Thought Catalog

There Is No Good Way To Be A Foreigner

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 01:03 PM PDT

StockSnap / Travel Coffee Book
StockSnap / Travel Coffee Book

Foreigner. What a loaded term; what an inherently political concept. It should just mean that you're a stranger in a strange land – a land not of your birth. But the word can be, and oftentimes is used as a pejorative, a dirty word, directed at strangers in strange lands to remind them that they are not from here, and they do not belong here.

Immigrant and expatriate are closely related to foreigner. Indeed when coming up with a title for this piece, I thought of substituting "immigrant" for "foreigner." But it wouldn't do it justice. The legalities surrounding both immigrant and expatriate do not compare to the all-encompassing experience of foreigner.

Words are different for strangers in strange lands everywhere you go. What do I mean by this? I mean that legally and colloquially, people refer to you differently when you do not belong. In the United States, where I've lived for eight years and counting, people often refer to me as an immigrant. They would be wrong. Technically, I am currently a legal alien. Think about that for a moment – an alien. Words matter.

In Botswana, my family and I were expatriates (as opposed to immigrants). When I visit Nigeria – the land of my birth, the land of the culture I identify with, but all the same a country I only spent four and a half years living in. I am told I am foreign there too.

To many who find themselves strangers in strange lands, and are called one thing or the other, the last thing they want to be known as, or identified with, is foreigner. Many reject it – preferring substitutes that are technically more accurate or colloquially less disparaging. And why wouldn't they? There is no good way to be a foreigner. But to me, it is my word – a reflection of my experiences, constituting perhaps even my politics and perspective of the world entirely. I am a foreigner.


If you're foreign and you're poor, many people despise you. The poor citizens often despise you because in their eyes, you are exacerbating the problem of limited resources for everyone. The middle-class and rich are either indifferent towards you, or like the poor, they think you are a burden to the system.

But if you're foreign and middle-class or rich, many people despise you too. The poor might hold contempt towards you for being a non-citizen who has more than they do. The middle-class and rich might see you as more competition both in terms of the labor market, and the accumulation of economic resources and wealth. Your "right" to these things, in their eyes, is less than theirs. Neither your economic or social contributions, nor the taxes you pay, matter.

If you speak the language and the cultural practices are easily grasped by you, you are accused of trying to be one of them. And subsequently you are constantly reminded that you aren't. If you don't speak the language or struggle with understanding or integrating into the culture, your fate might be significantly worse. You are accused of wanting to maintain being an outsider, and are subsequently reminded that if you don't like it here, you should leave. If you are significantly educated, you are seen as a threat to their understanding of not only their culture but the world at large. If your education is limited or lacking, you are mocked.

By the way you look, and where you come from, and how you talk – the summation of all these things and more, you are put on a spectrum of whether you are closer to or further away from the citizen. Of course this might be true for people who are natural-born citizens too – depending on their race, ethnicity, religion, etc. You don't actually have to be a foreigner to be treated like one.

But when you are one, and depending on all the factors of your identities, and where you are on this imaginary spectrum, it is often a complicated existence; a performance in which the culture at large, or the subcultures that perceive you and that you may have a relationship with, still all determine that you are an other.


It is not all bad. Being a foreigner has its privileges – especially when you're not economically disadvantaged, and/or socially and culturally, you "get it." It's often left me in the position of being a societal observer – watching the interactions of different social experiences within a culture.

It makes for great conversation – people are always interested in knowing about you. Perhaps that is a double-edged sword. And of course people are impressed by you – depending on your story. The latter has always confused me. People have been leaving their homes and making new ones in strange lands since the beginning of humanity. I take the compliments though.

Perhaps the greatest enjoyment of being foreign however, in my particular case, has been a certain kind of freedom from patriotism and political attachments to ideologies and imagined spaces. Or what we call "countries." I love culture – the ones I identify with, and the ones I don't. But home, to me, is everywhere and nowhere. Home is where I feel comfortable in the moment, knowing that the moment can change, and it often does. There is no good way to be a foreigner so you have to make the best of it by taking pleasures in such things.

Will this feeling, this identity of being foreign ever leave me? Maybe. But I'm not sure that I even want it to. In some ways, the idealist in me wants to believe that although it's nice to call a specific place and specific people home, I like to think of all of us as strangers in strange lands. Some of us just more than others.

