Please don’t make me into your project.

By Estella

I have one thing in common with bad boys everywhere: it appears I walk about with this invisible sign above my head that says, “Project.” Girls who are in to bad boys will know what I’m talking about. Mothers look at bad boys and see basket cases, their daughters look at them and see potential.

In my case, the potential is for me to be saved from just about everything. If Christians see me, they see my potential to be saved from hell – rather oblivious to the very long line of people who’ve gone before them, who’ve already attempted to do so. I might be converted at some point, but the short answer is, “Not today.” If you keep bombarding me with arguments on the validity of faith and belief and trying to paper mache my house with reading material, the answer may soon turn to “Never.”

Trust me when I say, “I’m not going to be your project.” While you were playing hopscotch and chasey in the backyard as a child, I was earning myself a PHD in comparative religions. I must add, against my will. You better not ask how unless you want to know all about crazy paternal relatives, doctors and witch doctors, being part of a cult, and having strange people share your dinner table almost every second day of the week.

Ditto people who say I should have a second child, open a Chinese take-away shop, cut my hair or do this and that. What I’ve discovered from having that “Project” sign above my head is this: people who are single, want you to be single. People who are married, want you to be married. People who are…fill in the blanks…want you to be whatever they are.

For reasons I cannot fathom, I give off vibes that say I’m amenable to whatever suggestion is pushed my way. It must be my face. I should take to painting on a moustache like Mr Potato on Pringle Cans to deter well-meaning people from moulding me into their likeness. If I could interest you in astrology for just five seconds, you’d see why this is a thoroughly futile exercise.

My chart, representative of my whole person, is one of fixity. It is the dominant characteristic of my personality. If you have to ask how the entire earth’s population can be divided into twelve types, then you don’t know enough about astrology to object. It also means that if you see the damned “Project” sign, you’d better just save your breath.

That’s not to say I don’t love debate. Close friends know how much I enjoy splitting hairs over Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, whoever you want to discuss, the weather, American colonisation via the TV…But they know that my position with regards to everything will remain unchanged at the end of the night. That’s because I reserve the right to have my own thoughts, come to my own conclusions and make my own decisions. If all this smacks of arrogance, consider for a moment how you would feel if someone tried to cram your throat with the liturgical equivalent of a can full of mace. Horrifying, isn’t it? That’s exactly how I feel about being someone’s pet project every time.