Thought Catalog

13 Women Describe What They Love Most About Going Down On Their Boyfriends

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 08:00 PM PST

Shutterstock, conrado
Shutterstock, conrado

1. “Whenever I give my boyfriend a blowjob, I amuse myself by experimenting with different ways to think about his dick. Like, I'll pretend it’s a harmonica one minute, and then I'll segue into picturing it as a lollipop or a Popsicle. I love using my imagination to change things up and keep things interesting for both of us.”

— Missy, 23


2. “I’m a feminist, but I’m not afraid to say that I feel validated when I make my man ejaculate. It helps that my boyfriend’s semen tastes pretty good. But I don't always swallow. Sometimes I tell him to spray it all over my face for effect.”

— Kendall, 20


3. “Sucking dick isn't exactly a treat, but it's not unpleasant, either. It's like sitting through a beautiful foreign film when you're not exactly in the mood to read subtitles. There's a definite payoff, but you have to put some work into it. What I like about giving head is that feeling of accomplishment I get from it. ”

— Ramona, 32


4. “Personally, I love ball play. Some girls think balls are gross or whatever, but only because they aren’t used to them. Once you know what you’re dealing with, testicles are a really useful pleasure enhancing tool. I'm pretty sure I won my boyfriend over with my ball massaging talents alone.”

— Lyla, 26


5. “My boyfriend is really well endowed, which is great during sex but not when I’m giving him head. At first it was really upsetting, actually. I felt like a failure because I couldn't fit that much of him in my mouth. But the situation forced me to get creative—to figure out how to use my hands and mouth in different ways. I approach the blowie like the art form it is these days. It's challenging but satisfying, especially when he finally comes.”

— Anne Marie, 28


6. “A lot of women resent it when a man shoves their head down with his hand, but I honestly love the hand-on-head thing. In my relationship, at least, it's not about submission or dominance. It's about rhythm. If I pay attention to the gentle pressure my boyfriend puts on my head, I know exactly how to pace myself and it makes me feel connected to him.”

— Kate, 29


7. “I’m dating a guy who squirms a lot during oral and I love watching his hips wriggle and shift. Every pelvic movement confirms that I'm doing something right.”

— Victoria, 21


8. “The best part of a good fellatio session is getting something in return. Not a sexual favor, but a present or something else I want on any particular day, like a double date with a couple my boyfriend doesn't really like. I'm definitely not above giving a blowjob with a distinct purpose in mind.”

— Terry, 35


9. “My current partner's uncircumcised. I'd never seen foreskin up close until we started dating, and I was instantly fascinated by it. I'm convinced he feels more pleasure when I play with it and I love using that to my advantage when I’m giving him a bj.”

— Olivia, 23


10. “You know the rim of a penis, where the shaft meets the head? I recently learned that part has its own name: the corona. I worship my boyfriend’s corona because tonguing it drives him crazy. That’s easily the best part about going down on him.”

— Finn, 25


11. “I'm guessing I'm not alone in feeling like the absolute best part about giving any guy head is how nicely he treats you immediately afterwards. From my experience, they’re especially grateful if it's a wake-and-suck situation, which I tend to reserve for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.”

— Daria, 31


12. “Whatever makes the ‘job’ aspect easiest is what I'm into. So whatever gets him off fastest. Thing is, you can't assume it's always the same thing. Could be a little ball rubbing one afternoon and some gentle taint tickling the next.”

— Brooke, 27


13. “My boyfriend's dick is below average in size—not too small that it's a problem during sex, but small enough that blowing him is a piece of fucking delicious cake. I feel like a total pro when I give him head, and that's a good feeling to have. There's so much hype about big dicks but I'm a fan of the just right cock hanging between my boyfriend's legs.”

— Nicolette, 31 TC mark

Here’s Why The Person You Love Should Never Complete You

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 07:00 PM PST


Often in romantic relationships, we lose our ground. Because, for lack of a fresher formulation, love defies gravity, man. It engulfs you in its brackish waters and even the salt tastes good. And "losing yourself" sounds like passion, doesn't it? Sure it does. It sounds like the bittersweet but mostly sweet collapse of you into him. Like that thing movies tell you has to happen if the love is right.

Here's the other thing, though. He's fucked up too, babe. You're both fucked up. We're all fucked up. Just fucked up people trying to find a little happiness. So for all its romantic whimsy, "losing yourself" isn't all that sugary.

He doesn't complete you, because no fucked up fish could. No man or woman—no matter how amply they electrify your space—can make you a fuller person. They can make your life fuller, of course. They can charge your world full of fire and experience and all their commodities. But no two people are made to finish each other. We're each our own person—not a fragment. Not a crumb. Not a seasoning or gift wrap. Not a concept.

