This Christmas was a weird one for me. It has been a rough couple of months. December, no exception.
Anyway, it's Christmas Eve, and when my brother and his family went home after dinner, my parents and I drank tea, watched The Grinch, and then, I spent the rest of the evening by myself in the basement, wrapping presents and watching Meet Me In St. Louis, something I usually do with my sisters. It doesn't quite feel like Christmas this year. But I've been thinking about all the family that I do have around me, and I don't think I could get through this life without them. I love these people. And I'm grateful for my mom, when, even though I am 22, she still gives me her loud opinion on the short hem in my skirts. And my dad. The man is obsessed with me getting good grades. But regardless, my skirts remain short and my grades plateau at average. And you know, somehow, they still love me more than I could possibly deserve. Because they tell me I try, and those are the kinds of things that make them proud.
Remember the Sex and the City episode where Carrie talks about how she has secret single behaviors? She likes to eat saltines with grape jelly, standing up in her kitchen while she reads Vogue magazine.
That kind of sexy.
+ The other day, I ate a Big Mac. THIS WAS THE FIRST SEXY THING I CHOSE TO DO THAT DAY. After I ate, I sat down to watch a movie (by myself) and didn't notice until AN HOUR LATER that I had mayonnaise on the corner of my mouth. The sex appeal is unreal (the title of a song I'm writing about this exact incident).
+ If I'm lying down on a couch or a bed, reading a book or watching a movie, halfway through the book or movie, I always notice that one of my socks is off. Not both of them. Just one. And the weird part is that I never have any recollection of taking it off (sexy reference). I think this is both incredibly sexy and wildly bizarre.
+ I could spend all day watching Giuliana & Bill which I'm pretty sure is a deal breaker for men who want to propose marriage to me. ATTN: ANYONE WHO WANTS TO DATE ME, PLS STOP READING THIS NOW.
+ I have an extremely strict nighttime ritual. I'm serious. Like, I never deviate. So, after I'm all ProActiv'd out, I tuck my pants into my socks, and my shirt into my pants. And then, I wrap my body in a plush blanket, and I get into my covers. And I've got this rad menthol chapstick from Bath & Body that turns my mouth white, and lemme tell ya... I just... I look SO. DAMN. GOOD. And sexy.
+ I only like pickles if they're freezing cold. And I don't like them too pickly, you know? So, I run them under the faucet, which gets rid of a majority of the juice. And then, I like to sit on the couch watching E! News, dipping said pickles in roasted pine nut hummus, and drink a glass of orange juice.
+ Today, I watched Charlie Brown on Netlix. By myself. Intentionally. SEXY ALERT.
I don't know.
P.S. I am so in love with Jason Kennedy. Who is the regular kind of sexy.
So, I just watched this documentary called Blackfish about killer whales at SeaWorld, and I think it made me a SeaWorld hater, which wasn't my original intention, but whatever because
WHALES ARE PEOPLE, TOO.
Like, if you're not into learning about environmentalist perspectives, probably, this documentary isn't for you. But if you are curious about weird stuff and get freakishly obsessed with it, you maybe will want to check it out. It's on Netflix. And it's pretty disturbing, but very informative. Also, I don't think I'll take my children to SeaWorld ever, but that's subject to change because I really like dolphin shows and the corn dogs they have there.
I keep avoiding going to bed because I'm scared I'm going to have a nightmare where I'm a whale trainer and I get pulled into the water by a five thousand pound orca. So, I just started watching Frasier. Growing up, my dad would turn it on after the news was over, and I would fall asleep next to him on the couch. I guess I would just rather have a nightmare about Kelsey Grammer than Tillikum, the deranged bull whale... unless... maybe I'm going to have a dream about Kelsey Grammer dragging me into the water during a show where I'm training him to do tricks...
Most of the SnapChats coming from me this past week have looked something similar to this.
But weirdly, all of the ones pictured above came from last night, alone.
So, really, what I did was I slaved away last week ALL WEEK LONG, put together two portfolios of the writing I've been doing all semester, and then, this week, I had two more finals and they were today. Naturally, I procrastinated until yesterday afternoon. Luckily, I didn't have to study for the math final that I was inevitably going to bomb (which happened around seven this morning), so I worked on my colonial American lit final for, count them, THIRTEEN HOURS and finished this morning. After bombing, literally bombing... I PHYSICALLY THREW A BOMB ON THAT TEST (j/k I just didn't answer the last five questions) I ate McDonald's and am sitting in my living room beside my Christmas tree because I think it's groovy.