Indeed, the freedom of belonging to nowhere, can make you feel too that you can be anywhere; everywhere. That sort of freedom is a priceless privilege. And I wouldn't trade the feeling of belonging to a specific place or specific people for it. I guess you could call it a foreigner's freedom. At least, it's this foreigner’s freedom. TC mark

Just Call Me Honeybear One More Time

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 12:25 PM PDT

Franca Gimenez
Franca Gimenez

Maybe you have called all girls since me Honeybear.

I can’t fool myself and pretend there haven’t been others who carved initials into your heart. I’m sure you’ve looked at them the same. I’m sure you’ve kissed them with the same full mouth. I can see you at your piano, writing them songs, singing them truths.

But I want to believe it hasn’t been like me. I want to believe when a song called “I Love You, Honeybear” starts playing on Spotify out of nowhere, it means something. That being unable to stop playing it means something.

There are things I promise you I won’t write about. But I don’t know how to not write about you these days. I reread texts and open up our box. I never threw it out. It’s there. The letters, the cards, the promises we both were so sure we’d keep. I even brought it to Los Angeles with me.

For so long, I wasted my time writing about other people. Pining and convincing myself I was heartbroken and distraught from others. Almost relationships and failed somethings. Maybe I was distracting myself. Have I just been convincing myself? Trying everything I can to prove I made the right decision?

Because at the end of the day, you tried to make it right again. You reached out, more than once, and I said no.

So I swallow my own tears and believe it’s my fault. Because maybe it is.

“But everything is fine
Don’t give into despair
Cause I love you, honeybear
Honeybear, honeybear, honeybear.”

I thought we'd end up together.

In my darkest and most honest hours, I still do. You are still the only boy my mom asks about. The one she casually mentions, "Awww, he’s like ____" when we watch a TV show and there is a kind ex-boyfriend. You know, the character we root for. He is someone the main character still loves. And he loves her. They keep circling. This Ross and Rachel – will they, won't they? When will they? That's when she casually says, "look. it's you. it’s ____"

I think about the things I want in life and create lists.

  • A family.
  • You — I go and cross it out because I remember I don't know you anymore.
  • Sustain myself creatively. Spend the rest of my life making money from art.
  • You – I cross it out again. I do not know you anymore.
  • Change lives. Change mine along the way.
  • Love — I cross the above out and exchange it for "A Love Like What I Felt When I Was 18."

None of this is fair. Because at the end of the day, we have lived three years apart. Three years to grow and change and experience things away from one another. Relationships. Sex. Graduations. Milestones.

I have five tattoos now. I wonder if I'm someone you would even like anymore. I have found comfort in my voice and sharing bits of my life I used to be ashamed of. My anxiety and dark parts — the depression and things that brought us down, I have found ways to vocalize. It has made me better. And I wonder, could you love who I’ve become? This is all a game of what if and nostalgia, falling asleep looking at pictures of us. How in love we were. That it never has felt quite like that again. Yes, I've been with people.

But it's never been quite like you.

The last time we spoke, we had a sickening pause before saying goodnight. It was the space we were used to saying "I love you" in. And truthfully, I don't believe it was simply muscle memory.

You called me a few nights later and I didn’t pick up.

I wrote you an email. You didn’t respond.

We’re both just trying to say something, but never know how we should start.

Maybe this is me, with trembling fingers and voice much softer than usual. Maybe this is me, just trying to start. TC mark

25 Worst Things To Say To A Guy After Sex

Posted: 01 Aug 2015 04:17 AM PDT

Becon /
Becon /

1. That's it?

2. What the hell was that?

3. What's wrong with you?

4. Was that your first time?

5. Tell me about your mother.

6. Hey, everyone makes mistakes.

7. That was two minutes of my life I'll never get back.

8. Well, you gave it a shot.

9. That was cute.

10. Did you ever think you might be gay?

11. I feel sick.

12. Don't quit your day job.

13. Does your health insurance cover sex therapy?

14. Are you going to apologize for that?

15. When was the last time you showered?

16. Ever thought of penile enhancement surgery?

17. That was interesting.

18. My husband will be here in five minutes. You have to get dressed and leave.

19. That was so bad, I feel like calling the cops.

20. I guess I should grab my vibrator and finish what you couldn't.

21. I know a few guys in town who could teach you a few things about how to please a woman.

22. If that was a game of Fuck-Marry-Kill, I've already fucked you—plus, I'm already married.

23. You have herpes too, right?

24. Whose side did you take in that whole Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman thing?

25. Has a doctor ever said anything to you about all that body hair? TC mark

How To Get Drunk Alone

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 10:36 AM PDT

Franca Gimenez
Franca Gimenez

Soak in your own denial about what you’re doing. Justify it rather than just shrugging it off. You had a hard week, you just don’t feel like going out, you’ve earned this. Think about whether or not this an acceptable activity for someone to do, weighing it like pros and cons. If you were moping and downing snickerdoodle ice cream you’d be “adorably sad” but replace the Ben and Jerry’s with Barefoot and suddenly you aren’t so sure what you are.

