10 Things My Favourite Movie Taught Me

I think I finally found a favourite movie. Now I can finally answer that annoying question. It’s not a new movie or anything. It’s not like I’ve watched the movie for the first time or anything. I just realized how much I actually love the movie and how, while being very entertaining, it challenges many ideas about society that should be challenged. So, by now, you might be wondering what exactly this amazing movie could possibly be?
“She’s the Man”
I bet you didn’t expect that, but let me explain just how much I love this movie. I’ve watched this movie a dozen times at least, and recently, I decided to watch it again. I still knew all the quotes that were GOLD, and it still made me laugh. Quite honestly, it should be put right up there with “Mean Girls” when it comes to pop culture. From tampons in the nose to changing in a bouncy house to cat fight in a girls’ washroom, there are so many scenes of this movie that can’t help but keep that smile on your face. Now what was that I said about how it challenges ideas about society? That’s what completely sold the deal with this movie and I. It’s full of so many satirical portrayals of gender roles and society that we all can learn from, and laugh about it. So here are a couple that I noticed, there are probably more, but these are 10 that stood out.
1.       1. This one is obvious but the whole “my gender does not make me less capable” idea. I mean the

whole premise of the movie is Viola proving that she can be just as good as the “guys”. It can be further applied to the philosophy of don’t let anything stop you from being who you want to be (if it’s like morally okay and all, there is a limit). So, at risk of sounding like a really cliché self-help book, the sky’s the limit.

2.     2.  Don’t let your friends or society in general tell you who to like, what is “beauty.”

If you like someone, just like them. Hiding it only hurts yourself and maybe stops you from experiencing something amazing. I mean, if your friends really do care about you, they won’t care. Maybe I can say this because I’m a girl and I don’t know how the whole guy (bro, brother, brethren?) thing works, but if it’s acceptable to make fun of someone for their crush/love/whatever, then that’s wrong. (unless you are into kids or something, then you need serious help).

3.      3.  In relation to the previous piece of advice, the other thing “She’s the Man” taught me was that it should be the inside that matters.Notice that I said it should be, not that it is. I’m not gonna kid myself into believing we live in a world that values personality over looks


. I’m also not saying that when looking for a significant other, one does not examine their “outward appearance”, present company included. However, that should by no means be the only thing that causes you to want the person. My High School English teacher articulated this principle the best, “There is always going to be someone more attractive and younger [the latter doesn’t matter now but it will when your older] than you. The only reason someone is going to stay with you, through all the crap of life will be because of who you are as person.  The only thing that someone can’t one up you on is being the best ‘you’ you can be.” (I loved Mr. H in school because of his daily tidbits of idiots).

4.       

4. Don’t settle; set your standards high. Often when I say this, it’s misinterpreted to me, always look for the greener grass, for someone better. That’s not what I mean at all. By not settling, I mean don’t be with someone for the sake of being with someone. Because you’re told you should. Because you think you can’t do better. Because it “makes” sense.
With girls especially, I always see girls settling for jerks who treat them like crap but it’s okay because he’s not that bad. Relationships and love for that matter is about two people trying to do what’s best for each other, and respecting one another. Not that I’m saying Duke was a bad guy, we all know how dreamy he was. However, Olivia (granted, not knowing much about him) did allow herself to jump into the arms of the first cute guy who asked her out.

  5.Again, related to the previous point, this movie teaches you to not to let your boyfriend (or girlfriends) treat you like crap.I don’t think I need to articulate this more, but like stand up for yourself… and if it continues, get out.
 6. Never give up, even when there is no hope. If one good thing about Malcolm can be said, it’s his 

perseverance. He didn’t let anything faze him as he tried to gain the attention of Olivia, he just tried and tried again. I’m not saying that eventually, he will get Olivia; because we all know that ship has sailed (which now makes me think that this wasn’t the best example). However, his resilience should be admired. No matter how glum things look, don’t give up. Oh, and get a pet spider.

   7. Relationships are more than the physical. It was nice to see a high school movie, and the male lead, being emotionally vulnerable. It was also nice to see Hollywood emphasize that relationships are more than just

messing around and that as people, we are looking for our best friend in our significant other.

