My first crush was a celebrity crush all the way back at the age of 8 perhaps? (Ok just checked, it was 12! I felt a lot younger in my memories lol) It was during the heydays of 90’s pop, when songs by the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears pretty much coloured my everyday life. I was a huge BSB fan (still a fan!), but the one that caught my eye instead was Nick Carter’s brother Aaron.
I think most girls my age then probably had a crush on him. What was not to like (at that time)? He was my age, cute and his hit song ‘I Want Candy’ was just too catchy not to follow. But rather than just having a crush on him, I kind of turned him into an imaginary friend that lived in my head rent-free. I would dream up conversations with him, telling him about events that happened in school, the problems I was facing, the thoughts and feelings I was hiding from everyone else. I dreamt up an imaginary comfort that I could turn to at any time of the day and for whatever reason. In a way he was my diary, someone that I celebrated with in times of happiness and vented to in times of frustration.
Looking back, I guess he was a manifestation of my loneliness. I had never felt close to anyone at school. Sure I had friends that I spent time with before or after school, but I never actually formed strong bonds with them. My trauma of being left behind (as I had experienced more than once in primary school) led to a fear of forming close relationships and strong bonds in secondary school. I was afraid of being dropped, of being forgotten, of being left behind without any goodbyes. Or perhaps I had sub-consciously so strongly convinced myself that I would be forgotten once school ended that I ‘protected’ myself by not putting my everything into whatever little friendships I made. I held myself back so that I wouldn’t be disappointed when the time to separate came. And it’s a fear/ trauma that still rules me to this day. I am wary of new friendships (don’t even mention relationships), I take an extremely long time to trust anyone, I treat co-workers as just that, and I grew a habit of keeping everything to myself and hiding when I don’t feel right. I guess it’s also the reason why to this day I escape to the realms of fantasies and fangirling when things get tough, because that’s the only constant I’ve had. That’s the only thing that has stayed, and I can trust will stay, because it is all in my head.
It’s a habit I should break, a fear I should overcome. I am most certainly aware of how negatively it may have impacted the past what? twenty-plus years of my life? But it’s easier said than done. It’s a lifelong battle. And one that I sometimes don’t really wish to fight.