The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Who Fell in Love

My name is Celina, and my talent is being a manic pixie dream girl. “What is a manic pixie dream girl?”, you may ask if you hate Zooey Deschanel and/or most popular movies. A manic pixie dream girl is a quirky female character who exists to make a male character realize all of the possibilities in life. Usually a manic pixie dream girl has very little background and is solely in the story to help the male character.

I am apparently a professional manic pixie dream girl at this stage in my life. My quirky personality and lack of substantial relationship baggage make me a perfect MPDG. I frequently trip up the stairs and I love writing poems. I have almost no adult obligations and my work schedule is always few hours at odd times. I always have crazy ideas and laugh like there’s no tomorrow. When I’m on a date or dating someone, I’m hilarious and candidly honest. Yeah, I’m pretty much Zooey Deschanel’s lower paid twin.

However, until recently, I was unaware of my carefree MPDG-ness. I recently got out of  a 3 month long “something” (aka not a relationship from the guy’s perspective). During those three months I was quirky, charming, and even vulnerable. And the boy I was seeing had just gotten out of a relationship, so he was genuinely happy to be hanging out with me. But from the beginning he said he didn’t want a relationship. However, my manic pixie brain told me I could change that, especially after 2 and then 3 months of dating. Turns out the only thing I did was give the guy 3 months of fun with no commitment.

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago when I met an amazing man. He was perfect – chivalrous, kind, caring, attentive; but he lived in America. Not just anywhere in America, but completely the opposite side of America from my family. However, he was perfect for my MPDG skills; just gone through a breakup, a bit unstable,  questioning life choices – which is all apparently my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, this man was amazing. He lives in a place I dreamed of living, his job is steady and something he’s passionate about, and he’s an actual mature man (pretty hard to find). However, even this perfect man couldn’t resist the powers of my MPDG being.

We had a whirlwind weekend romance. I showed him around Paris and he took me out for nice dinners where we bared our souls to each other – mine being bared less, as, like I said, I have less baggage than most. We had coffee and drinks and laughs and tears. We hugged and kissed like there was no tomorrow (because he was leaving that tomorrow). We promised each other we’d meet again, and we proceeded to message each other non stop for a week. Throughout it all though, even as I was falling in love, I could feel that I wasn’t right for his story. That I was not the princess, but the manic pixie dream girl. I might have been his savior, but I didn’t get to be his damsel in distress as well.

And that’s why today, while reading The Cat in the Hat, I started crying. I couldn’t focus on the simple words, “we sat there, we two.” This morning, the most perfect man I’ve ever known broke up with me. After I found flight deals, and made crazy plans to move to his city, and pictured us raising a smart and well behaved cat together. He told me he couldn’t do a relationship right now, but that I gave him hope.

But the thing is, I don’t want to give guys hope. I don’t want to show them that their lives can be different. I just want to love them and be loved. I want a guy to tell me I’m amazing and not put a “but…” after his statement. I want to rock a guy’s life and stay in it, not fade into the rolling credits. I don’t want to be anyone’s manic pixie dream girl anymore.

So maybe I’m lucky that I got to impact someone’s life for the better. I’m sure there’s worse things I could do. But tonight I ordered my MPDG self a pizza and a bottle of wine. And you could say that’s pathetic. You could say that’s like Bridget Jones. You could say it’s both and that I need to find a therapist out here. I’d say you’re probably right on all accounts.  I’d also say I have no idea what I’m doing in life, especially in my love life. But I won’t give up the search for “the one,” because someday, somewhere, there’ll be a guy who doesn’t need me to be chill or ethereal; there’s a guy out there who doesn’t need me at all, but wants me. And I’m sure he’ll pop into my life “when I least expect it,” so please don’t write that in the comments. Also don’t worry, I’m not sitting around waiting for prince charming- I’m living a crazy Parisian life and having a blast. Once I finish this glass of wine and cry a bit more.

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The Thrill of The Chase

I’ve always liked contests. The rush you get from putting your name in a hat and waiting ever so impatiently for your name to be called. I remember one day when I was in middle school I cut out all the giveaway forms from my J-14 magazine and glued them to index cards for my mother to mail. I cut out tons of them and filled out each line. I remember getting excited when gimmicky fake car keys came in the mail, and I’d ask my parents if we could see if we won a new car.

