Thought Catalog

All The Ways I Promise To Love You

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 10:41 PM PDT


I actually can’t make you any promises. Promises, I’ve learned, are not things of substance. They are not these shiny guarantees we’ve convinced ourselves they are. They are flowery words, glittery ideas, hopes stenciled on notebooks and blank pages that we cling to when things start to feel bleak. They sound pretty, something to put atop a melodic tune, call it a lullaby.

Call it whatever you want. But promises are not concrete. Promises are just words.

And I know what you’re thinking, “You’re a writer! All you do is regurgitate words.”

And you’d be right.

I am constantly dissecting my own inane thoughts and stories, putting memories permanently to paper. But my words are not actions. My words are not being in the thick of it. Being in the trenches with you, gaining the strength to somehow shovel our way back home. My words are just that — words.

And I know that.

So I will not promise you much. I won’t shout forevers from rooftops. I won’t claim to love you through everything and never second guess where we’re going. And I won’t ask perfection from you. I don’t want your promises either. I just want your “I tried” and “I’m doing my best.” We can figure out the rest.

But if you want my promises, love, I will try.

I promise to love you with my elbows. I will nudge you when you need a gentle poke. I will be there, making a joke about poking and penises and Facebook. Why did Facebook ever possibly think “poking” was a good idea? I don’t know. But I’ll be there, urging you. I’ll be there, giving you a soft jab with my elbows. And you’ll give me that face. The “Babe, that actually kind of hurt” face and I’ll kiss your cheeks. And you’ll make another joke. And I will love you with both of my elbows.

I promise to love you with my feet. I am so used to running away. I am flight, not fight. I am pull the blankets over my head so I can’t hear the confrontation. I am anything that means I don’t have to face how terrifying reality can be. But I will love you with my feet. I will plant them. And even when I’m ready to grab my tennis shoes, I will talk to you instead. My feet won’t be nearly as tired with you. Because I finally won’t be running. Unless you’re running with me.

I promise to love you with my humor. I am going to talk so much and you’re going to want me to shut up sometimes. That’s just how it is. You can tune me out every now and then, I will not blame you. But I will raise my voice and I will make jokes to avoid uncomfortable truths. Just know, this means I love you even more. I can be all of me with you. The weirdness. The goofiness. The vulnerability. It’s all there. And I give it to you without hesitation.

I promise to love you with my failures. Take my cracked pieces. Here are all my moments I came so close to getting something and it fell apart. Take them all. Hold them in your heart because I trust you. I want you to see me at my worst. I want to know you will still love me at my darkest. Because I love you without the lights on. I love you when I am blinded and believe with all my being you are simply a mess. But a mess that is perfectly messy with me.

I promise to love you with an open mind. We are both changing and what we are now isn’t what we will be in years, or even months. I want to see where you go and how you challenge yourself. I hope you wish the same for me. I never want to be stagnant with you. I will love you with the knowing that us growing is a good thing. Us growing means we are actually doing something.

I promise to love you with hip hop and RnB. I will make you playlists and go to shows. We will listen to what you like too, of course. But I just hope you know you always make me feel like my favorite album. I listen to us on repeat.

I promise to love you with my past. I won’t ever hide my skeletons. I will invite them to join us to dinner so you see I have nothing to hide. We won’t drown in past relationships, but we won’t be afraid to discuss them either. You can read an entire portfolio of mine and I will tell you, with total truth, I am here with you. I am in it with you. I have loved before and they will always be my memories, but you are my right now. And right now has never looked better.

So darling, I guess that’s what I promise you. TC mark

I Went To The Haunted Field I’ve Been Dreaming About But I Never Should Have Gone There

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 04:38 PM PDT

Flickr, Stuart McAlpine
Flickr, Stuart McAlpine

I'd been dreaming about it for a few weeks.

A guy I went to high school with told me about the place, I don't know, maybe 11 years ago? I didn't know him very well but I was the girl who liked spooky shit so Sean pulled me aside during chemistry class and told me there was an abandoned field down by the old industrial complex.

"It's totally haunted," he said earnestly. "A long time ago, right before the factories were built, there was a little school there. The field was its playground. Supposedly, something really bad happened and all the kids died during playtime. Right there, in that field."

"What happened?" I asked, hooked from the get-go.

"There's a lot of different stories." Sean was keeping a wary eye on our elderly professor, who might figure out we weren't exactly filling out our periodic table worksheets. "Some people say it was a psychopath, just went through the playground and blew them away one by one. Others say there was an explosion at one of the factories—”

"Wait, I thought you said it was before the factories were built?"

He waved me off, the way you'd shoo a fly.

"I can't remember, who knows. Anyway, like 20 kids died all at once and that kind of stuff makes some real bad juju, man."

"So what goes on down there?" Periodic table be damned, I had to find out more about this place.

"I don't know, haunted shit," he said vaguely. "I heard people who go down there lose their minds, my older brother told me about it and I knew you'd want to hear."

I did. I did want to hear. More importantly I wanted to go there. But I didn't have a car yet and there was no way my parents would let me go somewhere like that, especially at night. Which, of course, was the only way to go to places where "haunted shit" goes down.

But before Sean could continue, crotchety Mr. Christopher caught us in the act and we had to return to our stupid old worksheets in silence.

I don't know what happened between then and now. Maybe a boy caught my attention or I had to buckle down and study after failing the test on the periodic table or, more than likely, I was a dumb scatterbrained teenager and I just forgot about it.

I graduated, moved away to college, did the whole grow-up-and-get-a-real-job thing. It sucked. I bobbed along on the sea of life, marginally succeeding at my desk job until one day deciding I'd had enough, I couldn't sit through one more meeting that could've been an email.

So I quit. I went to a Starbucks and sat there with my rapidly cooling latte and wondered just what the fuck I was going to do with myself. I was 27, young enough to change the course of everything but at the same time not getting any younger. It was my moment, I knew, my one chance to do what I wanted. And what DID I want to do?

What had I always wanted to do? If I was really honest with myself, I wanted to be a paranormal investigator. Don't laugh, it's a real thing. I've always been fascinated by the darkness, the so-called "other side", but I'd never had an actual… experience. I wanted that experience.

That was my moment.

I had enough saved up in the bank to invest in some decent equipment — digital recorders, EMF reader, thermal camera, Spirit Box — and I put an ad on Craigslist looking for a partner. Anne responded right away and we started Girls Gone Ghostly Paranormal Investigation. (Don't blame me, the name was Anne's idea.)

Over the last two years we built up a reputation for ourselves. We went all over the country, once even to a Scottish castle, in search of paranormal proof. And you know what?

We hadn't found a fucking thing. Not. One. Thing.

But that's just it. The money is great; people pay exorbitant amounts of cash to have us come out with our equipment and figure out what's been going bump in the night. And Girls Gone Ghostly, well, we won't lie to you. We won't sugarcoat it. The wailing you hear in your basement is a faulty water heater. When you catch the fleeting scent of old tobacco, it's your neighbor smoking a cigar on his front porch. Those cabinets that keep popping open? They're shitty fucking cabinets. Your house is 100 years old, get new cabinets, you idiot.

That's why we make them pay up front.

But then, a few weeks ago, the dreams started. Nothing much happened in them; I was just standing alone at the top of a hill, dry bleached grass under my feet, staring down at a little patch of fenced-off land. A little field. All around me towered ancient monstrous factories.

That was it. Just me, staring at this field. And then I'd wake up.

I found myself thinking about it more and more, wondering what the dream could mean, when out of nowhere I remembered that afternoon with Sean in Mr. Christopher's chemistry class. It was the haunted field — the one Sean had told me about. It had to be.

I blew off some whiny old lady who was convinced that her childhood doll was possessed — because yeah, sure it is — and scheduled a trip to my hometown. I told Anne we had a freelance project, went vague on the details, and asked her to pack up our gear in her little PT Cruiser.

It took us a few days to get there and every night, I dreamt of the field.

