The Yellow Pages

Life's questions completely unexplained


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Call Me Crazy

(Excerpt from my first blog at Brown HerCampus.com called “Call Me Crazy”)

Girls are bizarre. We make absolutely no sense. One moment we’re dancing in front of the mirror to some nameless Taylor Swift song and the next we’re face down on the floor contemplating the meaning of life. Girls are strange, unpredictable, volatile—but not crazy.

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The best way to disarm a girl is to call her crazy. Call her fat, call her ugly, call her a bitch and she will bounce back. Call her crazy and she will hit that brick wall. Hard. Guys call girls crazy, girls call girls crazy. Call a girl crazy and she’s forced to reevaluate her state of mind, question her actions, and defend the person she thinks herself to be. There are many things you could call a girl to hurt her, but crazy trumps them all. It makes everything she feels invalid, everything she says wrong, and everything she does certifiable. 

To make things even worse, the word hysteria actually comes from the Greek word for uterus. Literally, hysteria means uterus. What if the…. (continue reading)

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The Selfie Dilemma

Theme: Vulnerability

Oxford English Dictionary’s world of the year for 2013 was “Selfie“. For those who don’t know what a Selfie is—(this is for you, Grandma, I know you’re reading this)—apparantly it’s a “casual self-portrait, usually taken at arms length with a digital camera or smart-phone”.

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Selfie is said to be the word of my generation: the Millenials—associated with entitlement and narcissism. Y’all know we can’t go 3 seconds without tweeting, snapchating, or posting everything we think online (guilty). We are self-centered and disconnected. And we love to take Selfies.

I’ve never been one to be comfortable in a Selfie. I like to think of myself as an awkward person. I mean, I don’t like to think it, I just think it. So when a friend shoves a backwards iPhone in my face, I try mustering up my best expression that screams: “self-confident right here!”.

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None of the above are my best pictures (though my dog looks flawless). To be honest, it’s embarrassing to even make them public. But to me, this is the exact reason the selfie exists. Wikipedia may ‘argue’ that selfies are used to create a self image that differs from reality, but perhaps they do the exact opposite. They portray us stuck in a moment of spontaneity, absurdity, and vulnerability. Unedited, unposed, unplanned—the selfie gives the world, or the recipients of your snapchats, a view into just how human you really are.

My relationship with selfies has transformed. It started with a reluctant entrance into the world of Snapchat. At first, I’d spend twenty minutes crafting the perfect, awkward facial expression and then send it only to close friends for a max 3 seconds, fearing nothing more than the screen-shot. But soon I began sending longer snaps, snapping to more people, and not caring as much about how I looked in the picture. As time went on, I gained more and more ‘Selfie-confidence‘. (sorry that was really bad I just had to).

Because my goal is always to be as philosophic as possible, I’m going to propose a theory: The more comfortable you are taking Selfie’s, the more comfortable you are with yourself. I know that I am far more self-confident that I was a year ago and as ridiculous and superficial as it sounds, my relationship with Selfies mirrors this. I’ve gone from uncomfortable 3 second Snapchats to gems such as this:

Me doodling taking notes in Neuro1:
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I am sure there are those who think differently. Those who will read this post, see all these pictures I took of myself and scoff at the self-centered college kid that I am. Maybe their right, maybe I’m wrong. But If you feel self confident when taking close-ups of your face then all power to you.

There is a fine line between ‘putting yourself out there’ and ‘looking for attention’. I mean, this blog is pretty much a large, ever-changing Selfie—a show of either vulnerability or narcissism, depending how you see it. This dichotomy is the same one that creates this Selfie Dilemma, the same one that makes us self-conscious and scared of what the world may think when we show it our face. I’ve gone from trying my best to show myself as I want the world to see me and frankly, not giving a damn.

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– j

Unanswerable Question: Are Selfies shows of vulnerability or narcissism?

(Me teaching my Grandma about Selfies)

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Confessions of a Basket Case

Theme: “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all”

Regardless of whether you like eggs and bacon or pancakes and waffles—you’ll definitely love The Breakfast Club. It’s the iconic example of adolescent self-discovery, Saturday detention, and fantastic ’80’s music that transcends cinematic boundaries and leaves us with the question: Who Am I?

It’s also just a really good movie.

For those lost souls who have yet to see it, The Breakfast Club is about five socially- divergent teens: the Brain, the Athlete, the Basket Case, the Princess, and the Criminal, who are asked to discover their self-identity during Saturday detention.

The first time I saw The Breakfast Club, my friend and I assigned each other characters: he the Criminal, I the Basket Case. It may be that he was in his bad-boy phase and I only had two girls to choose from, but at the time the personas seemed to fit.

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The five characters begin their day with snide remarks, pointed jokes, and streams of eye rolls. No one knows why the others are there and no one really cares. The morning passes with nail filing, knife sharpening, a legendary game of paper football, and cumulates with a synchronized whistling number. Each character sits inside their stereotype and has no interest in standing up.

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However, as time passes and boredom runs high, something changes within the group. Together they escape their prison, avoid their warden, and find interest in their fellow delinquents. After some illicit activity, a quick dance party, and an impressive lipstick application using cleavage, the Breakfast Club finds themselves in a truth circle.

This is my favorite part. Gone are the snide remarks and pointed jokes and in their place is a deep sense of vulnerability. Here we find out the reasons for each character’s presence in detention and the underlying factors that drove them there. These intense confessions shatter the bulletproof glass of their stereotypes. Behind the lipstick, cigarettes, and straight-As, all of them are pretty bizarre. Cross-legged and vulnerable, the Brain, the Athlete, the Basket Case, the Princess, and the Criminal, shed their labels and become the Breakfast Club.

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The Breakfast Club may just be a movie, and a good one at that, but there is a reason why it resonates. It’s for this same reason my friend saw himself as the Criminal and I the Basket Case: we tend to see ourselves the way others want to see us. We fill these personas, for the good and the bad, in order to draw a distinct line between ourselves and the rest of the world.

We draw these lines to relieve the pressure of defining self-identity. The pressure comes from outside sources as well as our own inner voice saying: “What should I major in? What should I do with my life? Who am I??”. This uncertainty is scary so we latch onto the best persona that crosses our path.

But this isn’t good enough. I am no more the Basket Case than my friend is the Criminal. Being a Basket Case may be fun but it isn’t even close to describing all that I am. And no one, not even ourselves, can confine us to one persona. When we surpass defined labels, we find out that we’re all pretty bizarre, some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.  

 “You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain and an athlete and a basket case and a princess and a criminal.”

 Does that answer your question?

  Sincerely yours,
 the Breakfast Club.

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– j

Unanswerable Question: Who are you when you don’t define yourself?

And some solid ’80s music