A long time ago, I decided I would not allow myself to be emotionally manipulated by a man. I would not let him woo me with fancy words or romantic gestures, because I didn't want to deal with the inevitable opposite.
So when I let my guard down last spring and allowed a man to woo me with fancy words and romantic gestures, I would apologize every time I'd talk to my friends, because I was gushy and gooey and downright disgusting.
They kept telling me I was human.
And when he told me he needed to move on three weeks ago, I tried to be robotic, stone-faced. One day, I was with a friend and could not stop crying. I kept apologizing to her, saying that it had been a week, and I should be over it, and I had no right to still be upset.
She told me I was human.
I saw The Philadelphia Story last night with a friend, and the men in the film really work over Tracy Lord and her superwoman approach to keeping men at bay in the name of emotional preservation. At the end of the film, she realizes her steely exterior has actually drawn in a man with whom she has zero chemistry, a man who would not challenge her, a man who expected a neat, near-robotic, tidy wife instead of a nuanced and at times emotionally messy wife. She exclaims with great joy, “I'm human! I'm human!” before walking down the aisle to remarry her ex-husband.
I've seen The Philadelphia Story several times, but it was the first time that Tracy's discovery that she was indeed human affected me. I thought of how many times in the past four months I have apologized to people for either being unable to stop smiling or unable to stop sobbing. True, one of my friends commented earlier in the summer that it was somewhat bizarre to see me so giddy, because I was always so rational and even-keeled. But she was glad to see I was capable of being “normal.” And when I was crying in her car a couple of months later, apologizing for being such horrible company, she told me to stop apologizing, told me I'd be okay, and told me I was “normal.”
Apparently, I'm human.