My Culture Has Changed

June Ong

My culture has changed.

In a short span of a term,

I have changed.

 

I used to be called the Hitler of love

I kid you not

Apparently, this translates to the meaning of anti-love.

 

Growing up, throughout my adolescence,

I rejected the notion of love.

The amount of crushes I had in my whole life up to now,

Can be counted on just one hand.

 

Rather unfortunately too, is when I reject others.

Not because they were not good enough,

Some were even my crush,

But I always come to this realisation that I might not be good enough,

That in the end, I would disappoint them.

So, I chose the selfish path of remaining single.

 

First term in university,

I gave my heart away for the first time,

I had my first kiss,

I experienced butterflies in my stomach

And the electric tingle whenever I held his hand.

 

What changed, you might wonder.

Was it because I was away from home for the first time?

Was it because university is the time to let loose and live life?

Perhaps all the above applies

But there’s more

For the first time in my life

I opened up and I chose him

Not just because I wanted love

But because I truly saw a future with him

Regardless of how immature this sounds now.

 

You might go ‘Awww,

She finally had her first boyfriend’ etc.

Sorry to burst your bubble

But I too, experienced my first breakup.

 

The guidebooks, magazines and Google all tell you

That the first breakup is always the worst

I do not disagree.

 

He broke up with me for reasons that I have taken a long time to process,

Reasons that I have finally accepted but occasionally haunt me at night.

 

Post-breakup, I thought I might revert back to my old self.

The self that hated the idea of love as she always thought it was not eternal

And this first break-up might have solidified this belief.

 

My friends stopped me.

Not because they had ill intentions,

But because they said that they have never seen me that happy before,

Throughout the whole course of our friendship when I rejected romance.

Turns out that truly, by loving someone and opening up your heart,

You’ll be a changed person.

 

All this sounds cliché,

It might be, considering how close Valentine’s Day is

And how I still miss him

But my culture has changed

I am no longer the girl who scorns and despises love

Who used to view romance as a weak form of emotion

I finally understand why people fall in love.

 

The happiness that comes flooding through your veins

The sadness that flows through the seams of your arguments

All these emotions, toppled up with romance,

Is what makes life interesting,

Is what makes us human.

 

My culture has changed.

I experienced love and loss.

I might not be ready to open up my heart yet

But I’ll know that this stone-cold chamber of mine

Will not remain shut forever.

 

When the day comes,

I’ll be ready to fall in love again.

 

For now, I just want to thank him

For opening me, for changing me.

I’ll always be grateful that he was my first.

Even if I go back in time, I will not hesitate to choose him once more.

I’m a different, happier person now.

This happiness was something that could only stem from falling in love.

Thanks to my first love,

My culture has changed.

 

First featured in Issue 7 of Cobalt Magazine, March 2017. All content owned by June Ong.

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