to each other, and had a good time. After dinner, he suddenly took her hand and slipped the ring into her finger.

She was surprised and happy, and so was he.

Suddenly, the sound of her cell phone caught her off-guard. A phone call from her best friend at exactly 12am. She was officially 17.

After trying to hide her betrayed voice, saying thank you, and pretending to call it a night, she put her phone on silent mode. Tossing the phone aside, she returned her gaze back to the box.

More photos.

One was taken when they were in the car, on their way home from a badminton practice. Both were in the school’s team, although at first she won against him, in time he showed his strength and he won against her. They loved badminton, watched tennis, and adored Federer. She liked vanilla ice-cream, he liked green-tea. And both loved Chinese songs.

The first time he met her, she was playing the piano for the school’s chapel. He looked at her, and thought, that must be a lonely, quiet girl. They met a couple of days later at a Badminton practice, and he fell for her.

Two years later, he got the girl.

After six months, she had fallen for him, hard, and he was suddenly gone.

She glanced at another picture of him, which was her favourite – him in a long-sleeved white shirt with vertical thin black stripes. He smiled tenderly, and now she remembered his love letters, his funny jokes, and his driving skills. Boy, he could drive, and he was a good one too. She remembered wearing his jacket, and how he liked the sight of it. She smiled, but it quickly disappeared as she was tossed back to the reality.

He was gone.

She closed her eyes, letting a tear fell down. She began to remember the fighting, the hard times reasoning with him, and his broken pride. His pride. She couldn’t do anything. She excelled in her studies, but he was just an average. She continued to say that it didn’t matter, for everyone had their own talents to be pursued for. But he never listened. He always thought of her as a shadow, chaining him wherever he went to, for people compared them, or so he thought.

She remembered his cold eyes when they met at school, and his short, unraveled chats. She remembered him wanting a break, followed by a demand for freedom, or so he said. Nothing happened, just lost feelings, he told her.

And he admitted that he had never been happier.

She let another tear fell. There was not a single statement of apology, not a single hint of cherishing their moments. Why do you chase me for two years, if you are going to run away?

She reached for her phone and looked at the clock, it was 12.24 am. Some birthday messages from her friends, but not him. Some missed calls from her closest friends, but not him. Now, she was angry.

Angry for broken promises, for letting herself opening her heart, for him going away. She could feel that sword called pride piercing through her heart, and she cursed it, hard.

After another silent treatment from the smiling faces that did nothing but stare back, she started blaming herself.

Was it my fault? Did I do something wrong? Have I loved him wrongly? And the questions went on. She began to replay every single memory – the hours they spent talking on the phone, the mornings when they did wake-up calls, the mini dates at the canteen after school, and her slipping notes in his wallet.

Feeling betrayed, she took his picture and started to hold it with her trembling fingers. She hesitated, for she just didn’t have the heart to rip it. At least, those memories were real.

The girl cried some more, and after looking at her cell phone blankly for what seemed like forever, waiting for a sign, the girl knew what she should have done months ago. She opened his messages, re-read the proofs of affections one more time, and with shaking hands she hit the button delete. Delete. Delete.

And as she wept silently, she prayed that she could delete the memories, delete the past, and delete the love.

But she couldn’t.

She used to say to him that he could be anything he wanted, if he just believed in himself.

But she knew she had to let him go, for he needed someone who would boost his pride, instead of wrecking it. And she needed someone who wanted to lay down his pride for her, instead of defending it.

She took one last long look at their picture, smiled, cried some more, and put it back into the box. She then made her way to her closet, turned off the lights, and went to bed.

As she curled under her yellow polka dot blanket, she prayed to God that she would fall asleep soon, knowing that at last, she had the courage to do the right thing.

And tomorrow, tomorrow, she’d walk with her head held high.

Postscript

There is a happier ending towards this story. Well, if you can consider three years later an ending, then yes, it should be one. The girl reconciled with her heart, and moved on, opening heart once more. She met that someone special two years later, and throughout the process she smiled because that night did happen – she would become a different person without it. The boy did seek for an apology some years after, and although they have went on separate ways, she wished him happiness.

Tuesday’s Tale: Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti

Here’s another way to be entertained even more with our differences as Adam and Eve’s descendants. Yes, we are programmed differently.

