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    Life Lessons from Eternal Optimist Charlotte York

    “Katrice, swear you’re just like Charlotte.” Whenever my friends and I discussed Sex and the City, I was cast as Charlotte. “Uhh just because I’m optimistic and may dress a little posh doesn’t mean I’m just like her. She can be a little detached and not very well rounded. Charlotte’s still my favorite character, but I don’t think we have that many similarities.” These were my initial thoughts, until I re-watched the series and noticed my friends were right. After re-watching Sex and the City for the umpteenth time, I realized the following:

    Charlotte was pivotal to the group in more ways than we realize. She serves as a moral compass and an example of growing from your experiences to truly discover your version of happy.

    The ladies of Sex and the City experienced both valley and mountaintop moments, yet the one character who was steadfast in her optimism was Charlotte York (later Goldenblatt, girl finally received the love she yearned for). Charlotte was the hopeful romantic, who always offered words of encouragement even in the most despairing situations. Of course, Miranda’s blunt honesty and strength was needed in many of those same moments, but Charlotte’s perpetual optimism balanced the group. Charlotte was a product of her naivety until she grew into the woman she wanted to be and this sometimes made her less well rounded than the other girls. However, there are still great takeaways from Charlotte and here are some of them.

    1. Never be Afraid to Start Over

    Starting over can mean many things in different situations. In Charlotte’s case this meant rebuilding after her failed marriage to Trey MacDougal, a man that seemingly embodied her checklist: nice, sweet, handsome, funny and wealthy. Charlotte viewed marriage as her ultimate goal, without taking into account that marriage is a union of two imperfect people coming together to fulfill their version of a perfect love. 

    Her first marriage imploded due to: Trey’s controlling mother, Bunny, demeaning Charlotte and manipulating Trey, Charlotte’s discovery of her having a 13% chance of ever getting pregnant, their sexual incompatibility and the final straw being Trey’s admission of never wanting children. Of course, all of this took an emotional toll on Charlotte and led her to question her worth and any chance she had of loving again. She felt that because her marriage didn’t work there had to be something wrong with her, until she realized she wasn’t in love with Trey but merely the idea of who he was and who they could be together. By going through the pain of divorce and having to fight for her settlement, Charlotte became more resilient and learned that the unpredictability of life only grows you. Although Charlotte initially viewed the divorce as a “failure,” she learned a lesson that many learn- life can be hard and everything doesn’t happen as planned but the first step in starting over in any capacity is acceptance and admittance.


    2. Never Stop Looking for the Love You Desire

    Although Charlotte didn’t have her desired fairy tale ending with Trey, she remained the optimistic romantic everyone loved. She still believed her Prince Charming was around the corner and the irony was that she was right. Charlotte encountered her Mr. Right by ditching her Mr. Wrong. Because of her divorce with Trey she met the true love of her life when she hired Harry Goldenblatt as her divorce attorney. Harry didn’t look or act the part of a “traditional” Prince Charming, but his kind heart, humor, honesty and charming romantic gestures gave Charlotte a better storybook ending than she could have ever imagined. Charlotte said, “I believe there’s one perfect person out there to complete you.” With Harry she didn’t have to compromise her desires the way she did with Trey. If anything she realized some of her previous ideals on love were shallow and lacked depth. She always sought after an uncompromising passionate love that burned like a steady fire. As she grew, she realized the love she desired was what Harry gave her; wanting her for her even in her glasses (one of their best scenes by the way), appreciating her for who she was and loving her the way she not only wanted, but deserved. Charlotte learned she wasn’t wrong for wanting the type of love she desired, it just didn’t come in the package she had tried to force. It may sound cliche, but the love you desire may not only come in a way you least expect, but it may also be an evolved version of what you need to fulfill your desires. 

    3. Learn not to Project Onto Others What has Been Projected Onto You

    Oftentimes people judge a book by its cover but Charlotte is an example of why you shouldn’t. It’s easy to view Charlotte as an one-dimensional uptight conservative without seeing her as a woman full of complexities, who was growing into who and what she wanted to be. Bunny believed that Charlotte wasn’t suitable for Trey because she lacked a blue-blood pedigree as well as the simple fact that Charlotte wasn’t who Bunny wanted her son to be with. When Charlotte initially met Harry, she rejected the thought of a relationship with him because of his physical appearance, yet still wanted to be friends-with-benefits. Essentially, Charlotte projected the same ideals of making someone fit into a mold she created for them- the same exact thing Bunny did to her. 

    Though Harry’s heart won her over, Charlotte had to abandon some of her shallow ideals to really discover what love and living a full life was. This doesn’t mean you should date someone you aren’t attracted to, but if you meet someone who you can bend some of your negotiables for then go for it. If Charlotte would’ve continued to view Harry as beneath her because he didn’t have the “look” Trey did, then she would’ve missed out on someone who made her happy and was everything else she wanted. When she finally agreed to accept Harry on his own terms and not attempt to make him fit her mold, they ended up having a marriage that fulfilled all of her ideals.

    4. Receive support from those you have supported

    Charlotte always tried to be a thoughtful and loving friend, except for the time she spazzed on Samantha for sleeping with her brother and later apologized with muffins. Who could forget when she yelled at Big for leaving Carrie at the altar, “I was always on your side and then you go and do that to Carrie. I curse the day you were born!” Of course, there were times when she needed the motivation and support she gave to others. In those instances she relied on her friends for support and advice, which was exponentially helpful especially with her knack for overthinking and being insecure about her flaws. 

    5. In spite of ups and downs, it’s possible to have everything you want.

    Charlotte wanted a husband and a family of her own more than anything. Before her permanent destination with her soulmate Harry, she was in a seasonal marriage with Trey. Though she adopted Lily and later became pregnant with Rose, she underwent years of fertility treatments. Charlotte even had trials with her friends, but she still pushed forward. In her own way Charlotte represents optimism and resiliency throughout lifes bleakest moments. She’s the resident, Ms. Perfect with imperfect situations thrown at her, yet she still made it work. Charlotte’s eternal optimism, drive, love for others and steadfastness are the characteristics that remind me of myself and I can’t say that I don’t like it. 

    Despite all the obstacles Charlotte faced, she always continued to push for her dreams, which later became living her version of happy. If there’s anything I love about Charlotte and all the ladies of SATC is that they all chose to live their unique version of a “best life.”

    Charlotte’s journey taught us to believe in ourselves and what lies ahead while knowing that the rewards of perseverance make the journey worth more than the destination. 

    Images via: GIPHY & HBO

    Katrice Mitchell
    Katrice Mitchell

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