January 02, 2016

"Big" Love

Are you a Carrie? A Samantha? A Miranda? I used to say I was a Charlotte, but the older I get the more I realize I'm a little bit of all of those wonderful Michael Patrick King characters.

The eternal optimist who, no matter what life gives her, makes lemonade with just a splash of gin and in painfully classy high waisted skirts. The single minded, career driven pessimist who stops men in romantic monologues mid-sentence and says, "Listen, cut the bullshit, I know a pickup line when I hear it." The Stella with no need to get her groove back, who's got her eye on her next orgasm and thinks hand holding is more intimate than intercourse. And finally, the street smart and insightful every girl who, as eloquently as she can write about love, still can't seem to get it right. Until of course, Season 6; Episode 94.

That is, until they broke up for most of the first movie!

It frustrates me when I turn on the Netflix, pick up a book, and I'm faced with that universal love story. You know the one. A woman falls in love with a man who is careless with her emotions, selfish and self interested, inconsistent and devastating throughout their on and off relationship which is usually more off than on. He disappoints again, and again, and again, and her love remains loyal and unwavering until they are finally together, when he finally realizes (after dating and sometimes even marrying every other option on the Earth) that she is the one. 

And they live happily ever after. 

And we love it! We eat it up. The tears, the struggle. The constant conflicts that lead to fleeting periods of calm waters and stability. Drama. Heartache. Perpetual turmoil. 

This is what we associate with "Big love." 

Well that and polygamy, apparently. 

It's all so romantic on HBO Go when you can fast forward to the reunions, but the reality makes me believe that "can't stop, won't stop" needs to be exclusively reserved for the hooks of hip hop songs.

If you take your romantic cues from movies or love songs, unavailable relationships seem to be the only ones worth having. But just because that's all you read about, or watch, or listen to doesn't mean that's all that's out there or even that it's aspirational. It's just...

What's the first rule of storytelling? What did your teacher tell you in the third grade? A good story needs what? 



"I was walking to school when suddenly I was swallowed by quicksand and found myself trapped in the belly of a whale." 

"It was just another Wednesday afternoon when the invisible alien ship landed and my town was taken over. The ship had come from planet Songheim and the survivors were so traumatized by the sounds of show tunes that, in the caves where we set up camp and, eventually a new human society, the word Broadway was forbidden."

"I met him fifteen years ago, reaching for a stapler at work. He smiled a little half smile as he playfully knocked the stapler out of my way, and immediately I knew he was the one. After ten years of him dicking me around, making up, breaking up, heartache and pain, we stand before you today happily married...for the last twelve minutes."

I'm an artist, and thus, I can't argue with the inspirational benefits of conflicts of the heart. For a lot of us, being happy means having writer's block. Being content also means being frustrated and uninspired. Whereas being heartbroken...

For most of high school I was in the most toxic, unhealthy relationship of my life. But I wrote poems so deep, moving and surprisingly insightful for a 16 year old that I had to retire from poetry in high school for fear that I couldn't top myself. I wrote songs, and produced them, and recorded them, and on a shitty PC at that. 

At 23 I fell down the darkest rabbit hole of my life, and four years later that time of my life is a hop, skip and a jump away from my very first book deal. 

Six days ago I cried for exactly four minutes and stopped abruptly when I realized there was music in my head. I pulled myself together and finished the first instrumental I have in years. I wrote two verses, a chorus and a bridge in twelve minutes. I wrote five part harmonies so fast it felt like the song had always been there and was slowly unfolding in front of me because it knew I needed it.

The artist in me understands the benefits of discontent. I don't need a hit, or a shot, or a line of something to create something out of thin air. I just need the love of my life to say or do something unthinkable. Unimaginable. Unlivable. And it's like every sound, every word, every color that ever existed is just for me.

The woman in me, however, knows the difference between inspirational and aspirational. 

The woman in me knows that a song is just a song. A novel is just a novel. A movie is just a movie. And when it's over, when you come down, you have to come back to real life.

And in real life...Sex and the City ran for six seasons. And who in real life has six years to wait around for a man to come to his senses?

Besides, unlike Carrie Bradshaw, I very much enjoyed my time alone in Paris. 

It was fabulous. And so am I.

No "Mr. Big" necessary.

Point being, there's a difference between a good story and a good relationship. Learn it, and learn it well.

Preferably before it schools you. 



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