I spent twenty full ass years longing to be a guy's answer. His missing piece. That perfectly jagged something that would finish his someone.

When we make it to December, my boyfriend and I will've been doing the damn relationship thing for six months. I love that he's mine, but I still cringe a little every time I say it: boyfriend. See (hilarious) tweet from two summers ago:

At the time, I would've done some whacky shit for a man. A year later, I have one—a real live boyfriend with a pulse and a penis and all the rest. That's why the word embarrasses me. Because I spent twenty full ass years longing to be a guy's answer. His missing piece. That perfectly jagged something that would finish his someone.

I wanted to be a fragment. A crumb. A concept. Because I'd never experienced anything that resembled love, and I watch a lot of movies; I was under the popular impression that love completes you. Every fucked up, love starved kid wants to believe there's a person out there who has the tools to fix them.

While the thought warmed me at night, I know this, now: Ain't nobody got tools that sharp. For real. Not my boyfriend (yikes), and not yours, either. They make us laugh and keep us warmer and we're happier, hopefully, with them around. But damn, we can't be full till we love ourselves as much as the notion of them. Till we recognize that we're both broken people, yes, but we're beautiful, too. And neither of us can fill out the other's flaws with our good.

Love doesn't mean fixing. Or making whole. Or finishing one another's sentences because you're the peanut butter to his jelly.

I like being his girlfriend—shit, I think I might even love it. And I'm hungry for that love and it feeds me and it gets bigger every day. What it doesn't do, though, is validate me.

Before I really had my man—back when we were an us without a label—I was secretly convinced that being his girlfriend would validate me. That it would stock my emptiness. It didn't. The label secured our relationship, of course. Because we live in a time and place where love and togetherness need names, eventually, to take the their fullest forms. Theoretically, sure, the tag shouldn't matter. We should be able to experience a person—to love a person—without flagging our arrangement with culturally significant names. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. Husband. Wife. Partner.

But that's not how it works. Names are important. They help us make sense of things. They allow us to signify things to other people, and we need that. Becoming his girlfriend cultivated our relationship—it did. We wouldn't love each other like we do now if he wasn't my boyfriend, technically. And maybe that's shitty. Maybe it's false. But then, there is is no real. There's no truth divorced from performance—and if there is, we don't have access to that "reality"—we don't. So labels are just fine.

I like being his girlfriend—shit, I think I might even love it. I'm hungry for his love, which feeds me and gets bigger every day. What it doesn't do, though, is validate me. It doesn't complete me. So in the moments that I sense I might be getting lost in him—the moments our love consumes me—I gotta check myself.

Because here's the thing: life goes on. It did before he came, and if he ever leaves, it will still go on. With or without him, I'm still me. And without me, he’s still him. Neither of us would be ruined without the other. Or emptied. I don't think about a Tatiana After Him—I don't. I don't think about it because I don't want to and because right now, we're together. And because I know that, while our relationship has changed my life, it hasn’t changed me. TC mark

We Don’t Talk About What Happened To My Brother After The Vietnam War, But It’s Time To Share His Story

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 06:00 PM PST

Flickr, micadew
Flickr, micadew

My brother Wayne was stationed at An Hoa Basin in South Vietnam. He’d been drafted in December of 1969 and shipped out shortly after that. Unlike a lot of unlucky soldiers, he came back six months later. I was only a kid, nine years old and unable to really understand why my brother had to leave or what happened while he was overseas. What I do understand is what happened when he came back. My mother told it differently, but this is what I remember.

When Wayne showed up on our doorstep that mild day in June, my mother nearly fainted. We hadn’t heard anything from the army about his whereabouts in the last month or so and she was shocked; I remember she let out this weird sort of laugh that turned into a sob. She threw her arms around Wayne and cried.

I stood in the hallway, staring at them. I didn’t want to give him a hug. In fact, I didn’t even want him to come inside the house.

He was still dressed in his army fatigues and heavy government-issued boots. His face was slack, his hair was long, he hadn’t shaved. He had this weird thousand-yard stare.

There was something wrong with Wayne, and I knew it right away.

My mother brought him inside, still weeping. She demanded I give my brother a hug, tell him how much we’d missed him and how happy we were that he was home.

“I don’t want to,” I said.

“Michael,” she snapped, tears drying on her face, “you come give Wayne a hug right this instant.”

I hesitated. I remember walking towards him slowly, wondering why I wasn’t happy to see him, why I felt this eerie sensation inside like I was falling down an endless black pit. Wayne stared at me.

I put my arms around his neck and gave him a weak hug. He smelled terrible. He didn’t hug me back.

