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“They’re All Gonna Laugh At You” …..Or Are They?

We are heading into October this week and Halloween is my favorite time of year. This month some of my favorite ladies of horror will be featured.  I begin this week with a character I can really identify with….Carrie White. With the new version of the movie ready to be released this month I have decided to visit the original which they will never outdo.  Sissy Spacek was flawless in the role.  Now get ready to embrace your inner bad girl and step to the aside so that bucket of blood doesn’t get dumped on you. This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week!

Sissy Spacek as Carrie White.

Sissy Spacek as Carrie White.

In a day and age where bullying is all over the media this seemed the perfect Movie Bad Girl to start the Halloween Season with. For those of you who have lived under a rock and are not familiar with “Carrie” here is a brief overview:

Carrie White is the nerdy girl everybody loves to pick on. She lives at home with her mother who is a religious woman to a whole new degree that is both passionate and frightening (we will get into Margaret at another time). Carrie is a shy girl who although kind of plain is by no means ugly. She is out of place among her peers and rather clumsy and they take full advantage of it. Carrie wants to be normal, or at least like everyone else in her senior class. She has no friends and is a sad and lonely girl. Like all girls she does have a secret crush (we’ve all had at least one)  on Bates High School sports hero Tommy Ross.  After a humiliating event after gym class and series of event is set into motion. Carrie will get invited to the prom by Tommy Ross himself. At the prom she will finally know what it feels like to be like everyone else and not an outcast. Sadly this will be short lived. Unknown (except to a couple of people) Christine Hargensen (spoiled rich girl and mega-bitch) who hates Carrie for no other reason other than she is Carrie, has devised the ultimate humiliation for this poor girl. She has made sure that Carrie will be elected Prom Queen and when she is on stage Chris crowns her with a bucket full of pig’s blood, destroying Carrie’s near ecstasy at finally feeling accepted for the very first time. What nobody knows is that Carrie possesses the power of telekinesis and she is going to be laughed at no more as she unleashes her power with deadly force and tragic consequences.

Somewhat plain, by no means ugly, Carrie is a rather shy teen, sometimes clumsy, usually uncomfortable and feeling out of place, who wants nothing more than to be like her classmates. To be accepted and loved rather than the girl everyone loves to pick on and bully.

Somewhat plain, by no means ugly, Carrie is a rather shy teen, sometimes clumsy, usually uncomfortable and feeling out of place, who wants nothing more than to be like her classmates. To be accepted and loved rather than the girl everyone loves to pick on and bully.

We have all been Carrie at some point in our lives. Let’s make a list.

1. Carrie has a wardrobe that is cringe-worthy. Her clothes were out of style 15 years before she wore them and until her prom had probably never worn anything with a luxurious fabric that exposed more than her face, hands and feet.

How many times in our lives have we worn an outfit that made us feel dumpy or out of touch? How many times did your parents make some clothing selections for you that made you cry, yet you had to go out the door in them. Deep down (whether it was true or not) you knew for a fact that everyone was laughing at you on the inside.  I remember growing up, with my Grandparents raising me, that I did have clothes that people made fun of. I was not privy to family that knew what current styles were. The worst piece, as far as I can remember was a western shirt made of silk. It was navy blue, red and white and was covered in a fantasia of leather tassels. Then they actually made me wear it in public. It is funny now but it sure as hell wasn’t then. Now as an adult I have some fashion sense of my own. How many times though do we grab the first thing we see and throw it on and go out the door? If you have kids these choices can be especially embarrassing to them, whether you wear it, or you choose an outfit for them to wear. Let’s not make the kids feel like Carrie. The clothing choices can be modest but hopefully will be things that are in style this century.

Sissy Spacek and Betty Buckley as Carrie White and Miss Collins (her warmhearted gym teacher)

Sissy Spacek and Betty Buckley as Carrie White and Miss Collins (her warmhearted gym teacher)

 

2. Carrie’s mother will not allow her to wear make-up because she considers it sinful.

How many of you could not wait to get your first lipstick or container of eye-shadow? How many of you secretly bought it before mom would approve and would apply it after you left the house to head to school(always remembering to wash your face in the girl’s rest room at school before heading home?)How many of you ( I am raising my hand here) looked like a little prostitute because you applied the make-with a heavy hand? (What the hell did you know about make-up. If mom didn’t think you were old enough she sure as hell wasn’t going to show you how to apply it) Every young girl wants that make-up to be pretty and make them feel more grown up. It is however the parent’s decision about what is an appropriate age. With the media today girls are bombarded with the image of 12 and 13 year old singers and actors painted to the nines. They want to emulate their idols. It is ultimately the decision of the parent. How many times did we have this conversation?

You: Mom it’s just a little lipstick.

Mom: You’re too young to wear it.

You: But Cathy’s mom let’s her wear lipstick.

Mom: Well you’re not Cathy.

You: But a lot of the girls in my class are wearing make-up.

Mom : Well if all the girls in your class were jumping off a cliff would you?

