If you haven't seen "Big Little Lies" yet, drop this article, download HBO Go, and then return in seven hours because you will binge-watch the entire season in one sitting. Guaranteed. If you have watched it, you're most likely reading this because you're grieving the show and are reading anything and everything with "Big Little Lies" in the title. I sat with my boyfriend and his mom as we raved over Nicole Kidman's poise, Reese Witherspoon's badassery, and cute little Chloe's terrific taste in music. However, putting all of these aspects aside, "Big Little Lies" is a conversation starter for a lot of life lessons we need to be discussing.
1. No one's life is perfect.
I know, I know. We've been told this since we were little. Even still, it’s so hard to scroll through an Instagram feed, looking at everyone's perfectly posed highlight reels and not beg the question, “Do you even have any imperfections?” In this show, we see fantastic houses, beautiful and caring children, loving marriages (at first) and soon come to realize that in fact, the more perfect someone's life seems, a lot of the times the more someone is hiding.
2. Being a mom is hard.
I'm not just ranting the usual "your mom bathed you, changed you, and dealt with your annoying tantrums" kind of difficult. I mean, holding the status of a mom is friggin' hard, and FINALLY, a show put this out in the open. As a kid, I was raised in a similar atmosphere to Monterey Bay. Moms were almost always in competition as to who could prove they had the most perfect life, and it took a toll on my mom. Seriously, moms are ruthless toward one another, from ridiculing each other for being "working mommies" to trying to "out-mother" their kids, to rubbing their perfect husbands and plentiful money in front of one another — holding the status of being a mom in society is hard work.
3. Domestic abuse isn't all that you learn in school.
You learn in this show that domestic abuse isn't always the couple that appears to be fighting, the couple who quite obviously has problems. Sometimes it’s the seemingly most passionate and healthy relationships that have the most problems but who do the best at covering them up. Everything is almost never what it seems.
4. Abusive relationships are hard to leave.
We learn the depth of love Celeste has for Perry, and for her children. Wanting so badly a perfect life so that she may hold a certain status in society, and not wanting to hurt Perry or her children, Celeste portrays that leaving an abusive relationship is so much harder than simply leaving. The love is apparent in their relationship, though the problems are so far gone, and this helps us understand why people stay with their abusers as long as they do.
5. The importance of listening and being heard.
One part of the show I find so interesting is the artistic direction the director took in filming. In conversation, the person who is listening is usually given more camera time than the person who is talking. Rather than just focusing the camera on the person speaking and taking a quick glance at the listener, "Big Little Lies" takes the opposite approach. It affirms that the speaker is really being heard, and with the theme of support from friendships in this show, this aspect of filming shows the power of simply listening to another rather than freely giving advice.
6. The love of your life very well may be your friends, not your partner.
In the trifecta friendship between Celeste, Madeline, and Jane, none of them have husbands that are particularly supportive. Madeline's husband condescends her fiery attitude, Celeste's is abusive, and Jane does not have one at all. One scene in particular that I found very symbolic was a picture of Jane running on the beach, imagining Madeline and Celeste running next to her. Running on the beach was a sort of battlefield for Jane, as she ran to battle her PTSD from rape. This scene showed how important having those friends are. Those friends were each other's lifelines, not their husbands — this was definitely done on purpose.
7. Kids pick up on more than we think.
Though Celeste and Perry were certain that their abusive relationship was kept hidden, we see at the end scenes of their twins listening to them fight and understanding what was happening. No matter how much you think you're hiding from your kids, they are going to find out.
8. Don’t lie.
People will find out eventually, and the longer you wait to the tell the truth, the messier the situation will be. This is very apparent in Madeline’s affair and in Celeste’s hiding her abusive relationship. While telling the truth can be daunting, telling the truth will get you a lot further and hurt fewer people in the long run.