For the Men I Missed in My Life

I have grown up without the presence of Grandpas in my life.  My Grandpa Lyle passed away before my parents were married, and my Grandpa Louie when I was a year old.  I never got to know either of them but I wish I could have.

As a kid, this never bothered me.  I was oblivious to the missing pieces in my family.  I knew that my mom would get sad on Grandpa’s birthday every year, and that the notes my dad had from his own dad were priceless artifacts to him.  To me they were just disembodied voices and pictures on mantels.  I didn’t know how to love them or miss them.

A few years ago, I began to notice the missing pieces.  Weirdly enough, it didn’t set in until I started spending time with my then-boyfriends family.  He was so close to his grandparents, and especially his grandfather.  I realized that I had never known two men who might have taken me fishing, tortured my boyfriends, and told me stories of the wars they had seen.  I’d never seen my Grandmas in love or my parents talking with their dads-like I do on a daily basis.

I began to miss two people who I didn’t even know.  I couldn’t pick out their voice or see how they would sit on the couch watching tv after work.  I’d missed out on a piece of my history, and it bothered me.

For the first time this year, I spent a few minutes of my Memorial Day thanking my Grandpas for their service.  In that moment I felt closer to them than I ever had before.  I could almost feel them there in the room with me.  They were chuckling at me because there was “no reason to cry”, they were always right there with me.  And I believe that now.

From that day, I’ve began making an effort to know them better.  Asking my mom about Louie, and finding the pictures we had together; me as a baby, and him with a giant smile on his face.  Learning more about Lyle’s past, and trying to find the characteristics my dad remembers so fondly of him, in myself.

I hope they are watching, from wherever they are.  I know they are smiling, crying, and laughing along with me.  Watching me fall and helping me up without my knowledge.  I know they are proud of me, of everything I have done.  In my heart, I know that they were there standing along with the rest of my family at my graduation, sitting in the backseat of my drivers test, and standing along with the crowd at every performance.  Grandpa Louie smiles every time we drive his truck with the new “Chapman Dad” sticker on it, and Grandpa Lyle sits with Rhia on the stairs, waiting for everyone to get home safely.

These two men have changed my life without even being here.  They inspire me to live more honestly, and to love fully.  Every day, I wish that they could be here in more than spirit, but I know that someday I will get to meet them.  Someday I will get to sit down on the couch, and hear the voices of my grandpas, and get to meet the other pieces of my family.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl Me Up

“What do you want to be when you grow up, Sarah?”  The teacher asks her young pupil.

“A Manic Pixie Dream girl, that’s what I want to be”.  The girl replies, longing in her deep blue eyes.

The Teacher looks away, pain written on her face.  Etches of longing trace her angular face. “If only we could all be such… If only”.

Urban Dictionary defines Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) as : “A pretty, outgoing, whacky female romantic lead whose sole purpose is to help broody male characters lighten up and enjoy their lives.” Oh but she is so much more!  A MPDG is a holy creature, and truly unlike any woman you have, or every will, meet.

She smokes too many cigarettes, but it only makes her raspy voice HOTTER.  When she sees you, she sees who you really are; the Vonnegut, the Hemingway, the Woody Allen, and every other DEEP/ DARK/ DAMAGED artist you see yourself in.  Your MPDG doesn’t shower everyday and that only brings out the oaky scent of her skin.  When you are with her, she is never fully there for herself, but she is there for you.  She is lost, but only because she has raced down every alley way in your small town.  And, yeah, she’s amazing in bed- just gives and gives and gives.

Sounds like a dream.  Yeah, no.  Fuck y’all and your Pixies, give me real women.

