the truth behind working for a fascist and toxic employer

I was 19 in 2017 when I first got hired at Cotton On.

My manager at the time was young and my sister’s age. She was a bit quiet and sometimes, we worked in silence because I just didn’t know what to say to her but she was “cool” in a lot of ways. She wasn’t very authoritarian and was chill with her staff because she knew their abilities and rarely had to work us down.

She had a lot of nice things to say to me. One of those was that she was easily impressed by how meticulous I was with working and cleaning the store. She was the one who hired me based on my merit and experience working in a bigger-chain retail store during my time in Singapore so she did what she thought best and hired me.

She left a little while later to move interstate and there, we were unmanaged for a long time. My regional manager who was living in Cairns at the time frequently flew interstate to visit our store and he placed a wonderful Portuguese lady in our charge for a few months. I worked often because I was in university and had more time off but in April 2018, I flew back home to Singapore in lieu of my father’s death.

I stayed off work for a month and proceeded to come back later on working full-time hours for another month. The Portuguese lady resigned after getting a full-time job and I worked 35 hours then, managing most of the things in the store and the only things that I didn’t do were the rosters and visual merchandising. They were handled by another proper manager from a neighbouring store.

My regional manager was extremely supportive of me, viewing me as strong-willed for working as hard as I did just a month after my father died. He had high expectations from me and often told me, “You are a winner and I know how amazing you do your job.”

The month after, my mother told me to go back to university.

So I settled for working a good bunch of hours as I did before my father died while I went to university at the same time. They had a stand-in manager from the neighbouring store to work at ours and she frequently told me that she hated the store because of how anxious it made her and I agreed. We were small, cluttered and messy.

A few months later, she moved interstate and we were yet again, unmanaged.

In September 2018, they finally hired a manager for us.

She had zero experience in retail and was the security guard at the same shopping centre. She had no sense of urgency, extremely lazy and incompetent, played favourites and was the worst choice for a manager. She rarely unpacked any new stock and was always doing something that was not necessary or important, later blaming the staff for not doing their jobs when our regional manager came to visit and was shocked by the number of stock boxes still not unpacked.

I had a stellar amount of respect at first when she tried to tell me how to do my job properly and I was like sure, it was my fault. But I soon came to realise that this lady did not deserve my respect when she did not take her job seriously. She always screwed up the rosters by missing breaks and was generally bad at everything. She laughed her mistakes off while being extremely irritated by the mistakes of the rest of the staff.

The last straw for me came when I had done two full days on Sunday and Monday. Our regional manager was visiting the coming week and my manager had given me a list of things to do, including unpacking new visual merchandising stock on a Sunday which we generally never did because it was a short working day and we usually focused on cleaning up the store. I came in the following Monday and found that there were 7 visual merchandising stock boxes on the trolley to unpack so I did what I could and cleaned the rest of the store at the end of the day.

The next day, my store manager came in and told another staff that she had stuffed another four boxes of VM stock boxes under the table for me to do but “apparently Sophie had other plans.”

Eventually, I picked a fight with her but we made up and after a while, she quit the next month.

Following that month in November, we had a new area manager who was going to stay in our city permanently and look after all 5 stores under her. Our regional manager was going to stay where he was based and wouldn’t have to fly in every five weeks to check on us.

She was the worst area manager I had ever seen. She was rude, played favourites and was bad at her job.

I didn’t have much chance to work with her in the first few weeks as it was Christmas and I had gone home to Singapore for a holiday. When I came back, she had significantly reduced my hours per week from an average of 18 hours to 3-6 hours. Instead, she rostered other staff from other stores on in my store as though they worked there.

She frequently berated a lot of staff, telling them in their faces that she didn’t like them and they did not deserve to work in the store while telling other staff that “I think you’re an amazing team member and should work in my favourite store.”

