Thought Catalog


Five Points On Living Madly

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 08:00 PM PST

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T-Immagin

1. The only thing somewhat eternal about the summer is the sadness that comes after. You miss the coast and the sand and skin so sun-kissed — little red sunburns bloomed all over it. You miss him, or her, or whomever it was that got you up when the moon was high, and moved you to blow out the saddest or sweetest song you knew below a thickly curtained bedroom window.

2. A blue whale's heart is the size of a car. Perhaps this explains the way these whales find their soul mates through miles of deep blue lonely ocean — singing their watery love songs like sirens in the sea. Perhaps this is how you found yours, or someday will.

3. Unfortunately, love is not a bridge or railroad, it is a phone line — a connection which ends as soon as one grows weary of the conversation. Maybe yours lasted months — in love with all of the intimate swells in their voice, drizzling like rainwater, you felt like they were somebody you would never tire of. But you were wrong — perhaps everything ends.

4. Some religious folk never quite understand the way atheists believe in sunsets too. Think of the constellation of freckles on her left cheekbone, or creek-water relieving a forest's thirst, or endless desert burning under sun— to me at least, these all seem far more beautiful as instances of magnificent chance than some tired rehearsal of God's plan.

5. Since it is our pasts and futures which provide us with an understanding of the concept of time, the closest thing we've got to forever is the present. So open your eyes and let all ten million colors pour in and feel your veins become backwards streams. And forget about that line in the book you were once read as children, because living, now that is the awfully big adventure. TC mark

This Is How You Make Your Life Your Own

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 07:00 PM PST

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Dustin Adams

Understand that there will never be a perfect time, a perfect way, to fall in love or out of love, but you must do it. You must. Tell the people who mean something to you that you care, hold them closely at night, and let them go if you cannot hold them any longer. Let those who walk away, walk away. Do not use them as emotional crutches, do not lure them back with memory and experience. Let them go if you do not love them the way you know you are capable of loving.

Cry when you need to cry, feel everything you need to feel within the body that you hold because you are allowed to be sad, you are allowed to feel deeply about the things that happen to you, about the people who leave. People will tell you to stop, people will tell you to get over it and to move on, but you – you must cry. You must come to terms with it, you must experience the hurt, because if you don't it will own you.

Do not wear your body like an apology. Wear it proudly. Be in awe of your form for what it is, for where it gets you, for what it allows you to feel and do. Love your legs not for their size, but for the mountains they have scaled, for the miles they have walked. Love your eager eyes not for their colour, or their shape, but for what they have allowed you to see, what they have turned into poetry for you.

Remember that right now you are someone who is living and breathing, someone who sees those who are sick and those who are dying as if they aren't a reflection of you yourself. You grieve over them, you are sad for them, but you must realize that you are exactly like them, for we are all dying, we are all sick. We are all experiencing fatality in different ways, because life is a ticking time bomb it isn't a grandfather clock. It moves quickly, it is not gradual. You do not have any moments to waste.

By no means do I have all of the wisdom in the world, by no means do I have the answers, but I do know that you should dance in antique shops, even if you have two left feet. You should go on roadtrips with the person you admire and you should kiss their neck and hold their hand with every mile that you chronicle. You should make love as loudly as you want, as often as you want. You should sit in your favourite park for hours on end; you should buy yourself flowers just because it is Tuesday.

You should,
you must,
above all else,
make your life your own. TC mark

Read more of Bianca Sparacino’s writing in her new book Seeds Planted in Concrete here.

Seeds_EOA_MarketingPlanting_Seeds_In_Concrete_hi-res

What Your Girlfriend Wants, But Will Never Ask For

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 06:00 PM PST

Oleg66
Oleg66

She wants you to touch her mindlessly while the two of you watch a movie – she doesn't want that ‘Netflix and Chill' touching, where the movie is clearly just a pretext to do something else. She wants you to drag your fingers lightly along her arm, in her hair, on her hand. She wants to know that you want to touch her as a matter of habit, as a reflex that just feels more right than doing nothing at all. Touching should become second nature, not always a means to an end.

She wants you to surprise her, but not with some grand gesture you saw in a movie. She doesn't need the guy lighting a hundred candles in the shape of a heart or a cheesy word, and she doesn't need to be serenaded with soft guitar music. She needs something that is romantic to just the two of you, exactly to your definition. Surprise her with a bacon egg and cheese and coffee on a Saturday morning after she's been working hard all week. Surprise her with a bar that's full of board games, so you can finally see who's actually better at Connect Four over vodka and orange soda. Pick a movie that you know she loves more than anything, even if she's already seen it a dozen times, and set up a movie night around it. Let her know that you notice the little things.