When we arrived at the industrial complex, Anne realized she forgot her Spirit Box. It's this little thing, kind of looks like a handheld radio, and it's got all sorts of words in an electronic bank inside. Spirits are supposed to use their energy to pull out the words they want to communicate. Like I said, this is all bullshit, but it's my favorite because sometimes it says the most random stuff and it makes me laugh.

"We need the Spirit Box," I said, hauling the rest of our shit out of the car. "I don't do sessions without it. That thing is hilarious, especially when I'm bored."

"You're always bored," Anne fired back, not missing a beat.

"So true. Go back to the hotel and grab it. I'll just get started alone."

Anne chanced a quick look around the place. It was almost midnight.

"Are you sure? You're kind of out in the open, there could be, like, homeless guys or something."

I flashed her the mini can of mace on my keychain.

"I'll be fine. Just get the Spirit Box and come back." I paused, then added, "We might actually get something this time."

"Because of your dreams?"

"Yeah. Maybe."

Anne turned the key, starting the car up, and looked at me again.

"Does it look like you dreamt it?"

I glanced down the hill. The factories, the bleached grass, the little fenced-off section. The field.

"Yeah," I said, then waved her away. "Go, hurry up, you don't want to miss anything good."

I sat down on the grass on the top of the hill and started unpacking my gear. It really did look exactly like I'd dreamt it but I was unfazed. For all I knew, I'd seen a picture of it somewhere. On the internet, maybe. In this line of work you learn pretty quickly that most things people chalk up to miracles or paranormal activity are just coincidences. Boring old coincidences, nothing more.

I was turning on the thermal cam when I saw it — a flicker of movement just beyond the rusty old ROAD CLOSED signs near the factory. In the field, behind the fence.

Quickly, I aimed the thermal cam towards the spot I had seen the movement. The screen remained dark, no spots of heat in sight.

"Fuck," I said, then waved my hand in front of it. My fingers glowed red hot, orange and yellow at the edges. The camera was working.

"Probably a plastic bag or something," I muttered.

Then I saw the movement again. Much too big to be a plastic bag. I waved the camera over the spot — nothing.

I got to my feet, shouldering the bag of gear, and began walking down the hill. Don't worry, I didn't yell out 'hello' or anything because I'm not an idiot in a horror movie. I'm a very different kind of idiot.

As I got closer to the fence, my heart began to pound. Was this it? Was I finally going to have the experience that I'd always wanted? Wash away my cynicism with a real brush with the paranormal?

You can imagine my disappointment when I got close enough to see it wasn't what I'd hoped — it was Sean. Sean from chemistry class, the one who'd told me about this place to begin with. He was standing there, staring at me with a slack, blank face. Right away, something felt… wrong.

"Sean?" I called out, and his expression didn't change.

"Oh, hey Margot," he said dully.

I put the thermal cam in my bag.

"What the fuck are you doing here, man?" I asked, threading my fingers through the chainlink fence that separated us. I couldn't really see how he'd gotten in; the whole area was sectioned off and there didn't seem to be a gate. "I haven't seen you since high school."

"I told you about this place, didn't I?" His freckled brow furrowed slightly. "I think you were the last one I told."

"Yeah, you told me, that's why I'm here. I do paranormal investigations now, I thought—”

"You've been dreaming about it," he said.

How did he know that?

"What are you doing in there, Sean?" I asked. "How'd you get in there?"

"I went after graduation," he said in that same dull tone, one that sounded like he was hypnotized or something. "I got drunk and wanted to go but no one wanted to go with me so I came here by myself. I'd been dreaming about it. Felt like I had to."

"Do you want me to get someone?" I felt around in my bag for my cell phone. "I can call someone for help—”

"No, no help," he said, and seemed to pause to think. "That's right, you WERE the one I told last about this place. That makes sense. That makes a lot of sense." Sean started to walk towards me.

I stopped digging and put my fingers lightly on the mini can of mace.

"Are you drunk now, Sean?" I asked, trying to keep my voice calm. Why the fuck had I sent Anne to leave me by myself?

"No," he answered, still walking towards me with a slow measured gait, "haven't been drunk in a long time. Long time. What took you so long, Margot? What took you so long to get here?" He pressed his face up against the chainlink fence between us; I took a panicked step backwards.

And suddenly I realized what was wrong — I had recognized Sean because he looked exactly like he did in high school. Same mess of red hair, same gap in his front teeth, same pudgy face that hadn't lost its baby fat yet. But that wasn't right because it had been 11 years since I'd seen him — right?

"What's going on here?" I said, rapidly losing my fight to appear unafraid.

"It gets in your head," Sean whispered. "Even if you leave you don't leave, not really, not ever. Bad juju, man, bad juju, just like I told you."

I began backing away slowly. I pulled the mace out of my bag and held it in front of me.

"Don't come any closer," I said, but that was unnecessary because he was behind the fence and I wasn't.

"It only took me two weeks." Sean went on like I hadn't even spoken. "Two weeks and every night the dreams got a little worse. Then it wasn't even when I was dreaming, it was when I was awake."

I glanced over my shoulder to look for Anne's blue PT Cruiser and when I looked back Sean was standing right in front of me.

I was taken so off guard I tripped over my own numb feet and fell onto the prickly bleached grass. My bag overturned and gear scattered everywhere. Sean just stood there.

"They tore down the schoolhouse after," he continued. "I don't know who put up the fence. But the schoolhouse, it was right over there." He pointed to an empty square of land adjacent to the fenced-off field. "Margot, they screamed. They screamed when he did it. He shot their legs first so they couldn't get away. Then he went around, one by one, and picked them off. They were easy, like drowning a bag of puppies, but they screamed, and I kept hearing them scream until one day…"

Sean's lips finally split into a smile, showing me that gap between his teeth. It wasn't a nice smile.

"I got the pills from my mom's room. She took lots of pills, see, and never threw them away even if she didn't need them. I swallowed as many as I could and just… slipped away." He made a flowing motion with his hand, a boat bobbing on the ocean.

What he was saying, it didn't make any sense. I tried scrambling backwards, not wanting to take my eyes off him, but he just followed me.

"I thought that was how I could make it stop," he said, "but instead I ended up here. That's what it wants, you know, the field wants more. He didn't get enough the first time. But you're here now, so I think… I think I can go." He stopped, grimacing, and looked just past me at the hill I'd descended. "Can I go now, please?"

"What the fuck are you talking about?" I whispered.

"Him," Sean said, and pointed.

"Sure," a gravelly voice said from behind me. "Always preferred girlies. Much prettier. Get out of here, you little freckled fuck. Seen enough of your face anyway."

Sean closed his eyes. And then he was gone.

I began to turn towards the sound of the voice and suddenly there was a flicker of darkness right in front of my face; a weight descended on me and all at once I couldn't breathe, there was someone on top of me and I couldn't breathe.

My vision went hazy for a moment, then cleared as the pressure let up a little.

"Sorry, get excited when there's fresh meat," said the man on top of me.

It was a man, probably late 30s if I had to guess, with wild dark hair. Stubble was spread unevenly across his chin and upper lip; one eye was black, the other an odd milky white. His shirt was a ragged, ancient-looking thing, like he'd stepped out of a yellowed mugshot. He was grinning.

"Get the fuck off of me," I gasped, grabbing wildly for my can of mace. The man seized me by the wrists and pinned my arms above my head.

"Funny," he grunted. "Usually can't get this far inside their heads 'til some time has passed. Definitely don't get to talk to 'em 'til they're on the other side. You gone lookin' for trouble, princess, that it?"

"Get the fuck off of me," I repeated, tears of hysteria prickling at my eyes.

"Ahh, must be it. Princess gone lookin' for trouble. Poor little thing. Well, you found it, princess, you sure did."

I began screaming for help and his grin just got wider; he shook his head a little like he was witnessing a naughty child with their hand in the cookie jar.