She made another store manager of our neighbouring store burst into tears and resign. She made uncalled for comments and demanded that she did the rosters for all the stores, only rostering staff that she had favourites and giving other staff like myself from zero hours to the minimum of three hours a week. She could hardly do visual merchandising and messed up the store while doing so and when HR received a complaint from a customer with regards to the unsightly store, she placed the blame on the staff.

Not long after, everyone had enough of her and sent in a complaint to HR who eventually sent her to another state or fired her.

However, we were unmanaged without a store manager again and manager of our neighbouring store was sent to us to manage us.

She was nice to me.

Or at least, in front of me.

For the next six months, I was put on the rosters for three hours a week, every Friday night for closing. It was the one day in the week where we would be open until 9pm and all the stores know that late-night Friday shifts are to be alternated between the staff but I was made to do late night Friday shifts every week for the next six months with no explanation.

My manager was in many ways, lazy, incompetent and a liar.

She frequently stood behind the counter doing nothing and was always on her phone. She never went to get change for the tills and the money tills were always left with $50s, $100s and at one point, it was completely void of coins and this frequently happened during weekends when banks would be closed to get change and she wouldn’t be working and be affected by her own laziness. She never threw the rubbish out from over the week and would let it accumulate to the point that the weekend staff or Friday night staff like myself had to make two to three trips to the bin outside. She never cleared up the small bin behind the counter and it was always filled with her food containers which she ate over the week. She never cleaned the store. She was lazy and tried several ways to avoid coming to work and to leave work earlier, giving excuses that she had gastro or that she had to leave two hours early due to a house inspection that she had to attend. She would wait for staff to come to cover her breaks and leave for two hours instead of the one-hour break that she was supposed to have. Many times, if someone fell sick, she wouldn’t bother finding them a cover and would force a staff to work by themselves on a weekend even though it was her job as a manager to come in even if she was not rostered on.

I was told by her many times that “I can see you’re a good worker” but I later found out from another staff that she had told the latter that “Sophie is always on her phone and that’s why I’ve put her on for three hours and she doesn’t do her job.”

I was made to work three hours closing shifts on a Friday night with barely any customers for six months and was frequently told by her that I was a “good worker” but yet, she was talking about me behind my back. I felt that I was never always on my phone and would complete my tasks when I had any and I would have preferred for her to come straight to me and address my excessive phone usage during work hours but she had instead lied to me and blamed our original regional manager who had not been our regional manager since the year before about being made to roster me on for only three hours a week.

During stocktake, she had asked everyone if we were good to work from 4pm to 8pm that day and I agreed as I had classes from 9am to 12pm and stocktake would not clash.

When she posted the roster for that week, I was made to do opening despite her knowing that I had class that day. She claimed to not have known that I had class but I had told her multiple times that I had class and I was the only staff in the whole store who went to school.

She later admitted to another staff that she purposely put me on for the opening shift that day because “Sophie scans slow and shouldn’t be on for stocktake.”

I’ve never done stocktake with her before and didn’t know where she would have known that I was “slow” at scanning for stocktake.

The store manager of our sister store in the city was often also angry with her work ethics but he also had favouritsm and I was not one of his favourites.

In Cotton On, as staff, almost everyone uses their own staff discount codes or their friends’ staff discount codes to buy something for themselves. They are not allowed to do so but because many of the staff are always rostered by themselves for the whole day with the exception of a three-hour cover that is split with a one-hour break for the full-day staff and another two hours of hard work for the store, they tend to do what they do.

I was one of the staff who did so.

I had the permission of another staff who told me that it was fine for me to use her staff discount if I was alone to buy something for myself as I remembered her code by heart and I bought something for myself one day.

The store manager for the sister store came to visit and did a “random” bag check on me just as I was leaving the store to go to the bank and deposit our money claiming that he was going to start doing bag checks on every staff leaving the store and found the item in my bag with a receipt, demanding to know who had completed the transaction for me and I told him that I did so myself.

He never checked the bags of other staff ever again and reported the incident to HR for using another staff’s discount code.

A representative of HR called me three weeks later and interrogated me on the incident.