She wants you to say that you love her, at weird, random moments when no one would expect it. She wants your words to feel like a kiss on her forehead in the dark, something she can barely feel but which she absolutely needs to feel is there. She wants your love to be something fluid and effortless, not built around "big moments" you feel obligated to mark. Sure, there can be special events, but there's something a thousand times more heart-swoony about hearing a quiet "I love you" when she's got a face mask and bathrobe on, when she thinks she's at her least lovable, when it's the last thing she expects.

She wants you to love her just as much in front of your friends. She wants you to kiss her cheek, to joke with you, to be the exact same way around them as he is around you. She never wants to feel like the girlfriend who has to be dragged around, like she's an anchor to all of the fun you would otherwise be having. She hears the way other guys can talk about their girlfriends when they're not around, like their relationship is an obligation. She knows it would sound needy to ask, but she wants to know that you are never like that with her.

She wants to get a letter from you, to be surprised that you remembered something that she didn't, to hear the words "I already took care of it." There is nothing more wonderful than knowing that someone else has already been putting in the thought, that you were on their mind enough to commit it to writing or make real plans. Because that's the real romance that's been dying – the romance of being thoughtful, the romance of taking your time and doing things right. She doesn't want to be the thing you remember only when it's late and you don't want to sleep alone. She doesn't want to be the one you come over to pretend to watch a movie with, just so you can spend a few hours in her arms. She wants to be the one you plan ahead for, the one you take a few extra minutes to make things special for. She doesn't want your money or the things you can buy her, she wants your time. She wants your attention.

She wants your patience, in a world where everyone is going way too fast. TC mark

Why Do People Of Color Make Fun Of White People?

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 05:45 PM PST

Vimeo / Kato
Vimeo / Kato

I, like many other people of color, make fun of white people (a lot). I make no apologies for doing this. You get to be white in a world of global white privilege, and I get to be disadvantaged because of it. Thus, by default, I get to make fun of white people as much as I want. My one white friend tells me they have no problem with this, by the way. That was a joke. Did you miss it? (I have more than one white friend. And now that I've explained it, the joke isn't that funny anymore. Lame.) Lately, I've been thinking about all the dynamics that are involved in humor as a tool of survival in the world of identity, privilege, and disadvantage.

Two Sundays ago, I saw Dave Chappelle LIVE in Chicago. Having been a huge fan of Chappelle for many years and never having the chance to see him in the flesh until then, I was more than a little excited. Don't ask me for proof though – our cell phones were put in indestructible cases at the entrance of the venue, so there were no photos taken. You'll just have to take my word for it: Chappelle's still got it. Maybe not as much as he used to, but he's still definitely got it. (Also, I think they filmed it for a special so maybe you'll get to see it on HBO or something?)

Chappelle, like many black comedians, centers a lot of his comedy on race. Racial humor, when done right, has the capacity to have more social commentary and resistance potential than academic research. This is not a new idea, but comedians oftentimes do double duty as public intellectuals. Chappelle is one of those comedians. From his famous "racial draft" skit to his "reparations/Black money" skit, Chappelle has educated the attentive mind in the country as well as, and perhaps even better than, any cultural college class.

Racial humor, when done right, has the capacity to have more social commentary and resistance potential than academic research.

The truth of humor, however, and this is especially true in racial humor, and specifically in Chappelle's comedy, is that you can miss the underlying social meaning of the joke. There is of course, not only one social meaning in any one joke. There can be multiple interpretations used to deduce social commentary made in a single joke, and dependent on different lenses too.

But there are good and bad ways to conduct deductions of social commentary. Take Chappelle's reparations skit in which he showcases poor black people buying seemingly ridiculous (and stereotypical) things with reparations checks. Was it about making fun of the black and poor? Or was it about making commentary on the perceptions of how (white) America views the black and poor, and their perception of what would ensue if reparations were ever made to black Americans? One of these interpretations allows for more nuance on social commentary than the other. One of these interpretations allows for deconstructing Chappelle's comedy as more than a simplistic text that further disempowers the disenfranchised.

