What does a thirty year old man do at 9:00AM when he realizes his paralyzing anxiety is rooted in an incessant search for approval from others? He smokes a bowl of weed, drinks five cups of coffee, and checks in with the Gilmore Girls. Why? Because he doesn’t know how to work on cars. Besides, it’s a different era from the one in which our fathers came of age. Cars today run on magic and no one understands how they work.
Now, you’re probably reading this and thinking, This guy is adorable! The absolute cutest! Boyish charm aside, I have something serious to say about my anxiety and why I think Lorelai Gilmore will help me even more than my ten years in therapy.
I have to admit that the first time I tried to watch an episode with Kristie, I was a real Luke about the whole thing. I kept thinking, Coffee and cheese fries coupled with a total disregard for aerobic training! These Gilmore Girls are gonna die from issues related to cardiovascular disease before the third season even starts. On top of that, the show seemed entirely vaginal. I felt like I was watching a vagina queef and menstruate simultaneously in slow motion over and over again. Call in the blood spatter analysts.
Then something happened. Netflix presented Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I had only just returned from the out building, aka the place I smoke pot so Kristie doesn’t have to smell it. I told her I would watch it with her in order to keep the marriage alive. (Good move. We’re still together.) And I’ll be goddamned if a seed wasn’t planted deep inside of me that very day. I don’t mean the genetically modified, Monsanto kind of seed that causes babies to be born with one eye and two dicks. Rather, it was a seed of understanding and much needed self-awareness.
I’m in desperate need of approval from others. So much so, that I can’t tolerate the idea of someone not liking me for almost any reason at all. Approval is my key driver, and without it I become paralyzed. Actually, I become obsessive, resentful, angry, and,sometime after that, paralyzed.
I don’t know how it happened. My best guess is that it’s a product of an evangelical upbringing. The emphasis on the superiority of god’s will over my own will conditioned me to seek external sources of approval. Over the course of time, I transferred this power from the idea of god to people. I did it for so long that I eventually lost touch with my own values and interests. Building your life around your values and interests is essential for happiness and fulfillment. Otherwise, you end up feeling detached and thinking you’ve disappointed everyone anyway. That’s how I ended up high as fuck and running a Gilmore Girl’s marathon.
At thirty I’m figuring things out. It’s nice. It’s often painful, but I’m not paralyzed anymore. I’m moving forward. I see what I’m doing to myself everytime I make a major decision hoping it will make a boss or a family member like me more. I see it, and I’m ready to stop it. I’m capable of stopping it. I’m ready to see the person I’ll be and the life I’ll build when I try to live up to my own expectations instead of everyone else’s.
At sixteen, Lorelai Gilmore had a baby and a job at an inn. From there, she built a life that she loved. She did things on her own terms. She upset a lot of people, but at the end of the day that didn’t matter. She didn’t need their approval. That means a lot to me right now. I’ve built almost everything in my life around gaining approval from other people. In this moment, I need a role model who can show me what it means to not care about what everyone else thinks.
I know I’ll get there, and people will probably say, There’s Jeremiah. He’s a real Lorelai. However, it won’t matter what they say because I won’t need anyone’s approval.