I loved entering raffles and holding onto my ticket with great expectations. I remember in elementary school at our fall festival I played the moonwalk game (is that just a southern game?) and won a 2-liter of orange soda. I was pretty darn proud of that orange soda. Last summer my friend Julia found a dollar on the street so we bought a lottery ticket. We lost, but it was still fun to imagine our dollar turning into a million. Or just $2. Last summer I also entered all sorts of Broadway contests that I never won (but my friends did, so it all worked out).

I think I love contests so much not because of the prize, but because of the hope, the thrill. Waiting is not a chore with contests; it’s a gift. The time between entering a contest and when the announce the winners is a great time. The thing is, even if I win, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s all over. There’s no more guessing, there’s no more hoping. It’s like climbing to the top of a mountain – once you’re there, going back down seems pointless (to me anyways, obviously if you love hiking it’s probably still fun). I lose this hope not just in contests, but in other areas in my life. When I finally meet up with someone. When I finally get the job I wanted. When I finally finish that class.

I love the thrill of the chase, but I always yearn for the next opportunity, the next big thing. I’m a doer, a never sit still-er. I will never be happy with waiting around. I will constantly enter contests and play the moonwalk game. Okay, I won’t play the moonwalk game, because I not entirely certain if that’s a thing anymore. I also won’t gamble because my roommates all say that I’d go millions in debt, to which I concur. But maybe I wasn’t meant to be content. Maybe there’s so much more for me out there. There’s more than a 2-liter of orange soda and some free earrings from Instagram (although I appreciate both). So I’ll continue the chase and enjoy the thrill, because maybe some people aren’t meant to stop.

 

A Pet Boyfriend?

Last year I told my mother that I needed to get another allergy test, as I thought I had developed a bunny allergy (yes, I know how sad this is, I LOVE bunnies). Turns out that in addition to my old allergy diagnosis of cats and dust, I was now allergic to mold, grass, DOGS, and BUNNIES…and also the hay that bunnies eat. So I’m basically allergic to any fluffy animal and the outside world.

This was crushing to hear, as I am a passionate animal lover. If you know me, you know my favorite pig is named Esther and that I love my cats at home even though they make my eyes itchy. I even struggled to pick a photo for this post because of how many cute animal pictures there were from which to choose. So when after they scratched my back 100 times and gave me 10 shots in the arm, it was just insult to injury to tell me all of my new allergies.

I was pretty discouraged with the news, but I thought my allergist might have some advice. She was a nice lady who pretended to be interested in my life every year, so I figured she could pretend to care about my sad diagnosis. So here’s our conversation:

Me: Is there anything fluffy I can cuddle with, what kind of pet should I get?

Doctor: A boyfriend?

My Mother: Oh my, no!

 

So now I guess I’m searching for a pet boyfriend? Where do you find those?

A Change of Clothes

When I was six or seven I went to summer care at the YWCA. I learned how to play mancala and swim to the bottom of the pool. I convinced myself the graveyard visible from the playground had a ghost who wore a hat (it was a nice hat). I made a friend named Greyson or Bailey or something and we both agreed we hated it.

So we came up with a plan to break the monotony – we would get sent home.  We had to come up with a way that would get us sent home without getting us in trouble. We decided the easiest way was to pretend that we had peed our pants. So we did, and were sent to the office of the summer care manager lady. She was very nice to us and called our parents, who picked us up. I think Greyson (Bailey?) and I were able to do this trick one more time before they made us bring a change of clothes with us everyday. By that point we were a good bit through the summer and didn’t feel like fighting it anymore, so we threw in the towel and played another round of mancala.

Now I’m not telling you to pee your pants to get out of summer care, but just hear me out. Going home was the “dream” of my seven year old brain, and I fulfilled it twice, but let a change of clothes stop me from pursuing that “dream” further. That may sound silly, but a lot of us get so close to our dreams and stop short because of something little, something like a change of clothes. Your change of clothes might be money or time or motivation or stress or whatever. But let’s make it a goal to get out of that YWCA building and leave our change of clothes behind (but please wear clothes) so that we can fulfill our dreams – even if that dream is just to go home and drink a juice box.

 

*Just to be clear, I know I was a very naughty child, and I did tell my parents about this…a few months ago.

Hair, Voltaire

They say the more you change your hair, the more issues you have. Another way of putting it, which I learned through my mother who read it online, is that people who change their hair a lot do so because they feel it is one of the only things they can control in their lives. I have changed my hair about 16 times, only including hair color switches and one major cut. Oops.

