An Ode to Carrie Bradshaw
Disclaimer: If you don't know her, you won't understand this. If you do know her, let me acquaint you with my version of her.
"I am not being a bitch, I am just being myself."
I had to start this off, with one of the debatably, lesser known, but should have made it to the top twenty, quotes by Carrie Bradshaw. She had left a series of unbroached answers to questions, we didn't know we had, and as viewers; we have only just been selectively picking what the mind has been most pleased with.
Which brings me to, what can I say about the iconic Carrie Bradshaw that hasn't been tapped into before? The incurable romantic, the Manolo Blahnik worshipper, the inquisitive writer, the non-believer of her money being in banks, the Magnolia Bakery's cupcake lover, the chameleon for every time she had a new love interest...I could literally keep going on and on, but again, what can I say about her that hasn't been said before?
I remember, as a budding teen, scattered between being a sixteen year old and an experientialist, is when I first came across her, and her three legendary soulmates living their fabulous lives in New York, New York ("A city, so fabulous that saying it once isn't enough," directly quoting her here,) I was seized and exposed, both at once.
Did they really live like this out there?
Did they really wear such extraordinary fashion, even for breakfast?
Did women in their late twenties, and thirties have these conversations?
Do conflicts like these exist?
Are friendships really this lasting?
Where has Manolo Blahnik been for all of my life, and when will I wear my very first pair?
I was seized and exposed, both at once.
Upon this magnifique discovery, of course, I streamed all the episodes of Sex and The City, religiously, and watched them back to back. They were barely 20 - 23 mins each; I remember at the end of each episode, I was left with either an unusual wonderment, an intense desire to be able to hear what a character was thinking, and majority of the times being utterly awestruck by Carrie. I remember being ecstatic when the SATC movie premiered in 2008; which led to a rerun of the series, to be all tuned in, and get to the emotional point where I could watch the movie to catch up to see where she and her girlfriends were at, in the movie.
When SATC, the second movie came out, a decade ago, the twenty-year-old me, faithfully watched the six seasons yet again, followed by the first part of the movie, to reward myself with the brand new second movie.
Oddly, I remember feeling like I loved Carrie more than I remembered loving her before.
It wasn't so long ago, perhaps in my late twenties, when I'd done the rerun shenanigans of the SATC series (surprise, surprise) for some binge-worthy, comfort content. Every single time, I return to SATC, I end up loving Carrie, more than I ever did earlier.
What was it about Carrie Bradshaw that has managed to strike a chord so fiercely, in every phase of my life, and for that matter, the lives of so very many women? Was it her endearing personality? Her unprecedented enigmas about life? Her wordplay? Her style? The neverending romantic conflicts that she got on to herself, more often than not? The fact that she managed to get writing for American Vogue? The undying love for a pair of Manolos? Let's not forget her utmost need to be an unconventional rebel, while on an unswerving look-out to get invested in something "Big?" (yes, pun intended).
Unquestionably there was something about Carrie; whether it was her uncontrollable blonde curls or the iconic pastel tutu in the opening shot; her well known sarcastic smirk; the way she was stubborn and consumed by things that didn't matter as much; or her painstaking theories about life, and time.
The relationship I had developed with her character was unreal.
I understood her, and the he(art) she came with; I felt her, and even more, I felt like her. There have been moments that flatter my narcissism by the occasional relatability to Carrie, and the thrill of living my very own version of her life.
This won't be easy to admit, but as a lifelong Carrie Bradshaw fan, it dawned on me, was Carrie the problem, or was it our desire to have relatability to her?
Let's get down, dirty, and begin with dissecting the character and personality, bit by bit, of someone I have always loved devotedly.
Carrie has always been ridiculously selfish. Even though her three bestfriends have unwaveringly always been there for her, no matter what they went through in their own lives, we rarely saw Carrie dropping everything and rushing to their plight when she is most needed. While we see Carrie as a noble friend, more often than not, she wasn't wholly a fabulous one to have; in fact, she was the contrary, a narcissistic one.
She was thoroughly self-absorbed. No matter what happened in everyone's lives, she always found a way to steer the conversation to her being the central point of interest.
Moreover, has there been a single episode where we haven't found Carrie persistently whining away? I mean, I live for the questions and theories, but can we have a break from overdramatizing every single situation, magnifying concerns that nobody really overanalyzed as much as she did, and maybe pull back on the bitching, and complaining a notch?
Carrie was perpetually on an incessant quest of being validated. Even though her character portrayed fearless independence, we see her constantly looking to be verified on her choices of opinions, or the men she dates, or the feelings she has. Why and who did Carrie need affirmation from?
Carrie never watered her own grass (much like the most of us) and always yearned for the "greener" side. We see it with Aidan, (the man who worshipped her, yet grounded her), with her wanting to either relentless change him, cheat on him or leave him. We see it with her relationship (and friendship) with Big, where she is found invariably "correcting" his personality while being adequately aware of exactly who he was. She constantly debated his personality, while being unhinged, and unapologetically herself. Oh, the irony.
Furthermore, she was a modern-day damsel in distress, with her faithful Manolos by her side. Carrie always expected to be rescued out of her dilemmas; by her friends and lovers; instead of taking charge of her predicaments and accelerating forward, independently. I mean, seeking advice is one thing, but to want to be bailed out, is a whole other thing altogether. Carrie got mad when she wasn't swooped out! Carrie more often than not, refused to accept all of the hard components that came attached, with adulting. It just didn't go with the character that she was, and the more I think about it, it doesn't add up to the version of herself that she believed to be.
Carrie kept repeating her mistakes, devotedly. Which got me thinking, how many times do you have to slip off a banana peel, to finally realize you shouldn't be stepping on one, to begin with? Why did her constant repetition of errors make her character even more charming?
Carrie altered remorselessly. While being the strong-headed individualistic character that she was, we often saw her immersing into a whole new version of herself that wasn't hers, conveniently, every time she was romantically involved with someone. Why did she not hold on hard enough to her distinct self?
Carrie played games. Oh, she played a lot of games, all the time. She scarcely said what she meant to whom she meant to say them to, and instead projected her actual opinions/emotions by doing bizarre actions to express. Why didn't she just say what she was thinking from the very beginning?
In this process of decomposing Carrie, it dawned on me; all the things I don't approve about Carrie, are a part of my personality too. Has she rubbed off on me, or are our similarities what draw the connect to her?
Am I Carrie, or have we been her, all along?
I have romanticized the idea of being compared to Carrie for all of her fabulousness. The very fact that Sarah Jessica Parker has managed to create an identity bigger than herself; conditioning the average modern-day woman's mind to connect Carrie with the ultimate style icon; bringing in recognition for the likes of Manolo Blahnik, and Magnolia's Bakery; tapping into the woman-child in all of us, or making us believe that it is perfectly normal to wear a tutu at any given age; accessorizing doesn't have to be limited to a certain size, and a staple can be a flower pin, and so much more. Sarah Jessica Parker, has not only given birth to a character, but she has actively made us fall in love with flaws, not just limited to Carrie, but within ourselves.
Breaking it down to the bare basic...no matter how fabulous you are, you are absolutely bound to execute a sequence of chaos and make mistakes.
It is perfectly okay to make them.
They'll eventually lead you to where you're meant to be, even if you have slipped on the banana peel, one too many times.
Dear Carrie, I too, never have been a woman who can wear white, and not spill on it; I love running wild and untamelessly, I'd pick a tutu over a dress any given day, and, I swear, I am not being a bitch, I am just being myself, for being unapologetically in love with my thoroughly flawed self.
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