Thought Catalog

Are You Okay? Because I Love You.

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 07:30 PM PST

Twenty20 / kaypfob
Twenty20 / kaypfob

He used to ask me all the time if I was okay. As though he never
knew for sure. He would ask me when he was tired or frustrated
or when he felt helpless. He would ask me when he was afraid.

He asked me that same question, long after we stopped being
lovers–when we became something less yet somehow more.
Are you okay? He would whisper on the phone late at night,
when she was asleep or had gone to her mother’s for the
weekend. Are you okay?

He hasn’t asked me in years, but I know he still thinks it. I
know the question still reverberates in his mind like a broken
record and he will keep looking for answers long after there is
nothing left to appease him.

It was always the same question, over and over again. Like the
start of a procession. And it took me years to recognise the
unsaid words that marched silently behind.

Are you okay; because I love you.
Are you okay; because I need you.
Are you okay; because I don’t know how to live without you. TC mark

Lang Leav’s new book Memories is now available via Amazon, + The Book Depository and bookstores worldwide.

50 People Share What They Think The World Needs A Little More Of

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 07:07 PM PST

Twenty20 / jaclyncorn
Twenty20 / jaclyncorn

1. “More people who stop and smell the roses, who want to teach others new things. More people who dance on bars.”


2. “More people willing to go against the norm. Everyone it seems nowadays has the same set plan: finish high school, go to college, find a job. Yet some of the people with the most interesting or successful lives are those who didn’t follow the generic life path, like Steve Jobs. ”


3. “The world needs more avocados so guacamole isn’t SO DAMN EXPENSIVE at Chipotle.”


4. “More cowbell.”


5. “The world needs more drivers willing to stop and wave you in and let you pass or merge into traffic, and more wine.”


6. “Hmmm sex, more sex.”


7. “The world needs more decisions made by heart and less by ego.”


8. “We need more breweries. I’m tired of driving down the road for a beer. Why can’t there be one on every corner? Then we can have cool fight scenes like in West Side Story.”


9. “Stronger relationships with family and friends.”


10. “The world needs more music, of all kinds, all the time. Nothing helps me lose myself even just for a moment than the right song.”


11. “The world needs a "National Put Your Phone Away for ONE DAY Day" with no social media, a day of real human communication. Or a National Release of Hot Air…gas if you will, because we are surrounded by anal retentive people. Loosen up and relax people.”


12. “Bottomless mimosa brunches.”


13. “The world needs more laughter, people who are willing to laugh at themselves when they make mistakes.”


14. “People with their own hobbies so they can stop worrying about what everyone else around them is doing.”


15. “More people with a sense of humor! So many people take life too seriously.”


16. “More people who are like “this is my shitbox car but I really like where it’s taken me”.”


17. “More brunch opportunities, more days in the weekend, more delicious foods that don’t cause weight gain, and more funny people on Facebook to drown out the bitch and whine.”


18. “Intelligent people and marijuana legalization.”


19. “More vacation time, young entrepreneurs, people doing what they love.”


20. “More women who want to date me.”


21. “You know when you’re drunk and go to the bathroom and everyone is your best friend? We need more people like that all the time.”


22. “More karma, less drama.”


23. “People who start conversations with strangers! Not in a creepy way of course, but like a friendly chat.”


24. “Spending more time enjoying life and less on social media documenting it.”


25. “Heroes. The ones you see and hear about and the ones you don’t, quietly helping without a word or recognition.”


26. “More people who don’t take themselves so seriously. It’s important to do your work and be serious about that, but some people just need to loosen up and enjoy life, and more dogs.”


27. “Chocolate and coffee, you always hear the world is running out, not good.”


28. “More people with a better work ethic and a sense of community.”


29. “We need more In N Out Burger so the rest of the country can discover how good their double double is.”


30. “More sex, generosity, butter on movie theater popcorn, and low calorie alcohol.”


31. “More being kind to people, even if you don’t know them. We need more people to step up and help each other out.”


32. “Less people bitching, more people drinking.”


33. “Good parents.”


34. “The world needs more tolerance. Is your life affected by two men getting married? No. Does someone else's religious beliefs impinge on your religious beliefs? No. Will someone else's parenting styles determine your child's upbringing? The answer is still no. If we respected each other's differences, the nightly news would be less depressing.”


35. “More free wifi.”


36. “The world needs more sex! I'm not talking about the sloppy, one night stand type; I’m talking about the passionate act two people can share when they care about their partner. When the pleasure parts of our brains are activated, feelings of euphoria increase, which would increase the number of people who are a little less stressed and a lot more satisfied!”


37. “There needs to be more communicating with people face to face and actually spending quality time together.”


38. “The world needs more genuine people, who care about it.”


39. “More fucking people working at the RMV”. ( aka DMV)


40. “More time for naps, more beach days, warm weather and nice people.”


41. “The world needs more celebrities that act like normal people.”


42. “More social interaction, less cell phone interaction.”


43. “How about orgasms? I feel like the world would be a much better place if everyone was getting truly laid more often.”


44. “Winning lottery tickets, and coffee and liquor stores that deliver.”


45. “More paid maternity leave. I have worked my whole life, forever, so many hours and I’m broke as a joke. Daycare costs just as much if not more than my paycheck, almost pointless.”


46. “The world needs more acceptance and less judgment. So many people are affected by how others see them and other people's opinions of them. If there was less judgment from everyone there wouldn’t be so many suicides and deaths due to bullying or any of that. People should be able to be who you they are and do what they want instead of living up to everyone else’s expectations.”


47. “More silly people who can lighten the mood.”