Not wanting to get away from the point of the premise however, why is racial humor (like Chappelle's) significant for understanding the social reality of people of color? Is it just as simple as humor's utility in making social commentary? Is it that humor is a tool of survival for people in disadvantaged positions in terms of sense-making and being able to deal with very harsh realities of discrimination and prejudice? It is probably both of these things. But there are also other dynamics involved in making making fun of the oppressor(s).

beetlejuice

Oscar Wilde gave us insight into the reasons for utilizing humor to make social commentary beyond the obvious reasons of survival and making general observations. In The Nightingale and the Rose, Wilde wrote, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you." That seems to lend itself to the idea that racial humor provides a way to say things that in polite conversation – and even in intellectual conversation – we might find it difficult to articulate. It is much easier to laugh at Aamer Rahman's joke about the historical events that would have to occur for reverse racism to be a real experience, and to juxtapose that racism doesn't constitute asking white people, "Why can't you dance?" than to digest social theories of race and history, that essentially say the same things (and even with statistical evidence to back such claims).

"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you."

Aside from offering survival, a means of sense-making, and the capacity to reveal hidden truths, racial humor is also socially located in shared experiences. Jazmine Hughes discussed this in her excellent piece earlier this year, "How Many White People Does It Take To Ruin A Good Joke? Hughes also discussed that the space of humorous racialized experience sharing for people of color, has become co-opted by white people making fun of white people. So the question arises of whether and how racial humor can continue to be a means of social resistance, when the privileged use it against themselves. Essentially, does white people making fun of white people offer any assistance in survival, sense-making, truth-telling, and shared experience for people of color?

One could argue that shared racial humor, especially when white people are in on the joke that makes white people the butt of the joke, offers a space where social bridges can be built between the experiences of people of color and white people. But it can also be argued that the space changes as a tool of shared experience for people of color when the privileged are making fun of the privileged, in what formerly constituted disadvantage-to-privileged humor.

On the one hand, it may mean that spaces based on shared experience morph into being more than for those who experience systems of discrimination – to include those who can choose to empathize. In this way, it can be easy to separate the white people who are "down," and those who "don't get it" i.e. those who you can't take to a Chappelle show with you. But it also means that people of color open the space up to be a place only for making fun of those white people who don't get it, rather than making commentary on entire systems and privileges of whiteness – that all white people benefit from at the expense of people of color.

In other words, even the space made for resistance, truth-telling, and shared experience can become a site where whiteness can be privileged. And in this context, the whiteness need only be accompanied by a certain neoliberal, down-with-the-struggle, "I really liked Drake's album" troupe.

In other words, even the space made for resistance, truth-telling, and shared experience can become a site where whiteness can be privileged.

Now, I think it's great that white people are making fun of white people. It certainly makes me less embarrassed when I mistakenly send a "black joke" to a white friend via text, or share an article that is hilariously relevant (but probably mostly to people of color). And it's certainly better than the racism that occurs when "fun" is made of people of color. Yes, we can take a joke (contrary to the emails I receive from white MRAs in my inbox), but for some reason, the jokes targeting us always seem to come with a side of dehumanization.

But I am also cautious enough to know that racial humor – which does immensely wonderful things for social commentary and public intellectualism – should be weary of the potential for whiteness to reimagine itself and continue its hegemony in a new age, and yes, even in humor; even if "it's just a joke." As we've learned, jokes, especially those told by comedians, are powerful tools that can at their best, force a nation to see its reflection in unflattering lighting, and even make insightful and powerful statements that empower the disenfranchised.

So how do we prevent this watering down of the otherwise powerful racial joke? Or more importantly, resist making racial humor another site of privilege for particular kinds of white people? (Yes, Drake listeners, I'm still looking at you.) I'm not entirely sure. But I think it starts and ends with humor and making new, good racial jokes that are cognizant of the new racial humor space where "white-on-white" (Ha!) jokes are rampant. Comedians and those of us who attempt to be funny in our everyday lives in terms of race, will have to make more intelligent jokes. The sort of jokes that even the "down" white person realizes, "Wow, that was funny and insightful and that joke is making fun of me. Not some other white person. That joke may even be resistance to racial oppression."

As for the white person who doesn't get it, well, you might find him or her in the comments section of an article on racial humor (or anything on race, really) probably yelling some version of, "If you wrote this about black people/people of color, that would be racist!!!" Or at the very least, telling the author something about how she should go back to Africa. Yawn. Let me guess, #AllJokesMatter, right? TC mark

8 Things That Happen When You Find Love Before You’ve Completely Healed From Heartbreak

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 05:00 PM PST

amyjhumphries
amyjhumphries

1. You realize that love can help you heal, but you can't expect it to do the work for you entirely.

It's almost taboo to suggest that love can "save" you in any way or form (it can't, independent of your own desire to fix yourself) but it can, however, help you heal – and it's supposed to. Oftentimes, it's actually a matter of letting go of why you're not supposed to let love in again, before you sabotage the new relationship along with the old.