Claiming that “this is just part of my investigation”, she demanded to know why I completed my own transaction and I told her that I had bought a shirt because the item that I had worn to work was see-through that morning and I had also bought a bottle of water and a pack of tissues to increase our KPI sales.

She then tried to coerce me into admitting that I had bought a fourth item because “that’s what it shows on the receipt.”

I told her I didn’t buy a fourth item and she repeated herself, “That’s not what I’m seeing and I’m going to ask you again what else did you buy because this is all part of my investigation of this incident.”

I repeated myself that I didn’t buy a fourth item.

She “looked” at the receipt she had on her computer again and later admitted that it was a void item and that I didn’t buy it.

I will not forget how a HR representative tried to coerce me into admitting a crime that I didn’t do. If I had bought more items, my punishment would have been heavier.

For someone who continuously repeated that it was all “part of her investigation”, she had a lot of trouble distinguishing a void item and a sale item and I had no respect for someone who wanted to tell me how to do my job while being incompetent in her own.

And in this case, I quit as I had enough of what was happening in the store and how I was continuously disrespected.

I found that I hated those in managing positions who liked to flaunt their positions and tell others what to do while being unable to do their own jobs. The only ones that I thoroughly respected in their respective managing positions was my original store manager who hired me and my original regional manager who was based in Cairns as they were both amazing at their jobs while being humble with their position in the workplace.

This was the worst workplace that I had ever worked in with a fascist employer who spoke highly of their own authority but refused to correct their own behaviour and a toxic group of management team. In their desperation to find staff in managing positions, they had hired the most incompetent, laziest people to work and had caused the downfall of the workplace environment.

And this is the truth of working for a fascist, toxic employer and never again will I stoop so low to allow myself to be treated like this by people who were quick to spew orders while being unable to do their own jobs.

jan 1, '20 — happy new year

It’s the new year.

I still find myself wishing for the past to come back even though we’ve finally reached a new year and sometimes I wish that I can reset my memories so that I can start afresh but that would mean losing what’s important to me. It would mean losing the memories that I still hold so dear to me and it would mean losing what I have left of someone I deeply care about.

As we step into this new year, I can say a lot of things have changed since the start of 1st January 2019.

Exactly a year ago, I was still begging my abusive ex-boyfriend to stay in my life, hoping to turn things around or be given another chance at love. I was in one of the worst places of my life and this was only the start to subsequent heartbreaks from the trauma of my past relationship.

I had grown so much over the last year. I learned to set standards for myself and that a man needed to deserve me before I gave him my all, and I learned that what happens, happens. No more begging anyone for attention, no more self-doubting. No more settling and no more feeling sorry for myself.

2019 was a test of my courage, bravery and mental strength.

I am so goddamn strong for being alive right now because it had tested me enough with the betrayal of my best friend and so much more. It tested me when the people at work had so much to say about me behind my back and it tested me at home. It tested me in the last months of my wavering relationship with my ex-boyfriend and most of all, it tested me in losing the one man I would’ve wanted to marry.

Never have I been placed in a difficult year, with the exception of 2018 when I lost my father but I feel like the years get tougher and tougher as I go out into this world each passing day.

I want to say one thing — 2019 was full of lessons. They were lessons that I never knew I needed but it was enough for me to learn.

2020 will come at me stronger than before and I know I will be tested against my own wits. I will contemplate life so many times that it’ll look suicidal but I know that these are just tests. I will look to the sky so many times that I’ll ask God why he does this to me and maybe, I’ll get an answer for my strength.

Maybe, something might go my way this time.

But one thing I learned in 2019 was that with losses come great success.

to a friend

I must express my anxiety in writing this. This has been no easy task in the last few weeks but to reflect is greatly beneficial and this episode did not disappoint.

I had known her for almost two years now.

We were not close in the first year, and only grew closer in the last year of our friendship. We were on the opposite sides of the spectrum when it came to having anything in common and the only thing we ever bonded were over boys.

