Got the chance to see an interesting movie yesterday, Joel Schumacher's Phantom of the Opera. Now, Phantom is probably my favorite musical of all time, and don't try to tell me about Les Miserables, or Rent or some other show you've seen. I'll readily admit that Phantom has its cheesy moments, but it just strikes a profound chord with me...

...one that recently changed.

See, whenever I'd go to see it in person, I always identified with the Phantom. The scarred, ostracized and tortured genius part of his character always resonated with what I was feeling. Wbat can I say, I was in high school, and I hadn't yet developed much in the way of quality self-esteem. There's a line that Christine Daae says before she kisses the Phantom: "God give me the courage to help you know you are not alone." I wanted that feeling. Not that some girl had to psych her self up and ask the Lord himself for the courage to lock lips with me, but the redemptive love of someone that just wants to be with you so you're not alone. I didn't necessarily want sex or status or control out of a relationship - I just didn't want to be alone. (Insert wailing violins, dime-store psychoanalysis of my origins as an only child here)

Last night was the first time I'd seen Phantom since beeing married. And funny thing - I didn't identify with the Phantom near as much as I used to. I think this ideological avatar of "The Phantom" is just a part of us that wants to be accepted, even appreciated. The ultimate destination of this character's journey is to believe he's too scarred to even acept Christine's love when he's forced her to, and that's the trap of indulging your inner "Phantom." Call it a self-pity party, call it a bout of depression, whatever, but ultimately you tell yourself you're too scarred so many times that you have to believe it and you won't let yourself be healed.

But then, I got past it.
But then, I let myself leave the Phantom behind.

And then I got married, and now, maybe I'm the long-haired hero. Nice.

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