I now have so many thoughts swirling through my head. It is hard to separate the important things from the ones that emotion have twisted. It is always easiest to let the negativity consume you. I always wonder why that is. It takes more muscles in the face to frown than to smile, and yet, for the most part, you see more people frowning than smiling. How come we, as human, always go to the negative and not the positive?
Lately I have watched How I Met Your Mother. I find the show fascinating and very funny. However, watching a sitcom (situational comedy, for those who do not know what the abbreviation stands for) brings up so many questions for me. They are relatively straightforward in their presentation of situations, and they highlight the humor in them. I guess my interest comes from the “why” we watch them. Are people’s lives really like a sitcom? Are there truly successive situations that rise, crest, and fall like a plot line? I know the introductions, problems, there are climaxes and twist endings, along with resolution, but are there really these neatly packaged situations. I am not asking for comedies sake, and I know that life is not like a movie or a book or television show, but how come we all cling so tightly to these projected images of life? To these situational comedies that always seem to end on a high note? I think that is why I enjoy Scrubs so much. It is one of the first television shows that was a dramatic comedy. It showed the irony and humor in life, but also made a concrete effort to show the difficulties, the realities of life and death and the honest-to-God emotion associated with them. There are a handful (well, probably more than a handful) of episodes where I cried, and hard.
When I continue in this thought, the next logical step would be to wonder why we cling to entertainment at all. We advocate living our life, going out and doing and not sitting and waiting. Well, if this is what we truly want, why are there so many successful shows? How come there are countless movies? How is it that next to sleeping, one of the most time-consuming things people do in the world is watch T.V.? And it doesn’t stop there. I read. Television does not suck me in, but I do allow for entertainment in the form of books and music to consume me. And one of my goals is to live off of providing entertainment for others (writing, people, writing). Escapism, a fascinating concept, and ultimately kind of sad. Why do we crave escape? Is life really that horrible, or is it an internal thing, are we running from our own thoughts? One of the things I have run through in my mind is the idea of our thoughts creating our world. I know I have mentioned this before, but I have no problem repeating it: if my thoughts create my world, then my thoughts will fuck me over. I am a bona-fide pessimist. I try, I do, at being optimistic, but my natural inclination is to think negatively. Cynicism and me have a long-standing relationship and it is one that is not easily broken. I call it realism and smirk, but then I sit and watch comedies for some healthy dose of humor, which I have every potential to bring into my life but don’t. I see friends laugh and joke and smile and have genuinely good times, and when it comes my time to share, I pick the negative things to focus on. There is potential for change, anyone can do it, if they want to, right? Then how come I am still such a pessimist? I do want to change, but my coached thought is disillusionment in a commercialized society where I question reality in every pure emotion I have. I wrapped myself in the belief that love was true, that we all have the potential to find that one person and be happy, and that belief failed me. Is it me? Am I just the fucked up one who cannot move forward and willingly trust that good is out there? Or is it honest to believe that everything is shit? Is happiness real, or is happiness what we make it or define it? Metaphysical talk and existential disillusionment. You’d think I would be dressed in black with beret on my head and a mug of coffee at my finger tips sucking down a hand rolled cigarette. I am just one of the many pathetic people out there trying to make sense of the ups and downs that come from the ending of a significant relationship. Oh my God, I am one of THOSE girls.
One of the first things I thought when my relationship dissolved was that I did not feel like I could trust men (and I still feel this way). I could not, and cannot, trust myself, either. I felt like I had found that lofty thing called love, and I believe I did. I had it in its pure form, but at the same time, it was unknown to me. I think I failed to see that love is what we make it. We give it the characteristics we find most important. It is abstract and it can mean several of things to any number of people, so why should we try to mold it? Why did I look at it and think there was an obligation to a perfect frame around it? And when the frame began falling apart and was a different color than what I thought society deemed it, why didn’t I just snap out of it and realize that love is whatever the hell my ex-fiance and I wanted it to be? It is malleable. This is where relationship philosophy takes a massive turn. There are people who believe in the social norms of what a relationship is and how they should define it. And why? We are each different as snowflakes (yes, an overused, often melodramatic metaphor, but true nonetheless) so how come we all mold our thoughts to agree with a singular idea? Why can’t two men or two women marry? How come people look down on gender roles of man and woman and complain when couples reverse them because it feels right? How come we turn our noses up to younger women and older men or vice versa? Is it because we shy away from what we do not know? And if so, wouldn’t the answer then be to promote knowledge and understanding and not shunning and living forever in the dark? Luminaries are the people who have, through the ages, enlightened us. Why do we choose the dark then? And this goes back to why people are attracted to the negative. Shouldn’t we be like moths and fly towards the light (in all it’s truth and ubiquitousness)?