My mother asked him what he wanted, if there was anything he needed, anything she could do for him.

“I’m hungry,” Wayne said.

She cooked him a huge dinner, all his favorites. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, green beans. The three of us sat at the table to eat, but I couldn’t touch my food because of the smell.

Wayne devoured everything. When I didn’t eat mine, he pointed at my plate.

“Can I have it?” he asked, and I pushed it over to him at once. He finished that (and all the rest on the table) within minutes.

My mother told him his room was just the way he’d left it, that he’d feel better after a good night’s sleep.

“I’m still hungry,” he said, but she ignored him. She seemed to be ignoring everything strange about him. I didn’t understand it then, but with my own kids now I guess I know better. She just wanted to embrace the fact that her son, against all odds, was home and safe.

I woke up in the middle of the night and heard a rummaging sound coming from the kitchen. I was almost too scared to look but with Wayne being gone, I’d felt really protective of my mother. I was the man of the house and needed to make sure she was safe. And I guess for a minute I’d forgotten that Wayne wasn’t gone anymore.

Wayne was in the kitchen, digging with both hands into an orange casserole dish, scooping handfuls of tuna noodle surprise into his mouth. He didn’t even look at me when I turned on the light.

Over the next week, all Wayne did was eat. He never changed out of his fatigues. He didn’t shower or brush his teeth and at night I wasn’t even sure that he was sleeping. I started locking my bedroom door, just in case.

My mother ignored it all and started going to the grocery store every day. When I tried to talk to her about it, I got a sharp slap to the face and was told Wayne had been through something horrible — to not appreciate the gift of his safe return was blasphemous.

Wayne kept eating. He never gained a pound.

One night, I woke up to the sound of metal clattering on the kitchen floor. I found Wayne on his hands and knees. He was eating out of our dog’s bowl. The fridge was open, ransacked, empty.

“You’re not my brother,” I said, finally putting my finger on what I hadn’t been able to since he came home. It wasn’t just the smell, or the stare, or the way he spoke. It wasn’t even the eating. I knew my brother, I loved my brother, and my brother wasn’t there.

For the first time since his return, he smiled. A big, lip-stretching grin. There was nothing behind his eyes.

I was terrified, trembling, but I forced myself to ask: “Where’s Wayne?”

Whatever was pretending to be my brother kept grinning and put two fingers to its temple, one thumb sticking straight up in mimicry of a gun.

“Pew,” it said, still smiling that terrible smile, bits of kibble stuck to his face.

And just like that it stood up, made its way to the front door, and walked into the night.

“Wayne” never came back. But the next day, someone else showed up at our front door. A set of grim-faced military men who informed my mother that Wayne had been killed in the line of duty. This time, she did faint.

It took my mother almost a month to recover. When she did, she refused to talk about Wayne. I asked her how he could’ve been here, eating all our food, smelling that terrible smell when he was killed in Vietnam. Every time I asked, I got the same response: I had imagined the whole thing. Wayne was never here. Until one time, when she gave me that same face-stinging slap she’d given me when I asked about Wayne in the beginning. I stopped asking after that.

My mother went to her grave with that lie, clinging to it the same way she clung to the American flag presented to her at Wayne’s funeral. But I know what happened. I remember. And this morning, when I got up to fix myself some breakfast, the fridge was already wide open. And empty.

And you know what else I remember? That smell.

That’s why I wanted to share this story… because I’m afraid that Wayne is back.

Again. TC mark

15 Improv ‘Rules’ That Anybody Can Follow To Live A More Fulfilling Life

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 05:00 PM PST


Improvisational comedy is a form of theater in which nearly everything that happens during the performance is being created at that very moment. I fell in love with improv two years ago, and since then, it’s been a whirlwind of lessons about being present, going after the things you’re most afraid of, and learning how to be a better person to those around you. But these lessons don’t just apply to the stage – they also apply to how you can conduct yourself in your everyday life. So here are 15 popular improv ‘rules’ that anyone can apply to lead a happier, more exciting, and more fulfilling life.

1. Play for the group, not for yourself. The people who hurt or neglect others in order to get ahead in life are always the most unhappy. We are social creatures. We gain power, joy, and strength from forming deep relationships with other human beings. You will find that the more support you give to and receive from others, the more successful and happy you will be.

2. Stay in the moment. You’re not doing yourself any favors if you waste away the present by obsessing over the past or fretting about the future.

3. But still keep the future in the back of your mind. ‘Staying in the moment’ is not to say that you should throw all cares, worries, and responsibilities out the window. It just means that you should always be paying attention to what’s happening now, while also remembering that the decisions you make now will affect the decisions you make in 5 minutes – or 5 months – from now.