2. You project old problems onto your new relationship.

Think of it like emotional muscle memory: when you're used to relating and interacting in a certain way within a certain kind of relationship, that doesn't necessarily change just because the person on the receiving end of it has.

3. You begin to recognize why it's so crucial to spend time apart between relationships.

The reason it's such a hit to the ego to lose a relationship is because of how deeply we identify with them. You need that space to reconnect to yourself before you transfer all of your time and attention onto somebody else. It just reminds you who comes first.

4. You realize that if you waited until you felt "ready" to move on, you'd be waiting forever.

It's not that you don't want to be alone or that you absolutely need a relationship, only that after a certain point, you must "take the leap." Nobody ever really feels like they're ready to move on, as the saying goes: "90% ready, 10% terrified."

5. You have to make a conscious effort not to let your new partner fill the gaps your old one left.

A lot of the time, we're most heartbroken not over who we lose, but what we think we lose along with them. If we felt our ex validated our self-esteem, it's the loss of self-esteem that we must mourn the most. Yet, unless you recognize the parts of your life you want someone else to "fill," you'll just keep transferring the responsibility for your happiness to everybody but yourself.

6. You realize that you do not have to stop your entire life to heal.

There's a misperception that to heal from a relationship or breakup, you must hit the pause button on basically everything else. While this is sometimes true to a degree, it can be more unhealthy than not if taken too far. You can just as easily work to strike a balance of taking it slow and learning to incorporate time for yourself into your life even if you are starting to date again.

7. You recognize how incredibly fortunate you are.

You were prepared to be alone for, ehm, ever, but you're so damn grateful things worked out the way they did.

8. You begin to subscribe ever so slightly more to the idea that "everything happens for a reason."

It's an annoying platitude mostly because nobody actually knows what that "reason" is, but in your case, it's that you had someone so much better suited for you on the way… you just couldn't see it at the time. TC mark

To My Future Wife: I Will Make You Proud To Have Me As Your Man

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 04:00 PM PST

Rfff

image –Raul Felix

I write this poem for you because I am lonely.
I write this at this moment because I don't know who you are,
Or even the prospect of who you may be.
I write this because I need to give myself hope,
To write some words that I desperately need to get out of my system.

Each day I work on myself.
Not just to make myself and my life better,
Also to be better for you.

I work on myself so when the time comes,
I am able to catch your attention and interest,
I am able to impress you with who I am,
I am able to show you I am worthwhile,
I am able to make you proud to have me as your man.

Some days, I struggle and I lie in my bed.
Feeling sorry for myself,
Feeling angry and frustrated,
Feeling defeated, worthless, cheap, dumb, and gullible.

Yet there is this fire inside of me,
I know I can't just lie there.
I have to continue on my trek to success.
I work hard to make the money to establish myself,
I work out to create a strong body for both your pleasure and protection.
I read in order to increase my wit, intelligence, and knowledge.
I write in order to keep myself sane and develop my true talent.

I want to be a good man.
I want to be good at being a man.
I want to be a good enough man for you.
All of this takes time.

You're out there; I believe that.
I make you this promise:
No matter how many fake numbers and false starts,
No matter how many flakes, ditzes, sluts, and users I deal with,
No matter how emotionally beaten I become,
No matter how many disappointments or heartbreaks in the process;
I will find you.

When I do,
You'll be glad to find out about me,
I am a man with the mental fortitude to endure all games,
I am a man with the drive to shrug off rejections with a smirk,
I am a man who is willing to put in the hard work to win you,
I am a man who doesn't quit.

One day you'll find this poem among my collections.
I wrote it not knowing who you are,
Yet knowing you exist.
In order to defeat cynicism and hopelessness,
To reignite that flame inside myself,
To move forward another day,
Take another step,
To becoming the man you'll fall in love with. TC mark

‘You’re Not Putting That Thing Inside Me’: 17 Women On When A Penis Is Just TOO Big

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 03:00 PM PST

Look Catalog
Look Catalog

1. IF A GUY CAME NEAR ME WITH A TEN-INCH PENIS I’D PROBABLY RUN AWAY SCREAMING

"I’m sorry but if a guy came near me with a 10″ penis I’d probably run away screaming….That just sounds waaaaaaaaaaaaay too frickin’ big."