It is the age old argument. And teach your kids to be kind to those one or two girls whose families are devoutly religious and against make-up no if, and or but. ( No I am not saying you are raising a mean girl)

3. Carrie is ostracized in part because her mother takes religion to a whole new level.

We all have beliefs whether it be in God, Buddha,the Goddess or that there is no God at all. We have no right to judge anyone because of their personal belief. We live in a country based on religious freedom. I remember a girlfriend whose family was incredibly religious in a way I did not entirely comprehend. She did not wear make-up, even in the summer she wore long sleeve blouses and long skirts (pants were out of the question), she did not cut her hair, she was not allowed to go to parties or dances, she could only see G rated movies, (even in high school) she could come over to visit or do homework but we had to be supervised and she was not allowed to watch television or listen to records at my house. At 19 when a friend of ours got married she was not allowed to attend the wedding because it was in a Catholic church. She was allowed to go to the reception ( with a chaperone) and was not allowed to dance or toast the bride and groom with a single sip of champagne. She was only allowed to accept a ride home in my car if the radio was off. Her parents would have shit if they had known I smoked cigarettes in my car. I asked her about her life and at times she felt incredibly left out because of her family’s beliefs. Kids were damn mean to her. They never bothered to try to get to know her. She was a bright girl and there were many things from my world she desired. She felt a lot of her family’s belief system was horribly outdated and after going to college she actually severed ties with her family and her church to live the life she wanted and felt she rightly deserved. She could have turned into a wild child but she did not. She still has strong religious beliefs but lives more like you and I do in this day and age. She also makes a mean key lime pie. No I am not going to say who she is….I am going to bogart that info….I don’t want to share her pies. The fact is though, before we judge, we should step into that person’s shoes and really imagine what it is like to be them 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year.

End of list….now for the self-empowerment

 

Carrie being tormented and terrorized by her classmates in the girl's locker room.

Carrie being tormented and terrorized by her classmates in the girl’s locker room.

Through the course of the movie we go on a journey with Carrie. She is picked on, tormented and bullied at school. She is always the butt of the joke and her classmates take great pleasure in laughing at her. At home she loves and fears her mother and is treated with a mix of compassion and cruelty all veiled in religion. However, Carrie is on a new journey. One of self-discovery and being comfortable in her own skin, even if that moment is all too short. She also finds her self-empowerment and under different circumstances this would have made her a complete person. Carrie’s telekinesis at first randomly happens during moments of stress, fear or anger. She starts to study and learn about her power and fine tunes it. She learns how to control it.  You know the story so we are short-cutting to Prom Night. Carrie attends the Senior Prom with the most popular and good-looking boy in school through the very kind act of a classmate. Carrie is in a beautiful dress, wearing make-up and is charming and pretty. She is allowed to be the “Carrie” that she always was but no one knew. She is lost in a dream being just like the other kids. She is not the outcast. She, for a brief moment, is one of them. She is elected Prom Queen and her dreams have come true. What she does not know is, this is a cruel prank, by one student, Christine Hargensen, who truly hates her.

Carrie beaming as all her dreams come true. In just a few moments the dream becomes a nightmare.

Carrie beaming as all her dreams come true. In just a few moments the dream becomes a nightmare.

Christine dumps a bucket of pig’s blood on Carrie. At first there is shocked silence and Carrie stands there in the horror of her ultimate humiliation. Suddenly one of Christine’s cronies (and accomplice) Norma Watson points at Carrie and begins laughing. Tommy (her date) tries to help Carrie as the bucket falls from the rafters killing him upon impact. Not realizing he is dead more students begin laughing. Carrie can hear her mother’s voice echoing in her head that they are all going to laugh at her. Her mind starts looping different lines from the movie and they overlap with the sense of final betrayal. Everyone is laughing at her (whether real or imagined) and she snaps unleashing the fury of years against anyone who was unkind to her. She destroys the prom and the people there. She will meet her own death later that night, however, she is self-empowered during this rage and this is the moment the laughter stopped.

The final prank before Carrie shows them she is the one with the power and this is the last time anyone will mistreat her.

The final prank before Carrie shows them she is the one with the power and this is the last time anyone will mistreat her.

What can we learn from Carrie White?

We all have talents. We all have some strength that is uniquely ours. We do however need to learn what these things are and work on them. Practice makes us better and given time we can perfect our talents in a way that no one can touch. You might be an excellent singer, cook, writer or athlete. Some of you may have the gift of some wonderful psychic ability like Carrie herself. The point is there are things that are so special about each and every one of us. It doesn’t matter if you are fat or thin, beautiful or plain, young or old, a fashionista or if you dress like the discount rack in Goodwill. You are, just like Carrie, a unique and beautiful individual. Show the world your talents. Don’t wait for the bucket of blood. You are in complete control of who you are. We are also (which Carrie learns too late) in true control of how people treat us. We can take that power away from those that deem us to be below them or inadequate. Carrie wants to be accepted, as we all do in life, and if they had taken the time they would have realized what a great girl she is. Here is what I want you to think about. Is there a group you’d like to be in, whether at work or in social circles, but you don’t quite come up to snuff with them?You have two choices. You can find a way in (Carrie at the prom) and hope they like you (you could end up under the bucket of blood) or you can say “fuck them” and start living the life you want and deserve with every happiness. Their approval is not needed nor is it required. I vote for the second option because if I have to beg you to get to know me then quite frankly you are not worth the effort or my time. We are the masters of our destiny and no one can stand in the way of that. It is true. Be yourself! The “you” that “you” know “you” are. Take control and if someone is making you feel like an outcast then you simply take that power from them. Reach up and grab that self-empowerment. It is yours for the taking.  Carrie teaches us to become comfortable in our own skin, to be confident, to perfect our talents and to take the power away from those that make us feel unworthy of love and acceptance. Now think to yourself  “They’re all gonna laugh at you”….or are they? The choice and the power are yours.

If you have never seen "Carrie" you owe it to yourself. This is a beautiful horror film about a character so many of us can identify with.

If you have never seen “Carrie” you owe it to yourself. This is a beautiful horror film about a character so many of us can identify with.

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