So, after all of that, I seem to be pretty emotionally unstable right now. As in, I just cried while watching Bride Wars b/c what if you had to call off your wedding when you were getting married to Chris Pratt?!
ALSO MY ROOMMATE CAME HOME FROM AUSTRALIA AFTER BEING GONE FOR THREE WEEKS AND I ALMOST MADE HER LET ME SLEEP IN HER BED WITH HER.
And maybe you should go tweet up a storm with Sarah. I'm obsessed with her.
Also, do you want to follow me on Twitter? I'm a tweeting fool: @courtykearns
L: Me in high school (with my good friend, Matt, who wears a bow around his neck because we were on our way to the Christmas dance) R: me, a few weeks ago taking SnapChat selfies (this is only one of many).
I keep thinking about that little girl I used to be on the left there. I remember that night and the week that followed, so vividly in my mind. I was lying by the fireplace in my mother's living room the night of the Christmas dance. She was on the couch watching the news. Matt told me earlier that day he would pick me up around six and we'd go to dinner and the dance. but I completely forgot about all of it and fell asleep on the carpet. We had so many Madrigal performances that winter (we were choir nerds) and I couldn't keep my eyes open for even one more minute. Matt rang the doorbell a few times and eventually, I woke up to him hovering over me. I remember feeling so stupid that I'd fallen asleep. I also remember being extremely nervous about having to go to school on my birthday the following Wednesday. Senior year of high school--the only year I've ever had to go to school on December 22. I walked into school on my birthday and since it was blizzarding, parking was a nightmare, and I was late for English. As I ran down the hall, I saw my old boyfriend who rarely acknowledged my existence. Curious to see if he'd wish me a happy birthday, I went out of my way to pass by him. He didn't wish it and I was, for the three thousandth time that month, DEVASTATED. I was a teenage masochist, I tell you!
Boy, I'd kill for those stupid problems today.
In two weeks, I'm going to turn twenty-two. As I enter my twenty second year, I have made a rule: there will be a lot less Taylor Swift and a lot more Lily Allen. Because, apparently at twenty-two, you put your game face on, accept the fact that you're pretty messed up, and try to pay your rent on time. Am I right?
And can we talk about the big, bushy, beautiful eyebrows I used to have? they used to be Lily Collins worthy, I'm telling you. And then, freshman year came along and I tweezed them until the eyebrow font ran dry. They haven't been the same ever since. RIP, eyebrows. You were good to me once.
I always really appreciate it when others post inspirational anything on social media sites. I particularly appreciated it this morning when a friend of mine posted a scripture to Facebook.
I have been sick with a cold for about a week and on top of that, I have really been struggling with different things, a lot harrier than the common cold. Like, struggling in ways I never thought I would struggle. But I guess that's what happens when you let your guard down. The adversary picks up on that stuff like mosquitos to blood.
I have had a lot going on inside my head and haven't been able to sort through all of it. I've never been one to come down on myself. Like, ever. I always just decide that when I'm failing at something, well I've failed, and I can always give it another try later. This comes with my ability to resist being disciplined in any form, and the bad habit I have of giving up on things (this is making me sound like a fantastic job candidate!). I have always considered myself a B average student because I couldn't care less about perfect grades or The Dean's List. It gets me into lots of trouble sometimes. But this is not really about school. It's about me. And how failing is necessary.
I took two NyQuil last night and was out, I mean OUT, at 7:30, which means I was up and stirring around 5. It isn't my normal routine, although, I would kind of like to make it so. Anyway, after I said my prayers last night, asking Father help me get through this trial, I lie in bed with a calm reassurance that everything was going as planned, that I was going to get through it because that's the way God has designed our lives. You just get through it, regardless of whether you think you're going to or not. After that, I fell peacefully asleep until this morning. I woke up not necessarily wanting to read my scriptures, but hearing a voice in my head telling me to. I ate breakfast and the voice persisted. I tried to watch some morning television, and there the voice was again. I got on Facebook, and a girl I met over the summer posted a scripture. That was it. That was the final straw. Time to break out that little blue book.
