As humans, we have a tendency to hide our true selves from the people around us – including the people we love.
I’ve been watching A LOT of Sex and City recently and although I’ve watched all of the episodes many times before, it’s only this time around that I’ve noticed how Carrie annoyingly alters herself whenever she’s in a relationship. When she’s with the ‘gals’, she’s sassy and loud, but when she’s with a boyfriend she’s obsessive and infantile. A frequent topic Carrie and her gal pals discuss is how they should behave around men. According the holy word of SATC, men expect us to act in a certain way and therefore if we don’t want to end up on the side of the road in an abandoned heap of 40-something single ladies, we must comply.
We as women burden ourselves with negative assumptions because we believe that this is what all men expect from us. We must be weak, but never show ourselves to be too emotional; we must never be more successful than a man and if we are we must downplay it; we must dress in a certain way to make us look more feminine and sexual so that men will be attracted to us; we must act ladylike at all times so that a man’s masculinity will be enhanced by us.
Of course there are some men who need us to be like this and expect it – and these are the douchebags yo mama told you to stay away from! However, thankfully there are a lot of men who think this all to be archaic and embrace us for the modern women we are.
Going back to SATC, in one episode, Carrie farts in front of her boyfriend, who at the time is Big. To me it’s a hilarious scene. The first time I farted in front of my boyfriend I was at first mortified, however unlike Carrie I laughed it off and didn’t spend a large proportion of my life obsessing over it! Carrie then also convinces herself that after the incident, the result of her and Big falling into a sex drought is due to her unspeakable crime of farting in front of her man. Her actions have caused him to stop being sexually attracted to her because he no longer sees Carrie as a woman but just ‘one of the guys’ as she herself puts it.
She tells her friends that the other reason why she is so mortified is because she doesn’t want Big to know that she is human, and this is a ridiculous, unrealistic notion some of us have been convinced into.
For some of you who have been following my blog, you will know that for quite a few years now I have struggled with my depression. Whenever I am around people I put on a mask because showing people the true you is deemed by most to be a sign of weakness however, in private it is impossible to hide myself from myself. Lately I’ve fallen into an extremely dark place and last week I had a complete mental breakdown. This meant that I could no longer hide what was going on and I had to ask for help which in my mind was fine as long as my boyfriend didn’t have to find out. It took my mum and one of my close friends to talk me into telling him what had happened. It wasn’t just because I didn’t want him to know how crazy I actually am; I didn’t want him to know how fragile I was – how human I was. I believed that once he knew how human I was, he would leave me. Being crazy is not attractive is it?
Contrary to my fears, not only did he not judge me, he was touched by the act that I had shared my “humanness” with him. The result of this is not only my now being more in love with him; I feel closer to him than probably anybody else I’ve ever encountered.
I recognise that I have stretched the analogy of Carrie’s fart here to its tightest, however my overall point is that we waste so much energy trying to hide our real selves from each other, that we prohibit ourselves from forming true connections with the people around us. Carrie runs around New York for God knows how many years chasing men and desperately seeking somebody to love her, but she fails to make any real connections with men because she won’t let them see who she really is.
Wearing a mask does not make us any more human than anybody else and like Carrie, we constantly and desperately try to figure out why we are left alone in the dark.
We expect people to be able to read us.
And yet we refuse to open the book and let people read the pages.