Prologue: Typecast


I don't wanna live my life

In shadows of what I should be,

Spending my whole life through

Waiting for someone to approve of me.

- April McLean, "Me"


My life would make a great movie.

God. That sounds egotistical, doesn't it?

I'm not trying to sound that way, I swear. I'm just trying this whole new approach to life—no longer beating around the bush with bullshit and just telling it like it is for once. It's actually a lot harder than it looks. But I'm committed to it. I'm letting everything out. The truth shall set ye free. Even if Tom Cruise is right and you can't handle it, I'm going to say it anyway. No matter how much I may sound like a jackass.

Wow. I really do sound like a jackass, huh?

Let me try to clear this up a bit. When I say my life would make a great movie, I don't mean that my life is better than yours somehow and worth the millions of dollars and countless hours of production time it takes to make a passable film these days. No. Telling it straight or not, that is just not my style and far too presumptuous and plain annoying for my personal tastes. I would never go so far as to demean your own existence in comparison to mine.

… But it's the truth.

My life being worth more than average, I mean. Seriously. It's like a fucking fairy tale. It has all the components you need for a sappy chick flick that even guys—though they will never admit it—secretly enjoy because the lead male is so damn relatable and the female protagonist is so damn loveable and when they're together they become the picture perfect couple you always wanted to be with your own significant other.

It would skyrocket at the box office, I can tell you that much. Get MGM on the phone. I have a profitable business proposition for them…

Okay, okay. Before you go off and roll your eyes, giving into that burning temptation to stop reading this sorry attempt at a "memoir" (Yeah. That's what my shrink it calling this—a memoir. Gag me.), just know that I didn't ask for any of this. I am an innocent bystander in this great plot. Really. How many people do you know would consciously ask for their life to become some sappy, cliché Disney movie?

Well, yeah. Okay. So if you asked me that question three years ago, I would have jumped at the chance with open arms. But I was young then! I was but a naive college freshman thrown in a world of house parties, midterms, and random hookups with strangers. I didn't know any better. I often ask myself now what I was thinking. Sure. Everything seemed just peachy for Cinderella as she rode off with her Prince Charming in her horse-drawn carriage. And yes, Jasmine was flying high (quite literally, actually) as she and Aladdin soared away to a "whole new world" together.

But haven't you ever wondered what happened as the credits were rolling? What was going on outside the frame? Were Jack and GusGus expected to move to the castle with Cinderella now? Or were they going back to their pitiful mouse lives at the evil stepmother's house, never to see or hear from the new princess again? And what about Abu? He's kind of like a street rat, too—except he has the added danger of rabies! Do you think the Sultan was going to just welcome him with open arms and hope that Raja would want a midnight monkey snack?

Yes, life's swell for the main characters, but what about everyone else? What about the characters who weren't included in the happily ever after?

Yikes. I just went off, huh? Well, here's the thing: this memoir? Yeah. It's actually supposed to be some therapeutic exercise that the great Dr. Worthington (Yes, the man is such an illustrious figure of modern medicine and psychology that his name deserves to be italicized) thinks will help with my newfound anxiety.

Anxiety! Me! The girl voted most laid back in high school!

…Well, technically not "voted" because that wasn't actually one of the official superlatives. But if it was, let me tell you, I had it in the bag.

But then again, that's really neither here nor there and I'm just rambling at this point.

What I'm trying to say is, apparently according to Dr. Worthington (and my parents, for that matter), I am suffering from an increased in stress and pent-up emotion within my unconscious that I refuse to release which ultimately overflows into my conscious state, clouding my distorting my sense of reality, judgment, and will.

Henceforth, theretofore, and furthermore making me crazy.

Newsflash Mom and Pop: You didn't need to waste $450 an hour for that diagnosis. I could have told you I was crazy for free.

Unfortunately for me, however, my parents did not keep a tight leash on their wallets and forked over an obscene amount of money to the miracle man himself because they were so gosh darn worried about me. I swear, you spend all your life as the middle child, being ignored most of the time and the one time—one time—you want your parents to just leave you alone, they decide to get all Brady Bunch on you and hover like mosquitoes over a rotting carcass.

Shit. Did I just compare myself to a dead animal? See? Absolutely crazy.

Anyways, they were severely ripped off if you ask me. Dr. Worthington just did a lot of "hmmmming" and "ahhhing" as I unleashed my soul to the stranger. It was pretty creepy actually. There were a few times I saw his hand disappear underneath his mahogany desk not to be seen for awhile as his… noises seemed to get increasingly louder.

