According to Sigmund Freud, there are two fundamental principles at work in civilization. These two principles are the pleasure principle, in which a person is led to do what feels good, and the reality principle, in which desires that can’t be fulfilled are replaced by work.
Their relationship was her pleasure principle. She didn’t think about the consequences of her actions, or whether or not he would still be in bed the next morning. She just kissed him. She simply let the electricity course through her veins. And it felt good.
It felt good while his lips were meshed on hers. When her hands were everywhere, and his were all at once. Nothing was quite as spectacular as when she breathed in and out when she was with him, even though it was just breathing. She did that every day. But not quite like she did when she was with him.
In fact, everything she did with him seemed to be different, somehow. She laughed louder, rambled more often, ate a different variety of foods. Even her references were more distinctive, because he knew a broader range of them. He understood more than Dean had, and laughed at more than Jess had. She tried to stump him, to challenge him. It felt good that she rarely did.
But then he didn’t call. Or he didn’t run into her as often as she liked. Or–even worse–she saw him out on a date. With a blonde, or a brunette, or a redhead. With a girl who could have blue eyes, or green, or violet. His taste in women was varied, just as his tastes in everything else were. He liked to try new things, have different events from day to day.
Rory was just another “new thing”. But everything new eventually turns old.
That was what she thought during his absences. She thought too much. It had been a blessing before she met him; a nod to her intelligence, perhaps. But when she didn’t hear from him, her mind convinced her that everything she did was worse. She seemed to become the type of girl who needed a man to succeed. That didn’t feel good.
That’s when her reality principle kicked in. Determined to prove to herself that she was not that type of girl, she worked harder and longer. On school papers, on articles, on the next great American novel. She wrote and studied and pored over stacks of notes that she had already memorized. But she never quite returned to herself. She simply put her need for pleasure on hold.
Without the replacement of some desires by the reality principle, Freud believed, there would be no civilization.
She comforted herself by telling herself that she wasn’t the only one who felt like this. She started out by giving herself broad examples: surely, someone in the world was suffering because they felt that they were being disregarded. There could be a woman in a marriage that was falling apart, perhaps. Or there was some young adolescent girl who held a secret and unrequited crush. Eventually, however, her manifestations started to become closer and more realistic. Was there another girl who was beginning to feel less than happy about her no strings relationship with Logan? Or was Rory the only one incapable of these types of relationships? There was something wrong with her, then?
She put a stop to this stream-of-consciousness by editing the new piece she had written for the newspaper.
The desires that cannot be fulfilled are withdrawn into the unconscious, a place in a person’s mind that cannot be retrieved by the conscious mind. But Freud discovered that there are three ways to discover what lies in the unconscious, one of which he called parapraxes. Freud explained parapraxes as slips of the tongue, mistakes made by a person through verbal exchanges, the written word, and/or reading.
She began to forget. She forgot how she felt with Logan. She forgot why she was pushing herself so hard. She forgot to do anything but go through the motions every day and act as if she were her same, perky self. Her mother couldn’t tell the difference. (Though that was most likely because she didn’t visit Stars Hollow as often as she should. She had too much work to do.) Paris couldn’t tell the difference. (Though she was going through the exact same thing. Doyle hadn’t contacted her, either.) Rory couldn’t even tell the difference, sometimes.
She continued on in this way until her return home, just in time for the grand opening of the Stars Hollow Museum. She had decided that the town and its quirky citizens might change her demeanor; it had always managed to do that before now. Then Paris came, and brought with her memories of why she had come there in the first place. And Lane was having trouble with Zach. It seemed that the universe was firm in its wish for her to ache.
She drank. She listened to Paris and Lane demoralize the role of men, though their fierce words were hampered by their slurring. She nodded and uttered agreements when she thought that it was necessary. But she never spoke of her own problem. That had been shoved into the darkest corners of her mind.
It resurfaced after she had been left alone with numerous cups of Miss Patty’s punch in front of and inside of her. She wanted to attempt redemption, as Lane and Paris had run off to do. But the words stopped short when she actually heard Logan’s voice, just as wonderful as a recording as in person. Nothing came out but the bitter taste of alcohol and, later, her own sobbing paraprax.
“Why doesn’t he like me? Why doesn’t he call me? What did I do?”