I was thinking about this Jane Austen thing a little bit more. Every so often, whenever I am in need of a quick gut check, I read my old journals. I read them because it makes me laugh and wince as to my general lack of optimism regarding past relationships and what my life would be in general. I read one of them this evening. The one that I read covered the unrequited crush that I maintained for many years on my friend, Blaine. Blaine is still one of the people that I admire most, and for many years he was the Mr. Darcy of my world, always unattainable, yet always commendable. After we went to Turkey, he became so idolized in my head, he was scarecely real. Instead of thinking in the general Christian mantra, What would Jesus do, in situations, I thought to myself, What would Blaine do? Although, this crush was generally not useful in terms of allowing me to see the good in people around me, because everyone that I met I compared to this idealized view of Blaine, at the same time, the best part of the crush was the part that I think explains why so many women love Jane Austen books so much. The crush really taught me how good people are capable of being, so if people were capable of being this good, then perhaps I was too.
The nature of how I came to idealize someone so much was very Austen-like, in its own way. Jane Austen never married so her idealized male characters like Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley have flaws, but she never really wrote about them in such a way to make their flaws seem in any way other than completely desirable (She rounded out the character, but even their flaws seemed to make them more perfect). Because I never had an actual relationship with Blaine, I never saw any other side of Blaine than the brilliant, thoughtful person who I believed would change the world. When the guys that I actually dated treated me poorly, cheated on me, etc., I could always fall back on my unrequited crush, because Blaine could never be the person that treated me (or in my mind anyone else) that way. That is the beauty of the unrequited crush, just as that is the beauty of reading of Mr. Darcy in a fictional book.
I think about truth versus fiction. I actually still think Blaine is a brilliant, thoughtful person who could change the world. Everyone needs their Jane Austen period pieces to make them sigh and think, “Oh, how lovely.”
However, it is pretty good to finally find someone in my life that treats me well in reality, so that I no longer need an unrequited crush as my backup plan, to make me feel like there is good in the world when the person that I love makes me cry. I have always been an idealist, which makes me incredibly bothersome to deal with in relationships, because just as I want to be the perfect person, I want to be with the perfect person. But in reading my journal from five years ago, what I think that I have finally learned is that reality is always a little bit messy, but that is what makes it real. Experiencing the ordinary with someone, seeing their flaws, and allowing them to see yours is what makes a relationship tangible and not simply some fictional notion of perfection. Isn’t that what Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy ultimately learned together?