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OCTOBER 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 10



My Last Hope - a personal account of teen depression and thoughts of violence


VINSHAN JASILAN, a research fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, is a contributing writer to Renaissance Online Magazine. He is currently working towards a Ph.D. in molecular biology.


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Rejection: the Dark Side of Love


In Northern China there is a tribe who lives on the banks of the Yangtze where suicide due to a broken heart is endemic. There is nothing so painful as the words 'sorry but I am not interested' or 'can we be friends'. When fantasy and yearning have built a minds picture of the perfect relationship, then reality bites in the most awful way. Rejection is humiliating, crushing, lonely and frustrating. It is this fear of rejection that stops most people from even trying to like or love someone. Better in the safe world of 'what if' then the certain and sad world of 'it will never be'

Recently in the quest for a partner a friend let his feeling be known to a woman he knew. Being a shy guy, he had let his feelings grow without revealing his interest until he realized that it was pre-occupying his every waking moment. Knowing full well that it was unlikely that she would reciprocate he decided to bite the bullet and tell her all in an email anyway. The funny thing about written confessions is that sometimes more can be disclosed then would ever be said in a face to face conversation. He therefore laid it on a little too thick. Bracing himself he awaited her reply. Predictably she wasn't interested and used the old "friends" line. He has been mopping around now for the last 3 months and prompted me to reflect on why most of us have to go through this. There are some by dint of gender and good looks have never been rejected. Some of course are so immune to rejection that fear has no meaning when faced with a possible let down.

Rejection as with all sad aspects of life has a place in the pantheon of human life. Where would half of all love movies be if it wasn't for the demihero who gets rejected then makes a bold self sacrificing gesture in the name of love. Literature too is full of themes like these. In Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities", the unexpected hero makes the ultimate sacrifice for love and gives his life for the sake of his loved one. In "Far from the Madding Crowd", the initial rejection of Gabriel is a foregone conclusion but gives the book its direction and punchline. Most rejection stories though are not romantic. No... most always means never. Ordinary mortals have to live with the heartache and pain of knowing what they cannot have. It takes time to emerge.

Yet without rejection there would be no pathos, no tragedy, no sense of imperfection and frailty and probably no country and western songs. Whether we like it or not, to love carries the risk of rejection. And to love is exhilarating and the only way to know that you are fully alive and not totally selfish. It is instinctual and involuntary and something that hasn't changed since the dawn of man. As long as there is love then there will be one sided romance and there will be rejection.

Like the dilemma of Bassanio, if our choice is wrong then we are in for a tragic, if not fatal, time of it. But to not try, well then you might as well jump into the Yangtze anyway.

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