4. All mistakes are gifts. Obviously you won’t be proud or pleased with yourself when you screw something up. But what improv teaches is that you can find a reason for everything. If you did something dumb or don’t like a decision you made, find a way to turn it around and pull some positivity out of it.

5. Follow the fear. One of my favorite teachers continually drilled into our heads that if you’re afraid of doing something, it usually means you should go after it. Fear often manifests itself when there’s something we know we want to do, but we’re hesitant to try because we might fail, get rejected, be disappointed, etc. So when something keeps popping up in your brain and causing your stomach to drop – applying for a new job, moving to a new city, asking someone out on a date, getting involved in a nonprofit – it’s usually a sign that you should be going after it.

6. Stop planning the next thing you’re going to say, and just listen to the person in front of you. It takes you out of your head, it lets the person in front of you know that you care about them, and it will lead to you being a much more empathetic, approachable, and delightful person to be around. You’ll be surprised how quickly people notice the change.

7. “Yes, and.” One of the golden rules of improv is to agree with the reality that your partner has created and to add to it. This rule can easily apply to real life too. As Tina Fey explains it in Bossypants, “Now, obviously in real life you're not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to ‘respect what your partner has created’ and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.’

8. Being truthful will get you much further than being the funniest or smartest person in the room. Being smart is great. Being funny is great. But at the end of the day, we all just want to be around people who are authentic, people who actually want to hear what we have to say, and people who are more concerned with connecting to us than they are with showing off.

9. Never hesitate to step outside the box. The moment someone decides to step out of the box is the moment when everything suddenly becomes really interesting. So if you’re drowning in the never-ending monotony of your own life, try mixing things up for a change. Do something exciting, inspiring, or educational that you wouldn’t normally do. That will likely change the game pretty quickly.

10. Your choices should always be conscious. Do things because they add to your life, or they help others, or they move your personal story forward in some way. If you need some new clothes, purchase them carefully and thoughtfully, instead of falling into the trap of want, want, want. If you haven’t been a good son or daughter lately, take a break from mindlessly perusing the Internet to call your parents. If you’re at dinner with a friend, put your phone on silent and pay attention to the real conversation happening in front of you. Always be aware of what you’re doing, and be wary of falling into the zombie-like state that we’re all guilty of in this day and age.

11. The most interesting characters are the ones who are weird, quirky, and specific about what they want. For the love of God, don’t take this as a sign that you should become a hipster. Just remember that what makes you unique are those things about you that you’re often the most embarrassed by or insecure about. Don’t worry about trying to be exactly like your best friend or that random person you follow on Instagram. Just be you.

12. Play smart. Anyone in the improv community will tell you that lazy, dick-themed jokes almost never work on stage. People prefer something smart, clever, and unforced. Real life works the same way. You don’t need to be fowl, dopey, or offensive to connect with people or make your mark at the party/office/birthday dinner/etc. Just be genuine and friendly, and you’re guaranteed to make connections that are much deeper and more natural.

13. Sometimes it’s okay to lean on others. There are moments when you’re simply not going to know what to do in life. Or you’re going to feel discouraged. Or burnt out. That’s what your friends and family are for. In the moments – or days, or weeks – where you feel lost and confused, ask the people you trust to help you find your way again.

14. The best moments are unscripted. It’s important to have goals in your life – to be focused, driven, and always working towards what you want. But it’s also important to let go, let loose, and allow yourself to just be a kid sometimes. Sometimes the most important realizations we ever have occur when we have temporarily quieted our stream of consciousness and allowed ourselves to simply breathe and exist.

15. You often have the most success when you are outside of your comfort zone. When you are anxious, nervous, or uncomfortable, you’re not obsessing over the next perfect thing you’re going to do or say. Your brain doesn’t have room for that. Instead, being outside of your comfort zone simply wakes you up and forces you to react to what is going on right in front of your face. And most of the time in those situations, your ideas are smarter, funnier, and much more useful. TC mark

10 Life-Changing Cultural Experiences You Should Have Before You Die

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 04:45 PM PST

StockSnap /danist soh
StockSnap /danist soh

1. Become conversational in a language that you didn’t grow up speaking. It is true that the older you get, the more difficult it is to learn a language. But learning a language is not only good for improving your brain’s cognitive function, even at a conversational level, it will enhance your understanding of the world as you describe your experiences in a new way.

2. Visit a site that marked a great human tragedy such as genocide or war. What’s the point of doing this? There’s something about being in a place where human suffering has occurred that will make you develop great empathy for humankind. It will also make you weary of violence in all its forms.

