Cat Person, Fiction, & Thoughts on Likes and Love

11 12 2017

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Are we all each other’s stories?

The other day my friend sent me a link to a fiction story in the New Yorker called “Cat Person.”

I avoided reading it, mostly because it’s the New Yorker and that’s what I do every time I have a subscription to the magazine–ignore it week after week while the guilt from not opening them piles higher and higher.

Anyway, my friend bothered me about it again; he told me people were buzzing about it on the internets, so after a long sigh, and an even longer “fffinnnee,” I went ahead and went for it.

*Spoilers ahead*

This excruciatingly painful fictional tale is about a 20-year-old woman who goes on a date with a 30-ish old guy she meets at her job at a movie theater.

As I said to my friend, “It’s good, but in a cringe-worthy type of way.”

The author examines the internal dialogue of this woman, revealing many relatable thoughts we’ve all had while dating.

What’s most painful is that we see ourselves in her ( we see ourselves in him too, though we all seem much less likely to admit that considering how it ends) and the parts we see are the parts of ourselves we look back on later in life and wish we had trusted our instincts and intuitions.

What I think the author does so well through these characters is show how easy it is to create stories about who other people are in order for us to like them.

Hence the cringe. It’s not that it’s so much of a mismatched non-compatible interaction, it’s that we’ve all been in situations where we just really want the other person to be who we desire them to be instead of who they are.

In fact, what ripped my heart out while reading this was that just last night I cut it off with a guy for almost the exact same reason.

Not that he had been terrible in bed or called me a whore or anything, but that I had made-up a narrative in my head about who he was–and more importantly, who I was when I was with him–a story that was not even close to being accurate in reality.

I did it because I wanted so badly to like someone that I failed to pay attention to who that person really was, until it was too late.

The female character wants the guy to be so badly who he was in his flirty smart text messages that she starts reading him in ways to reassure herself that he those things in real life. Just because someone is smart and witty doesn’t mean they’re a good person.

It’s like with this guy I was dating, he told me he’d only disappoint me. He told me he was the worst. He told me he was a terrible person. And while he was doing it, I knew I should run away, I knew that people will always tell you who they are, and yet, I stuck around.

I made him prove it.

Is it because I’m a masochist? Is it because that even though I’ve learned over and over again that you can’t change a person, I still haven’t learned it enough?

I think it’s because we’re all addicted to liking someone and being liked in return. The chase, the dating, the sex, it all just comes down to us wanting to be wanted.

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How do we stop ourselves from filling in the blanks on questions we have about people before we get to know them? How do we stop ourselves from projecting things we want them to be when they’re clearly not those things? How do we rid ourselves of expectations particularly when there’s so much excitement when we meet someone new? Is it possible to not get swept up into the bubble of misrepresentation? Into the love-bubble? (or even the like-bubble?)

I don’t know. I haven’t figured anything out.

All I know is that I need to save my stories for my writing and quit making up fictions about people who will always tell me who they are, if I just ask and if I just listen.

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Finding My Way Back to Me

7 12 2017

Kill the writer. Remove the block.

I decided I was going to become a writer when I was 13. My grandfather had just died, my great-grandmother had just died, and my dog had been hit by a car–and died. Writing was the only thing that helped relieve some of the pain. If I wrote it down, it would go away, it would be over there in the notebook instead of inside me. I could revisit the ideas if I wanted but I no longer owned them, the notebook did.

I’m not sure what happened, but at some point in the last couple of months, I’ve lost it. I’ve lost my desire to write. I’ve lost myself.

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Every day I look at my computer and I think how I should post a tweet or a Facebook update. I should express my point of view. I should return to the world I know so well. Yet, I freeze. I sit for hours staring, saddened by the turn of events that continue to happen every day on this earth; I feel paralyzed. What could my thoughts actually do to help any of them? Who am I in the greater scheme of things?

I am just like everyone else.

We are all the same.

We are all different.

My voice, just another sound shooting through the airwaves, internet waves, waving at no one in particular, hoping at least someone hears me, sees me, waves back. A thin line of connectivity. The string that ties me to humanity. If I cut it, I’ll lose myself.

Maybe it’s time for that self to go.

Kill the parts I no longer need.

Rise above the mainstream machine.

Find more of me as I remove the layers that others have glossed, painted, laid over me.
A product of my generation. Of this time. Of the before and the after.

The math that doesn’t add up.

The apathy from never being good enough.

The ego of always being better than.

Never one or the other, always neutral with the weight of experience pushing one up more than the other.

Words come out, but do we ever really say anything?