2. TWELVE INCHES AND THE DIAMETER OF A COKE CAN

"It has only happened to me once and the size alone made me not even want to try. We are talking 12″ and the diameter of a Coke can. I actually felt badly for him."

3. ANYTHING OVER SEVEN INCHES HURTS

"Anything over 7 inches hurts. I like wider dicks better than long pencils. If a man knows what to do with it, any size works. I had a guy once and his dick was only 4 inches but his tongue was amazing. I think he could stick his tongue deeper in than his dick. I had the best orgasms ever with that boy. Never should have broken up with. Some girl is smiling right now with that tiny dick."

4. HE HAS A REALLY THICK PENIS (THINK LARGE CUCUMBER)

"My current guy and I get along great, but we may not be sexually compatible. He has a really thick penis (think large cucumber), and I seem to be too small! We have not had successful intercourse because it hurts me way too much."

5. I CAN WALK AWAY FROM A BIG DICK FAR MORE EASILY THAN A BIG BRAIN

"It was a few years ago now, so I don't recall every detail, but what I remember is that the first time we did it, he was on top of me, and then he was inside me, and he was huge. Bigger than anyone I'd ever been with. ‘And I'm only halfway in’ he said proudly. Clearly, he knew just how unusual his package was. ‘Really?’ I asked. I quickly got my answer, when he proceeded to thrust deeper into me and I winced. It wasn't painful exactly, but it wasn't comfortable, and it certainly wasn't sexy….I can walk away from a big dick far more easily than a big brain."

6. I RAN AROUND THE ROOM FOR MORE THAN AN HOUR TRYING TO GET AWAY FROM THIS MAN

"I have just entered into a relationship with a man. His penis is very large. It is nine inches long. When I tried to have sex with him, I told him that I couldn’t manage it. I tried, but I told him I can’t do it again. I did not enjoy having sex with him. Although he tried to take his time, it was very painful. I ran around the room for more than an hour trying to get away from this man."

7. I COULDN’T EVER HANDLE A THIRTEEN-INCH DICK INSIDE OF ME

"I think the perfect penis length/size is 7 inches. The 8 inches are kind of good too. The 9 inches are a little too much…for me. Anything above 9″ is too big for me and I couldn’t ever handle a 13-inch dick inside of me. Oww. With a 5-inch, it is okay, but it all depends on how guys handle their dicks!:) Anything below 5 inches is gross to me…and useless."

8. IT HURTS REALLY BAD WHEN IT BOTTOMS OUT

"If it is over 7 inches long I don’t want it. It hurts really bad when it bottoms out. I had sex with my brother-in-law once and it hurt so bad when he went all the way in. I told him never again if he doesn’t know when to stop."

9. I JUST DON’T LIKE HAVING THEM BANGING AGAINST MY CERVIX

"I like them about 5 inches or so. It makes oral sex so much easier. It still gets me off. I like them bigger around but short. I just don’t like having them banging against my cervix."

10. KEEP AWAY FROM THE MONSTERS—THEY HURT

"I once had a guy who was 8.5. It hurt like hell. I was sore for a week. I never wanted to have sex again. Big ones are nice to look at, but don’t touch me with that thing lol. I think 6 inches is just right you can do all positions and ride it all night long. Keep me away from the monsters—they hurt."

11. I PERSONALLY PREFER A SIX TO SEVEN-INCH DICK OVER SOME MONSTER PYTHON COCK

"My ex recently came back into town and we hooked up. He’s 6’3 and 10″ and thick whereas I’m 4″11 and pretty tight and it fucking HURT. I mean, hurt waaaay too bad to enjoy it. But I didn’t want to make it awkward so we finished. But I think it had more to do with the fact that I wasn’t wet at all (we pretty much jumped right to sex, no foreplay) and less with his size. We’ve hooked up before and it was great, I think this past time was just off. But I personally prefer a 6-7″ dick over some monster python cock. I mean, sure, it sounds nice, but it’s a bit too cumbersome."

12. I’M IN PAIN FOR UP TO A FULL DAY AFTERWARD

I have been marred for almost 2 years; we waited until we were married to have sex, but prior to my relationship with my husband, I had sex with old boyfriends. I have never. EVER. Had a problem with sex. However, my husband's penis is thick. Any and all penetration gives me vaginal tearing, which makes the rest of the event painful. I'm in pain for up to a full day afterward as well. This has resulted in sex once a month or less with my husband (that’s so awful…) So I feel like I am SOL. I feel awful for my husband and it’s affecting me psychologically now—every time sex fails I get further into a hole where I don't want to have sex anymore. This morning we tried to have sex and after it hurt I clenched up so much he couldn't penetrate—and I didn't even feel myself doing that!!"