But then, there were so many distractions! Bradley Cooper and Tom Hanks were going to be on The Today Show in a few minutes! Good Morning America was broadcasting crazy power outages across the country! I watched for a while, and heard that voice. Read! it said. Okay, well, I'll just keep the commercials on mute until the show comes back on, then I'll take a reading break and watch, I thought. And then, after saying that, I felt pathetic, soI walked over to the television set and switched it off. Feeling liberated, if only slightly, I opened up my scriptures to the verses my friend had posted.
"Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name. Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. Yea, we see that whosoever will, may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked--and land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out." Helaman 3:27-29
AND THEN, BAM.
I'm not totally healed yet; I've got a long way to go. But, I feel at peace knowing that trusting in God to carry me through my trials is the only way I can get through this life. And I don't know if you know God the way I do, but if you don't, I know he lives to give you guidance and blessings. And I know that if you just throw all you've got at him, regardless of how little you think you've got to throw, if you ask for His help, help will be on the way faster than you can even imagine. I know this because I've tried it. I know that if I pray to God, He hears me. And I know that he hears you, too. He created the earth and everything in it, and he know our names. Individually. Knows that you struggle, too. Best of all, he knows how to help you through. There are simple recipes for a more smooth-running life in The Book of Mormon, and regardless of what you've heard might be in there, it brings peace. Read it for yourself to feel it. God doesn't abandon His people. He simply tries their faith and rescues them when they humble themselves to call upon Him.
"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." Helaman 3:35
stranger to me in that sacred space I breathe in at night, though, you've been
You used to
show up as this illustrious man whom I adored, and often, too. Nine times,
you've come through to tuck me into my thoughts and the act is so abstract that
I'm not really even sure how I can recall any of it, to be honest. In one of those scenes, we
were at my mother's house. You lay your head on my lap. I ran my fingers over
your forehead, drawing horizontal lines across it. A Chef Boyardee commercial
lit the television. We watched and it was so mundane, so breathtakingly dull.
That was the
third dream I had of you.
And again, like I said, last night, I
had the ninth.
My alarm has
been set for seven o'clock each morning this week and as it chimes in the dark,
early hours of the day, I fall back to sleep for another few minutes of quiet
rest. This morning, I fought my unsettlement for an hour, tossing in my bed, making
imprints in the memory foam. And isn't there something to say about that?
In it, the
dream, I mean, you had on that zip-up sweatshirt I can't pinpoint my reason for
loving. There was a dark theater. I sat on the floor of it and a love story I'd
never seen projected on a screen wide enough for a room of six or seven dozen.
I looked around, soon realizing I was the only one in the room. The film played
out in pieces. There was this part where a man told the camera advice his
mother had given him. Don't hesitate to ask because when you know you
know, he said. And he took the woman beside him between his hands and kissed her
forehead. I watched because the man in the film was you. And the woman wasn't
And then, you
were there with me in the theater, but you couldn't remember my name, acted
like you'd never been told it. You didn't even know me. On the other
side of you sat the woman in the film. She was still and stone-like,
breathing shallow and her hands fit, as though the area of them had been calculated for just enough space to fit inside of yours. Your eyes averted
the screen for only a minute or two and you scaled me, finished with a
question: Who are you? From then on, the dream, a nightmare.
Not a word
about the roof or the zoo or the time early in September when I tried to pick
you up from that place but instead, got caught on an unlit canyon road. I was
frustrated and anxious about how you weren't wearing a jacket and you said
through the phone, Court, I'm okay, now let's make you okay and
I said okay and then, we were okay, remember it? Well, you didn't
in that theatre. Next to you in that movie theatre in my mind, you. didn't. remember
it. Instead, you took her calculated hand, pressed it up against your jawline and
rested it there and watching the two of you together jarred me so much that I woke immediately.
And I've been
sitting here in my bed all morning thinking that if you don't want a place in
my dreams, then get out.
And then, I
remember the time with the roof and the zoo and the canyon road and I remember
that I don't have control over remembering those things, but simply that
remembering those things is a part of the life I've been building while you've
been around. They're a part of being your self, too, and well, fine if you
don't want to remember them, but they happened and the point is I STILL DREAM
And what I'd
say if I could get you alone again wouldn't have much to do with any of those
things because I really just want to know where the hell you went.
I've had a few
years to think you over, and when you disappeared like I never thought you'd
have the heart to do, I panicked. And I'm still panicking. I think about
why it is that you don't fire me up. Why you call when you should and leave
letters in the crease of my front door when you shouldn't.
