They May Be Fictional, but My Love Is Real

Hailey ❤

Three of my best friends have boyfriends, one of them is always talking to someone who’s a real hoot, another-about to get engaged. I absolutely love love! Valentine’s Day, best holiday ever. Celebrating love and the people we care about is nothing but pure positivity and joy! I’ve always wanted a valentine, and maybe I’ll have one someday. For now though, I have many loves… people (and possibly animals) who make my heart flutter. While they may be fictional… My love for them is real.

It all started when I was three years old watching Handy Manny. I had always dreamed of having my own prince because of the influences from my favorite Disney princess movies. Clearly this three year old was NOT in a romantic relationship, so I decided to pretend. Every morning before preschool, I would beg my mom to put the TV onto Handy Manny. Why was I attracted to this man? I guess we’ll never completely know. I guess it was very admirable to see a young man taking care of his community and loved ones… did Manny replace the void of an absent father or was he simply just the boy next door? Again, three year old girly, not a completely developed head or heart. With that being said, my love for Handy Manny will forever go on. 

Manny wasn’t the last of my fictional crushes. For the rest of my 18 years of life, I have created a list full of almost every single Disney prince, animal characters, musicians, actors, and Ted Lasso who make my heart pitter patter. Is this the reason why I don’t have a boyfriend or romantic partner? It may come across as a “red flag” or even a call for help to see that I am attracted to multiple fictional characters. At first, it seemed like I was attracted to looks. “He’s cute. He’s handsome. My prince.” My poor mother can attest to the amount of times I would have a crush on someone from the screen.

Middle school *shivers*. This was the time when I was an avid reader and teeny-bop queen. Of course I was drooling over any movie star. My friends and I would sit and talk for hours about our fan fiction love for these beautiful people on both the stage and script. I believe that is one thing that Liela and I bonded over, our love for fictional men. The Hunger Games, Divergent, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Shadowhunters, and more all expanded my fantasies into the realm of REAL people. I got really into reading young adult and dystopian book series. Whenever Liela would read a book and find “her character”, I of course had to do the same. I yearned to understand what she found so incredible about this human! The hot, bad boy with mysterious vibes that I would discover in each novel left me feeling: extremely single and extremely ready to have an admirer. Well, I hate to break it to you, but I am indeed still single. At least I was able to add a few more potential suitors to my list.

The beginning of the Corona Virus was a very interesting time for everyone. We were all stuck at home seeing absolutely no one, so I began watching movies. My love list grew at normal speed with normal people… Anakin Skywalker, Ferris Buller and his best friend Cameron, Marty McFly. You know, every heartthrob of my parents’ generation. After months stuck at home, we ran out of 80’s movies. I downloaded Disney Plus and watched all of my childhood favorites. My past loves such as Hercules, Dimitry(from Anastasia), Nick Wilde, Prince Naveen,  and Flynn Ryder, reignited my suppressed love. I think I truly went crazy, but you can’t stop love. My list at the end of the quarantine included Simba, Flick, Max Goofy, and Powerline. My newest additions do make me smile, but is the excess amount of characters a sign of being incomplete, alone, or depressed?

Why on Earth did I choose to write about my fictional love life? That is kind of embarrassing to be honest… maybe even a free ride to therapy. When I reflect on this piece of artistic freedom though, I understand the meaning behind it all. As a society we are always looking for what is bigger and better. When we don’t achieve it, we freak out and latch onto what is directly in front of us. Maybe the characters I see on the screen provide me with what I need at the time. A friend, lover, laugh, smile, any emotion or feeling that is absent currently. While having a little crush is harmless, it is important to check in with yourself and understand how you can be content with what you have, and who you are.

We don’t have to be in love to be alive; I can live a long and happy life without the emotional support of another individual. After this article is posted, my list of fictional lovers will be gone, because I have learned… all I need to do is love myself. 

Liela ❤

Now, I have my fair share of friends who are in relationships. Am I happy for them? Of course I am. But, you know who never disappointed me the way relationships do? Fictional characters and my unhealthy crushes on them. I have many: all ages, all types, all genres. And I have a slide show to prove it, 112 slides to be exact. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through them all. I’ll just give you a breakdown of my major ones. Yes, be afraid. Yes, they’re odd. Yes, I might have minor issues. Meh, whatever. 

My first crush was Aladdin. Yeah, the ‘flying on a magic carpet one’. I swear, I would watch that movie over and over again. Not just the first one either. All three Aladdin movies. I still have all three movies on VHS tapes. I had to get a new tape after a while because the tape itself started to rip and wear out. I can’t remember why I thought it was a good idea to have a crush on Aladdin at the ripe age of (maybe) 4. I just know that baby Liela had taste, and I’m honestly proud. Same as Hailey, this wasn’t a romantic crush or anything because that’s weird. I was just hung up on the movie and didn’t know why then. I do now! It probably isn’t a coincidence that it’s still my favorite Disney movie…

In middle school (coincidentally, Hailey and I went to the same one), we both went through the Tumblr girl era. We all know the one. Hailey and I read all the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Harry Potter books around the same time. I went through the whole ‘mysterious boy whose mysteriousness made him hotter’ phase. They still hold a special place in my heart. Forever love. Most importantly, I discovered a beautiful thing called music. Thank you father for introducing me to the beautiful art of Classic Rock. It really is the best thing man has ever created. I developed crushes on rock stars, and I’m almost certain that this is when my issues started. Most of them were already dead, so that’s that. I was definitely one of the weird girls who was ‘different’. Yeah, that’s 100% changed now. 

As I got older, I became a movie buff. Yeah, yeah, I know–nerdy and obnoxious. I didn’t watch anything specific; it was really everything and anything. I grew and so did my list of loves: Loki, The Mandalorian, Aaron Hotchner, Steven Hyde, Magneto, Anakin Skywalker, Marty McFly, James Bond (only Daniel Craig) Dean Winchester, Fred Weasley, Finnick Odair, Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Atticus Finch (I’m sorry), Quicksilver. I am a walking red flag, and I apologize. It doesn’t get better either. I had crushes on Aladdin, Hercules, Flynn Rider, DIMITRI (Anastasia), Prince Naveen, Prince Eric, and Prince Phillip (the prince from Sleeping Beauty). Don’t you just love the similarities with my crushes and Hailey’s crushes! There’s definity more, but I’ll spare you. You’re welcome. 

Why do I love these specific people? No clue. Ok, I lied. They comfort me. That’s my best guess. I grew up with them, so they hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll love them forever. 

They’re all just for fun, though. It’s all for jokes, but it’s a joke I don’t think will ever not be funny. And I don’t care if it makes me weird or whatever. The only thing I don’t agree with Hailey is that my list won’t go away. I love them too much. The ultimate joke that’ll never end– my loneliness. Thank you.

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