Just got finished watching one of my favorite chick flicks with my roommate: The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. I really like this movie, and you can laugh, cause yeah, it's a dumb movie and it's totally unrealistic. But it makes me laugh and it makes me happy, and scenery of Alaska is gorgeous! So I like it.
And that whole description I gave you could also be a description of the way my brain works -- dumb, unrealistic, laughable, and happy. I think that's why I relate with said chick flick, when normally I eschew this genre. Chyeah, I do not enjoy chick flicks. No no no. (Wait - does The Bourne Identity count? Matt Damon's pecs look like a chick flick... Later I will have to reassess my previous categorization. Later.) I think I prefer movies that are less sappy and more believable. Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, since of course that could all happen ... Wow, I think I need to move on to something I understand.
Since I was 11 years old (actually, 10 & 3/4), I have kept a journal. I filled 8-10 Barnes & Noble journals with my inner monologue. One of the most pressing questions of 11-hood, for me, was, "Why am I here?" I think most 11 year olds want to know this. "What is my purpose? Why was I brought into this universe? What is my destiny?" Yeah, normal 11-year-old thought processes, right? Not sure, but a lot of other things happened to me when I was 11 that didn't happen to anyone else I knew who was 11, like boobs and losing interest in Barbies, and other far more disturbing developments. And since I set you up with the previous paragraph, I bet you think I am going to tell you about what I've come to understand about the answer to my 11-hood questions.
Fast forward to 23. A friend told me something that really stung at the time, and I took it as an affront. She told me that I always seemed unsettled, like I was looking for something I was missing. I think she thought I should just calm down and accept my lot in life. Squish myself into the lovely mold that was being offered to me. It's amazing the things that people say on the flit of an exhale that will be embossed on our memories forever.
In a way, I wish I could have seen myself in her comment right in the moment, but I was too busy telling myself how wrong she was about me. If I could've embraced her assessment, it would've certainly tidied up the next 2-3 years of my life, but it would've required the assassination of my 11-hood, and I can never pull that trigger, no matter how much I wish I still liked playing with Barbies. She was just right about me, because I hadn't ever answered the question from when I was 11. An answer-in-a-cookie was being offered, but I chose to take the fortune and tossed the cookie (tossing one's cookies is never pleasant at the time, mind you, but it serves a purpose - don't you feel better afterwards?). The fortune went up on the frig as part of an ongoing research effort.
And so we arrive at 26. I am still embarrassed to tell you that I like a chick flick. I am only just now 'coming out' to tables full of people that I love Mariah Carey's music, and I know basically her entire life history. She's very tall in real life and her birthday is in March. I have this blog about 'Sydney McFearless,' but mostly I spend a lot of time being very afraid of what might happen if I do the thing I keep on thinking about. What if I go for it, and then I get rejected? And then I keep trying and keep on getting rejected? What if I come to realize that that wasn't my purpose after all and it's taken away from me forever? I can aspire to be McFearless all I want, but I still remember all the lessons I was taught about the 'right' music and movies to like, clothes to wear, jobs to want, things of that nature. Bad taste is the unforgivable sin, I think sometimes to myself, and other people confirm my suspicions.
I am really scared to find out the answer to my 11-hood question ["What is my purpose for being alive?"], because I'm afraid of two things: 1) I won't like it. 2) Other people won't like me if I live it. *sigh*
It just so happens that I love what the star of aforementioned chick flick said in an interview when The Proposal came out: "I think most of us are raised with preconceived notions of the choices we’re supposed to make. We waste so much time making decisions based on someone else’s idea of our happiness—what will make you a good citizen or a good wife or daughter or actress. Nobody says, “Just be happy—go be a cobbler or go live with goats." (Sandra Bullock)
I read that and I think, "Hey ... yeah! That's what I do every day! Now, get me some goats." But the weird part is, I'm actually making decisions based on MY idea of someone ELSE's idea of what will make me good. I am still trying to fit in, like I first figured out I needed to do (probably when I was around 11). If I didn't, I'd be ridiculed. And that was so bad because ... well ... I can't really remember why. Nobody would love me? I live as though my purpose in life is to get other people to love me. Even when I am telling myself that I am doing something to be loving to someone else, it's usually so entangled with the motivation to do what I need to do to get someone else to love me that I am all unsure of what's really going on. I am finally starting to understand why "there is no fear in love."
Still don't really feel convinced of the answers to my 11-hood question. I know the 'right' answers, but I can't deal with that. I have to experience the answers, viscerally accept the truth that comes eventually to a determined seeker. I have to uncover and discover. It's GOT to be true. You might not like me, because I might not buy a house and plant a garden with roots in the ground (I'm much more of potted plant kind of girl), but it'll be true. And there will always be room to add another pot, or to give one away to a new friend. Right now I have to confront a lot of that imagery I put out there to myself and others about who I am, and start becoming what I say I am because I know what it's what I want to be, but I'm not yet. I want to be honest with you.
I'm not really very fearless, but I'm getting there. (And 'McFearless' really means that I am 'son of Fearless,' which is quite true, after all.)