The Value of X

I recently read the above book by Poppy Z. Brite and was blown away by the story. It was surprising - the book was about two young boys who fell in love but were afraid to tell each other. They faced issues of peer pressure, of being ostracism and of ultimately, being rejected. The book was heartfelt, tender and even made me shed some tears. This was to me, a breakthrough, as Poppy's books of old were always depressive affairs laced with blood, gore, violence and sex scenes that bordered on pornography. Hairy stuff, even for a liberalist like me.

But this book was different. It was heartfelt and touching. The characters were real, affecting and believable. Rickey and G-Man are like some people I know. It begs the question: If faced with such life altering decisions, what does the
Value of X mean to you?

It made me reflect on a few things, things that I have thought about but never looked deeply into. Questions like - what would've happened if I had stayed with my dad? Where would I be now? What would life be like if I never attempted to make my dreams come true?

When I was younger, I always thought that life would turn out perfectly for me. That I'd be a great student, have good friends, a wonderful family, graduate from a foreign university, be an accomplished sports person, etc, etc...but bugger for me cos all that almost came to a halt with the end of my parent's marriage. Suddenly I was left with two younger siblings to look after and a mildly psychotic dad. I to work for a living. No more social life, no extra money, no further studies, nothing.

Life was hard, but in a a small, perverse way, it could've turned out ideal. Why? Am I going mad? Is this a sign of senility? Well, no, hear me out. If I had chosen to remain with my dad, life as it was, could've turned out to be comfortable. Yes, COMFORTABLE, despite the emotional shit that my dad shoveled on me.
But do I blame my dad? Hell yes! How can I let him get away so easily? However, I don't blame him for everything. Believe me, it's loads easier to blame someone else when you've landed in crap. I didn't get to study because of my evil dad! I don't have a life because of my evil dad! My evil dad held me back! The lesson I learnt here was that nothing will ever change if you keep blaming people. What you have to do instead is to get off your ass and DO something!

If I had remained with my dad, I would never have the life that I have now. The person that you would see now would be complacent, bitter and wasted shell. Whatever modicum of talent that I possessed would've been lost in having a comfortable life built on abject laziness.

Granted, my life is not perfect but I have worked hard, sacrificed and shed buckets of blood, sweat and tears to get to where I am today. Heck, I still bitch and moan about my life, who doesn't? It's good to bitch and moan but what's better is actively trying to improve your lot in life. So thigs are not ideal and you don't like it. Well, you can change it! But the journey now has been rocky, difficult and tough but I am happier, healthier and more of a realist than an idealist. Will I do it again? Hell yes.

Do I want more out of life? Of course! I want to be able to see my brother everyday, to see him grow up, to yell at him because he was an idiot. Things that I cannot do now. But will, eventually.

In the book, Rickey and G-Man never did find out what the Value of X was. They had to go through a number of obstacles before finally deciding that they can be better, stronger and happier if they were together. It took a lot of courage and heart on their parts to reach out, to find each other. But in doing that, they prove that a taking some risk, having determination and some courage can take a person on a better path. I guess nothing in life will ever turn out as smooth as we intended but I'd say half the journey is won by just trying.

So tell me, what is your Value of X? Are you brave enough to risk everything to reach out for what you desire?

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4 comments:

Hip Aunty said...

Maybe you should ask your mom what is HER Value of X.......and I wouldn't call your dad MILDLY psychotic either. You have come a long way, admirably with alot of hard work and effort, (but not without constant help from your mom as well) which you would be nowhere near if you had stayed with your dad because he would have sucked you dry of every spare cash that you earned, plus toss shit at you whenever he feels like it!!! I'm sorry I have to call it as I see it........maybe now you might not think of me as such a hip aunty after all, but I still love you - Ee L.

Bitchy Witchy said...

Dear Ee L, you will always be hip to me and will always be able to say the things that people shy away from. Thank you for your honesty :o) I know that my mother has been my pillar of strength throughout the years and without her, I will never make any significant leap. In the list of people I admire the most, mom is right at the top.

Hip Aunty said...

Way to go mom!! It would also be good to tell her how you feel. As you know, she comes from a home where they don't express their love for each other either verbally or with actions; so it would be good to start that in your home now. Her 3 mths stay with me here was a good eye-opener as to how we express our love for Leonard, your lucky, lucky cousin who, incidentally, wasn't so lucky today as he was rear-ended in a car accident this evening and suffered a whip-lash and some soft tissue damage. Hopefully, with some treatment, he will be fine. But I digress, your aunties in S'pore and Vancouver will always be here for you kids, so you can always count on us whenever you need us. Love, Ee L.

Anonymous said...

Did you know Brite is writing almost exclusively about these characters now? There are 2 more novels, "Liquor" and "Prime," and another one, "Soul Kitchen" coming out sometime next year. She hasn't been doing the hairy-scary stuff for quite some time.

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Ever prodded a sleeping dragon, only to have it whip up and bite you in the ass? Well, neither have I. But I advocate that you should try everything...once ;P
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