However, that didn’t stop us from having weekly lunch meetings, talking the latest gossip and generally having fun. The two-year age gap between us didn’t stop much and we were at some point, at the best of our friendship.

There were so many traits of her that I ignored over the course of our friendship because she was my friend — so many things that should have been an indicator that she was far too immature for this life but I was at odds with myself.

This girl, this child, was far too immature and I watched from the sidelines as she made bad, selfish decisions over and over again. She hurt the feelings of so many people around her and I watched all of it and whilst I tried not to control her decisions, I could do nothing more but to advise her on things that she would not listen to.

While she constantly hurt her friends with her bad decisions, she continuously came back to me for advice to make herself feel better and yet, she followed none of it. I found myself growing frustrated with each day but I could do nothing more than watch.

I watched as her long-distance boyfriend broke up with her because of her constant fighting and arguments over nothing. I watched as she found a new man as a rebound less than a month later at a club, and she fell in love. I watched as she cried when she found out that he was married. I watched as she continued this relationship with a married man knowing that he had two children waiting for him back home for the next four months. I watched as she swallowed the promises that he would leave his wife for her. I watched as she slept with three different men in the same weekend, each not knowing that they existed and each thinking that they all had her to themselves.

Her friends watched her from the sidelines as she made all these bad decisions and so did I. And those decisions never stopped there.

I watched as she left a boy for four hours while on a date to meet with the married man and sleep with him. I watched as she broke her best friend and another boy’s heart in the same night as she got together with the same married man at the clubs. I watched her cry to me the next day and ask for my advice to do better only to not listen. I watched as she left another boy at the clubs by himself on my birthday and leave with someone else.

And I watched as she stabbed me in the back and ruined my relationship with the only person I saw a future with.

She laughed as I expressed my disappointment with her. She didn’t heed my words seriously but then again, she never did. I watched her handle the situation immaturely and without hesitation, I cut her out of my life.

I do not hate her. I don’t, but I cannot see myself to be acquainted with her again. Not with her betrayal and not with her immaturity. She needs to grow up and sometimes, people don’t do it at all in their lifetime. I can only hope that she is one of the lucky ones.

Maybe one day, we’ll be friends again.

But today is not that day.

the impending realities of getting out of an abusive relationship

I need to start off this post by saying that I was never physically abused but abuse is abuse even if he didn’t lay a hand on me.

The emotional and mental abuse took a toll on my future relationships as a result of my traumatic past relationship with my abuser and many people ask me, “Why didn’t you leave? Why did you let him treat you like that? Why didn’t you walk away from it? I would have.”

It’s hard to say why, but one of the reasons was because I loved him.

Or at least, I loved the facade that he put up around him to the point of no return even when his abuse became evident as our relationship progressed further down this spectrum of hatred, self-worthlessness and despair. It got to the point where I hated myself and when I tried to leave him several times, I would feel so lost because I felt like I needed him in my life.

He was wonderful to me in the first part of our relationship.

I met him just three months after my father passed away and to me, meeting this person who said the right things and did the right things felt like a blessing to me. I thought he was a gift from God because my father had been taken from me to be replaced by someone else.

Oh, how I wish I wasn’t so naive with those thoughts.

His first sign of abuse came just a month after we started dating. I should have seen it coming but I was far too deep in my emotional vulnerability and dependency on him to walk away.

He had found out that I had gotten part of my father’s inheritance money in lieu of his death and he tried to tell me what to do it with it. Three times despite my repeated sayings of “no” which he couldn’t seem to comprehend. He decided then that I was stubborn and couldn’t spend the rest of his life with me and yet, he continued to see me.

I continued to see him because I adored him and I wanted to make it work but him, he wasn’t determined to make it work so why did he continue to see me?

It was a question that lingered on for so long even after we broke up and he left Australia for home back in America.

His repeated signs of abuse came soon after. He would tell me things that would hurt me on purpose. He brought my self-esteem down to the worst and often played the victim card on me. Every time I tried to leave him, he would pretend that I was the bad person for trying to leave him and he would successfully guilt-trip me into continuing our abusive relationship.

