What Ruby Sparks taught me

*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD*

A few days ago I saw Ruby Sparks with a friend. I had been wanting to see the film ever since I saw the trailer. I was allured by the fact that it was about writing and love. I didn’t expect much more than a cute indie movie with a Zooey Deschanel-esque muse to a Joseph Gordon-Levitt-like leading man madly in love with her.

The movie surprised me. We tend to like people that act as a reflection of ourselves. Through them we see facets of ourselves of someone we strive to be. We build up an image for ourselves of our ideal mate, only to be disappointed (for the most part) with the reality that they don’t exist. But for Calvin, his ideal girl came to life in the form of Ruby. Ruby is to Calvin, as was Dulcinea to Don Quixote or Daisy to Gatsby. We fall in love with the image, the packaging but not its contents. As Calvin gets to know Ruby more, he realizes the other facets of her personality he did not foresee.

Through Paul Dano’s character, Calvin, I saw myself so painfully clear. Like him, I was in love with an image of someone, the idea, the archetype, but not the person himself. He was in love with the image of Ruby, the stereotypical manic indie girl, with the straight edge bangs and wardrobe to match. But as her true character unraveled and the honeymoon period was over, he began to notice the quirks growing old, and the differences between them growing stronger and stronger. To combat his dismay, he literally re-wrote her character to suit his needs.

Now I’m not much of a romantic, in fact I’ve been called an “ice queen” more than once. I’ve built walls within fences and trenches for my heart, but I still held on to a glimmer of hope that someone someday could change that. I pictured a Joseph Gordon-Levitt-like man with a passion for books or art, had goals and ambition, with endless patience could shatter the frozen sea inside me. Looking back on the guys from my past, most guys have reflected an aspect of my ideal mate. Their nicknames, for the most part, epitomized what drew me towards them. There was Engineer 1, 2, and 3, The Guy That Reads, etc. They all had fragments of my idea, but they didn’t encompass nearly enough qualities to personify it.

For a short period of time I spent with these men, I may have been with them physically, but I was never truly with them. I reserved the greater part of myself, my passions, goals, fears in safe keeping.  Looking back, I should have probably been more open-minded to everything else they had to offer, but I was too blinded by the vision I created to see past their short-comings. I become interested in the silhouettes of a person, their interests, preferences, and past times, but when I delve deeper within I became disappointed, because of the unrealistic expectations I’ve built up in my head.

I haven’t met my ideal guy, nor do I think I’ll ever meet anyone like him. Even if I do, who’s to say that any sparks will ignite moving me from a state of complacency. When it’s all said and done, what matters more is the chemistry, and liking the person for their own personal composition and not the idea of them. I’ve realized the importance of not glorifying what a person signifies, doing so diverts eyes from seeing who a person really is. Everyone has something different to bring to the table, but its whether or not you can accept the flaws and the imperfections they carry with them that counts. By doing so, it grounds the dream to something more achievable, more attainable, and more realistic. After all, everyone’s got personal baggage we carry along with the gleaming qualities that everyone sees

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