I never believed in romantic love, and therefore never believed in romance. Or marriage. I thought it was possible for two people to live with and respect (and in respect, love) each other for extended time, but marriage itself was a pointless institution. Why should you bind yourself to someone when we promote and strive for independence and uniqueness. How come two people had to bind in such a permanent and possessive way in order for it to be heralded by the masses as true and everlasting? How come two people cannot just define themselves as individuals and live with one another without causing a stir? It bugs me to hear all those celebrity couple nicknames, like Brangelina. It takes away the ability for the two people to believe that they are just that: TWO PEOPLE. But then I met Jonathan. I had only known him for three months and in those three months there was this untouched part of me that bloomed to life. It helped me acknowledge all the romance in living and being with someone. He didn’t need to buy me roses or take me to dinners, as long as I was with him. There was romance in the way he smiled or how he would begrudgingly watch Sex and the City with me because he knew I loved it. I knew after three months that I wanted to memorialize that, I wanted to stand up in front of my friends and my family and announce to the world that I loved this man and that he was perfect in all of his flaws. I wanted to commit myself to him, and only him, because I was a person who could see the beauty of his big, crooked teeth, in his freckles, with this obsession with snakes and The Simpsons. He once gave me a card for Valentines Day that was priceless and potent, and it made me cry. It said “I used to be a lonely weirdo before I met you,” and then when you opened it, it read, “And now I am a happy weirdo.” What the fuck happened? What the fuck happened to me, to him, to us? When did I begin picking at the seams and unraveling the bonds I had with him? When did I begin conforming to outside ideas and definitions of life and love? And not just outside ideas, I began throwing aside my beliefs and my goals and my thoughts in general to mold myself into something I wasn’t to prop up my relationship. It is so truthful that if two people are unhealthy and unhappy, there is no way they can have a happy and healthy relationship. Two parts come together equally to create “the whole.” I feel like at the end it was one-fourth to three-fourths. Each of us was independent and yet wholly dependent. That isn’t healthy. That is anything but healthy.
In the past month I have tried to define myself. I have tried to unravel these feelings and my actions. More than anything I am left with more questions than answers. The thought is that we are in tune to what we do and why we do it. But there is a part of me that just has no fucking clue how to answer “why.” And it is because I don’t know. There are times when I want to say it is chasing the image of what life, what love, what relationships and friendships can be defined as, but then I stop myself and wonder why I am chasing someone else’s image. I am standing with the canvas of life in front of me and a paint brush in hand and I have no idea how to make the first stroke of color. Should I throw down paint and splatter my world like Pollock? Should I follow the Dadaists thought and draw conclusions on life based off of anti-art and anti-everything, meaning life is the ultimate “anti?” Should I follow Fauvism and support that animal instinct and wild bestiality (and no, not having sex with animals people) is what promotes action and art and life? Do I look to Warhol to explain that art is what we make it, even if it is a repetitious picture of silk screened Campbell’s soup. And therefore life is what we make it, even in the boring, listlessness of entirely un-unique moments? Or do I move forward with projecting an image of self-confidence even if I don’t feel it so that one day maybe my projection will become a reality like with the self-destruction of John Ritchie and his moniker Sid Vicious? Dub yourself as something, and you will live up to it.
I was watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother last night and fate and destiny became a theme within the twenty-some minutes of the show. It reminded me of the movie Sliding Doors where one moment changes the fate of a character and we, as the audience, get to see how that single moment affects the character’s life. Does it encourage regret? Or is it something that just has to happen to learn, in order to experience? I do not believe in pre-destiny, but I hold on to the romantic notion of being “destined in the stars.” What I mean by that is that I like to believe that there is a rhyme and reason out there for everything, but it does not necessarily mean that there is a chosen path. Spontaneity and surprise can still happen, and that is what makes life life. Serendipity I always capitalize, because I like to hold her in high esteem. She is irony and coincidence and humor. And yes, she is a she, because I believe Serendipity is passive aggressive and that is definitely a woman’s game.
And these have been my thoughts, my musings, on life and relationships and personality. These are thoughts that tumble through me and find me while I try to sleep in the midst of the night. Occasionally they are thoughts that I want to escape. The greatest questions always center around meaning: finding it, defining it, understanding it. But maybe questioning is part of the answer. I want to leave you with an image. The movie Dogma has this moment where God is introduced in the form of Alanis Morrisette. The main character, Bethany, is given the opportunity to question God, a single question, and she asks (I believe) what the meaning of life is, the purpose, and God looks at her, smiles, and touches her nose and makes a little noise. How fucking poetic is that? It is the closest thing I hold to an answer of understanding the universe because I think it is one of the most truthful and beautifully humorous and ironic and sensible things ever. Thank you, Kevin Smith, for that moment.