I remember his words at one point, “I know I am a hard man to love and I’m used to people leaving me and this is no different.”

Manipulative, yes. Guilt-tripping, yes. Abusive, yes.

Of course, I tried to prove him wrong. I wanted to prove that even though he was difficult, I would still love him and he knew the kind of person I was and he exploited that.

The first time I tried to break up with him, his truth and lies came to light.

He admitted to a lot of things; things that should have made me walk away and to this day, I never understood why I came back. It might have been the feeling of emptiness or the feeling that I needed him. It might have been the emotional dependency I had on him or it might have been the foolishness.

But the first time I tried to break up with him, he admitted to a lot of things.

“When I first started dating you, you were like this project for me because you were so innocent and never had a boyfriend before. I wanted to show you what it was like to have a boyfriend.”

After a while, I caved again and contacted him again. I would still never understand why but I felt so lost without him. It might have been my need for love or my loneliness that came after my father’s death but all I wanted was love.

During the course of our relationship in the last month, I had never been made to feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, and in his presence.

He repeatedly told me things like, “If you wore certain clothes, or wore makeup a certain way, or went to the gym and got yourself a bigger bum, you could be one of those Instagram models.”

He repeatedly told me to eat healthier food but never encouraging me to. All he did was beat me down for eating unhealthy but never offer the moral support to do it. He was in short, disgusted, with my eating habits.

He was embarrassed to be with me and constantly tried to hide the fact that he hated being on my Instagram stories or posts. He hated that I introduced him to my family and hated meeting my friends, barely interacting with them when he met them.

He repeatedly talked about how he hated Australia and couldn’t wait to go home, disregarding my feelings that I would have been sad to see him leave.

After he did leave, we broke it off but I promised him that I would be friends with him because he often talked about how alone was and his lack of friends. He talked about his loneliness and suicidal thoughts but it was all a ploy for me to feel sorry about him and stick around while he did whatever he could to gain a crowd of friends back home.

When he did start to go on dates with girls, he would shove it in my face. He repeatedly told me with much arrogance how beautiful those other girls were and that he “wanted a relationship with them”. He treated me with the utmost amount of shit whilst he dated other girls and each time, they only lasted a date or two before he caught onto his shit and stopped seeing him.

Only then, did he come back crying to me.

Sometimes, he treated me like an ego-booster.

I still had these feelings for him and I would send him long paragraphs about how much he meant to me and how he seemed perfect in my eyes. He relished in them and never returned the same amount of respect for me.

He told me the most fucked up things.

He told me that I was “just another girl.”

He admitted to using me for free car rides around Australia whilst he was on his stay here and admitted to using me to make his trip more interesting while he had a shitty career in the marines with zero friends.

He admitted to using me, and said to me on the phone, “I kind of used you and you still fell in love with me? You’re like the most retarded girl I know.”

He admitted that even if we had tried to do a long-distance relationship, he would have still broken up with me.

He lied saying that all the times we ever fought, it was because he was in the military and when I said that we had never fought because of his job and started listing down actual reasons why we had fights, he pretended to be surprised that I would remember everything.

He admitted that he never truly felt any romantic connection with me.

He admitted that he stopped being nice to me after a while because he didn’t want me to fall in love but continued to see me because he didn’t want to be alone during his time here.

He told me that how he hurt me could never compare to how his ex-girlfriend before me hurt him when she cheated on him.

He told me that my makeup skills were heinous when I had only started doing it the month before.

He told me that I was a boring girlfriend who only wanted to sit and drink coffee all day long.

He told me that the reason why he couldn’t love me was because I wasn’t beautiful enough.

This was an abusive relationship on its own that took me six months to get out of after we broke up. I repeatedly went back to him because of how worthless I felt without him and it was him who made my mental health deteriorate.

You’d probably still ask me, “Why didn’t you walk away? Why would you let him treat you like that?”

