“The Breakfast Club” — Can You Relate?

A good friend, Donna, had shared this link on Facebook yesterday and I was just amazed when I clicked the link and read the following article.  Donna is getting pretty darn good at posting things that totally tug at my heart.  I had never realized how much I could relate to this movie.  It has always been a favorite for my daughter, Gina, and I know that I had watched it several times as she was growing up, but I don’t think that I ever paid attention to the many lessons in it.  I’m going to have to actually sit down and watch it now.

As I read this article, I could relate to each character. Here’s a few of my thoughts on each of the characters.

Andrew’s relationship with his father certainly tugged at me and I could relate to his “everything is fine” attitude.  Andrew definitely knew about masks.  “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” — Andrew

I totally understood the anger that Bender felt because he thought the world had done him wrong.  Bender was the “bad boy” and I certainly knew about the “bad boys” of high school.  And I absolutely related to the idea that one’s perception can make you hardened against those who might improve your life.  I certainly allowed my anger to harden me and kept me from becoming the best version of myself.  I still struggle with letting people into my life.  “Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.” — Bender

While I was far, far, far from the most popular girl in school as Claire was, I can remember the pressures I felt as I continuously tried to please my parents and authority figures.  Living in a VERY small town with a class of less than 60 in total, we all knew each other pretty well.  I had a small group of friends, but was always afraid that they would see the real me and discover all my secrets.  I don’t know that I went along with the crowd, but I do remember how precious their friendships meant to me so I’m pretty sure that anything they wanted to do, I was willing to join in.   I probably would have never bucked the system for fear of being found out.   “I hate it. I hate having to go along with everything my friends say.” — Claire

Wow!  Did I understand Brian, or what?  I’m right up there with the self-loathing and would never, ever have been brave enough to embrace who I really was.  As I have begun to open up with people now about my life, I have gotten many messages from my classmates who say that they never would have thought that I battled depression.  I’ve had many tell me that they were intimidated by me in high school (and I think that is absolutely hilarious – I was so far from being intimidating) and others who say that they thought I was a happy-go-lucky, great-life type of classmate.  Little did they know what a quivering bowl of jelly I was on the inside.  “Like, when I step outside myself kinda, and when I, when I look in at myself, you know? And I see me and I don’t like what I see, I really don’t.” — Brian

I really can’t remember Allison.  Based upon what is written about her character and her fear of growing up, I guess my memories of her are way off base.  In my memory of the movie, I thought she was a sad girl with a bad reputation who was lost and didn’t know what to do to please others.  If that was her character, I can relate to that.  In my father’s eyes, I was Allison.  I do agree with her in that I felt that no matter what I did, there was no way for me to win.  I will definitely have to re-watch the movie to find out about Allison.  I do know that I couldn’t wait to grow up and get the heck out of my home.   “When you grow up, your heart dies.” — Allison    “Well, if you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have you’re a slut. It’s a trap. You want to but you can’t, and when you do you wish you didn’t, right?” — Allison

I am anxious to re-watch the movie to find out more about Vernon.  I just remember him being a tough detention monitor.  I thoroughly LOVED my teachers and wanted with all my heart to be close to them – I admired them so.  But, I always knew that I had to keep my distance and couldn’t let them really know me in fear that they would be able to tell that I was being abused at home.  I worked hard for most of them, especially once I reached high school, but I knew that I couldn’t let myself be close.  In my Latin class, I learned to love words and their meanings.  I thoroughly loved my English teacher because she allowed me to express myself through my writing and to hone my love of reading.  I can still remember reading Great Expectations and An Old Man and the Sea.  I also remember all the book reports we had to write.  (Oh, yeah, I also remember the book report I had written for my then boyfriend.  The silly thing just sat at his desk with it out and was copying it as Mrs. Marshall walked by his desk  Busted.  Darn!)   My Home Economics teacher was what I envisioned a mother to be.  She taught me to cook, how to sew, and how to crochet —  skills that gave me so many hours of pleasure later in life.  My business teacher was rough and tough and down-right scary, but taught me skills that I used later in my teaching career.  And my Guidance Counselor – oh, how I loved that lady.  She tried so many times to reach me and never gave up on me.  While I was never truthful with her about my life at home, (I would have NEVER spoken those words aloud) I believe she understood and did her best to let me know that there was hope out there.

I have always found it funny to think that I chose to become a teacher myself.  While I was a good student, I truly gave my teachers hell.  Some of the stunts I was involved in give me chills now to think of.  I should have been ashamed of myself.  Perhaps those stunts were a way in which I could distance myself from them – if I was a good girl, they might like me and I knew that that was not acceptable.  I was not supposed to be liked by any adult.  All of our teachers cared about us and did their best to teach us the important things in life – respect for others, respect for ourselves, how to use our brains, how to get along in the world, and the importance of learning.  God Bless them all.  I wish I could re-do my high school years so that I could take advantage of all they offered.  I wasted so much educational time.

