Friday, February 7, 2014

Me? A social butterfly? or why "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is my favorite movie

My neighbor calls me a "social butterfly" and I don't think I like that term. I've heard his friends who just met me use it too. Yes, it's a fun, outgoing person, that navigates between groups and circles and gets along with everybody. I like the part that implies that I'm generally likable. But that expression in my view also carries a hit of critique if not condescension.  It's someone who doesn't belong in one place, so he or she is all over the place. To me that also means that bonds and relationships they form are superficial and frail. And this is not how I am at all. I like meeting people and learning new things. That doesn't mean however, that I'm everybody's friend. Nor that it's something that comes to me easily, as effortless as I make it seem. My neighbor has never seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's", that for some reason happens to be one of my favorite movies. Otherwise, I'm not very familiar with Audrey Hepburn's filmography, although I do have a calendar with her pictures in my apartment. One night I decided we would watch it together. I've seen it a number of times. It's not the cliched romance that does it for me or the happy ending. It's the character of Holly. And I don't care if she's nice or selfish (my neighbor found her attractive, but not likable at all) or if she is or isn't a real phony. It's the ease with which she relates to people. The "there's something about her quality" that attracts others. But mostly, how she refuses to be shaped by her life and circumstances. The amazing feeling of freedom and free spirit that oozes from the screen. Holly, for better or worse is a product of her own creation. She changed her name, her back story, her accent, her outlook and her attitude simply because she wanted to be something else. You may laugh, but this is something I relate to very strongly. When I first moved here, I had no friends, no family no roots. Nobody has ever heard of me, so I could have become anyone. And I wanted to create a new me, because quite frankly I didn't like the old me. Boxed in between the walls of my apartment in Poland.. Yes, I could carry a conversation, but I was awkward in public. I didn't socialize. The main thing I was determined to change upon my arrival is simply all that. To be interesting, interested and engaging. To be outgoing and social. And to let life in and let it surprise me. That of course meant that sometimes I had to push myself out into those situations by design. And over time I became that person. Not because I wanted to be liked but because I wanted to like myself.  Let's me honest- I'm the guy in a bright yellow wheelchair. I'l make an entrance wherever I go. I came to America to have an experience that would affect me profoundly. Something that would change in ways that there was no way back. It's odd to say, but now I can say it. When I applied to law school in America, to come and live here, the academic part of it was something I looked forward to the least. (And my grades that first year showed it. They weren't bad, but they were below my standards)

 The thing about "Breakfast" that sets it apart for me from most movies of its time is how it gives me hope and how it conveys  the feeling that life is yours to grab by the horns and you're in control over your destiny. Be free. Love. Have friends. Be whoever you like. Just be happy.

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