13. I WAS USUALLY NERVOUS ABOUT HIM HURTING ME DURING SEX

"My ex was really large also and honestly, I don't think I ever got used to it and we were together for 11 years. I would get tears and bleeding sometimes because I have a sensitive cervix. I was usually nervous about him hurting me during sex, which just made matters worse. I did not like having sex with him and that's probably why he would cheat on me so much."

14. I had to see a doctor the day after because I thought he had shifted my womb

"I recently got in a relationship with a successful, caring and understanding young man and everything was fine until we started having sex. He has a huge penis—the first time I saw it I was in total shock. I had no idea that he was walking around with that weapon in his pants. At first, I thought I would get use to it after having sex couple of times with him but it has been more than three months now and it's the same tribulation I am going through. The irony of the situation is that I used to always jokingly tell my girl friends that I didn't want any small d*ck man but it seems that I have taken on more than I can handle….The first time we had sex I had to see a doctor the day after because I thought he had shifted my womb."

15. I CAN’T FIT BUT MAYBE TWO INCHES OF IT IN MY MOUTH

"I am very upset that I can never give my husband an orgasm during oral sex. His penis is huge and I can’t fit but maybe two inches of it in my mouth. I enjoy giving oral sex, but my poor little husband is doing without. I know he enjoys what little I do get to do, but it’s only so fun if you can’t take the whole thing in your mouth like I wish I could."

16. IT’S LIKE HE’S STABBING ME

"I’m a tiny girl, standing about 4’11” and my vag is pretty small. On the other hand, my boyfriend is about 6’7″ and is endowed to about a foot. While this might sound awesome, it really isn’t. It HURTS. He can only go about halfway in before it starts to hurt me, and then it’s like he’s stabbing me. Every time he hits the entrance to my cervix, it feels horrible."

17. IT NOW STRESSES ME OUT EVEN THINKING ABOUT HAVING SEX WITH HIM

"My boyfriend and I have been dating for a couple of months now…I’ll cut right to the chase…his penis is way too big. It’s by far the biggest I have ever seen and it’s becoming a real issue. The first time we had sex, and ever since then, it’s been painful and at times almost impossible to even get inside….While it would seemingly be a good thing, it now stresses me out even thinking about having sex with him, and I find myself not wanting to anymore. This also makes orgasm for me almost impossible because I’m so distracted by it. It hurts during and sore afterwards—and we don’t even have sex for that long!" TC mark

A Question That Burns Under The Fingernails: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 02:00 PM PST

Twenty20.com benjaminandrew
Twenty20.com benjaminandrew

Man’s Search for Meaning by psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor E. Frankl is listed as one of America’s ten most influential books. It narrates Frankl’s experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, in which he describes his psychotherapeutic method to cope in desperate circumstances and situations of great despair—and most importantly, why certain prisoners survived and fought thoughts of suicide while others didn't. He found that we can never avoid suffering; we can only decide how we respond to it and how we can move forward. The book insists that life is meaningful despite our circumstances and it motivates us to find meaning in hopeless times.

When asked the book’s success, Frankl said, "I do not at all see in my best-seller status of my book an achievement and accomplishment on my part but rather an expression of the misery of our time: if hundreds of thousands of people reach out for a book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life, it must be a question that burns under the fingernails."

Using Viktor E. Frankl's pearls of wisdom, I will attempt to walk you through the journey of finding meaning to your life when everything seems hopeless.

Don’t aim at success.

"Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it"

Finding meaning to our lives is not a smooth process.

"To be sure, man’s search for meaning may arouse inner tension rather than inner equilibrium. However, precisely such tension is an indispensable prerequisite of mental health. There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life. There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: ‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost anyhow.’."

Suffering ends where meaning begins.

"In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice."

Pleasure should not be the end goal.

"Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself."

Why are we here?

"What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life–daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual."

Finding hope in hopeless situations.

"They must not lose hope but should keep their courage in the certainty that the hopelessness of our struggle did not detract from its dignity and its meaning. I said that someone looks down on each of us in difficult hours-a friend wife, somebody alive or dead, or a God—and would not expect us to disappoint him. He would hope to find us suffering proudly—not miserably—knowing how to die."

We still have a choice.

"Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determining. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. Yet one of the main features of human existence is the capacity to rise above such conditions, to grow beyond them. Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary."

