Lessons from Great Gatz

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

I think it is about time that I explain the significance behind my blog’s name, “Great Gatz”— I’ve gotten a few questions about it and all I ever tell people is that it’s Jay Gatsby’s real name in The Great Gatsby. I never really appreciated that novel until I read it a second time in college… it resonated a much deeper meaning once I read it for pleasure instead of for a grade. James Gatz, who changed his last name to Gatsby later on, can be seen as either a criminal bootlegger or a valiant hero. Personally, he is my muse. He sacrificed so much and stopped at nothing just to come up with an elaborate scheme to have the love of his life once again in his arms. Too bad Daisy Buchanan was a beautiful fool that loved money more than a wonderful man who will treat her right… Gatsby worked from the lower-class up just so he could afford to give her the entire world, but it just was not enough for her and ultimately Tom’s social background triumphed over his. Although this tragic novel is fictitious, I admire Gatsby’s relentless will and effort for love. My blog’s name is my way of paying homage to an inspiring character that reminds me of the type of love that I want.

I wish there were people like James Gatz who did not let shame and criticism stop him from pursuing Daisy. He was told that he was not good enough for her, so consequently he built a lavish empire of sorts over the years just to prove everybody wrong. I want a love that won’t stop after a few disagreements, and will fight to keep whatever we have. I think I connect a lot with Gatsby because I wouldn’t stop showing somebody how much I love them when the going gets tough/tough gets going. I would probably go to the ends of the earth just to prove myself to them and to show them that they’ve got my whole heart… But feeling discouraged would probably be the most difficult obstacle I’d face. Gatsby impresses me because he just kept on going… He was not discouraged about the fact that Daisy was married and had a baby with another man, and especially with the lingering question of whether or not her feelings are still there. I feel that I struggle the most when I feel that the feelings are not reciprocated, that I am putting in much more effort than I am receiving. I’d love to have a lover like Jay Gatz who I know won’t stop loving me, despite my flaws, and vice versa.

On another note, I’ve forgotten how “the chase” feels and works. It’s incredibly pathetic and I sulk to my girl friends about my current awkward nature and how I feel like it’s very difficult for me to socialize. I feel like I have to give myself a good kick just to work up the courage to go up and talk to somebody, and even then I have to keep myself from shaking… and it is even worse through technology where my emotions are not properly conveyed. I am afraid that my weird personality throws people off way too easily and it’s no wonder why conversations end. But at the same time, perhaps I am too friendly and seem like I talk to too many people, and the singular person that I really do find interest in will not see it because of me trying to mask my nervousness behind my hyperactive façade… like maybe I am not taken seriously because it seems like I am just the type of girl that talks to everybody (which I am not). At the same time, I feel like maybe I should stop being so confrontational and putting myself out there so much and wearing my heart on my sleeve. I suppose I feel as though I always have to try everything that I know and put my best foot out there, but it’s just so problematic. And as I type all of this, I feel increasingly embarrassed and crazy. Maybe I’m slightly neurotic… I wish I could shut off my brain during the times that I think too much. If Gatsby thought too much, I don’t think he would have gotten as far as he did. But perhaps I feel too much, too… Just count how many times I used the word “feel” in this paragraph alone.

Above all the lessons that James Gatz teaches me, the greatest is patience— a recurring theme that life tries to teach me. So in honor of my muse, I will focus on being patient. It is okay to hope and envision positive outcomes, but forcing anything will only lead to destruction… and I would not want to destroy any potential beauty because of my own raging, impatient heart.

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