Tonight, we went to see the off-Broadway musical Heathers, which is based off of the cult classic movie of the same name from the ’80s. The first thing I think about when thinking about how I feel about this production is that I’m so glad I’m no longer an adolescent (and perhaps even happier that I did not have the “normal” high school experience of having bullies, football players and cheerleaders being the “cool cliques,” etc. I hated conforming then. I still hate it now). The second thing I think about is how fragile human beings are, and how tragic it is that so many people have had terrible childhoods that lead them into downward spirals of mental illness and suicidal tendencies. It’s like we don’t take these people seriously. We just tell them to try harder at school, try harder to “fit in,” try harder to please those around them. Just try harder. If you try harder, you’ll succeed! You feel down today? Perk up and smile!! Maybe it’s more complicated then that, yes?
Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is mentioned during the musical when an accidental death is faked out to be a suicide. Oddly, I read this book when I was just 12 because I had heard from a friend that it had similarities with J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, which I love. Sylvia Plath committed suicide when she was just 30 by closing all the windows and cracks in her kitchen, turning the stove on, and sticking her head into her oven. Her son, who she had with her husband Ted Hughes, also committed suicide at the age of 47 in 2009 by hanging himself. Sylvia Plath has a daughter who is still alive and is a writer and painter. I wonder what it’s like to be someone whose mother and brother have committed suicide.
Actually, I don’t want to know what it’s like.