Thought Catalog

8 Reasons Why Overthinkers And Worriers Are Usually Creative Geniuses – According To Science

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 07:00 PM PDT

You may know that social anxiety is linked to a high intelligence or that there's a neurological correlation between being highly creative and mentally ill but what you may not know is that worrying – and overthinking in particular – has now been linked to creative genius. The pattern here is unmistakable: many of what people consider their worst traits are actually just the shadow sides of their greatest strengths. (What a thing to consider.) In light of the latest research, here's a breakdown of why worrying incites genius – and how maybe you can tap into it yourself.

1. Neuroticism stems from activity in the brain circuits that govern self-generated thought, which creates representations of information that are unrelated to reality: creativity and angst. It's essentially another facet of the "rumination" theory: that depressed people are creative because both creativity and depression requires incessant thinking which ultimately leads to negative or irrational conclusions and fear.

2. Worry is the mother of invention. Interestingly enough, most of our greatest (or, at least, significant) inventions were born of fear. Industrialized food? Fear of starvation. Medicine? Fear of death and illness. Weaponry? Fear of invasion. It's concern that creates innovation, not a feeling of security or acceptance.

3. We only experience fear where we truly feel love. The aforementioned inventions were not only created because we feared those outcomes, but because we had love for the alternatives: keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, healthy and happy. Those who worry the most love the most, and those who love the most create the most to protect and sustain it.

4. Cheerful, happy-go-lucky people are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to problem solving. They less frequently tap into the part of their minds that control both possible negative outcomes and potential solutions. This is part of the reason there is sometimes a stigma regarding these people being irritating – overthinkers wish they could live in ignorant bliss, but their compulsion toward preparing for the worst dominates them.

5. The overactive worrying that leads people to feel so unhappy can also drive them to seek more genuine lifestyles, even when counter to the "norm." It's only in finding persistent fault with the reality that they exist in that people strive to create better, and more. Interestingly: this rarely leads to their increased happiness (that's a matter of training and redirecting said thoughts) but it does create alternatives for other people, think: Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Vincent Van Gogh.

6. Overthinking activates certain parts of the medial prefrontal cortex, which is connected to the conscious perception of threat and danger. Essentially, there's little or no way to overthink something without then diving into negative possibilities or anxieties. When you start worrying, you inevitably start the creation process.

7. "Genius is pain," because nobody is driven to create out of comfort. As a rule in general, human beings do not change until not changing is the less comfortable option. We don't want happiness, we want comfort. It requires an extraordinary amount of discomfort to achieve genius levels of function.

8. If you can generate many negative thoughts via overactivity in the brain, you can then experience intense negative emotions… even when there is no threat present. Ironically, this tends to lead to more overthinking as a means of walking yourself out of that labyrinth of anxiety. Regardless, it seems you can't have genius without a degree of worry, discomfort or fear. It seems that the people who most fully actualize that aspect of themselves are the ones who are willing to cope with the consequences, not the ones who are most gifted and naturally able to do so. TC mark

6 Horrible, Horrific Serial Killers You May Have Never Heard Of

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 06:00 PM PDT

We all know about Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, the all-star team (if you will) of serial killers. In fact, if you watched last night’s “American Horror Story” episode titled “Devil’s Night” you saw many of the more famous murderers in attendance at the Hotel Cortez. Also, I made the excellent observation that “Serial Killer Dinner Party” is a super cool band name.

However, we were introduced to a new serial killer, someone who sounded so creepy and bizarre I was applauding the writers for their twisted creativity. So imagine my surprise when I find out that the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders ACTUALLY HAPPENED. This inspired me to dive down the proverbial rabbit hole and find a few more grotesque serial killers hiding in the shadows of history. Let’s begin with…

Gordon Northcott and the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders

Instagram Photo

With permission from his aunt and uncle, 19-year-old Gordon Northcott took his 13-year-old nephew Sanford Clark from his home in Canada down to Northcott’s ranch in Wineville, California. This was a TERRIBLE move on Sanford’s parent’s part, because as soon as they were in the United States Northcott began sexually and physically abusing his nephew.

After two years of hell, Sanford’s sister Jessica checked in on him in 1928 to make sure he was doing all right. He promptly informed her he was NOT and filled her in on the horrors that had been happening on the ranch — and not just his own abuse, either. This is the only reason Northcott was exposed as a deviant and a murderer.

Sanford told authorities that Northcott (with the help of his own mother, no less) had forced him to assist with the kidnapping, molestation, torture, murder, and disposal of three young boys. Northcott used quicklime to dissolve the bodies. It is speculated that he may have had as many as 20 victims.

He was sentenced to death and hung at the age of 23.

Robert Hansen, “The Butcher Baker”

Instagram Photo

As a teen, Robert Hansen had no luck with the attractive women he sought the attention of; this developed into a deep-seated rage towards all women and intense revenge fantasies towards the fairer sex. Over the years he found himself in trouble with the law several times, once for burning down a school bus garage and again for stealing a chainsaw.

For a while, he flew quietly under the radar, but in 1983 17-year-old Cindy Paulson escaped from his small plane and told police that she’d been offered $200 to perform oral sex on the then 44-year-old Robert Hansen. When she got in the car, he pulled a gun on her and drove to his house where he tortured, abused, and sexually assaulted her. Cindy also noted that he chained her by the neck to a post in the basement.

He was brought in and questioned; at first, Hansen denied everything, but as the evidence piled up he admitted to abducting, raping, and murdering between 17-30 women. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his modus operandi was to release them into the woods when he was finished with them and hunt them down like wild animals. He was sentenced to 467 years in prison where he passed away last year due to health complications.

Dean Corll and the Houston Mass Murders

Instagram Photo

Known as “The Candyman”, Dean Corll owned the Corll Candy Company and was known for giving free candy to local youths, specifically teenage boys. After befriending two in particular (Elmer Wayne Henley and David Brooks), he began grooming them to help commit a series of brutal murders.