   8. The other use for tampons. I know that after watching this movie, we’ve all at the very least considered using tampons for nose bleeds, don’t bother denying it. I personally haven’t, mostly because I’ve never HAD a nose bleed, but it has sparked curiosity.
 9.  She’s the man also gave us a quick lesson in the socio-political history of high heels that I found particularly entertaining.
   10.   What it means to be a man. It made fun of the ludicrous image of what “manliness” should be in terms

of not showing emotion, trying to get as many girls as they can, being ‘tou
gh’, etc.  I think the beauty of this is that they did all that in such a humorous way that you don’t even notice this criticism. However, it challenges this stereotype. Saying that a man can be strong and whatever, but still show emotion (mentioned in #7).  It’s refreshing.

I know some of you are thinking that I’ve over analyzed this movie maybe a bit too much. Perhaps you’re right, but after watching it for 37 ½th time, things like this start to get noticed.   One thing that makes me sad about this movie is that it reminds me that Amanda Bynes was an amazing comedy actress in her time.

With all her craziness lately, we’ve since forgotten that. She was one of my heroes as a kid, from “All That” to “The Amanda Show” to “Sydney White,” I loved her. She had a bright future ahead of her and I hope that she will make a comeback soon. Anyway, that’s it. That is why “She’s the Man” is now my unofficial official favourite movie.

Btw, there were so many other quotes I wish I could have added but they didn’t quite fit. So to the few who read this, comment your favourite “She’s the Man” quote.
Song of the Post: Dirty Little Secret by All America Rejects

Quote of the Post: “I’m here for you bro. I got a lifetime of knowledge.” –Viola Davis

Letter to my Middle School Bullies

Hello.

How are you.

I’m good, thank you for asking.

So, here we are. Four years later. Six, from when you started—decided—that it would be fun to tear down the spirits of a twelve year old. I wish six grade me could see me now. Happy. Relatively well liked. Accepted. She dreamed of this day. She hoped that it would happen but each day she walked into Ms. M classroom, she began to believe that it would never come.
She never understood why you treated her the way you did. Why you called her the names you called. What she did to make you… hate her so much. She started the first day in that school a happy-go-lucky child. A—dare I say—confident, chatty person. She was always a social person. She had to be, the constant moving forced her to. She never had trouble making friends. She never had enemies, until you decided to make one out of her.

When looking back at grade 6, all I can remember is sitting in the girl’s washroom, crying. Bearing my soul to the empty tiles of the bathroom floor in the form of sobs.

Staring at the cold mirror, trying to wash the redness out of my eyes so you wouldn’t know just how sad you made me. I think the worst thing was knowing that it wasn’t anything that I had done that made you treat me this way, it was simply who I was. Because I wasn’t pretty enough, cool enough, rich enough…THIN enough, I wasn’t deserving of your… kindness. I wanted to tell someone but I couldn’t because if I did, they would tell my parents and they would pull me out of the school. It was a private school and I knew how much they were struggling to give me the best possible education they could afford, I couldn’t break their hearts by telling them that it was hurting me. So instead, I let my own heart break instead. And crumble it did. Until there was nothing left in me. Until the will to live started to diminish. How bad would I be if I died really? My parents would be relieved the financial burden of raising me. You guys, you would be forced to say nice things about—as is what we do when speaking of the deceased. It would almost be poetic. Somehow, I carried on. I woke up every day and walked into Ms. M class, choked down my lunch in the washroom, rinsed my face and repeat.


Eventually it stopped—you stopped. I wish I could say it was because you matured, but the truth is, it was because you found a new target. I think the worst thing is slowly, I became like you. I was thirteen, scared of you turning back on me so I joined you, but that’s no excuse. It’s one of my biggest regrets. And to the girl we talked about—I’m sorry, I truly am. Even then when you all claimed to be my friend, I knew you weren’t being completely honest. I still heard the unkind nicknames, the mean rumours, snark giggles. The only difference now was that these were done in whispers.


 It hurt more.