"Oh no, princess, no one can hear you. We's alone out here. Now that freckleface is gone, you're here to play. Won't that be fun? Have yourself a real good time in the playground." He paused, then added, "But that's once you're behind the fence, a'course."

I inhaled deeply to scream again and he placed a grimy palm over my mouth. I could smell something on his skin, something old and smoky. Like gunpowder.

"I'm gonna let you go," he said, and I felt my limbs go limp with relief. "But not really. Freckleface told it right." He tapped my forehead with the tip of his index finger. "I'm in here now, real deep, deeper than I've ever been before I'd reckon. 'Cause you's lookin', lookin' harder than the others."

I stared at him, unable to do anything else.

"You wanted this bad, didn't you, princess?" the man wondered aloud, then leaned his nose into my hair and inhaled deeply. "Oh yeah, you wanted this real bad. I can smell it waftin' off you."

I shook my head. The movement was restricted slightly by his palm. After a moment of thought, he took it off my mouth.

"Please let me go," I begged softly.

"Princess, I already told you I's gonna let you go." He smiled again, revealing rows of blackened teeth. "Just not really. You'll go home, you'll leave the field but not ever, not really. Won't be long til you hear the screams. You know why?"

I stared at him, heart thudding thick in my throat. He leaned close to me until we were almost touching noses and said,

"Because the screams were my favorite part."

The tears welling up in my eyes finally gave way and slid down my cheeks. He nodded, still smiling.

"Yeah, now you're gettin' it, princess," the man said, then snapped his head up to look at something behind me.

"What the hell are you doing on your back, Margot?" I twisted to look for the source of Anne's voice; she was standing in front of her PT Cruiser, Spirit Box in hand.

When I turned back, the man was gone.

"Anne," I choked, because that's all I could think of to say.

"Looking at the stars or something, you big weirdo?" she demanded, and I knew she hadn't seen him. Anne clicked the Spirit Box on.

Immediately it began to spit out the same word in its tinny electronic voice, over and over:

"Screams. Screams. Screams. Screams."

"Turn it off!" I barked, and she did, an alarmed look on her face.

"Okay, Jesus, what's your problem?"

I got slowly to my feet, brushing the dry grass off my ass, and began gathering the gear into the bag. My hands were shaking.

"Nothing," I said quietly. "It's… probably broken. Don't worry about it. Let's go back to the hotel."

"Back to the hotel?" she echoed, incredulous. "We just fucking got here!"

"Stay if you want. I'm going." I marched back to the car, head high, trying not to let her see how terrified I was. Well, Anne always does what I tell her to, so she followed me, even though she was pissed.

I'm so glad I didn't let her go down to the field.

Sean and the man were right. It's only been three days since I got back from the field and I'm already hearing the screams. At night, I see how it all went down: he just marched right down to the schoolhouse and began shooting.

Teacher got it first, dead center in the middle of her forehead. Authority figure gone, he went after the children. Shot as many as he could in the legs first but that required a lot of accuracy so some of them got it in the back and neck instead. Once the faster ones were down he took his time. Made the survivors watch until they weren't survivors anymore.

He talks to me during. I'm leaning on the fence that wasn't there, forced to watch the massacre as it unfolds, and he tells me things. How the kick of the gun felt so good. How watching the light go out of their eyes was better than sex. How he couldn't wait for me to be there with him and maybe, just maybe, he'd let me do it a few times. To see what it was like.

He won't tell me why he did it.

It's only been three days.

Don't worry about me. I'll be okay. The last person I told about the field was Anne and after I blow my brains out with the handgun I keep in my nightstand she'll go back to it. She'll have to. Then he can have her and I can go.

Except, of course, I suppose I told you too.

Maybe you're safe because you've never seen it. Maybe not. Maybe the description is enough. I don't really know how it works. I don't know how long it will take.

All I know is you better hope Anne gets to the field before you do. TC mark

I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This, But I’m Deathly Afraid Of Cakes After What’s Been Happening To Me

Posted: 13 Jul 2015 04:53 AM PDT

Flickr / Pen Waggener
Flickr / Pen Waggener

Cake. Who would have thought you could be afraid of something as sweet and innocent as cake? I didn’t think it possible, until I broke up with my boyfriend last month. I'd endured months of emotional and psychological abuse before I finally mustered up the courage to leave him. In the weeks following our breakup, I started receiving threatening cakes, each with a message more disturbing than the next. Now, I’m sitting in a hospital bed, terrified of what the latest cake had to say.

Looking back, I’m not sure what I saw in Brad. At a bar, I overheard him ranting about the women he'd slept with. He acted crudely, catcalling the waitresses and staring at the butt of any lady who dared walk in his line of vision. Judging purely by the pickup lines he used and what little conversation I could hear, it was clear that he was no stranger to using foul language to speak to and about women. I know what it sounds like. You probably think I was a na├»ve young woman who thought I could “fix” the proverbial bad boy. My attraction to him – if you can call it that – had nothing to do with such a childish thing. No, I wanted to beat him. I wanted to be the one that got away. The woman he thought he could woo, but who wouldn’t give “it” to him no matter how much he begged. I wanted to take a stand on behalf of all the women he'd wronged, and show him how much backbone the “fairer sex” really had. He was my opponent.

A simple wink and a wave was all it took to get his attention. He sent a drink my way, quietly approached, placed a hand on my shoulder, and leaned in to whisper a pickup line so lewd and disrespectful, I dare not repeat it. I forced a giggle and playfully nudged him. My trap was set. The problem is, I was the one who ended up ensnared. It turned out that, after you got past the absolutely disgusting first layer of his personality, he was rather charming. One thing led to another, and we started dating. Before I even knew what had happened, we had moved in together. That's when the abuse started. It was little things, at first. Accusing me of looking at other men, checking my text messages, telling me my clothes were too “slutty,” etc. There were so many signs I should have seen, but hindsight is 20/20. It wasn’t as though it happened overnight. Brad progressively chipped away at my ego until I felt like a failure as a woman. I was afraid of living without him. He had me convinced that no man would ever want someone like me. Every time we fought, he'd reel me back in with a grand gesture of some sort, and promises he never intended to keep.

Then, one day, we got into a huge argument over one of my co-workers. As usual, he called me every name in the book: Slut, whore, skank…nothing was off-limits. Dishes were broken, holes were punched in the wall, and things were thrown. The situation took a drastic turn for the worst when Brad lifted his arm and backhanded me hard across the face. I fearfully retaliated by biting him, and ran out the door while he shrieked in pain. The first time he hit me was going to be the last.

I stayed at my mother's house for a few days while I tried to get my head back on straight. I'd left everything behind: My money, ID, clothes, and even my phone. Fearing Brad's wrath, I steered clear of our shared apartment until I was certain he was at work. Even then, I asked for a police escort in case he showed up. Judging by the fact that he hadn’t thrown away my belongings, I deduced that he thought I was "cooling off" and would come crawling back to him any day now. He was dead wrong. While the officers waited patiently at the door, I took the essentials, leaving my furniture, decorations, and cookware behind. I wanted a fresh start, even if it meant having to re-purchase household staples.

Before long, I was moving into a fabulous new apartment across town. Rent was fair, the neighbors weren’t snoopy, it was closer to my workplace, and, best of all, there were no memories of my ex. None of his toenail clippings, body spray, or stupid NFL memorabilia. I felt fortunate in my misfortune: starting over wasn’t easy, but it was exactly what I needed.


I'd just gotten settled for the evening, when the doorbell rang. The hallway was empty, but there was something waiting for me on the doormat: A plain white box without any identifying features, tied with a curled pink ribbon. I picked it up and brought it to the kitchen, examining it closely. Using a knife, I cut off the ribbons and opened the box. Inside was a vanilla cake with lavender-colored buttercream icing. Square in the middle of it was something written in dark purple script:

"Welcome Karen!"

