Romantic comedies get a lot of shit.
So do songs (and other forms of art) that in any way portray an idea of “wrecked girl meets boy and they fall in love and girl gets healed”.
I think that they get shit for the wrong reason, though.
I think the problem with these movies is the idea that someone can be entirely healed from hurt or pain. I don’t think it’s possible to be fully healed from hurts and pains.
No matter how much counselling I go though, or how many times Brian proves to me that he isn’t any one of my exes, I still hurt.
And I’ve come to terms with my hurt.
Sometimes I might even say that I think it’s okay, and healthy that I hurt.
But these movies get shit because they portray a female that needs a man to be whole again.
I understand that interpretation. And I believed it for a long time.
The Fault In Our Stars had a lot of people criticizing it because of how the storyline is about a broken girl who has Cancer who supposedly gains her strength from her relationship with a boy named Gus.
But my interpretation of the book is different.
My interpretation of the story is that they both healed because of one another.
And fine – he was already a relatively confident guy, so it’s easy to believe that she “gained more”.
But what if we take the gendered aspect out of it?
What if the simple truth is that, as Jamie Tworkowski would say, “People need other people”.
My friendships, regardless of the other persons gender, have healed me, and no one would dare question my independence in those scenarios.
Those scenarios rarely get called out in movie reviews.
So why, then, when it is a romantic relationship, is it problematic?
The office that I work in as a TA during the year has chalk, and someone wrote on the door “women, be strong and independent! Am I right?” I stirred over that statement for a long time. Because it made me uncomfortable. Towards the end of the year I wrote something to the extent of “but also know that if you’re hurting, it’s okay to get help.”
A few weeks ago, someone posted an article that advocated for getting married first and then focusing on career second. A few days later someone else posted it. And my problem with these articles has nothing to do with the interpretation that one is better/worse than the other, or more feminist, or whatever.
My problem is that people presume that everyone should have the same goals/outcomes/ideals as themselves.
And that’s bullshit.
What if the fact is that we all need help?
What if we all need other people?
What if it’s true that doing life in community is important?
What if we are who we are because of the relationships (romantic and otherwise) that we have?
And here’s the thing.
Here’s where I would say that my belief that I need other people absolutely is something I’m in control of.
We all have permission to choose which people we invite into our stories, and the roles that they play.
I consent to Brian being my boyfriend.
I choose every morning to tell him that I love him.
I consent to the friendships I have.
I make these choices because I believe that they are good relationships.
And the truth of the matter is that much like the love and loyalty of my friends have healed me, so has that of Brian.