48. "More friends with benefits."


49. "There need to be more shirtless, tattooed, muscley men roaming the streets."


50. “I think the world needs more people to realize we don’t own it. We merely live side by side with living creatures and we take advantage. Plant a tree, stop killing off living things. All we can do is care, love and realize the beauty behind every living thing in the world. It was put on earth for a reason, everything serves a purpose. If we can’t do that, then more vodka will do just fine." TC mark

Me And My Monkey Brain

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 06:30 PM PST

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 4.07.35 PM

"The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn't real. I know that, and I also know that if I'm careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle." — Stephen King

One of the most incredible things about the human body is the endurance, quickness and creativity my brain exhibits in finding something new to be worried about. In this arena, it's never had an off day, never called in sick, never given me the reprieve of having a holiday. It is a slick machine, in this regard only.

We are descended from hunters who were also hunted. The things that should make us run stand out more than the things that should make us feel safe. It's not anything to feel bad about. It's just how we are wired.

I used to worry that I wouldn't find a job as a writer and when I did I became worried I wouldn't write anything worth reading. One worry replaced the other seamlessly.

When my uncle died young and suddenly I became obsessed with the idea that I would too. I have a heart murmur, I am out of shape, my pulse is 84 and I have been laying down for 27 minutes and Google says it should be lower — I could list a lot of proofs for this theory that I've gathered in the middle of the night, when my little detective brain likes to be most active.

I went to the doctor and cried in her office because the weight of holding onto this worry was drowning me. I think she wanted to laugh because – and here's the thing, even from my perspective I can see this – these thoughts were irrational. But she said we could do tests anyway, if I wanted. I took my shirt off and she connected little sticky dots to me and I laid down while she looked for something dangerous or abnormal.

When she told me I was fine and healthy, do you think I breathed some big sigh of relief?

The recurring pattern is this: something makes me nervous. Something is the scratching post for my anxiety. Without ever meaning to, I orient my life around it. What I do, what I avoid, there's a magnetic pull around whatever this THING happens to be at the time.

And then critical mass. And then I figure it out. And then I find the strength to get over it, to shine a flashlight into the dark and realize the monster isn't there.

And then I think there should be some kind of relief, a victory lap to celebrate the miracle of confrontation. Or something. I should get to laugh and move on. But there is a new closet with a new monster that somehow seems real even though I have a lifetime of experience in knowing that they never are.

I had a yoga teacher who called this monkey brain. It's a buddhist concept, Chitta Vrittis, the busy, cluttered, scattered thoughts that litter a mind you are trying to organize and focus. The answer they say, harder in execution than in identification, is to acknowledge each bit of mental chatter as it crosses your mind. Confrontation, not resistance.

I don't know what that means in real life. I'm here. I have a new worry in the dark. My brain is doing what my brain is supposed to do and looking for predators. It doesn't want me to brush all these threats off, it wants me to survive and in what kind of quality is an afterthought. Evolution has breed me to be a hunter, not a yogi. TC mark

They Knew Their Marriage Was Ending But They Didn’t Expect It To End This Way

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 05:59 PM PST

Flickr, Evil Erin
Flickr, Evil Erin

She was unhappy, that much for sure.

Her face was pale, splotchy, eyes puffy and red-rimmed from crying. They’d been fighting. It was a strange sort of ebb and flow, a period of peace followed by an all-out screaming match. Just when things seemed to be calming down they would spark up again, as though their marriage cycled from too-dry kindling to a blazing inferno, over and over again. No relief for either of them.

It had started when he got the first promotion. He worked hard, sure he did, and the promotion was his reward. But then he started going in to the office earlier, staying there late. When he did come home, he was utterly exhausted, unable to do anything but scarf down the cold meal she’d left for him on the dinner table and collapse in bed. Meanwhile, she was on the couch, staring blankly at the television, as consequential to him as the piece of furniture she rested on.

She did her best… for a while. Waited for him to maybe cut back on his hours a little. Kept making dinner even though it was congealed and lumpy by the time he got there. Ignored the fact that they hadn’t been intimate in months.

It’s not just men who have needs, you know? Women, when left untouched, they grow cold, like a thin sheen of frost has spread across their skin.

Some women, they let this frost sink in and freeze their hearts, their blood. Not her. She’d always been a fighter. And that’s why she started calling her lawyer.

Not for a divorce, no, she loved him fiercely and could never let him ago, but this could not go on. She could not allow herself to turn to ice like her mother, her grandmother. She would keep herself warm when he would not.

So she called her lawyer, a sleek young thing with thick black hair she’d always admired, longed to run her fingers through. She was plain in her language and very clear about what it was she wanted from him. And her lawyer, the sleek young thing, was happy to provide.

It went on for a few months. She was disappointed in herself, while at the same time satisfied, unfrozen — it was what she needed, the warmth, the touch, but she loved her husband fiercely and even as she screamed in pleasure she knew what she was doing was wrong. And yet… it happened again. And again.

Until one day her husband came home early. He’d received the bonus he was working so hard towards, arrived cheerily with the check in his hand and a smile on his face. At least, for the sake of stereotypes, he didn’t have flowers and champagne.

He grabbed the lawyer by his thick black hair and dragged him out of bed with a fury that seemed to surprise both of them. The sleek young thing barely had time to get one leg into his pants before her husband was after him, shoving him out of the house, throwing his leather wingtips at him as he stumbled down the stairs. The lawyer yelped when one of the shoes hit him in the face.

She cried. She begged. She pleaded with him to understand that he had left her alone for so long, she was as cold as the dinners he left half-eaten on the table.

