amor, Bad Boys, Dallas Winston, General Leia, Han Solo, Jax Teller, John Bender, Jordan Catalano, love, Princess Leia, psyche, relationships, Star Wars, The Breakfast Club, The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens, The Outsiders
[Spoiler alert: minor plot info from Star Wars The Force Awakens]
I love the new Star Wars movie, but my reaction to one scene is completely unexpected. Watching the reunion of Princess Leia and Han Solo on screen brought tears to my eyes. Literally – as in my eyes welled over and rivulets coursed down my cheeks. I hurried to brush away these salty offenders with my butter-soaked napkin and sat in a stupor of shocked embarrassment. Why was I so emotional about these too? This movie is a thrilling adventure story–not some drippy romantic comedy. Besides, Leia and Han are just fictional characters, for Pete’s sake.
Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. Or maybe the Force washes over me. Either way, I get it.
Leia and Han Solo are way more than a resistance fighter and a smuggler to me. They are weirdly, oddly and truly enough, my first real fictional love story couple.
Leia’s the good girl, fighting with the right intentions for the best cause. She gives it her all and sacrifices everything. Meanwhile, Han’s the quintessential bad boy. The rebel. The scoundrel. The one with the ice-melting smirk who, with just a few witty words, wins our hearts. And he’s the bad boy who never quite commits himself to her. Remember in The Empire Strikes Back, Leia says, “Han, I love you,” to which he responds, “I know.”? And audiences/women swooned.
He couldn’t say the three little words back to her, which any good therapist worth her weight in salt will tell you is because he isn’t committed to her and while he may love her somewhere deep down inside his psyche, it’s not enough to say aloud. Yet, somehow – and as always – his response of “I know” seems romantic enough that I imagine they can somehow, someday overcome the odds of his ambiguity and be together if all the stars (minus the Death Star) align perfectly.
So now it all makes sense to me. Han Solo is my first bad boy.
Since meeting him, there are plenty of fictional bad boys to love. Rarely do I root for the plain, simple good guy who does the right things to win the girl’s heart and treat her right. Nope, it’s the semisweet and evasive dudes who keep my interest. Dallas Winston in The Outsiders. John Bender in The Breakfast Club. Jordan Catalano in My So Called Life. Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy. Quite a list of honor.
So, thanks to Han Solo for being my first bad boy. And to Princess Leia, I mean General Leia who also taught me that while they are fun and desirable, it’s okay to let those bad boys go.
It’s that time of year. We prepare for Santa’s arrival by asking ourselves what will be the verdict – Naughty or Nice? I think of it as life’s annual performance review. Which box will be checked: Excellent, Satisfactory, or Needs Development?
Many of us want to be in the Nice category, although I know some who proudly excel at the Naughty. Undoubtedly it’s a challenge to stay on the Nice side. Just like Luke Skywalker’s journey to avoid following in his father’s footsteps, it’s a struggle. (With all the Star Wars hype, I couldn’t resist the analogy. Not sorry.)
Identifying with Nice is similar to declaring New Year’s resolutions, which pop up and fade out rather quickly. Few people maintain those resolutions. Why? Well, going on a diet or a visiting a gym day-in and day-out for months on end is not easy. Being Nice is the same way. It’s a consistent and dedicated effort. Sometimes it’s difficult, and other times it’s just downright impossible.
And we’ll fail. Many times. I do. Impatient gestures at the driver in front of me who is texting after the light turned green. A snarky retort to the cashier when I ask for help and she assumes I magically know “Alice” and where I’m supposed to find her. Or taking something out on those closest to me because they’re here and I can.
The good news is that I know people who really do excel at being Nice, who admit their shortcomings and downfalls, and who may stumble but always get up and keep going. Their admittance of being human inspires me to try again each day. I say please and thank you even when I don’t have to. I smile at someone who may look sullen or down. And I am appreciative I have the chance each day to choose if I am Naughty or Nice.
Maybe I’ll always check the Needs Development box under Nice, but that’s okay. It means I’m working toward the right choice.
How do you move past the betrayal once you’ve uncovered the truth?
For me, it occurred when I was working on a corporate project and our General Counsel asked me to send an email requesting clarification on one component. What was a relatively easy request, turned into quite the debacle when one of my peers inadvertently replied to my email. The message he sent was an extremely negative comment about me he actually intended to forward to one of his staff. When he noticed his mistake, he contacted me to apologize and make light of it, saying it was merely a joke.
It was not a joke to me.
I took the email to my boss and we addressed the issue. Our company was going through a difficult time with significant changes caused by a company-wide employee reduction program. No one’s job was secure, everyone was walking on eggshells, and my peer’s comment put me in a negative light. I always considered the man to be a normally kind colleague, but to learn how he quickly he would bend over to hold on to his job by putting another employee down was disturbing. It was also a kick-in-the-pants reality check for me.
We continued to work together on projects for another year or so after that debacle, but the relationship was strained. It was particularly frustrating for me to hold my tongue about the nickname the Executive Team had given him over the years, of which he had no idea. Oh how I wished I could have told him that the top brass referred to him as “Cupcake” behind his back. But I held it in.
From that incident, I learned not to wear my heart on my business-sleeve. It’s still there, but maybe a bit more protected. I’m more alert to those who intend to do harm and also kinder to those who do not.