It hurt more because this time you were supposed to be my friends, but every time I turned my back to walk away, I saw your knives in my peripheral vision.
Now years have passed and I have moved on. The memories still remain, they always will. They have become a part of who I am and my story. And as I sit this cold February evening, now “officially” and adult, vulnerable, I have just one thing to tell you all:

I forgive you.
Sincerely,
Natalie Stravens
Song of the post: Mean by Taylor Swift

Quote of the Post: Sometimes bullies are your friends and very rarely do bullying prevention tips acknowledge this fact or what to do about it. -Rosalind Wiseman

Book Worm Love

I love reading, I really do and admittedly, I have fallen prey to many of the book fandom craziness that have swept the world. Hunger Games, read it (though in my defense it was when it was only mildly popular and way before the first movie.) Series of unfortunate events, Narnia, all read when I was 10-11. Alex Rider series. Percy Jackson. Divergent. Fault in our Stars. All of them and a bunch of other obscure series that no one’s really heard of (because I’m hipster like that). Didn’t do Harry Potter though, nothing against it just wasn’t allowed to read it when I was younger and by the time I was, the craze had died down and didn’t feel the need to, though one day I will. Twilight. No. Okay, my introduction to twilight was around the time the first movie came out. All my friends were reading it; I was in middle school so I thought, why not? Watched the first two movies, found it boring; read half of the first book, fell asleep. I just couldn’t get myself into it and Edward creeped me out with his stalking thing. I mean, I’d personally be like:

What I do remember doing is Wikipedia-ing the ending. Okay, was I the only person who thought it was weird, no, disturbing that Jacob fell in love with an infant? Sure she grew up fast and all but she was a BABY!!! Why are we seeing this glorification of pedophilia and just being like aww, it’s so sweet. They are imprinted forever.  That’s more of a nope moment.

I think the Youtuber, Alex Day also ruined it for me because of his series a couple years ago. That was also when any shred of respect for it completely left. I prefer to keep my brain cells, thank you very much and go read some… Shakespeare or something.
I know it sounds like I threw in Shakespeare as a random, well referenced author but I do legitimately like reading him, especially the comedies. (Favourite play is As You like It) His stories are humorous and clever and somehow relatable, all written in beautiful language—though admittedly, sometimes you need a little SparkNotes to appreciate that beauty. Now when I ask you for the name of a Shakespearean play, I’m sure one of the first ones you think about is Romeo and Juliet. That could possibly be the only one I absolutely hate that he wrote. Okay, he must have been slightly high when he wrote that. I think the thing I hate about it the most isn’t the plot itself, it’s more the fact that it has become the epiphany of what love is and that annoys me. Romeo and Juliet were just a bunch of hormonal teenagers who got so many people killed because they couldn’t wait.
 I mean let’s just analyze the ending, (*spoiler alert* but honestly if you don’t know how it ends, that is pretty sad because it’s been out for centuries and is a famous literary work.) Romeo finds Juliet ‘dead’ and kills himself in sorrow, she wakes up and sees him really dead and then kills herself in sorrow. Initial reaction: WTF? Okay, do you know how that story starts? Romeo was in love with some other random girl called Rosaline who wanted to be a nun so that couldn’t work. He met Juliet at a party his friend took him to so he could forget his troubles. Juliet is the freaking rebound girl. THE REBOUND GIRL.  Take that in. It took lover boy Romeo a whole afternoon to get over Rosaline. So if he had just used his common sense and been like, “oh Juliet’s dead. So sad. I’ll mourn her now but life goes on (and you know another girl could walk right in and I’ll ‘fall’ for her too).” Then Juliet would have woken up by now and it would be a happily ever after! Yay! But no, he had to be a stupid teenager. I mean he was what? 15? And Juliet was like 13? And let’s go back to the fact that it was THREE DAYS! Not even a week! Why are these people the romanticized image of love? I do not think at 13 or 15 you know what love is. You might know crush or infatuation or even lust but not love, at least not that kind.
Yeah, so that rant went off but it had to be made. My point is—I don’t even know anymore. Basically, Valentine’s Day is coming soon and I think the whole forever alone-ness moping part of me is creeping out. Anyway, love is… not something you find in 3 days at 13-15 years of age and is not some creepy guy watching you sleep. Also books are cool.
Yup, that was the point I was making. (It was probably gonna be some inspirational thing about the power of books and words but whatever).
Song of the Post: S.A.D. by Joseph Vincent
Quote of the Post:Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.-Albert Einstein