He cried, too. He reminded her that all this had been for her. He sat down on the kitchen floor and held his head in his hands, distraught beyond words.

She sat on the floor, too, and they remained there for a long time.

At last, he told her in a voice that was so calm it was almost eerie, that he was glad she liked lawyers because he’d be taking her to court. He was going to clean her out, he said. Take her for everything, which wasn’t much, but like hell if she’d get even a cent of his hard-earned money.

And even while she wept, reaching for him, pleading for him to reconsider, telling him how much she loved him, he slammed the bedroom door and locked it.

Well, it’s not all that hard to unlock doors, now is it? Depending on the year of the house, it might be one of those stick deals, or a skeleton key, or even just a credit card to wiggle the thing open. No, it’s not that hard at all.

He sleeps on his stomach so it wasn’t hard, either, to take him by surprise. Plunge the blade into his back again, and again, and not stopping until the anger was gone. Not stopping until the rage finally lessened, until the bed was soaked with blood and he had stopped his useless flailing.

That was it, then. That solved the problem. Right?

So then why is she crying? Why is she down there in that bedroom, weeping helplessly over his prone body? He’s the one who hurt her, after all, he’s the one who left her behind to be cold and frigid and wanted to punish her simply for keeping herself warm.

It’s not fair. And it’s upsetting to watch her humiliate herself like this, covered with his blood, phone slipping from her hand because she’s so soaked in it.

I did my best, I suppose. I tried to help. All these months spent watching their marriage fall apart, piece by piece, waiting for my moment to strike. To help her. But now she’s gone and ruined it, when the police arrive she’s going to look like the one who did this and now I can’t help her.

I guess I’ll just wait in the attic until someone else moves in. TC mark

11 Dumb Ways People Unconsciously Mess Up When Dating Someone New

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 05:31 PM PST

Shutterstock / Voyagerix
Shutterstock / Voyagerix

I understand the temptation to get really excited when you finally meet someone you like.

Just make sure that you aren't doing things that send people running for the hills without realizing it.

Here are eleven common ways people screw upwhen they start dating someone new:

1. Oversharing

Texting all the time? Do you tell them the mundane details of your day down to your grocery shopping? Calm down grasshopper. There is plenty of time for monotony later. Right now, cultivate a little mystery and let the other person miss you. Focus on only sharing important and pertinent details in the beginning. Not what shoes you are wearing or what you ate for lunch.

2. Super Sleuthing

It's date two. You've already found their Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, mug shot from college, where they work, their exes and their exes' Facebook pages and discussed all of this with your trusty best friend. You have seen pictures of their dog and last year's Halloween costume.

Not having enough real life details about this new person but already knowing their whole cyber-history sets up a really strange dynamic where you already know a ton about them that they haven't actually shared with you. You seem like a stalker when you're all, "yeah I read all about your job at Target in college." Don't make them feel like you've made a hair doll from their hair brush and are following them around. It's creepy.

3. Starting "The Relationship Rollout" Too Soon

Have you told your best friend, mailman, Facebook friends and Mom all about meeting someone new who is just aaaaamaaaazzing? Shhh… while you might be containing your excitement well around your new flame, they can sense that you're way over-eager. The same goes for the next point.

4. Telling People You've Met "The One"

Just like you shouldn't roll everything out too soon to your friends and family, same goes for using "the one" in the same sentence with the person's name who you just started dating. While you might not notice it, your friends' collective eye roll and the intensity it puts on your new relationship can be too much for a new pairing to overcome.

5. Prematurely Introducing Them To Friends and Family

You might be so over the moon with your new flame that you want to introduce them to your friends and family.

Introducing them to everyone you know too soon sets the stage for two potentially bad situations. First, you're sending a strong message to the new person you're dating that you see them sticking around for the foreseeable future. Second, you're sending the message to your friends and family that this person is important to you.

Also, if you aren't sure about someone new, having them meet your friends is not a great idea since it takes the level of formality up a notch. If you just don't know where the relationship is going yet, it can put pressure on them to make a decision about you before they are ready.

The last thing you want to do is trot an endless stream of dates through your family's living room. Meeting your friends and family should be reserved for people who are likely to stick around and are already very important to you.

6. Acting Like Gumby In The Bedroom

There is something to be said for leaving something to the imagination when having sex with someone new. Think "gradual rollout" of your bedroom talents, not "SHOW IT ALL." Leave some delicious surprises for later.

7. Using "We" Too Soon

Have you started using "We" with the person in the first few weeks of dating, as in "we should do X" or "we are so ALIKE"? Too much "We" talk is jarring in the beginning. Wait until you have an established relationship to use a lot of "we" with your new flame.

8. References to Your Shared Future

Referring to the future, along with the use of "we" can be really off-putting to someone who just isn't sure about you yet. It makes the other person feel like they have to make a decision about where the relationship is going prematurely. If you mention going to a concert with them 6 months from now and they aren't sure about you yet, it puts them in an awkward position. Wait until you've established your coupledom to make plans past next week.

9. Dropping Everything to Hang Out

Don't clear off your whole schedule and start hanging out with someone every night. Don't try and monopolize their time. Keep your long standing hobbies. Don't give up your nights out with friends, lazy Sunday afternoons and sports right away. Focus on making them fit into your schedule, not making your schedule fit them.

10. Possessive or Jealous Behavior

When you just started dating someone, you have to accept what is going on with them when you arrive. You can suss out whether their best friend is really attracted to them or if their co-worker is flirting with them later. Right now your job is to be present and enjoy the initial stages of dating. It's not a good time to get jealous about anyone in their life. Additionally, if they become jealous of people in yours at this early stage, be wary; it can be a big red flag.

