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.

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 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!

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)

 

Lunchtime Lyric Loser

At lunchtime one day in fourth grade (maybe third), I was asked/made to join a singing competition. The competitors were myself and a girl whom my mother approved of because the girl complimented her hair. The judge was my bully/friend, the girl who I sat with at lunch sometimes when my actual friends had a different lunchtime.

Anyways, the song that was decided upon was called Redneck Woman or something. I had never heard it, preferring Britney Spears and NSYNC.  Needless to say, I did not win. I did not have to country grit the judge was looking for. So I can’t put “Elementary Country Song Lunchtime Winner” on my resume. But I can still sing you 3 lines from the song.

This wasn’t my first brush with rejection, and it definitely wasn’t my last. Losing a singing competition to the girl who compliments your mother’s hair is a bit upsetting, but nonetheless, I shouldered on. I went on to audition for solo after solo, role after role, to end up with what could be considered disappointing results: one solo in all of middle school chorus, none  in high school, and one lead in a musical throughout my whole career.

Maybe this competition set the tone for my singing career. But I think that losing a redneck song competition helped me deal with rejection and continue to try. So thank you to the little 4th grade redhead who called me names and queened me the lunchtime lyric loser; you helped me lose with grace.

 

And anyways, she got engaged to a boy with ramen noodle hair, so who’s really the loser here?

On Crushes

A friend keeps reminding me that I’m boy crazy. I definitely used to be. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve and have at least one crush per month. I would whisper my secret crush to anyone who would listen because I’m bad at keeping secrets and trusted most people back then. But I’ve learned my lesson. When you tell middle school friends about your crush, they’ll yell it out at the lunch table and you’ll be mocked by said crush in freshmen English.

Crushes tell you they’ll break up with their girlfriend for you, and you think that, first of all, he’s telling the truth, and second that this is how healthy relationships can start. Crushes draw gross pictures of you on the whiteboard. Crushes ignore you, crushes are gay, crushes just straight up don’t like you.

So I don’t have crushes anymore. I haven’t allowed myself to have a crush for quite a while. And life is simple; lonely sometimes, but simple. Sometimes I miss the bountiful hope that came with each new crush, the smiles and whispers and blushes. But most of the time I am happy that the hope I have now is not dependent on whether or not a boy smiles at me.

I have not given up on love, but I have given up on fake love and substitutes for true intimacy. I’d rather have nothing than synthetic puppy love. My next crush will be more than a crush, more than infatuation. My next crush will not be a crush at all, it will be mutual connection on a deeper level. Because crushes aren’t real, so I’ll wait for true love.