Feel sorry for yourself. Think about ex boyfriends, or pets you and your mom buried in the backyard when you were little, or how you live paycheck to paycheck when friends are buying property and just get completely bummed out. Click through Snapchats of people who are in groups, posing and showing off their good sides and feel sad about the fact that the only thing to hold in your hand is a fourth glass of wine that you know you didn’t need in the first place.

Make yourself the punchline. Take pictures of your overfilled glass and caption it, “Party of one, party of fun” to make everyone shake their heads at how ridiculous you are. It’s not drinking alone; it’s funny. It’s singing loudly along to Kate Nash and not worrying about your neighbors hearing because you are the hysterical girl next door with no insecurities, nothing to be ashamed of. If you can make other people laugh at your own expense maybe the joke will eventually hit you too.

Look for familiarity. Re-watch movies you know every word to. Seek solace in Netflix and DVDs and the blue-ish glow of your laptop. Mouth along with Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook and wonder what it’s like to never drink alone when you have bodyguards and famous boyfriends and Buzzfeed articles about how everyone wants to be your best friend. Wonder what it’s like for the entire world to want to sit on the couch with you. Wonder if there is anyone out there who wishes they were actually doing that with you, right now.

Reject people. Ignore your phone and purposely don’t answer text messages with multiple exclamation points and question marks at the end of invitations. Say you’re too tired, have too much work to do, have an early morning. Realize how much a walking, cabernet drinking contradiction you are and get mad at yourself for being this way. But just because you’re mad at yourself doesn’t mean you’ll be taking your phone off of silent.

Take an unnecessary walk down memory lane. Allow your hazy, tipsy self to see people who ghosted on you or rejected you or who never said that they loved you back in places that they really don’t exist in. Make up metaphors for their voice and smile, excuses for their bad behavior, and tell yourself that if things were different and they were still there you most certainly wouldn’t be drinking alone.

Lie. Lie to yourself when you say you’ll only have one glass and stand up drunker than you anticipated being. Lie to your memories when you say that you don’t care anymore and it never crosses your mind. Lie to friends who ask the next morning what you did last night. Lie to your hangover and the stained in your glasses sink and to your life about how you got here in the first place. TC mark

How Rope Burn (And A Little Cancer) Helped Me Grow A Little Bit… Down There

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 08:03 AM PDT

Flickr, Boss Tweed
Flickr, Boss Tweed

Looking up at the height of the ropes, stretching some 25 feet from the ground, I could clearly see how I would die. I wasn't having any of it. I was 12 years old, fat, and confident enough to tell the adult in charge of this high-ropes challenge (forced upon me by an evil camp director), "I'm not going to climb it."

"But all the other kids are doing it," he said.

Let them die, I thought. I didn't like them anyway. After a few more moments of this adult all but pleading with a child — perhaps they get a bonus for every kid that climbs? — he gave up, and I took my seat on the bench, defiantly (and craving a Pop-Tart).

Ever since then I've actively avoided situations with a high, or even high-ish, chance of death.

The one exception to this was in Costa Rica, where I went along with a friend to go zip-lining. If you've never been zip-lining, don't do it. It's not scary; it's just not special. You get strapped into an unflattering harness and are pushed across a line high above the ground. As I glided through the sky, I couldn't help but think that I could get the same experience standing on a deck on a particularly windy day. And it's not just one zip-line; it's multiple ones. I was done after two but had to zip through 13 lines before I was rewarded with a much-deserved glass of wine and a (less-deserved) rash from where the harness was.

You see, it's not that I fear death, I just think it's dumb to actively participate in something that could result in death.

Sure, you could die crossing the street, or driving your car, or eating a shady piece of meat, but those things are largely out of your control. Willingly climbing a rope or zipping through the sky or jumping from a plane — these are all things where it's your fault if you die. Dumbass.