11. Letting The Law of Attraction Puke On Them

Once I was on a first date that seemed to be going okay until he looked at me longingly across the table and said, "I think this is fate, us meeting like this. I've been working to attract different people into my life." I choked on my drink and was definitely weirded out. While I was flattered, my initial interest in him never recovered.

After sharing this with some friends, I learned that dates had said similar things to them and attraction-speak was more common than I thought. Don't refer to "fate," "the universe" or anything else that pertains to things between you two being "meant to be" in the first few months of dating. While you may wholeheartedly believe it, you sound wacko. Avoid at all costs. TC mark

This post originally appeared at Attract The One.

What ‘Solidarity’ Means In The Age Of Social Media

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 05:15 PM PST

StockSnap / Wilfred Iven
StockSnap / Wilfred Iven

"In a moment," they say – the royal "they," that is – "your whole life can change." It can. This is despite the idea that change is something many societal observers would deem a slow progression – certainly slower than that of a single moment.

Many lives, however, have changed in several moments in the last few days. In Japan, an earthquake – nature’s reminder of our human limitations. Elsewhere terrorist attacks – Baghdad, Beirut, Paris, etc., – a reminder of our human failings.

You may have only heard of some and not others. Nature is a force with which mankind can only do so much to combat. Terrorism, however, is one of the many violent creations of mankind. Many lives have been put to death in the tragedy of political ideology; lives lost to global terrorist networks. The people they leave behind – their lives are changed forever.

For a small or great time and depending on who you are, and your juxtaposition to these recent incidents – your life may have changed too. Maybe not forever, but at least for a moment in time.


On Thursday, while finally accepting my body would need rest, having somehow managed to get a severe cold, I heard of the bombings in Beirut. Through drowsy medication, I said a small prayer and told myself, "I will examine this tomorrow."

On Friday morning, I was worse than Thursday so I took the entire day off. I slept for most of the day and woke up in the early evening to texts saying "Wow, Paris." "I hope everyone you know in Paris is fine." "What is happening in Paris?" Confused, I checked the news – bombings in Paris.

I contacted family and friends to ensure that everyone was safe. The reality of having a "global family" – the sort of family (and friends) where people live oceans away, and people are always traveling, is that you don't always know where people are.

In a few hours all but one friend was accounted for. It could have been a nerve-wrecking experience awaiting news but I substituted nervousness for prayer. In my gut I felt she was fine. And she was. Everyone I know was fine.

At 3:50 a.m. Chicago time, she told me she was safe. "Thank God," I thought. And then I thought about it again. How many are thanking God right now? How many prayed for their loved ones? How many, despite their prayers, have lost someone they love? I do not blame God for the violence of men and women; instead I look to the responses of mankind when their fellow men and women have inflicted violence on each other.

How many, despite their prayers, have lost someone they love?

The response to Paris was swift. People were quick to offer outpourings of love and support and solidarity. I noticed. I noticed too that it was less so for Beirut and barely anything for Baghdad. For now, I will not deal with the social and cultural inconsistencies of our responses to different spaces in the world of global terror; there are people far more courageous than I, who have already asked some difficult questions about whose tragedies we respond to and mourn – and whose we don't.

Moreover, I have not yet fully collected my thoughts, and to reduce some things to immediate reaction and for the sake of brevity, is doing work in a certain kind of "pernicious off-handed manner that is the hallmark of mere opinion." I borrow my father's words of defense here which he wrote to me in response to my piece on Mizzou and Yale last week, when a respondent had accused me of falling in the matter of brevity.

Sometimes brevity is not desirable nor really possible in asking, and if possible answering, difficult questions of culture and society. But in thinking of brevity and solidarity, I watched as people around me changed their profile pictures to places in Paris, mostly La tour Eiffel, and later adding Le Tricolor, the French Flag, to their profile pictures.

I will continue to resist the temptation to ask in the moment, why not change your flags and your symbolism to Lebanon too? Or to Palestine? Or to Syria? Or to Kenya? Or to Nigeria? Or to Iraq? Or even to certain symbols of the United States where there are many whose bodies are victims of violence and terrorism.

But I know that not only is this not the time to ask these questions – knowing there will probably never be a good time – but knowing too and perhaps condescendingly, that some of the answers are already known as to the people's responses, and lack thereof. We will discuss these at a later time. Instead I think there is another question that is pertinent: what is solidarity during the age of social media?

Solidarity is hashtags raising awareness. Solidarity is posting pictures and expressing outrage and concern. Solidarity seems so close. We are no longer sitting in our living rooms, surrounded by friends and family, hovering over the television. Solidarity, it seems, is at our fingertips. And yet somehow, it also feels distant and contrived; maybe even vapid – merely just popular.

Solidarity, it seems, is at our fingertips. And yet somehow, it also feels distant and contrived; maybe even vapid – merely just popular.

I cannot speak or write of people's intentions and especially in cultural analysis, I rarely, if ever, like to consider intentions at all. I am often asked why. The reason is intentions are entirely subjective and not verifiable. In fact, they are largely unknowable.

What we do know, it seems, is that people wish to express solidarity and our expressions these days can be as brief as the change of the profile picture. In one sense this is good – pronouncing or asserting one's alignment has become a simple task. In another sense it is bad – because this very pronouncement can lead one to believe that a mere digital expression is where solidarity begins and ends.


