Last night, I watched 500 Days of Summer with Joseph Gordon Levitt (Tom) and Zooey Deschanel (Summer). I hadn’t seen it in a few years, and as I was watching it I was stricken by how much like Summer I feel right now.
For example, in the movie, Summer says, “I’m not looking for anything serious” while she actively pursues an intimate relationship with Tom and she is simultaneously hoping to sustain her sense of freedom and independence. As much as I feel ambivalent toward relationships at this moment I do want intimacy with someone, and when I am in relationships I behave more like Tom, who goes out of his way to turn what isn’t into what he thinks it is or could be.
Tom heard Summer say she wanted a casual relationship—no frills, no strings—but he thought that he could change her by loving her more intensely than he thought anyone else could and by being himself. When I was with my ex-girlfriend, I heard her say she wanted to be with a man and that she wanted children, and, much like Tom, I still thought that I could make it work. I thought that I could make it work by loving her and by being myself even though I knew inwardly that I was the exact opposite of what she wanted.
I still think of her often. I saw a mug for $4.99 in Marshall’s yesterday that said “Plant flowers and gather love.” She is a gardener and herbalist with a lot of love to give (possibly too much and in inappropriate, unethical situations). Regardless, I wanted to buy it for her and drop it off anonymously even though we are not on speaking terms. I didn’t want her to figure out it was me or even to renew our friendship. My goal was only to show myself that I am not the monster she imagines in her head; that is what haunts me. So, I texted one of my friends immediately and told her what I wanted to do, and my friend said, “NO” to which I replied “Thanks. I needed that.”
I purposely texted my friend, you see, knowing she would tell me to snap out of it. I already know in my heart that I am not a monster even though that is how my ex sees me, which, by the way, is total bullshit because she was the one who cheated on me and treated me as though I were dispensable because that’s what I was to her. Buying her a mug would not have proven anything other than I like to give my gifts to people who don’t deserve them—a lesson I have learned countless times and obviously haven’t yet applied.
So, since I was feeling a little depressed about my love life in Marshall’s, I came home and watched 500 Days of Summer to make myself feel better. I can’t say that it helped; it’s a very depressing, reality-based movie. The movie did, however, remind me of things that I need to be more cognizant of on a regular basis, such as:
1) Every time I continue to pursue a relationship that I know has no hope I am only trying to be loved for what I am by someone who is unable to do that, which, in the end, makes me think that I am generally unlovable.
2) Perhaps the people we engage in relationships are not wrong for us but rather our state of mind when we enter the relationship that is not conducive to sustaining love. Summer dated Tom knowing that she didn’t want their relationship to go anywhere. This begs the question of whether he wrong for her or whether she was not open to commitment because later on in the movie Tom finds out that Summer has married. Summer sits on the park bench with Tom and she says, “It [the marriage] surprised me, too, but one day I just woke up, and I knew…what I was never sure of with you.” Was Summer never sure about Tom because he was Tom or because she was Summer and she created a self-fulfilling prophecy when she said she didn’t want commitment? Is it all in the timing and not the person?
I am hoping that someday I will be loved by someone who deserve my gifts. I am hoping that between now and then I learn only to give to people who deserve it and to be careful of the messages I send into the Universe because I could be setting myself up for many disasterous, lonely circumstances by saying things like “I’m not looking for anything serious,” “I don’t need physical intimacy,” or “I’m unlovable.” I hope that I can create a better reality for myself than what I have now, and I hope that I can stop obsessing over unattainable people as my feelings of loneliness and emptiness grow deeper.
Until then, at least I have the movies.