Together, the three abducted and murdered a minimum of 28 victims, all between the ages of 13 and 17. Some were friends of his young accomplices, others were introduced to them with the intention of their murder, and a few were previous employees of the candy company. Corll forced Henley and Brooks on several occasions to get in contact with their victims’ parents to assure they were safe.

After a night of partying at Corll’s house with a new intended victim, Henley and Brooks brought Rhonda Williams back with them around 3 in the morning. Corll was furious that they’d invited a girl, and after they passed out he tied all four of them up with the intention of killing them — Henley managed to convince Corll he’d participate and was untied.

Henley wrestled the gun from Corll and cried out, “You’ve gone far enough, Dean! I can’t go on any longer! I can’t have you kill all my friends!” He then shot Corll in the head, shoulder, and lower back, killing him.

The teenagers called the police and the murders came to light. Henley and Brooks are both currently serving life sentences.

Earle Leonard Nelson, “The Gorilla Killer”

Instagram Photo

In and out of mental institutions for many years of his life, Earle Leonard Nelson eventually upped the ante on his former discrepancies by murdering a string of landladies. He would use his good looks, charm, and well-worn Bible to convince them to rent him a room. Then, Nelson killed them and desecrated their corpses. He made his way up the West Coast, through the Midwest, and eventually to Canada on a bloody trail of rampage.

Canada was where Nelson was caught, however, after murdering a 14-year-old flower salesgirl and housewife Emily Patterson. He had a penchant for hiding bodies under beds, and Emily’s was found when her husband got on his knees beside their own bed to pray for his missing wife’s safe return.

Nelson is accused of killing at least 22 women; his trial began in November of 1927 and by January of 1928, he was found guilty and hanged for his crimes.

Paul John Knowles, “The Casanova Killer”

Instagram Photo

In 1974, at the age of 28, Paul John Knowles was incarcerated for a myriad of petty crimes. He began corresponding with Angela Covic, who traveled to Florida from California to arrange his release from prison. She was successful, and Knowles eventually joined her in California after proposing marriage.

However, Angela visited a psychic who warned her of a “dangerous new man in her life”; she broke it off with Knowles, who became enraged at her rejection. Though unverified, he claimed to have murdered three people on the streets of San Francisco after Angela dumped him, then returned to Florida.

In Jacksonville, he was imprisoned yet again for stabbing a bartender, but he picked the lock on his cell and escaped — thus began his murder spree.

Knowles started by breaking into the home of 65-year-old Alice Curtis with the intent of looting her house for valuables. Alice choked to death on her own dentures. He stole her car, then when attempting to abandon it after being identified by police, killed young sisters Lillian and Mylette Anderson (who he wanted to remove as witnesses).

While running from the police, Knowles killed many more victims, some circumstantial and some for unknown reasons. Many of these murders were for financial gain to keep him supported on his escape, but others were seemingly just for “fun”. He’s thought to have murdered anywhere from 18-35 victims, possibly more.

After several months of mayhem, capture by police, escape, and an ensuing manhunt, Knowles was finally taken into custody. While in the patrol car, however, he reached for an officer’s gun and discharged it through the holster; the other police officer fired three shots into Knowles’ chest, killing him instantly.

Unknown, “The Cleveland Torso Murderer”

Instagram Photo

The only subject on my list as of today unidentified, the Cleveland Torso Murderer killed as many as 12-20 victims between 1935 and 1938. Some of the victims were unknown drifters, but all of the murdered hailed from lower-class society. Depression-era citizens were considered easy prey and “working poor”.

The bodies were found decapitated and dismembered, and often the torso was cut in half (giving the murderer its moniker). Most of the male victims were, interestingly, castrated.

Several suspects were arrested, but either evidence against them petered out or it was revealed they’d been beaten into confessing. A theory in 1997 suggested the murders may have been committed by different people, but as of today, this series of murders remains unsolved. TC mark

What’s In A Name, Anyway?

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 05:50 PM PDT

Instagram / Kovie Biakolo
Instagram / Kovie Biakolo
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would; were he not Romeo call’d
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;
And for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
Romeo and Juliet, Act Two, Scene II, William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is considerably one of the most well-known romantic tragedies and one of his most performed plays. In the above scene, Juliet is contending that her cross-star lover’s name, Romeo Montague doesn’t matter in spite of their feuding families. Explaining her argument with the use of a rose, she contends that the names of things do not inhibit their disposition – what they really are. Do you agree with Juliet?


In many cultures worldwide, the naming of an individual is considered an event, and a matter of great importance. Naming traditions are part and parcel of cultural experiences and identifiers for many people. For example, in Spain and some Hispanic cultures subsequently, a woman always keeps her maiden name and children born have two surnames to represent the heritage of both parents.

Elsewhere, Balinese children in Indonesia, receive their names according to their birth order. In Ghana, children are giving a “day name” according to the day of the week they were born and their gender. A little closer to home for me, in Nigeria, many naming cultures consist of naming a child according to the mother or family’s experience prior to the birth of a child. Or according to the destiny they wish the child to fulfill or the character they believe the child will personify out in the world.

I asked my dad about the traditional naming culture of the Urhobo people – our people. He said the naming ceremony is a simple one: The household (extended family) head pours libations to the ancestors, with the baby in his arms. He asks what name the father of the child has given him or her. This is announced formally. Usually a grandmother or grandfather also has an alternative name. This is also announced. Sometimes the mother too has a different name; it is also announced. After the names are called out, the household elder, still with the baby in his arms begins a session of prayer that plays on the various significant meanings of the names. A child never has one name in Urhoboland. And each name is always of some significance to the one who chooses a name.

My father’s given name is Anselm but has always gone by his Urhobo name, Emevwo. Despite Anselm representing his Catholic faith, my father prefers Emevwo. He might tell you that he just prefers the way it sounds but if you know my father, he is a pan-Africanist. And being born before Nigeria received it’s independence, and with all the world views, postcolonial and otherwise, that come with his life experience, I know that insisting on Emevwo is a form of resistance.