Bill and Pam Farrel wrote a book, Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti (my sister is reading it at the moment), and she has told me this important truth:

Men are wired to think about stuffs in boxes. These boxes in the waffles are separated by walls. They can’t multitask, why? Because they spend one box at one time, and one box only. When men do multitask, they are not multitasking. They just jump from one box to the other quicker than they used to.

Women, on the other hand, are like spaghetti. We are great at multitasking. Why? Because we are used to touch everything at once (spaghetti touch each other all the time). Every problem in our lives are tangled with everything else. If we are thinking about the problem at work, we will still be thinking about that problem even when we are at home with our family.

Interested? Watch this video.

Saturday’s Story: A letter to my future wife: what I undeserve

Written by Joey Shadel when he was 18, dedicated to his future wife
Published by goodwomenproject

To My Wife,

You’re beautiful. You’re stunning. You’re absolutely perfect in more ways than you know.

I know you’re out there; I know you’re living life just as I am mine. If not now, then someday you will read this letter and gain some insight into who I was before we married. That being said, it might be the only aspect of my life before we met to make you proud.

I say you won’t be proud because frankly I’m not proud either. My heart breaks knowing how I betrayed you with those other women. I regret every touch, every kiss, and every fake “I love you.” I was so consumed with lust that I had mistaken it for love, when you are the only woman I want to ever truly love. For everything, I want to apologize.

Whether it was teenage drunkenness, images on a computer screen, or fantasies in my mind, I defiled the essence of who a woman was. I deliberately turned my back on my calling from God and chose immediate satisfaction. Satisfaction that withered as soon as my pants were back on; satisfaction that left a bowling ball-sized guilt in my chest. She was a physical means to a lustful end, and I had taken advantage of a sinful opportunity. I didn’t see her as a daughter of Christ, and I was becoming her future husband’s greatest enemy. I didn’t treat her body as a temple and took from her what only one man deserved. At the end of the day, my heart was broken for this woman and shattered for you.

If you were in the room, I can only imagine your reaction. You probably wouldn’t watch, you certainly would not want to. Youd probably feel betrayed, like I was cheating on you in front of your eyes. You’d probably be angry, ready to slap me and kick her out of the room for stealing my affection. You’d probably feel your heart being ripped from your body, dropped to the floor, and spat on. You’d probably cry out to God for mercy not to watch, forgiveness for me, and the strength to move on. You’d probably feel broken, expecting more than just an apology. It may never be enough, but it’s all I can say – I’m sorry.

I can see the tears knowing I took from you what only you deserve. You deserve a husband that honors you in his words, thoughts, and actions. I have not been that, and I have begged God for his forgiveness. As promised, he has forgiven me, and I hope you can forgive me, too.

This is a poem I wrote to you, titled What I Undeserve.

What I Undeserve

as i watch the sun rise and the weary sun set,
it reminds me of your eyes all dressed in regret.
not regretful of your past, but regretful of mine,
knowing that it’s been all but divine.

He has chosen to forgive me long long ago,
with a heart of compassion that i see you bestow.
its one of many reasons i get lost in your soul,
trying to save the heart you’ve inadvertently stole.

i can’t wait til the day i see your shining face
all dressed in white at a methodical pace.
walking toward me to begin our life as one,
blessed by the Father, Spirit, and Son.

You are what I don’t deserve. God’s grace will bring us together when I have done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Yet I suppose it wouldn’t be grace if I did.

My prayer, at this present time, is that each day God is preparing my heart for you. Marriage is for life, so may what we’ll have last forever. I pray that Christ is not only your Lord, but that He is also your Savior, blessing you with the fruits of His Spirit. My worry is that if you’re in love with Him, then I will be such a disappointment. So I pray that each and everyday I will become less like myself and more like Christ, and that the fruits of His Spirit will also grow in me to naturally honor both Him and you, his daughter.

I know you’re not perfect either. I know you’ve made your mistakes too, perhaps with sins very similar to mine. If your heart is broken, I pray God will repair it. If you’re burdened from sin, I pray He will take away the guilt. Someday I want to look you in the eyes, forgiven, forgiving, and sharing with you a love the past cannot hinder.

I can’t wait to know you inside and out. I want to hear all your favorite stories, music, and movies. I can’t wait to meet your family and learn who you were before we met. I praise God for your beautiful soul and the blessings He will pour into my life through you. Someday we will share a life together. We’ll move on from the past, love every moment of the present, and gratefully await all the memories of the future.

“Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one, is unique.” Song of Songs 6:8-9.

Love Your Future Husband,

JPS