So today is my birthday. I should be happy, but I’m sad instead. Part of it is that I really celebrated on Saturday. My friend Amy came in town from Boston, which is just so sweet. It was so great to see her again. I had some work friends over on Saturday and we talked and had a good time. So Saturday was great.
Then yesterday we went to see Sex and the City movie, my girlfriends and I. The general consensus was that it was really good. I didn’t like it as much, but for some reason it really hit a personal note in me. I didn’t go to the movie being cynical or expecting it to be bad, so it shocked me that parts of it really pissed me off. And I think what it comes down to is that this year, Katy’s death is really weighing on me. I’ll explain the connection.
Katy was my best friend in high school. We went through a lot together, and we both were depressed together. We used cut ourselves when we were on the phone together, how many friends can claim that? (Sorry, dark humor 😉 Later on, we both got help, but we drew apart. I got through my depression. I never had a serious attempt. I went to counseling when necessary, took drugs for a little while here and there, but I made it through.
Meanwhile, during her college years, Katy had multiple suicide attempts. Each time she got a little better at her technique. After college, she got married. And eventually she had a kid. And then, when her daughter was 16 months old, she ended it, a few days before her 29th birthday. Her birthday is incidentally, the day after mine. We used to celebrate it together.
Obviously, she hated herself. But I have always believed the final straw was her marriage and motherhood–when the veil was lifted, and reality set in. Because marriage can be hard, even if you love each other. And motherhood is hard, even if you have a great kid. But we sell this romance and “Mr. Right” thing, and true love is all. All our songs are about it, all the chick flicks espouse love and marriage, love and marriage.
And for me, watching SATC, there was a scene where Samantha came in from Los Angeles. Her friends ask her if she’s happy in her relationship, and she says no. Samantha then asks Charlotte if she’s happy in her relationship. Charlotte says, with tears in her eyes, “Every day.” Dear god, I could vomit. Pardon my mood right now, but it’s that kind of lie that makes 16 years old plan their wedding day like it’s going to the be greatest day of their life. Katy believed in that lie, that all she had to do was find love and it would all be okay. Just find Mr. Right and you live happily ever. Well, you know what? She’s dead. She didn’t live so happily ever after.
And me? I’ve married for 10 years to a man I love very much, but we’ve had fights where I’ve wondered if we were going make it. But you know what? We made through. Yeah, we don’t see eye to eye on everything, but we’re still together, though some days it’s not so easy. Because that is life. THAT is love, to keep going, to work on it, to stick together, even when it’s not so rosy.
The thing is, there are a lot of kinds of love. My mother-in-law, for example, has made it clear that her kids have always come first. That love, the love of a parent, is her first priority. There is the love of friends, which I think is just as important as romantic love. Because face it, you may love the guy but he’s still probably going to die before you, and you’re gonna want some friends in the nursing home you’re stuck in.
And there’s other things, big things, besides love between people. What about our little planet in space? What about the stars in the sky? And frankly, if there’s other life in the universe, the momentousness of that trumps love between two people. What about love for one another? What about letting go of the veil of separateness, and see the connection between us all?
I know it’s silly to be so bothered by a fantasy movie. I guess I found out when I want fantasy, I want the Prince Caspian or Indiana Jones kind of fantasy. Not this saccharin “love” stuff.