My name is Shifikovie. I have gone by Kovie for as long as I can remember. Despite being five letters and mostly phonetic – the √© at the end often getting lost because I don’t include the accent – many people will ask me if I have a short version of Kovie. (To which I respond that is the short version.) I like my name. It was given to me by my mother during a very difficult time of her life – she had lost her father, her sister, and her sister’s child – her niece – all in the same year. So she named me after her father.

Shifikovie means, “This chief is like a king.” You see, my mother’s side is African royalty. Historically the Urhobo people were ruled in a kingdom, of which my grandfather was then a chief. But before him, his father had been a king. My mother has often told me she named me to memorialize her father but also for me to fulfill a destiny – a destiny that achieves greatness for the time I was born. No pressure right?

She never actually tells me what this means but she believes and instilled in me that overcoming whatever life throws at me is simply a part of who I am. That the goodness and greatness of my name means that the name’s purpose – the destiny – ought to be fulfilled. This chief is like a king.

My name means a lot to me. It means a lot to me that I was named after my grandfather who I never met but whose legacy still lives on in Urhoboland. Of course however, I am also a Biakolo – meaning shining eyes. It’s not quite as glamorous as coming from a royal line but it means that our eyes sparkle; we are insightful and observant.

When I put my names together – Shifikovie Biakolo – I am wearing the heritage of both my mother and father; in my name, my ancestors are not forgotten. This brings me great joy. (I also have a Margaret Mary in the middle of those two – yes, I’m Catholic.)


It is a cultural bias but I could never agree with Juliet’s assertion that names don’t matter – that they don’t signify what things really are. Perhaps they do not define the nature of things but they certainly are a part of the definition of the past for many people and peoples. And the past always matters.

It seems insignificant in comparison to the other realities, but I think one of the saddest aspects of the transatlantic slave trade is the loss of names. But not only that names were stripped and thus direct heritages were lost – but slaves then had to bear the names of slave owners. From my Urhobo point of view, this is great tragedy.

So when Raven-Symon√© asserts that she doesn’t hire certain people because of their names; when she insists that certain African-American names are “ghetto,” I shake my head. Despite a history of bearing the names of others, African-Americans created a culture that includes a way of naming. And in this naming, identity is marked. Naming is about identity – the identity of each of us as individuals but also about who our people are.

What’s in a name? In a name, we can carry the history of our ancestors whose legacy continues because of our existence. In a name we can walk through the world knowing we have a purpose – a destiny to fulfill. In a name, we can illustrate the struggles and the triumphs that a culture has faced. In a name, we can discover that we are indeed somebody, who no matter what, came from somewhere.

Our names matter. The names of others matter. Learn to pronounce them well. Learn to treat them with respect. Learn to love them and honor them and cherish them. They are our extraordinary titles in this extraordinary human experience. And as long as our names are remembered by those who come after us, perhaps we won’t be forgotten; perhaps we will be remembered long after we’re gone. TC mark

6 Things You’re Doing Wrong If You Want To Be More Than Just A Hookup

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 05:00 PM PDT

Twenty20 / oleg333
Twenty20 / oleg333

You've been hanging out with this guy for weeks, maybe even months. You're not sure how he feels and you haven't had "the talk." You think you're ready for more — but he hasn't brought it up. Maybe he's even avoiding the topic completely.

In a culture where relationship lines are blurred and more people are hooking up than cuffin' up, taking the leap from casual to commitment can seem complicated.

The thing is, if a man wants to be with you, he will do whatever it takes to have you. There are reasons you've remained a hookup and not his girlfriend — here they are:

1. You enabled the hookup mentality.

He was passive in his approach, and you enabled his behavior. Maybe you started out as friends, or met through mutual friends, which made you comfortable hooking up right away. Maybe you weren't looking for more than a hookup at the time, anyway. Since your relationship didn't start out on a course to commitment, there was never an expectation to commit. There's never been the expectation for him to take you out or treat you as anything but a hookup, and so, there you stand.

2. You never told him what you wanted.

You wanted to be the cool girl because you didn't want to pressure him. You were just having fun, but then, you started feeling things. Even then, you didn't say anything because you were afraid to do so. He can't read your mind. Unless you clearly express how you feel and what you want, you'll never get it and you'll be stuck in a cycle of unfulfilled expectations.

3. You didn't make him a priority.

Hanging out and hooking up once a week or every now and then was okay with you. You were busy, he was busy, and neither of you wanted to put any pressure on the situation. You didn't prioritize each other, and he needed more attention from you to figure out if you were worth settling down with. Now, he's spending more time with the person who did prioritize him.

4. You ignore the signs that he's emotionally unavailable.

He never slept over because he always had an early day at work the next day, or whatever other excuses he gave you. You never went on dates because he only communicated when he wanted to hook up. He didn't share his days with you and you never got to know much about him. He only gave you enough to keep you holding on to hope. Those are the signs of the emotionally unavailable man and you missed them.

5. You “gave him the milk for free.”

We've all heard the saying, "Why buy the cow, when you get the milk for free?" This normally refers to sex, but there's more to it. He's getting all the benefits of being your boyfriend without having to commit. You're cooking and cleaning for him. You're supporting his dreams. You're giving him your time and your heart. Why would he commit when he's already getting all of the perks?

6. He's just not that into you.

We're not all meant for each other. Maybe he's just not that into you, but the sex is good so he keeps hooking up.

