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

Impersonating the Love Guru

How many times do you hear a guy rant about how “all girls” are shallow and don’t care about honesty, trampling all over their hearts. Then the same time here girls talk about how “all guys” act the exact same way. Honestly, I’m sick of it. I feel like the generalization of people dehumanizes them and is just plain immature.

I guess the major root of all this is the bitterness cause by failed relationships (or almost relationships) that seems to completely shape people’s paradigm of the opposite sex. Well, maybe that’s valid… to some degree. However, there are a few generalizations made about guys and girls that have always gotten on my nerves. Here is a few:
All girls friendzone the “good guys”. Ok, there are three problems with this. First of all, most guys who I have heard complain about being ‘friendzoned’ have never bothered to even ASK the girl out. Okay, you cannot complain about that if you don’t even have the guts to be assertive enough and ASK! She is not a mind reader.

 There’s a reason I never root for the best friend in books. You’ve known this girl for years, why suddenly when she’s into someone else you decide to tell her you love her. Like can you not?

Secondly, the other hand is the guys who do ask and the girl tells them she just sees them as a friend and they get mad. She is entitled to her own emotions and you can’t FORCE her to like you back. Some even just say yes out of pity but when there’s nothing there, there’s nothing there. The fact that you complain about that is very selfish and makes me question your ‘nice guy-ness”. This is also connected to the other myth nice guys finish last which isn’t true. Maybe the reason it’s not working with this person because they aren’t the person for you. You “finish last” because the “one” or whatever is the LAST person you decide to pursue and it’s magic.
The last thing wrong with this is girls are friendzoned just as much as guys… just saying.
All guys are jerks/ all girls are shallow. No, they are not. There are really nice people in the world. Yes there are some but if you just step out of your exclusive bubble and got to know new people, you would find them. Make friends with new people. Honestly, some of the best relationships come out of friendships because you’ve already established that sense of trust and not just liking someone based on their outside appearance. My teacher once talked about how stupid first dates are because people come all dolled up, acting like someone they are not and by the time you find out who they are, they are someone completely different. Also, a lot of people who think other people are shallow or jerks liked/dated those people in the first place based on their looks. If it was truly about whom they were, why are you complaining about it later. You’re just as shallow as they are.
Girls and Guys can’t be good friends without falling for each other. This sounds slightly contradictory to my previous point but it’s not, girls and guys CAN be just friends. Yes, some friendships bloom into more, but if every friendship bloomed then there would be no more friends and everyone would be in polygamous relationships. Your significant other should be your best friend, that doesn’t mean your friend will be your significant other. We live in the 21st century and let’s move on from that.  
Cheating. This isn’t so much a myth as it is a problem with relationships. Frankly, I don’t get it. Why do people cheat? Like I understand you finding someone else—which means you didn’t truly love the first person—but I don’t understand why you have to reel that person along while you hang out with others. If you’re over someone, move on. Why hurt them even more by cheating. I would rather be dumped for someone else than cheated on but stayed with. Also, the “other woman (or man)” baffles me. Why would you want a person who cheats. If they cheated on the previous person, they will with you. The whole affair confuses me. (LOL, get it, affair? :D)
Long Distance Relationships don’t work. I honestly can’t speak in certainty about this subject. I haven’t been in one that works but I know of some that have. My conclusion, some do work. It’s possible but it depends on the people. You know yourself. You know whether or not you can handle it.
Love at first sight. Ok, Disney ruined love—though they did finally get it right in Frozen. You cannot love someone by simply seeing them. You can be infatuated with them and then grow into love but not at that moment you met them. If you say you did, you’re a superficial person because honestly, the only thing you have to go on them is their looks.
Opposites Attract. This is both true and false. Yes, people can be attracted to people different from them, out of curiosity and what not. However, you have to have some stuff in common for a relationship to work. It’s just simple logic. However, two people are supposed to complement each other so the differences you DO have should work in harmony with each other.
Happy couples don’t fight. LOL! That’s the biggest lie. If you never fight, that’s actually a sign that something is wrong. Disagreements—when worked out—make a relationship stronger. Whether it’s a romantic one, family one, friendship, etc. People have varying opinions and they clash sometimes, it’s how you deal with it that matters.
Love is butterflies in my stomach. I literally wrote a whole post on this.here

So I guess that’s it. I didn’t mean to turn into a love guru or anything, I’m just tired of all the stupid, failed high school stuff and all.

Anyway, Valentine’s is soon so I guess it sorta fits, but my final thought is not rush relationships. I know you’ve heard it a million times but it’s true, when it’s right and it’s time, it will happen. (and that time is not when you’re 12)







Song of the post: Dear No One by Tory Kelly 













Quote of the Post: Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable. -Bruce Lee

In Hindsight

Happy 2014 everyone!

