By Lisa Huddleston
I just finished reading the much acclaimed novel, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and all I can say is “Wow!” Not that it ended just as I would have hoped, but still, could there be a better book to represent who we are as people in this image-driven moment in time?
Don’t worry—I don’t plan to discuss the carefully twisted plot of the book and possibly ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read it or seen the movie—but I would like to take a few paragraphs to consider how like that girl many of us actually are. How much time do we spend contriving our public personas, crafting our profiles, and posting pictures that flatter the image we want the world to see while all the time we feel as though we can never truly be known or at least not truly known AND still loved?
Whew! Heavy, heavy stuff.
I have to confess to being guilty of sometimes being a “Gone Girl.” I delete the ugly pictures. I omit the bad moments or thoughts or actions from my time line. I post the happy things, the cheery things, the thoughts and pictures that everyone can ‘like’ without fear.
But, of course, there is more to me than my profile, and a lot of it isn’t too likable. And, of course, those with whom I actually live know many of those unlikable traits and still manage to like and even love me. My friends, my family, even my husband are able to overlook the dark moments that sometimes break through my bright covering.
But I wonder how much darkness would be too much? I mean no one, no human being, can really love unconditionally. Sooner or later, there is a last straw that can drop—if one were to let all the straws fall.
And that’s why we can’t let all the ugly show. We need people in our lives and too much ugly is simply repellent. (Notice how I have switched to the pronoun “we”? I’m hoping you get this and that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I really do want you to like me. In a pitiable, Sally Field kind of way.)
Maybe that’s at least part of why this time of life is so difficult (the middle-age, post-children era). I don’t know what roles to play. Sure, I am still some of those people I have been in the past, but none of them feels like the real deal. And I just can’t tell you what that real deal is! So often I feel as though I, too, have “gone missing.” (What a stupid phrase!)
Just yesterday I exposed to my ever-patient husband that I feel another change in the air. I need a new wardrobe, a new set of costumes to wear, but I just don’t know what clothes fit me now. And I wasn’t just speaking metaphorically.
Well … if you haven’t read the book, do. Then we can talk without spoiling the plot, ok? Are we all “Gone Girls” in one way or another? Not sociopaths (I hope!) but people living out roles that make us acceptable to others for one reason or another and give us something we feel we need?
Let me know. It gets lonely out here waiting to be found.