“Can you ever really forgive if you can’t forget?” ~ Carrie Bradshaw, “Sex and The City”
I was 16 years old.
Nostalgia leads me to believe that I was a big “Sex and the City fan.” Whilst I may have enjoyed the musings and frolics of New York’s cosmopolitan swigging fabulous quartet, a good portion of their mid-30s trials and tribulations must have flown straight over my teenage head.
Even as the series progressed into my 20s, it just didn’t resonate. Until now.
December 27, 2020, on the cusp of my 36th dance around the sun, I decided to revisit Carrie and company—and whoa, pull up a bar chair, and pour yourself a Cosmo girl! I was all in.
Whilst watching, I couldn’t help but think about what Sex and the City 2021 would look like? Would they be able to even make a program like this again? Would Carrie match her facemask with her Jimmy Choos? Would we even be presented with a show that featured the lead protagonist chain-smoking? Would it be okay that Samantha never seemed to get an STD check? Does Miranda’s feminism go far enough? Is Charlotte being repressed by her traditionalist husband?
The simplicity of the girlie narrative would have certainly progressed—but in the style of Carrie Bradshaw, is this a good thing? Or have we become a generation of women who overanalyze, revert to our google psychology degrees in narcissistic personality disorder, and never fully engage in a moment without prescribing the outcome?
In 2021, Carrie’s, “Can you ever really forgive if you can’t forget?” would be replaced with, “Are we holding onto childhood traumas that are disallowing us to forge lasting relationships?”
“Why are so many independent women struggling to find a dependable man?” would become something like, “Why am I looking for a man—is it because I am unable to love myself fully and embrace vulnerability?”
I find myself pigeonholing these girls into boxes. Samantha has intimacy issues, Carrie is addicted to toxic men, Miranda has a mother wound that invokes her hyper-independence, and Charlotte is most definitely playing out some sort of childhood trauma in her quest for perfectionism.
If I had a degree in psychology, this might be acceptable, but I don’t. Unpopular opinion, maybe, but perhaps my overthinking isn’t always serving me the way I think it is.
You see, the magic formula that made SATC such compelling viewing, these days, would be lost on my mindful generation.
I find myself unable to watch Mr. Big and Carrie’s “love story” without wanting to scream at her for returning to a toxic cycle with an emotionally stunted narcissist. I can’t allow her to discard Aiden because he is the diamond she threw away whilst collecting all her shiny stones. Nearly 36-year-old me is wondering how she is going to cope in years to come when the realization drops that she gave him up (the real deal) for someone who will never change—because they never change, right?
I have read a lot lately, in a quest for growth, to understand myself better, to get underneath my behavior, other people’s behaviors, and generally become a better person. Armed with my new-found knowledge—will I ever be able to take an event for what it is, as it is, in the moment, or will I forever be looking for the hidden traumas in the people I meet?
At almost 36, equipped with all that I have learnt, I am starting to question if my quest for understanding has removed my ability to live in the moment.
It may seem absurd for me, someone who writes regularly on the topics she learns about, to be having this pretty raw and opposing thought process—but do we need to sometimes unravel fully to appreciate life as it is? Has my addiction to understanding human behaviour removed the human from my relationships? Am I now too mindful for my own good? Is this mindfulness or information overload?
Whilst I ponder that, I continue to make my way through six seasons of SATC and marvel in the lack of mindfulness going on, the mistakes that are made, and the relationship struggles that are faced—without the assistance of a self-help guru in sight.
Whilst I am aware that this is make-believe (as if Carrie could afford an apartment on the upper east side on a writer’s salary—not to mention the Manolo Bankhik collection) and that not every problem can be solved by a long brunch with friends, it does make me nostalgic for the days when that was the solution to most of my problems.
Whilst I will not be swapping out my Brené Brown collection anytime soon, what I will be doing, is taking a little break now and then and remembering the learning is also in the living.
I have concluded that much like Samantha Jones is addicted to sex, I have become addicted to analysing myself and everyone around me. I have become Carrie Bradshaw 2.0—the wholehearted version, who, instead of questioning herself after the event, asks myself the big questions before I’ve had a chance to experience the event.
My fascination with how our brains are wired and my interest in understanding more deeply our behaviors and emotions will always be part of me, and I am not suggesting that that level of self-awareness is a bad thing. On the contrary, it has been pivotal in my own healing and growth.
What I am saying is sometimes we must live and let live.
Moral of the story: wait until you are a 30-something to watch “Sex and the City,” and, sometimes, we just need to put down the book and pick up the Cosmo!