For a split second, I thought it might have been from a neighbor. No, that couldn’t be it. I hadn’t had the chance to introduce myself yet. Besides, if the idea was to welcome me to the neighborhood, then surely they would have waited for me to answer the door so we could chat. Had my mom sent it? It wasn’t really her style, so I called her, and she denied having knowledge of it. Perplexed, I searched the box for any clue, and found a business card for Just Desserts Bakery. On it was a ten-digit code, an address, and a phone number. I felt a pang of worry in my chest. What if Brad had sent the cake? I'd been careful not to share my new address with anyone, but what if he'd been following me? Anxiety began to bubble inside like the magma in a slumbering volcano. Nervously, I dialed the number listed on the business card to get some answers.

Once the call connected, a playful jingle tickled my ears. It was followed by what sounded like a grown woman talking in an obnoxious baby voice. You know, like on those kiddie shows where the host talks to kids?

"Welcome to Just Desserts Bakery! We hope you enjoy your Just Desserts!"

The tagline made me cringe.

"We're sorry, but our store is closed right now. If you want to check the status of your order, type the 10-digit order number followed by the pound key," she continued, her voice still as annoyingly energetic.

I typed the order number on my card, heart racing. Please not Brad, please not Brad, please not Brad, I repeated in my head.

There was a slight pause on the line, and then the voice spoke again, "Looks like you received our Super-Duper Vanilla Surprise, courtesy of -" it began, but the sing-song tone was replaced by an ear-piercing robotic voice, "Anonymous."

Well, that doesn’t help me, I thought, biting my fingernails as I nervously paced back and forth. I hated to let good food go to waste, but I was smart enough not to eat something that, as far as I knew, could have been laced with rat poison. If the sender eventually revealed himself as someone other than Brad, then I would lie through my teeth and tell them I loved the cake. If it was from Brad, then I was definitely not eating it, whether or not it he'd sabotaged it. For my own peace of mind, I tossed the cake in the garbage bin, and went to bed.

I woke up the next morning feeling rejuvenated. As I walked through the kitchen, I could smell the sweet scent of cake rising from my garbage can, reminding me of my woes. Brad knows where I live, I worried. I went about my day, trying not to think about him. It was my life and I was in control. I didn’t want to be a slave to his abuse any more, yet it was hard to stop hearing his disapproving words whispered in the back of my mind. You're not good enough. You're a bitch. Button your top, you whore. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to keep my head held high.

Another package was waiting for me when I got home. Same white box, same pink ribbon.

"Enjoy your Just Desserts!" it read, same as the bakery's motto.

The cake was different this time. Chocolate with cherry icing, or so the Just Desserts Bakery hotline claimed, when I called to check the order. I was surprised that they were still closed, but not shocked to find out that the order was sent anonymously. Chocolate was my favorite, so throwing that cake out was more painful than the first. Still, my safety was far more important.

The following day, another cake found its way onto my welcome mat. I didn’t even have time to debate whether or not I should throw it out, because when I opened it, the message inside frightened me so much that the box slipped through my fingers, and the cake splattered onto the floor.

"I’m going to slice you up like a birthday cake."

It was Brad. It had to be Brad. He was fucking with me, like the scumbag that he was. I called the bakery, but still couldn’t get through to a human being.

Like clockwork, another package showed up on my doorstep the following day. This time, it contained four cupcakes, each with a different letter written in bold.



The next day at work, I called the bakery. I figured they closed early, and that I'd be able to catch them during "normal" business hours. I had a hunch they'd refuse to reveal the name of the sender – not that it wasn't blatantly obvious – but I would made damn sure they'd ban my address from future deliveries. Hopefully, Brad would get the message and move on.

"Welcome to Just Desserts Bakery! We hope you enjoy your Just Deserts! We're sorry, but our store is closed right-"

"Fuck!" I shouted, tossing the phone aside.

That night, I had a date with an old friend from college. We had a pretty great time, and I ended up staying over at his place. When I tried to sneak out the next morning, I nearly tripped over a box on his front steps. No way, I thought. My hands shakily pulled the ribbons loose, and I peered inside.

"Twinkle twinkle little whore, shut your legs, they're not a door."

I recoiled in terror. Brad was stalking me. I knew it.

The abuse didn’t let up. Every day, I'd get home and another cake was waiting for me. Every damn day. Why? If he knew where I lived and if he was following me around, why hadn’t he shown his face yet? Was he trying to torture me? Slowly drive me insane? He must have spent a fortune buying all those cakes, and for what? To scare me? If that was his intention, then it was working splendidly. I was terrified, looking over my shoulder and through my blinds every few minutes. Scared of every shadow I saw and every headlight in the window. It was only a matter of time before he made his move. Every day, I'd get another horrible message. "Fuck you, bitch," "Good riddance," and my personal favorite, "This is poisoned." Subtle, Brad. Real Subtle, I thought. I tried calling Just Desserts Bakery at various times of day, but no one ever answered.

Why did I even bother opening the boxes? I knew there was nothing good inside, just more abuse. More Brad. The scent of sugar infiltrated every corner of my apartment. I was sick of the odor. It was on and around me at all times. Even at work, I swear I could smell it.


Out of the blue one day, I got home and my welcome mat was empty. Relieved, I headed inside and relaxed for the first time in weeks. Maybe Brad had found a new plaything. I felt bad for whoever had to deal with him, but glad that he wasn’t my problem anymore. I slept like a baby that night. That is, until a familiar scent woke me up in the early hours of the night.

My alarm clock read 3:57 a.m., its dim red light illuminating something large sitting on my bedside table. I squinted, my blurry eyes making out the outline of a white box. Oh god, no, I thought. I jolted to my feet, and turned on the lamp. He'd been inside my home. The message on the cake wasn’t as rude as the others, yet it was somehow more unsettling than the profanity I'd grown accustom to.

"You're beautiful when you sleep."

It was time to take matters into my own hands. I had the bakery's address, so I decided to head there right away. After all, bakeries were supposed to open early, right? Someone was bound to be at the store. I would explain my situation and, if they refused to cooperate, would threaten to involve police. Surely, they could get a warrant to figure out who was sending the cakes. I could have Brad arrested for harassment. I felt elated at the thought of finally being free. The law was on my side, after all.

It must have been around 5:00 a.m. when I pulled into the empty strip mall outside of town. My face twisted as I noticed the condition the building was in. It was in complete disrepair: Walls had crumbled, the foundation was cracked, windows were broken, and store signs had faded away. Just Deserts Bakery, if it had ever been in the strip mall, was long gone. I couldn’t even find a semblance of their logo on any of the store-fronts. When I got out of my car to peer into the broken building, all I could see were remnants of clothing stores and a bowling alley. There was nothing even remotely resembling a bakery.

Defeated, I headed back to my car. My heart sank as I opened the door. The sweet scent of cake came pouring out of the vehicle, emanating from a cake on the passenger's seat.

"Die, bitch."

My eyes scanned the area quickly, but I couldn’t see Brad. Was he hiding in the back seat? I hadn’t heard footsteps, but I wasn’t really paying attention before. For a moment, I thought about hiding in the abandoned mall, but what if Brad was waiting inside to jump me? I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I backed away from my car, whimpering like a child, and called the cops. I waited for 10 whole minutes in the exposed lot, halfway between my vehicle and the building. If he was in the strip mall, then I would have time to flee to my car. If he was in my car, then I would have a head start when running away.

By the time the police arrived, I was feeling really lightheaded. I think I was tiptoeing on the verge of a full-blown panic attack. The officers let me sit in their squad car while they checked every nook and cranny of my automobile. I watched nervously, expecting Brad to jump out at them with a knife. Thankfully, the car was empty. Once they'd deemed the area secure, one of the officers took me aside while the other contacted the station to put an APB out on Brad. I was relieved to see them take the death threat so seriously. The officer listened as I told him about the breakup, the harassing cakes I'd been receiving since, and the break-in that morning. He retrieved the bakery's business card from the cake, which, by that point, was melting on the hood of my car. He gave the number a call.