He was my first boyfriend. He was my first relationship and I had no idea that this was not the sign of a healthy relationship. I thought that this was how I was supposed to be treated in all my relationships.

I thought this kind of behaviour in a relationship was normal.

That’s why I stayed.

This abusive relationship affected me to the point that I ruined many potential future relationships. I became desperate to fill this hole in my heart and instead of going slow with someone, I expected a full relationship out of them. Every time something went wrong, I automatically assumed that it was because of my physical appearance.

I was made and conditioned in a way that made me think that I was never going to be beautiful enough for any relationship with a man.

It brought my self-esteem down lower than it was before. I almost gave up on wearing makeup ever again because what he said about my makeup skills made me feel like I was walking out of the house looking like a clown. He made me feel embarrassed to be in my own skin and flesh.

Whenever I had arguments with my mother that often gave me suicidal thoughts, I wanted to talk to him about it because of my emotional dependency on him and every single time, he would heavily sigh and downplay my problems as though it was all petty talk.

Whenever I missed my father, and wanted to talk to him about it, he would heavily sigh and talk about his own friend who lost his father at the age of three which was barely old enough to have a proper relationship with his father. He would brush off my feelings like they were nothing to be crying about because “other people have gone through worse.”

Whenever something went wrong with prospective dates, he would heavily sigh and talk about himself and all the things that were wrong with me and why boys didn’t like me. He talked about his tastes and what he didn’t like about me and generalise that all men had the same tastes as him.

In the last three months of us trying to be friends before I completely cut him out, I completely hated him. We were constantly arguing over everything and I was always questioning why he did the things he did. He would make up lies and change his answers every time. We would argue some more and not talk for a week.

He came back to me crying every single time afterwards, begging me to stay in his life because of his lack of friends. He begged me to stay and yet continued to treat me like I was dirt. Every time I threatened to leave, he would promise that he would change but he never did.

Finally, I cut him out of my life.

My mental health improved significantly. I didn’t give up on makeup and my skills improved significantly. My relationships with boys didn’t get any better but I learned to let them lead.

Perhaps, the only reason why I kept letting him back into my life was because I tried to see the good in him and when he promised to change, I wanted to believe him. Fortunately, I was brave enough to see past that front and move on from the one thing that made me live an insufferable life for so many months.

The turning point in my life came to this boy. I adored him but not emotionally. He was the cutest that I had known and I wanted to spend time with him even though I didn’t see a realistic relationship with him because he was a completely different person from me.

We hung out three times and each time, I let him lead what happened.

One day, he decided that it was just wasn’t working out. He wasn’t looking for anything serious and I adored him to the point that it was getting serious for me.

And then he just told me, “It’s not working out and it happens.”

I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand how rejection could be so easy. I didn’t understand why he wasn’t telling me it was because of my appearance or something else. I didn’t understand a single bit of what happened.

I consulted my best friend for advice. I was devastated, and I asked him if he thought I was pretty because I couldn’t understand why that guy couldn’t like me and my best friend simply told me that he did think I was pretty.

And it just made me realise that maybe, things don’t work out and it happens.

It has nothing to do with my appearance or personality. Sometimes we just don’t match and things happen. Shit happens.

I moved on with my life, determined to take a break from dating because I genuinely liked him but the week after, I met him.

I had never seen a realistic future with someone before. I had never thought about marrying any man before because I just couldn’t see myself with them in the long run but him? I saw all kinds of futures and we didn’t even talk for very long.

When I first started talking to him, I didn’t like him too much. I didn’t think he was cute but maybe a bit. I didn’t think too much about him and I was careful not to catch feelings because I was afraid of what would happen if I trusted anyone too easily like how I did my abusive boyfriend.

Slowly, I started to like him.

And I knew he liked me too.

He felt like home to me. He never let me go to bed upset with him and we would always resolve our conflicts the same day they surfaced and we always went to bed adoring each other. He treated me well. He treated me the greatest, like the queen I deserved and I knew that.