Happiness for Sale

What does it mean to be happy?
Is it smiling and laughing all the time?
Is it having dozens of friends?
Is it owning hundreds of things?
Everyone’s always saying, “money can’t buy happiness,” so why do all the pictures of rich people have smiles and the ones of poor kids in Africa have tears?
I don’t want to be happy.
That’s a weird statement, probably one you wouldn’t expect me to say, but here it is –I don’t want to be happy. Why? Well, let me just clarify what I mean by being happy:
Happiness is an emotion –temporary
Happiness is a series of chemical reactions in your brain –temporary
Happiness can be changed easily by circumstances –temporary
Happiness is temporary
Do you see where I’m going with this? Every day, we are bombarded with images of happiness and products that can give us that so called euphoria –but they don’t work. Sure, getting a new pair of shoes can make me happy for a while, then I have an argument with my dad and then suddenly –it’s gone.
What do things have to be with being happy anyways? I live in a place where we’re all supposed to be happy because we have everything, as far as food and things go; yet in North America, the third leading cause of death in teens is suicide. That’s a crazy statistic. If we have so much, then why are we all so sad?
I, personally, have had the opportunity to see the ‘other side of the world’ many times, and the picture I get there is completely different. Yes, there’s poverty and all that. People have next to nothing –but they are some of the happiest people I have ever met. I would meet a kid who doesn’t even own a pair of pants yet still shows off his toothy grin in a smile every time I saw him. How is that contrast even possible? It doesn’t make any sense.
Going back to my original statement, “I don’t want to be happy.” I neglected to say the second part, “I want to find joy.” Now you may be thinking, “What’s the difference? It’s simple really:
Happiness is temporary, joy is permanent.
Happiness is an emotion, joy is a lifestyle
How do you even achieve joy? Well, I’ve found that the first way is by choosing to be happy, despite the bad days, sad days and mad days –that came out way cheesier than I intended. Joy is choosing to be content. Now I must clarify, contentment is not complacency. Being complacent is choosing to be a doormat and not doing anything to change that, just accepting your fate in an almost bitter nature. Being content is knowing your circumstance and accepting it, while still allowing a possibility to grow.
The next step on the ‘road to joy’ is the elimination of self on the brain. When one is depressed, sad, etc, it’s often due to them concentrating on themselves and their problems and flaws. Have you ever done that thing where you sit by yourself, alone in your room and contemplate your existence?  Next thing you know, you’re rocking on the floor in fetal position, crying in despair. I feel that when we get out of that habit on thing of ourselves and focus more on others, that feeling despair goes. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually happiest when I’m helping others. Volunteering could possibly be the best form of therapy. This is not to say that it’s easy. I would be lying if I told you that you could switch on a button and be content and generous and happy. It’s a process, but it’s one you have to force yourself to start.
Anyway, this went on a lot longer than I wanted it to go –again. I should probably apologize for taking long to update as well, life’s been getting in the way. I’ll just leave you with my new found philosophy:

I don’t want to be happy, I want to find joy.
Natz
Song of the Post:  All Star By Smash Mouth

Quote of the Post: “Be content because that makes you automatically awesome.” –Quote developed by my friend, Miriam R., and I

Soul Searching Encounter

Hello people of the internet. So, I know it’s been a while since my last update, mainly because I’m a major procrastinator. In this post, I’m going to do something a little bit different. In my Writer’s Craft class, we have this exercise where we get a couple minutes of free writing in which my teacher gives us a topic and we write whatever comes to mind. Unfiltered thoughts and expression. I’d like to share with you my latest one which turned out a lot better than I expected. It was one of those bursts of inspiration that couldn’t stop flowing. So here it is- keep in mind this is unedited and uncensored (there is no inappropriateness, just my thoughts are kind of all over the place)

The topic was “A chance encounter which changes a person’s life”

Have you ever walked in a crowd and still felt so alone? Even when you’re with your friends, you sometimes feel isolated. Have you ever considered though, “maybe it’s my own fault? Maybe the only reason I feel lonely is because I’m not opening up to people”
Opening up to people is hard though, when you know them- when you value their friendship. Maybe they will think you’re weird, maybe you’ll lose that relationship. Sometimes, the best way to open up and get all that’s bothering you off your chest is by talking about it to a stranger. With this, you have nothing to lose, so why not?

So you go, into the world looking for a onetime confidante. A friendship only meant to last a moment. You find yourself in a park on the other side of town; one you have never visited. There is a solitary bench under an oak tree already changing colours for fall. You sit.