"Says it isn’t valid," he told me.

"That's not possible," I replied.

I tried calling Just Desserts Bakery using my own phone. By then, I had their number on speed dial, since I called them more often than I called my mom. Sure enough, an operator told me the number was no longer in service. I became even more agitated. Brad had gone through an obscene amount of trouble to mess with me, it seemed.

After about 10 minutes, the second officer interrupted, "Ma’am," he said, tilting his head.

Still shaking, I nodded.


"You say you're being stalked by Brad Clarkson, right?" he asked.

I nodded again.


The officer frowned.

"We have a report that he committed suicide, ma’am."

Blood drained from my face. Had he run off into traffic after putting the cake in my car? The hairs on the back of my neck rose like soldiers at attention. As disturbing as the revelation was, at least it meant I was safe now. I wouldn’t have to endure his harassment anymore. It was a bittersweet feeling, but I didn’t want to celebrate too much. The last thing I needed was to arouse suspicion. If anyone had motive to murder Brad and make it look like suicide, it was me.

"O-oh. Okay," I answered, "H-how?"

He turned around, exchanging a few words with the station, "Gas from the oven. It's just like going to sleep," he answered.

I raised a brow. Something wasn’t adding up. Brad lived an hour away from the strip mall. How could he have dropped the cake off, driven home, killed himself, been found dead, AND had a report filed about it?

"There has to be a mistake. He was here an hour ago," I protested.

The man's lips wrinkled into an awkward frown, "I’m sorry ma’am, but he's been dead for a month," he said.

That's impossible, I thought, turning to the cake. My head was spinning. If it wasn’t Brad who had been sending me these cakes, then who was it? I felt my breathing accelerate beyond control as a burning sensation ran down my spine.

"Listen, ma’am, we'll get an undercover cop in your area, all right?" suggested one of the officers, "We'll catch whoever's doing this."

I nodded nervously.


I felt more comfortable knowing someone was outside watching out for me, but my relief was short-lived. The cakes stopped showing up at my home, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t find their way to me one way or another.

During lunch one day, I heard my co-workers laughing wildly.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

One of them pointed to a birthday cake on the lunchroom table.

"Go ahead, eat some, fatass," it read.

I spotted the Just Desserts Bakery business card, and quickly swatted a spoon out of a co-worker's hand before he could take a bite. My colleagues looked at me as though I was losing my mind, but I didn’t want any harm to come to them. I gathered the pieces of cake that had already been served, tossing them furiously in the trash bin, before doing the same with the cake. When I tried to explain myself, my co-workers refused to listen to me. One of them implied that I was being “moody” because of my cycle.

Sobbing, I drove home in a car that stunk of sugar. The scent made me nauseous. I could practically taste it now. If I wasn’t already crying, the smell alone would have made my eyes water. I rolled down the windows, but it barely made a difference. By the time I got home, I had convinced myself to take the bus for a few days, just so I could get away from the stench.


Rain. I remember waking up to rain. My nostrils were pleased with the odor of wet pavement and squashed worms. I waited in the bus shelter, my legs swinging back and forth as I inhaled the natural aroma of soggy grass. My eyes closed for just a moment. A fleeting second, but as soon as they did, the humid air took on a completely different smell. It was like getting smothered by a box of cupcakes. My head slowly turned to the seat on my right. There it was. A cake.

"Get well soon, Karen."

I whined and jumped to my feet, backing away from the dessert that was haunting me. In a frenzy, I failed to notice when my heel caught a crack in the sidewalk. I felt my body falling and heard the screech of tires. The world went black.

This morning, I woke up in a hospital room, surrounded by balloons and an array of beautiful flowers. I couldn’t smell them over the stench of sugar that permeated my nostrils. There was a white box with pink curly ribbons waiting for me on the bedside table. Scrawled on the lavender-colored cake, in familiar dark purple script, were the words:

"Enjoy your last meal." TC mark

10 Unbelievably Fantastic Things That Happen When You’re Reunited With The BFF You Barely Get To See

Posted: 07 Aug 2015 07:20 AM PDT

Twenty20 / stopani
Twenty20 / stopani

1. Every time you're together again, nothing has changed.

You could be apart for six months, a year, two years, it doesn't matter. When you’re reunited everything is exactly the way it used to be. There is no awkwardness, apprehension, or hesitation. It's as if you were together all along.

2. You both love playing catch up.

Love life, family, work, school, whatever details you need to fill each other in on, you've got all the bases covered. Unlike the friends you see everyday, you actually care to listen to the tiny almost insignificant details of your BFF's life because you only get to see them every so often. You love listening to their story about the new flowers they just planted in their garden, no matter how boring it is, you haven't seen them in forever. You could be listening to them talk about paint dry and you'd still love it.

3. Your inside jokes still make you laugh.

No matter how stupid they are. And you secretly love when no one else has any idea what you’re talking about because it’s been so long that you don’t care about excluding other people…until your BFF leaves.

4. You love reminiscing together.

When you both have been apart for so long, you love talking about the memories you made when you were together all of the time. Whether they went to your high school, college, or you met them at some music festival while you were both high on edibles, your shared experiences will never be forgotten.

5. You basically don’t sleep when they visit.

Sleeping would be such a waste of time! You two only have so many hours or days together before they leave, and you want to make the most of it. You don’t care if you have to drink 25 Red Bulls and take your little brother’s Adderral. The Red Bull withdrawal you have in a couple of days will be totally worth it for your BFF.

6. You do crazy shit when they’re around.

Things you normally wouldn’t do with the friends you see everyday, you do with your BFF that you only see once in a while. You both have that “I’ll try anything,” mentality because you don’t know exactly when you’ll see each other again. When the friend you see everyday says, “Let’s go streaking,” you say, “Your nuts.” When the BFF you haven’t seen in forever says that, you think it’s a wonderful idea.

7. You take tons of pictures.

The photos you have together are entirely too old, but since you only get to see your BFF every so often, you have to take enough new pictures to basically last forever. You take photos of everything you eat, every place you go, every product you buy, you pretty much have their entire stay documented. Every moment is a memory when they’re around.

8. You secretly love it when you find something they’ve forgotten after they leave.

Their skirt, their sweatshirt, their super thrifty keychain bottle opener, it isn’t necessarily what object they leave behind that matters to you, it’s the fact that they left something behind at all. Now every time you see it, you’ll think of them and smile.

9. You can’t help but think about them leaving again.

Even when you make a scene as you practically tackle them with your giant welcome hug at the airport, the first moment you see them, you’re reminded that they will have to leave at some point again. You try not to think about it, but you know the time to say goodbye will come sooner than you’d like.

10. You hate having to say goodbye.

You feel like a child being dropped off at pre school for the very first time. A severe wave of separation anxiety comes over you both as your BFF returns back to where they came from. You don’t want to let go of them on your last hug goodbye, but you know there will always be another hug to say hello. TC mark

This Is Why I’ll Never Be ‘One Of The Boys’

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 02:03 PM PDT


I'll never be "one of the boys."

I'll never try to prove how consummately "chill" I am by shotgunning beers or pretending to give a shit about ice hockey. I don't give a shit about ice hockey. And I hate cheap beer.

Boyfriend jeans will never be my "thing." Neither will plain white tees. Or "no makeup." I enjoy short skirts, crop tops, and a good cat-eye.

I'll never have a burp-off with you or feign to be impressed by how quickly you can clear out a room with a fart. Burps and farts are fine, but they don't make me want to know you.

And I'll never act like I don't care about school—I'll never think it's cool to skip class or "not give a shit." I like giving a shit. Giving a shit is cool.

I'll never be "one of boys."

You might think I'm trying, though. You might think I'm trying to be "one of the boys," because I smoke weed and talk about sex as candidly as you do. You might think I'm trying, because I like to do a lot of the same stuff you like to do—a lot of the stuff you think makes you a boy. But I'm not trying to be like you—I'm a woman, and I’m damn proud to be one. I’m a woman, and I'm tryna do me.