I tried to do the same for him but soon, things came to light.

I was constantly arguing with him over small things and I would fight more than necessary because I was so used to fighting my abusive ex-boyfriend just to get my side of the story heard.

I refused to apologise for so many things because I was a pleaser for my ex-boyfriend and was constantly apologising to him and I refused to do that again. So I never apologised.

I said hurtful things hoping that he would change himself because that was how my ex-boyfriend made me change myself.

He was constantly saying, “Let’s look past this and move on” just so I could go to bed happy and not upset with him. He was constantly putting his pride down for me so I could win our arguments and he would relent.

He was supportive of me even in dire situations and I couldn’t do the same because I didn’t understand how support meant in relationships.

In so many ways, I couldn’t understand a healthy relationship.

In the end, things ended because of me. I couldn’t appreciate him enough and I couldn’t treat him the way he deserved.

The last time we had an argument, he told me, “I try to treat people the way they deserve like how I do you, but I know what I deserve too.”

He was right and we both knew it. I didn’t treat him the way he deserved and he had the kindest, most beautiful soul and he deserved more than what I could give him.

This is the impending reality of getting out of an abusive relationship. It had affected my relationships with other people, even with the ones who treated me well because I couldn’t comprehend a healthy relationship.

I hope that one day, I meet someone who fills his shoes. He set the standards high and I hope one day, I meet someone who fills his shoes and bigger.

it takes a real woman to recognise immaturity

In my last post, I spoke about how I had at some point, wanted to marry someone I had only known for a month.

I spoke about how I loved him as a person if not a lover, and I spoke high about him as how one would have spoken about a blissful relationship. I spoke about how we were comfortable with each other and that I genuinely saw that I could live with him the rest of my life if we ever worked out.

Of course, things didn’t work out as how they always do.

I spent so much time in last 12 months searching high and low for a lover. I searched desperately for someone I could love, cherish and spend my time with. Unfortunately, those were times when I would have taken anyone and settled for less when I deserved the world.

Those were times where I dealt with countless immature boys who did not know how to treat a woman. Those were times where I met with several boys who only wanted one thing that I could not give to them.

With the last one I dated, he was by far the best that I had.

He was someone I wanted to marry and oh, did he treat me so well like I deserved. I enjoyed what little time I had with him and I was never so careful around anyone before. I made sure not to fall too hard or too fast, and I made sure to let him woo me but what was meant to be wooing became an attraction to him instead.

I realised that I made so many mistakes with him after we ended. I expected him to treat him like how my ex-boyfriend treated me — abusive and cunning — but he was the complete opposite and it made me realise how difficult it was for me to adapt. I had this mentality that how I treated before during my abusive relationship was how I was supposed to be treated in all my future relationships.

When things ended between my last date and I, I made the difficult decision to not look for love anymore. I wanted to work on myself but at times, I found myself craving for a man’s touch and affection. I craved the attention I used to get from him and I know I certainly missed him.

I lacked the motivation to improve myself because I saw myself ready and fit for adult life. I was doing things that proper adults would do, and I was 21 years old myself. Whilst I felt nothing like an adult, I was one.

And yet, something was missing.

And then, I realised that perhaps, I wasn’t mature enough for a relationship yet and maybe that’s why none of my relationships had worked out.

I thought that maybe this is it, immaturity on my part. I wasn’t ready for a relationship and neither was he. We both couldn’t agree on something that was sensitive to talk about and we both couldn’t work it out.

As a 21-year-old woman, I think it takes a real woman to recognise immaturity in herself and to work on self-correcting.

I was still too busy trying to find my true purpose in life that I hadn’t had the right time to fully develop myself as a person. And when I craved for that male touch, I rushed into a relationship whenever I could and that made me settle for less.

I found the perfect guy and I fucked it up with him because I wasn’t mature enough to handle it and neither was he.

Two weeks ago, I made the decision to stop looking for love.

Yesterday, I found the reason why.

