Create your balance. Design your life.

Be careful what you wish for…

Nancy Downs is an angry young woman. Although she attends a private Catholic school, she comes from a poor family. Her mother is an alcoholic and her step-father is a jerk. She has two close friends, Bonnie and Rochelle. The 3 are as tight as you can get and Nancy seems to be the leader. The girls have an interest in witchcraft and the occult. They haven’t had any real luck in their endeavors. The need a fourth member to make their circle complete with the elements: earth, air, water and fire. A new girl comes to their school. Her name is Sarah Bailey. She is a natural witch and can make things happen although it is unintentional when she does. The girls are going to befriend her. Their magic is going to work. Then, due to Nancy’s instability and anger it will all go wrong. The movie is “The Craft” and the character I am featuring this week is Nancy Downs (played in an Oscar caliber performance by Fairuza Balk). This will basically be a list of what not to do. Nancy is a bad girl and the villain of this movie. Sit back and let’s cast a spell. This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week.

Fairuza Balk stars as Nancy Downs, a troubled teen who is about to create havoc in "The Craft"

Fairuza Balk stars as Nancy Downs, a troubled teen who is about to create havoc in “The Craft”

Nancy Downs is a poor girl with a terrible background. She lives in a trailer with her mother and step-father and the place is about to collapse around them. Nancy’s biggest desire is to not be poor. She must be an exceptional student to be in an expensive private school (most likely on a scholarship) and she only has two close friends. The three girls are thick as thieves. Nancy at one time had a relationship with a football player named Chris Hooker, who, like many boys, lost interest in her after she had sex with him. She has the reputation of being a major slut because of him and she holds a lot of anger because she really cared about him. She feels betrayed. It is also rumored around school that the 3 girls are witches.

A new girl comes to their school named Sarah Bailey. She tries to befriend the girls in science class and Nancy is snide towards her. One of the friends, Bonnie, watches Sarah during French class and sees a pencil balancing on it’s point and rotating on it’s own. She is startled and tells Nancy that this girl is meant to be the fourth in their coven. The girls come to Sarah after school and befriend her. They go to an occult shop run by a witch named Lirio. The girls shoplift items from her store and she is aware of it but says nothing. Throughout the film Lirio warns them that they are getting in over their heads and there is going to be a price to pay as everything they send out comes back to them three-fold. The girls will not heed the warnings.
vlcsnap-2014-07-28-11h47m33s88 The girls begin to experiment and they are able to perform small paranormal feats. At first it is very lighthearted and fun. Their excitement grows as they make bigger things happen. Each of the girls has a desire they would like granted. Bonnie, who is very badly scarred from an accident, wants the scars to go away so her body will be beautiful again. Rochelle wants a girl named Laura Lizzie to be punished for bullying her all the time. Sarah wants Chris Hooker to fall in love with her. (Chris is a shitty teenager with no respect for the feelings of the girls he pursues. He went out with Sarah and she wouldn’t sleep with him. The next day is school he spread a rumor that she is the worst lay he has ever had.) Nancy wants a better life, one without poverty.

Nancy asks the girls to bond themselves by blood and ask Manon (the Highest deity according to this film) to grant their wishes. The girls agree and take a trip to the countryside where they find a beautiful wooded area to perform their ritual. The girls all ask for their wish and Nancy without warning changes hers and says she wishes to have all the powers on Manon. They know that their requests have been heard as a swarm of butterflies descends upon them.

The girls begin casting spells to make their wishes come true. Chris becomes obsessed with Sarah, Laura who terrorizes Rochelle begins going bald and Bonnie’s scars clear up after a medical procedure. Nancy is getting angry because her wish has not come true. She is still poor. That night however during a particularly bad moment at home, Nancy’s stepfather hits her mother and Nancy lashes out in anger with her powers and causes her step-father to have a stroke and die. The following day Nancy and her mother find out that her step-father left them an insurance policy and they receive 175,ooo dollars.

Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Sarah (robin Tunney), Rochelle (Rachel True) and Bonnie (Neve Campbell)

Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Sarah (Robin Tunney), Rochelle (Rachel True) and Bonnie (Neve Campbell)

The girls are ecstatic with their powers and their spells. Their powers are growing, the girls however, are throwing caution to the wind. Nancy finally asks the girls if they want to perform a ritual to invoke the Spirit (Manon) and actually have him in their midst. The girls go along and perform the ritual. It is so intense that the girls all pass and spend the night on the beach. The next morning they are in for a huge shock. Nancy is walking on water. During the ritual she absorbed Manon’s power and now with new found power comes great responsibility. Nancy begins getting consumed by her newly granted powers and everything goes downhill quickly.

One night the girls are out riding around in Nancy’s new car and Sarah questions the things they are doing referring back to Lirio’s warnings. Nancy believes that Sarah is betraying her and trying to turn Bonnie and Rochelle against her. Tension begins to rise within the group. Sarah thinks they should cool it. The other girls are having the time of their lives. Sarah will find herself out in the cold very soon.

Sarah goes on a date with Chris. Her spell worked but now Chris is so obsessed that when she refuses his advances he tries to rape her. What she sent out is coming back. Sarah escapes Chris and runs to Rochelle’s house. All the girls gather and Nancy decides he needs to be punished. She uses her power to kill Chris knocking him out a second story bedroom window at a party he has gone to. Sarah distraught wants nothing more to do with the group.

