5 Life Lessons from Kat Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You
I’ve been on a 90’s movie binge. And what is a 90s movie binge without 10 Things I Hate About You? (It isn’t one.)
Once I’d stopped crying about Heath Ledger (I loved him), I realised how many life lessons Kat Stratford teaches us in this movie. Based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew (I love a modern-day movie based on a classic), it’s about a fiery woman who knows her own mind, refuses to conform or let anyone dictate her life. (Expect when she falls in love. Then she cracks ‒ gosh, I love love! ‒ but she’s human, which is the point.)
Anyway, here are 5 things Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You taught us about being ourselves:
1. Live up to your own expectations, not other people’s
If you live your life according to what other people want for – or from – you, then you’re setting yourself up for misery. You don’t want to wake up at age 86 and realise you’ve lived your life entirely for other people. E.g. stayed in jobs (or relationships) you hated, taken career paths you never wanted, lived in a suburb you didn't like, or missed out on adventure because someone else didn't think you'd make it.
It is impossible to make everyone happy ‒ I know this because I’ve tried. Instead, focus on making yourself happy. What do you want from life? Who do you want to be? What’s important to you?
Be honest with yourself. Decide what you want out of life, then work towards that.
2. Sister’s should have each other’s backs
Like all teen movies, at the start of 10 Things I Hate About You there is a family divided. By the end, there is a family united. And while it’s a stock standard plot line, it really is important. If you’re lucky enough to have a sister, it’s a special and sacred bond you should be grateful for. Only a sibling understands your family, including your weird cousin Daryl, and the inside jokes. But only an older sister can teach you about periods, or remember when you wet the bed or worse, wore Candy's. Only a younger sister knows that feeling of adoration, wanting to be like their older sister. (She also remembers waking up at 3am to let you in the back door because you lost your keys.)
Too often we take our family for granted, and if you’re someone who does, stop now. I mean it, RIGHT NOW.
In fact, text your sister this second. Go on. Here, I’ll write it for:
“Hey Sis, hollering at you to let you know I’m thinking bout cha. Also you should check out this amazing blog I read called 5-to-try. Omg, you should totally read it. Here’s the link ‒ the5totry.com. Anyway, call me." *emoji of your choice*
Or something along those lines.
3. Be a badass (when you need to)
Kat flashes a teacher, criticises lessons, ditches school, has a go at the ‘popular’ boy and wears blue camo. She’s a badass feminist who calls it like she sees it.
Sometimes you need to be a badass to get the job done. And you shouldn't feel bad about it. (You shouldn't even feel bad about wearing blue camo – if that makes you happy, go for it.)
It’s OK to cry in public
It’s drilled into us that crying in public is the worst thing that could happen to anyone. Yes, a natural bodily function that occurs when one shows emotion must be avoided at all costs.
4. Crying in public doesn’t make you weak – it shows you care
Kat cried in front of a classroom full of teenagers. And even though she is fictional, that is still a lot worse then crying in front of your partner / boss / doctor / bus driver.
Don’t be afraid to cry. Worse things have happened ‒ like Charlotte pooing her pants in the Sex and the City movie.
5. Don’t do something just because everyone else is
Spending $50 on a dinner you didn’t want to go to? Staying out later than you wanted to because your friends insisted? Everyone around you is having babies, maybe you should? No! You shouldn’t. Not unless you want to.
Peer pressure is still a thing, some 10+ years since high school. It’s easy to peer pressure others, and it’s easy to be peer pressured yourself. But don’t succumb! The only reason you’d do something because everyone else is, is because you’re worried about what people think. But who cares what people think! Kat didn’t. And you shouldn’t either. It won’t make you happy and it means you're living to someone else expectations, not yours. (See point 1. Or read this.)