I wonder if
that silent car ride from Salt Lake a while back was your attempt at
bowing out and I wonder if I made you do that. I sat there in your driveway
that night, thinking, say something to him, and
uttered no more than Don't let it be three weeks again before I see
you. You nodded. I didn't get out of the car. I didn't put my arms around
you like before because I didn't know if you wanted me to. So, you got out of
the car, came to my window, and I rolled it down. Let me know when you're
home safe, you said. And that was the last conversation I remember us
The third week
I think I saw
you through a window last Tuesday. And did I ever tell you that I'll make Edelweiss the lullaby I sing to my children each night? Because I meant to.
And the point
is, I still have dreams of that illustrious man, so come back soon, would you?
He sort of makes guest appearances on this blog because he's sort of kind of a Courtney-classified hero (hasn't always been that way, but now it is) and I just adore every single bit of him. I like you a mil, Plaid Shirt.
He's a democrat who doesn't vote and that's why I'd be nervous to introduce him to my parents, but if you pick out a war in European history, he could tell you ten facts about it, as well as spout off the architectural style of the period. And then, he'd want to have a conversation about it with you. He's my favorite human and here's why:
+Tonight, he sat on the couch with me and watched The Kardashians for three hours. THREE. Minimal complaining, a little bit of iPhone gaming (understandable) and mostly just a whole lotta intrigue.
+Before going into the kitchen, he announced, I'm going to get a glass of water in the kitchen. Do you want me to bring you a Diet Coke? At which point, I could've just kissed his face.
+He got a blanket from my bed, brought it to the couch, and it covered both of us equally. Twenty minutes later, the blanket was wrapped around me, with just the tiniest corner covering his upper thigh. He wasn't bothered. Shaking from the cold with his hands in his pockets, yes, but no complaints.
+He came to my house because I was overly-excited to show him the tinsel on my Christmas tree. And he even pretended to be excited about it, too.
+He didn't say anything about my bangs being split down the middle in lieu of a really bad hair day. Instead, he told me You look pretty without makeup and even though I think that compliment is boring and overused, it made me feel like a million sparkly Christmas ornaments. Turns out the thing is overused for a reason.
+He stood up to leave around midnight. I stayed on the couch. Within a minute, he had his things packed up, his jacket on, boots tied up (sigh, those boots!), hand on the door handle and I said Wait! You can't leave until I turn off all the lights. He stayed by that door until the last lights of the Christmas tree were out.
+He was reading over my shoulder while I wrote and since that is literally the thing I hate most and he knows it, I pushed my palm to his face and he licked my hand. Then, we had a conversation like Your saliva doesn't bother me because we used to kiss, so this palm thing is really not new territory. He said good point and licked me again.
+He told me about some of his insecurities and I got to tell him how he was wonderful and how he made me feel wonderful, too. And then, he smiled the Jude Law smile (visual here).
+After an hour of begging to watch Titanic, he pitched a bold settlement: I will watch that movie, start to finish, with you on your birthday and that's the best I can do. I just really like his guts.
So, Plaid Shirt,
our lives are mundane and nights typically finish with Jimmy Kimmel, but you're my best friend and I know my roommate doesn't like you, but I think you're just, like, totally rad.
Maybe one day, I'll catch the Jude Law thing on film and you can all see what I'm talking about. Maybe I won't, though, because I sort of think it's magical that you all just picture me running around with Jude Law all the time.
--Pretend like you don't feel thirty pounds heavier than you are,
--Not think about that one guy who's on a date with that one wait-who's-that-girl,
--Drink two 64 oz Diet Cokes in a period of 5 hours,
--OWN the fact that the only thing you bought black Friday shopping was Breaking Dawn Part I,
--NOT think about how you got anxious and lonely and sent a message to a person you can't stop thinking you want to have, well, something to do with,
--Put on your sweatpants because these sweatpants are all that fit me right now,
--Talk Essie & Dead Sea Scrolls with Paige Anderson because HELLO, WE THINK SHE MIGHT BE OUR SOULMATE.
--Just, you know what, pick up that second and third piece of cream pie and make no excuses for it.
--Remember that you are young. And, even though you've never really been wild, you are a kind of free that you're never going to get to be ever again. And yeah, okay, sometimes you pull stupid moves and agonize over them for the three hours following because, hey. It really was a stupid move. But everyone pulls crap like that, and at least you're not into hard drugs or collectible Disney ceramics.