Another person sits next to you. You don’t look up to see who it is. You don’t even know if it is a man or woman. You start to speak. “Can I talk to you” you say, “just about what’s going on with me right now?”

The person doesn’t speak, but makes no move so you take that as an approval.

You begin to tell your story. Where you were born, your family-whom you feel are weird, your beliefs –that you’re unsure of, your plans for the future-which scare you. You confide with this stranger about your problems and your fears, your dreams and your interest, even your secrets that only you know. You even tell them what you had for breakfast this morning.

You tell them the story of you.

All through it, not a word is spoken by this unknown individual. No reaction is made, whether positive or negative. They simply listen. They simply accept.

You, comfortable in this atmosphere of accepting facts as they are, have a chance to stop on contemplate the last few moments. You’ve never had a chance to really lay yourself right out there. By telling this stranger about you, you’ve also explained part of you to yourself. For the first time, you feel like you can understand yourself just a little bit more.

You inhale, taking a deep breath as your eyes close instinctively. You feel a strange sense of peace, as if a burden has been lifted off you. You realize one has, for the first time, you were completely honest with yourself. 

You exhale.

You tell the stranger thank you. You and the hidden person get up and head in opposite directions. Your paths never intertwine again.

You are content with this fact.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So that’s it. I honestly don’t know what to make about this journal yet for some weird reason, I felt it was something worth sharing.

Song of the Post: Somewhere Only We Know by Keane
Quote of the Post: “We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.” -Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Other Kind of Bad Person

I think I truly have lost hope for humanity. 

Yesterday was a perfect example of this. There’s this girl in my school, she a sweet girl but admittedly, a little (ok, quite) weird and can get pretty annoying at times. She always comes up to me and says “hi, how are you” and I usually just say “hi” back, because, that’s what you do- You are nice to people, even when they make you uncomfortable. Continuing with the story of yesterday, she came up to me as I was getting stuff out of my locker and greeted me. We talked for a bit then  I started to walk off while she went and said hi to another boy who was passing us. She tapped his shoulder to gain his attention and how did he react? He exclaimed, “Ew, get away from me,” and ran off. The girl, she maintained her smile and walked away before I could do anything. I can honestly say I admire her though, for keeping her chin up despite everything. The boy? He walked off to his friend and told her what had happened. His exact words were “(girl’s name) just touched me.” I expected the friend to be like, “So, what’s the big deal?” or something along those lines, but she replied, “That’s disgusting, you should put hand sanitizer on that or something.” I was disgusted at their behavior. Yes, I acknowledge the girl makes many people uncomfortable, but that doesn’t make her any less of a human. She is a human being! 

I was so outraged then I realized- I did nothing about it. All I did was tell my friends what happened and we all gasped at the inhumane actions of the people but what good is that? It’s like that scene in Mean Girls when Janis says  “There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.”Well, she right (technically the screenwriter who wrote Mean Girls is right but you know what I mean). What good is complaining about how awful our world, our society, and do nothing about it. I tried making excuses for myself to why I didn’t do anything like “She had already left” “I don’t even know those kids” “I had to go, my friend’s were waiting for me” but they are just that, excuses, each one more stupid than the rest. I’ve realized, I was no better than they were.

We all watched those cheesy anti-bulling videos that were probably done in the eighties where there’s the victim, the bully and the bystander. They are usually so boring and terribly done that we all tune it out, but there is some truth to it. I’ve come to believe that the person who holds the most power in these scenarios is the bystander. It’s not the victim, for obvious reasons, and while it may seem like it’s the bully, it’s not. Chances are, the bully’s just another child who’s hurting. The bystander is the one who can turn the situation in two directions, do nothing and let the cycle continue or try and change things. Even if you don’t change the bully’s mind, by simply standing up for them, you’ve already impacted the victim’s life.

I didn’t intend for this post to be an anti-bullying rant. Actually, I was planning for it to be a whole thing about pop culture and why stupid thing get popular, etc. Somehow this happened instead and I think that it did for a reason. Maybe you’re reading this and tomorrow, you’ll have the opportunity to be the bystander and make a difference (ok, I’m sorry for this cliché). As for me? I’m gonna have a talk with a certain two people in my school tomorrow, lucky for me, their locker’s are near mine. 😉 

Song of the Post: Hero by Superchick
Quote[s] of the Post: (all by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”


 “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”