Friday, 13 January 2012

Pride and Prejudice

It seems to be a reoccuring theme in my life that after every major relationship break-down, I end up at the cinema with friends. After I broke up with my first love and boyfriend of over four years, I went to see Pride and Prejudice. It stirred up some pretty passionate feelings:
"I think I need to change the record slightly, but I guess at this point in my life I should be allowed to have lots of contemplative thoughts about love.
utterly miserable but still somehow looking perfect...
Yesterday I saw Pride and Prejudice at the cinema. I was falling into the same trap as always when I watched it. I was going 'ahh' and imagining myself in the same position, and thinking about how romantic it was that Mr Darcy loved Lizzie so much, but struggled against it, but in the end was overwhelmed by it.
But then I had to stop myself. I was sitting there in the cinema thinking 'this is ridiculous'
I mean- Lizzie was miserable and in tears. Mr Darcy was miserable and had not only found out that Lizzie didn't love him, but had been shouted at and told in no uncertain tems that she hated him.
In the film it's all romantic, but in real life those sorts of things are fucking horrible. It's not romantic to be in tears all the time. I have been in that situation- so unhappy in love that you can't stop crying almost every day. It is not romantic. And it's not romantic to be head over heels with someone who doesn't like you, because in real life they probably won't change their minds. And also, in real life you wouldn't want somebody you hated to be in love with you. So the person who's doing the unrequited loving has their thoughts and their life consumed by the person they're never going to get, and the person on the other side knows they've got someone in love with them who they really don't want to have anything to do with. It's not romantic, it's a mess.
Anyway, that's one side of it- that in films the unhappy bits are always romantic but in real life they're just horrible.
The other thing I was thinking about was the whole idea of love as it is in films like this one. It's the bee in my bonnet. I hate it that films give you this picture of love that you spend most of your youth in pursute of before realising it's not like that in real life.
The more I think about it, the more I can't believe my naivety and my ideals about love and relationships when I first started to get into it.
How could I have been so blinkered? How could I stumble into it so blindly but so full-throttle? I just pointed myself in the right direction and ran full pelt without stopping to think about what I was doing. I expected to fall in love every time I met a man I liked. I wanted to fall in love so badly, and I didn't understand anything. I didn't get how difficult love actually is to find, or how transitory it can be, or more importantly, that most people aren't actively seeking it like I was. I think I thought everyone entered a relationship hoping it would end in love, whereas actually most relationships seem to be entirely based on a physical attraction and sex to start with, and if there is acutally this wierd human conceptual force called 'love', that kicks in a long way down the line, if the physical attraction holds out but a strong friendship bond (that feeling of clicking) forms as well.
Anyway, getting back to Pride and Prejudice- the reason I believe I rushed off in search of fairytale love is that all I had learnt so far about love, I had learnt from books and films. I had no concept at all of how those stories are manipulated to please their female viewers. I mean- why do men hate romantic films so much?
Because they find them silly and cheesy. Because they don't think about romance in the same way women do. And this is the overriding fact that separates love stories from real love.
In Pride and Prejudice, this cold, hard man who is so in control of his emotions, totally cracks up when he's telling Lizzie he loves her, because he loves her SO much.
Not to mention the fact that if a man did that in real life, you'd think he was a s soppy as a wet blanket!
But for all of my realistic deductions, I still daydream about guys falling head over heels for me, or worshipping me from a distance, or taking me for walks on beaches, or kissing in the pouring rain. I still watch Pride and Prejudice and think 'ahh, if only' and even more stupidly: 'ahhh, one day...'
Then when we got back from watching the film, I was talking to Amy about it and saying how it's never rally like that, and she said she's had love like that before.
Wait a minute...
You're telling me in can be like that?
Now it's got me thinking again. Because as cynical as I am, I want romance so badly, I think I'm willing to believe something like that if someone tells me it's true. But it's so dangerous. I can't get my hopes up because if I have the slightest hope that love is really this tingly, gushy, romantic comfort blanket it's made out to be in films, then as soon as someone comes along who I really like, my sensible side will shut down and the nonsensical, childlike, naive side of me that wants to believe in love and romance will go into overdrive. And I can't let that happen because then I'll just get hurt.
Crazy bloody female brain. It's so contradictory.
I know the reality of life and love, but I want so badly to believe in the fairytale ideal. Because maybe if I believed in it, then it would happen...
But I can't let myself believe. Something deep inside me tells me to stay cynical for my own good. It feels like a sort of self defence mechanism.
What is going on in my head?"

It's always interesting to glimse back into your head at an earlier stage of life. For me, it helps to remember what I've learnt. It also reminds me that we make mistakes because we are not born with the knowledge we need to live: we learn it as we go through our lives; we piece it together; we experiment; we play. That is comforting. I didn't always, but these days I try to hold in my consciousness the fact that getting things wrong can be a good thing.
Oh yes, I made mistakes in love. Show me the person who hasn't and I will simply snigger and think 'Wow, that must've been one boring love life.' At 20, I was so ashamed that I had started out with such a throw-yourself-in-headfirst outlook on relationships. But now I just see that I was an excited child, and I'm glad I did it. Especially since the other option seems to be to sit back and wait for it to come to you... and in my experience, it doesn't.
Everything was so black and white for me in those days. Well, I say 'those days'... in fact I have only just recently begun to understand the spectrum of life's options. And I guess I had just emerged from a heartbreaking relationship collapse so it's hardly surprising I was a little on the pessimistic side when it came to love.
But I do find it interesting to look back and see how the opinions I have now began to form from what was happenning to me at previous stages of my life. 
At 20, my daydreams were at such odds with the reality of my lovelife, I didn't know how it was possible that the two things could ever aline. Deep in my heart was the hope of fairytale romance, while my head was full of recent and raw memories of pain and disappointment. It seemed that it couldn't be possible to have both- that it HAD to be one or the other, and since my reality at that time was pain and disappointment, it was only the sensible thing to do to put my trust in that.
The sheer surprise that my friend told me fairytale love was possible! I was so reluctant to believe her. So afraid to believe her!
And now... having lived a further eight years and gone through a handful of relationships in that time... now how do I feel about it?
I still don't know. Will I ever know? All I can say is that I believe in the spectrum of life: that it is possible to have perfect fairytale romance- though I would imagine it happens in bursts and would never expect a happy-ever-after. I also disagree with my 20 year old self on the subject of romantic men. I do now believe that men are fond of a bit of romance with a woman they truly admire (they just hate to admit or even think about it until they're there in that headspace, hence men hating romantic movies!) What I don't know is if everyone gets to experience it. 
There appears to be 3 main types of love: a sexual attraction that eventually leads to friendship; a friendship that eventually leads to a sexual attraction; and finally the little gem (think yourself DAMN lucky if you get to experience this one) 'love at first sight,' when friendship and sexual attraction collide at once upon meeting. There are also relationships where one piece is missing- ie a sexual relationship where one or maybe even both partners feel no frienship bond, or a deeply strong friendship with no sexual attraction. And unfortunately, I personally don't believe either of these relationships can stand the test of time. 
So now I live in hope that at some point in the not too distant future, I will find one of the three previous options, and that there will be some fairytale romance in it: maybe we'll kiss in the rain, maybe he'll write a song for me (not too soppy, mind)... I'm not saying I want Pride and Prejudice style romance, with all it's unrequited love, heartbreak and changing opinions... I stick to what I wrote then about that kind of malarky (ie- that is not romantic that is just painful) but still... 'ahhh, one day...'

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