09 September 2013

the quotable princess bride #1

Last month I reread William Goldman's The Princess Bride. (If you've never had the pleasure, you should know that the book's more cynical than the movie, but also far more clever.) Amidst my laughter, I found myself dog-earing pages to mark particularly good lines.

Then I thought that I should share them with the rest of the world. So here is the first.


Jeanne Samary by Renoir
"Isn't it awful what we'll do in this world to be wanted?"

At various times I've lived in fear of being unwanted. I would worry that nobody liked me, that people didn't approve of me.

That fear shaped my mannerisms as I interacted with others. Often I faked my way through, smiling big when I thought I should, laughing at jokes I didn't get, faking interest in the conversation when I actually thought it was stupid. Afterwards I would feel strange, knowing I had put on a "face" for the world. It was unsatisfactory. Awful, as Goldman frankly says.

This still happens but I am more aware of it. I am trying instead to listen to the people who encourage me, and to believe them-- to believe that they really do enjoy my company and really do want to be my friend. Which means that I don't have to impress them, to make them want to have me around. I can stop squeezing into uncomfortable masks, masks that I think will be more acceptable or popular.

I can just be me. It's a far happier way to live.


  1. This is a tough issue for me, too, and it's complicated by the fact that if I simply acted according to my own (laziest) inclination, I probably would come off as rude and uninterested when out and about. I do want to get to know people and make friends, but it takes a real effort to "act social" at group gatherings. This is because I don't feel like I'm good at it. Sometimes I feel like my smile is really weird looking. I haven't yet found a balance between "being myself" and being my BEST self.

  2. Yes. I can come off as very abrasive or if I am my "natural" self. Natural in the sense of "nit making any effort to be loving."

    So you're right, it is appropriate to try to "change who you are" when it's a question of overcoming character flaws!