“Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars.” ~Victor Hugo: Ninety-Three
Not being a big follower of pop culture, I was only recently introduced to the term, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl“. My ignorance of the term, however, doesn’t mean I don’t understand this flat, one-dimensional character that people try to project on to the movie screen of their lovers. I have absolutely been cast in that role not just by men but by family members and friends alike.
I am called a “pixie” or “fairie” often. My mom used to call me her “sunshine”. Yes, I have an abundance of love and joy and mischief inside of me, there’s no doubt about that. I’m also deeply flawed, filled with contradictions and 100% human in my struggles. Like Kate Winslet’s character, Clementine, says in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, “”Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.” Exactly.
I think some fracturing happens to the psyche when this archetype has played itself out one too many times. We begin to feel drawn in to darkness and pain and look for suffering instead of joy. We begin to lose track of our own joy. We don’t look for people to share joy with because we’re so busy trying to patch up holes in the souls of others. It doesn’t work because we are each our own Hero on the Journey and need to find our own soul spackle not in another person but within.
In my own experience, the energy of letting someone hold on to me as their light force has just been draining. It’s also true that in these situations, there is no room for me to be anything but that. In my relationships with both lovers and friends where this dynamic was present, the minute I show a different part of myself, assert my own needs or *gasp!* disagree with them, they get angry and punitive. Why? Because they’ve been seeing this one-dimensional, cardboard cutout. (And I let them.) I hear things like, “I wish I could hang out but my life is just fucked up right now, I can’t,” or “I wish I had something to offer you but I’m just not there,” or “You’re so giving and generous. I wish I was worthy of you,” Too many wishes, not enough action.
For my part, I am utterly exhausted with all of that. If there’s not space for the many archetypes that run through me, for my mess, my darkness, for my humanity, my needs then I am not interested. In the past, I think I wanted to be cast in that role because it meant I didn’t have to acknowledge those things in myself. So much more fun to be the tiara-wearing party girl Holly Golightly or the other woman than the wife or mother who slogs through the day, right?
What’s true is that I don’t slog through my days of responsibility. I don’t believe in slogging cuz dancing is more fun. I really do see the magic in life and enjoy myself in life. I am no longer comfortable, however, with being in a little compartment in someone’s life. I’m not interested in being the toy someone takes out to play with when they need a dose of feel good. It hurts me deeply. It’s time to spend more time with people who have more joy to bring to the table. I’m blessed with these people in my life and I know I’ll be blessed with more as I make space for them.
Cardboard doesn’t bleed but I do and it’s time for me to really acknowledge that.
I’m not sure what archetypes I want to play with in 2013 quite yet. I do know that the Orphan Child and Pixie Dream Girl are being put on the shelf. Perhaps they will be replaced by The Adventurer or The Benevolent Queen.