Understanding Jane Bennet, The Broken-Hearted

I recently experienced a breakup, and I have to say, it sucks. I was the one who got dumped, unexpectedly, and I was the one who put most of the effort and commitment into the relationship. So, yeah, major suckitude.

Jane Austen’s works help shed insight into my personal life, and this time is no different. I thought about my current situation, my favorite novels, and, more specifically, my favorite characters. Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet did not seem to be appropriate for my present emotional state. Neither did Anne Elliot nor Catherine Morland.

No, the character I can connect to most is none other than Jane Bennet. Before the breakup, I thought of Jane Bennet as an extremely static, somewhat dismissible character. Her storyline consists of beautiful girl falls in love with Charles Bingley; he reciprocates her feelings. He is misguided by his closest friend and his family and breaks it off with her upon their advice. She continues to love him. When his best friend (who convinced him to breakup with her in the first place) persuades him to get back together with her, Bingley proposes to her; she accepts. Happily ever after.

I am not relating to Jane Bennet for happily ever after; rather, I am relating to her for her broken-heart. She is the girl who got dumped, unexpectedly, even though she did nothing wrong. She is the girl who remained in love with the guy, even though he metaphorically kicked her to the curb. She is the broken-hearted. She is the character who helps me during this time. Plain Jane Bennet, the unexpectedly relatable.

 

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Summer Writing and Realizations

I feel guilty because I haven’t done much writing this summer (or, err, well, in a while, shall we say). Between finishing and graduating from my M.A. program, moving, finding a job, getting ready to move again, and trying to relax a little, I have not been keeping up with my writing. I have, however, still done some writing and with the summer slowly coming to a close, I figured I would share some of it. So here is my summer realization (one of many):

I realized that I do not regret being single.

I made a list of names of the guys I’ve dated. Then I made a list of names of the guys I’ve been in relationships with. I looked t the lists, and I asked myself, “Is there a name on either list that I regret no longer having in my life? Someone I would be willing to give another shot to?”

The answer to both questions was a firm “No.”

The answer resulted from examining each name, recalling the individual, and assessing how things ended with them. One propositioned me in Boston Common for a friends with benefits relationship and upon rejection of said proposition, promptly left me to walk through the Common to the Park Street Station by myself – at night (this was before Pokemon Go came on the scene and groups of people trying to catch Pokemon made the Common slightly more safe). Another informed me that anything we started would have an “expiration date” of September when my graduate program resumed.

Then there was the one who texted me five months after our first date to ask me out again. He didn’t explain the time lapse or why he would not return texts I sent him, attempting to maintain communication. I tried to give him another chance. I told him I’d be open to some of the dates he asked me on, only to realize those dates would entail me making most of the effort and travel. I declined said dates, citing inconvenient commutes. The more accurate truth was that I was inconvenienced by his insistence on his convenience. Despite telling me that he was looking for something that lasts, I began to see that a relationship with him would only last if I were willing to accommodate him without room for me.

I realized that I was fine with not hearing from him again, that I would instead be perfectly content by myself. It was the summer, and I was single. I had my books, the beach, and my best friends if I needed company. No boys needed.

The Jane Austen Social Scene Part VII: John Willoughby

Oh, wow, have I been absent from the blogosphere! I just realized my last post was back in May, and I am officially embarrassed!

Seeing the date of my last post, I wondered, “What have I been doing all this time?” Well, I like to think that I have been out experiencing the Jane Austen Social Scene for myself this summer.

My experiences with dating and relationships could very well turn into excerpts for a book whose ideas for a title could include It’s Actually Not My Fault That I’m Single, Buttmachine* and Bike Helmets, and What To Do When Your Date Leaves You To Walk Back Alone At Night. Trust me, there are also other working titles and the chapters would be even better.

After taking a break from attempts at dating, I decided to give it a whirl again this summer. I tried different venues in the past from going to events to the slew of online sites, so I wanted to try a dating avenue I did not pursue before but had heard much about: Tinder.

I am an optimist. I see the best in people. I am honest, genuine, and direct. I apply the golden principle of “Treat others as you would want to be treated” to my interactions with fellow creatures.

Unfortunately, I can not say the same for others.

When I think over the dates and the people I have met because of Tinder, I likewise think about where in the Jane Austen Social Scene they would inhabit. And there is one character who comes to mind: John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility.

Willoughby is a character who essentially leads Marianne on and ends up hurting her. He shows interest in her, they share common interests and engaging conversations, and he creates an implicit attachment between them. It’s also revealed that he got a girl pregnant, refused to take responsibility for his actions, and was disinherited as a result. His financial crisis leads him to needing to marry someone rich, which he does.

Now, the guys I met did not necessarily match Willoughby’s plot (thankfully) nor will the Willoughby type in general (at least I hope they don’t). The Willoughby guy is the type who at first presents himself as charming and expresses an interest. Once this interest is reciprocated, they give the appearance of a desire to get to know a person. This desire, however, has an ulterior motive to serve their own means which are usually selfish.

