Your Mid-life Manic Pixie Dream Girl continued… (for a limited time only)

Another preview of an article still in the works (a year later). Apparently, I needed more proof or to do more research …or whatever the hell this somewhat grueling process has been.

But, the end is near. And hopefully “my affliction” ‘is coming to an end as well.

Note: I’ll have to delete this with the hope it will get picked up.

(You can find the previous excerpt here …which has probably been revised a hundred times since.)

I stumbled across this indie film archetype reading Uh, Honey, that’s not your line,  Matthew Perry’s tumultuous tale of his attempted relationship with a real-life Manic Pixie Dream Girl- the quirky, enchanting, somewhat troubled girl who swoops in to save the boy in some state of crisis. (Think Natalie Portman in Garden State.)
Perry describes her character as follows:

Though often perky, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl will be troubled as well…She is perfectly imperfect. Messed up enough to need saving so that the protagonist can do something heroic to do just that…These weird (but beautiful) girls…teach them to enjoy life again through sex, love and various activities done in the rain.

I understood this was a fictional character created for a millennial audience. But as Perry went on to describe the qualities his “real” dream girl embodied, it became painfully clear- the reasons Jamie was initially attracted to me were the exact same reasons he left.

I was a fantasy- a fun, exciting reminder that he was still loveable and could still find love…just not now, and not with me.

My epiphany felt akin to being diagnosed with some mysterious ailment. I wasn’t thrilled about what I was hearing, but at least I had a tangible explanation as to why my relationships keep unraveling. The next step was to figure out the source of my affliction so I could try and reverse it. So I dug a little deeper.

I found various descriptions of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, both real and fictional, which were all pretty much the same:

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is as endearing as she is enchanting. She is quirky and playful, fiery and bold. She is spontaneous and daring with a wild streak. She is also a romantic, empathetic, and thoughtful. She has wisdom and insight that allow her to see the beauty in things that most see as flawed. And she loves the same way she lives- passionately and wholeheartedly.

As far as her purpose, Nathan Rabin, who actually coined the term, explains:

[to] teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries…a catalyst for male transformation, in both her real and fictional manifestations, she sends the message that a bright and sensitive young man can only learn to embrace life by falling in love with a woman who sees the dazzling colors and rich complexities he can’t.

At first glance, this stereotype doesn’t sound terrible. Who doesn’t want to be the fun, charming girl who teaches the man she loves to enjoy life again?

But for the real-life version, that’s not usually the way the story unfolds…for a few reasons.

Hugo Schwzer reveals one of those reasons in The Real-World Consequences of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Cliché.

I thought less about her and more about how it was she made me feel… As unstable as she may be, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl not only senses a young man’s potential in a way he can’t, she intuitively knows how to lead him to his destiny. She knows him better than he knows himself, or so he believes. That convenient assumption allows the young man both to adore the MPDG and to avoid any responsibility for reciprocity. How can he be expected to give anything back when she has this magical intuition about the world that so vastly exceeds his own.

So basically, I was the female version of his knight in shining armor. I reminded him what his strengths were, how to dream again, and what passion felt like…with maybe some activities done in the rain.

He was all in…with one foot out.

Reciprocity wasn’t factored in. That takes real work, after all. Remember, we are living in the realm of fantasy here.

Which leads to the second factor that doesn’t bode well for our Dream Girl.

She’s real.

It’s the imperfect part that becomes her tragic flaw. Because she is in fact, flawed. She can be unpredictable, fickle, and reckless. She is pensive, feels everything deeply, including her insecurities, and needs more than she wants to. And yes, her life tends to get a little messy, and her heart, very broken.

At the beginning of Jamie and I’s relationship, these traits were fine, even welcomed- the “endearing part” that made me approachable and just messy enough to need some heroic interventions. He could chip away at my problems instead of dealing with his own while simultaneously proving he could still save the day.

But I didn’t want to be saved, and my issues weren’t going to disappear because he fixed my car or helped me move furniture. Basically, when my needs become inconvenient or conflicted with his, they become problematic. Because really, who wants to play out a flawed fantasy?

And that’s not my role, anyway, to be “played out.” I was never meant to be his happily ever after.

Nutshell: the fantasy ended when shit got real. End of story.

Actually, it’s not. More to come…

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Forbearance

girl.stars

No Love, you are not broken.
There is nothing to be fixed.

You are just beautiful in a way
most can’t understand.

But you don’t want most, do you.

You don’t need to be understood by someone
who can’t see the beauty in imperfection.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               * by Shawna Erback

 

 

 

 

A Call to Disarm

Untethering

I resisted posting this one, but it wouldn’t relent. So here goes…vulnerability in all its glory. A writer’s cross to bear, I suppose.

This is my surrender- an offering up of the thoughts that have been lodged in my chest, swirling around in my head and robbing me of sleep.

It’s time to let them go, to let him go.

In essence, this is the final spark, the one you see when the wick of a candle reaches its end, just before the flame is extinguished.

I’ll warn you in advance, there’s nothing revolutionary here. Just a girl, laying down her arms…with the hope of finding peace.

