That One Time I Was A Manic Pixie Dream Girl
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That One Time I Was A Manic Pixie Dream Girl

I was obsessed with only being someone's "muse"

That One Time I Was A Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Julia Busshardt

I had bangs that covered a fifty percent ratio of my face, I pretended that I was cool enough to wear glasses when I didn't even need them, I had long hair, John Green obsessions, I listened to almost every obscure indie band out there, I made homemade Best Coast and The Shins posters, I told people I loved The Smiths, (I didn't love them then as much as I do now) I only bought my homecoming dresses from ModCloth, I collected old journals, I had a typewriter sitting in the trunk of my car, the only person that I was determined to be was Jessica Day from New Girl, I walked on the curb of the streets when I listened to my music, I didn't feel like I belonged in my small town, I wanted to feel complicated because that wasn't boring, I liked running in the rain, and I wanted nothing in the world but feel wanted and important to a boy who would make me mix CDs and write me poetry.

It was like putting on a costume. There were parts of me that only pretended to be this mysterious, whimsical, happy go lucky fairy-like creature with a secret. I watched (500) Days of Summer like it was part of my everyday routine, and I studied the way Zooey Deschanel acted, talked, what she wore, where she went, and how her love interest saw her. I thought that if I took these things straight from the screen and into my own life, I could have these magical cinematic moments as well; that I could be living this sort of daydreamy life. I was also a teenager, and a hopeless romantic, so I was so eager for someone to love me - I thought being "different" or "quirky" would do that, and so I embraced it as much as I could. I liked having "baggage", or dealing with a lot of issues. I liked being "broken" or whatever because I learned from pop culture and movies that "damaged girls were special girls". I embraced my mental illness and I used it to my advantage. I felt like the only way I could survive, was if I made it seem like I was living in a movie where tons of people were watching

It's not as if I wasn't genuine or myself - I was myself in the fact that I wanted to be this character because it made me feel happy. The only thing though, is how I was when it came to guys and dating. When my first love and I broke up, I was desperate to be someone else's muse. I wanted to be someone's inspiration, and I almost didn't care if I was that and nothing else to them. That moment where I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, was the moment that I had low self-esteem. Because in the movies, the girl is just living her life. As for me, I was trying to imitate this unrealistic, hazy dream world that I was so enamored by for precarious reasons. If guys wanted to see me as nothing more than a mere excuse to be spontaneous, that was fine by me. If I felt small, it didn't matter to me; I had become too immune to being treated like a "dream girl" because that's all I really became throughout high school. I continued to let people see me that way and nothing else.

Ex-boyfriends wrote narratives about me, or discretely mentioned me in some of their stories and I was more than fine with being only some sort of special catalyst - it made me feel like I was worth something more than the average seventeen-year-old. I attached myself to guys who were writers, who talked about their favorite authors in detail, who shared my love in rain and all of the corny, pretentious details to life. There was this one guy whom I dated for a couple weeks that really intrigued me - he was intimidating and easy to talk to at the same time. He smoked a lot, and I started smoking because I wanted him to think I was rebellious or something. Just being near him boosted my confidence because he saw me in this unique light and I remember sitting in his dusty room listening to The Smiths and Fleet Foxes on his turntable, and staring up at the twinkling lights talking about how much we liked the band or where we wanted to get dinner later that night. Being with guys like that made me feel like the quintessential Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I know that some of them wrote about me, but it was the way that they stared at me when they thought I wasn't looking that excited me. I was more than okay than feeling significant and insignificant at the same time. When you're a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the feeling fades away after awhile, because it's only temporary; how sad was it that I liked being small, as though my emotions were seen as too simple? I didn't mind being seen as just a cute doll by shallow minded people.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl phase lasted from age 16 to age 19. I think the main reason I went through it was because that trope had become so insanely popular in pop culture during my teen years, which were also my most vulnerable and impressionable years. I look back and kind of cringe a little bit, because I now do not like the idea of a guy or any person for that matter, only seeing me as a "cute face" and with not much depth or background. Those tropes in films can be dangerous, and it's important to remind girls and women that you can still feel confident and desirable without being this spontaneous, flawless nymph-like creature. And now? Now I have more self respect, and I'm happy.

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