By Davine Ker
I grew up believing that love hurts.
It took me a long time to understand my values. And my values involved learning how to please my future husband. I remember being twelve and in training: I studied how to cook rice, iron shirts and glide across the room like a quiet ninja. I absorbed the art of swallowing my words and my pride and the fine art of balancing between obedience and taking the lead.
When I was fourteen years old, I chose to obsess about this boy named François. In reality, I fell strongly in love with the idea of loving him. I thought by showing him all my skills, he would be interested in me. After all, this is what my parents had taught me. “If you cook rice, make him feel dignified, show him you can manage a home, bear and raise children…he will never leave you”.
François was also only fourteen years old, and couldn’t care less about my jasmine rice steaming skills. He even said I tried too hard. He wasn’t interested. What did he mean he wasn’t interested? I came from a well-respected, extremely traditional Cambodian family, I learned how to ‘wife’ at an early age, AND he wouldn’t even need to spend money on three herds of pandas to have me! I was a real bargain! He made me feel like Pepe Le Pew. I just wanted cuddles, someone to offer me sweet Valentines, hold hands with me, and have make-out sessions at the movie theatre…And then get married!!!
I think I scared him away…
I grew up around arranged marriages. I didn’t know people had to be attracted to each other, have chemistry. Wasn’t it enough that François and I loved speaking to each other? He wasn’t repulsive and I wanted to take care of him. To me back then, it was perfectly enough to become this perfect couple. I thought anyone could love anyone, as long as we both wanted it. Perhaps Francois was my first heartbreak. But it was more of an ego break…and tons of confusion.
Later on, my love life was a sum of one-way stories of “what ifs?” and “why not me?” Would I ever meet this person who would want to wait with me, if I met him then? If I met him later, would he embrace the fact that I waited for him, preserved myself for him? I was raised believing that my entire worth relied on this little fragile part of me—my hymen, in a world that craved for instant gratification.
I went on a few dates, but never got seriously involved with anyone. I thought I fell in love several times. But I mostly just fell in obsession, admiration. I fell for the love story.
Love hurts when you thought it was love. Delusion hurts.
My friends worried I was becoming too picky. That I would find love if I slept around, that I should be more open minded, and more open legged…
They were also concerned about my lack of dating experience, convinced that I would have to learn sexy skills in order to attract men and satisfy them. My parents worried about my cultivating any form of dating experience which would compromise my worth and perceived value to a man.
Everywhere I turned, the world seemed to tell me I would never find love. From my parent’s angle, I had no room for mistakes. From my peer’s, I needed to make mistakes.
My friends would share their love stories and the lessons they learned: “Love hurts, Davine!” Indeed I knew it did. And would. Especially on that wedding night. That night when people would all gather to celebrate the agony of my flesh ripping, to prove to them I honored my family code.
Eventually, I took my love life into my own hands. Finding loopholes to bridge my guilt from the way I was raised with this romance and passion I was yearning for.
One morning, after my mother said, “Clean up your room! Or else you will never find husband,” I cleaned my room. That day, he appeared. In my house. As if he was hiding under all these piles of clothes and mess. All of a sudden, I found my cure for all my heartaches. The Cure. We bonded over their Love Song.
I finally felt someone who saw through me, through my flaws and my charms. And I grew fonder of him and allowed myself to grow fonder of me.
I grew up believing that love hurts. But what I discovered was that love heals. And love isn’t just about holes in our heart…Love makes us whole.
Having received the life time achievement award for snappy shoes and dress styles from PC world magazine, Comedian Davine Ker is leading the anti-vaccine movement against computer viruses. Davine makes a point of swimming the Potomac river every morning before performing on stage so her jokes are always clean. Her motto is “Give a kid spaghetti dinner for breakfast and he’ll never cry at lunchtime.” Be sure to like her Facebook page by clicking here.