So then I got a little cancer and had to go through a lot of chemo. All out of my control. I suppose I could have decided to skip chemo, but that's idiotic and no different from the aforementioned dumbass death moves. Despite what it does for most people, chemo wasn't the miracle diet I had hoped it would be. I gained weight and morphed back into the fat 12-year-old I had once been.

So after that little beating-cancer thing, I joined CrossFit Mindset in Los Angeles to get back in shape. Still firmly in the "no death" camp, I approached the process lightly. Unlike the CrossFit douchebags who take on too much too soon because they have to prove their masculinity, I stayed at comfortable lower weight levels. I had zero shame in saying no to activities, or moving at a slower pace. I was still that little shit saying "no" to the ropes back in camp, just in cuter clothes surrounded by men with intimidating muscles.

"… followed by three rope climbs," says Jeff, one of the trainers at the box (CrossFit's cool guy term for "gym"), explaining the day's workout. He explains how to do it and then gives an alternative way for people who can't climb the rope, involving inching your way to the ground and back up using the rope. This is how I am gonna do it, I think, all but ignoring the possibility of climbing.

As the workout begins, I grow jealous of the people climbing up the rope. Sure they're all super athletes, but like, I know I could probably do it. Do they know they could easily fall, hit their head on a bar and die? Probably — but they're still doing it.

During the first round I do the alternative workout, feeling like the frumpy housewife who decides to get physical from every movie ever. I hate myself.

During the second round I attempt to understand how people are actually climbing up the rope. There's a move they're doing with their feet, almost as if they're creating a ladder, only pulling themselves up when necessary. Still, nothing happens, so I do the alternative.

I can't do it. So what if I can't do it? I've already beaten death once, why do something that could only bring it on sooner? Or am I just avoiding this because that's easy, or because maybe I actually am scared?

I approach the rope. I call Jeff over and whisper, "I'm going to try this, but you'll catch me if I fall, right?" He says he will, which kinda gives me a semi because he's straight and muscly and, like, it would be hot to die in his arms.

The rope is scratchy, tightly woven, and firmly tied to the ceiling. I place the rope so it's in a perfect line from the ground to the ceiling. It feels higher than its 15 feet. I move my leg into what Jeff calls a Captain Morgan, but I call a Rockette with a limp, my right leg slightly slanted. I move the rope around my leg and under my other foot, setting up the process to use it like a ladder. Then I pull, as Jeff explains what to do with my feet.

I want to jump off after that first pull, but I can't. I have to touch the ceiling. I can feel the anxiety coursing through me, but I know I can't turn back, can't say "no" anymore. Again I pull, and I hear applause. Not even halfway up and people are noticing — clearly I'm viewed as a "special case." Another pull, then another, and I'm almost there. The ceiling is within reach, and I grow more uncomfortable the closer it gets. I can slide down from here. Nobody would hold it against me. But I would. With one last pull I touch the ceiling, and the box erupts in applause, as if I were the disabled kid that managed to make it across the graduation stage without tripping.

I slide down, cutting my leg and ruining my shoe, but it doesn't matter. I feel happy, uncomfortable and embarrassed. I try to hide the shakes that come over me, but my body won't let me shield the years of fear that suddenly get the release they've been looking for.

If fat 12-year-old me could have seen this, he probably would have thought "show-off" and gone right back to his Pop-Tart. A little part of me still does that. But with life, and maybe a little cancer, I've learned that sometimes you gotta tempt fate to grow a little bit. But, like, don't think you can now invite me zip-lining, because that's still dumb as fuck. TC mark

10 Moments Of Clarity You Have After A Hangover

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 09:50 AM PDT

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 4.25.27 PM

Hangovers are like a rite of passage for all of us twenty-something-year-olds; they are produced on unforgettable nights where we as individuals form around a bar and get wasted with not only loved ones, but with complete strangers as well. After we wake up the next day from our night of drunken stupor, there are a number of very clear and precise thoughts that crosses all of our minds, giving life a bold perspective.

1. "Maybe I'm too old to be doing this."

Hangovers do give a new meaning to the aged old idiom of 'you're only as old as you feel.' How old we think we are and how much we think we can actually 'hang' are definitely worlds apart. I don't care if you were out celebrating your 21st birthday or it's the twentieth hangover you've ever had, each new hangover brings into question "how much longer can I wake up feeling like shit?"

