Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Express Yourself- August 5- 9

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What book/movie characters do you relate to most?

Eeesh- that's a tough one. It changes a lot. When I was younger (read: full of angst) I was really into tragic characters like Sydney Carton- unloved, unable to live up to potential, dreaming of having such fantastic last words. I had a huge thing for Sydney Carton through middle and high school and more than vehement arguments with my father over the true nature of this noble character. And even though I'm very glad to no longer see any of him in myself he will live in my heart forever.

I've already talked about my eternal love for Garden State and the main character Andrew Largeman. The movie came along at the exact right moment in my life for me to latch onto with a character-defining devotion and for years and years I felt just like that young man- floundering my way into adulthood, searching for a sense of meaning in the chaos of my life and desperately trying to find home. While I would still refer to that as my favorite movie of all time I am happy to say that I no longer relate so much to Large because, thankfully, I've found my home.
But much like Mr. Carton before him he will always hold a very special place inside my heart that can never be filled by anyone else.

I struggle to think of who I relate to most now. After many years (read: my twenties) of searching and struggling I am pretty comfortable in my own skin nowadays (thank god!)and incredibly grateful to find myself relating to more confident characters. One that struck a chord in me a couple years back was a book called Love or Something Like It by Deirdre Shaw. It's about a young woman named Lacey who falls in love, marries, loses herself within that relationship (as women so often do) and then has to completely reorganize her world when the relationship falls apart.
Now granted, I'm not married and I don't feel like I ever lost myself in my relationship but I do relate to her journey of discovering- or rather, defining- herself as an adult woman. Because the story isn't just about figuring out who you are, it's about figuring out what you want your life to be. This woman not only adapts a new, healthier and very Zen worldview but she figures out what she wants to be (a writer) and what space she wants to occupy in the world (a small, quiet one). And in the process, she manages to genuinely forgive her ex-husband after years of hating him and thus frees herself from her past. I loved the strong, independent woman that she turns into in the end. And I dream of having that kind of fidelity to myself in my life. (But hopefully I'll get there without the divorce.)

At any rate, it probably goes without saying that there are a million other characters I have loved and will love depending on my mood at the time of reading/viewing. And when it comes down to it, isn't that what it's all about? Losing yourself in a different character every time you pick up a book? Maybe not every single one of them sticks with you, but every single one of them should make an impact on you, should feel real enough for you put yourself in their skin. That's the magic, after all.

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  1. It's been a long time since I've seen Garden State, but I do remember liking it. I'll have to watch it again...

  2. I like to become whoever I'm reading about. That said, I want to read about someone who's strong. Stronger than me anyway. :)


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