While watching Sex and the City recently (my show of the summer) I was struck by a “Charlotte monologue”. Now usually I’m not team Charlotte, I consider myself a Carrie through and through (with bits of “Type A” Miranda neuroticism now and then). In this particular episode Charlotte is hurting, she has just gone through a painful divorce and she is seeking love. Each day Charlotte recites positive affirmations to herself, convincing herself she deserves to be loved, that she believes in love and that she will find love. Charlotte and Carrie find themselves in the audience listening to the motivational speaker who inspired Charlotte’s daily affirmations when Charlotte begins to break down. In that moment I was no longer a Carrie, I was a full fledged Charlotte.
When you think you’ve found love and you lose it or you’re hurt or lied to or abused it can be deflating. It isn’t the same feeling as heartbreak (although the two feelings can certainly be intertwined) it’s something different, it’s loosing the ability to believe. Feeling like you’ve been “broken” makes you so guarded with your heart. You find yourself doing ridiculous things like yelling at the nice boys who offer to buy you peonies and breaking down in tears when you find out they might not be able to attend a camping trip with you. In hindsight it’s all a bit dramatic isn’t it? Yet putting yourself out there when you’ve lost the ability to believe, it’s difficult.
I feel a lot like a Charlotte, right now.
I feel a lot like a Marnie (from Girls). As if I’m constantly striving for perfection, but in reality I am just one disappointing text message short of a nervous break down. I fret over being on time, over dressing appropriately, over saying the “right thing” only to come across as the high strung friend, the neurotic friend, the friend who bursts into tears for seemingly no reason.
I feel a lot like a Serena (Gossip Girl, duh). I’ve spent the entire summer searching for myself, questioning myself and investing in cute trendy shoes only to find myself more lost than I was before I ever started searching. I’m craving love, craving acceptance but find myself drawn to the most messed up, most sabotaging people (aka the Dan Humphreys of the world) without even the reassurance of having really really really great hair.
How is is that we end up feeling like Charlotte(s) when we want to be Carrie(s)? Or Serena(s) when we strive to be Blair(s)? Are we just one headband short of Blair’s fiery ambition? Then why does it feel like each morning we need to spend a solid hour examining our pores and giving ourselves Charlotte style pep talks regarding love before feeling ready to face the rest of humanity? Why does something so simple as a minor disappointment send us into full fledged Marnie mental break down status?
When I’m feeling lost or a little confused I tend to turn to Taylor Swift. I just listen to Taylor songs over and over and over again until I find some sort of applicable meaning in her words (I think some people turn to religion for this same purpose, which shows you just how cray cray for Tay Tay I have become). This time Taylor’s been serenading me with “The Lucky One”. She soothes “they tell you that you’re lucky but you’re so confused, because you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used”, and it’s true for Charlotte, for Marnie, for Serena and for me.
Serena isn’t everyone’s least favorite Gossip Girl character because she isn’t beautiful or smart or capable, it’s because she’s so lost that she throws away her potential and sabotages her friends in the process. People don’t dislike Marnie (confession I actually really like Marnie) because she dresses solely in J.Crew style dresses at age 24 or aspires to be on time (at all times). People dislike Marnie because she allows her brokenness to make her desperate, to seek attention and fulfillment in the most inappropriate places (aka at her Best Friend’s birthday party). These very capable women become their own worst enemies when they allow sucky situations get the best of them. We all find ourselves feeling disappointed, feeling lonely, feeling lost, feeling heartbroken. How do we combat these feelings without loosing the ability to believe?
Charlotte stumbled into her next husband (oh how convenient) but how do those of us not living on HBO cope? How do we keep ourselves from becoming Serena sob stories or Marnie maniacs, how do we become the best versions of these people (who they potentially could have been), or even better yet the best version of ourselves?