 War & Peace

    boy.girl.heart

I woke up thinking about you.
Brushed my teeth,
Thought of you.
The cream settles in my coffee…
It never seems to stop,
This thinking of you.

I wait.
For the light to filter through the blinds.
I wait, for you.
To open your eyes and whisper, boo.

You gravitate toward her, dimmed, craving light
Exposed, you retreat.
Love, truth…she is no place to hide.

That moment she realized,
she felt closer to him when he was 10,000 miles away.

r.dautremer.swings

You’re too colorful for those who live in black and white.

She loves more than she’ll ever get back.
…and still, she loves.

 

I woke up thinking about you.
Brushed my teeth,
Thought of you.
The cream settles in my coffee…
I wonder when this will stop,
This thinking of you.

You wanted a distraction, wild, beautiful,
But not to be kept.
You lost a treasure, rare, extraordinary,
Impossible to forget.

Untethering
/ənˈteT͟Hərˈing/

When he doesn’t ask you to stay,
…and you love yourself enough to walk away.

L'Amoureux20

* all illustrations by Rebecca Dautremer

I have a request…

It’s regarding the subject I keep coming back to.

Magic.

Not the “make shit disappear” kind, the other kind. Although that kind is a bit more difficult to define.

Here is Merriam-Webster’s attempt:

“An extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source. Something that seems to cast a spell.”

I don’t think that does it justice, though…

I think it is impossible to define magic, just as it is to define love or evil or god. But this is what makes us human, I suppose. Our inherent need to define everything around us- to place all things firmly and tangibly into reality- I believe is one our greatest tragedies…magic’s nemesis.Most things clearly defined leave little room for the extraordinary.
– b. breazeale

For me, it’s a feeling or experience…or how an experience makes you feel. It’s electric, exhilarating- the sound of waves crashing against the shore. Or it’s soft, tranquil- a hummingbird in flight.

It disregards time, is indifferent to circumstance, and deems logic absurd. It’s elusive, fickle, fleeting- sometimes bold, sometimes mysterious- but always undeniable. It can be terrifying, detonating the safe place we created that lulled us into complacency.

But what is it, exactly?

My experience of it is the warm glow of a harvest moon, a flower drenched in sunlight, and a sky full of stars. It’s the call of a kookaburra, the wind dancing on the ocean, and the smell of morning in spring. It’s a rustle in the trees when there is no breeze or a whisper that brushes your cheek when there is no one to speak.

It’s love, feeling it, unabashedly, and seeing it reflected back in the eyes of the person you want to spend the rest of your days with.

None of these experiences are lost on me. I see magic all around me, constantly. Except for the last one. That one I can’t seem to find.

I’ve had glimpses of it. But it’s proven to be more of a disappearing act…not the kind of magic I had in mind. Now, I’m finding myself looking around for the little man behind the curtain. Except there are no ruby slippers or home to go back to.

Courage, though, that I have…and a brain. But a new heart, that one I’ll take. I think mine has permanently lost its shape- too many cracks, too many pieces left behind for those who didn’t know what they’d found.

Of all things intangible, magic might be the most elusive. It is a very real force that influences almost every moment of our childhood, allowing us to navigate our world curious, uninhibited, full of wonder, and open to every possibility. But this elusive force will inevitably succumb to its nemesis: reality. We all have to grow up, right? We all must face reality.
So, like most people, magic eluded me for decades, until reality had sucked all the life out of me, and I realized that the only one who could save me had gone missing.
– b. breazeale

Love and magic, the elusive duo I have risked so much for, lost so much for…and hope is quickly following suit.

But it does exist, right? I mean, you’ve heard about it, haven’t you? The sweet, elderly couple who still dance in the kitchen, the guy who flies across the globe to win her back, the seemingly impossible love that persevered against all odds…the chance meeting that turns into that epic love story.

I understand it’s rare. It means risk, vulnerability, potential rejection, and unbearable pain. It’s terrifying, really. We now know the stakes, and they are high. We have tasted heartbreak, and it is brutal.

But we can make a choice. To take the risk, to heal and grow, love better, feel more. Or, we can retreat, build up our walls and remain in the realm of comfortable, safe…ordinary.

I know you skeptics and non-believers out there are shaking your heads. This isn’t a fairytale. No one is going to climb up my balcony and whisk me off to happily-ever-after. This is reality.

I’ve heard you, I’ve actually dated you. You have adequately presented your case- a convincing one to be sure- and your actions have been deafening. Your work is done here. So as you were.

But for you believers, can you help a romantic out here? Because she is, in fact, starting to feel hopeless.

Show me it exists. Tell me your stories, or stories of someone you know, or ones you’ve heard- whether they be epic or seemingly small, day-to-day things you do to sustain it.

Please, for all of us who refuse to settle, help us believe…magic is real and love can be extraordinary.

Because honestly, why waste our time on anything less?

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Falling Up from Down Under & Steering Clear of Rabbits

“Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! But I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is…Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand? Or Australia?

– Alice in Wonderland

So I went under…because everything kind of blew up. What I mean is, I went Down Under, to Australia.