2. Waiting for the new credit card statement to post.

Waking up Saturday or Sunday morning with that heavy cloud of doubt hanging over your head. Knowing damn well you didn't have the amount of money in our bank account you just spend the night prior. So it's definitely going to be a Top Ramen kind of week, as you continue to press refresh when you log into your Wells Fargo account. Looking at the online back statement can be a deafening experience; especially waiting to see if all the charges going to clear (why'd you leave that one waitress a $20 tip? Was she really that cute?). You come to the conclusion that you aren't the baller you claim to be on Instagram, and Monday morning couldn't come soon enough.

3. The "I never want to drink again" revelation.

The worst part of a new hangover is that resounding feeling that washes over you of wishing the world would just stop spinning for one second, and questioning why you ever got drunk in the first place? Whether you're holding onto the toilet seat or your bedroom pillow for dear life, you tell yourself that no matter, what you will never drink alcohol ever again.

4. How the entire day (or following days) will be wasted.

Hangovers are entirely responsible for unproductive days. For starters, you don't feel like waking up until around noon maybe, and even when you do wake up you feel like you need more sleep. The clock slowly just ticks on by as you miss every errand you planned for the day and you have no possible timeframe of when you'll recover.

5. When you realize who your real friends are.

Only when you wake up with a pounding headache do you realize who your closes friends actually are. Who will send out the "are you okay?" text vs. the "see you next week…" text? Does anybody stop by your place to check up on you? See if you made it though the night? There is no more a crucial time than the 24hrs after you got shit-faced and the people who come to your rescue. This may be one of the most important moments of clarity you are going to have.

6. The very thought of food is repulsive.

Remember how Domino’s Pizza or anything off the Chipotle menu gave you an instant food boner? Well nothing could be further from the truth then when you are recovering from a raging hangover. The thought of all that grease and fat just makes the pain of the hangover that much worst. And if you haven't already puked your brains out (trust me you will), thinking of any kind of food in this moment will only make matters worst as you spend the next few hours clutching onto your stomach.

7. A deeper appreciation for the little things: water, sleep, and your bed.

The water in your faucet tastes 10x better, each extra hour you catch some Z's is absolute pure gold, and your bed of all places, is the best place to be on earth right now. If any good comes from a perfectly timed hangover, it's the appreciation and gratitude you'll have for the little things in life you're too busy to pay attention to.

8. Not wanting to go to work and contemplating your career choice.

Maybe working at the neighborhood Walgreens isn't where you wanted to be at 28. Hangovers are great for making you aware of all the bad decisions you've made in life, and they really do get you to start thinking about pursuing you're passion instead. One thing's for sure; if it's Monday morning your ass is calling in sick for work.

9. Realizing if your current relationship is true love or just a fling.

Hangovers expose relationships better than anything else. The clarity you have after an epic night on the town, and the person who is there waiting for you in the morning (with a barf bag in one hand and a bowl of chicken soup in the other) may just be your Ride-or-Die. Or maybe you realize that bae really is just a booty call posing as a serious relationship and it may be time to reevaluate the entire thing. Who needs Dr. Phil when hangovers are there to reveal this type of information?

10. How likely you will do it all over again…next weekend.

Once the residue of the hangover is completely out of your system, let's be honest, you're bound to get white-girl wasted again, and again, and again in the future. It's the sad reality that comes with going out and partying with friends. No matter how awful the feeling of a hangover is and no matter who dreadful we all know the next twelve hours will be, on that night, and in that moment, we all say 'fuck it,' because we all know it's all worth it in the end. TC mark

When You’re At A Crossroads…Go In This Direction

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 07:56 AM PDT

credit: Marisa DeMarco
credit: Marisa DeMarco

Many times we're presented with a multitude of opportunities, choices, and experiences in which we're called upon to make decisions that certainly cause various types of impact within our lives. From the minutia of daily living through the life changing risks that we take, we can only take responsibility for ourselves in the end—for better or for worse. Studies, career, relationships, marriage, family, health, relocation, and truly life and death itself are the biggest areas of interest that require the most attention and a sense of understanding. But with second guessing ourselves, self-doubt, insecurity, and the opinions of others, it could be very difficult at times to see ourselves, others, and situations clearly.

