We all have them. From work, from friends, from potential lovers, from baristas in the coffee shop we frequent, from cab drivers, from our mothers and fathers, even from strangers.
One way to kill your expectations is to watch a movie you have absolutely no idea about save from the movie poster and the title, which incidentally is also the name of one of the main characters. So, you only have a vague poster and a name, then you sit for two hours to watch it, and you have no idea how it will go or how it could affect you.
That’s how it went for me last night when I watched Ruby Sparks. Even the name sounded silly.
The past few weeks have been like a long chapter in a story that revolves about relationships and expectations. It seems like everyone I talk to have something to contribute to this, whether they are unaware or not. I don’t necessarily think that it’s bad to want specific things from a relationship—assurance, security, consistency, etc. But Ruby Sparks made me realize how dangerous it could be if you let yourself be driven by your expectations that they blind you of what you already have.
The movie really hit home, especially because Calvin is a writer. While I’m not a novelist, I understand where his ideals are coming from, and why he wrote Ruby Sparks the way she is. I understand him. I recognize his need to keep up to his ideals (sometimes) more than to the real people around him.
See, when you feel that everything around and inside you are falling apart, creating a character is an escape. It’s an oasis in the midst of a fucking desert. And when you’re a writer, establishing a character is no different from meeting a new friend and getting to know that friend.
There was a pivotal scene in the movie that I don’t think I will ever forget. It’s when Calvin told Ruby that he, in fact, wrote her (not wrote about her), and that he could make her do anything he wanted. And he provided a demonstration.
And it blew my mind. It was heartbreaking and enlightening at the same time. I felt Ruby’s longing to be free and I felt Calvin’s struggle to make her see. And for a moment I didn’t know if I wanted Ruby to stop spinning or Calvin to stop writing. (I know this may not make sense to someone who hasn’t seen the movie).
The point is, we can’t hold on to our expectations of other people. They will always be themselves, and we will always be us. They can’t always be who we want them to be in the same way that we can’t always live up to how they want us to be. The best we could do is live with one another’s unconnected-ness and be okay with it.