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Uncovering laughter, joy and sanity in everyday life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What's in a name?

Why Poor Ophelia? I've been asked this question more than once in the last few years.
A difficult question, that directly questions my identity.
My biggest struggle would most likely be defining myself by what I do for others, rather than what I do for myself. Doing things for myself often seems lackluster. I get in moods where I just don't care about me. Looking for motivation in others needs seems easier than listening to my inner voice.

I like to read Dr. Alice Boyes online. She's a Social and Clinical Psychologist among other things. A few months back I found myself taking a personality test to help identify my some of my strengths and weaknesses for fun. Of all the things I found out, my levels of sympathy and morality are low.
Low scorers believe that a certain amount of deception in social relationships is necessary. People generally find it more difficult to relate to the unstraightforward low-scorers on this scale. It should be made clear that low scorers are not unprincipled or immoral; they are simply more guarded and less willing to openly reveal the whole truth.
This information was difficult to digest at first. I've always considered myself rather sympathetic and honest - maybe too honest for my own good.

How this all ties into my screen name is just going to be hard to follow. After studying Hamlet in school I stumbled across a book, Reviving Ophelia. My self-help book addiction started young. After a few rocky relationships in high-school and college (yes -I was a slut, I blame society and all the skinny models), I wrote a lame poem an inspiring poem, that detailed my feelings regarding some guy who's name I don't even remember now.
This particular boy had a mild case of Tourette's syndrome, which I found interesting. I always knew the exact moment he fell asleep, when his body stopped twitching. Accepting his illness was easy. We had a similar struggle with food issues and body image problems. It was not surprising, just mildly hurtful to be dumped for being 3 months younger than the legal drinking age - so we couldn't go the the bar together, get drunk and make out. Tall Blond, handsome, with piercing blue eyes. Too pretty to trust.

Death To All
Innocent joy
By a single touch
Rotten flesh
Tastes Bitter
Unlike your love
That doesn’t flow easily
“Hot dogs! Get your red hot ones right here!”
Bellows a vendor on a street corner
He sells meat the same way I sell myself:
Crushed dreams
Begin to glow
Giving new meaning
To life
Yet I choose to wear a blindfold
And drown with grace like the poor Ophelia
Who was killed by a man -

But also by his tragic flaw.
-Alison Adelaide Rogers 1998Ó

The men I dated, until meeting my Prince Kansas, never felt long term - seldom conveyed feelings of security or trust. It wasn't about friendship either. Purely sex driven with most, and never truly satisfying. How I found my prince on the internet, I'll never understand.
"Poor Ophelia" was chosen as reminder to balance myself within my relationship with others, myself and society. Compounded with my love for Hamlet (my favorite on-screen Ophelia portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter) I somehow latched onto the play in school with a dorky passion that couldn't be shaken. To this day, I still find myself occasionally referring to my parents as my Aunt Mother and Uncle Father, as they were my legal guardians from age 13 on.

When in college, I had to come up with a screen name to register on the website. Over my one week free trial period, this is where I met my husband of 10 years this coming, cash gifts welcome May 2010.  Remembering my poem, the name itself should have easily eliminate some men in mullets, and/or haters of Hamlet, which needed not apply for internet pen pal status.

Looking for your address at work the other day I found this. The first email you sent me, dated 3/27/98. I don't save outgoing, so I only the vaguest recollection of what you are responding to. Gosh that's a while ago. Below that is your profile. The first things I knew about you...

"Poor Ophelia, will you throw yourself into the mill pond now?"

"Sorry, the url address didn't work. No, I shall not drown now that you are in my computer... hehehe. Nice to hear from you. Tell me about yourself. I don't really belong to that matchmaking thing anymore. "
~ poor_ophelia

Distance: 912 miles
Artistic, passionate, mature female looking for you!
18 year old female, located in Peterborough, Seeking 20-30 year old male for short-term relationship or long-term relationship.
To express my inner self, I guess I must divulge the following... I love to write, draw and cook. I like to talk and look for people who can entertain me with interesting conversation. I am stuck in a time warp with Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. I am caring and expressive. 5 foot 3 inches, green eyes. I have a bizarre sense of humor. Half Monty Python, Half Douglas Adams.

Ethnicity: Caucasian
Religion: Agnostic
Body Type: Average
Height: 5ft. 3in.
Smoking: Don't smoke
Drinking: Drink socially/occasionally
Children: None
Plans for Children: Want children

In a fight, long ago before college, my Aunt said I was going to marry the first man who asked me. She made it sound like a careless act on my part. These words stuck with me a long time. I was very suspicious of my husband when we became engaged, wondering if I was loosing some bet my Aunt had made.
On one of my latest trips visiting family, my Aunt said to me in a Zellers department store, she is very proud of me - of where I am, who I'm with and of what we have together. I remember covering my face with sunglasses conceal the tears streaming down my face. I was happy to hear the words from her, but sad to know, that inside, I'm not satisfied with myself... and terrified I may never be.