Why Australia? To visit a friend. Because he wasn’t just a friend. But now he is…or perhaps he will be someday.

alice.falling

So things didn’t quite go the direction I’d hoped. But onward and upward, right? Although I’m not quite sure which way that is at this point.

It seems that I haven’t gotten the whole ‘things are looking up‘ thing down.

I’ve gotten close. Painfully close. My sister was optimistic, my friends let out a sigh of relief, cheering me on to what we thought was the other side. And we did get really close.

But here we are. Except, that’s kind of the issue…

I can’t exactly say where I am? Teetering on the edge of oblivion sounds about right- still walking on the wrong side of the street, sleeping on yet another friend’s couch (who is literally why I’m at least still teetering), and my current physical address is a P.O. Box.

What I do know is my mind is reeling, my heart hurts, and my soul is most definitely bruised.

There is a place, like no place on earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger. Some say, to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter. Which, luckily, I am.” – Alice in Wonderland

But this is my Oprah moment, right? That moment when it all seems so bad that you just have to laugh at how ridiculous it is or you will go mad. To keep your wits about you, you imagine yourself recounting that moment when you hit rock bottom and the play-by-play of your subsequent ascent.

This is mine, right?

Except I already have a solid collection of ‘rock bottoms’. I’m all set for the whole “redemption- see the gift in it all- inspire millions with my strength and resilience” part.

But apparently, we’re not quite there yet.

Not to worry, I shall forge on…or up or whichever direction is required to resist gravity and steer clear of rabbits.

In the meantime, I get to be in a beautiful place with a dear friend, do my best to walk on the ‘right’ side of the street, and switch from enjoying spring Down Under to fall a bit further up.

And really, doesn’t fall-ing up sound better than falling down?

“You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants some magical solution to their problem and everyone refuses to believe in magic.” – Alice in Wonderland

Quote Challenge, day 3 of 3: Feeling… to the point that defies logic.

I’m admittedly sad this is my last day to share the words I love most. I want to thank my dear virtual friend, brandewijnwords again for the inspiration he always finds a way to elicit.

I’m of course breaking the rules, again. I couldn’t decide on one..so I picked five. There are just too many. (more of my favorites, visit @summoningmagic)

My response got a bit intense, but I guess I’m a little intense, so…

“There are no half measures in love, only all or nothing. And if it doesn’t make you tremble and go mad at the very thought of its absence, you should move on.”
~ Beau Taplin//Move on

“I understand now that I’m not a mess but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asks me why I cry so often, “For the same reason I laugh so often- because I’m paying attention.”     ~ Glennon Doyle 

“She loves deep and fast. With all of herself, or not one bit. She’ll give people all of her light, in turn struggle to understand when they don’t pay that back. She wants you to think she can’t be hurt, but truth is, she gets hurt easier than most. She is fierceness and tenderness, within the same breath. This is her beauty. In her total lack of in betweens.”
~ Carson Patrick Bowie

“I have this terrible urge to be reckless…and I am dreadfully frightened of becoming old and having no memories at all. And I know climbing forbidden fences is wrong, so I’ll stick to falling in love with the wrong people and falling off metaphorical trees. I am just dying to do something worth remembering. I suppose there is no logic, not really…only that if I bleed now, I’ll have a lifetime left to heal.”    ~ Sue Zhao

“It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so very deeply.”
David Jones


I’m not sure where to go with these, other than to address the underlying theme- feeling…to a point that defies logic. It is, in fact, a blessing and a curse.

The blessing-when I feel love or joy or see something beautiful, it fills me up completely, every part of me. You can see it my eyes and hear it in my voice. I’ve been told it’s infectious, affecting, even altering the mood of those around me.

And this is exactly why it’s also a curse. When I’m hurt or sad or angry, I wear it like a cloak. It penetrates every part of me…as it does those around me.

It doesn’t last long. I can usually find ways to avoid getting caught in it…most of the time.

I wish it was something I could manage better. But I’ve always been like this. I’ve always seemed to get hurt easier than most and take on the pain of those around me. But this never stopped me. I risked it every time. I’d feel a connection with someone and immediately love them with everything I had. And I got hurt over and over again.

I get hurt, over and over again.

Except now, it has intensified. I was too reckless. I got hurt to the point that something shattered. And it still feels like there’s a gaping wound in the depths of what is now my foundation. I can’t see it, but I feel it, always.

Now, every time I feel something, good or bad, it grazes that part of me that’s now exposed. It’s become sensitive to the touch, so much so, almost everything brings me to tears.

So it’s not just when something hurts, but also when I see or feel something beautiful…a feeling I never thought I would experience again. But when it’s something painful, it immediately takes me back to that place, that time, when something shattered, and I’m afraid it really will take a lifetime to heal.

But what’s the alternative? I play it safe, detach myself, avoid the risk of getting hurt, even if there’s the chance that it could be something beautiful, that it could be magic?

I can’t. I won’t. I’ll keep trying, risking the fall, feeling everything.

Even if it means getting hurt, over and over again.

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