Every year I make my kids read The Great Gatsby.
Mostly because I love it.
Kinda because I have kids that still talk to me about it - even years later.
And sorta because I love Fitzgerald and Hemingway and the 20s and whatever.
There's a line in the movie that I always show the kids at the end. And it's not the new movie with Leonardo, but the older one with the guy in it from 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Anyway. Daisy - the woman Gatsby has been chasing the whole book (for the last five years) says to him, "Oh, you want too much!"
Gatsby wants Daisy to look at her husband and tell him she never loved him. Gatsby wants her to look at her husband and say, "No mas. I'm leaving you for another man." (The other man here is Gats himself, btw.)
And she can't. She just can't bring herself to do it.
She's like every other woman in the history of ever and she just. can't. with his bullshit.
He's railroading her. Pressuring her. And she collapses. Says that he just wants too much of her. And Gatsby, the poor guy, can't understand why, in fact, it's all just "too much".
It's the way she says it. It's the way that it's wrenched from her heart. It's the way that she throws it out of her mouth like the curveball that it is. She's telling him no. She's telling him just ... no. It's a heroic line ... from a not so heroic character. She finally takes a stand after being shoved around throughout the entire novel.
A few days ago, I texted BFF Betsy that, sometimes, women just love too much. We have an over abundance. Too much. We tend to smother. To dole out all of the things. We don't know how to play it cool ... how to rein it in. Hand-written notes, apologies, it's okays, and every single piece of our hearts. Giving all of us.
Until we just collapse under the pressure of it all and just -
It's too much.
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (cliche, I know):
If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time--everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.
Because that's how we roll, you know.
Because, I've decided, that's all we want.
Women, the tricky, tricky, tricksters, have it all figured out. They give what they want to receive. They give all of themselves. Their time. Their effort. Their money. Their hearts. All of it. In return, all they want is the same thing.
This idea of surrendering all you have seems kinda simple.
Until you get burned. Brutally seared. Scarred. Catapulted into some kind of charred land that you've never seen before - one that is too hot, unfamiliar. A place that crumbles under your touch.
Until someone sees all you can give, and they put their hands up anyway. Until they call uncle.
Until you've walked next to someone and they just decide to turn around and go back home.
Until they decide that you are not their home.
The thing about girls is that we believe that people mean what they say because WE mean what we say. And that, my darlings, is not how life works.
Instead, we often find ourselves in these impossible situations like Gatsby and Daisy. A woman stuck between two impossibilities. Between staying ... or not. A woman trying to decide who, if any of them, are the best fit.
And the joke of it all? Neither man is worthy. One is a lying, looney-tunes bootlegger and the other is her husband - cheating on her with a different married woman. Such a tangled web, this book.
But it shouts from every page - that this ... this love thing ... it isn't easy. I mean, every page is basically a big, shouty warning to just freaking step back. At the end of the book, the narrator moves back home to his mom and dad's house for goodness sake. The poor boy is traumatized after watching it all go down.
For the record, Gatsby winds up dead. Killed by Daisy's husband's mistress's husband. Right?
And Daisy? She stays with her cheating husband.
Because it is just a book, you know.
Just a book with a really friggin good reminder:
Be with someone that wants too much from you.
Be with them because they gladly hand it all right back to you.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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