Friday, 17 July 2015

Truths from Paper Towns

I read the book a week ago and watched the movie this morning, and I may have just found my new favourite John Green book.  Okay, maybe not.  The Fault in Our Stars was pretty difficult to beat.  I'd say Paper Towns is a close equal though, in a different way.  While Hazel and Augustus' story made me feel, cry and go crazy, Paper Towns had some relatable truths.  And isn't it just genius how John Green is able to incorporate real life lessons and philosophies into a story like this.

College: getting in or not getting in.
Trouble: getting in or not getting in.
School: getting A's or D's.
Career: having or not having.
House: big or small, owning or renting.
Money: having or not having.
It's all so boring.

So what, you're going to go to college, get married, have kids and then you'll be happy, when you're 30?  Is that what you're saying?  Isn't there anything that could make you happy now?

One of the themes Margo continuously brings up on their nighttime endeavour was what I thinks she meant as the idea of paper towns, besides the literal version with the cartographers and plagiarism and all that.  It's like the entire city is made of paper, all the materialistic things are paper, and all the people are paper too, just living like dolls or robots; school, college, marriage and the whole conventional life thing.  It's like people nowadays never live in the moment.

Everyone's goal in life is to be happy, so what exactly are we working towards?  I feel like most of us live in a daily routine, knowing what's going to be happening the next day, and the next year.  I'm not saying I'll ever be straying against that, but how did society become so mechanical.  How did life lose so much excitement?  Is the world better this way?

Here's a tip: you're cute when you're confident.  And less when you're not.

That's how people perceive people.  We're all pretty insecure on the inside, and a confident person makes us feel either intimidated or more confident, depending on that level of insecurity.  It's always the confident people that get attention.  It's them who are acknowledged no matter what.  It's them who get the loving goodbyes.  It's them who are respected.  When you're confident, you draw people to you, and people make experiences.  Basically, be confident; or act like you are anyway.

he was this minor figure in the drama of my life,
[but] he was the central figure in the drama of his own life

We could look at life as a movie, and obviously you're the main character of your own life.  Your friends and family are your co-stars, your boyfriend's the love interest, your worries are the dramas, and everyone else are just extra characters.  Sometimes, though, we get so caught up in our own movie we forget that we aren't the star of everyone else's.  What would it be like to be the star of your best friend's movie, or your mum's movie?  Remember, everyone else is a main character too, and they have their own dramas.

I get so intimidated by people I think highly of that I begin to act different.  Is it so hard to see them as equals, as people just like me?  They're not special.

I was the flimsy-foldable person, not everyone else.
And here's the thing about it.
People love the idea of a paper girl.
They always have.
And the worst thing is that I loved it, too.
I cultivated it, you know?

And here's Margo, the girl everyone thought was special and freaking perfect, talking about herself as a person.  She's saying that everyone likes the idea of her, but they don't know who she really is.  And in the movie today, she didn't know who she really was either.  I feel like this is relatable in a way, because describing yourself is ultimately difficult, even though you're the main character of your own movie.  We're all just people who can be what we want to be; paper people figuratively.

And Margo was someone everyone liked the idea of.  She created her own image because everyone wants people to like the idea of them.  Everyone wants to be thought of as special and complicated.  So I guess that in a world full of flimsy easily manipulated paper people, it's easy for someone to make people see them in a particular way if they pull the strings right.  Pulling the strings right is the art everyone wants to master.  And I guess in this story, Margo had mastered it.

So she ran away and took time to think, figure things out, be happy now rather than live a conventionally planned robot life.  It's a nice thought, although at the same time I reckon it's rather stupid.  Maybe I'm just too attached to the idea of school, uni, marriage.  Or maybe it's possible to fit living-in-the-moment into the schedule.

It is easy to forget how full the world is of people,
full to bursting,
and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined.

We're so judgemental.  We see strangers on the street or through a car window and immediately start imagining what their life is like.  We meet people at school or at work and immediately create opinions about them, as if we can read the full story.  The version of them that we know is probably someone entirely different than who they really are.  There are so many people, and we'll only ever really know a few of them.  The rest are simply misimagined.

The pleasure isn't in doing the thing;
the pleasure is in planning it

It's the hype that matters.  It's the excitement that makes you think it'll be fun.  It's the idea of the thing.  The actual thing can't be that amazing.  The only thing making it amazing is what you've imagined inside your head.

How can you separate those things though?
The people are the place is the people.

