When I was younger, everything about love and relationships was supposed to make sense: I was supposed to be in love with a boy and that boy was supposed to totally be crushing on me and there may be moments where we made utter and completely ridiculous fools of ourselves, but you know, within the span of a small time frame, we would get together… maybe some problems would ensue, but for the most part, he and I would live happily ever after…
At least, that’s what John Hughes’s films taught me. He gave me some awesome life lessons, didn’t he: that love was so easy and attainable. He gave me every example I could ever hope for, to live up to this perfect dream - except “Say Anything” - that was all Cameron Crowe… but John Hughes.. he didn’t just record teen drama and love, he manufactured it, right?
It’s taken me this long to realize that it’s never that easy… not for anyone, except the rare person like my sister, who recently made a startling confession to me, so - I guess, it’s not easy even for those that we think it is. You may be in love with that boy, but he’s in love with someone else, and she’s in love with another boy.. or, if we’re doing it right, probably another girl, who is the head cheerleader and won’t sully her reputation by letting everyone find out she’s *whisper* gay. At least, that’s still how it goes, though, lately it seems like that cheerleader is more and more willing to do what’s in her heart and we’re more accepting of it, as a society, overall. (That’s not to diminish the need for GLBT rights activism… it’s just to say, in the 80s, John Hughes would never have created that character, let alone been able to make that movie, right? Now, it’s at least a possibility as an independent release, depending on the actors, maybe even a major studio?)
Still, I feel like John Hughes owes me a little bit of an explanation, though, he’s dead now, and I suppose a conversation with his ghost would have to do. I still love all of the wonderful stories he brought into my life, but now, I’m wondering… who does it ever work out for.. that isn’t battered and bruised before it works out? And, why is there no truthful story telling in how not to act like a complete and totally socially inept person who should know all of the right things to say and all of the right ways to act?
John Hughes taught us, more than anything else, that emotions were honest - they were out in the open. The geek that was in love with you in high school - told you so, every day. Your secret crush on the hottest boy around? Not so secret. It was easy to read people and things - everyone knew what was going on. If John Hughes ever did a disservice to me, it’s that I expected that from the world, as I grew up: honesty in emotions. What I actually walked into was this world where no one “says anything” (ha - pun probably intended), until they have to, and not even then.
I grew up and became a girl that says it… even when it’s hard to do. Some people tell me this is an asset - a strength. Others - hate it, and to be honest, they probably hated me or, at least disliked me from the start. I give an opinion, people know how I feel and rarely do I let someone or a situation go without making every attempt to resolve it. That’s how I was “taught” - at least by the visual cues I was given in formative years by a master story teller.
Now, I’m honestly afraid that I was wrong all along - that I shouldn’t say everything. The thing is, I can’t let good friendships, relationships, go - without trying to rectify them. If I don’t, it keeps me up at night, my stomach in gnawing knots. I know they make Pepto Bismal for that, but at some point, you just have to face it and get it over with, right? ”I was wrong” - “I hurt you” - “I’m sorry”. These are words that are not easy to say, even if you do always make the effort to say them when they are warranted. ”I love you”, it turns out, is just as hard, if not harder, and don’t even get me started on, “I like you… and maybe, if you feel the same way, we could look into that…”
No… in John Hughes’s world, by now, I’d be lying on my bed, starting at the phone or the wall… Eyes teary, wondering what happened to my underpants, or talking to my dog about how painful it is to fall in love. Turns out, I guess he got one thing right, after all…
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