The 5 Things I Learned from Lady Bird

The 5 Things I Learned from Lady Bird

When I was first asked to host the Lady Bird sneak premiere in Houston, I immediately watched the trailer and knew it was an opportunity that I could not refuse. While this was the first film directed by writer Greta Gerwig, I knew that if the film was anything as hilarious and witty as the trailers, we would all be in for a treat. And needless to say, Lady Bird fulfilled all expectations. In this coming of age film the self-named character, Lady Bird, seeks to escape small town Sacramento after high school graduation, and start a new life in big city New York, a place filled with culture, lights, and stardom. Through laughter and tears, Lady Bird’s story reminded me of my teen years, my desire to escape my mother’s home, and my epiphany moments of realizing family is everything. Here are the 5 things that Lady Bird reminded me:

It’s perfectly appropriate to change your name and create your own identity.

When I wrote my first novel, I decided that I would write using a pseudonym, and I could remember wondering whether I was making a rationale decision. But I wanted, Tonia, to be able to create her own identity, one not defined by 9-5 responsibilities or preconceived notions of those that thought they knew me. Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson learned well before me, that it is perfectly acceptable to create your own identity, even if that comes with a name change.

Experience is better than winning.

Like clockwork, LadyBird chose to run in school elections, not because she would win, but because of the experience gained through the process. As adults, most of us can attest to the fact that some of the biggest and most vital life lessons come from experiences associated with loss. Imagine how much further we would be if we never feared losing in knowing the value of experience.

It’s not uncommon to imagine that life away from home is bigger and better.

The one thing that I knew when I graduated high school is that I was going to college out of state, and even though I only crossed one state line, my college experience was filled with lessons that could only be obtained through not being close to home. Before I left, the items that I could cook were limited to Ramen noodles and a grilled cheese sandwich, and I realized after turning a white load of clothes a rosy pink that I had never done laundry either. I wasn’t too far from home that I couldn’t reach my parents within a few hours by car, but I was too far to go home for a quick meal or to get my laundry done of the weekends. I left at 17 with all of the childish, immature dreams of being an adult for the first time without parent rules and regulations and came back 4 years later a woman with a new appreciation of boundaries.

Even at 32, I still long to live away from home, but the hardest part has been finding my city of dreamers with big lights.

Every mother isn’t going to be Claire Huxtable and that’s okay too.

Marion McPherson might not have been Claire Huxtable, but in the end, all that it took was a night away from home for “Christine” to realize that her mother loved her all the same. Children are gifts, but unlike the ones we unwrap on holidays, they don’t come with a manual of instructions. And for most parents, their realm of expertise comes from the examples set by their own and/or the harsh realities of life. Marion McPherson might not have mastered the art of delicacy with her words, but she loved Christine, and wanted the best for her, which is a lesson that it sometimes take leaving home to realize.

Your first everything’s often leave a lot to be desired.

We can save this topic until after you see the movie.


Lady Bird is now playing in all major theaters, and you can view the trailer by clicking here.


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