No matter the reason, if you're looking for more, it's time to talk about it. Get on the same page with the man who is getting your time, mind, and body. Don't let fear, comfort, or selfishness keep you from getting what you ultimately need and deserve. No matter the outcome, you'll live to love another day. TC mark

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14 Women Share The One Fear That Haunted Them Most When They Were Pregnant

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 04:00 PM PDT

Twenty20 / eddierioscreative
Twenty20 / eddierioscreative

Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time, which makes it seem like pregnancy and parenthood should be the most joyful, natural experience ever. But the truth is, many women feel scared. Even terrified. Yet it's hard to express these concerns out loud, for fear of being judged. And although there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for this, sometimes it simply helps to know you're not alone. I talked with 14 mothers, and they shared the one fear that haunted them most.

1.Trying, and failing.

“My husband and I started talking about having kids after we'd been married two years, and although I thought I was ready, I found myself stalling. It wasn't because I was afraid of actual motherhood, but because I was worried about "trying" and not getting pregnant. I didn't want our sex life, and entire existence, to become that. The unknown paralyzed me.” –Jen


2. Knowledge is not bliss.

“As a nurse, I'd seen all of the things that can go wrong with pregnancies and childbirth, and this completely freaked me out when it came time to having kids of my own. I could only focus on the potential problems. I wished I didn't know so much.” –Samantha


3. The pain.

“This might sound superficial, but I don't handle pain well, and every story I'd heard about childbirth was full of gory details and terribleness. I stressed about this throughout my entire pregnancy, and I was so embarrassed that I only told two close friends, not even my mom.” – Avery


4. Diseases and disorders.

“I'm a researching-type, so when I was pregnant, I checked out every website possible. I learned about all of these scary diseases. I couldn't imagine raising a child with a lifelong genetic disorder or something. How would I handle this?” –Talia


5. A change in the birth plan.

“I was 100% set on doing a drug-free childbirth with a doula and everything, and so the thing that scared me most was that this wouldn't be able to happen. I know like four women who ended up having emergency C-sections. I know this sounds very first-world. But it was my fear.” –Kayla


6. Sex after baby.

“Totally honestly? I had no sex drive while I was pregnant, and this only got worse as my stomach got huge and I felt our son kicking inside me. I worried I would never feel attractive, or attracted to my boyfriend, ever again.” –Veronica


7. Work/life balance.

“When I got pregnant, I'd been working for seven years as an accountant. I loved my job, and I didn't want a baby to change this. I wanted to be a successful working mom. But I saw a lot of my friends waver once they had kids. Some of them became stay-at-home moms. Others stressed about leaving their kid for work. I wanted to still love my job, and have a child, but I wasn't sure how this would look.” –Katherine


8. Bonding with baby.

“The truth is that I've never really been into babies. Like I don't stop mothers on the street and fawn over their kids, and I'm not really even into my friend's babies. Deep down, I've always wanted a child of my own child, but when I was pregnant with my daughter, I wondered, "What if I give birth, and the doctor puts her on my chest, and I don't feel anything?" The possibility terrified me.” –Zoey


9. Postpartum depression.

“I've struggled with depression and anxiety since my late teens, so I was very familiar with the term "postpartum depression." It almost made me not have kids, because I knew I would be at risk, and you hear these terrible stories of women who do horrifying things. The minute I found out I was pregnant I started discussing this with my doctor, and even though I knew there were medications that were safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, I still obsessed about it.” –Victoria


10. Single parenting.

“So anyway, my pregnancy was unexpected, to say the least. I wasn't even in a serious relationship. This alone made me feel ashamed. But after a lot of thought, I decided to keep the baby, which meant I had to think about the raising a kid on my own. It's terrifying, thinking of doing everything yourself. Something inside me said I could do it, but this didn't mean I wasn't full of self-doubt.” –Lanie


11. Identity.

I had my son in my late thirties, and I'd already established a fulfilling life: career, travel, adventures. I did not want to give that up. I'd worked too hard for it! In the first weeks of my pregnancy, before I was showing, it was easy to tell myself nothing would change. But later on, as I grew larger, it was obvious things had. I looked and felt like a different person. Deep down, this really scared me. –Cheri


12. Body image.

“I've always been athletic, and my free time is all about surfing, running, cycling. It was really hard for me to give that stuff up in later pregnancy. I missed it, a lot. Especially because my body changed so much—I gained 50 pounds—and I kept hearing about how women never lose that last ten pounds of baby weight. I didn't know if I'd ever be strong and lean again.” –Maddie


13. The boredom.

“I'm a driven person who's efficient and great at multi-tasking, and I was super excited when I found out I was pregnant! But as I started reading, and buying stuff, and getting a nursery ready, I started worrying that I'd be bored with a newborn. Changing diapers? Lots of laundry? Bottles and formula? It all seemed like it might be very slow… and not exciting.” – Rachel


14. Lack of sleep.

“I love my sleep, and when I haven't had enough, it's a bad situation. I slept a million hours during my pregnancy to like stock up or something. But inside I was not at all looking forward to sleep deprivation. I worried I'd be a constantly bitchy new mom.” –Frankie TC mark

Check out Carrie’s memoir WILD MAMA here.


Read This If You’re Thinking About Getting Back Together With An Ex

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 03:00 PM PDT


1. People break up. It’s just a fact of life. But exes are like cockroaches: they always come back. Always. Whether it’s 3 months later, 3 weeks later or 3 years later, somewhere, somehow, here comes that simple “hey” text. And you always know what it means, don’t you?

2. Getting back together with someone is not necessarily not a bad thing. It can often be an amazing thing! But before he or she pours their heart out to you about all the reasons they’re desperate to get back together, ask yourself one thing: are you sure?

3. Are you sure you want to do this again?

4. Was the sex hot (and frequent!) enough to make you forget all the things he did that upset you?

5. Like the fact you were always SO ANNOYED when he clipped his toe nails on the living room table and sometimes forgot to pick them back up. Or that he would always say he would do something and never did it, ever. Plus all the other things he did that made you stare at him and wonder “Why?”