While laying on a chaise lounge at the beach yesterday, I was intertwined in a strong embrace while looking up at the clouds that were gently shifting. While in conversation, it was revealed that both of us are at crossroads in our lives, both professionally and personally. But with openness and sincerity, we both served as each other's sounding boards—listening intently while giving each other steady feedback to the best of our abilities. "You know, all responses are found somewhere between the clouds," I responded. "Marisa, then perhaps I want to be in that area of blue…" I understood this sentiment immediately. Life itself can be incredibly complicated, why should we make more obstacles and trouble for ourselves within our own minds when in fact, we can all take control and learn to live in the "blue"—the cloudless part of the sky? This is not to say to neglect responsibility and not make a concerted effort to evaluate what needs to be reflected upon. But it's simply giving ourselves permission to take a step back from obstacles and obstructions that we may perceive to be there that in fact aren't. It's allowing ourselves to ease up on heightened expectations and the need to control events in our favor only to let them come to pass in their natural time and way. We may feel that our prayers aren't being answered, our efforts are going unnoticed, and that we're out right stuck without moving in forward motion. But the truth is, we're always being gently guided forward with the passing of each moment. We may actually not know what's best for us and therefore can find comfort in allowing life to show us what path to take.

When at a crossroads, the only direction to go is forward. It may mean to veer left, continue straight, make a sharp right, and at times deal with stop and go motion. But whatever choice that needs to be made will always be the right one for us at the time—because in our life's path, it's the one that needs to serve us for a higher purpose. We may not understand the why, how, and when of a situation, but we can only deal with the reality of the "what".

When in doubt or with full confidence, every so often look up at the sky and enjoy the beauty of the clouds…for they will reveal all that we need to know in the here and now. They will show us the direction we must follow through their natural shifting. In turn, we can certainly do the same. TC mark

When You Finally Realize They Aren’t Worth It

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 09:14 AM PDT

Maybe you met someone new. Or maybe, this person has always been a part of your life. You spend every single day talking to them, or seeing them. Maybe it's a friend or maybe it's a significant other.

You're not sure if the signs have always been there, but one day you start to notice them. Being the kind of person who likes to give people the benefit of the doubt, you push those signs under the rug.

You put more effort and time into this relationship than they do. They can call you in the middle of the night for anything, or any time of the day, and you will drop everything you're doing to be there for them. Maybe your car breaks down and you need a ride…but they don't answer there phone. Maybe you've had a rough day at work and you just need to talk…but they're too busy with they're other friends.

Yet again, you ignore it. "They're a good person," you tell yourself. And maybe that's true. It's probably true. But they're not a good person to you.

You start to realize that the relationship becomes extremely one-sided. They start to use you for their benefit, and they don't really give a shit about how you feel. Again, you tell yourself, "Maybe they're just stressed out. This will pass." They've been around for so long that you're not willing to give them up.

But it won't pass. They will continue to be a parasite in your life because you allow it. They continue to treat people in their lives like shit because no one stops them. You're afraid to say anything about it because you love them and you thought they loved you too, and you're afraid to lose them. You can't see your life without them in it.

It keeps happening. Instead of getting out of it and finding others who make you happy, you continue to wallow in the dim light of hatred that is starting to grow brighter towards them. They do nice things for other friends, why can't they do the same for you? You'd do anything for them, why can't they do the same for you? These people see nothing wrong with their actions. They believe that the world owes them everything.

The point comes where you stay because you think you need them more than they need you. "I need them," you say. "I will plummet into a deep hole of darkness without them." You have yourself convinced of this. Someday, you'll realize that they needed you more than you needed them. Until then, you're going to cry more than you should, and question your own worth as a person.

One day, you're going to wake up and realize that they're not worth it. They're not worth the feeling of having no one to depend on. They're not worth the shitty treatment you receive. They're not worth feeling alone over. They aren't worth losing sleep over. They're not worth falling into a rut for, because they sure as hell won't be the one to pull you out of it. No one can put a value of worth on you but yourself. You'll realize that you can't change someone who sees nothing wrong with their actions.

And then you're going to do something about it. Maybe you'll confront them. Or maybe, maybe you'll take immediate action to cut all ties with them. Delete their number. Unfriend them on Facebook. Block them on every platform of social media. Stop hanging out with them. Get rid of every window into their life.

And then? You're going to feel so much better. You're going to be happy. You're going to find positive people who will give as much as they receive. You're going to feel the venom and negativity exiting your life. You're going to wish you did it sooner. You're going to put a higher value on your own life and feelings. You're going to finally realize that you DO deserve so much better.