When I was an underclassmen in high school, I had no idea what a MPGD was.  I read books full of them, but finished the stories unaware of what I was reading.  Characters like Alaska Young, Summer (500 Days of Summer), and the chick in “Garden State” are all brilliant examples of MPDG’s.  They are brought into being purely to help some guy get his shit together.  I remember loving Alaska in “Looking for Alaska”.  She was so COOL.  Alaska was smart, brazen, read a lot of books, and had a habit of making everyone love her.  That sounded amazing to me at this time in my life.  I wanted to smoke cigarettes for the looks of it, spur on adventures, and make boys cry cause of how much they wanted me- but couldn’t have me.

Now I see a different Alaska.  I see a different sculpture than I used to.  I see something created for the image, not the reality of the thing.  It’s like with ancient sculptures where the women are all um… shaved down there, and it’s just accepted as such.  When in reality I pretty sure razors weren’t a thing yet, much less bikini waxes.  But still, the statues are made that way to be pretty and inspiring, seeing as they are works of art in themselves.  MPDG’s are works of art, much like the statues.  That is the lovely part about them.  Seeing as they are art, all they really have to do is be beautiful, and make you think.  Make you discover.  But they don’t think.  They smoke, whisper, and break down by the end of the story.

The problem with the MPDG is not the lung cancer she is bound to get or her infidelities, but the lack of body to her.  She is nothing more than smoke and dust in the end.  A few great lines and a few steps behind you.  A character brought to life, to make someone else find their life.  What a horrible way to live.

As appealing as these characters can be, we can’t wish for them to appear in our own lives.  Sometime, I wish a guy would show up (yes MPDG’s can be men, just not as common) and fix me.  He would guide me on the path to salvation, and at the end there would be no need to thank him, because that was his purpose after all.  In real life, no ones purpose is to fix you.  Alaska isn’t going to come and die for you to realize how to live, Summer isn’t going to like the same Smiths album as you, and Keira Knightly isn’t going to turn Zach Braff into a fun guy.  It’s all fiction, designed to ignite the flame in you.  To make you crave this mystical woman who would satisfy every part of you.  Don’t, save yourself, don’t let the girl with the ukulele do it for you.

MPDG’s exist for others, and that is no way a character or a human should every live.

How to Deal

No, this is not a guide for avid card dealers or people looking to learn how to count cards.  This is self-help guide from a very unself-helpful person.

Yeah, you heard me.

I AM TELLING YOU HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.

Actually you can do whatever you want, I just have some thoughts for you.

Very few people know how to deal with themselves in moments of weakness.  My Psych professor would say this is because we will never really know who we are, hence, we don’t know how to be there for ourselves very well.

How to Deal:

  • Calm the fudge down.  Seriously, crying and kicking air conditioners that keep shutting off (I made my toe bleed) will not help you be okay.  Everyone calms themselves in different ways so find yours.  Maybe its listening to John Mayer, yoga, or watching 90’s sitcoms; find yours.
  • Get a big ol’ pint of Phish food and go to town.  (If you are vegan, sucks to suck, no one likes soy ice cream.)
  • Listen to 1985 by Bowling For Soup, and remember when you were little and heard the r-rated version for the first time and feel that little baby rebel inside.
  • Don’t tell my parents I said this, but I think cussing helps a lot…
  • Mediate if you want, or just listen to music in the dark.
  • Post passive aggressive tweets to delete in an hour.
  • Cry a little, not a lot
  • Remember bathrooms are great places to chill if you just can’t deal.
  • I recommend listening to “Defying Gravity” and then try to do so (don’t jump off buildings though, doesn’t work).
  • Find a roof to look over the world you are in.  Look at the lights and cars driving past. Feel small then big then small again.  Appreciate the beauty, fresh air, and starlight for a moment.
  • Take the time to find the Big Dipper  at night.
  • Take a shower, it’s easier to deal when you don’t smell homeless.
  • Watch “Friends”.
  • Read “Harry Potter”/re-read “Harry Potter”/
  • Go for a walk.
  • Follow the butterflies.
  • Clean, sometimes it’s good to clean something that’s under your control.
  • Write about it, it helps.
  • Read my blog
  • and finally… EAT POPTARTS

Thank you for pretending to read this.