I remember when I first heard this term. It was from feminist frequency’s original Women vs Tropes YouTube run. I remember how it connected with me, not only because I shared some many qualities of the magical girl, but also because it had become a little bit of a saviour trope. People see my fun and want a part of it, so they assume that being with me means my fun will transfer onto them.
And I get it – I’m fun. I’m the kinda intrinsic fun that radiates joy from the core of my being. I’m so in love with life that ridiculously simple things bring a beaming smile to my face: floating on a pool noodle at the local sex club, a car driving by playing a song I like. When I’m driving in the car and I crest a hill and it is so fucking beautiful I’ll actually leak a few happy tears. That’s the level of joy I’m talking. And living with joy is a beautiful, spectacular, amazing thing.
But having to live with joy is something very different.
I don’t know if you’ve been someone’s life line before, but it’s exhausting. It thwarts your ability to express your full emotional range; to experience the complexity of being multiple emotions at the same time (yes friends, you can be overall happy while still being deeply upset in a moment), and it’s incredibly draining to have someone else rely on you for energy and entertainment. I don’t want to be that. do it again. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s experience – that’s an unfair ask.
I went so far as to add recovering Manic Pixie Dream Girl to my OKCupid profile. It was my line in the sand. And this was years ago….. to be honest I hadn’t really thought of it since.
Then, last week, while radio channel surfing that phrase caught my ear once again. The originator of the term was on Q expanding on his recent essay I’m sorry for coining the phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”. To sum it up, he believes this useful phrased has gone from describing a very specific type of character, who is created by someone else, to describing all women who are a little quirky – even when that quirkiness comes from a completely autonomous place. The interview and guests were interest, so I listened and I was reminded of my Manic Pixie Dream Girl; my magical child, and how much I miss her.
My life, much like yours, I imagine, has a fair amount of stress in it. The pace is fast, the resources are not infinite and even when the destination is clear(ish) the path isn’t. My coping mechanism has been to do what I’ve been taught. Buckle down, focus hard, play less, work more – it will pay off in the long run.
But can I tell you something?
I miss being fully connected to that part of myself, the eternal child part of myself that finds joy and magic in so many places (not to mention is a super connected to my power exchange). I miss the parts that so easily open to creativity and possibility – things that are much harder to access when in rational adult mode. Being a fulltime manic pixie dream girl might not be the wisest decision for me, but cleaving that part of myself off didn’t serve me either.
I notice the joy slipping out of my life.
We live in a world that’s already too happy to grind us down. Why am I giving that world any assistance?
I’m not sure how many others this sharing will resonate for. I’m not sure if it’s a submissive thing; a Libra thing, or simply a human thing, but I struggle with keeping myself for me. Finding the balance between partner focused (or service focused?) and still not existing for them can be a challenge. Of course the stronger my emotional boundaries are, the more successful I am engaging in my own agency, owning what is mine while side stepping what other can be too quick to make anyone-but-themselves responsible for. But, as with so many things in life it’s an ongoing practice, not a one time goal. Being my own manic pixie instead of my partner’s manic pixie (or community’s manic pixie) becomes one more part of the practice.
I also struggle with remembering that out there doesn’t make me happy. That the sacrifice now, play someday method that was handed to be doesn’t work for me. It zaps my joy, lessons my ability to refresh and renew my spirit. Remembering that I have learned much about me, and I need to be me becomes yet another part of the practice.
Chop wood, carry water. Learn you, be you. So life goes.