Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

R u a romantic?

The thing about romantics is that they want things to be different than they really are.

They want things to be the way they want them to be. The way they feel they *should* be.

You know, romantics actually believe Cinderella is swept off her feet by Prince Charming and they live happily ever after -- even though they're missing a few (million) crucial steps to create a functional relationship.

Nothing wrong with wishing things could turn out that way though, eh? But believing that something should turn out a certain way because it's so romantic? Um, that's the recipe for a life rife with disappointment, I'm afraid.

But! It can be constructive or destructive romanticism.

Here's how it's destructive:

Like when we're first ga-ga over our someone new and special. We view that person through "rose colored glasses." Which means we don't see them the way they really are, or future trip about him/her enough to realize that those little habits and quirks we find so cute and cuddly now can feel like nails scraping a chalk board in only a matter of months.

That's romantic.

The realist in these situations is seen as hard, harsh, unromantic or even unfeeling. Not true!

The fact is the realist falls in love with the real person, not who they want the other person to be, not someone to "complete them," not someone to mother or smother them with love.

All too frequently a control freak is experienced in the beginning by a romantic as someone who cares so much about us they try to make things "right" for us. Isn't that sweet? Actually, no. Been there, done that!

The guy who seems so straight up, cute and smart - when googled? Turns out to have a myspace page full of brags about his drunken outings, crazy driving stories while smoking bud, descriptions of outsmarting the police and a list of "girls I'd like to bang."

Likewise, that down to earth girl next door-type you want to date? When googled? Turns out to have a myspace page full of photos featuring her nearly nude, suggestions of throwing open s&m parties, is irate that she was just fired from her job at McDonald's for being late every day ("What? They didn't party when they were kids?"), yadda yadda yadda, and at 25 she's been divorced twice.

Good idea to google your date these days, no matter how romantic. If you're really concerned? It's easy to get a criminal background check on anyone - just go to your stat patrol's website and for $10, they check for pedophile activity - for $25, they check for all criminal activity.

It may feel creepy to do these sorts of things if your new paramour's stories just don't add up, s/he's gone all the time, etc. But it's way better than having your heart broken and your bank account drained by some slob who doesn't care about you in the first place!

As for the "constructive" romantic:

These people envision things the want they want them to be in the future. Politics, art, culture, education, religion.

The Declaration of Independence is a romantic document. Declaring a nation where truth means we are all created equally, and entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is that promise that makes the US so appealing - why everyone wants to come here. They may hate George Bush and US policies, but they love that promise.

And promises are romantic notions because so many of them are broken. Even when they're written contracts - signed and dated.

But so many - including me - have put on a uniform, willing to fight and die for my nation that has such a romantic notion. A notion I still believe in but have been greatly disillusioned along the way by the people who are supposed to be leading us toward those goals. They seem today to be leading us directly away from them.

I think perhaps reading that Declaration of Independence daily, before they start their workday, is something our politicians, government employees and school children may want to do, just to remind them what we're actually supposed to be working toward.

Romance itself is another subject entirely.

Romance is expressing love in a special way you love to show it.

Doing things with your paramour they love to do or doing things they want you to do is the best part of romance.

Writing notes is a loving thing to do - Sarah Jessica Parker says that she and husband Matthew Broderick do that for one another and each one is special.

Giving someone that special candy they love, the book they've been meaning to buy for months, a coupon for something they need to have done or would enjoy - all expressions of love because to be the right gift - we have to listen to the one we love in order to know what they want.

In short, a romantic deals with a notion, something that doesn't exist, but that s/he wants to materialize in reality. I can dream, wish and work to have the US live up to its Declaration of Independence promise - but it remains a promise nonetheless.

Romance is a fact, a reality. I give you a card. A poem. Sing you a song. Write you a blog. Train your dog. Wash your hair. It's an action we can see, hear, smell, taste, feel.

So for the addled romantic? I wish you a day of happiness with a dash of reality.

My hope for everyone else is a day of romance, with you receiving as many loving gestures as you give - including the romantic wish that your personal truth includes the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

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