Can I first express how disappointed I am with technology? Hello, where are the holographic video chats and the flying cars? I was really looking forward to a new hoverboard for Christmas. C’mon Science! You’re slacking.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I wanted to do a little recap on 2013 and what this new year means to me… all that sentimental mumbo jumbo. Everyone seems to be talking about how 2013 was such a bad year with all the deaths and natural disasters. I admit it wasn’t the roaring 20’s but 2013 was an ok year. Like every year it had its ups and downs, but what year doesn’t? Here’s what 2013 was for me, the good and bad:

This is small on the grand scale of thing but if I hear “Blurred Lines” again I think I’m gonna shoot myself. I think a little part of my soul dies a little every time it comes on. There were others that were abominations to the Arts but that one particularly irks me. 

On the more serious side of things, a lot of people died this year, and I don’t just mean the famous ones. It’s sad, but I think what’s more sad is the fact that some people’s lives were considered more valuable than others. Don’t get me wrong, my heart goes out to the families of all those celebrities that died, but it also goes out to the others. Where’s the mourning for the infants that die every day in a developing country because they didn’t get the right facilities to cure a disease as simple as the common cold. Or the newly orphaned family who’s mum died of HIV/AIDS. Then there’s the death of Nelson Mandela. He was a great man and an inspiration to us all. However, I don’t understand why everyone was so sad about his life. He lived a long and fulfilling life, we should be celebrating it, not mourning it. Nelson Mandela isn’t a man who died, He LIVED!

National Disasters were another wave tragedy in 2013. They were devastating, I’m not gonna argue that. However, the human race is faced with great tragedies every year. I think it says more of how we deal with it and the triumph of the human spirit. Even with all the horror, I say many band together to help those in need. Now let’s not argue the merits of charities and if all the money got to them, but the fact that people went out of the way to help and donate to the cause is what we should be discussing.

This year is honestly a blur to me. I know it’s not been the best because I remember being sad or mad or whatever but I can’t remember what I was mad or sad or whatever about (real intellectual sentence right there). I make me think how insignificant that was in the grand scale of things. Like the ice storm we had here in Toronto.  Sure it sucked and we lost power but at the same time it forced me—and others I bet—to actually spend time with their family this holidays. I know the whole “silver linings” explanation usually sounds so terribly cliché but I warned you this post will be filled with sentimental mumbo jumbo. The anwswer don’t always have to be grand and mind blowing, sometimes it’s something we already know but choose to ignore.

Now on the positive side of things, these are more personal than the above ones. 2013 was a good year for friendship in my life. Not only did I wake a lot of new friends but my friendship with current ones really blossomed. I have a lot of friends who were just people I didn’t really know but hanged out with but I think on a more emotional level, I got to know many of them this year. I guess it’s because it’s going on my third year in one place which is an achievement for me. I’ve only stayed 3 years in one school once before and this will be the last time because of me graduating and all. It was also a great year for new friends. You know how you have these connections with people where you click and become amazing friends in such a short period of time, well that happened to me a lot this year. It must be because of all the camps and the mission trip I went on and being forced to spend time with the same people around the clock. What’s even more amazing is the fact that I still kept in contact with a lot of them which usually doesn’t happen. I’m tired of regretting cultivating friendships that could have been so I decided to change that. This year was also one of life changing experiences. True, I had to travel to another side of the world to experience it, but it happened none the less. So yeah, I guess 2013 was a good year for me. I dunno how it was for you, but what I do know is that no matter how bad things get, there truly is a silver lining.
Sorry for the cheesiness with extra cheese.

Quote of the Post: “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”- Nelson Mandela

The Value of life

So the hashtag “pray to end abortion” was trending on Twitter today. I’ve always been very passionate about the subject, so naturally, I checked out people’s tweets to see the varying opinions. Reading people tweets made me angry, and then frustrated and then plain sad… disappointed. Now, to clarify my personal stance on the subject, I’m pro-life. 

Now let’s cue the so called feminist beliefs about how I’m not respecting a woman’s choice, it’s her body, yada yada yada. I’m sorry if that sounds insensitive but that’s just a load of bull. However, will defend myself against this point because otherwise, you’ll just right me off as another brainwashed conservative (which, honestly, I don’t think I’m conservative in most of my beliefs, but that’s another story). Back time feminism. The reason people give to why a woman should have control over her own body is because if she’s having this unplanned baby, she’s ruining her life. I heard many pro choice people say how we reduce women to baby bearing vessels when we’re all like they must have that baby! I’m response, “what?” Isn’t the fact that a woman’s life could be destroyed because she had a baby just a reflection of how anti feminist our society is. Why can’t someone be a mother and a career woman? Why must our culture shun single women instead of help them? And, why should someone who had sex-knowing that there is a possibility of getting pregnant-be allowed to erase that mistake so easily. Again, I’m sorry if that sound insensitive, but you kind of made your bed, now you have to sleep in it-no pun intended. If I slacked around in school and ended up never going to post secondary or getting a good job and all that, it’s my own fault. There’s no way to erase it, no get out of jail free card, and quite frankly, this part of the argument just annoys me because there is no real substance to it.

Now I know what you’re going to say next, what if she was raped? It’s funny how that’s always the argument even though you know that not all abortionists are rape victims. Nevertheless, it’s a valid point. My response is simple: why should an innocent infant have to suffer the consequences of his/her father’s actions. People are protesting against North Korea’s 3 generation punishment law and here are we practicing a variation of it. 


