Thank you so much for visiting my page! If you’re reading this, it’s likely because you’ve decided to follow my self imposed challenge to practice disciplined, intentional writing. Again, thank you! I do hope you enjoy the first post of my writing challenge! To streamline my thoughts, this particular post will focus on Cici in the 1988 version of the movie Beaches. I will be sure to point out any references to the 2017 version.
May I present:
Self Lovin’ Beaches
It had to be late 80s, early 90s the first time I saw the movie Beaches. I remember being in tears by the time it ended. That’s how much it moved lil ole me.
If you aren’t familiar with the movie, here’s a quick summary of it:
Beaches tells the story of childhood friends Cici and Hillary. Hillary, who “comes from money” meets Cici, a child performer, while lost on a beach. The two spend the day together and become fast friends. Because they live in two different states, they keep in touch by writing over the years. They go through the ups and sometimes downs of life together as comrades. And then apart at odds. But when times get hard, the women gravitate back toward one another and remain friends til the end. Husbands came and went for both women, Hillary had a baby. Both women had successful careers and lives as a whole depending on one’s perspective. Hillary as an attorney and Cici as a singer/actress. Both women seem to make peace with their pasts. The movie ends with Hilary dying due to a disease that required a donor she didn’t receive in time. (You can check out the plot at ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaches_(film) or watch the movie on Amazon Prime or any platform it’s available).
Seems like a nice movie right? At least it seemed that way to me. Who doesn’t want a best friend? And if you’re blessed to experience love and then it’s lost, who doesn’t mourn it? And so this movie evoked some emotion from me all those years ago. Fast forward to 2020 and here I am with some extra time on my hands due to social distancing as a result of Coronavirus…
(And don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I did that when I didn’t have a virus to blame productivity or even the lack thereof on, so at some point, a sista gotta be grateful)
…so I decided to watch movies during my downtimes’ downtime. While scrolling through my options, I see actress Nia Long’s beautiful smile with the title Beaches and nostalgia catches me. I just gotta see how they remade what I consider a classic or if nothing else, an ode’ to my inner child right? By the way, my inner child and I have been spending a lot of time together both by choice and force. But I digress.
The updated version was good. It debuted in 2017. Some changes were made. The most obvious one is that they included a woman of color, Nia Long, as one of the main characters (the main characters in the original weren’t). That aside, the movie stayed mostly true to the original plot with minor tweaks to the story line. However, this time, I didn’t cry at the end, I cried at the beginning of the movie but I won’t get into why right now. I will say that watching the 2017 version of Beaches prompted a second look at the 1988 version and this time, there were no tears or feelings of nostalgia. Instead I was agitated after realizing that both versions of the movie attacked different groups of people in subtle manners. At least subtle to a child. I’ll touch on that in a future post.
This particular post is meant to focus specifically on selfishness and how it relates to self love. Even more important to me, how I was able to apply it on my journey of self love.
My initial reaction after seeing the movie again after so many years was “poor Hillary” . Cici almost immediately rubbed me the wrong way. Even as a child she was definitely the more outspoken one and seemed like an opportunist, manipulative even, so I believe it was easier to see her as a villain. But my issue with that assessment is that it’s in reference to Cici even as a child. And so I had to ask myself why I could feel that way about a child. Children are innocent right?
And so began an opportunity for further healing for my own inner child.
The same traits that I initially saw as villainous in Cici as a child, my own (inner) child began to see as bravado. Cici, though a child, had to have seen some things, that were discouraging to her spirit and so she adapted. I noticed that she cursed and smoked cigarettes. She called her mom by her first name. She seems to dominate in familiar surroundings and cower in foreign ones. As a CHILD! I’m sure I’m not the only person who can relate to some if not all of these things as an ADULT. And so Cici likely learned to cope in ways she saw the adults around her cope. And like the adults in her life who didn’t know or care how their actions, or lack thereof, affected Cici, she grew not to care. That lack of care became selfishness.
- (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
The word selfish as defined above could leave one believing that being selfish is a bad thing. It’s not. As my elders would say, “it’s not what you do, but how you do it”. What that means to me is I’m free to be me but to be mindful to do so in consideration of others. It’s easier said than done at times. Consistent mindfulness has been key. I’ve learned anything in excess is poison. And so to counteract an excess of selfishness, life has taught me to practice selflessness.
Because Cici didn’t have this sort of awareness on a consistent basis, she struggled to find the balance between selfishness and selflessness. And so her relationships suffered in some form throughout the movie.
Her relationship with her mom suffered….
As a child, being selfish worked in Cici’s relationship with her mom. Though she grew up in a two parent home, it is obvious the father wasn’t as present as Cici would like and her mom attempted to make up for his absence by giving Cici freedoms she wasn’t mature enough to handle. When Cici became an adult and her father passed, her mom announced she was moving away. Her mom later revealed the reason she moved away was because Cici required too much attention and it “wore people out”. It’s obvious Cici is offended and so she missed an opportunity to balance the scale of selfishness and selflessness. Her mom revealed this after asking Cici why she and her husband were divorcing and Cici basically stated he hadn’t been paying her much attention. Her mom’s response was “I wouldn’t leave anybody for not paying attention to me. Because sooner or later you’re gonna have to leave everybody” . This is what gets Cici’s attention and so the scale continues to lean more toward the selfish side as she tries to salvage her marriage to her husband John.
Her relationship with John suffered…
It’s worth mentioning that John was initially interested in Hillary. They were even intimate at one point. They met through Cici when John approached her about a job opportunity. Mistaking that opportunity as interest, Cici calls “dibs” on John in spite of his obvious interest in Hillary. The marriage, in Cici’s opinion, ends because John doesn’t like success. That is true in the sense he didn’t feel the need for the same things as her. However, I think his main issue was feeling like an accessory as opposed to a partner. Another missed opportunity.
Her relationship with Hillary suffered…
If John didn’t add fuel to the fire, the absenteeism exhibited by Cici during Hillary’s major milestones should have been enough to end the friendship. Cici wasn’t there when Hillary’s dad was sick or when he died. What she didn’t miss though, was an opportunity to lash out at Hillary when things weren’t going her way or if Hillary wasn’t being agreeable. If you ask me, she really only kept Hillary around because she fed her ego. Harsh? Maybe but I have my reasoning (stay tuned).
The only thing Cici thrived in was her career. And even that was a struggle due to her overall attitude. I could go on and on about Cici, but this isn’t about her. Remember this post was meant to focus specifically on selfishness, how it relates to self love, and how I will apply it to my life.
So when do I believe it’s ok to be selfish?
When protecting your inner child.
Remember: “it’s not what you do, but how you do it”. What that means to me is I’m free to be me but to be mindful to do so in consideration of others. It’s easier said than done at times. Consistent mindfulness has been key. I’ve learned anything in excess is poison. And so to counteract an excess of selfishness, life has taught me to practice selflessness.
Thank you for reading!!!