I Can’t Settle Down: A Thriller

Somewhere within the sparkle of my weekend I was able to sit down and binge watch 10 episodes of Gypsy – a psychological thriller that follows a therapist, Jean, who obviously lacks the control she desires in her own life so she plays with power and control through the lives of her patients. Being the psych fiend that I am, I couldn’t help but to actively analyze the seemingly sweet, but duplicitous woman before the plot even thickened. I had to know her deal, why she so dangerously fancied meddling in the lives of her clients, what was making her tick like so and how any of these events could occur in the life of a suburban mom. I am indeed… that kind of viewer. Nothing brings me more joy than to catch hold of the sweet little hints in production; a very cinematic shot of a twine bound journal or a glimpse of a half smile from a tired wife, all of it guiding me to the truth. My ‘Gypsy’ truth arrived between Ep. 2-4, and as my finger hovered over it I’ll admit, I became increasingly more uncomfortable.

My discomfort undoubtedly stemmed from Jean’s characterization. Jean is a dreamer. When I first sketched out her description I called her a runner, but her character is so much more than that. While she does run – away from her fears surrounding commitment, away from the truth, toward sweeping emotion, change and so on – its less about her pace and more about the movement. People like her exist in the gray area where the only things that make sense are what they themselves make sense of. We’ve all come across these people, who seem to stand in our world but somehow somewhere very far away from us at the same time. They can’t settle down inside, although for a while they may maintain a strong commitment to a certain thing or a person, that anchor is never enough to withstand the tumultuous waters that be. Much like Claire in the show House of Cards, Jean is married to a very powerful man and has a grounding career of her own but you can’t help but know she’d leave it all at the drop of a dime. A women who loves great art/sex, bourbon, mind games and using words like evocative – pretty tell-tale signs if you ask me.

When we meet these Jeans we want them to stay. We want to keep them like lockets we’ve been given by our aging grandparents or something magnificent we’ve acquired at the thrift. These people inspire us to be more authentic, shake the table, pave our own way and hone in on the sweetest parts of ourselves. And yet, as much as we love to consume Jeans we can’t help but be disgusted by their nature as the excitement never lasts. We run ourselves silly trying to anchor that boat, but it will never float still. Once we realize our little dreamer’s impermanence the excitement ends, and the difficulty sets in. At this point I believe it’s obvious enough that my discomfort came from the fact that its me… I’m a Jeanie.

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A large part of me has always hated permanence. I remember my 8th grade bf shedding real tears when it was time for us to move on to high school because we wouldn’t be attending the same one. I also remember how strange it was to watch him display emotion over something that I thought was so normal… so necessary. After living 21 years of life I recognize that I have to change to exist, I’d love if everyday REALLY was like something new instead of a continuation of something behind me. I breathe transformation, stan growth, welcome blunders, and don’t take *anything* too seriously. And when I break up with a notion or an individual I’m the quickest with the follow up like.

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I identified with Jeanie like I did because I watched her ticking brain, her affinity to risk and her lack of…control ruin her relationships. It can be so difficult to feel as though you are living two existences at once – one you maintain for social reasons, and the other that holds your own set of truths. I realize that I am a difficult person to understand, and therefore a difficult thing to have and to be around. Some of my biggest and best truths are my worst critiques –  I’m never certain because how can anyone be sure of anything, and I’m always moving because how do you get closer to the truth if not through trial? And so it gets lonely. But alas there’s something so alluring about being this person… so why not just be it?

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Jean and Sidney in Gypsy

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