Mentally Ill, Not a Manic Pixie

Mentally Ill, Not a Manic Pixie

How the manic pixie dream girl trope romanticizes mental illness
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The phrase “manic pixie dream girl” came to be in Nathan Rabin’s review for Elizabethtown. He was describing the female lead Claire, played by Kirsten Dunst. He coined the term to define female characters that “exist solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” Since then, all of those writers have given birth to an army of dream girls: Sam from Garden State, Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and most of Zooey Deschanel’s repertoire. We have watched them be their authentic selves and still be able not only to win the boy but save him from his depressing and humdrum life. That being said, if we actually take the time to look through the one-dimensional characters’ blue hair and vintage record collection, you can see the mental illnesses Hollywood has painted its romanticized veneer over.

All audiences have fallen in love with these dream girls. They are quirky, but not too quirky where they become unattractively awkward. Their fascination for making life matter and finding the beauty and excitement in every little thing drags our dreary male protagonist into the light. They teach the young man to live again though petty crime like shoplifting in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or underage smoking and drinking in Looking for Alaska. With quotes about belonging to nobody and feeling unique in the world, how can anyone not fall in love with these girls and even see a bit of ourselves in them?

What usually goes unnoticed, however, is the mental illness seeded within. Their title includes the word manic, a major symptom of mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. The term’s creator even uses “psychotically chipper waitress in the sky”. Upon further investigation into manic pixie dream girls, all of their quirks and habits morph into symptoms of a mental illness. The petty theft at the corner store becomes impulsive tendencies, and their ukuleles and knitting reveal themselves as self-care methods. Then when the boy begins to learn his dream might have a few cracks in it, and those flights of fancy that took you both on spontaneous outings turn out to be a relationship-sparked spin into a manic episode. However, still entranced by her symptoms, he believes his life is for the better with her in it.

As someone with bipolar disorder, I find myself with similar qualities as the MPDG with the odd hobbies and frantic impulses I can’t control, and I usually do find myself falling into relationships with men who are depressed and stuck in some sort of rut. Up until recently, I unknowingly have guided six boys out of whatever phase they were in and became their muse. To follow the trope’s storyline, at the first sign of trouble on my end, and my façade broke right before their eyes. They went running for the hills. I am not some manic pixie dream girl trope and neither are anyone else’s girlfriends for that matter. Take a note from Clementine in Eternal Sunshine. We’re just screwed up girls looking for our own peace of mind. Don't assign us yours.

Cover Image Credit: Full HD Pictures

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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8 lessons we can learn from introverts

Pause for a moment to consider using these lessons from introverts and go through with ease the next time a situation gets heated.

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Extroverts thrive in people dominated environments. They draw energy from others. Introverts require downtime to recharge their batteries so they can re-engage with others. Introverts often get a bad rap because of people's failure to fully understand the definition an introvert doesn't mean you don't like people or that you're shy. It simply means that the way you refuel and unwind often involves peace and solitude.

Like many of you, I have learned a lot of valuable life lessons over the years. Several of these lessons are closely related to introversion. Here are the top eight truths I've discovered:

1. A few close friends are enough

True friends are hard to come by. Even if you only have one real friend, that is more valuable than 100 acquaintances.

2. Your quiet nature won't be appreciated by all

That's totally fine. Never change for anyone. The moment you feel like you need to prove yourself to someone, it's time to reconsider the relationship.

3. Choose people and environments that best fit you

If your 'friends' are always trying to change you, change friends. If the places you frequent leave you feeling drained and unhappy, don't go there anymore. It's as simple as that.

4. Think before you speak and act

Your actions and words have a large effect on others no matter how what you say. Some people can be pretty careless when it comes to their words and actions. Your choice of words are signs of your intelligence or your ignorance.

5. Learn to enjoy spending time with yourself

It's healthy to spend some time alone. Alone time can help you recharge after a long day. You learn a lot about yourself when spending some time alone.

6. Be patient

Not everything has to go from 0-100 real quick every time things get heated. If something is wrong, breathe and take time to fix the situation peacefully.

7. Be open to new ideas

Though it can be tough to do sometimes, I've always found that when I open my mind, I've reaped a lot of rewarding benefits. There is much to be gained from opening the door to your mind and letting new ideas and beliefs come in.

8. Accept who you are

For many people including introverts, self-acceptance is hard to come by on a good day. It's tenuous, a glass with tiny cracks, at best. On a bad day, when you've made a mistake or two, don't like how you look or feel absolutely miserable, your self-acceptance is in shards.



Fortunately, self-acceptance is something we can nurture. Look at it as a skill that you can practice versus an innate trait that you either have or don't.

Cover Image Credit:

Pixabay

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