"So what should I do?" Some will question when you ask them to think critically about their words and actions during times of high emotion, during times of conflict, during times of pain when solidarity is especially needed. If there is one thing that ought to be clear – it is that silence is the real disaster. It is better to express and to say and do something, than to be crippled by fear, and remain silent.

Silence and not expressing one's self through the social spaces we utilize however, should not be seen as the same thing – an equal thing. Instead, I think moments such as these require a great deal of reflection and study and consciousness and education, and where possible, tangible support.

Silence and not expressing one's self through the social spaces we utilize however, should not be seen as the same thing – an equal thing.

I spent most of my Saturday, reading and re-reading article after article on terrorism and the potential consequences of these disasters, and the political and ideological and social questions we need to ask and answer. Certainly questions that are more important than the one I am even asking now: what is solidarity during the age of social media? Yet being part of the new age of people who examine culture and events through the lens of the digital space, I feel it is still an important question to ask, especially now.

Two childhood lessons that follow me throughout my life kept recurring to me this weekend. The first, a religious lesson from The New Testament, Romans 12:21 "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." And secondly my mother's many recurring utterances throughout my childhood but specifically one, "Charity begins at home. Charity begins at home." Why did these childlike thoughts permeate my brain during matters of such gravity and complexity that affect the political, social, cultural, and personal lives of so many? By end of day, I understood.

Solidarity is something I am privileged to say my work makes it possible to accomplish in a public space. Expression in the public space can take on many forms – resistance is one of my favorite forms, as is solidarity. But how do we, in our ordinary lives go about the work of solidarity? Because the truth is solidarity is just that – work.

I think firstly, the necessity of educating ourselves on the matter at hand – in this case, terrorism – is of great and immediate importance. The reality is even from an academic standpoint, our understanding of terrorism is limited and largely insufficient. The same is true of our public institutions including the media. Ignorance, in these times, is our greatest enemy.

Ignorance, in these times, is our greatest enemy.

The work of solidarity, I think, has to be an interruption, perhaps even an inconvenience to our ordinary lives. In the first place, gathering information and education through media and perspectives beyond the places that we live and more easily understand, is the work of solidarity. Challenging ourselves to go to the dark corners of the places we are unfamiliar with, and understanding people we know little about, and indeed through the access of our digital spaces, is the work of solidarity. But there is also something else.

Going back to those childhood lessons, I thought about how doing good where you are, giving support and compassion in the place that you live, to the people who need it most, to the people who you can help, is the work of solidarity for the world. It is the work that many great leaders of peace have long asked us to do – the Blessed Mother Teresa comes to mind. This work, I believe, is how we overcome evil with good – we do the charity we can at home, in order to accomplish the far greater and more difficult task of doing the charity away from home.

Solidarity during the age of social media allows us to see and uplift the humanity of others at the touch of a fingertip. But I do not think it is petulant or unfair in demanding that we do more than make our solidarity social. I think it is only right and just and necessary, to demand that we do solidarity's difficult tasks, to each, whatever they can, wherever they can.

This work of solidarity too, is how we keep our hope in the world. It is how we keep our perspective from being tainted with the futility of cynicism. It is how we maintain that peace and hope and humanity are always worth working towards. And before there are places that are oceans away from home to do that work – even for those of us who have loved ones separated by these oceans – there is always work to be done at our doorstep. Wherever we find ourselves, let our solidarity get to work. TC mark

11 Things Anyone Raised By Super Artsy Parents Can Relate To

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 05:06 PM PST

Twenty20 / Nicole Tarkoff
Twenty20 / Nicole Tarkoff

1. Every vacation involves visiting an art museum.

Sometimes your vacation destinations are focused entirely on art. It was totally normal when your family would travel to some random city that no one has ever heard of simply because they are known for their amazing art museum. Your parents go places purely for a culturally artistic experience.

2. You were encouraged to embrace your creativity.

Some parents hope their children will become doctors, your parents gave you a pile of clay and said one day you'll be the next Michelangelo.

3. The home you grew up in is covered in art that other people don't understand.

When there's a bejeweled mannequin sitting in your living room most people question why it’s there, and most of the time they don’t fully understand your answer. "My mom made that." "Oh…"

4. You often felt you weren't creative enough.

Your finger paintings just never measured up to your parents’ master pieces. You'd like to think you inherited their creative genes, but sometimes your creativity shines in different ways.

5. Your birthday gifts were often hand made.

And you absolutely loved it. While other kids were asking for iPods, you were thrilled to open your framed pop art painting of Justin Timberlake that your mom created herself.

6. You give your friends and family hand made birthday gifts.

Like parent, like child. Your parents taught you to appreciate the effort put into hand made gifts, and your friends love it when you get creative for their presents. There's nothing better than a personally painted wine glass for your 21st birthday, and your friends know this to be true.

7. You know random facts about random works of art.

If there’s ever an art category in any game of trivia you kick ass at it. All those dinner conversations about paintings, sculptures, and museums paid off for something.

8. There’s a room in your family’s home that is full of art supplies.

And dedicated to creating art. You call it the studio. Your friends saw it as a room full of clutter, but it was often your space for inspiration and expression.

9. Your parents were never good at helping you with your math homework.

They knew nothing about algebra, but if you ever had an art project they were more than happy to help.

10. Your mom or dad would pick you up at school in a smock covered in paint or clay.

Your parent’s work clothes did not require a suit or tie. It was normal when your mom walked around the house in blue jeans covered in paint.

10. Their social life is often more interesting than yours.

When you have artsy parents they are constantly doing artsy things. While you're on the couch watching Netflix with your dog, they're in a theatre watching some obscure play.

