Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why I don't believe in Lloyd Dobler Part 1

Hi, you, who is reading this! Thanks!

It's been forever since I've written. I miss writing. I've been recording lots of audiobooks, which is so, so, so awesome, but I'm a writer too, and I need to get back to it. So I'm going to blog about whatever strikes my fancy.

Tonight it's Lloyd Dobler, John Cusak's character from the classic 80s romantic movie, Say Anything,  

There's no way a guy like that exists in real life.

Why I don't believe in Lloyd Dobler

Part 1

Say Anything came out in 1989, and when it did, I didn't like it very much. I was 19 and recovering from the toughest situation of my life, up to that point. I had grown up the good girl. The smart girl. I wasn't up to Diane Court levels, but I was the shining star who was a published writer in Jack and Jill Magazine, winning a national writing contest at age 9. The girl who could run so fast she could beat everyone, including most of the boys. A girl whose family expected she would do great things because they knew her and just assumed she would. Is that sort of assumption helpful? It's great to have a family who believes in you. But those kinds of implicit high expectations?

No one blatantly said so, but everyone knew what I could and should do. Something great. It was strongly implied. My sister, to this day, 30 years later, talks about living up to my example. But I'm someone who also had to live up to my example. And I was always sure that I would let everyone down eventually. Could I do what they all, and what I myself, expected of me? Doubtful.

The other thing that had a big influence on my worldview back then, was that I was a huge romantic. I guess that's not super surprising, considering my age and gender, but it was also that I loved to read romantic stories. I could crank through several teen romances in a day. My dad called them "pre-pubescent love stories". Now that I'm an adult, I wonder why he called them "pre" pubescent, since they were mostly about teenagers who'd already passed through adolescence. But I think he was in denial, and was trying to cope with the fact that I was growing up and had a strong interest in something that was completely biologically understandable, but also fundamentally dangerous.

I believed love conquered all. I thought that if I could only find my soul mate—someone who understood me and loved and cherished me; someone I could love and cherishthen all would be well. That was the pinnacle. Something to strive towards. However, I was also quite shy and did not know how to talk to people I didn't know, especially boys. I grew up surrounded by strong girls and women, with the exception of my dad, who I loved and felt comfortable with, but he wasn't a very social guy himself. He was content to be home with his wife and his daughters. He'd go out running, and go to work, but other than that, he was a homebody. I didn't understand boys or know how to talk to them. So I kept to myself and my female friends and read lots, including teen romances, and dreamed of someone who would one day sweep me off my feet.

That foot sweeper found me my junior year of high school. And he certainly wasn't Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything. My relationship with him was the only consciously autobiographical part of Dreaming of Deliverance. That relationship was dangerous and bad for me and it was only by good luck, really, that my life went on to college, etc. It all could have gone very differently if I hadn't been able to wrench myself away, after a year and a half of what started as my dream for romance and connection, and ended up as something that by most definitions, would be considered abusive.

More soon.