6. Never get back with someone just because the sex was good, unless you’re going to do that whole FWB thing, in which case get it gorl.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

7. First thing’s first: remember that s/he is an ex for a reason.

8. Which is why you should try to see if you can be friends first. If you can’t be friends, what’s the point in being anything more?

9. Isn’t it funny how an ex pops up when you’re the middle of seeing a bunch of other people? There’s this really cute guy you just met and you two get along really well, but now your ex is crawling back. What to do?

10. No matter what happened and whose heart got broken first you both need to decide to go into this thing without brining up the past. Fresh start. Try not to say “See, this is why I dumped your ass last time!!!!” or whatever. Reminders of the past will only hurt one of you again.

11. Think about how much you have changed since you two broke up. Are you a different person? Are they? I’ve always felt that people don’t change, but maybe that’s a bit too pessimistic. Or maybe it isn’t.

12. The hard work of dating is to find someone who can deal with your toe nail clipping and snoring and loud masturbatory habits. You want them to like you exactly the way you are right now. You might have to compromise, but that’s not the same thing as changing who you are.

13. If cheating was involved in your break up then you should really think seriously about opening the relationship up this go around. Whatever other ratchetness comes up along the way at the very least you know that cheating won’t be the reason you to break up again if you do.

14. Try not to over-analyze every single thing s/he does when you’ve decided to give it another try. Take it easy and have fun. And always remember what it is you want so you don’t get heartbroken again. TC mark

19 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Manhattan

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 02:00 PM PDT

Lithograph. Bird's-eye view of New York with Battery Park in the foreground and the Brooklyn Bridge on the right. Restored by Adam Cuerden, 1874
Lithograph. Bird’s-eye view of New York with Battery Park in the foreground and the Brooklyn Bridge on the right, 1874.
Restored by Adam Cuerden.

1. Battery Park City was developed using over 3 million cubic yards of unearthed soil and rock from the construction of the World Trade Center and other major developments from around the city. This resulted in an additional 92-acres of land on the southwestern point of Manhattan. As of 2010, 13,386 were recorded as being residents of Battery Park City.

Blanche, Wil, Photographer

2. Union Square is actually named for the “union of the two principal thoroughfares of the island,” which are 14th Street, Broadway, Park Avenue South, and Fourth Avenue.

View of Union Square, New York, 1908
View of Union Square, New York, 1908

3. Theaters in New York City were located along the Bowery up to 14th Street (this was before the Civil War). Today, most theaters have relocated to the Theater District up around W40th to W54th Street on Broadway.

4. Gramercy Park isn’t shortened for “Grant Mercy.” It’s rather the anglicization of “Crommerserie,” which is derived from the Dutch word “Krom Moerasje,” meaning “crooked little swamp.” So there you have it. Gramercy used to be a swamp.

Flickr / Phillip Capper
Flickr / Phillip Capper

5. The former Fulton Fish Market (since relocated to Hunts Point in 2005) used to be associated with some New York Mafia families. In 1987, federal prosecutors sought federally appointed supervisors to minimize influence from the crime families and to eliminate racketeering.

Flickr / beau.unruh
Flickr / beau.unruh

6. SoHo might have never existed if Robert Moses got his way. He planned to construct parts of the Lower Manhattan Expressway over the neighborhood, but its residents eventually won out (thank you Jane Jacobs).

7. The original Pennsylvania Station was constructed in 1910. It was torn down in 1963 and replaced with the eyesore we know today, a place where both people and pigeons go to get lost underground. Comparing the old Penn Station to the new, Vincent Scully, a Yale architectural historian wrote, “One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat.”

Penn. RR Station from Gimbel's N.Y. (LOC), 1911
Penn. RR Station from Gimbel’s N.Y. (LOC), 1911
Pennsylvania Station (New York City), Main Concourse interior, 1962
Pennsylvania Station (New York City), Main Concourse interior, 1962
Flickr / Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York
Flickr / Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York
Flickr / Ian Muttoo
Flickr / Ian Muttoo

8. In 1904, there was a tragic fire on a passenger steamboat called the General Slocum carrying members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. This disaster ended with the death of 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board. It is generally accepted that the fire started around 9:30 AM. It was first witnessed at 10:00 AM, to which a 12-year-old boy tried to notify the captain. Unfortunately, the boy was not believed, until 10 minutes later, which meant the fire had been burning for a full 40 minutes before any action was taken. Many of the passengers wore wool clothing, which meant that they would weigh them down in water. They did not know how to swim and the life preservers were said to have been useless “and fell apart in their hands.”

The captain of the ship, William H. Van Schaick decided not to ground the ship and instead traveled into headwinds, which prolonged the fire. Many passengers ended up drowning, due to the weight of their clothes in water, or mauled by the still-turning paddles of the boat, or when the boat itself collapsed. Many more perished in the fire, fueled by flammable paint and the winds. Captain Van Schaick was later found guilty on criminal negligence, for failing to maintain proper fire drills and fire extinguishers.

Originally published in Harper's June 24, 1904. Caption reads "A view of the General Slocum on fire off North Brother Island".
Originally published in Harper’s June 24, 1904. Caption reads “A view of the General Slocum on fire off North Brother Island”.

9. There is a mixed drink named after Loisaida. It consists of Olde English, apple cider, and a wedge of lime.

10. Murray Hill is named after an 18th-century Quaker family, which is far removed from the current residents of the neighborhood today. The Murray family, in fact, the mother, Mary Lindley Murray is said to have singlehandedly saved the American Revolution simply by delaying British officer William Howe and his army by two hours using only tea.

Flickr / Jeffrey Zeldman
Flickr / Jeffrey Zeldman

11. On July 13, 1863, an angry mob burned down an army recruitment office and the surrounding three blocks in Turtle Bay. Just five years later, in 1868, brownstones lined the streets.

12. Sugar Hill was named in the 1920s, because affluent African Americans described it as a “sweet place to live.”

13. When Manhattanville first came to be, its population was as diverse as it is today, albeit without British loyalists, American patriots, slave owners, Quaker anti-slavery activists, abolitionists, the poor, and the wealthy.

