Dear Diary

Rina Grobcontributor

Rina is just here to eat her way through various cities, pet dogs, write nonsense at 3 am in fits of insomnia, and consume copious amounts of coffee and diet coke.
Why do I feel so weird about women who remind me of me in books?

I recently bought Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth. I was intrigued by the cover and so excited to read it! Just from the blurb, I related to the main character a lot.

I am not a glossy person. I can’t walk in heels and I don’t like parties. I mostly feel awkward and silly and get uncomfortable being the center of attention and I tend to overthink things.

When the TV show 30 rock first came out I identified with Liz Lemon more than I ever had with a character in my life. I was also going through a blazer phase, so I felt SEEN!

Liz liked organization. She liked food and didn’t want to leave her house after 9 pm. She was the antithesis of the female characters we were use to.

Shortly after 30 Rock was released there were a slew of imperfects, lovable female characters that burst onto the scene. In America there was Broad City, Girls, and Insecure. The list keeps going on and on...

On the British side, we had Fleabag, Chewing Gum, and Miranda, to name a few.

I loved these characters. I felt connected to them. I couldn’t stop watching them.

So reading a book like Adults, a character that arguably could be on any of these TV shows felt like a perfect match.


I hated her.

Why do I hate her?

We are in the middle of a pandemic. I am sitting on my bed 90% of my time. I have nowhere to be, nothing to do, and still I would literally rather just stare at the ceiling than spend time with this character.

When I was around 14 or 15, I randomly came across Lauren Weisberger ‘Everyone worth knowing.’ You might not recognize her name from her best selling debut novel ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. At the time I was dreaming of moving to New York City and living the glamorous life (my outlook on this changed once I actually moved to the city and reality set in, although my love for the city did not falter, it just changed).

I wanted to be that main character so bad. Bette Robinson was bookish, described as being not as thin as her peers (although given societies unhealthy obsession with being skinny, who knows what this means) she felt awkward, like an outcast but she wanted to belong.

Why didn’t I mind her?

I sat with this question for days. Tried to make sense of this in my head. I was made uncomfortable by Jenny but loved Bette. My first instinct was to claim its because women are complex and mysterious beings. Who knows why we feel that way we feel.

But even I couldn’t hide from the truth at 2 am when my corona filled anxiety brain refused to slow down.

It's because I found Jenny pathetic.

And I too, feel pathetic.

No matter what she did, she wasn’t going to fit in and I feared the same.

When confronted with an in-depth look into the mind of someone so like me, I cringe. On tv, you don’t see these inner workings as much. On-screen it feels exaggerated for comedy sake, for the laugh.

The episode is over and it's gone.

But when I look at the words they stare back at me haunting me with all my shortcomings. They sit there mocking me with all my self diagnosed flaws.

I see reflected in Jenny all the failings of the things a sexist society tells us to be. Whilst Bette ultimately somehow succeeds. She loses weight, gets hip clothes, she dates the desirable bachelor.

And I am still eating cheese alone in my bed at 3 am.

More than anything this is a lesson of self-love and I should give Jenny the love I can’t give myself.

Maybe by the end of this quarantine, I can finally say I gave Jenny and myself a break.

Probably not. We all know I am going to just watch Netflix for the next three weeks.

But at least I can say I gave it the old college try.



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