Society can blur the meaning of life.

"But today's society is characterized by achievement orientation, and consequently it adores people who are successful and happy and, in particular, it adores the young. It virtually ignores the value of all those who are otherwise, and in so doing blurs the decisive difference between being valuable in the sense of dignity and being valuable in the sense of usefulness. If one is not cognizant of this difference and holds that an individual's value stems only from his present usefulness, then, believe me, one owes it only to personal inconsistency not to plead for euthanasia along the lines of Hitler's program, that is to say, 'mercy' killing of all those who have lost their social usefulness, be it because of old age, incurable illness, mental deterioration, or whatever handicap they may suffer. Confounding the dignity of man with mere usefulness arises from conceptual confusion that in turn may be traced back to the contemporary nihilism transmitted on many an academic campus and many an analytical couch."

Love can salvage us.

"A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth—that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, ‘The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.’" TC mark

11 Disturbing Photos With Even More Horrifying Backstories

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 01:00 PM PST

1. Just Seconds Before A Bomb Went Off

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via Wiki Commons

The above photo was taken on August 15th, 1998 in Omagh, Northern Ireland. The subjects in the photo are a Spanish father and son who were on vacation with a group. The red car directly behind and to the right of them contained a car bomb that went off shortly after the photo was taken. The father and son lived however the photographer, another Spaniard traveling with the group, died. He was only of the 29 killed by the bomb. 220 more were injured. The bombing was carried out by a group that had splintered off from the Irish Republican Army and that called itself the Real IRA.

2. A Kidnapping

James Bulger
via Wiki Commons

This CCTV still shows two-year-old James Patrick Bulger being led away from his mother at a shopping center in England. The boy leading him away is one of the two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson or Jon Venables, who kidnapped Bulger and later tortured and killed him. It was later discovered that Thompson and Venables were at the shopping center that day for the express purpose of kidnapping and murdering a small child and the duo became the youngest people in the history of England to be convicted of murder.

via Wiki Commons
via Wiki Commons

Even more disgusting is the torment Bulger went through before dying.

At the trial it was established that at this location, one of the boys threw blue Humbrol modelling paint, which they had shoplifted earlier, into Bulger’s left eye. They kicked and stomped on him, and threw bricks and stones at him. Batteries were placed in Bulger’s mouth. Police believed some batteries may have been inserted into his anus, although none were found there. Finally, a 22-pound (10.0 kg) iron bar, described in court as a railway fishplate, was dropped on him. Bulger suffered ten skull fractures as a result of the iron bar striking his head. Dr. Alan Williams, the case’s pathologist, stated that Bulger suffered so many injuries—42 in total—that none could be isolated as the fatal blow.

The two young killers then placed the toddler’s body on a pair of train tracks believing that his death would then be blamed on being hit by a train.

Venables was released in 2010 but rearrested after being charged with child pornography possession.

3. The Genesee Hotel, 1942

A7PeNk8
via WitWisdom

In 1942, a woman named Mary Miller entered the women’s restroom of the Genesee Hotel in Buffalo, New York, climbed onto the ledge and committed suicide. The photo was taken by I. Russel Sorgi, a photographer for the Buffalo Courier Express who had only arrived on the scene because he’d followed the sirens of police responding to Miller standing on the hotel ledge.

Sorgi’s description of how the photo taken is both fascinating and macabre.

"I snatched my camera from the car and took two quick shots as [Miller] seemed to hesitate . . . As quickly as possible I shoved the exposed film into the case and reached for a fresh holder. I no sooner had pulled the slide out and got set for another shot than she waved to the crowd below and pushed herself into space. Screams and shouts burst from the horrified onlookers as her body plummeted toward the street. I took a firm grip on myself, waited until the woman passed the second or third story, and then shot."

Despite the popular media asserting that divorce was the reason for Miller’s suicide this was apparently not the case. Miller’s sister later said she had no idea why she had taken her own life and no concrete reason was ever given.

4. Honeymoon Murder

The above photo is of Tina Watson. In 2003, it has been asserted that she was killed by her husband while they were honeymooning in Queensland, Australia. Some claim that shortly after the photo was taken, Watson’s husband, Gabe Watson, turned off Tina’s regulator and held her in a bear hug until she passed out from lack of oxygen then swam to their nearby boat to ask for help.

Watson was eventually cleared of all charges in the matter but the speculation continues. Regardless of the circumstances, this photo captures Tina, a trained rescue diver, not long before she drown.