14. There used to be an institution for the mentally ill called the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum. The name Bloomingdale comes from the Dutch Bloemendaal, which was subsequently anglicized to Bloomingdale. The asylum was bought by Columbia University for the tune of $2,000,000 in 1892. According to ScoutingNY, there is only one building left standing from the old asylum and it is now called Buell Hall.

"Drawn by A. Dick. Engraved by H. Fossette."
“Drawn by A. Dick. Engraved by H. Fossette.”

15. Tenement housing located around “San Juan Hill,” bordered by Amsterdam Avenue to the east, West End Avenue to the west, 59th Street to the south, and 65th Street to the north, was delayed in demolition for the filming of West Side Story. Gentrification and urban renewal led to the construction of Lincoln Center, which opened in 1962.

16. Inwood Hill Park is where the island’s only natural forest is left intact.

A street in Inwood, Manhattan
A street in Inwood, Manhattan

17. There are eight homeless shelters, three privately operated methadone clinics, 37 drug and alcohol treatment facilities and 37 mental health facilities in East Harlem, the highest concentration of any community on the island of Manhattan. The neighborhood is roughly 2.4 square miles, or 1,520.2 acres, which means there is one facility for every 40 acres, or one shelter for every 190 acres.

As of today, East Harlem is a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood — where there were once empty lots, now stand luxury condos and co-ops.

Flickr / Karen Green
Flickr / Karen Green

18. The Boston Post Road (a road used to deliver mail, which ended up becoming the first ever major highway in the USA) used to run through Manhattan until it was abandoned sometime between 1839 and 1844.

According to Wikipedia, these were the following post markers found in Manhattan:

  • 1 – the west side of Bowery near Rivington Street
  • 2 – southwest corner of Astor Place and Fourth Avenue
  • 3 – Madison Avenue and 26th Street
  • 4 – east side of Third Avenue, halfway between 45th Street and 46th Street
  • 5 – west side of Second Avenue at 62nd Street
  • 6 – northwest corner of Third Avenue and 81st Street
  • 7 – in Central Park, west of Fifth Avenue, between 97th Street and 98th Street
  • 8 – St. Nicholas Avenue, west side, between 115th Street and 116th Street
  • 9 – St. Nicholas Avenue, west side, opposite north line of 133rd Street
  • 10 – southwest corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and 153rd Street
  • 11 – Broadway, west side, near 170th Street or 171st Street
  • 12 – Broadway, west side, at or near 190th Street
  • 13 – east side of Broadway between Academy Street and 204th Street
  • 14 – Broadway, west side, in what is now the Harlem Ship Canal
Map of the various alignments of the Boston Post Road. Scanned from S. Jenkins, The old Boston Post Road, (G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York and London, 1914)
Map of the various alignments of the Boston Post Road. Scanned from S. Jenkins, The old Boston Post Road, (G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York and London, 1914)


19. In 1857, Hamilton Square (a never-materialized park, of which CUNY Hunter now stands on) was the site of a demonstration to call for the secession of of the city of Manhattan from the state of New York. TC mark

Troll-Slayers: 15 Badass Women’s Epic Responses To Online Harassment

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 01:00 PM PDT

Damienne Merlina. (YouTube)
Comedienne Damienne Merlina tells a male comic how she feels about his body-shaming. (YouTube)



A reviewer named Jeffrey Wells described breakout comedienne Amy Schumer as a "chubby, whipsmart, not conventionally attractive, neurotically bothered female." Schumer responded with a photo of her decidedly fine, toned, and resolutely non-chubby ass:



After receiving super-creepy messages from guys on Tinder and OKCupid—charming one-liners such as “Your boobs are nicer than my mom’s”—artist Anna Gensler decided to take matters into her own creative hands. For every guy that sent her a creepy message, she sent them back a drawing of them naked with a tiny penis.

"I feel like this gets me in trouble a lot, but when someone does something I think is rude, I always want to give them a taste of their own medicine,” Gensler explains. "It was the most immature thing I could think of, because their pickup lines are the most juvenile, basic things, but also still oddly offensive." Gensler posts the drawings on her Tumblr and Instagram accounts:

Instagram Photo

Many other sites routinely shame dating creepers. There’s Tinder Nightmares, Online Dating Is Patriarchy, and Bye, Felipe!.



Comedian Damienne Merlina was shocked and hurt after fellow comic Ari Shaffir called her “so annoying” on a Comedy Central show and accused her of having “that fat smell.” Merlina has only one arm, and Shaffir suggested her alleged body odor was due to having one arm making it harder to wash oneself. Merlina struck back by recording a YouTube video where her arm “grows back” just so she could give Shaffir the finger.



Alexis Frulling and friend. (YouTube)
Alexis Frulling and friend. (YouTube)

A voyeur filmed Alexis Frulling and two men having sex in a Calgary side street, then posted it online. After the video went viral on Reddit, Frulling noticed how her two male partners weren’t getting slut-shamed but she was: “I don’t see why I should get bashed for it when the guys don’t get bashed for it.” She decided to “own” the sexual encounter by posting the following video. Taking it up a couple notches (and quite a few inches), Frulling giggles on the video before biting off the head of a giant cucumber.



Still photo from "Troll Fighters" fashion show. (YouTube)
Still photo from “Troll Fighters” fashion show. (YouTube)

A group of women who call themselves “Troll Fighters” took the creative approach and wore images and sayings of their trolls on T-shirts during a triumphant and highly ironic fashion show:



Alanah Pierce is an Australian journalist who reviews computer games on TV. After being subjected to a barrage of disgusting comments by pervs and trolls and creepers who’d leave comments ranging from “all this video is missing is boobs” to explicit rape threats, she did some Facebook sleuthing and discovered that many of them weren’t even adult men yet. So she informed four of their mothers about the nature and content of their sons’ harassment. One mother responded, calling her son a “little shit” and apologizing profusely.