I don’t know if these theories are true, but I do know that I love changing my hair. If I could I’d get extensions and then switch to a bob the week after. I’ve had red, blue, purple, pink, and bleached ends before. I’ve had red, purple, blonde, brown, and now dark burgundy colored hair. I didn’t do anything with my hair last summer so I spent around $200 to get purple hair in the fall…which turned into fried white blonde. So at this point my hair has about 1/3 recovered and my mother is about 50% less mad.

But can I say, “Hair, Voltaire? I’d rather discuss Voltaire” (hello Princess Diaries!). I change my hair for me, for fun, for la joie de vivre! It’s cool if you don’t like my hair – sometimes don’t like my hair. And that’s life yall. Sometimes my hair reflects a change in my life, sometimes it means I’m bored, sometimes it means absolutely nothing. So yeah, last week I cut my own bangs that I don’t even wear today. C’est la vie!

All or Nothing


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With me, it’s all or nothing. Oklahoma anyone? But truly, I’m an all or nothing kind of gal. If I do something, I go all in. I’m pretty sure that if I accidentally stole an orange I’d turn into a full on kleptomaniac. Joking aside, my all or nothing attitude has been both a blessing and a curse (okay, curse is a little dramatic).

In my relationships, I either want to hang out with you all the time, or never. If I don’t see or hear from you for a long time, I’ll forget about you. I don’t say this because I’m callous, but because I’m honestly forgetful; at the same time, I want to give more to the relationships that I can give to. Basically I’d rather hang out with someone who can hang with me everyday over someone who can only hang once every two weeks.

This makes it difficult for me to date, because if I feel “meh” about you on the first date I’ll probably just forget you exist. On the other hand, if I really like you I might come across as clingy…or maybe even a tiny bit creepy. I don’t mean it, I just like to show the people I like that I like them…a lot.

With school, this means I’ll either spend one hour or one week on a project; there’s no in between. I either hate a class or love it. Every professor is my favorite or my least favorite. I’ll either read the whole textbook or none of it.

If I decide I want to do something, I’ll do it or go crazy trying to do so. I’ve wasted hours and hours on study abroad programs, scholarships, schools to transfer into, trips to take, jobs to apply for, projects to audition for, and many more things that never happened. I become obsessed with my next big thing, whether it be a birthday trip to NYC (didn’t happen) or studying abroad in London (also didn’t happen).

But my all or nothing attitude has also served me well. I got my first ever movie “role” (as an extra, not anything fancy guys) through really weird circumstances. I found an article in our paper about the movie filming nearby and decided that I, little freshman in high school Celina, was going to be in this movie. Long story short, I emailed the director and convinced my whole family to drive to the mountains and be extras in a random indie film.

My all or nothing attitude also got me my first paid writing gig, out of school for two weeks my senior year of high school to film, and living in Manhattan last summer. And now my all or nothing-ness has landed me a job right after graduation exactly where I wanted – Paris! So even though my all or nothing life is a bit crazy, crazy can be good. Crazy can be PARIS yall!

So follow your crazy! Feel free to comment below with what that is so we can cheer each other on…and make sure we aren’t too crazy 😉

My Roommate Is Not What You Decide She Is

If you’re in college or are a millennial adult, you’ve probably heard of Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app. You can post anything about anything…or anyone. There are very few ways to use it in a way that spreads positive vibes. It’s basically a free for all for cyber bullying and name calling.

Yesterday my roommate was alerted by a friend that someone had called her out on Yik Yak. She was sent a screenshot of an anonymous person insulting her. Luckily it was rather quickly downvoted, leading to its removal. But sadly, this was not an isolated event. Last year a different friend and I were both mentioned in a list of people who were all classified as “thirsty.” For people who don’t know, most people define people who are thirsty as people who are desperate for a relationship/hook up/etc. My friend who was on that list with me is one of the nicest people I know, and she did not deserve this.

It is sad that I now feel the need to defend myself and my friend. I should not have to prove to anyone that I am not something they say I am, or that my friends are humans who deserve respect. My roommate should not have to remind herself that she is beautiful; she should not have to see someone publicly shame her for no reason. My friend on the list with me should not have to wonder who thought she seemed to fit the bill of that attribute. I should not have to get angry about someone insulting my best friends, the most kind and beautiful people I know.