So, just tuck your pants into your socks, climb in bed, and sleep until you have to get up on a Saturday and study for your finals. Because that's just how it goes and I promise you, you can get through it all.
With sarcasm and strong intersperses of caffeinated drinks.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Like, a lot of it. So
much, in fact, that it is almost breaking the tiny folds on the insides of my
skull. And does the skull even have folds in it? I’m sure I could find
something to read about that.
I’ve been eating a lot of bacon cheeseburgers. Sort of as an
experiment to find the best one. And, for no particular reason, it’s Wendy’s
that I keep going back to. I don’t know if it’s the hamburger I love the most
or if it’s something about the ketchup containers. All I know is that I’ve
eaten a bacon cheeseburger every day this week, which can’t be good news for my
I’ve been drinking a lot of tea. And I mean consuming
massive amounts of the stuff. I am a tea girl, through and through. The habit
began at The Tate Gallery in London a few years ago. My parents took my sister
and me to the gallery café. We sat down and there was that view of St. Paul’s
that just makes you fall a little bit harder for the city. The walls around us
were glass windows. My dad ordered a peppermint tea because it’s always been
his thing and I’d never thought to try it until that moment. Since then, I’ve
been a peppermint tea connoisseur in the worst sort of way, although, I’ve
recently become completely obsessed with Tazo’s Vanilla Rooibos tea. Just after
the tea seeps (isn’t that a great word?) I boil milk, honey, sugar, and vanilla
until it foams, and then, I mix the two in a mug that makes me feel beautiful.
Maximum satisfaction. I asked Santa Claus for a bag of Essie’s favorite, licoriceand peppermint tea because it’s all she ever talks about. And since I trust her
on everything else in the world, I can’t wait. Also, I watch Essie pretty much every night before I fall asleep. And sometimes, I tweet her. Thanks, Paige.
I’ve been almost buying a Christmas tree. About three times
in the past seven days. I bought ornaments and tinsel, but we’re sitting over
in my apartment sans tree. I don’t know why and I have nothing else to say
I’ve been listening to obscene amounts of James Taylor.
Because, well, I don’t know why, but he makes me feel like failing my math
class isn’t the worst thing I could be doing.
I am strangely obsessed with Mint Julep. The obsession began
over the summer when Alicia (my sophomore English teacher) saw that I was
headed to Disneyland and told me to stop by the Mint Julep bar. Mint Julep Bar? I thought, What on happiest place on earth is a Mint
Julep Bar? Much to my friend Ryan’s dismay, I dragged him all over the park,
looking for the enchanting space that is the Mint Julep Bar. Over the span of
three days, I think I drank five Mint Juleps. I can’t even describe to you what
that experience was like. Imagine limes. Lemons. Pineapples, cherries, mint
leaves and magic. Maybe you should just make yourself one. Here’s the recipe. Anyway,
all of this to say that I have also been really obsessed with clay masks
(because Essie, so naturally...) and the other day, when I made my weekly trek
into Ulta, I FOUND A MINT JULEP MASK. First, I said a thankful prayer to the
Mint Julep Gods for letting me find it, then, I bought it. And let me tell you,
I’ve never felt such euphoria on my skin before. Do yourself a favor, okay? Mint
Julep will change your life. Also, The Plaid Shirt. He always smells like a
Mint Julep. Says it’s some kind of menthol aftershave he uses. Either way, I
just. I can’t event talk about it. The smell of that man. It’s too sacred and
All I wanted from today was the city library, and by the
time I got around to it, it was closed, and isn’t that the way it goes? But
I’ve got my mint tea and I’m sitting pretty in a Starbucks just minutes from my
home because I simply cannot get any writing done anywhere but somewhere else,
you know what I mean? There’s that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie has
to go to Starbucks to write because she’s in a fight with Aiden about never
having enough alone time and she says that she used to judge the people at
Starbucks who sat there with their computers, writing, but that now, she
understands they go there because they never have enough time to
themselves. I agree with that.
None of this is important; it is mundane. But it’s life, and
that’s sort of a precious thing to document, I think. And I haven’t mentioned
in a while how grateful I am to not be waiting tables and serving Rednecks
beer. That was a weird life I led for a little while. Let’s not ever go back
there, okay? Also, there’s a humongous dog in Starbucks right now and my
roommate left for Australia this afternoon. She’ll be back in three weeks and I
think I might cry myself to sleep ever night until she comes home.