3. Spend time with children who grew up differently from you. You don’t need to travel half-way around the world to do this; in fact, there is something inherently wrong with using usually “poor kids” of particular cultures as your “transformative” life experience. Instead, consider yourself a student, and someone who can give as much as they can receive in this situation. Spending time with children of a different culture or sub-culture informs you of the differences and similarities of different childhoods, and how important it is to understand where people come from in order to understand them.

4. Compete in a physical activity that draws people from all over the world. It can be a run, a walk, a cycling race, etc. It doesn’t matter. There is something cathartic about competing with thousands of people in something that tests your physical abilities. You will see the limitations of being human; but you will also witness the incredibly beauty of humanity where the human spirit perseveres against the human body. And people you don’t know – those who compete alongside you – and those who cheer you on from the sidelines, will be rooting for you.

5. Commit to a recreational activity that is completely out of your comfort zone for a period of time. Whether it’s going to a dance class from a different culture or learning a new musical instrument that is culturally-specific to a place that you are unfamiliar with, commit to an activity. Partaking in a feature of culture in this way informs your knowledge of that culture in a nuanced way. You become truly invested in a practice that people from a culture identify with, and you realize that you can celebrate a culture without appropriating it.

6. Volunteer in a place that you think will bring you the most discomfort. Even in our efforts to be good citizens of the world, it is easy to stick to the people and places that are most familiar to us. Pick a population that you know little about or that you are scared of, invest in being educated on that population, and see how you can participate in getting to know people in that population in a way that is meaningful.

7. Create a project about your family history and heritage. Whether it’s a short book or just a collection of essays, interview the elderly members of your family about their lives and traditions of their time. Try to research as much history about your ethnicity as possible and put the two collections together. There is much to be learned about who you are and where you come from, and it’s a good reminder of how culture changes over time.

8. Become a pro at making another culture’s cuisine. Food is one of the most important features of any culture and learning to cook the foods of any culture is both a humbling and exciting experience. You will learn about spices and herbs and ways of cooking that you didn’t know existed. But you will also understand the variety of taste that exists in humankind’s plate, and it’ll make you more open to trying new things outside of the kitchen.

9. Pray in a way that you usually don’t. Prayer means different things to different people. Prayer means nothing to some people. But there is something beautiful about learning how others pray and joining them in their prayer. Whether you have a faith that you practice or none at all, you’ll appreciate that spirituality can be a beautiful experience.

10. Travel or live in a place for an extended period of time that is different from the one you grow up. This is an obvious one but I will always recommend going somewhere that is very culturally distant from the culture(s) that you know. Whether it’s having to learn a new language or making new friends and building a new support system or becoming accustomed to a vastly different daily way of life, it is a scary, exhilarating, life-altering experience.

Whatever cultural experience you choose, you’ll learn a lot of things you didn’t know. But you’ll also be reminded of a very wonderful universal truth: That no matter where you’re from, most people want to be safe, happy, and healthy; to live a meaningful life. And they want the same for their children. And sometimes you need a life-changing cultural experience to remind you of this fundamental human experience. TC mark

A Real Mouthful: 100 Wacky Ways To Say ‘Blowjob’