And for me, it takes a lot to recognise self-immaturity and that’s why it will be my strongest weapon.

at some point, i wanted to marry a guy i only knew for a month

We already had a gist of what our future relationship would be like.

It would’ve been long-distance mostly, speaking over the phone and seeing each other’s faces on the other side of the screen. We wouldn’t have been able to be together more than we were together but for me, that was what made me more excited to see him every single time. It made me appreciate the little moments we had together and I wanted it.

For the rest of my life.

When we first met, it was like living a long-distance relationship. We often called each other almost everyday, he often texted me in the mornings and evenings after work. I waited to hear his voice and he always thought about when he got to hear mine next.

And when we first met in person after three weeks, I gave him the biggest hug. I knew right then that he was right for me.

I wanted to marry him. I felt like he was the one who would treat me right and we were comfortable with each other. I told him things that were so hard for me to move on from, my vulnerabilities and he told me things that he’s never told anyone before — a dark past.

We never judged each other, he was supportive of me and he helped me in ways that was so different from my abusive ex-boyfriend that made me realize that maybe, I chose right this time.

I chose what I deserved and I knew my worth.

I wanted to be with him and somewhere on the inside, I knew he wanted to be with me too even when our time was short.

He avoided talking about the future but we knew that it wouldn’t have worked out well anyway. We would have separated, become friends and watched each other move on with different people in their lives.

But still, I wanted to marry him.

Other people wanted me to marry him.

People thought we’d make beautiful children together.

People thought we were the cutest couple ever.

People could see just how happy I was compared to before.

You see, he never made me happy. I was happy on my own even without him but what he made me, he made me feel at peace; home.

He made me feel like the world’s problems didn’t exist anymore and I could sleep in his arms in the middle of the beach.

He made me feel at home.

And he was home.

I wanted to marry him.

I made the decision only a month after I knew him but I wanted to. We dated for two months but within a month of knowing him, I knew what I wanted. I didn’t love him yet, not as a lover but I loved him as a person already and I knew that those feelings would have grown with time.

But sometimes, things don’t work out.

Homes get destroyed and people leave. We make mistakes that cannot be corrected and people move on.

I don’t think we’ll ever get back together again but I know that at one point, I wanted to marry him.

was it worth it?

Was it worth it bringing up a topic that we were both not ready to talk about?

To begin with, it was meant to be a discussion, a way to talk about our feelings and communicate but communication goes both ways and sometimes, not everyone gets it.

So was it worth it, bringing up a topic we both weren’t ready to talk about, not knowing that they wouldn’t have accepted your feelings and opinions because of how one-sided they were?

Was it worth it ruining something good just to talk about our feelings?

Recently, I expressed a feeling I had; disappointment and hurt — to someone I deeply cared about.

And it was about an extremely sensitive topic for both him and I; money.

What was meant to be a discussion about my feelings turned into an argument that went back and forth about him telling me not to tell him how to spend his money, and me explaining that I wasn’t doing that but rather upset that he was spending his money when he should have been saving up for a specific reason we both knew was important.

We didn’t speak for a week and when we did, he was cold and hostile.

I tried hard to talk to him about it in the next few days so we could fix whatever we had broken and he avoided it and stopped replying my messages after our short conversation.

I think it was worth it. A lot of people say the same because we know what his true colours are but some part of me wishes that I never brought it up at all because then I wouldn’t lose what we had over a conversation about my feelings.

Understanding that communication is essential to every relationship is important but having the ability to apply it in real time is completely different. Everyone can talk about how communication is important but when it’s our turn to communicate our feelings, it’s barbaric and out of line to them.

I wouldn’t call it narcissism or manipulative but rather egoistic and immature. Prideful and narrow-minded. A dreamer but not a doer.

Was it worth it?

Yes.

Do I regret it?

A little, I miss him but I could do without him.

He was perfect but perhaps he was looking for a way out of this relationship and whatever it was, he took it and ended it.

I think it was worth it because I did us both a favour.