Scarlett O’Hara was all about Scarlett O’Hara. She was selfish, spoiled, scheming, and worst of all, a slave owner. Gorgeous and resourceful, she would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. Scarlett may be fun to watch, but we never root for her. Her choices add up to a cautionary antebellum tale that could be subtitled, “Let’s Not Do What Scarlett Does… Let’s All Be Like Melanie!”
In the end, Scarlett, the original Mean Girl, gets her comeuppance from Rhett Butler’s Civil War-style F. U., “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
As far as I can tell, Scarlett gets only one thing right. After the burning of Atlanta by General Sherman’s army, Scarlett hits bottom in her hoop-skirt. Does she crumble? No. Scarlett discovers that she is a survivor. Alone in the muck, she vehemently declares: “As God is my witness, I shall never be hungry again.”
This is one of the boldest moments in Gone With The Wind. What she says preceding this statement is still selfish and scheming… okay… it’s a little crazy: “As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill.”
Lie? Steal? Cheat? Kill? Geez, Scar… chill… don’t kill.
Enlightened she is not, but Miss O’Hara’s one nugget of inadvertent wisdom, from which we can all prosper, is that we have the power to decide what it is that we don’t want — just as much have the power to decide what it is that we do want.
Scarlett vows that being hungry is no longer an acceptable avenue for her. We can do this too and we don’t have to be starving in the Confederate muck. We can decide what is no longer acceptable or serviceable to us. By making conscious choices, we tap into our power. By tapping into our power to choose, we can profoundly change our lives. This power is the battery of hope.
Recently, a loved-one of mine decided that a longtime work situation no longer served them. While they’re not entirely sure what the next step will be, they know what it won’t be — the same-old, same-old. They consciously drew a line in the universal sand. This small act has tremendous creative voltage to generate a new paradigm in one’s life. It’s not necessarily easy. In fact, it takes moxie to leave something familiar for the unknown.
Taking is a step further, we must now mix our classic movie heroines. When it was time for her to leave the safety of the abbey, Maria in The Sound of Music says, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” Everyone’s favorite musical nun-turned-nanny recognized that a metaphoric door had closed, but trusted that the unseen window was open for a reason.
While doors do close in our lives, we don’t have to sit around and wait for them to shut in our faces. We can close them on our own. By doing so, we create space for more beneficial opportunities to take shape in our lives. Once we gently close a door, the fun can begin… formulating what is it we do want, like Scarlett in her post-Civil War Era, but without all the Southern-fried lying, cheating, stealing, and killing, y’all.