Monday, September 13, 2010

Sarah and the Art of Being Fragile

It's been a while, I know.  But, instead of presenting you a list of reasons why I've been so aloof (moving, adjusting, laziness, etc), I'll just say "sorry" and jump right back into it.

I finished Pride and Prejudice a few days ago.  I've been trying to think of what to say about this story that hasn't been said yet.  While reading it, I was trying to think of the characters as if they had been written about today.  Because a lot of the issues, character flaws, and circumstances are still timely.

Elizabeth is strong willed, a quick wit, intelligent and fun loving.  To put it in a more current light- she's that girl that shares at least 30 mutual friends with you on Facebook.  And I'm sorry for the cliche, but she's beautiful inside and out.  You want to hate her, you really really do.  She's lovely and talented and well loved by everyone.  But the more you see her at parties, you just can't help but want to be her friend because she's so genuine.  Try as you might, you love this girl and can't wait to go get coffee together.  However, she's not perfect- thank God.  In Elizabeth's case, she's quick to judge- but, in keeping with her genuine sort of character, it's never totally without warrant. In many instances, it seems she makes snap judgements out of self preservation.

Darcy is stoic, to put it pleasantly.  Really he's emotionally cut off from almost everyone.  He's the guy that doesn't even have a facebook.  Or if he does, he's got like, one photo album of his sister's piano recital and has never posted a status.  He's mysterious, to be sure, but also kind of an ass.  If you were to send him a friend request, he'd definitely click ignore if he thinks he doesn't know you well enough.  Darcy's insecure and shy- two qualities that usually present themselves as aloof and and "judgey."  He is pretty judgmental about Elizabeth's mom being a nutter and her sisters being flighty, empty headed and boy crazy.  He's that guy that grew up under the stifling label of "old money" and closed himself off after being only pursued because of his wealth.  Again, self preservation.

The last post I wrote about Jane Austen was about self preservation as well- being the mistress of yourself and being quiet and reserved enough to protect the joy and volume with which you live your life.  But this is a slightly different take on it.  I think she might be saying that when you guard yourself too closely you tend to judge too harshly.  Elizabeth overhears Darcy say one snarky thing about her and from then on she can only see the nastiness in him.   She already had it in her head that because she was poor and her mom was crazy that no man of any sort of value (both monetarily and otherwise) would ever want her.  The insult she overhears from Darcy only adds to that insecurity and makes her shut him out.

Darcy's no saint either.  Like I said, he's incredibly guarded.  Like I said, he's spent his entire life being surrounded by people only wanting him for his money.  He can't function in social situations and falls back on being pompous because that's easier than opening up to people.  It was only when the two of them were vulnerable with one another that they were able to soften their hearts and open up a bit more, and eventually fall in love.

We've all been like this.  Being judgmental seems to have been encoded in us from birth.  Let's be honest, putting people into boxes makes us feel better about ourself.  But even worse, I'm guilty of searching for the bad in someone and fixating on it because I'm scared of liking them too much.  This can be true of friendships or romantic relationships.  They send up one red flag and that's all I need to call it quits.  Or I see them talk to another girl and throw in the towel because "I don't compete."  It's easier to give up in the beginning than be disappointed down the road.  And there's something to be said for that- the self preservation I talked about last time.  But there's also something really beautiful when you're open and are vulnerable with someone- when you take the risk to trust someone enough to place your honest and delicate confessions in their hands.  I'd like to say that Jane has inspired me to put myself out there completely with the strangers I'm meeting on a daily basis in my new home.  But honestly, I'm not in a place right now where I want to be so fragile.  Moving across the country, away from everything familiar, and being rather uncomfortable everyday is enough of a challenge.

For now I'll just keep my eye out for potential Darcy's- people who are more than meets the eye- and try to stay as open as I can.  And if they say things like "thither," "bewitched," and "I ardently admire and love you," I may be open to a possible courtship.

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