Fiction vs. Reality

I first noticed it over a month ago. I turned on my television one Sunday morning in a fit of absolute frustration with my bi-weekly bout of insomnia. Nothing on that I wanted to watch. The least offensive program turned out to be a movie based on a series I found offensive in the extreme when it was on HBO’s regular schedule. Yet, I was trapped. It was Sex & the City or nothing. I chose the Sex.

Sex and the City Main Characters

Sex and the City Main Characters

The reason I found Sex & the City offensive is because it was, and apparently remains, so damn hetero! It makes me pull out what little hair I haven’t cut that these four women are such utterly neurotic stereotypes, save one–Charlotte. (I had to go to Wikipedia to even look up the character’s name.) Yes, she’s kind of a Miss America wannabe, but she is the most reasonable and stable of them all. My guilty pleasure, however, was Samantha. That’s the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up. In reality, she isn’t that much older than I am, but I don’t consider myself “grown up” yet. In fact, I want to remain forever young. I think Samantha does too. Lord knows she’s got the body to defy any number her years may reveal. But I digress.

The main character, Carrie Bradshaw, is a twit. Sorry to all the show’s fans, but that girl (and I do consider her a girl child) needs to buy fewer Manolo Blahniks and invest in more than her current two brain cells. While I may never want to grow up, I don’t want to remain a teenager either. This character isn’t too far off from the character the actress, Sarah Jessica Parker, portrayed in Square Pegs, the television vehicle that first brought her to national attention almost 20 years ago. Square Pegs was set in high school where she was a neurotic Type A personality student. In Sex, she’s a Type A personality serial dater in her 30s who desperately doesn’t want to be single and writes about her adventures in dating in the Ginormous Bad Apple. Her column is supposed to give readers advice on fashion, trends and men. Still, she accepts crap from her supposed soulmate, Mr. Big, aka John, (more than ably portrayed by Law & Order alum Chris Noth) for a good part of the series and more than half of the movie. What is that about? Who gave her valuable column inches to blather on and on about her screw ups for something close to a decade by the time the movie takes place? Most editors I know are smarter than that. Then again . . .

After nearly two hours of this movie with its requisite happy ending, there was a part of me that thought, “I’m smarter than these people. I have more depth of character than all of them combined, including their supporting males, and; I have more skills than three of the four. But here they are on my television screen with beautiful clothes, successful careers and significant others who love them.” I was jealous. No, I was envious and ashamed for being so. These were, after all, fictional characters in a fictionalized setting. I knew that, but I kept thinking that I should and would have that life but for my body. My life doesn’t suck, but it does keep me from doing the things I would have done if I didn’t have very unstable disabilities that keep me in doctors’ offices at least three to four times a month for something. For the first time in my entire life, I have come to resent the fact that my body has me trapped with no way out except death. And I have no desire to die.

When I think about it, this phase should have happened when I was much, much younger–I’m thinking when I was a teen or pre-teen. Now, it’s happening in my 40s. I believe it’s because this is the time when I should have achieved certain things in my life and I haven’t been able to do so. I was on my way when I developed fibromyalgia to go with my birth defect. That led to a great deal of trouble in law school and the powers that be suggesting that I leave since I was sick. This was the same year the Americans with Disabilities Act became effective but I was too sick to fight. Now, I have yet another disability that would sideline the average person all by itself. Nevertheless, I will one day get my law degree and pass the bar. I don’t care if I’m 70 years old when I do it. I will do it.

The envy came over me again tonight while watching Parenthood. This time, it hit even harder. I am so frustrated with my body even though I am preparing to make things better by having my knee replaced. There is a great deal that needs to happen before I go in for surgery, but at least that’s the path I’m on. I just have my doubts about how much better a knee replacement will make my life given my other disabilities. While my knee is certainly an issue, there are bigger problems that often seem insurmountable. No doubt I will blog about them in the days to come. For now, all I want to do is drill into my head that life is not a television program. Life is what it is and I can check out or I can try to live it as best I can. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t days and nights when I just want to cry and wish I didn’t have this body, Easter weekend or not.

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