How Cruella deville and sir gawain taught me to manifest my own reality

If you were to look back at your life, would you say that you manifested your reality? Or in other terms, chased (and achieved) your dreams? Even if your dream was to move into your own apartment by the age of 23 or to have made it past your junior year of college or even eaten at a restaurant sans company – have you done it? No matter how simple your goal or dream was/is, what work have you put into attaining it? 

Maybe it’s the unhappy byproduct of living with undiagnosed ADHD (Inattentive type, for those of you who are undoubtedly curious) but I’ve always thought of myself as a lazy, Type-B, underachieving kind of person, but when I look at the current state of my affairs…I’m a bit surprised, to be honest. Surprised because I have in fact manifested much of what I’ve dreamed to achieve. Sure, the timeline I anticipated may be a little (a lot) skewed, but isn’t it the journey that counts? 

Seven whole years ago I met a man that I fell head-over-heels in love with who, at the time, didn’t give me the time of day. For six-plus months I would pine over him, passive-aggressively flirt with him, and generally daydream about the combined future I hoped we would one day share. Fast forward to today, and that same man is sitting adjacent to me on the couch in our shared apartment. We’re nearly two years into our marriage and getting ready to welcome our first little one next Spring. 

As much as I love my husband, however, our since-attained future isn’t all that I’d dreamt of achieving. I wanted to graduate from college with my degree in English Literature. While it took me four more years than planned and no less than seven college campuses to achieve that goal – I did. And I even surprised myself by wanting to continue on to graduate school. I’m now in my first semester. 

There are a multitude of other smaller but nonetheless significant goals that I’ve achieved in my relatively short lifetime, but that ever-present little voice in the back of my head is still keening a too-high pitch in my ear…it’s not enough.

Either that little voice will be the bane of my existence or the best thing that’s ever happened to me. But I guess I have some choice in the matter – I can choose to be motivated or I can choose to be annoyed. 

Which brings me to my epiphany. This aha! moment may have been brought on by two films I recently finished watching, but I hate to admit that. How quaint!  A movie inspired you to get up off your ass and do something about those nagging goals you’ve yet to accomplish. Oh well, here we are. 

Those two films couldn’t be more different, but the overarching themes are the same – life doesn’t happen to those who wait, you have to go out and grab what you want by the proverbial testicles (or would it be more egalitarian to say titties?) 

Two nights ago I watched David Lowery’s adaptation of The Green Knight, the chivalric romance that a lot of us were forced to read in high school literature classes. Dev Patel’s Sir Gawain spends the first three-quarters of the film simply waiting for his destiny to find him as he trudges through his Arthurian quest to his ultimate doom. A high-born nephew of King Arthur himself (at least in this iteration) Gawain grows up with the expectation that the heroic acts expected of a Knight of the Round Table will simply happen to him. He doesn’t ever imagine that he will have to actually go out and make a name for himself [the horror!] 

As he traipses his way across medieval England in search of his so-called “honor”, his first real test of grit comes at the hands of three vagrant boys who quickly take advantage of his unearned self-assuredness, steal his clothes and horse, tie him up and leave him for dead in the middle of a really creepy forest. If this isn’t a test of fortitude, what is? Well, pretty-boy Gawain has a few moments of self pity as he imagines his rotting corpse dissolving into the moss around him, but then he finally grows a pair and tumbles his way across the forest floor to the all-too-conveniently left behind sword, where he manages to cut himself free and pursue his teenage attackers. Well done, Gawain! 

The second film that inspired my new-found sense of determination was none other than Disney’s live-action Cruella, starring Emma Stone as the titular Dalmatian-obsessed villainess. Stone’s character sets her sight on the high-fashion world of 1960’s London and stops at nothing to achieve her goal. Despite her orphan-cum-child-thief status, she works her way up from lowly scullery maid to assistant-extraordinaire to her favorite designer (who turns out to be her long lost birth mother that tried to kill her immediately after she was born, but that’s for a different article).  

But I’ll stop there and try to retain some semblance of continuity within this already chaotic article. 

The flash of insight that was sparked within me only moments ago has to do with the crux of these two movies that I just so happened to watch at exactly the right moment in time. I’ve been making a fatal mistake in pursuit of one of my ultimate goals – I’ve been waiting for the opportunities to find me, rather than going out and pursuing them myself! 

I have to write if I want to write for a living. Why has that been such a hard concept for me to grasp? I’ve been waiting for prompts to come in from low-paying clients online. I’ve been waiting for that magical stroke of inspiration for the next great American novel to hit me at precisely the right moment in time. I’ve been waiting for someone else to give me permission to do what I love! How ludicrous is that? Cruella didn’t wait for the Baroness to tell her that she had an eye for design – Cruella went out and designed and sewed the SHIT out of her own costumes and gained notoriety her own way, on her own terms. (I’m really trying to get over the fact that I’m inspired by a Disney villain origin story here, I promise!) 

There’s literally nothing stopping me from being a writer. Nothing apart from myself. I have the talent, I know I do. I feel more comfortable writing than I do speaking. I’m more honest, open, empathetic, caustic, descriptive, volatile, creative, free-thinking, open-minded, open-hearted when I’m putting pen to paper (or finger to keypad, but you get it). 

I can’t help but feel a little pissed at myself for coming to this realization so late, or at least it seems that way. I’m pursuing a Masters degree in English Studies because I sort of thought it would give me more credibility as a writer, but I know in my heart that it really won’t. Writing will give me more credibility as a writer, nothing else. Certificates and diplomas be damned. So, future prospective employers who happen to be reading this wondering whether or not my stuff is up to snuff – I can guarantee you that it is. Because I’m a writer. I write like I speak, I write like I sleep, I write like I dream, I write because it’s one of the few things I know I’m good at. 

And, for the record, this “article” or word-vomit, whatever you’d like to call it, is probably one of the most honest but unstructured things I’ve ever written. Very stream-of-consciousness, if you will. If you want something a little less chaotic, I can assure you I can deliver. But for the sake of overcoming years worth of crippling writers block, I just had to get this all out there, out of my head, onto the binary mainframe. This is me unfiltered, unrestricted, using too many commas, ——-’s and [   ] to get my points across. But screw it. I’m capable of anything I set my mind to. 

That’s all for now. 


Featured Image: Still from The Green Knight (2021)

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