Sunday, August 23, 2009

the fatal attraction of pretenses....

There is a pivotal scene in the movie The Breakfast Club where the five students are sitting in a circle on a platform in the library near the end of their Saturday detention. After starting a day seeing one another through one dimensional slits, they begin to break open and away from the pretences they held onto like life preservers.

Brian, the appointed genius admits to the others that he is wondering what it will be like on Monday when they all go back to their groups of friends. Claire, the popular princess who lived above the minions states her truth...... she would not acknowledge them on Monday. She told the truth, hurting the others. They lashed back, pressing hard on the image she projected forcing her to recognize her transparency.

Like every member of the Breakfast Club, Claire was challenged and pushed into a place of self reflective discomfort. The detention gave them a chance to interact with others whom they never would've given any other circumstance. The need to belong, and the need to be accepted was so strong in their everyday lives that they wouldn't have dared to drop the masks plastered on their faces. A Princess, A Jock, A Brain, A Basket Case and A Criminal. Societal and self imposed labels. Like we do in real life. At the end of the movie.....oh, I'm giving it away, but since it was filmed 24 years ago I figure I'm safe in doing so....... the lesson learned? That they all had a little bit of each other in them.

Why do we hold onto pretences? Why does a person don a facade that is in direct contrast to who they really are inside? Are there times when posing and posturing in a role that doesn't reflect truth the way to be? If we wear the role long enough, we begin to believe it ourselves. Then its a big pill to swallow when someone comes into our lives and challenges us to strip down to the raw blemished goods. The more we are confronted, the more we deny.....who wants to look like a foolish liar?

Adolescence is a time of self discovery, of trying on new styles, of finding a true voice, the dance step that is uniquely you. Given how important it is to belong, to be loved by peers, to be accepted as themselves as teens, its no wonder that whatever role/label place on their heads (either by deliberately self imposed or by others) it is something they hold onto dearly.

Does it come down to being afraid to show one's true colours.....because what if what you decided to show isn't accepted? What then?

What about adults? We rarely have a chance to be placed in a room with a group of people very different from us. We tend to gravitate to common ground, common types and even if we aren't feeling any inner contentment, we remain there playing a role........filling our own boots with pretences. When was the last time you changed your boots??

Safe, phoney, pretty little pretences. Dangerous little jewels... They never bring true sustaining happiness.... The sooner we realize that we all have a princess, a genius, a jock, a criminal and a basket case inside us, the sooner we can celebrate our commonalities as human beings....


Anonymous said...

Does it come down to being afraid to show one's true colours.....because what if what you decided to show isn't accepted? What then?
I think you hit the nail on the head. Maybe it steams from back in our earlier lives when we were rejected or mistreated by adults. Then again I know preteens and teens can be so cruel to each other and those tautings can sometimes be internalized when we do not even realize it.
In any event I am who I am and as that stupid baby on that show that I also can't remeber used to say "Gotta love me"


Awareness said...

Mavis! Your true colours glow in all their glory. Of all the people I know, your ability to walk a mile in your own boots and intermingle and interact with anyone clearly shines! We should all take a lesson from you. Who doesn't love you? :)
The question you quoted is actually a derivation of a quote I originally read on my friend Pip's blog. when I first read it, I was going through that rejection stuff at work.... and it hit a key note inside me. There I was thinking I was showing my true colours, realizing I had been rejected. Though I have kicked off most of those terrible feeling residuals, it was a good lesson in understanding this fear.
Earlier rejection and abandonment, and other emotional schemas accumulate and play havoc to our desire to remain authentic. If our need to be loved or our need to belong is so severe, than we are blinded by the fact that we live in a world of pretenses.

I'm reading a great book right now that actually fed this (and Martha and I watched The Breakfast Club last night)....

kenju said...

This reminds me of a book I once read, by Gerald Jampolsky. The title was "Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? The answer was - because you may not like me.

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

it took me completely breaking down and i mean completely, before i could start to figure out who i really was, let alone show myself.

those days of being what everyone else around me thought i should be? my days on the stage of pretense? very much over.

thank god.

and the funny thing is that me and my pretenses were exactly what put me down the rabbit hole. funny how sometimes by hurting ourselves? we begin to heal ourselves and ultimately...find ourselves.

Awareness said...

Judy...THANK you! I had forgotten the name of the book. :)

Irish Heather... You are so right... we keep at it too don't we, learning from our spiritual scrapes, our emotional crises.... We do have a tendancy to learn our most important life lessons from our most painful encounters with ourselves. Pretenses can be good teachers.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, i think you have hit the nail right on the head.... so to speak

see you soon

Awareness said...

paul... it was a good movie choice last night for the both of us. I have a story to tell you that happened to Martha while she was away that just brought smiling tears to my eyes.... it is about helping another human being break open in order to step out of his protective shell.

see you soon... yeeeehaw!

Kay said...

oh the reflection you post here holds dear to my heart, always LOVED the movie, and understand the same needs into adulthood...judgement and acceptence placed upon each one of us...knowing, we are all the same, deep down.