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 03:01 PM PST

Flickr KAZ Vorpal
Flickr KAZ Vorpal

1. Addressing the Court

2. BJ

3. Bagpiping

4. Basket Lunch

5. Beej

6. Blowie

7. Blowing the Love Whistle

8. Bobbing for Apples

9. Bone-Lipping

10. Buccal Onanism

11. Brentwood Hello

12. Charming the Snake

13. Climbing the Corporate Ladder

14. Cock-Gobbling

15. Copping a Doodle

16. Courting the Gay Vote

17. Drinking a Slurpee

18. Dropping on It

19. Earning your Keep

20. Essin’ the Dee

21. Face-Frosting

22. Fellatio

23. Fluting

24. French Abortion

25. Gator Mouth

26. Getting a Facial

27. Getting a Lewinsky

28. Getting a Throat Culture

29. Getting to the Cream Filling

30. Giving Cone

31. Giving Face

32. Giving Head

33. Gobbling Pork

34. Going Down

35. Gumming the Root

36. Punching

37. Giving Big Jim and the Twins a Bath

38. Giving Brain

39. Giving Head

40. Gum-Rooting

41. Gumming the Green Bean

42. Head Job

43. Honkin’ Bobo

44. Huffing Bone

45. Hummer

46. Interrogating the Prisoner

47. Kneeling at the Altar

48. Knob Job

49. Larking

50. Laying Some Lip

51. Licking the Lollipop

52. Making Mouth Music

53. Making the Blind See

54. Meeting with Mr. One-Eye

55. Mouth-Fucking

56. Mouth-Holstering the Nightstick

57. Mouth-Milking

58. Mouth-to-Junk Resuscitation

59. Opening Wide for Dr. Chunky

60. Oral Sodomy

61. Peeling the Banana

62. Penilingus

63. Piston Job

64. Playing Pan’s Pipes

65. Playing the Pink Oboe

66. Playing the Skin Flute

67. Pole-Smoking

68. Polishing the Trailer Hitch

69. Pricknicking

70. Protein Milkshake

71. Receiving Holy Communion

72. Respecting Your Superiors

73. Sampling the Sausage

74. Scooby-Snacking

75. Secretarial Duties

76. Singing to the Choir

77. Skull-Buggery

78. Skull-Fucking

79. Slobbin’ the Knob

80. Smiling at Mr. Winky

81. Smoking the Pink Pipe

82. Smoking Pole

83. Southern France

84. Speaking into the Bonophone

85. Speaking Low Genitals

86. Spit-Shining a Baseball Bat

87. Spraying the Tonsils

88. Sucking Off

89. Sucky-Ducky

90. Suck-Starting the Harley

91. Swallowing the Baloney Pony

92. Sword-Swallowing

93. Taking One’s Temp with a Meat Thermometer

94. Talking into the Mic

95. Telling it to the Judge

96. Waxing the Carrot

97. Worshiping At the Altar

98. Wringing It Dry

99. Yaffling the Yogurt Cannon

100. Zipper Dinner TC mark

6 Things That All Quiet Over-thinkers Want You To Know

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 03:00 PM PST


If you consider yourself to be more on the quiet side, there's a good chance that you're also intuitive. Quiet people like to observe, analyze, and arrive at conclusions based on the information they take in.

When the topic of quietness came up at a family dinner, my great-uncle actually made this comment about me: "To get words out of Sara, you need a corkscrew."

It's also often difficult for extroverted individuals to truly understand that even though our lips our sealed, our mind is swarming with thoughts.

Here are things that all quiet people with loud minds understand:

1. We might seem like we have nothing to contribute, but it's because we're carefully planning the words out in our head.

Quiet people are planners. Out of fear of potentially saying the wrong thing, we rarely speak without thinking. Rather than being uninterested in the particular topic, we want to make sure we provide value to it – and that it's articulated in the best possible way.

2. We can actually be pretty social – it's just a matter of being surrounded by people we are comfortable with.

We'll never turn down a night out with our best friends, but hanging out at the bar with people we're only sorta, kinda friends with? Might have to pass. Since we're not comfortable enough to discuss very many personal details, the conversation has remained basic and somewhat boring. As we scan our brains for something new to say, we begin to worry that we’re just not fun to be around. At this point, we begin to get even more silent than we were when the night started. We can only awkwardly scroll through our phones so many times before deciding it's time to call it a night.

3. When you tell us to smile, we really just want to dropkick you.

Sometimes when we are too deep into our own mind, we don't realize that our face looks disappointed or discouraged. It's difficult to conceal it, but what's worse is when a stranger tells you to turn that frown upside down. Please lurk around somewhere else, sir – I haven't had enough vodka sodas to tolerate you just yet.

4. It's true that we are great listeners, but sometimes we just want you to stop talking.

You let a friend vent to you about her relationship problems one day, and suddenly you've become Dr. Phil. While we do truly care about your friends' happiness, sometimes the constant chatter is exhausting. Please feel free to confide in us, but recognize when you're talking just to hear yourself talk. (That also might be why the guy dumped you, just saying.)

5. When we have a crush on someone, we’re not just shy – we forget how to use words altogether.

My go-to move when talking to a cute guy? Laughing at everything he says, blatantly avoiding eye contact, and playing with my hair. It's super smooth – not sure why I'm still single, to be honest. Regardless, since we're always overthinking our words and actions, we're terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing. Relaxing and keeping it cool is just completely out of the question.

6. When it comes to something we're truly passionate about, we will have A LOT to say.

Our eyes may be glazing over at the pop culture discussion or office rumor, but when it comes to something we're really interested in? For what seems like the first time ever, you'll almost want us to shut up. Because quiet people are often insightful, we appreciate having intellectual conversations. Rather than being forced into an inevitably awkward social interaction, we prefer a great conversation. We believe in exchanges with substance – and once the opportunity presents itself, you may realize we're not so quiet after all. TC mark

The Sadness That Lingers

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 02:00 PM PST


You're lying in bed, contemplating your options or your excuses. You could call in sick which would seem the most plausible to justify. You don't look sick, not in the physical sense of the word. Your sickness can't be seen as cuts or wounds. It can't be measured by a thermometer or felt by a hand to the forehead. Your sickness lingers in your head or your heart or maybe even your soul. You don't really know where but it lingers like a heavy overcast in the sky.