How does one deal with a Willoughby type? By having the good sense to exercise sensibility.

*Buttmachine refers to title of a song. No, I’m serious. Google “Buttmachine song” and see for yourself.

 

The Jane Austen Social Scene Part V: Marianne Dashwood

Photo source: barnesandnoble.com

Photo source: barnesandnoble.com

Okay, confession time. I was apprehensive about writing about Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. Marianne was a character I did not give a lot of thought to when I first read the novel except to think “Silly girl.” When I decided I was going to write about Marianne for The Jane Austen Social Scene, however, I had to give her more thought.

Sure, she makes her attraction to Willoughby very public to the point where everyone thinks that the two are engaged and then has to endure the embarrassment of finding out that he not only rejected her, he gets engaged to another woman for her money (ouch!). She’s spontaneous, a romantic, and seems to wear blinders when falling for Willoughby. The first time I read the novel I kept thinking “Someone needs to slow this girl down and tell her to think before she acts. She’s making an idiot of herself all for some guy!”

Making the decision to write about Marianne for this blog made me realize something I did not when I first read the book: I have a bit of Marianne in me. Hence, this post becoming a bit of a confession.

The Marianne Dashwood is someone who forms strong attachments to people they are interested in, not caring if they look slightly foolish or imprudent in making their interest known. Slightly naive in regards to love, the Marianne Dashwood type will come to understand their folly in time, usually after they find out that the person they were interested in does not necessarily return their affections in full. Upon accepting this, the Marianne Dashwood will move onto someone who actually loves them (Col. Brandon, anyone?).

Refusing to be a Benchwarmer

I refuse to be a benchwarmer.

I refuse to engage in bench warming behavior as it pertains to my career, my relationships, and my personal life.

In other words, I refuse to hold myself back.

A benchwarmer is someone who holds a spot for someone while that someone is off somewhere.  A benchwarmer agrees to be said benchwarmer through a verbal agreement between the benchwarmer and other, second person whereby the other person asks/tells the benchwarmer to “Watch/Hold my seat” while they go off for an indeterminate amount of time, only to return at their convenience.

I used to be a benchwarmer.  I didn’t move forward with my career because I thought what would come by moving forward from where I was at in my career would make me lose my seat, make me lose any opportunity whatsoever to have a career or that any move from where I was at in my career wouldn’t end up being a move forward; rather, it would just be a different spot in the same row.  I was also a benchwarmer when it came to relationships.  I’d meet someone, we’d date, but then they would tell me, either directly or indirectly, that “It’s just not a good time right now (fill in the blank with any number of “reasons” aka excuses).”  So, I would enter in a benchwarmer relationship where I would allow myself to hold a spot for this person in my life, believing that they would eventually come back to take their seat next to me.  Finally, I would be a benchwarmer when it came to my personal life because I would allow things to remain as they were when it came to my family, my friends, my habits, my hobbies, etc.

Do you know what kind of a life a benchwarmer has?  A stagnant one.  Just like stagnant water, a benchwarmer can only attract one thing: mosquitoes.

Nothing good comes out of being a benchwarmer.  Because when you’re a benchwarmer, all you do is wait, and you end up missing a lot of the action.

 

Project Thankful: Reason #187

A week from today I go up to New Hampshire to look at potential apartments.  It didn’t really hit me before now that I really am moving.  Soon.

When I used to think about what it would be like when I finally moved, I didn’t think it would be like this.  I thought I would be at a different point in my life.  To be honest, I thought I would move when I found that special someone and we became engaged.  I didn’t think I would ever move when I’m single or move to attend grad school.  I always thought I was bound to Boston in a way, having grown up in the Boston area all my life.  As an undergrad, I commuted from home.  Although I applied to non-Boston area schools for grad school, in the back of my mind I always thought I would attend a Boston area school for grad school and live at home, again commuting to school.

I’m the type of person who has a tendency to plan their life, and usually what happens is that my life basically goes in a direction I did not plan.  I like to think of it as the Universe’s way of reminding me that I can not control everything and that what I view as the best plan is not what’s actually best.

When I graduated from college, my plan was to get a job that was just a paycheck while I focused on my writing career, which back then I thought was going to take off almost immediately.  I also thought I was ready to be in a relationship with a person I could see myself settling down with.

What ended up happening was I quickly realized the realities of how hard the economy is, especially to college graduates, and that the publishing industry was as harsh after college as it was when I was in college.  As far as my love life went, I did meet a guy who I thought I could see myself settling down with one day; unfortunately, he turned out to be the type who says all the right things, but doesn’t follow through on them.

I’m thankful my life didn’t turn out the way I planned it because if it had I would have missed out on so many wonderful opportunities and would have ultimately ended up being unhappy.  As I move forward, I am eager to see which direction my life takes me.  For the present, that direction is New Hampshire.