11. You admire their artistic outlook on life.

They're constantly expressing themselves in the most creative ways, and they never cease to inspire you. TC mark

When You’re Feeling Alone In Your Struggle With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 04:31 PM PST


Every fall, almost like clockwork, it happens: that feeling of impending doom, stress, loathing for the winter to come. All of a sudden it is as if the entire world has a humongous gray cloud hanging over it. Nothing seems to be right. Not one part of you isn’t vulnerable to these feelings that approach. Everything from your insecurity about your love life to the very tips of your finger nails is wrong. And you have no “fix” to it.

You are in this spiral of stress that brings you down with such guilt and helplessness that you begin doing what you know you don’t want to do. Distancing yourself, missing work, sleeping all the time. Your productivity is at a low. Your friends start to worry, or even get fed up with your newly abrasive personality.

It happens every single fall. You dip into a depression that you know is not you. You yearn for the days of sunburn and warm air, because you know that pumpkin spice lattes and cute scarves are not going to cut it this season. Instead, you spend these days hidden away. These are the worst days. They are the days that make you question what you are doing with every aspect of your life.

They are the days that make you feel so internal that you want to scream at the top of your lungs, yet nothing ever comes out. In fact, you don’t even know if you can make the words out. The energy it would take to form a word from the thoughts that are going through your mind would just simply take too much. You just can’t “people” today or any other day, and for whatever reason, every little movement can feel like your body weighs a thousand pounds heavier than it actually is.

You find yourself standing in the shower, wishing it felt better. You thought that somehow the water would wash away all the dread that you have been carrying on your shoulders. You turn off the water, you turn it back on. You can’t really decide much about anything; not even how long you want to stay in the shower.

You are sad. You are sad and stressed and fed up and angry. You are all of these things about everything that seemed to have happened over the last week, or the month, or even the last year. And you are the saddest because there is nothing you can do to fix it. You are a fixer, and for some reason these things cannot be fixed. They cannot be fixed because you don’t quite know what it is to begin with that you are chasing after and trying to discover. You don’t know what it is that is making you feel this way, but you know that there is change that needs to happen in order for you to just continue existing.

Existing is hard on days like this. You wake up wishing you could just fall back asleep and skip the entire day. You wish that you could just tuck away all of the emptiness and lack of feelings that you have for life and everything in it in order to start fresh again.

And you know there is help, but as you see this kind of feeling arising within you, you know that it will fade away. The concept of therapy, medication, meditation sounds too severe for what you are going through for just these few weeks or a month out of the year. You know that you have a silent struggle that you make due with by celebrating little things that will bring joy. Because, like clockwork, you know that this feeling is temporary.

I like to think of these kind of autumn days as the days that your body and your mind use to work against you. They are the quiet days. The days where you have nothing and everything to say about any subject at a given moment. You want to scream and nothing comes out. You feel so numb, yet everything hurts all over. You only leave your house to make yourself feel better about achieving something that day. They are the days that no matter what you do or where you go, you seem to just be floating through the air.

But the thing is, we overcome these days. We survive them. And you don’t just survive this thing called life without learning a few things. And even though you know that this struggle is hard, and it seems to be never ending – it always ends. These struggles come to a halt with the sun, with the spring. And if they don't, you know…you know that you can get the help you need. And you are SMART and STRONG enough to make it through the gloomy days, both literally and internally. You can survive this season. TC mark

If you or a friend is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255.

27 People Share Their Partner’s Kinkiest Fetish And Whether They Were Down With It Or Not

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 04:00 PM PST

Modified from Flickr / Lies Thru a Lens
Modified from Flickr / Lies Thru a Lens

Found on r/AskReddit

1. Hostile make out

I had a SO who liked to heavily (heavily) make out during foreplay. It was aggressive and kind of strange. Kind of turned into wtf when she licked the roof of my mouth.

That is a sensation I’ll never forget.

2. I’m ignoring you, but actually getting v. horny

My wife has a fetish (I think) for some on initiating sex with her while she’s trying to ignore them.

It’s kinda weird, she’s reading a book, but you take her pants off and she’s ready to go, but she’ll just sit there and keep on reading for as long as she can before finally giving in.

She told me once post-coitus that she was to distracted and ended up reading the same sentence 7 times before giving up.

It’s had a bit of a weird effect, in that whenever i’m horny, i’ll just go start messing with her and see if she’s into, it. Sex when you want, but initiating like that still feels a bit awkward.

3. Touching is overrated, smell is where it’s at!

She was turned on by my smell. When I picked her up at the train station she would always bearhug me and inhale my scent while her eyes rolled back from pleasure.

She also had a piece of cloth under her pillow that she regularly sniffed, that cloth was dirty as fuck and wasn’t washed in about 20 years. It was originally white but it was now a very dirty gray. Never touched that cloth, so gross.

4. Fetishes mailed via UPS

I had a long distance relationship with my ex, which was understandably difficult at times.

For my birthday, he sent me a card and told me “not to open it around other people.” I thought, how adorable, he’s shy about what he wrote in it!

Nope. That fucker put his toenail clippings and pubes in it. Then went and told me it would be “hot” if I were to put them inside of me. I laughed and said there was no way I was going to eat them.

It was a more innocent time for me.

5. Vampire sex

She liked it pretty rough and she liked to be bitten. I tried and I learned that I like rough sex too as well as biting

6. Can we get ice with that?

Once banged a Hawaiian chick who liked me to put ice cubes in her pussy while I ate her out.

7. Chest friction = huge orgasm?

This is strange just because it was different. I think it’s kind of cute in a way.

