In The Breakfast Club principle Vernon assigns the five Shermer High School students with an essay to do during detention. “We are going to write an essay– of no less than a thousand words — describing to me who you think you are.” This scene is one of my favourites in the movie, because it features one of Anthony Michael Hall’s funniest on-screen moments-the ‘I am a walrus’ scene. And it is also the scene that makes me think the most when I watch the film.
As I watched that scene for the thousandth time the other night I got thinking about who I am and how our identity can change throughout life. When I think back to the days when I was fifteen and sixteen I’m baffled by the person I was. I was painfully shy, self conscious and completely dependent on those around me, whether they were a good influence or not. I followed the crowd, the latest trends and kept my opinions and interests to myself because they weren’t ‘popular’ or ‘common’. Six years later and I’m happy to say I’m the opposite of my fifteen year old self. Thankfully, the badly cut full fringe I had is gone, I’m confident to a degree that I’m happy with, I’m independent, determined, I have goals and dreams, I dress for myself and have no issue with telling people about my love for Jeff Goldblum and I’ll confidently walk down the street wearing my bowler hat and a pair of patent brogues because that’s who I am.
Society has a strong hold over a lot of people. People get sucked into these ‘rules’ we have to live by; if you don’t drink you’re a bore. If you don’t have a thigh gap your body isn’t perfect. If you’re on the dole you’re a waster. If you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend you’re weird. Allison says it perfectly in The Breakfast Club when talking about sex, “well if you haven’t you’re a prude. If you say you have you’re a slut.” We need to stop living the way society and our peers expect us to. Society expects us all to live by these social norms to be accepted, but what we should be doing is living our lives the way we want to, not the way society thinks we should. These expectations that society has of us are ridiculous. There is not just one single way to act. We’re all individual people that should embrace who we are and not buckle under the pressure that society holds over us.
You can be who you want to me. I’m a volunteer, a writer, a journalism student, a sales assistant, a blogger, a gig goer and a John Hughes enthusiast, as well as many other things. I don’t care if the music I listen to isn’t current or if my clothes are quirky, it’s part of who I am and it’s the best way to be. We should never let society take away our individuality just for the sake of ‘fitting in’, because that doesn’t matter. I know it’s difficult to be yourself, I struggled with it for years, but there are so many benefits to embracing who you are and ignoring these idiotic ‘rules’ our society has made. Embracing who you are will help you strengthen your self worth, develop healthier and stronger relationships and you will not be scared by what other people think. Be yourself because an original is worth more than a copy.
I will leave you with a quote by American poet, essayist and lecturer, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”