She’s real! SHE’S REAL! It’s taken far too long, but dammit, the Mother is real! And I’m not going to lie, I cried when they cut to a wide shot behind her and then I broke down when they cut to a medium shot of her (above) in front. I know that sounds crazy, but trust me, I’m well within reason (or so I’ve convinced myself) to cry over such a silly thing as the creative team behind How I Met Your Mother revealing who the Mother is on the show.
You see, I’ve made a ton of new friends at school over the last four or five months and we’re all finally beginning to fully understand each other, trust each other, and get comfortable with each other, and because of that, I’ve been able to open up a little bit more with them. Of course, that means that I’ve had to talk about what brought me to film school, and of course, I’ve told stories from when Sandy and I were together. That being said, revisiting some of those old feelings has put me in a weird little funk (mostly when I’m by myself walking through the city, or riding home on the train). It also doesn’t help that I’ve been listening to the new Wonder Years album on repeat for the last week, especially the song, “Passing Through a Screen Door.”
Setting my worries about stability, as well as my disappointment in watching my friends getting married and having kids before me aside, when a show like HIMYM comes along, it is not uncommon for fans of it to talk as if the characters reflect who they are personally. I used to do it all of the time. When Sandy and I were together, we were Marshall and Lily. And when we broke up I held on to that idea because Marshall and Lily spent a year apart and still got married at the end of the second season. But when she started dating someone new, it became clear that I was actually Ted. And the worst part is that I sort of knew that all along. The character of Ted is me, and I am him. We are hopeless romantics constantly searching for “the one.” It’s what drives us to get out of bed every day. It’s what motivates us to go out into the world. And it’s what has been the cause of our weariness over the years.
It’s gotten to the point where I break up with every girl I see before I even talk to them. I play our whole relationship out in my head and I see how it ends: with us apart. I hardly see the point anymore. I thought Sandy and I had something good. I thought we had it all. And now, bringing up all of those old stories and feelings and sharing them with my new friends who don’t know her, it makes it easier to hang on to our past and simply disguise it as hope. These new friends seem to like me better this way. But I guess that’s why I’ve been feeling so fake. It’s because I AM.
In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve fooled even myself. Most days I’m pretty happy. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am if Sandy hadn’t ended our relationship. But to be completely honest, I secretly wished for that to happen. It doesn’t make sense, I know, but a part of me has always felt like I needed some sort of tragedy in my life, and she was my entire world for six years, so of course, I thought that if she left me, it would be the kick I needed to better myself. Isn’t that twisted? And the dumbest thing is that I always thought that she’d come back. But every day she spends with her not-so-new boyfriend is a stinging reminder of what a complete idiot I am. And every day that she spends with him is further proof that she’ll most likely marry the guy, and I will be nothing more than just a long, awful detour in her life.
And all of this makes me wonder about all of the promises we made to each other. It makes me wonder how they could have fallen apart. And it stresses me out that I have to let mine go, because I hate to break promises. It could just be that I feel like she owes me. But then again, is that happiness? Could happiness exist between us anymore? It existed once. It was pure. It was tangible. I felt it in her, so where did it go? I mean, I get that people can grow apart, but why is it so hard to navigate the negative space that’s been created between us? Why are people so willing to give up? And so easily?
I feel like I wake up a tragedy every day now. I know that sounds awful, but it’s how I feel. Do you know how hard it is to love someone so much, for that long only to have to one day just shut it off? It’s impossible. Look at Ted, for example, he’s planning on running away to Chicago because he feels like it would be better for everyone if he just isn’t around anymore once Barney and Robin get married. That’s exactly how I felt when Sandy and I broke up. So, I severed some ties with most of our mutual friends (mostly because I got black out drunk one night and in a tear-filled, angsty rage I unfriended all of them from Facebook, then deleted their numbers from my phone) and I feel like they are all better off now without me. I mean, no one’s tried to actively talk to me, so I assume they are better off, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, Ted and I are the same. The point is that I keep waking up. The hours keep passing, I keep moving, and the world, untethered, keeps spinning. And I’m dizzy. And I’m motion sick. And there isn’t enough Dramamine in the world that could calm the uneasiness I feel. At least when I close my eyes everything stops. I wish I could keep them closed for a long time, but I know it will never be enough in the end.
Having said that, I opened my eyes tonight and I caught a real glimpse of the Mother. I didn’t just see her umbrella, nor did I just see her ankle, nor did I just see any other random, ridiculous limb from her, but I saw her face. And for once in the last almost two years, I felt real hope for myself. Because if this girl is real for Ted, then there has to be an equivalent girl out there for me. And as Alan Sepinwall (of Hitfix.com) puts it, it’s “not enough to solve a lot of the problems ‘HIMYM’ has suffered from the past few years. But maybe it’s enough for the show to move forward into its final season. No more secrets. No more games. Ted meets the woman of his dreams, gets to be the charming romantic guy we liked way back when, and we sail into the sunset.”
As for me, maybe I’m crazy, or maybe I am so far gone into a fantasy world that no one else understands, but maybe this small glimpse of the Mother’s face will be enough to help me move forward with my own life. And that’s why I cried when I saw her. That’s why I rewound the episode and watched it a second time to make sure what I was seeing actually happened. That’s why I rewound the whole sequence over and over again searching for a clue that she may be another decoy. And that’s why I broke down when I realized that she was indeed real, and that next season, Ted gets to meet her. Because one day, I’ll get to meet “her.” And one day I’ll return to being the charming, romantic guy I once was, instead of the vexed cynic I am now. But mostly, I was excited that tomorrow I might wake up with a hope I thought I lost a long time ago.