Your alarm goes off again and you let it. You're too tired to shut it off. You are unfathomed by its perpetual shrieks. It rings as background noise in comparison to your running thoughts. Thoughts of school, of work, of people and of life run rampant in your head, weighing you down into defeat. You just want to lay in bed, in the predictable warmth of sheets and blankets.

You'll get up though, eventually because today is some irrelevant midweek day, not the weekend. You once knew the days of the week, when they were significant enough to be distinct from each other. Now, they just mesh into a single blur of existing and surviving. Life isn't hard though, not in the ways the news tells you it could be. You don't have it that bad, you tell yourself as you slowly get out of bed. Your morning pep talks are more guilt driven than motivation.

You should be okay; you might even have everything whatever everything is. An objective outsider could analyze your life and conclude there is nothing wrong, but your feelings are in direct conflict and you loathe that. You agree with the objective
outsider. You are well aware of how lucky you are. You have things that most of the world doesn't. You should be happy, but you aren't.

Your sickness is your sadness. There is no substantive reason for your sadness though, unlike others. You've never experienced anything traumatic, lost anyone significant or faced some other life-altering event. You're just as average as they come with enough fortune to deem an acceptable good life.

You try to fight it. You count your blessings as the cliché dictates. You even start a gratitude journal and write listicles of your good life. But gratitude isn't the antidote to sadness. People like you are immune to any of its remedying effects. You read the lists of blessings and only see more reasons to feel guilty, immersing back into the trap.

You might see a doctor and he'll ask for your symptoms but you don't really have any that match his list. You linger in bed sure, but you eventually get up. Your thoughts are weighting but nothing equating to harm. You might be a bit reserved but you still have friends and family you see regularly. You aren't the poster child of sadness and the doctor sees this. He'll dismiss you in ignorance; tell you it's nothing abnormal from the norm. If you insist, he might appease you with some prescriptions. You might try them initially but eventually throw them out too.

Maybe their side effects were too strong or your illness really wasn't that severe medically. Regardless, you give up and your attempts to fix yourself cease.

Your sadness remains unexplained and that's what makes you feel worse. It's the morning dread that extends into an all day affair. It's how your feet drag, how you head lays low and how your eyes avoid contact or stare into abyss. It's listening to people talk but not understanding a word because your thoughts are louder. It's the façade of being a yes person, accepting social invitations you always regret when you would rather be in bed. It's the tiresome effort to keep up with life's charade that eats at you slowly. It's seeing irrelevancy in everything and everyone and never knowing emotions of the contrary.TC mark

20 Little Known ‘Happy Little Facts’ About Bob Ross, America’s Favorite Art Teacher

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 12:59 PM PST

via YouTube
via YouTube

1. Bob Ross’s show on PBS, ‘The Joy of Painting,’ ran for over a decade, from 1983 to 1994 although, thanks to reruns, people have continued to be exposed to the show. All told there were 403 different episodes of the show during that period.

2. Each show ran only thirty minutes during which Ross would create a fully realized landscape using a ‘wet on wet’ oil painting technique.

3. But Ross didn’t invent this technique contrary to popular understanding and never claimed to. He learned it from a man named Bill Alexander who actually had his own painting show on PBS that ran even longer than Ross’s called ‘The Magic World of Oil Painting.’ It ran from 1974 to 1982 and is somehow less 70s than Ross’s show.

4. Alexander lived through both World War I and II. During the first World War he and his family fled East Prussia to Berlin. As a result, during World War II, Alexander was drafted into the Nazi Wehrmacht (the German military). He was eventually captured by Allied troops and ingratiated himself with American officers by creating portraits of their wives. This allowed him to make his way to the U.S.

5. Ross also had a military background as a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He enlisted in 1961 and served for twenty years, until 1981. He was never deployed to Vietnam despite some claims that he was a sniper, etc.

6. The view from Alaska’s Eielson Air Force Base, the surrounding mountains and trees, made a lasting impression on him and became the subject of many of his paintings on ‘The Joy of Painting’.

7. Ross’s program was far more popular than Alexander’s. One reason for this was simple enough. Ross was American and didn’t have a German accent. The other reason was Ross’s persona of a calm, accepting dude that felt painting for his viewers should be a fun thing rather than just a discipline. Of course, there was also that voice.

8. Ross’s calming voice was intentional though. He’d had enough yelling during his twenty years in the military to last a life time. “I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it.”