You're going to remember how it felt to feel like you couldn't live without them. One day, you're going to wake up and not even think about them. Days, weeks, months, and maybe even years will pass without a single goddamn thought about them.

Look at you, living and shit. Good things are coming. TC mark

10 Signs Your Partner Could Be Stifling Your Potential

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 11:19 AM PDT

American Ultra
American Ultra

1. They hate it when you do anything without them.

It's not so much that you have a stage five clinger (or maybe it is), but that your partner wants to be the center of your attention every second of every day. Whether you're getting a drink with your friends or need some alone time, they always want to be involved. I mean you love them, but you often find yourself asking them (in your head), "Can I live?"

2. You can't talk about your work or life achievements without making them feel bad.

Birds of a feather flock together. It's why Bey and Jay make a great couple. And it's why it gets super uncomfortable when you're killing it at work and life and you can't share it with your partner because you know it'll make them feel bad. Now there's a difference between being with someone who's less successful than they want to be but still motivated, and being with a person whose achievements are uninspiring, if not entirely non-existent.

3. They don't appreciate your sense of humor.

How did you even get into a relationship with someone who doesn't appreciate your sense of humor? You are funny. Now, say it to yourself: "I am funny!" If your partner can't recognize the Dave Chappelle or Sarah Silverman that exists in you, then honestly you have no business being together. There's nothing worse than having to constantly explain your jokes to someone who doesn't get it. Okay, there are worse things but come on, humor appreciation is the bee's knees.

4. They contradict everything you say to play "devil's advocate."

You know, a little contrariness is good. But when you can't get through an afternoon meal without them wondering why you'd use spinach instead of kale for the side dish, and then they go on to talk about how much better kale is than spinach, it's time to re-think this entire relationship.

5. Your positive choices are an indictment on them. Or so they believe.

So you've decided that you want to complete a triathlon or enter a competition that involves turning The Confessions of St. Augustine into a rap song…(I don't know what you're into). And what do they do? They make fun of you. They make little snide remarks about the positive life choice you've made for yourself, and somehow think you're doing this to make them look bad. Meanwhile, you're just all about trying new things and keeping life interesting.

6. They are a sucky travel partner.

Whether it's road trip just a few hours away or a journey halfway around the world, you've learned they are totally that person in more ways than one when it comes to being a tourist. Maybe they get louder at locals who don't speak the language, thinking said locals will magically understand them, or they simply complain about minor things the entire time. Whatever it is, they cramp your travel style.

7. Their social media posts give you anxiety.

We all know people we love or like (or can barely stand in real life), whose social media presence leaves much to be desired. And it's an awful, awful thing when that person happens to be the same one you're dating. Whether it's constant posting or incessant bitterness or a pretentious #soblessed image they're portraying, you know that your entire friend group is judging you hard because of your partner's digital life.

8. Their goal in life is to one-up you.

On the opposite spectrum of "the person you can't share details of your life with" is the one who always has a much better detail about their life to share with you. Usually right after you've shared yours. Not only is this exhausting to deal with regularly, you'll probably find yourself wanting to impress them, and probably never winning. Your partner should be your motivator, and you theirs – not each other's competition.

9. They don't read (anything). And they're proud of it.

I personally don't understand what it means when someone says, "I don't read." Like, what does that really mean? You hate books, magazines, and the Internet? Either way, if you're in a relationship with someone and they don't read, your future (and your potential children's future) is going to be pretty bleak. Sure, not everyone needs to have read Dante's Inferno, but being proud of not engaging in a knowledge-enhancing activity that people have been doing for centuries is a bit weird.

10. Everyone tells you how happy you are when they're not around.

Now I don't mean to get all deep and cliché here but sometimes, 2 + 2 = 4. What do I mean by this? I mean there are facts in life. And sometimes the fact of the matter is that if everyone can see how much happier you are when your partner is not around you, it's not because they "just don't get your relationship." It's because they think you're too wonderful and spectacular to not be with someone who brings out the very best in you, and somehow, makes you want to be even better. TC mark

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Read This If You’re A Gay Male In His Early Twenties Looking For A Mature Relationship

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 09:31 AM PDT


Regardless of your gender or orientation, the world tells us our early twenties is a time reserved for learning experiences; dating the bad boys, drunkenly hooking up with strangers, or experimenting with sexuality like the way we try new ethnic cuisines. But, what about for those of us who already know what we want? Affection, belonging, stability, balance. We've had our bad break-ups, we've reflected, we've grown as individuals, and now we are ready for something of quality to offer us what our singleness cannot.

