I just recently started watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix while I jog. I felt as though I needed a little comedy, since laughing and smiling seriously isn’t something I do that often anymore. I really don’t know why, but I’m trying to get to a point where I feel human again, and I thought it would help.
I can say with confidence that I can’t stand Ted Mosby. Seriously, I don’t like him. Now, I’ve seen later episodes, I’ve never watched the show regularly, but when it is on while I’m cooking dinner, I tend to watch it and laugh. So, when I say I can’t stand Ted, it isn’t the character that he becomes, because I really don’t know that character well. What I mean, is I can’t stand who he is at the start of the show.
He does everything for the person he likes. He is so focused on finding that perfect union that he is self-destructing, and setting himself up for failure. How is he doing this? By constantly putting himself out there. He is repeatedly trying to fit a block in a round hole. It doesn’t fit, and he is trying to make it fit instead of letting it come naturally. He isn’t being himself, he is being fake in an attempt to attract that person and really putting the cart in front of the horse.
As I’m running on my elliptical I find myself rolling my eyes and scoffing. In my head I’m saying things like “Ted, stop being a douche rag, man up! Don’t do that!” And how do I know this? Well, I never asked this question until I was getting ready for the day after watching the show. I speak from experience. I am Ted. I constantly lose myself in someone I’m interested in. I hyper-focus on them and what we have until I destroy every last bit of it and nothing remains. I know what I want, and I see that in my relationships. Even if it will never work. Even if my idea of happy isn’t realistic. Instead, I try to make it fit, try to bend myself until there’s not much left of the person that attracted said individual in the first place.
But how do you stop that? I really couldn’t tell you. It’s so hard for someone like Ted and I to slow it down, take it naturally and let things form as they will. We are terrified of ending up sixty, alone, and surrounded by pets. We want something real, and that’s our downfall. We try to capture it, try to make something real out of something that might not be.
We also constantly blame ourselves. You might not see it on the show, but I’m sure Ted stays up late at night, wondering what he might have done to cause things to go south. Or, he might be up late wondering how he could have made things go differently when there wasn’t anything he could have done. Because, for every Ted Mosby out there, there’s also people who can’t be pleased no matter how you try. There are also people that are looking for something perfect in a different way, a movie way, that will never come. These people have their own ideas of how their relationships might go. Coffee in Paris, breathless walks on the shore, spending a night under the stars talking and talking until the sun comes up. They don’t account that the coffee might be a little bitter, or there might be broken glass along the shore, or even that you might be plagued by mosquitoes all night, chasing you inside and out of the moonlight.
The real problem is, I don’t know how to be any different, and neither does Ted. Like Robin told him in the second episode, you can’t shut those feelings off like a switch. It’s who you are. And the thing that really freaking sucks about it, is you just have to wait until someone gets that in you, until someone is able to put all of those nagging fears to sleep. It’s who you are, and if you feel as though you have to make something fit, it isn’t worth all the bending in the first place. But I’m sure you will keep trying, just like Ted and I, until that perfect fit comes along.