9. Ross was working part-time as a bartender when he first say Bill Alexander’s show ‘The Magic World of Oil Painting.’

10. Ross had been looking for an art teacher that could teach him how to paint and complained that all the teachers he encountered up until Alexander had been deeply into abstract art which couldn’t teach him how to actually paint things he saw.

11. Ross had pets that anyone would envy including a pet crow and a pet squirrel.

12. Once Ross got his own show his viewing numbers took off but it wasn’t because a lot more people were painting, it was because he was so relaxing and pleasant to watch. Ross and PBS apparently both knew this. People treated his show like a kind of mental break from the world.

13. Ross knew people treated his show like adult nap time and he loved it.

“It’s funny to talk to these people,” said Joan Kowalski, the media director of Bob Ross Inc. and Walt’s daughter. “Because they think they’re the only ones who watch to take a nap. Bob knew about this. People would come up to him and say, `I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you’ve been putting me to sleep for 10 years.’ He’d love it.”

14. Ross was also so earnest, so open and unabashedly unironic, that he was able to carry off his 70s fro all through the 80s and into the 90s. I don’t know that there’s another human being alive who could have pulled that off. Here’s what he looked like when he was in the military, pre-fro.


15. Ross believed talent in art was overrated and that practice was key. “I really believe that if you practice enough you could paint the ‘Mona Lisa’ with a two-inch brush.”

16. But his peers didn’t generally agree and many felt his work was terrible. In a 1991 New York Times article, Richard Pousette-Dart, an Abstract Expressionist who was teaching at the Students Art League in New York at the time said:

“It’s terrible — bad, bad, bad. They are just commercial exploiters, non-artists teaching other non-artists. I don’t teach a technique or a method, I nurture students to find their own.”

Perhaps ironically, this was the very attitude that frustrated Ross, the lack of real teaching, of giving students a stylistic base from which they could search for their own style.

17. Regardless, Ross’s style was inviting and was intended to make people believe they too could make art and that it wasn’t some walled garden where only geniuses could create.

18. What’s more, expressionism wasn’t something he liked“If I paint something, I don’t want to have to explain what it is.”

19. Ross was married twice. His first marriage ended in divorce in 1981, the same year he quit the Air Force to be a painter. His second marriage ended sadly in 1993 when Jane Ross died.

20. Bob Ross died in1995 of lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) only two years after his second wife had passed but reruns of his show continue to play all over the world. TC mark

What I Need My Professors To Understand About Dealing With Depression In College

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 12:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / kaitlynzuverink
Twenty20 / kaitlynzuverink

It's no secret that college is stressful for everyone. But I need my professors to understand a few things.

I suffer from anxiety. While it could be much worse, I'm constantly worrying even when I don't have the added stress of school. While I perceive my anxiety as mild, the people around me notice it and oftentimes become anxious themselves because of it. In such a high state of stress, it feels as if every stressful event in my life is being brought to the surface. So not only am I dealing with school and life in the present, but also negative things from my past.

Your assignments stress me out from the moment I hear about them. While I'd love to start them as soon as possible, many times it just doesn't happen that way.

My anxiety of the assignment ultimately causes me to put it off… too many times until the very last moment. I just need you to understand. Small amounts of anxiety can be good, but at times I experience anxiety that is crippling. I'm not sure if I need to scream or cry.

I also need you to understand that I suffer from depression. So when the anxiety has me worried and procrastinating, I'm also getting tremendously down on myself. This creates a vicious cycle and once it starts, it seems impossible to escape. I need you to understand that this is not easy.

I need you to understand that I didn't attend class all week because my depression drained me to the point that I couldn't get out of bed.

And while at times I can attend class and seem fine, last night I was dealing with my vice. Whether I stared down the bottle, took a few pills, smoked something, or considered taking a blade to my skin, I need you to understand that this is what I'm dealing with.

Perhaps selfishly, I am also trying to have a social life and build friendships. While I may be slacking in some areas of my academics, the stress is so high and sometimes I just need to enjoy myself. I may have slacked on an assignment because I went to the bar last night… but I need you to understand that alcohol decreases my anxiety so much that sometimes it seems like the only way I can make friends. After all, I need a support system here to make all of this easier to deal with. I left my friends, family, significant other, siblings, and pets at home. This is a major adjustment and I know I'm not the only one that isn't handling it well.

Above all, the hardest part of all of this is that I also need to take care of myself. I need to eat regularly and as best as I can. I need to keep myself and my room clean. I need to take my medications and if I'm lucky a multivitamin. This semester, I came to a point where I felt like I couldn't even take care of myself. It feels absolutely awful to be unable to take care of your basic needs. I don't know how and I don't know why, but this time I pulled through. I still need you to understand for me and all of your other students that are struggling. TC mark