She just always wanted our chests touching in bed, always wanted her hand up my shirt rubbing my chest hair. She’d start masturbating while doing it.

I could go down on her, wear a vibrating cock ring, fuck her hard, and do a million fantasies but she always came the hardest when my chest was pressed against hers.

8. Let it rain cum!

My ex loved cum. Swallowing it, facials, Cumming inside her, on her stomach, everything. Worked out amazingly as its been my fetish for years.

The rest of the time when we weren’t having amazing sex, we were growing apart until the inevitable conclusion.

9. Tossed salad on the side

My girlfriend in university wanted to lick my asshole to see if she might be a lesbian. Call it being shy-bi-curious, I guess.

I can’t say I hated the experience. But, the whole time I’m just thinking she’s imagining I’m a woman and how this probably isn’t the best or even a reasonable facsimilie. I could have at least shaved and taken a shower. But we were in the heat of the moment.

10. Feet fetish indoctrination 

A foot fetish. I hated my feet and hated them being touched, so much so I even wore socks to bed at all times. He would ask to massage them or try to touch them and I hated it. I never got that he had a foot fetish though.

Anyway I eventually let him massage them and loved it. I loved having them touched and kissed after that. Even bitten or licked, toe sucking the works. I used them for foreplay and during sex. I love my feet now and I don’t know if I could date someone who doesn’t like feet cos it’s a massive turn on for me now.

11. Taking anal play up to the next level

My girlfriend is really into anal, but here’s the catch: she makes me pull out, and then she sucks my dick clean every 5 minutes. Also when partaking in anal sex she makes me finger her and then put my fingers in her mouth.

As for how it affects me, well I find it incredibly awkward to go to her parents house knowing that I completely violated their daughter in ways I didn’t even know were possible. But it’s alright, I’m kinda into the sex now, I was hesitant at first.

12. But, is anything as good as naval play??

I once dated a guy who had this weird fascination with my belly button. He would always be sticking his finger or his tongue in it, and once or twice kind of tried to jam his dick in it. It was kind of off-putting, but mainly just really funny.

13. Role reversal

A long term FWB wanted me to fuck him in the ass. I’m a female.

I was totally uninterested. And even a little afraid of the whole idea even though we already had some elements of BDSM in our relationship (me sort of dom, he a terrible sub). I didn’t shut him down, but told him I’d think about it. He took my non-rejection as consent and bought me a strap-on. I was still not into the idea at all when the thing was delivered to my house, but my roommate gave me some pretty great advice. She told me to do it despite my reluctance. I’d either hate it, and have given what he wanted a fair effort before shutting it down. Or I’d love it and discover something new and amazing. Regardless, at the end at least I would have a story to remember. I couldn’t argue that logic and we did it finally one night.

Holy. Fucking. Shit. That was one of the hottest things I’ve ever done. I got off on it, he got off on it, and my brain exploded. Honestly, I got a little into it before we began just seeing his reaction to seeing me in the strap-on. How could I not get turned on seeing someone want me that much. But fucking him? Was god damn magical.

I don’t need or expect it from anyone, but I would not mind being able to play like that with someone else in the future.

Tl;dr: 10/10 would peg again.

14. Cum gogurt

My first girlfriend in high school made me wear condoms when she gave me blow jobs. Not because she didn’t want cum in her mouth, but so when I did cum she could drink it like a gogurt. The worst part was that this girl was also Mormon, so when her parents found out we all had to have a “discussion” in their living room with my mom and dad. I was 15 at the time and the only lasting damage was the way I approached the parents of women I dated. If they even had an aura of sketchy, I bail.

Tl;dr — first girlfriend loved cum gogurts and afterward her Mormon mom tried to save my soul.

15. Roleplay extraordinaire

Ex was into role-playing. Like “Cop arrests hooker” and I’d have to interrogate her, handcuff her, search her, like I was looking for guns. “Doctor and patient” complete with white lab coat and stethoscope. We only did it two or three times in the six months we were together, and I couldn’t help but giggle the entire time.

16. Golden showers got a little too golden

Golden showers. I was not that down for him peeing on me but thankfully he was much more into being dominated and me peeing on him. We did that a few times before he asked me to pee in his mouth while he drank it. That was fine and we did that a few more times – I was ambivalent but he loved it.

We stopped doing it after he pushed me to do it on a day I wasn’t ready and was dehydrated. He said he didn’t care but once we did it he couldn’t deal with the concentrated taste and that ended his interest in that permanently. We moved on to other stuff but that was probably the only fetish we tried that I wasn’t sexually into at all personally.

17. Does an ‘oink’ turn you on?

Well, he wasn’t a bf, but close enough. He’d seen some French movie in which the kinky main characters dressed up as pigs (apparently not a porno??) and wanted to try that, except that only he would dress up. I went along with it (in those days I would have done anything just to dom a guy) and waited in the bedroom while he “got in character”, and then he came in on all fours in a pink spandex suit (like ballerinas wear in training) and a plastic pig’s nose on his face. Not even remotely sexy, but whatever, I could deal.

But then he started making noises…. At the first grunt/squeal a smile spread on my face but I managed to cover up my amusement at first. But he kept making those fucking hilarious noises and I just lost it. I started laughing and laughed and laughed and laughed until I was on the floor and thought I was going to suffocate.

When I finally got my wits back I realised he’d left at some point, understandably enough, and he never responded to my texts anymore. Oh well. The memory of it still makes me giggle.