Charlotte Proudman is one proud woman. At 27 years old, she received the following harassing message from a 57-year-old man on LinkedIn:

I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!! You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen.

Proudman publicly outed the creep, Alexander Carter-Silk, telling him that his message was “sexist and highly inappropriate in a professional context.”



The mega-gazillion-selling author of the Harry Potter series got retweeted 650,000 times for defending tennis superstar Serena Williams after an anonymous troll said that the only reason Williams was so good at tennis is because she’s “built like a man.” Rowling shot the troll down right quick and proper:




Charlotte Laws’s daughter had her account hacked by Hunter Moore, AKA “The Most Hated Man on the Internet” and “The King of Revenge Porn.” Moore had gained infamy as the curator of, one of the Internet’s biggest sites where jilted and bitter men post naked pictures of their exes. Against all odds and using tremendous effort over the course of two years, Laws was able to get arrested on charges of conspiracy and unauthorized access to a computer. Moore was sentenced to a minimum of two years in prison. Laws now refers to herself as “the Erin Brockovich of revenge porn.”



After being attacked by a troll who used the “N” word multiple times on Martin Luther King Day, writer Ijeomuoa Oluo calmly responded with several lines from MLK about the destructiveness of hate. Using superior character and wisdom, she eventually ground down the troll until he admitted he was bitter over his mother’s recent death. She even got him to apologize.



When a troll called multiplatinum-selling music artist P!ink “fat” and that she should stop playing music in order to raise her “ugly child,” P!nk responded with this classy and gracious gesture:



When a cyber-bully who apparently searched out the hashtag #downsyndrome merely to harass the parents of retarded children refered to Megan Mennes’s boy as “ugly,” Mennes slapped him down with cold dignity:

I knew this day would come. There's no shortage of trolls on the Internet who hide behind the anonymity of a screen name with the intent to be cruel, and I've seen their hostility many times before….Last Saturday, you targeted my son personally and instead of being angry, I'd like to give you some advice: Don't be a d*ck. It will come back to haunt you….
A Proud Mama

Instagram Photo



When a Twitter troll referring to himself as “DaCloneKiller” told comedienne Sherri Shepherd that she should be raped in a dark alley, she did not block him. She instead filed a police report because the dumbass apparently didn’t know or care that it’s illegal to threaten people online.



A Canadian girl named Caitlin Prater-Haacke noted to her dismay one day that someone at her high school had broken into her locker and used her iPad to post on her Facebook that she should commit suicide. Rather than killing herself or even going into a deep depression, Haacke started a campaign where she placed colorful and inspirational Post-It notes on students’ lockers:



When gorgeous former model Em Ford received a barrage of insults after posting photos of her without makeup, she responded by posting a video called “You Look Disgusting” that shows her making the transformation from having no makeup to being fully painted and powdered. At last count, her revenge video has over 16 million views on YouTube. TC mark

13 Times Instagram’s Deliciously Stella Proved That ‘Eating Clean’ Is Totally Lame

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 12:00 PM PDT

1. When she outsmarted all the bacon haters before hating on bacon was even a thing.

Instagram Photo

2. And pointed out just how annoying oatmeal (and those who eat it) can be.

Instagram Photo

3. When she justified eating donuts because you’re way less likely to choke on them than carrots.

Instagram Photo

4. And then reminded us that downing wine is essentially the same thing as eating fruit.

Instagram Photo

5. Plus, if you think about it, chocolate pretty much equals salad.

Instagram Photo

6. When she put sugar demonizers in their place.

Instagram Photo

7. And demonstrated how much awesomer it is to wear a gummy ring than a stupid diamond.

Instagram Photo

8. When she outlined how to deal with anyone who shames you for eating whatever you want.

Instagram Photo

9. Since there’s really only one way to diet anyway.

Instagram Photo

10. And one “gym” worth visiting.

Instagram Photo

11. When she proved that it’s actually unsafe to be skinny.

Instagram Photo

12. And suggested we’d all be better off trading Barbie for “Carbie.”

Instagram Photo

13. So you might as well make yourself a potato chip sandwich already.

Instagram Photo

TC mark

10 Things Women Who Value Their Self-Worth Do Differently In Relationships

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 11:00 AM PDT

Twenty20 / saritawalsh
Twenty20 / saritawalsh

Poor self-worth is what traps us in bad relationships, what sabotages new relationships, and what causes us to feel so devastated and broken when a relationship ends.

Having high self-esteem doesn't guarantee a happy relationship, but it does equip you with the skills to identify what you want and what you deserve to have, and the strength to walk away if something falls short. Here are ten things people with high self-esteem do differently in their relationships:

1. Confident women don't analyze if he likes them – they assume he does.

People with high self-esteem believe they are worthy of love and don't question how someone feels about them. They know that they are good, competent, and lovable and trust that the right person for them will see this. They don't attach their worth to what a guy thinks and, as a result, don't feel stressed and anxious when a guy's feelings are unclear. Instead, they assume he likes them and are able to be present in the relationship and enjoy it without being weighed down by fears and doubts.

2. Confident people realize if a relationship falls apart it's because it wasn't right.

Not because they did something wrong.Not everyone is a match and sometimes, two people are just incompatible. This doesn't make either of them flawed or bad – sometimes it's just not there. Confident women don't take it personally when a guy doesn't want a romantic relationship. They realize that it must not be the right match and they move on, with their sense of self firmly intact.
When a girl is insecure, however, and a guy leaves, she spirals. She may obsess, analyze, and replay every interaction in an attempt to uncover what she did wrong. She may know on a conscious level that it simply wasn't a match, but deep down she holds on to the destructive belief that she was the problem…and that she is unlovable and the guys she wants will never want her back.