I really like this idea.  I mean, when we think of a place it's the people that come into mind.  Thinking of primary school, I mainly see all the people I sat cross-legged in class with, who I made memories with.  Thinking of the city I was born, all I see are the people I used to play skipping with, the people who were at my birthday parties.  Thinking of school, all I see are the people.  Every place just relates back to the people there because we attach people to everything.  That just goes to show that it's the people that matter, not the materialistic things.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Next Top Model

So I just finished watching the season finale of Australia's Next Top Model - because I'm into reality TV shows and materialistic stuff like that - and Brittany won.  To be honest, I was rooting for Lucy but I mean, Brittany's pretty cool as well.  I couldn't really get into it tonight because my dad was being irritating, but good on Brittany!  I'm not really here to talk about this anyway.

First of all, let's address the important point when it comes to modelling, which is bodies and body image.  Obviously all the girls on the show had the stick thin figures with abs and legs for days and all that.  There were guest judges who were Victoria's Secret Models.  Even the host, Jennifer Hawkins is freaking gorgeous.  They have the bodies we all envy.

It's not the first time I've somewhat wished for that glamorous lifestyle, to be a beautiful person to be looked up to, to be that famous for my physical features, making other girls envy what I have.  That's what a model is after all.  They're effectively there for marketing, to make other girls want to be exactly like them.

It's the cookie cutter image.  That figure's the kind they make the best clothes for.  It's the one everyone wants when it really shouldn't be.  When we were in Sydney I saw these beautiful home-branded dresses; a blue and white polkadot picnic style button up, a black and white bird design; all with a pinching waist and loose-fitting top and skirt.  It didn't look right on me.
Girls buying their formal dresses look at the catalogue models online, with the dresses reaching their mid-thighs.  Barely anyone has the height.  The dress hems reach the knees, sometimes lower.  They use such unrealistically tall girls as models.

I'm not saying the models they have now are sending a bad message or are negative in any way.  I mean, clothes really do look amazing on them.  Height really does make the show go on.  It's just that in reality not all of us can look like that.  It's our job to filter out any negative messages we can think of and just appreciate the beauty of pop culture.

We can all get the body we want if we work for it.  Our bone structures and our heights may not be changeable, but we certainly can get abs, and we certainly can trim down our thighs if we want to.  It's all about fighting for what you want and it may be harder for some, but I reckon we can all get the best body within our potential.  Either way, we're all beautiful, because what's outside isn't everything.

One important theme that's been coming up over and over again throughout this season was the idea of confidence.  In theory you'd think it would be pretty easy to take a great photo given the right lighting and makeup and having that perfect body.  It's so much more than that though.  Camera shy or people shy; it's all relative.  It's the more confident models, the more personality they have, they're the ones that make it in the end.

Part of selling themselves is confidence and the way they carry themselves, the way they speak.  The show wasn't just catwalks and photoshoots; it was about clients and creating a personality as well.  They had to be able to present themselves as exactly what they wanted to be, and I think that's a skill we all need to have.  Just like we can get the body we want, we can become the person we want to be.

The top two, Brittany and Lucy, both have different angles to play by, according to Tyra Banks - and we all need to have some great respect for Tyra Banks.  It's just her attitude, the way she can turn a situation into something funny, something sassy.  She can be the life of the party.  She has that uber confidence.  She has made herself into some kind of attitude queen and I wish I could do that.

Anyway, back to the angles: Lucy is sweet and sociable and light; Brittany is cool and rebellious and has that don't-mess-with-me demeanour.  Both are enviable, and both should be played up.  Personally, I want to be that sociable light girl, able to have a conversation with anybody, to be completely likable.  But at the same time I want people to respect me.  I want to be that girl nobody will mess with, someone who doesn't care what others think that much because she's content with doing her own thing.  How do I make myself into this person?

One thing I've realised is that I need to open myself up to every experience possible, and I've succeeded, compared to just a few months ago anyway.  Now that I'm being put in all sorts of personally unprecedented situations, I want to do them right.  I want to enjoy them.  And to do that I need to be sure of myself.  I need to have that confidence, do what I think my dream person would do.  Or simply do what I'd do.  Because to have confidence, I need to be pleased with my intuition.  I can train myself to be more sociable, more respectable, more content within myself, but at the end of the day I need to be confident in the actions that happen in the moment, the words that come out in the moment, the thoughts.

Confidence is key.