Why Lydia Deetz from 'Beetlejuice' is my role model
One of my all-time favorite quotes is something from Beetlejuice, from the lips of goth goddess Lydia Deetz, played by Winona Ryder: “I, myself, am the strange and unusual.”
This line might technically be directed at ghosts, but it could not have resounded more with this human girl. Lydia can see the Maitlands, the ghosts haunting her new house, and she’s pointing out why she can see them while her father (Charles) and her totally artistic, totally narcissistic stepmom (Delia) can’t. But it’s really more than just a simple explanation. It’s an assertion of who she is and what she stands for (being herself, as “weird” as that might be!), and it’s just one aspect of her personality that inspires me on daily basis.
Let me just say that Lydia and I go back. As a young child, I became obsessed with Beetlejuice and its morbidly inclined teenage heroine. And even though my parents would argue that I watched the movie enough times as a toddler to max out my ability to like it in any way, my relationship with it and Lydia never changes. Because my girl, a girl who would inspire thousands upon thousands of other “strange and unusual” (read: regular, but unwilling to confirm to your expectations of what that means) girls to continue doing their thing, is straight up timeless in her awesomeness, just like Winona Ryder. (Did you hear about Winona’s comeback via that Netflix series and immediately daydream about actually getting that Winona Forever tattoo and then actually change your status to “Recently Deceased” like I did?!)
She’s unafraid to be herself, no matter how weird other people think she is
Lydia starts out with a very gloomy attitude to match her dark wardrobe choices. But what’s even cooler than her initial refusal to not be the shiny happy person that her family wants her to be as she moves into her new home is that she embraces a change in herself after she meets her new friends: ghosts and former owners of the house Adam and Barbara Maitland.
By the end of the movie, Lydia’s seen grinning from ear to ear and dancing to “Jump in the Line (Shake, Señora)” with those dead football players from the other realm backing her up. It’s not that she’s forgotten who she is (she’s still as pale as ever and only wearing colors other than black because she has a school uniform), but she’s allowed herself to accept some lights in her so-called darkroom life. She’s let herself to be herself in all iterations, seamlessly melding the new and the old versions of her.
She’s loyal to her friends to the end (and beyond)
Remember how Lydia immediately attempts to save new pals Adam and Barbara from getting exorcised (in their wedding attire, no less!) by Otho? She turns to Beetlejuice (Betelgeuse, if you stickler-y) for help, which ends up backfiring MAJORLY on her (Beetlejuice wants to marry her in exchange for saving the Maitlands!). But the fact that she’s willing to go to the ends of the world as we know it and towards the brink of another one in the name of friendship is totally worth admiring. She’s the kind of pure and true friend we all try to seek out and hope we’ll be someday.
She refuses to accept anything at face value
Lydia is a skeptic. So even when she calls on Beetlejuice, she knows not to go into the situation believing everything he says. And when he does materialize and tries to marry her, she doesn’t go down without a fight, attempting to interrupt the minister and stop this sham marriage by saying Beetlejuice’s name again. And, hey, thanks to her loyalty to her friends, she gets saved by fellow cool girl Barbara and one rogue sandworm! Pretty great.
She understands the true value of spontaneous dance
Sometimes even the strange and unusual need to jump in the line like the rest of us. And man, Lydz looks totally awesome, totally inhibited doing it. If that isn’t enough to make you sing-shout “I believe you!” at your screen, I don’t know what is.
She’s still alive in more than just our hearts!
Sure, we don’t know if this Beetlejuice sequel is actually happening for realsies, but Winona tells us it is, which means there’s hope that our dear Lydia will continue to live on in places other than our slightly blackened hearts and re-runs of that cartoon that followed the movie and is kinda awesome in its own way. To quote someone else who has a thing for Miss Deetz, basically our girl’s gonna keep making our millennium into the next one.
[Images via Warner Home Video]