Saturday, June 11, 2011

with love, from peter pan

My brilliant and lovely friend Courtney wrote a very interesting blog post about the state of the dating scene for a bunch of mid to late twenty somethings. She wrote a beautiful and inspiring call to action for women to take control of their feelings and stop men from determining a woman's confidence or happiness. The post is nothing but wonderful and I truly believe that many can benefit from her empowering words. Sadly, I'm raising my hand and joining the "broken dreams club." Why? I blame Charlie Brown.

On the one hand, the future looks gloomy. From climate catastrophes to economic recession and from civil rights violations to banana extinction, life doesn't seem always seem all that beautiful.

On the other hand, we've been raised to believe that we can have anything in this world that we want, that we should dream big and reach for the stars. And of course, on my side of the world, comparatively speaking, this is entirely true and I would be ignorant to ignore the possibilities surrounding me. But believing in both a hopeful and a gloomy future can turn optimists into masochists. If the future is so bright and perfect, why not feel a little pain now? And on the flip side, if there is no perfect future, then why act responsible (to myself or others) now?

Those girls who are being hurt by boys? They're my friends. Those boys who are hurting girls? They're also my friends. My girlfriends are silly and my boyfriends are jerks, and I love them both anyway. We're all in this together. Some of us want to commit and some of us don't but we're all mixing together which leads to whole bunch of turbulence.

And for those in the non-commitment camp, is it possible that we are making the conscious decision to not grow up? Some of our parents worked their whole lives to lose everything to the recession. Many people are losing their jobs because entire industries are disappearing. The divorce rate seems to keep rising. Maybe it's just too scary to put time and energy into anything we might lose. It's less scary to have nothing. To be accountable to no one but ourselves. So while I'm not suggesting we disregard people's feelings, and I absolutely agree with Courtney that if we know what we want we shouldn't settle for less, I do sympathize for those jerks breaking hearts and those girls who aren't demanding more. Is it a stretch to say that sometimes it's just easier to feel sad?

Earlier I blamed Charlie Brown for this outlook. But really, I want to thank him. He is described as the epitome of the "great American un-success story" with a "permanent case of bad luck." He makes sucking at life as a well-off white kid cool. But the beauty of Charlie Brown is that despite everything he goes through, he still remains a romantic. And although I gave up on the American Dream and forgot about Happily Ever After, I have a lot of other things in my life that make me continue to believe in love, starting with friendships and family. We're human. We're bound to hurt other people, act selfish, cheat and lie. But as long as we're still capable of experiencing love as an emotion, we're not so bad. And heartbreak is a good sign that we're still feeling.

(And for the record, I'm a huge sap)

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