Saturday, September 19, 2015
Dad used to say that to be "cultured" and "well-educated", I had to read all the classics. So I did. Go ahead, ask me about Dickens or Tolstoy or whoever. Really, somebody should ask me something about this stuff, because I'm pretty sure nobody has ever cared whether or not I'm educated or cultured.
All that reading filled my head with romanticism and idealism -- and I doubt that makes my life better. Would you date a Musketeer? Athos is an alcoholic who killed his wife (twice), Aramis a hypocritical slut, Porthos is stupid, and D'Artagnan... well, I guess he's okay if you didn't mind him rashly trying to get killed at any moment. It's a great story, one of my favorites, but it doesn't provide a very good model for real life.
When I read and reread The Little Mermaid, I was swept away by the romanticism. I couldn't see that she gave too much of herself away for a fantasy. Forget Disney, I was reading the original story which is a lot harsher and written by Hans who never got lucky romantically in his entire life.
I've been guilty of giving too much of myself in the same ways. Okay, an evil witch didn't cut out my tongue and tell me to stab my lover, but how often have I given more than I received? A: too often. And it isn't just lovers, it's all sorts of other people too.
My internal romantic has gotten me in all sorts of trouble and bad decisions. No matter how practical or tough I can be about all sorts of things, a part of me is Ariel and nukes my own happiness. I'm working on it. I've been thinking about these kinds of situations a lot while I sit on the floor and paint with my smallest brush.
At the same time, I think fantasy is the root of all creation. We need daydreams and nightdreams. They are the source of everything we make or bring into our lives, but we can't dream anyone else into what we want them to be outside of our own fantasies. I'm searching for balance.
I told my brother I needed a mermaid and he obliged on a napkin while we waited for dinner. I objected to "toe flippers" and little arms, but he just giggled. That's worth something :)