Everybody loves the stereotype. It doesn’t really matter if it is actually so or just casual hypothesis. From dashing heroes, to alluring damsels in distress, pompous socialites, nice wimps, quiet sociopaths, grumpy old men, evil mother in-laws; quite a lengthy list if one is to go on.
Every now and then, some of these characters are spotted in the society, though not as often as they appear in popular books, movies, TV series and the likes. They happen to be just a small fraction of a wider mix of personalities walking the earth. The “real world” is populated with a lot of unique individuals. Not really the heroes in best sellers but “everyday people” with random qualities and several stories worth telling, from the mundane to the inspirational.
The tiresome routine of daily life has a tendency to distract us from seeing that spark in people’s personalities. So, we wave some people off as “ordinary”. The interactive and intellectual female teenager might consequently be dismissed as “merely” a chatty, serious school girl, rather than an avid conversationalist with so much potential to make for an interesting story as time goes by. So also, an energetic, “restless” six year old boy would most likely be reprehensibly called “stubborn” and “too playful” by his aunt who perhaps is tired of his small boy antics. Whereas, he might just be an individual who could make his mark in the sporting world, if only someone understands his personality on time and sets him off on the right path. Someone pensive, calm and reserved as well, may suffer the faith of being labeled boring and secretive. That might just be a philosopher in the making, a revolutionary scientist or just someone who’s straight up introspective
The stereotypical perceptions of these individuals are somewhat descriptive but they are at the same time limiting. A more keen and open-minded observation of people gives us a clearer view of their true nature. It avails us with those almost imperceptible factors that influence their behaviours and predetermine their life patterns. We begin to see them as more than people but characters unknowingly acting out their scripts; true life stories. Their stories suddenly come alive, as we observe their daily struggles with work, school, family, friends, religion, belief systems, love, hate, joy, grief, dilemmas, ironies, paradoxes, life and death scenarios and so on.
Out there in the world are several walking-untold stories. The main character might not be tremendously good looking, really brave, very inspiring or inter-personally adept but he or she is living according to some plot, whether we want to see it as divine or co-written with mother nature. Take for instance, an unfit, potbellied, beer-drinking newly-wed. Such person can inspire a page-turner as much as any of the stereotypes. It all depends on what angle we view his life from.
Either that’s the way nature has made it to be, or mainly due to our perception but so many interesting true life stories have gone unnoticed just because they never met the standard of the stereotypes. A so-called “unattractive” lady has as much of a life as the stunning beauty. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how she gets by? How she might have to rely on something other than her looks to get ahead in life? How she deals with the fact that not every guy is at her beck and call? How she copes with esteem issues? (if at all she has any). Her love life may not be all rosy and fanciful but she does experience love all the same. She attracts and is attracted to members of the sex opposite hers too. No matter how unappealing it may appear to some, her story is peculiar to her alone. Although, it may be far from the norm, it’s worth attention nonetheless.
The TV experience is cool. Though, it seems to have done something to a large portion of the world’s populace. A lot of us are so entranced by motion pictures, reality TV shows, the lives of so-called “stars” and so on, that we don’t think our own lives are as cool as the ones we see on TV, which are predominantly fictional. We try to fashion ours after what we watch, only to our dismay. That’s because we are different, with different stories to tell. No one’s story is like any others’, which is supposed to be a good thing. Imagine the millions of true tales we’ve missed out on simply because we dubbed them uninteresting. Do we ever get to wonder what it’s like in the worlds of timid teenagers, faithful wives, dispassionate lovers, irrational “wise guys,” foolhardy park touts, hypocritical clerics, jovial sun-baked underclassmen and billions more with unique personalities and diverse lifestyles?
Most box office hits and best-selling books sell to us our ideal selves; who and what we dream and wish to be. A break from what we term our “boring lives.” Sometimes it could be inspiring, sometimes though, it’s unrealistic. It’s great to aspire but not at the expense of losing our true selves in the process.
Reality is far from picture perfect. Nevertheless, it full of spectacles. Yes, some guys may dream of being that larger than life, good looking protagonist on a world-saving mission, who not only succeeds but ends up with the regular guy’s dream girl; quite ambitious. Realistically however, we know that people, no matter how good or skillful they are, have shortcomings. Same goes for success; things do not go our way all the time.
Human nature is human nature, flaws and all. It shouldn’t surprise us that even those who give off that air of perfection have their own inadequacies and insecurities too. Coming to terms with who we are would help us understand ourselves better. With this acceptance, we may discover something enlivening about ourselves we thought was never there. All our lives have meaning. Each soul has a purpose. Everyone’s life is a movie, as we’ve all been assigned roles in this great film titled ‘Life’. Without being stereotypical, we can still pick out the “stars” in “everyday people.”
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