I’ll never change the song because you don't like "girl rap"—this is my house, and Nicki is always welcome. And when, a few songs later, I turn up Joey Bada$$ and you try to compliment me with some weak flattery re: how well I know rap "for a girl," I won't say thank you.

I'll never be "one of boys."

When you try to pull some whack, ignore-me shit after we have sex, I’ll never act like "it's all good." It's not, and i'mma let you know. And when you say something ignorant about women's bodies or whine about how that test just "raped" you, you already know I’ll never hold my tongue. Because I'm not afraid of you, and I’ll never give a shit how you receive my words.

So, when you say "…pause" after cracking a self-referential gay "joke," I'll never laugh. I don't think you're funny. I do, however, think you'd rather be having sex with a dude right now—and I'll let you know, too. I tease closeted homosexuals straight-as-an-arrow homophobes like you for sport.

I'll never be "one of the boys."

Yeah, I can "hang." No, I don't get drunk off of one cocktail, and yeah, I know how to roll joint (better than you do). But that doesn't make me "one of the boys," and it never will—if you're confused, you clearly haven't met the women I grew up with. Trust me, they can "hang," too. And trust me, they're not interested in being "one of the boys," either. Because we all know girls are where it's at (and where, for us, it'll always be).

My bitches will always come first. When we get on the dance floor, I'll always request that the DJ bump "Stickwitu," because we figured out what that song is about a while ago—sisterhood, muthafucka. I'll always request "Stickwitu," because that's our fucking jam. And when you stare at us, palpably unnerved by our fierce embrace of girlhood, we’ll never apologize. We'll just drop it a little lower and scream it a little louder, because we love how it makes you sweat.

I'll never be “one of the boys,” see? Because I'd much rather be one of the girls. TC mark

My Radical Self-Love Meant Cutting Off All My Hair

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 10:48 AM PDT

TWENTY20 / lloydtheabstrac

There are moments that are harder to recall from paper. They live in the figments of themselves, wandering through memory and only living through the sometimes-recollection of "remember that time." The best memories work to build themselves up from others; like stacking blocks in chilly doctors' offices to create the perfect temporary monument. Does that make them any less valid or useful as a starting point to a tale like mine? To tell the whole story, the complete story, it cannot be told just from the beginning. It has to be from a point of reference.

Much like the movie "Juno," it begins and ends with a chair.

I was about five or six when I could first recall it. That excitement of Sundays when my mother would pull back the sleeves of her faded high school sports t-shirts and begin the struggle of taming my hair. It began with her manicured hands running through my frizzy, lopsided, badly-stretched braids, untying them. My tiny feet were perched on the specially designated stool in the kitchen, bent neck-forward into the sink. The water hit, running cool down my forehead, and I smelled the lather of the shampoo through my scalp. My brother, amused by some toys or a coloring book, would hold only the slightest interest at this strange ritual.

My hair hung damp when my mother finished, and I was moved to the living room. She sat on the off-white couch, and I moved my favorite floor pillow to the spot in front of her. I would hear the opening credits of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and she bent my head forward, parting it with the comb and braiding it for the week.

This was our Sunday ritual.


Until elementary school, I'd never given much thought to my hair. It was on my head, and it hung with different styles and barrettes, but other than that, I really didn't have an opinion on it. But then, over time, I noticed the way that strangers would fawn over my hair, marveling at its length and its shine, saying, "Oh, look at how healthy it is." After a while I just reasoned that yes, hair was an important thing and I should make an effort to make it look nice because that's what people like me do.

The first time I visited a hair salon, I was accompanying my mother on one of her religious visits. My mother was always someone who took pride in her appearance, and I admired her for it. She reminded me of one of the limited-edition Barbie dolls that you weren't allowed to play with, but would marvel at its beauty on the highest shelf in the store. The hairdresser had a stool unlike the one at my home for the sink-washing Sunday rituals. This one stood firm, with unfriendly wood that even looked uncomfortable from afar. I climbed in, and it would be a long time before I would find joy in the hair-washing rituals again.

There were no more sink-washing days for years. Instead, every six weeks I would go to a salon where I would be tortured for the sake of appearances. At least that's what it felt like to me. The creamy white product spread to my fuzzy scalp and edges were deceptive. White was supposed to be the color of purity and innocence, but this was straight up demonic. I was forced to reduce my wiggling and discomfort to sitting on my hands and moving my feet. As much as I despised the burning of the product, I wanted to know what it would be like to be the doll on the highest shelf. I wanted to feel the weight of the admiration for something other than being quiet, obedient, smart. I wanted to feel pretty.

The product did not disappoint. The perm, once washed out, left my hair bone straight. My mother showed me how to keep it straight in between appointments, and remain neat and pretty. For the first time, I saw my own reflection and I felt like I matched with my mother. I still had my wire-rimmed glasses with the string around my neck to keep it from falling off of my face. My two front teeth had begun to grow in crooked, leaving a rather large gap in between. I couldn't always tell if the laughter of my classmates came from the punchline of my jokes or a punchline I was somehow immune to hearing.

But at least I was pretty.


I reached high school with a dull feeling of contentment. I was weary now of the stares and the fawning, because I could see them now as the superficial glazing that they were. I no longer believed that the goodness of a person lied within the amount of praise that they received. When I looked into the mirror, I just saw strands that reminded me of tripping before the goal line. There were no words for what I felt.

Before I knew it, the summer of my senior year bloomed before my eyes. As I delved online, I came across the most peculiar looking images. Women, with skin sparkling toffee like mine, threw their heads back in the kind of bright confidence I'd only heard myths about. And their hair was nothing like mine. They were curly and frizzy and spiraling, in colors of carrot and cherry and marigold. They were alive. I was captivated.

After a few weeks, I discovered that this hair wasn't the kind that I could sit and achieve in a session at a salon. It would grow from my head, the unattached crown to declare my identity to the world. I'd never craved something so badly for myself. Taking a good, hard look in the mirror at my own limp, dried strands, I now saw that maybe — just maybe — I could shine like that. The kind of sparkle I could now see came in my own size.

I was filled with apprehension to bring the idea to my mother. Years of dedicating Saturday mornings to crowded salons had left her stuck in routine, and worse, thinking I'd enjoyed the process. I'd spilled the idea to her over a car ride to the store — I couldn't contain the excitement any longer.

"Wait… you want to cut it all off?" she said slowly at a red light.


"All of it? Like your brother's?"

"That's right, Ma."

She pursed her lips in thought for a moment. I braced myself for the initial rejection. After all, what other kind of reaction would she have? She was still vibrantly glistening, almost unaware of her place among the high shelf even after all these years. But for the first time, I saw the glisten in her eyes that her child hadn't quite made it up with her. I think that's what made her change her mind.

"Just do me one favor. Keep it long for senior portraits. Then I'll take you to the salon myself," she sighed as she pulled out her phone to make the appointment.


I could hardly contain my excitement. When I brushed my hair for the last time, I could only remember feeling that tingly bubbling in my stomach, like when you fall down a roller coaster for the first time. I willed the discomfort of the pin curls out of my mind, because I was so close to the freedom I'd never known that I wanted so badly. It tickled my palms now, wanting to grab hold and exclaim, "Yes, we've made it together."

In my senior portraits I beamed; I didn't need to chase the seat on the high shelf anymore. My mother stood in the corner, giving me a thumbs up. She was on my side.

The streets were quiet as we drove to the salon that Friday night. The regular lot was filled, the only remaining parking located on a side street a few blocks over. In all of my experience with salons, that tingle of excitement bubbled for the first time that night. Never mind that the salon itself was filled to capacity, with all kinds of students and grandmothers waiting patiently for their turn with the hellish white liquid perm. Today, I would not wait my turn.

