The Heathers Mentality

14 Apr

A couple weeks ago, Ike and I filled a shocking gap in our 80s movie experience. We finally watched The Heathers, the 1989 black comedy starring a not yet felon Winona Ryder and a crazy Christian Slater. Now, I’m not really recommending that anyone run and add this one to the Netflix queue, unless, of course, you enjoy completely amoral characters and absurd uses of the ‘eff’ bomb. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Despite the rough content, after a couple weeks, a life lesson came to me from the movie. We learn things from the strangest places sometimes.

A Significant Synopsis*

* I’ve really simplified things here, but if you haven’t seen it and want to go in fresh, then STOP READING NOW. If you still need a dose of me, why not read this one? Or this one? They are delightful, too.

Vernoica and Heathers 1 - 3.

Ok, to get the lesson you have to know the basic breakdown of the movie. Here it goes.
Ryder plays a popular girl, Veronica Sawyer, who recognizes how cruel her friends are. Oh yeah, all three of them are named Heather. Movie people are so clever! Through a twisted turn of events and a mysterious new guy J.D. (Slater), Veronica causes the death of the horrible Queen Bee Heather and two bully jocks. But even with these three terrible people gone, a new Queen Bee Heather (formally the most timid) takes the original’s throne. Finally the madness stops when Veronica decides to stop trying to kill the problematic people in her life, and instead tries to be inclusive and kind to everyone.

Killing the Heathers Mentality

Look, the battered, but nice, version of Veronica.

I think that the first Heather’s fate, and her replacement by a new Heather (are you keeping up with me here, I didn’t name the characters) prove that we can’t live by the, “I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank)” frame of mind. See? Veronica got rid of the Heather that she hated, that plagued her life. But soon her life was filled with other people spreading rumors or bossing her around again. Getting rid of the first Heather didn’t solve anything. It just made her a murderer.

Lately, I’ve been a part of conversations where I heard people (or yes even me) say, “I will feel happy when I get a boyfriend, I lose this 20 pounds, I get the perfect job, I buy a house” type of stuff. But I keep thinking, what will happen when we get that thing? Unfortunately, from my experience another issue will crop up to steal that happiness.

That is what The Heathers taught me. I can’t keep eliminating problems in my life to achieve happiness. I need to decide to be happy now. I can’t base it on the ever-shifting circumstances of my day-to-day life, things are often times beyond my control.
I’m not saying that we all shouldn’t make goals to achieve the things we want. I’m just saying don’t put so much pressure on a certain goal so that we trick our brains into thinking that achieving it is the only way to be happy. We all need to learn to be happy right now. Not happy when…

Does that make sense? I hope so. Be happy in the now. Conditional happiness will only cause us to miss out on life.
And I’ve officially gotten as deep as I want to go today. I hope you’ve been inspired by this unexpectedly inspiring dark teen movie.

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