No one should have to stare at a screen wondering why an anonymous person thought they had the right to make someone feel bad about themselves. I shouldn’t have to ask friends if they put me on the list as a joke (because at least if that were true I could have laughed). I want so badly to find the person who wrote these things, to tell them that their words did not go unheard, oh no, they sunk into our skins. They seeped into our brains, into our thought process. Their words made us question our bodies, our clothes, our words.

So to you, anonymous person: I would love to hit you, to yell at you, to trip you in the hallway. But I won’t. Because I’m not like you; I hope I never am. So I hope that your life starts to look up so you don’t have to hide behind a screen and hurt people anymore. I hope you realize the impact of your words and find it in you to feel bad about them. Because my roommate is not what you decide she is.

I Forgot How To Adult

In the past two days I have forgotten about two jobs, causing me to be 45 minutes late to one and absent for another. I have never, ever forgotten to show up for a job. Ever. After I forgot the first, I apologized and figured it was a fluke. I felt awful about it but knew that the only thing to do about spilled milk is to clean it up and move on. However, the next day I completely forgot and slept through a gig that I do every month – my head was not in the game yall.

So where does this leave me? Well after everything I sobbed for a bit yesterday and ate some ice cream. It might not seem like a big thing, but forgetting not one, but two jobs where people depended on me really tore me up. I hate letting people down, especially when it’s 100% my fault.

So let me admit it: I messed up. I forgot how to adult for a few days. But that’s okay. I have apologized to the involved parties and moved on. I took responsibility for my actions and forgiven myself. I am determined to put everything in my planner and be a bit more organized (I’m not going to be delusional and pretend I’ll be 100% organized now). I am moving on and letting go of my two mess up days.

So next time you mess up, clean it up and move on. Let’s promise each other we’ll forgive ourselves and work to do better in the future.

My 5th Grade Almost Boyfriend

My fifth grade almost boyfriend sat next to me in the special nerd classes we went to twice a week. He was a whiz kid at math and science, I was slightly above average at language arts and history. He was sporty and I was dramatic. We played basketball in gym class one day and I traveled with the ball, which I thought made us Troy and Gabriella.

One time on a day that we had nerd class, he leaned over to talk to me and sort of put his arm on my chair, which set my fifth grade heart aflutter. After class, his friend told me he liked me. In my mind I was elated – my crush of four years finally notices me! So logically I told his friend that I didn’t like him and that he was gross. I passed him on the track outside later. I don’t really remember our friendship much after that.

Later on he dated a girl from the grade below us and then moved away. I asked if we could be pen pals and wrote him a note confessing my crush, but he never replied. I even messaged him on Facebook quite a few years ago on Facebook. Yes, I know that’s creepy.

I remember clearly that when my fifth grade almost boyfriend’s friend told me he liked me I was scared it was a trick. How could someone who I’d dreamed about for years finally be real, be interested? I don’t think I wanted reality. I just wanted a boy to pine after. I wanted to be able to imagine fantastical situations instead of actually experiencing a possibly disappointing reality.

Even now I often prefer fantasy to reality – who needs practicality? But I’m not in fifth grade anymore, and imaginations aren’t enough. I’m going to live life, no matter how boring or scary it gets. So here goes nothing:

Dear Fifth Grade Almost Boyfriend,

I like you.

Sincerely,

Fifth Grade Celina (who had really bad bangs and Harry Potter glasses)

 

Laundry Day

Today is laundry day, which means I ran out of underwear. Today I’ve thought about all the places I’ve done laundry.

Whenever I’m home with my family I get to do laundry inside, at my house, without having to drive or walk to the washer and dryer, which is honestly a super big privilege.

My first years at college I did laundry in our dorms. During freshmen year I overloaded a washer and housekeeping left me a mean note. Last year my roommate and I would move guys’ laundry after it sat in the washers for hours.

Two summers ago I did laundry with my friends from all over the world at a rinky dink laundromat near the camp we were working at in upstate NY. We all crammed into the staff van and rode down the hill to the town below that included a Walmart and our hangout diner.

Last summer I did laundry a block down from my apartment in the West Village in Manhattan. I would walk with my students, or with my coworkers/friends, or by myself. It was a beautiful one minute walk, and I miss it.

This year I walk for a couple of minutes from my apartment to a huge community laundry room that I rarely have to wait around in.

Perhaps during my year in Paris I’ll find another laundromat to call home. The washers probably won’t bang around like my washer at home. I’m sure it won’t be free like it has been for me here at school. It won’t be full of middle school ballerinas or camp counselors. But it will be a constant in my new world, a little piece of home away from home.