My hairdresser called me over between an elderly grandmother in the middle of her roller set and a twentysomething with a track of weave hanging from her hairstylist's fingers. I shook out my hair, still bouncing from the senior portraits taken earlier, and felt the familiar eyes lingering on the length.

"So what are we getting done today?" My hairdresser said. I saw the beginnings of the possibilities playing in her head. I pulled out the folded picture of the nameless model with her close-cropped hair, head bent back in laughter.

"Wait, you want it cut off?"

In all my years I'd never heard a hair salon, filled to the brim on a Friday night, fall so silent.

I smiled shyly. "Yep. All of it. Just like this."

The hairdresser looked at my mother with apprehension. Even the elderly woman next to me turned around, ignoring me, and remarked, "You're just gonna let her cut it all off and run around like a boy? What will her boyfriend think?"

I wanted to sink into the leather chair and hide from embarrassment, but my mother's voice rose above the silence. "She'll look beautiful, just like she does now. She's making the right decision."

Gratitude swelled inside me.

My hairdresser returned, placing my hair into ponytail holders to cut. Snip snip went the scissors, and I saw the first long tresses fall to the floor. I imagined that they were the strands of insecurity that held me back all those years, tethering me to the lukewarm ideas and half-intended compliments thrown my way solely because of long hair. Now, the shorter my hair got, the more I felt the sparkling confidence wash over me. There was no more hiding now. I could be myself, and it would be all right.

Once my hair was mostly cut, my hairdresser grabbed an electric razor and cleaned up the edges. When she was finally done, I spun around to face the mirror.

My mother's hands clasped my shoulders. She kissed my cheek and said, "You look beautiful."

For the first time I believed her. I saw us both, sitting together on the high shelf. Running my hands through my scalp, I settled into the freedom. I had reached inside and cut to the root — literally. What remained was the beginning of showing my true self to the world.

I climbed out of the chair, renewed. TC mark

This post originally appeared at Femsplain.

30 Words You’ll See In Craigslist Apartment Ads, And What They Really Mean

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 01:38 PM PDT


If you live in a city with a high student population, chances are good that you'll be spending some time on Craiglist this August. Maybe you're looking to buy some cheap furniture for your new apartment. Maybe you're a graduating college senior looking for a sublet, or are just trying to get into a new housing situation as soon as possible.


Finding exactly what you're looking for in a Craigslist posting can be a time-consuming challenge by itself, but there's nothing more disappointing than arriving to pick up your new bookshelf, meeting your potential roommates, or viewing your potential apartment only to find something utterly unlike what as described.

That is why I have compiled a list of common terms used on Craigslist postings, and what they mean.

Words to Describe Furniture

antique: I took this from my parents’ house. They’re old. So is this.

barely used (bed): I have not gotten laid in years.

barely used (desk): I've been intending to work on my novel for eight months, but every time I sit down to write I suddenly become distracted and decide to jerk off in the shower instead.

free: I bought it from Ikea and couldn't understand the instructions and put it together wrong, just like I do everything wrong. It looms in the corner of the living room, a glaring reminder of my insufficiencies as a human. Please take this from me. Please relieve me of my shame.

functional: We ran out of adjectives for this item, but thought this posting needed more adjectives.

lightly used: Someone vomited on this object about two months ago. We cleaned it as best we could. The smell remains, but you get used to it.

mahogany: Made of some kind of…wood?

sturdy: All of the roommates have had sex on this object at one point or another, and it has not yet broken beyond repair.

quality: I purchased this for $20 and am selling it to you for $40. Please respect the machinations of capitalism at work by not examining the item too hard.

Words to Describe Property

basement: You will be sharing a room with an ancient water heater, which will hiss and purr and scream at all odd hours like a cat in labor. You will have one window, which will face the alley, which will be urinated on three times a night every night, with an almost clock-like regularity. It is the metronome by which you set the tempo of your life.

bohemian: The neighborhood has gentrified.

charming: Authentic 1970s appliances, authentic 1980s fixtures, authentic lead paint.

colourful: The neighborhood is gentrifying, and we're all unsubtly racist about it.

cozy: 6ft x 6ft bedroom. Roaches snuggle up with you in your sleep. Rats curl on the duvet at your feet.

historic: Asbestos!

pet-friendly: Say hello to Falco, my cage-free tarantula!

rustic: There is a dead skunk in the basement. It will be trapped in the walls forever. The landlord will do nothing about it.

sunny: Fourth-floor attic sauna.

Words to Describe Roommates

active: We do cross-fit. We will not shut up about it. We will not stop. You should really join us at the gym some day! Join us, Kelly! J O I N U S. S U B M I T Y O U R L I M B S T O C R O S S F I T . . .

chill: My mom pays my car insurance.

conscious: My mom pays my Whole Foods bill.

courteous: Passive-aggressive beyond your wildest reckonings.

laid-back: No one does the dishes. (Except you! How 'bout it?)

nerdy: Get ready for six months of crippling social awkwardness.

no drama: You are not allowed to get angry when I spill tequila on your quilt or leave the gas on all night. I, however, am allowed to get angry when you get angry with me for destroying family heirlooms/almost killing us all.

open-minded: Flexitarians who watch "Modern Family."

respectful: See "courteous."

quiet: When you enter the kitchen, we will dart from the room like rabbits. No matter that we have something boiling on the stove, no matter that our garlic bread is burning in the oven. We will hide in the shadows and watch you with our wet, wide pink eyes, noses twitching, until you retreat from the kitchen and we can resume our routines.

quirky: We may just silly-string the living room at some point on a whimsical whimsy, or we might actually murder you with scissors in your sleep, so don't be surprised by either outcome.

work hard, play hard: We work in finance and drink Bud Light Lime. We are terrible people. You should not live with us. TC mark

30 Hilarious Female-Empowering Jokes That Will Make You Happy To Be A Woman

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 02:00 PM PDT


1. What's the fastest way to a man's heart?

Through his chest with a sharp knife.

2. Why shouldn’t you let your man's mind wander?

Because it’s way too little to be out all alone.

3. How are men like parking spaces?

All the good ones are taken, and the ones leftover are disabled.

4. What’s the difference between a clitoris and a golf ball?

A man will actually look for a golf ball.

5. What’s the best way to find a truly committed man?

Visit the closest mental hospital.

6. What do you call a man who won’t go down on you?

You don’t!

7. What should you do if your husband walks out?

Shut the door and celebrate.

8. What do you call a woman with PMS and ESP?

A bitch who really does know everything.

9. What do a balloon and a man have in common?

One prick pretty much ruins them.

10. How are splinters better than a man?

Splinters are a pain, but eventually they go away.

11. What’s the difference between a knife and a man arguing?

A knife usually has a point.

12. How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. It’s not the lightbulb that needs changing, obviously.

13. PMS jokes are funny.


14. How is a man like a gun?

Keep one around long enough, and you’ll definitely want to shoot him.

15. Why did God make Adam before Eve?

You have to have a rough draft before you make the final copy.

16. Why did God even create men?

Because vibrators aren’t designed to mow the lawn.

17. What do you call a man who’s lost 95 percent of his intelligence?


18. Don’t even both trying to change a man…

Unless of course he's in diapers.

19. Why shouldn’t you trust a man who says he “wears the pants” at his house?

He probably lies about other shit, too.

20. Why does it take a million sperm to fertilize one egg?

They really are too damn proud to stop and ask for directions.

21. What does one lesbian vampire say to the other?

Same time next month?

22. Why does the average woman reportedly want beauty more than brains?

Probably because the average man can see so much better than he thinks.

23. If February is Black History Month and March is Women’s History Month, what happens the rest of the year?


24. I've received hundred of responses to my ad seeking a husband, and they all say the exact same thing:

"Take mine, please."

25. What's the definition of a perpetual bachelor?

A man who's missed the opportunity to make a woman miserable.

26. You might as well go for a younger guy.

They never seem to mature anyway.