Hey, man. If you get your jollies off at the office, that's your business. Not mine. It's not my place to tell you how to run your life. But keep it private, huh? Last thing I need at this point in my life is to be involved in some great medical sex scandal about the ethics of Freud's ideas on the fulfillment of sexual fantasies and how they correspond with professional methods of psychoanalysis. Ugh.

Alright, but getting back on track. At the end of my five two-hour sessions, the good doctor told me that I harbored a lot of repressed emotions (wow, really?) and it was proving to be detrimental to my overall psychological health, resulting in my "episodes."

Here's the thing doc, it was ONE episode, buddy, not plural. And it wasn't even that big of a deal. I swear, if anyone else in the world reacted like I did people would just think to themselves, "Wow, Josie must be having a rough day" or "Poor George, he must be really stressed." But I have a mild freak-out and everyone jumps down my fucking throat!

Well, maybe "mild" isn't the most appropriate word in this case, but I don't think people had to react in the manner they did. It was all uncalled for, if you ask me. But back to my psychotherapy:

The guy is an idiot.

He tells me that I may have an anxiety disorder and before I go on any type of medication (he wants to put me on meds!!), I should try some more traditional forms of treatment that do not require any type of medicinal technology. So he hands me this notebook and tells me that I should write a memoir of the occurrences that led to my "breakdown." He's giving me a month to "release my inner turmoil and create a tool to help me find all the positives in my life and learn to grow despite my situation."

What a crackpot.

But if it gets me out of becoming doped out, I'll take it I guess. And the great and powerful Dr. Worthington isn't even going to read it, so I can tear him apart as much as I want. Which is rather remedial in a way, I guess. I kind of feel better already.

Then again, all of this has been a poor excuse for ignoring my real task at hand. It's not even because the whole situation really bothers me anymore. Because it doesn't. I swear. And I've told everyone this already, but no one seems to believe me. So now I'm stuck becoming Anne Frank Jr. and writing my own little diary.

Well, Anne Frank minus the whole Nazi/ concentration camp/ war thing. Hmm. Maybe I'm more of a Jane Austen.

That works, actually. I mean, didn't Jane Austen create the quintessential romances of all time? She experienced countless happily-ever-afters throughout her life but ended up dying a spinster at a relatively young age. That sounds pretty spot on with me.

Oh, I'm sorry. Did you think that whole "my life would make a great movie" stuff meant that the movie actually starred me? Hah. I'm afraid my life isn't so glamorous.

You see, I was always the friend of the girl who got to ride off into the sunset with the guy of her dreams. I helped her through her romantic drama with my quirky sense of humor, rapier wit, and awe-inspiring wisdom (I'm modest, too!). And I was happy for them—all of them. Even when I was soon forgotten after the star couples became official, I couldn't help but feel good about helping them get what I felt they truly deserved.

But then it was my best friend's turn. I may be a little biased, but I have to say that her love story was the greatest of all. Imagine the perfect cliché: a boy and girl grow up together down the street, practically inseparable until the girl moves away when they turn ten never to see each other again. That is until they run into each other—quite literally—the first day of classes their freshman year of college! Sparks fly, obviously. But alas! The boy has a gorgeous girlfriend that also happens to be a class A bitch. So what's a girl to do? Move on and vow to remain friends even though her heart longs for him at every turn, that's what. But wouldn't ya know it, the second the girl finds a replacement guy, the other one becomes enraged in a passionate fit of jealousy and claims her as his own in the most heart-wrenching and public kiss our campus has ever seen. Sigh. How charming.

I was happy for her. Really. How could I not be? She got everything she ever wanted and deserved and I was able to help her get it. I was actually the one who had a class with Mr. Wonderful and kept inviting him over to our dorm for study sessions when my friend would consequently also be there. Of course I was happy for her.

Well, I guess I would probably be happier if I didn't happen to be madly in love with the aforementioned Prince Charming myself.

But that's just how things work out sometimes, right? Some people were made for the glories of the leading lady and others were meant for support in the shadows. She was so Bette Midler and I was the wind beneath her wings. That was how it always was and I never had a problem with it.

As time went on, however, and I kept seeing them together, I guess I kind of just—snapped. Hence my psychiatric aid. I think I just sort of got sick of being the friend. I was ready for my own story to star in.

But I was already typecasted as the best friend, everyone assuming I would just stand back and cower. It was who I was. It was what everyone expected from me.

Well you know what? I think I'm finally ready to change that now. And if that makes me crazy, I'll take it.

You hear that, Dr. Worthington? Strap me in a white suit and throw me in a padded room. See what I care. The asylums these days actually aren't half bad, I hear. I bet they are actually rather nice places to live.

Oh dear God.

I am crazy.