Mostly because I remember writing it. I remember going to class that day, sitting down in a chair at the back of the room, seeing him for the first time, and thinking to myself that he was old school handsome.
And then, you know, last winter, there was that part where we spent January evenings in my apartment watching late night television and keeping each other warm. And then he didn't totally do everything he should have, but he didn't totally ruin my life, either.
So then there was last September when I ran into him around his birthday and then the day after that when I didn't want to go to a movie by myself because you know what the movies are like on Saturday nights, they just make you feel so alone, so I called him and oh, he was just thinking about me, actually.
Fast forward. That boy now lets me lie on his bed reading books while he massages my calves. Which sounds a lot sexier than it really is.
The other day, a friend asked me if I was falling back into that deep hole that is plaid shirts and art deco book ends. I told him I wasn't.
But then, tonight, The Plaid Shirt called me "babe" and it felt a little too normal. I didn't flinch until about thirty seconds after it happened and I was like, oh, yeah... he has never done that before. So, here's my new answer: yes, I might be falling back into the hole that is plaid shirts and art deco book ends, but this time, I'm armed with the cynicism of a girl who has tried it all before, so she's not being bold just yet. And that's anchoring me down. Like a miracle, it is.
He asks me about yoga pants and are they warmer than regular pants and he makes fun of me for wearing slippers outside the house, but he offers can I get you anything? as I defeatedly close my computer and plunge myself, headfirst, into his sheets. He doesn't ask questions, but tells me I'm welcome to stay there for as long as needs be because he's just washed the sheets and I don't really listen to anything past that because all I can think about is how they smell like him; they smell like eucalyptus and mint julep. And the other day, he told me that I was his favorite person in the world, so there's that, too.
And, you know, he just makes life a lot less hard and who am I to pretend like that doesn't mean something to me?
(P.S. headless shots happen because he's always doing something else and duct tape fixes everything.)
I've been reading a lot about screenwriting and character developing and all of that stuff that goes into making a fantastic work of art--book or screenplay--and the things that resonate with me are never the plots. I've been learning more than my brain can physically handle right now. Since I'm not going to get a C in my math class, which is the grade I need to continue onward with math (oops), I've been using those precious two-and-a-half-hours to read up on screenwriters. Learn the tricks of the trade, you know? Granted, I don't take any notes in class, but I've been extremely productive, considering my professor loses me about halfway through the first equation he writes on the board. SO I MEAN WHAT ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO DO.
THINGS I'M LEARNING: Brevity is the soul of wit! And be careful with the format! 110 pages if you want to write a screenplay people will read! Plot is important; character development is crucial. But not too many characters! And don't have too few, either!
And do you want me to let you in on a little secret of the biz?? I learned something really fascinating about characters. They're useless in a story without flaws. Let me break it down for you. EHEM.
Perfect. He's always perfect. In every scene (I didn't read the books, so I will only refer to him in terms of the movie, no judgement.)(While we're at it, I should tell you that I didn't read The Hunger Games, either.) his hair is perfectly quaffed. He's constantly in pristine condition. He's got biting remarks that sting Harry. And don't you hate him? It's because there aren't any flaws written into his character! One dimensional! But remember toward the end of the series when you sort of kind of start to like him? Why? Because he becomes a real human being with weaknesses. Turns out his weakness was his family that he would literally do anything for. Fascinating, right?
And why do we love Indiana Jones?
Obvious answers: Because he's brave. Because he's smart. Because he's handsome. And also because he has a large issue with snakes. The guy doesn't touch them. Why do we love that? Because it's a contradictory character flaw. Something we can relate to.
On Sunday, I was sitting there watching The Walking Dead, trying to put my finger on why exactly it was that all of a sudden, The Governor comes back, and I'm like YEAH THE GOVERNOR THREE CHEERS FOR HIM BEING ALIVE. It was confusing because he is solely responsible for the slaughtering of mass amounts of people. So why do I love him? Oh yeah. Because you throw a little girl into his mix and he becomes like this completely adorable father figure who only cares about the safety of his child. And we live for that crap!
THIS TECHNIQUE IS BULLET PROOF!
The Godfather: Why does the audience feel compelled to pay attention to Don? Oh, because even though he's a mob boss, he's stroking a cat, showing his delicacy and slow-moving fingers. We like that. Even if he is terrifying, I MEAN COME ON, THERE'S A CAT!