There are a lot of fish in the sea, but the eligible dating pool for us who have been diagnosed with an early-onset sense of maturity is about the size of one of those grimy, unkempt pet store aquariums. Now take that tank and shrink it down to a counter-top fishbowl, one you'd probably win as a consolation prize at a local fair, and you have all the space you need to fit the other gay males in their early twenties who are also looking for mature relationships.

Let me start off by saying, I have absolutely zero resentment over my orientation. I value the fact that the relationships I have with men are adaptable, free of set, traditional roles, and can be extremely versatile in terms of support and affection. However, what I do resent is the fact that for those of us that are not "obvious gays" there is a constant routine of coming out to coworkers, friends, and new acquaintances that make assumptions, albeit harmless assumptions, about our straightness — or lack thereof.

Apart from the awkward attempts we make to slip our sexuality into conversations to set the record straight, it makes it nearly impossible — short of wearing "Yes, I am gay" t-shirts — to inform others guys who may be interested in getting to know us that we are, in fact, on the same sexual wavelength. Coincidentally, we suffer from Impulsive Impotence. Impulsive Impotence is a social disorder that straight-acting gay men all over the world suffer from, where our gaydars aren't finely tuned enough to conclude the sexuality of the guys who catch our queer eyes. So, to avoid unreciprocated flirtation, we don't approach.

We pretend we are just as straight as we assume they are, give them a head nod or a "hey, man" in passing, and half hope they make some sort of move that gives away their "similar interests". But they never do. They disappears from our lives and we add a tally to the wall of Chances Never Taken.

Of course, there are gay bars. "Lots of gay guys at gay bars," they say. Duh. However, while the unashamed dancing, remixed Whitney Houston hits, and neon-everything is the perfect equation for a transcendently spectacular night out, gay bars provide little service on the road to a mature relationship. You try having a meaningful conversation with the guy handstand twerking on the wall and see how far that gets.

So what do we do? We swipe, scroll, roll our eyes, and test the limits of our optimism on these apps that have taken over the way we define our singleness. We do this because we find comfort in the fact that we know 100% of the guys we meet via these dating services will bypass our fear of wrongly guessing another's orientation. However, by participating in the cyber gay world we unfortunately, reluctantly, and unwillingly become members of the Hookup Any Time Club, of which, we have no interest in paying our dues.

Between the messages that begin, "hiiii sexy," "looking for fun?" or "where do you live?" to the unflattering torso mirror pictures that unwelcomingly meet out our eyes, we find ourselves watching the last drops of hope in finding some resemblance of decency in the gay community leak quickly through our cupped hands.

Yet, we persist. We tell ourselves that if we have found our way onto these dismal cyber sex-worlds reserved exclusively for the most desperate of gay men, then maybe, just maybe someone else as relentless and vainly hopeful as we are will find us sifting through the same rubble. It's a Hail Mary at most, but we haven't been left with a even a handful of options.

Yes, I am a guy — I have wants, needs, desires, and sport every color of the testosterone-fueled spectrum. In a relationship, I am as intimate as they come. However, that doesn't mean that I am some sort of maniacal sex-crazed fiend that hooks up with whichever set of holes and appendages is online and nearest to me.

Those of us who want a mature relationship know that our passion, our intimacy, our caring in every sense of the word is derived from a mutually-held respect for our partners as an individual. Our happiness isn't found between the bed-sheets of whichever guy can "host." It's found in the sharing of our hopes, dreams, and daily triumphs. It's in the genuine excitement they express in return. It's the wholeness and balance that fills in the holes left by our own imperfections.

But where can we find such a creature? They are mythical, they must be. Certainly, there have been more sightings of Bigfoot riding atop the Loch Ness Monster than a gay male in his early twenties wanting to invest time and effort into a meaningful relationship. There is no way to speed the clock past this sexual experiencing phase everyone but us seems to be stuck in. There is no "gaydar" to tell us who to flirt with.

There is no secret location where the "good ones" are being held. There is only the time we have and the love we hold, and the only thing we can do is to take that recipient-less passion and transform it into individual growth and productivity.

We just need to remember, Patience is a generous gift-giver. TC mark