14 Feb

Am I the only person who watched that show staring Keri Russell called “Felicity”? The one where she is a recent high school graduate that scraps her big educational plans to follow an unrequited crush cross-country to college in New York City. Then she ends up dating her RA, then she gets her shot with the soulmate/crush, and then she dances around the ex-boyfriend, lather, rinse, repeat. Much college-based “who am I?” angst. Much relationship-based emotional angst. Did anyone else watch that? I guess that’s a stupid question. I mean, it ran for 4 seasons, from 1998-2002. Even earned Ms. Russell a Golden Globe, while also being nominated for multiple teen choice awards in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002. So, clearly, I wasn’t the only one watching it the first time around. But then again, I also wasn’t a teen when it was first on the air. I was three years out of college when it started. I guess that was still close enough for me to vividly remember my college experiences. Those that I was destined to remember, anyway. But the point is, whether or not I fit their intended demographic, I loved that show. Loved. It. Was fairly obsessed with it, to be honest. And for whatever reason, or maybe more accurate to say for multiple reasons, I related to that character in so many ways. So, now that I’ve caught up on Downton Abbey, and finished watching the original British series Coupling, I’ve been using my Amazon Prime membership to stream episodes of Felicity. Thus far, I’ve gotten about halfway through her sophomore year (season 2). It is funny to watch this again, to experience Felicity’s college experience now that I am 17 years out of college, instead of just three. Those experiences, those memories, those emotions, well, they’re a little blurrier now. But watching this show brings so many of them roaring back.

I have a friend who thinks I bear more than a passing resemblance to Keri Russell. Personally, I think our similarities end at us both having attached earlobes*. And I highly recommend that my friend visit his friendly optometrist. Keri Russell is an elegant, long-necked, delicately-featured sprite of a girl. I am, well, not. But I do think that I bear more than a passing resemblance to Felicity Porter. Felicity is this hopeless romantic trapped in the body of a pragmatic realist. She is wide-eyed with innocence and delight. Naively trusting and open. Expects people to be the best versions of themselves, and is honestly disappointed when they reveal themselves not to be. This applies especially to herself. She thrives on logic and order, and is confused by people who do not behave in a logical manner. But she is also passionate and playful, an artist. She is a good friend, an excellent listener. But she is also an emotional basket-case from time to time. Sound like anyone you know?

But I tell you what, she is definitely more confident than I was at that age. Perhaps at any age. And I love that about that character. She is so very full of self-doubt, yet, at times, steely. Knows her mind and won’t let anyone take advantage of her. One of my favorite episodes is when she tells Ben (the soulmate/crush) that she is tired of him repeatedly leading her on. It’s one of those speeches you wish you had had the courage to make. That you hope your daughter one day has the courage to make. Choosing yourself over someone else’s unrealistic notion of what is means to be in love. Honoring your expectations of how you want other people to treat you. We should all have the courage to stand up and say this sort of thing. Not necessarily to a boyfriend or a lover. To anyone who isn’t treating us the way we deserve to be treated. Anyone who isn’t respecting us. We should all have the courage to say, I want this, I want you in my life, but I won’t change for you, and I’ll get rid of you before I get rid of me.

This is the character I wish I had written. The person I hope I can be.

“I mean I’m an emotional person. I feel things, and I need to be able to get upset and talk about how I’m feeling. I mean that’s just who I am, and I can’t change it. I don’t want to. And the thing is, you knew that, you knew it, and you still pursued me. Because you want something with me. You just aren’t strong enough to have it. Which in a way makes you a coward. And the saddest part is that one day you’re going to wake up and you’re going to realize what you missed. And it’s going to be too late.”   — Felicity Porter



* The earlobe thing, it’s genetic. Look it up if you need to



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© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim