Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's my birthday...


...momentarily anyway. And like I've done for the past couple of birthdays, I feel compelled to watch Sex and the City, Season Four, Episode One. It's Carrie's 35 birthday, and she winds up alone at her party. She goes home devastated, finds 14 messages on her answering machine, and of course her friends eventually show up to take her to the coffee shop.

Carrie says:
The longer I sat at that table, the more alone I felt. And it really hit me: I am 35 and alone...I know I have you guys. But, and I really, I hate myself a little for saying this, but...it felt really sad. Not to have a man in my life who cares about me. No special guy to wish me a Happy Birthday. No god-damned soulmate. And I don't even know if I believe in soulmates.

Charlotte's response then pierces my heart. She says, "Don't laugh at me. But. Maybe we could be each other's soulmates. And then we could let men be just these great, nice guys to have fun with." The ever-strong Samantha says, "Well, that sounds like a plan."

Every single time I watch it, I cry. I cry at the reactions of all of the women, because on some level, all of the women understand in their own way. It hits at the heart of that show -- and the heart of long-term single women everywhere -- more than virtually any other episode and just about more than any other pop culture out there.

I'm not 35 yet. I'm 34 (or I will be, momentarily anyway). And no matter how much I intellectually know that I'm not alone, that I have friends and neighbors and colleagues and family who I love and who love me, and that I'm accomplished and interesting and living a pretty damn good life (and have a birthday weekend planned that will only bring me smiles, provided that everyone shows up!) there are moments where the loneliness sets it. It sets in so deep I can barely breathe. I think (can I even say it?) What if I'm single forever? What then? What if one birthday I wind up sitting at a table for ten, all alone? It's not about needing a man in my life or even wanting a man. I think loneliness like this goes so much further than that because it's simultaneously tied in with guilt. As in: what if I'm betraying my independent self and the selves of independent women everywhere by even admitting how I'm feeling? I see this in so many women I know, the refusal to admit to loneliness, to sadness, to heartbreak. And that strikes me as so false. Maybe that's what I love so much about Carrie's moment, its utter and painful honesty, a moment we all probably feel but often refuse to admit.

8 Comments:

Blogger Jules said...

Happy birthday, hon!

I cannot imagine you ever being all alone for your birthday, although I know what you mean about the scariness of possibly being alone.

Have a fantastic weekend.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Love it love it love it! Big surprise but it always grabs me by the tummy, that scene. I love it so much!

I love your honesty, and I love that it's your birthday and that you have fabulous plans.

Joyeux anniversaire ma belle!

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

happy birthday!

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

Happy Birthday! I adore that episode too. Can't wait to hear about your weekend.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Em said...

happy birthday!!!

hope you have a wonderful day

yes I'm watching my box set of SATC for the 2nd time - can never get enough! Am craving a cupcake from magnolia bakery......

have a great day (btw, hope you know who i am!)

7:46 PM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

The birthday weekend continues -- there will be a full report on Monday (sadly, no kissing just yet, though there have been more than one unexpected surprise).

Thanks for all the merry replies! Yes, em...I know just who you are!

11:18 AM  
Blogger aqui estoy bien said...

I hope you still read this. I{m gettng 30 years old tomorrow, Im alone and sad, and as you I love and I cry with that episode. Is this epidemic? Why we do not deserve a man love?? Actually I read your blog and I think we have very similar tastes I read the books you mentioned. Well Just hope you read this. I fell better now

10:59 PM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

I just spotted this now (I think you may have just left it tonight?) Welcome! The thing about that show is that I never feel alone when I watch it (and I know that so many women feel the same way) and that makes me feel a bit more normal :)

11:51 PM  

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