March 4, 2013 by liebestropfchen
Despite being well-versed in 80’s pop culture, I was shocked to discover yesterday that my boyfriend had never seen the classic 80’s film “Valley Girl”. I figured it was definitely time he saw just how cheesy-great Nicholas Cage was before he officially became THE Nicholas Cage. What better way to enjoy a Sunday than to watch a movie filled with great music, sprinkled with California “beach twang”?
Since I have seen it a million times, and it never gets old, I took some time yesterday to dig deeply into the plot. This isn’t just a fun romantic comedy, it’s a brilliant parallel to life.
Do not be deceived by the amount of time that has passed between 1983 and 2013, because not much has changed.
Trade the tapered pants for jeggings, teased hair for hair extensions, and walkmans for iPhones…and maybe the punks would be the fashionable ones rather than the outcasts, but that’s questionable. It’s pretty frightening how far we still have to go to win the battle in encouraging youth to be who they are, despite bullying or peer pressure.
Rewind 15 years to the days I was in high school, or even 10 years ago when I was in college, and I can identify with Julie quite a bit. Only, my Randy wasn’t an actual dude with his chest hair shaved into a V (keepin’ it classy, Nick Cage). I was trying to discover a way to balance loving the real ME I felt wouldn’t be accepted (Randy) while keeping up appearances for the Tommy in my life.
Trust me, I never saw what was so great about Tommy anyway, he was a douche! But part of Julie being with Tommy was the appeal of being accepted in the world she knew, but had come to be dissatisfied with. This is the part I truly identified with – eventually, the longer you try to retain existence in a world you don’t truly believe in, resentment will show her ugly face. Many of us have teetered that thin fence between keeping the status quo and embracing what we really want. Sometimes the path of least resistance is what we think will eventually, somehow, someday, bring us happiness. Maybe for some, it can.
For me, it didn’t. I only discovered happiness gradually over time as I drowned out the valley girls and decided it was time to say, as Julie so eloquently declared, “fuck him!” It was a learning process, however. I didn’t always get it right. I still hung with the wrong crowd for too long, tried to make things work that I knew would have a bad outcome, and cried a zillion tears when the “I just majorly effed up” verdict finally sank into my heart.
It was a valuable learning process, but one that I could have learned a lot sooner. The world isn’t always a place that champions the underdog, unless it’s in a movie. Rocking the boat is rarely applauded when the water consists of things outside the other passengers’ comfort zones (other races, atheism, homosexuality, or maybe even deciding not to have children). Once I finally embraced the realization that judgment of my decisions is easy for a spectator, but never easy for me as a passionate player, it’s been liberating for me to say my Julie (outward appearance) and Randy (inner being/thoughts/dreams/fears/Ego and Id) need to be together despite what judgment that brings.
I’ve heard it all: “You’ve changed”, “Why are you different?”, “What are you trying to prove?” The truth is, I’ve always been this way, I just never embraced it before. The super-organized, über-creative, nerdy, artistic, liberal, open-minded, tender-hearted, lover-of-all-things-quirky girl I am today was exactly who I was born to be. The peer pressure associated with trying to be popular stomped all over the joy associated with just being me in my youth. Now it’s nice to know that I have found more acceptance as me than I ever did as a Julie without her inner Randy.
Today’s youth are still faced with the same kinds of pressure Julie faced, only with slightly less annoying verbiage to accompany the recount of the most “totally trippendicular” thing going on. Finding where one fits in is difficult, not to mention being able to embrace oneself deeply and unabashedly. It takes a lot of time for one to learn alone how to say “fuck them” and dance in the rain, and I wish someone had helped nudge me in that direction at a much younger age.
I think many of us would like to say we are a Julie, but how many are actually willing to let the valley girls and the punks find love?