3. Confident women set healthy boundaries.

Healthy personal boundaries and high self-esteem go hand in hand. Having strong boundaries means you prioritize your needs and your emotions and do not assume responsibility for someone else's needs and emotions.

Confident women know what they will and will not accept and don't allow themselves to be pressured or guilted into doing things they don't want to do. They act in accordance with who they are and what they believe and don't cater their behavior for a guy, or do things solely to keep him interested and happy. When you have weak boundaries, you may sell yourself out in a relationship and put up with treatment that you know is objectively unacceptable. Confident people don't abandon parts of themselves in order to have a relationship. They bring their fully formed self into the relationship and if the guy wants something else, or something more, they leave.

A woman with healthy boundaries will not lose herself in a relationship, and will not allow her identity to be entirely contingent upon how he sees her. She will continue to maintain her own life outside of the relationship without giving up her friends, hobbies, or alone time. She won't abandon important parts of herself or her life for the sake of the relationship and if a guy wants something else or something more than she's willing to give, she'll leave.

4. Confident women trust themselves and the decisions they make.

A key component of having high self-esteem is trusting yourself to make the right choices while also realizing you are well equipped to cope should things go awry. People with high self-esteem don't constantly question their actions and feel conflicted about the right thing to say or do. They act on how they feel and are comfortable being their true, authentic selves.

People with low self-esteem don't trust their judgment, don't trust their gut instincts, and are afraid of being wrong. As a result, they either live their lives in a constant state of anxiety, or they look to others to guide them along the right path. This obviously does not do much to help one's sense of autonomy, which is also a key element of healthy self-esteem.

5. Confident women don't show off or talk themselves up.

Confident people don't need to tell the world how great they are. Only insecure people secretly feel that they are unworthy and feel the need to hide this by bragging about their achievements or talking themselves up.

A woman who reveals herself gradually, carefully peeling back the layers over time, is significantly more attractive than a woman who lays it all out there. When you feel that you are worthy, you don't need to tell people…they just know. A big mistake insecure women make in the early stages of dating is selling themselves to a guy. This can be completely innocent, but it comes from a deeper sense of insecurity and inadequacy. Confident women don't need to sell themselves; rather, they use dating as a means to determine which guys are worthy of their time and affection.

6. Confident women accept responsibility.

Confident people accept responsibility for their actions and emotions. They don't blame or shame their partners if they feel unhappy and don't accuse him of "making" them feel a certain way. They don't blame men for being jerks and they don't view themselves as the victims of other people and circumstances.

They realize that their time is their responsibility. As a result, they don't wait around in dead-end relationships, hoping something will magically change. And they don't blame their exes for wasting their time. They take responsibility for their choices, both good and bad, and use mistakes as opportunities to grow and become even better.

7. Confident women take the relationship for what it is and don't need it to be a certain way.

Confident people feel secure in their relationships. They don't need to have a title or a ring as some sort of confirmation that the guy cares. They are able to just be present and in the relationship and let it unfold organically, without force or pressure. This is not to say they stay with guys who won't commit and are all cool and go-with-the-flow about it. If a guy can't commit in the way they want, then they'll move on. They are able to give and receive freely in their relationships and as a result, they don't stress out about labels. They just know that if it's right, it will work out. And if it's not right, they'll move on.

8. Confident women don't stay in bad relationships.

Confident people do not stay in relationships where they don't feel respected, appreciated, and valued. And they don't assume full responsibility if a relationship isn't working and take it upon themselves to try to solve the problem by giving and doing more. They aren't afraid to walk away when something isn't working and the thought that they won't be able to find better or that they will wind up alone doesn't cross their mind. The can quickly see when a situation is damaging and will remove themselves immediately.

Only insecure people put up with treatment that is unacceptable, in large part because they feel that that's what they deserve on some level. When you learn to value yourself, you will weed out anyone who doesn't truly value you.

9. Confident women don't desperately seek reassurance.

People with high self-esteem know they are loved and lovable. They don't need a guy to remind them every day – it's just something they feel and know. When you are insecure, you need constant validation and become resentful if your partner doesn't give it to you. You blame him for "making you" feel insecure in the relationship, or unloved. You may work harder to try to please him and earn his love, or you may withhold your love and affection to even the score. This manifests as neediness (the number one relationship killer): you need constant reassurance and if you don't get it, you lash out and blame your partner for not providing it.

The fact is, if you don't feel good about yourself, nothing he does will ever be enough. If you don't truly believe you are worthy of love, you will never believe someone else can love you. What happens is the relationship becomes a battle of wills: you fight for validation, he retreats because he feels pressured and suffocated, you view his retreat as a sign he doesn't love you and fall into despair, he resents that nothing he does is good enough and the fact that you don't trust how he feels and stops trying, you see this as further proof he doesn't care…and either the relationship ends or continues to make you both miserable indefinitely.

10. Confident women choose wisely.

Confident people use their head and heart when choosing a romantic partner. They are able to quickly assess if someone is emotionally healthy and can give them what they need in a relationship. They don't let their ego get too intertwined with their emotions and they make sure they are fundamentally compatible with someone before they get too involved.

A core concept to understand when it comes to relationships is like attracts like. Meaning, a confident person will attract another confident person. An insecure person will unconsciously seek out relationships with men who will make them feel more insecure. They will want the unavailable guys, the guys who can't commit, the guys who have walls up. These are the ones they will feel infatuated by, not the ones who show real, genuine interest. Oftentimes, this happens because on an unconscious level, the insecure girl feels that if she can break through his walls, or get him to change his ways, then she'll really be worthy and valuable. This never, ever works. Instead, she just ends up compromising her integrity even further by chasing the relationship.

If you don't value yourself, then you will always be attracted to people who don't value you either. Confident people value and accept themselves for who they are. They embrace the good, and are accepting of the not-so-good. As a result, they attract quality partners and are able to connect on a real, genuine level, one that leads to real intimacy and a healthy relationship. TC mark

This post originally appeared at A New Mode