In relating to Vernon’s quote, I am reminded of my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Thompson.  Oh, how I loved her.  That is, until the day she wrote the following on my report card.  “Betty is such a capable student, but she seems as though she’s afraid to excel.  Is it because she thinks that smart students cannot be liked by others?”  Boy, did I catch hell about that at home!  I remember how hard I worked for her for the rest of the year; I so wanted to please her.  (In reality, maybe I just didn’t want her to write anything else on my report card that would get me in trouble.)  However, for the rest of my school days, that quote would be thrown back in my face by my dad.  I ran into her many, many years later and told her about how her comment had affected me.  She apologized and said that she was young and foolish when she wrote that.  She also told me that she was not really a teacher – her husband had been on the Board of Education and they had a teacher to quit at the last minute and he had put her in the position.  She said she had had no idea what she was doing that first year.  Oh, well, we all learn, don’t we?  And little did she know how spot on she had been with her comment!  “You ought to spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people.” — Vernon

Read through the following article about “Breakfast Club” and see if you can relate to any of the characters.  I bet you can.

‘Breakfast Club’ Quotes For When You Just Need To Be Yourself

ALYSSA FIKSE 10.19.16

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“Just be yourself” is a fairly common message in the teen film genre, but few have navigated the universal feelings as well as The Breakfast Club. While the question over which John Hughes film is the best is frequently pondered, the tale of the brain, the athlete, the criminal, the princess, and the basket case is almost always at the top of the list. While many teen classics feel less than genuine once you cross the threshold into your twenties, there is a timelessness to The Breakfast Club‘s transparency that manages to help it avoid feeling hopelessly dated.  Whether you’re starting to get bogged down by the facade that comes with adult life or still figuring out how to navigate the world as a teenager, The Breakfast Club is great at reminding you that being yourself is your only real option. The exhaustion of hiding your true self will overwhelm you otherwise. Some of us manage the charade better than others, but deep down, we all just want people to see us for who we really are.

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” — Andrew

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The central theme of The Breakfast Club is that everyone has their own problems, whether you can see them or not. Andrew (Emilio Esteves) may seem like just a dumb jock at the beginning, but just like the rest of the kids, his own relationship with his father plagues him. He may be weak-willed, but he keeps up the “everything’s fine” face better than most. While you don’t need to be share every bit of your life with anyone who will listen, having a few people who see the real you is a pretty critical part of being your true self.

“Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.” — Bender

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For most of the film, Bender (Judd Nelson) was the worst version of himself. While he certainly has his reasons, that kind of anger does tend to keep people at arm’s length. The world has done him wrong, so he has a better idea of the harsh reality outside of the cocoon that is high school. However, when you have that information, you can either let it make you hardened against those who might improve your life, or you can see it as an opportunity to embrace those who might encourage you to be the best version of yourself. Be like Bender and learn to let people in (eventually).

“I hate it. I hate having to go along with everything my friends say.” — Claire

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As the most popular girl in school, Claire (Molly Ringwald) constantly felt crushed by the responsibilities that came with pleasing her parents, friends, and other authority figures at the expense of what she really wants. Going along with the crowd because you think that’s just how things are supposed to be will always just end in frustration, so throw off your self-made shackles and cut out those people you actually hate.

“Like, when I step outside myself kinda, and when I, when I look in at myself, you know? And I see me and I don’t like what I see, I really don’t.” — Brian

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Everyone in detention is forced to do some serious soul searching, but Brian, who was assumed to be a happy go lucky dork, actually harbors a good deal of self-loathing. It’s important to realize that everyone has trouble looking in the mirror sometimes. It’s often not easy to embrace who you really are, so be an encouragement to those who are just coming out of their shell.

“When you grow up, your heart dies.” — Allison

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The fear of getting older permeates the teen genre, and nothing captures that better than Allison’s (Ally Sheedy) solemn statement about the perceived nature of aging. Honestly, the pressure to “stay in your lane” permeates adulthood just as much or more than in high school, so by being yourself, you can keep some of that soul death at bay. You don’t have to fit into the boxes that snuff out your spark.

“You ought to spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people.” — Vernon

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Vice Principal Vernon (Paul Gleason) may have been the bully of the film, but this is actually some solid advice. Instead of wasting all of your time trying to cram yourself into a pre-appointed box, just work on making yourself a better version of you. Work hard and be kind. Sometimes that’s the best you can do.

“Well, if you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have you’re a slut. It’s a trap. You want to but you can’t, and when you do you wish you didn’t, right?” — Allison

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As Allison points out, sometimes there is no winning way to be yourself. You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. If nothing you do is going to make the people want to impress give you validation, you’ve got to find that validation in yourself. There’s no use being someone you’re not when it still won’t get you what you want. You might as well be yourself, and the people who actually matter will be into it.

“You see us as you want to see us—in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question?”

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While they all tried to avoid detention like the plague, the crew from The Breakfast Club actually learned a bit (ain’t that the movie way?), but it wasn’t from their textbooks. Everyone is multifaceted, so don’t be afraid to show every part of yourself to those who deserve it. Kiss the girl in the parking lot and them pump your fist to the sky.

Link to Article.

 

Author: alightatthetopofthehole

A mother, a grandmother, a retired teacher, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a troubled soul. A woman working on understanding her depression and finally overcoming the feelings of inadequacy, emptiness, failure, and not being whole.

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