Now, here comes the part I’m most passionate about, defending the rights of the unborn itself. The thing that angers me the most is when people say it’s not a baby. As if it’s not human. As if its DNA is that of a -Irk-a fish and it randomly becomes a human after it’s born (or 3rd trimester, depending on the people). It’s human! granted it’s at a different stage of development, but it’s still human! How it’s age or where it currently occupying changing that. How is the value of life determined by a detail as meaningless as that. Is my life more valuable than my sister’s because I’m at a higher stage of development? After all, I’ve gone through puberty, she hasn’t. That’s absurd, right?! Exactly! So how is that any different? And don’t give me that crap of it being part of a woman’s body. Yes, the mother is holding the body and they are connected physically but the baby is not part of it. I’m all for a woman being allowed to do what she wants with her life but it’s not HER life she’s affecting, it’s her unborn child!
Ok, I lied. It is hers to. My last, point I guess, that I want  To leave you with is the lie that people give women about abortion. That it’s easy and that it’s not That  big of a deal. First of all, that’s a sick ideology. Secondly, uh… no. Abortion affects the mother emotionally forever. Every woman I’ve met who’s had one(and I’ve volunteered at help centers for pregnant single women) regrets it. Their conscience is forever plagued.
Now, surprisingly, I’m not saying we should revoke the law. I’d rather girls get it at a hospital or clinic with the right facilities instead of a dingy basement so they don’t die as well. If someone wants an abortion, they’re going to find a way. What I am saying is we need to educate people on the true implications of it. So I ask you, “How much do you value life?

Well, ok, I’m done with my rant. Sorry, about that.
Song of the post: “Lucy” by Skillet
Quote of the post: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” –Dr. Seuss. (I know he was’t specifically talking about this but it applies non the less)


“How can the “Dream” survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (before you say it was his niece that said that, I did the research, she said it was something HE told her)

Survival of Fittest-er- all of us

First of all, I extend my utter most apologies for not updating in God knows how long. What’s worse is, I’m writing at the moment, not with a current theme or topic in mind but out of obligation. 
Ah, obligation… that word that reminds us that we have responsibilities. That other people depends on us or something we have to offer. Oh, what’s that? You have no responsibilities? No one really depends on you?
Lets take a second to analyse that concept. A lot of us live very selfish lives. “It’s all about me” right? It’s a “Dog eat dog” world, and you’re just looking out for yourselves and your loved ones. After all, it’s the way nature works..  survival of the fittest and all that.
Well, I disagree with that philosophy. I believe that the fact we can-if we choose to be- totally selfless and self sacrificing is what separates us from all the other animals.
Now back to the subject of obligations, as a human being, a universal duty you share with the rest of the species is your duty to the other. An ethicist, Immanuel Kant wrote about the concept of duty and it’s applications to a person’s search for a purpose. Another philosopher, Emmanuel (yes, I noticed the share a first name) Levinas went on to talk about a person’s responsibility to the other and the “face”-how simply seeing a person’s face can make a huge impact on ones conscience. Now I just threw at you two watered down major views on ethics; what I simply want you to get out of that Mambo jambo is that it’s our job to Take care of the less fortunate. It’s sad we don’t think like that. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is when celebrities are applauded for their “charity work” while they live in an arbitrarily grandiose home and all the bells and whistles that come with It. Don’t talk to me about the 1 million dollars you gave to charity-which, lets be honest, was probably due to the tax breaks you’ll get and the good publicity- when you spend millions on a wedding for a marriage that only lasts 72 days-yes I’m looking at you Kim Kardashian. It’s actually disgusting to watch. 
Now, I’ll stop myself before this ranty  part gets out of hand. So, I bet some of  you are thinking something along the lines of “Natalie, you’re being unreasonable. They worked for their money-we all do- we should be able to spend it, achieved the American dream and all that.” 
Well, this brings me back to my original point, we all live selfish existences. Why is our life goals directly on getting a good job for ME. Finding MY true love. Getting MYSELF a good home, etc. Not to say that those are bad things, they’re great… if that’s what we truly want. But it’s not. Don’t lie, you want more. You don’t want a comfortable home, you want a mansion. A good economy care, no, a sports one or whatever. We are so consumed with us, we forget-or try to- the other. Why is it such a big deal to bring 2 cans of food to school for the poor families in your community. Or to pay $2-two Freaking bucks- for dress down day. Or why do we do Just the bare minimum. We need to move away from this culture of self and to us-or as Mark Kielburger would say, ME to WE. This is where our humanity lies. Not in a fat bank account or in the empty rooms of a house to big for your family, but in the face of your neighbour-even if that neighbour is In a hut in Namibia.
So let’s quit with this survival of the fittest nonsense, and move to the survival of all of us. 🙂

Song of the Post: We are the World by Michael Jackson (Cliche, I know)
 Quote of the Post:  “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.” and “When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time” 
― Rick Warren