I've become that girl, haven't I? You know... Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. Everybody wants to be spirited like Elizabeth or sweet like Jane, or even boy crazy and somewhat foolish like Kitty and Lydia. But Mary is just priggish and boring and dreadfully self-important. She's a drag. The very opposite of the life-of-the-party. Of all the Bennetts, I'd say she's perhaps the worst. At least the Kitty/Lydia/Mrs. Bennet trifecta of annoyance has some spirit to them. Mary is just mawkish and horrible.
And I think I've become her.
Seriously, if people who have kids become Those Annoying Parents who talk non-stop about their children, then I'm the writing version of that... only in the case of children, they're usually cute and precocious and have these utterly amazing out-of-the-mouths-of-babes crazy/awesome stories to share. In my case, I have emo poetry and pointless projects that I'm just fulfilling because I made myself a stupid promise I'd try to create something each day.
I mean, how gimmicky is that?
I feel sad sometimes when people who should be really close to me don't really know me, when all they think I care about is writing when it's really not. But I can't get mad at them, because I suck at letting people in. It's like, I don't know... when we were little kids getting to know a person meant playing together, and play usually involved a huge amount of imagination. Let's pretend to be pirates! Let's pretend to be fairies! Let's play dress-up! Let's reenact scenes from The Lion King movie! Let's pretend the treehouse is a deserted island! Let's bury a time capsule in this Sunny D bottle and guess who will dig it up fifty years from now and what they'll say when they find what we've left inside! Okay, so those are some pretty specific examples, but you get the idea... imagination. Creativity. Play.
When you grow up, social interaction morphs into something else. I can't really put a finger on when this happens. Probably during the teenage years, but I was (and still am) awkward and not good at embracing change, so I guess I kind of skipped that whole part. But essentially, now social interaction centers around... (1) Eating: Let's do lunch! Wanna grab some coffee and talk? etc. (2) Shopping (moreso for girls than guys), (3) Alcohol... this is part "Let's have a good time!" and part "Let's escape the drudgery of day jobs and responsibilities and blow off some steam." (4) Sex/Romance. I've definitely missed out on this one, but for average people my age it's a huge part of many relationships... whether they're in pursuit of or currently in the throes of or have just emerged from such intimacy, everybody seems to be thinking about it. (5) Pop culture. People have always discussed art and related to each other through it, whether that's paintings and sculptures or movies, TV, pop music, books and video games.
I don't know. There are probably more... but I'm tired and not thinking straight. In any case, these things aren't bad.... but they're very different. And they're very surface-oriented. My brother Wes and I bond through a common love of the show Parks and Recreation. We'll get into these conversation where eventually it just ends up with us quoting our favorite lines back and forth to each other, both chuckling like madmen. This is fun, and it's nice that I can share something with my brother, but it's a surface connection. I don't really learn a lot about him as person from the encounter, other than the fact that he has an awesome sense of humor (and good taste in TV shows). Shopping, eating, drinking, romance... these are all great things, but I miss the little kid stuff.
I know, the argument that you hear a lot is that make believe is a form of escapism, but I think that's silly. If anything, I think we adults are the ones who are most guilty of trying to escape our lives. We party at the weekend, or dive headfirst into romance, fill empty evenings with TV shows and web surfing... "eat, drink, and be merry, because tomorrow we die." I think we fill our lives with all these things to try to escape the fact that we feel like something is missing. Maybe that something is a person; we feel alone and want to be loved. Maybe that something is a purpose; we hate our jobs and wish we could do something where we felt fulfilled and like we were accomplishing something worthwhile. Maybe that something is completely different... I don't know. But I think we try to escape our lives every day, while little kids, with their creativity and imagination, are the ones who are embracing the world as fully as possible, and even trying to go beyond it.
So yeah, I started out thinking I'm Mary. And maybe I am. This past month or so, I've been majorly mawkish... But this frustration with the new dynamic to relationships is fair, I think. I wish we weren't so afraid to imagine together anymore. There is power in pretending. You learn so much about a person when you see what they can dream.
Okay, well the world is supposedly ending today, so I should probably go. But, if things don't end, I want to try to be better. I want to try to balance my life, even if it means compromising with the "adult" part of it. We'll see if that's a possibility...