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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Stop Trying To Be A Manic Pixie Dream Girl And Be Your Own Muse

So I am more than a bit past the age of being a manic pixie dream girl. Those girls who are unfailingly cute and whimsical. But I cop to being a girly girl who sometimes trades in the currency of  being pleasing and adorable. Not easy to admit.

This morning I read this piece by Laurie Penny about having been a MPDG and had to admit to many of the traits myself. Mostly what stopped me in my tracks was this:

Men grow up expecting to be the hero of their own story. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else's.

I had to admit to this.This is me. I came of age during the onset of the women's movement, but somehow I still find myself playing small.

See, the thing is, I have a super power. Want to know what it is? I see the potential in people and their dreams. I can see the company they want to start being hugely successful, the book they want to write being a best seller, and the cookies they make - the next Mrs. Field's! This has its upside, I am a great friend and cheerleader. I will back you one-hundred and fifty-percent. My weakness however has been when I do this with men. The more I champion their potential, the less I embrace my own.

This trope has led me to thinking if I loved a man enough he could become everything he is meant to be, he will be successful, be healthy, stop his self-destructive habits and, I had to face this reality - take care of me so i don't have to think about my own potential.

I have spent many years trying to fix men who I thought needed me. Whether it was to become more emotionally available, more open, more loving, to stop using alcohol and drugs to escape their pain...if I was doing my job well, they would be healed.  And we would be happy.

But the thing was, like so many women (and men too I am sure) I used them as a distraction from embracing my own power, always a little too afraid to really go after what I wanted and playing way too small for myself, but never for them. They would have the big career, the best-selling books, the muti-million dollar company, not me. It has always been too scary to go after what I want, it was safer to focus on them and their dreams instead of my own.

Now however, I am starting to think, why not me?

My only value isn't in being adorable and loving and working hard to please someone else. My value is far deeper and richer than my face and pleasing nature. At mid-life I feel like I am finally willing to stand up for myself and declare - I want more for myself, and I deserve it. I have worked very hard and it's time for me to take a deep breath and step into the light.

Maybe I will make more than the guy I am with, and that's okay. And maybe I will not let what I want take a back seat to his dreams, and maybe I will finally begin to see my own potential, just like I've always seen everyone elses. 

I am learning. I have now picked a guy who doesn't need to be fixed, and encourages me to swing for the fences. He never diminishes my dreams, and I am not making his my own. We are each others cheerleaders and champions, not an excuse to not do what we need to do for ourselves.

Perhaps I am finally ready to step into being the leading lady of my life rather than a supporting character in everyone elses . In some ways it feels a little late and I am angry at myself for it taking so long to stop being scared and giving all my best cheerleading away to others rather than encouraging myself.  But better late than never. It could be that the best relationship I could ever dream of is with myself, that person with all the potential I just happened to have forgotten about.


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