First, a disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about Fairuza Balk as a person. I know only that she's an actor, artist, musician, and businesswoman. I've never read anything about her life. I'm just using her as an illustration that'll help you understand my own work. I'm going to call Fairuza by her name, and I'll call the archetype I like "Fairuza," in quotation marks. When you see "Fairuza," that means the sort of woman to whom I'm attracted, not Fairuza Balk. Got it?
I first became aware of Fairuza Balk when I saw the brilliant film The Craft. It's one of my favorites. Fairuza caused me to do a lot of soul searching because I've always been attracted to "Fairuza." I find the Goth look irresistible. What I told myself was that I loved the look but not the lifestyle. Gradually, I had to admit that it was the lifestyle as much as the look that attracted me. The anger, pain, and dysfunction were the attractions.
Though I won't discuss all the reasons I'm attracted to "Fairuza," one of them is the urge to "help." This is self-defeating on so many levels. For one, I don't really want to help, because that would entail changing "Fairuza" into someone else, and then I wouldn't be attracted to her anymore. Also, "Fairuza" doesn't want or need my help. Fairuza has written about this in her song "Stormwinds," recorded with her band ArmedLoveMilitia. The lyrics are here.
As Fairuza says about "Fairuza":
You can come with me, but I don’t suggest you stay
I have a habit of leaving damage in my wake
I was born on a new moon
It dictates that fate
If my highs don’t get you, my lows will guaranteed
That's it, right there. In plain English. I knew it, but I refused to accept it.
I dated "Fairuza" many times before Carmen and a couple times after Carmen. I'd never dated "Carmen," because I wasn't attracted to sweet, cheerful, happy women who didn't "need" my "help." The first eighteen months with Carmen were as "Fairuza" as I could ever have wanted. Eventually, we stopped with the drinking, games, and melodrama and had three years of what was--for me--perfection. It was a shock, because she wasn't "Fairuza" on the outside. But as I've said, I recognized and remembered her the second I met her.
People don't believe in that sort of hoola boola. I didn't believe in that sort of hoola boola either, until it happened to me. The proof that it's real is that Carmen bore no external resemblance to "Fairuza." She wore no makeup and was flirty and cute. Pretty much the opposite of my type. But when we met, I became whole. The emptiness I'd carried around with me my entire life was instantly filled.
Once, just for fun, Carmen Gothed herself up for me. All I'll say about that experience is Ay. Yai. Yai.
My fantasy relationship with "Fairuza" is best represented in the excellent film My First Mister, a story of how a ruined man tries to save a Goth. It's an absolutely terrific movie, but it's just that: a movie. It's a fairy tale. You can't base your life on fairy tales, which is what I did. Trying to live My First Mister makes as much sense as trying to live The Craft.
In "Stormwinds," Fairuza writes about a second aspect of my attraction to "Fairuza":
You’re right, I’m a whole different species
You’re right I’m not from here
But that’s probably why you like me
You like a little fear
Yes. Indubitably. Fear and a lot of other toxic stuff is part of the attraction. What matters is that my relationship with "Fairuza" was doomed by design. Neither of us wanted it to work. Neither of us actually saw each other as real people. It was all about ourselves and what we wanted. It had nothing to do with the other. And that's the reason I never "got over" Carmen. For the only time in my life, the other person in the relationship was real, not an archetype.
I'm still attracted to "Fairuza." It's my orientation. The difference is now I don't act on it. These days I'm a big fan of avoiding futility. I've gotten over my love affair with Weltschmerz. There's no beauty in failure, negativity, sadness, ugliness, and destruction. It's garbage. I shun it now. And, most importantly, I no longer try to "help."
You know what my attraction to "Fairuza" and my need to "help" her is like? That "random acts of kindness" crap. You buy someone's coffee for them, or you pay for the ticket of the person behind you at the toll booth. It's superficial, vacuous, self-aggrandizing gimmickry. It meets your own needs, not those of the other person. And guess what? Everyone who practices "random acts of kindness" always tells you about it. That's the tip-off that it's phony. It's also low-hanging fruit. If you buy someone's coffee for them, you don't have to do the hard things, like learning to show mercy or choosing to refrain or having empathy. You don't have to actually improve yourself, which is agony.
My relationships with "Fairuza" were cheap gimmicks. They weren't real. I freely admit that. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have it.
I no longer have relationships with "Fairuza." But I'm still attracted to her. I always will be. It's what I was trained to do.
Now, however, in my state of clarity, I just look.
No harm in that.