Seriously, think about your favorite movie characters. And test this out.
+Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Dominick Cobb, from Inception. Brilliant man. Architect. Genius. Can do, basically anything with a little dream sequence. Until Mal is made aware of him. And then, boom! Weakness. He can't do anything.
+Winnie the Pooh: Honey. Poor bear can't get anything done with a jar of that stuff lying around. Weakness. Bet you've never thought of honey as an antagonist before, have you?
+Harry Burns from When Harry Met Sally: He's a romantic, but also incredibly cynical. For some reason we like that in a person. It balances him out.
+Sally Albright: Beautiful. In shape. Engaging. Intelligent. We like her because she's a neat freak with control issues. We like that because we're neat freaks with control issues.
Are you getting the point?
Well, anyway, this stuff fascinates me! What makes us attractive to other human beings? OUR FLAWS?! No. Can't be. BUT YES! It all makes sense! I've got this weird attraction to men who need saving. It's all in the flaws, I'm telling you! So, I started charting my own character flaws in an attempt to write some realistic characters, and I'd love to read about your own weaknesses. Is that allowed? Can I request that? HELP ME. What makes you a good character?
The other night, a man told me about Marianne Dashwood.
I knew who she was,
but I let him tell me about her, anyway.
Marianne Dashwood. That woman, he said, is ravishing. Her passion and spontaneity... it thrills me.
I let him continue on about her for a while, let him rave of her beauty. How brave, passionate, and lovely she must've been and What a pill! he'd say. He reminded me of her flaws, too: the way she treated strangers with contempt, Lady Middleton with coldness. Though, he said, she loves passionately.The people she chooses to, she loves without fences or walls and I find that enchanting.
Almost reverently, he spoke of Marianne Dashwood, carried on about her for several minutes, all the while, not knowing I've compared myself to her all these years.
It made me remember the other night at his apartment, when he left the room.
One of his friends remarked on the way he often speaks of me.
(P.S. There's something ridiculously sexy about a man who reads Jane Austen.)
More often than not this weekend, I was put into awkward situations. But then, Sunday came, and I was literally with my family all day long. There was dinner, homework, Christmas music, a big golden lab, and The Walking Dead (pirate governor... WTH?!) Also, my movie-making cousin asked me to write him a screenplay for a short film and I was like WHEN DO I START. It was a good day.
The main event of the weekend, however, was the arrival of my dapper Texan cousin, Stetler. He came in around midnight. He goes into the MTC on Wednesday morning and then straight on to CAMBODIA come February! It's all so exciting, but it hasn't hit me yet that he's going to be gone for the next two years. Homeboy is literally the best back massager IN THE FREE WORLD. Anyway. I made him take a bazillion pictures with me tonight because, after all, he's the reason I came home. Even if I only get to see half an hour of him.
P.S. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WATCHED EVEN STEVENS BECAUSE SHIA LEBOUF IS MY ULTIMATE COMEDIC CRUSH (Speaking in hyperbole here because I'm not really sure if that's true).
"I am really good at whistling."
"Do you want me to whistle something?"
"How about O Suzanna?"
"Oooo, sorry, that's not in my repertoire, so I'll probably just do The Star Spangled Banner." "I'm not uncomfortable with you." [He says this while I whistle.] "Like, never. I'm never uncomfortable here." [I am still whistling.]
"Yeah. I'm not worried about anything with you. Nothing. I'm not like this around my other friends. I'm always worried about something.You know?"
"I'm not ever worried that you're going to try and seduce me or anything."
"Been there, tried that."
"Yeah, and it worked, too. And I'm just thankful you don't try it more often."
And I wonder what it is about me that makes him call when he knows he's going to make a mistake doing something else with someone else. Why me? Why call the person you sat on the fence contemplating? Why call the girl you hurt so many months ago? What is it about me that is so attractive to this man if he doesn't want me? He spouts off useless information about the French Revolution at least every other sentence and even at the age of twenty-nine, still refuses to eat green vegetables. I adore him again and again. And I'm stuck this way because we're in this weird little loneliness tango and until one lets go, the other just holds on. Because I care about him. A lot. And he cares about me a lot, too. Like, sit-in-the-car-until-I'm-teared-up-and-tuckered-out cares about me. Turn-the-heat-on-full-blast-because-I'm-chronically-cold cares about me. Drives-me-to-get-chicken-fingers-because-that's-what-I-want cares about me.