27. How do you get a man to have the best orgasm possible?

Who cares?

28. How come it’s so hard to make a fool out of a man?

Because most of them are the DIY type in that way.

29. Love is blind.

Marrying a man, on the other hand, is a real eye opener.

30. “Gravity is the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age”

— Tina Fey TC mark

The Real Reason You Want Bigger Boobs

Posted: 07 Aug 2015 11:20 AM PDT

Twenty20 / kaitlynmae
Twenty20 / kaitlynmae

I don't have big boobs, not by any stretch of the imagination. My boobs aren't just not big, they are small. I have more push up bras than any other type of bras – with the exception of sports bras with great padding. This is probably more information than you wanted to know, but as poet Sonya Renee once acclaimed, the body is not an apology.

My boobs have always been the one thing I'd want to change about my body if I could. I know – you're not supposed to say things like that out loud. You might think it to yourself from time to time when you stand in front of a mirror or you whisper it among your closest friends. But actually expressing something real about an insecurity that you may have – only creatures with feelings do that.

Ever so often, I research the different kinds of breast enhancements available – the process, the cost, etc. I read the stories of women who have undergone it – their fears, their joys, their in-between judgments of whether they would or wouldn't do it again. Above all, I always pay attention to their whys – their real reason for altering their bodies for a lifetime.

Everything from wanting more confidence to never feeling secure in their bodies to their significant others thinking they would look better if they have them – are the whys given. The decision to alter one's body – which is such an individual act – is never discussed as a desire that is constructed by a society that polices and disciplines bodies. No one ever says, "I want bigger boobs because that is what I've been told to want." Or, "I want big boobs because that's what the patriarchy wants." Everyone wants to believe their choices are theirs alone.

But choices do not exist in a vacuum – they do not exist without context. And that's not just what you think about boobs – whether you have them or not. It's about everything from the politics of our body to the politics of government. Society participates in the constructions that make up the choices that we can choose. Of course you might want to have big boobs simply because you want them. But believing your choice is removed from the societal constructions that have been inflicted on us all since birth is naive at best, and disingenuous at worst.

Of course the women who might fall on the side of having bigger boobs may consider reducing them – sometimes even for health reasons. However, in a society where having small boobs can make one feel inadequate, having boobs that are deemed "too big" can lead to insecurities too. It's hard to win when people expect perfection from each other. But in the words of a John Legend song, we're just ordinary people.

Big boobs, tiny waists, big butts, full lips, flat stomachs, and yet thinness – does the list ever end? And all of this for what? So that men and women can applaud a body – objectify it, envy it, and ultimately continue to police it? And even when we think it will make us more confident and even if it does, then what?

The then what?, I think, is what has always held me back from doing anything permanent to my body. That and when I look at my body, when I really see myself in the light I think I was meant to see it as a creature made from love, I think my boobs are just fine the way they are – maybe even beautiful. And if someone doesn't find them adequate, well, that's okay too. I don't need to be everyone's cup of tea – everyone certainly isn't mine.

So make changes to your body or don't. Tell yourself it'll make you feel more comfortable or don't. But recognize too that as long as you are taking care of the body you're in, and in all the ways you must, your body was not created to be the site of society's conflict with itself.

Your body was created to be the entity in which you exist, a form that embodies love, a temple, and even in all these spectacular things, it is still not going to be the most important thing about you. Remember that the next time you want bigger boobs. TC mark

19 Tragic Quotes About Marilyn Monroe That Will Remind You Why She’s An Icon

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:09 AM PDT

Wikimedia / George Barris
Wikimedia / George Barris

American author Joyce Carol Oates spoke about her epic book, Blonde, that was all about the life and death of Marilyn Monroe. She delivered such soul-hitting quotes about Monroe in the Time Magazine piece, we wanted to see what other celebrated people had said about the fabulous Marilyn Monroe. What we found were a compilation of quotes that speak to the mystery and wonder that surrounds Monroe’s life:


"I think that Monroe is a representative American of a time, a place, a category of being, with whom virtually anyone can identify." — Joyce Carol Oates


“I got a cold chill. This girl had something I hadn't seen since silent pictures.

She had a kind of fantastic beauty like Gloria Swanson, when a movie star had to look beautiful, and she got sex on a piece of film like Jean Harlow.” — Leon Shamroy, describing one of Monroe’s screentests


“When you look at Marilyn on the screen, you don't want anything bad to happen to her. You really care that she should be all right…happy.” — Natalie Wood


“Marilyn's insecurities nearly screamed out of her. If she had an eight o'clock date, I had to be there at noon to start on her.

If I was two minutes late she was furious, though she thought nothing of keeping others waiting for hours or days.” — George Masters


“If she’d been dumber, she’d have been happier.” — Shelley Winters


“I must admit there were times in this process, as tax reform wended its way through the sometimes convoluted passageways of Congress, that even I had some momentary doubts. I told a group last night that it was a little like the time Marilyn Monroe, the late Marilyn Monroe, met Albert Einstein. And Marilyn grabbed him by the arm and said, “Let’s get married.” And Einstein looked at her and replied, “But, my dear, what if our children had my looks and your brains?” — Ronald Reagan


“She was not the usual movie idol. There was something democratic about her.

She was the type who would join in and wash up the supper dishes even if you didn't ask her.” — Carl Sandburg


“When you speak of the American way of life, everybody thinks of chewing gum, Coca-Cola and Marilyn Monroe.” — The Russian magazine “Nedvela”


“Marilyn's need to be desired was so great that she could make love to a camera. Because of this, her lust aroused lust in audiences, sometimes even among women. There was nothing subtle about it. She was no tease. She was prepared, and even eager, to give what she offered.” — William Manchester


“Marilyn played the best game with the worst hand of anybody I know.” — Edward Wagenknecht


“The trouble with Marilyn was she didn't trust her own judgment, always had someone around to depend on. Coaches, so-called friends. Even me.” — Allan 'Whitey' Snyder


“Marilyn was so bright about acting. Her trouble was only that she'd get so scared she wasn't going to be able to do it, and so tied up in knots, that then everyone thought she was dumb.” — Peggy Feury


“I had always thought that all those amusing remarks she was supposed to have made for the press had probably been manufactured and mimeographed by her press agent, but they weren't. She was a very bright person, an instinctive type.” — Elliott Erwitt


“You say hello to her or it's a nice day today, and she answers with a line from the script. She forgets everything but the work.” — Jean Negulesco


“She once got her life so balled up that the studio hired a full-time secretary maid for her. So Marilyn soon got the secretary as balled up as she was, and she ended up waiting on the secretary, instead of vice-versa.” — Jane Russell


“This is a little kid who wants to be with the other little kids sucking lollipops and watching the rollercoaster, but she can't because they won't let her.

She's frightened to death of that public which thinks she is so sexy. My God, if they only knew.” — Allan "Whitey" Snyder


“She is a beautiful child. I don't think she's an actress at all, not in a traditional sense. What she has – this presence, this luminosity, this flickering intelligence- could never surface on the stage. It's so fragile and subtle, it can only be caught by the camera But anyone who thinks this girl is simply another Harlow or harlot or whatever, is mad. I hope, I really pray, that she survives long enough to free the strange lovely talent that's wandering through her like a jailed spirit.” — Constance Collier


“Marilyn Monroe's unique charisma was the force that caused distant men to think that if only a well-intentioned, understanding person like me could have known her, she would have been all right. In death, it has caused women who before resented her frolicsome sexuality to join in the unspoken plea she leaves behind – the simple, noble wish to be taken seriously.” — Time Magazine


“Do you remember when Marilyn Monroe died? Everybody stopped work, and you could see all that day the same expressions on their faces, the same thought: 'How can a girl with success, fame, youth, money, beauty . . . how could she kill herself?' Nobody could understand it because those are the things that everybody wants, and they can't believe that life wasn't important to Marilyn Monroe, or that her life was elsewhere.” — Marlon Brando