Nancy’s power has become so great that she, Bonnie and Rochelle no longer need a fourth to make their spells work and Sarah becomes her new target. She feels betrayed and decides that Sarah needs to go. She will try to drive Sarah to commit suicide. The movie comes to a final showdown of witch vs. witch.  Nancy who is mentally unstable is now abusing the power she was given. Manon comes to Sarah and gives her stronger power to defeat Nancy who has nothing but evil intentions now. Nancy is driven into a mental breakdown and is institutionalized. The punishment suits the crime as she will spend the rest of her life strapped to a bed.

Nancy attempts to murder Sarah.

Nancy attempts to murder Sarah.

What can we learn from Nancy Downs?

We all come from different backgrounds. Some are affluent, some are low-income. It doesn’t change the person we are. Although people on the lower end of the scale would like to have more it doesn’t make them any less smart or likable.  Nancy is very angry at her situation not wanting to be what she considers “poor white trash”. She seems unaware that her girlfriends really care for her. Nancy is also missing that she is getting a really good education in a private school and would get into college to learn something that would put her in what she would consider an more desirable financial situation. Of course being a teenager she doesn’t think that way. She loves her mother deeply even though the woman is an unhappy alcoholic. I am not going to judge, the mother and daughter love each other deeply. No one has a 100% perfect family.

Nancy wants to feel loved. We all do. Although her mother and her friends love her, Chris hurt her very badly and now she is angry at the entire human race. Betrayal is a hard thing to deal with and it has probably happened to each and every one of us at some point. Unlike Nancy however, we need to let the past be just that, the past. If you hold on to that anger and hurt it will slowly and surely consume you. The 2nd point here is: You cannot blame the whole world for what one person did to you. It is unfair to the people around you and yourself.

v13 We all get involved in new activities (not necessarily witchcraft) that we find fun and exciting. One of the great things in life is finding new things to pursue. You don’t want it to preoccupy your every waking moment. That is not healthy for you. It is like kids nowadays with their games. How many of you have kids that are obsessed with playing online with their friends and not much else? You have to force them to put it down? Come eat? Go to bed? It is because as a parent you know too much of a good thing is not good.

We all have our beliefs. Wicca is just one of the many religions out there. The great thing about living where we do is we are afforded religious freedom among other things. The kids at the school gossip about the girls being “witches.” Guess what? That is their (the girls) right and not a single one of us should judge them for that. You should not judge anyone for their beliefs. I don’t care if you practice Wicca, Christianity, Buddhism or Atheism. That is your right and you are entitled to your belief even if mine is different. The only thing I hope is whatever you choose is truly what you believe.

The girls, Nancy in particular, is warned by Lirio that : A. Magic is neither white nor black but rather is good or evil depending on the intent of the witch and B. Whatever you send out comes back threefold.  I am not even speaking about magic here but I am addressing how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis. We can be kind or we can be cruel and the choice is ours to make. I try to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated. I know people that have no compassion and hurt people, some even getting perverse pleasure out of it. I choose not to have the latter people in my life. Our lives are far too short to deal with negativity.  Be sure that whatever you put out there, positive or negative, will be returned by the people around you. I would rather be someone people look forward to being around rather than having people call me “that bitch” as soon as I walk away. So remember, you reap what you sow. It is the truth.

We all want different things and most of the time we have to work for them. Some things will drop right in your lap and that is fine. Most of time this is not the case. I always remember my Grandmother telling me: “Be very, very careful what you wish for because you just might get it…and then find out it is something you did not want.” Those are strong and true words. Anytime we get something we want there are things that are going to come with it that we may not have thought far enough ahead about. Now you got your wish, plus things you wish would go away. This can be a promotion at work, a new social circle, membership in a club, attaining a pet, getting a new home….the list goes on and on. Just keep in mind that when you get that wish that you get bonus material. Promotion: New responsibilities you were not aware of that now forces you come in to work early and leave late everyday…Social Circle: Your new friends turn out to have some snobby ideals you don’t really like, you can go along with it or be ostracized…Membership: Now you are expected to behave in a certain way to reflect highly on the club, there goes your wild nights on the weekend…Pet: Pets are pets 24 hours a day 7 days a week…New Home: No more two week vacations for the next 14 years and cutting back on your personal allowance every week.

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The biggest thing I think we can learn is not to abuse power or mistreat those around you. Nancy is given power and it goes right to her head and she uses it to malign others and benefit only herself. There are different levels of power we will be given throughout our life. From grade school where you are softball captain and get to select a team, you may be an older sibling, in high school you may be voted for class president, to college where you run a study group to adulthood where you can be a supervisor at work or have power of attorney for an older relative. The trick is to have a balance of that power that is fair. The way you use that power over others states the kind of person you are. You can use that power correctly with compassion and fairness or you can use it to damage and hurt others. The choice is yours, just remember that the power can be stripped away as well as given and if you were unjust with it you deserve whatever happens once you topple from that high perch. It will come back to you so be caring and kind. It is okay to use your power to reprimand only if it is warranted. I’ll say it again, with power comes great responsibility. Don’t abuse it. Be nice. You don’t want to end up like Nancy.

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This is where we part for the week. Nancy is every bit the villain and I hope the lesson is clear to think of what Nancy would do and then do the exact opposite. Until next time Embrace Your Inner Bad Girl because Being Positive, Kind, Loving and Fair is so Magical . See you next week.

 

 

 

 

 

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