And anyway, this isn't a sob story. Like, I'm not sitting over here pining for this man because I don't think I want him, but I'm just not really sure that I understand what's going on. What is it about me that makes one hell of a friend, one hell of a human being, one hell of a seductress, but one girl who falls short of the thing he's looking for. And that goes without saying, why is it that way with the rest of them, too?
(This is an open-ended question designed to spark conversation, so feel free to give me your feedback. Actually, I really do need it.)
Hey, I have two semesters left of college and OH HOLY HELL I HAVE TWO SEMESTERS LEFT OF COLLEGE.
It's tripping me out. I was doing the usual, you know. Awake until midnight to register for my classes along with the other MILLION AND TEN STUDENTS REGISTERING WHO SLOWED DOWN THE PROCESS IMMENSELY (sorry it makes me rage-y).
And then, it hit me.
Going down the list, checking off classes I've completed, filling in the blanks where needs be...
Wait, huh? This part of my life is almost over? I'm at the tail end? But wait, where's the rest of it? Where's that part where I magically find myself? The part where an intelligent young suitor comes in to rescue me from single's ward barbecues? Where is that dastardly handsome man I once kissed, who later takes me to the auto store and walks me through replacing headlights, but ends up doing it all for me because I'm cute and needy? (Oh, wait. Nvm. That part isn't a mystery.) Where is my college experience? The one I'm supposed to make big breakthroughs? Where's that part about this is the best time of your life, now don't screw it up? Like, was this it? Because I didn't get into trouble. I didn't really make stupid decisions. I was bold, said what I wanted to say when I wanted to say it, and now, here I am. Two semesters from that cap and gown.
So, now what? That's my question.
Come out of college with a degree and a few sarcastic remarks regarding the way I don't regret not pledging Kappa Delta?
I've been struggling a great deal with one of those things that kicks you in the stomach. And, to make it worse, they've been little kicks throughout the year and I hadn't noticed until now.
A few days ago, my favorite writer, Meg Fee, wrote this piece and it is everything I wish I'd said. It matches my everything right now, and had me ugly crying on my bed for hours the other day. Because it's just that close.
"The violence of articulation. I had a teacher in school who used that phrase and I’ll never forget it. The violence. Of. Articulation. How nearly impossible it is to say some things out loud. How catapulting them out of the mouth is part pyrotechnics, part gymnastics, and one hell of a leap of faith. And how some words, no matter how they are said, leave cuts and stains and scratch the mouth.
But I’ve been choking on I-don’t-knows for nearly a month now, so you pick your battles.
Why is it easier to say the cruel things? Why do those words slip out, slick as oil, so tremendously seductive and so incredibly damaging? It’s so hard to speak from a place of generosity. To say, I am sad and I am hurt, and this can’t go on, but I am nonetheless in awe of you. To say you deserve my respect—my kindness, even as I am so completely and maddeningly frustrated with you—hurt by you.
Because the thing is, it’s not just about the words and the difficulty of getting them out—it’s about figuring out where truth and generosity meet. It’s about speaking from the largest part of yourself—that part that continuously reaches for a bigger life, that says I want more and if you can’t give it to me, I forgive you that—not your fault, but time to go. That part willing to risk a little bit of lonely. That part that makes a practice of faith and thinks well hell if I’m not lucky that I get to feel this, hard as it is. That part that goes to the edge of the cliff again and again and again.
I’m so angry with him. In a completely and totally and ridiculously unfair way I am so absolutely angry with him. For not being the person I wanted him to be (I know). For not falling in love with me (Yes, I know). For not being courageous enough to fight for the thing. For not knowing he’s worth fighting for the thing. For that one time on the subway platform that he didn’t ask me to dance when the busker sang Isn’t She Lovely. For occasionally being so ridiculously great. And occasionally being so ridiculously not. For those moments when the light would slant just so and I would look at him and see that he’d be a fucking giant-of-a-man if he would just rise to the occasion. For lacking the courage and foresight and necessary grit. Or choosing not to recognize that he is already all the things he needs to be. And more.
He wasn’t the right guy. For me. He wasn’t the right guy, for me. And he certainly never looked at me like I was the right girl for him. And I am a girl who wants to be looked at like that."
Thank you, again, Meg. For writing the words I, cut simply, can't write, but feel.
If you'd like to read the rest of this piece (and trust me, YOU DO) go here. She's incredible.