18. Public vibrations

A friend of mine went out with a girl who had this really weird fetish where she’d shove a wireless bullet vibrator up her hooha and give her boyfriend the remote, then they’d go shopping and he’d try to make her lose it when she was talking to a salesman/clerk.

19. Another biting story

She actually used to nibble on my hand when we went somewhere and were holding hands. Super fucking weird, but when we broke up it was one of the things I missed the most. So I guess she turned me on to biting? O.o

20. Spit at me.

My last girlfriend and I were into almost identical things in the bedroom, the only thing she liked that i’d never considered before was that she liked it when people spat in her mouth. I did it a couple times and loved it. God I miss her.

21. Sneeze on me!

My ex-GF had a fetish for sneezes. Apparently sneezing was just one minor step from orgasm. The thing is that when she tried to make herself sneeze during sexytimes she looked like the poster-child for the word “Derp”. It ended quite quickly after my first hysterical laughter.

22. When fucking isn’t enough…

Smoking while fucking. Had to be a cigarette. Smoking a bowl didn’t do anything for her but if I was smoking a CIG while railing her she was all down for it. That and fucking in public.

Long story short I picked up smoking and I wasted a lot of gas driving around finding new places to fuck.

23. Sex with extra calcium

My ex was into lactation and nursing. Had me take pills to make my milk come in and even gave me a breast pump to encourage the flow. He’d nurse from me in the morning and in the evening. Was super weird at first but then I actually grew to enjoy it.

24. Kit-Kats in the ass

My girlfriend (I'm also a girl) is into eating chocolate out of my ass…yep, nothing shit related I always have an enema and clean my ass thoroughly before. I'm quite open to sexual experimentation but this threw me off a little at first since it was so… different I guess? I did end up doing it and we both loved it so we continued. We usually used Kit Kat or Aero since those were her favourite bars but decided to buy Oh Henrys this time and… uh… don't.

We did the usual, she played with my ass a little bit then slid the bars one by one into me, I think we had four full size bars and eight fun size when she decided to start.

So I began to push but nothing came out… then I started bleeding, which happens sometimes but usually not in this quantity it then started to hurt, usually the bars slide out as easy as just taking a shit but this time NOTHING was coming out except for a trickle of chocolate and a lot more blood then there should be.

We both started panicking thinking what the fuck is going on! After ten minutes of hard core pushing and pain she could finally see it… a giant fucking ball of caramel and pointy peanuts. When I say giant I mean fucking huge it was the size of a fucking pineapple. It turns out all the caramel and peanuts in the bars formed this monstrosity from being shoved up and squished, I couldn't even get it out, it was stuck.

My girlfriend had to shove her fingers into my ass and stretch it open to its limits to make this thing even move and by this point my ass was profusely bleeding because of the pointy peanuts sticking out of the ball cutting up my insides.

After half an hour we finally got it out. It was red with blood and I couldn't even fit both hands around it. I had to sit on the toilet for a while afterward because my anus was still leaking blood everywhere. My ass hurt for days after.

tl;dr – Don't shove caramel and peanut bars up your ass, you'll cry.

25. Someone likes it really hard.

She likes it when I punch her, mainly in the ass area.

26. Armpit fetish

Not a girlfriend, but a girl I’ve been dating. She likes to stick her nose way up into my armpit and take big ol’ whiffs. It freaks me out a little bit and she tells me to shower, but not wash my pits… Kinda nice to think my stink doesn’t make her shrink.

27. Extreme make out sessions

Girl I was dating liked to make out with a razor blade in her mouth. Noped out. TC mark

What Each Myers-Briggs Type Does When They’re Sick

Posted: 15 Nov 2015 03:29 PM PST


INFJ – Avoids medication unless they absolutely HAVE to take it, but stays home to rest and recoup. No way are they going to let others see them in a vulnerable state!

ENFP – Refuses to rest or relax – disbelieving that this will help them get better – and goes about their day as usual, getting everyone they encounter sick in the process.

ENFJ – Maintains their commitments with a sunny face – not wanting to burden other people with their sickness – and then goes home and crashes hard.

ESFP – Texts all their friends that they're DYING, who wants to come over for a movie night?

INFP – Stays home and fantasizes (in a totally non-morbid way, of course) about all the nice things people would say about them at their funeral.

ISFJ – Tries to convince everyone that they're fine, really, they don't need any help… while secretly wishing that one of their loved ones would ignore their pleas and come take care of them.

ISFP – Secretly revels in having a socially acceptable excuse to stay home and do their own thing for a week or so.

ESFJ – Tries to get better as quickly as possible so that they can take care of any friends or loved ones who have also caught their bug.

ESTJ – Works fervently from bed on their laptop while internally scolding their immune system for not trying harder.

ISTJ – Sticks determinately to whatever methods of getting better they were taught as a child, because that's what has always worked for them, so why switch it up?

ISTP – Takes enough medication to get a little high and then relishes in the excuse to stay home and play video games.

ESTP – Pops some drugs, chugs an energy drink and goes about their business as usual. If it's not terminal, what's there to complain about?

INTP – Googles ten thousand variations of what they might have and ends up in the depths of Wikipedia, learning about a strange Polynesian virus that died out 1000 years ago.

INTJ – Pops some drugs, ignores their sickness and grows steadily more annoyed each time someone asks them how they're feeling.

ENTJ – Rests for about 30 minutes, decides that's enough self-care and then gets the hell back to work.

ENTP – Develops a plethora of strange new medicines that they test on themselves, ultimately extending their sickness weeks longer than necessary. TC mark

Heidi Priebe explains how to manage the ups, downs and inside-outs of everyday life as an ENFP in her new book available here.