5. Heaven’s Gate

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via bizarrepedia

Founded in the 1970s, the Heaven’s Gate group believed that an alien spacecraft was following on the heels of Hale Bopp, a comet that passed close to the Earth in 1997 and was visible without a telescope for eighteen months. Heaven’s Gate members, believing that death was a doorway by which they could board the supposed alien craft, committed mass suicide on March 26th, 1997. All told, thirty-nine people killed themselves while lying in beds similar to those in the above photo in a rented home of a San Diego suburb.

Just as creepy, their website remains up, seemingly frozen in time, forever prophesying the arrival of Hale Bopp.

6. Columbine Class Picture

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via themysteryworld

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who perpetrated the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 can be clearly seen in this class picture pointing their fingers at the camera in a pretense at shooting it. Not long afterward, the duo would go on to murder twelve students and one teacher while injuring 21 more and shocking the nation.

via Wiki Commons
via Wiki Commons

7. The Prisoner

Yzsjuck
via alterdimensions

While it looks like something from an old horror movie, the above is a real photo taken in 1901 of Blanche Monnier, a French woman who was imprisoned in a padlocked room for 25 years prior to being discovered. Monnier was initially imprisoned by her mother and brother because they didn’t approve of her marrying an attorney she was in love with. Years later, even after the object of her affection had died, the mother and brother still refused to free her.

She was finally discovered by police after they recieved an anonymous letter which read: "Monsieur Attorney General: I have the honor to inform you of an exceptionally serious occurrence. I speak of a spinster who is locked up in Madame Monnier's house, half starved, and living on a putrid litter for the past twenty-five years – in a word, in her own filth."

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via

Both the mother and brother were subsequently imprisoned. The mother died fifteen days later but the brother was ultimately acquitted and set free. Blanche Monnier, apparently driven mad by her 25 years in solitary, never regained her sanity completely and died twelve years later in a mental hospital.

8. Workers Trapped On A Burning Turbine

via YouTube
Wind Turbine after exploding via YouTube

The above is a still of the aftermath of a 2013 turbine fire in the Netherlands. The original still below, depicts two maintenance workers, aged 19 and 21, who became stuck on top of the turbine as it caught fire with no way to get down. Both died, although you can see the two prior to the turbine’s explosion clutching one another tightly.

9. The Murder Of Travis Alexander

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via womenofmystery

This photo depicts the last photo of Travis Alexander while he was still alive in 2008. Shortly afterward, his ex-girlfriend Jodi Arias attacked him with a knife and murdered him, stabbing him a total of  27 or 29 times before shooting him in the head with a .25 caliber handgun. Arias also took photos of Alexander after she had killed him.

Arias was finally convicted of Alexander’s murder in April 2015 and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

10. Tyler Hadley’s Party Pic

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via themysteryworld

In 2011, 17-year-old Tyler Hadley of Port St. Lucie, Florida murdered both of his parents with a hammer and then spent three hours cleaning up the evidence before throwing a 60-person, highly destructive party where furniture was broken and cigarettes were put out on the couches. The bodies of his parents were in their bedroom the entire time the party was taking place. The above photo was taken by a person who attended the party.

Even sicker, according to a friend, Hadley had planned the whole thing.

“But two weeks before that they had been hanging out at Markey’s house when Tyler blurted out, in the middle of a conversation, that he “wanted to kill his parents and have a big party after.” Nobody had ever done that before, Tyler said — throw a huge party with the bodies still in the house.”

via Florida State Attorney General
The scene of the murder via Florida State Attorney General

11. Televised Suicide

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Budd Dwyer

Robert “Budd” Dwyer was a Republican State Senator in the 1970s and 1980s who, in 1986, was convicted of taking a bribe despite declaring his innocence. In 1987, after calling a press conference, Dwyer shot himself in the head in full view of the press. The above photo is of Dwyer warning members of the press back even as they became more and more agitated begging him not to do it.

It was later revealed that Dwyer actually had been innocent of the bribery charges when the state’s primary witness revealed that he had made up his testimony in order to receive a lighter sentence on a separate charge. TC mark

This Is Why You Should Date A Girl Who Eats

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 12:00 PM PST

Twenty20, kellydecoteau
Twenty20, kellydecoteau

Let's be honest. There's nothing worse than scooting into the booth across from your girlfriend with a heaping plate of fried chicken, three slices of meat lover's pizza, some curly fries, mashed potatoes (because there's no such thing as too many potatoes), a scoop of corn (you made a solid attempt at being healthy…for a second), and a breadstick just to top of the final dose of carbs…and she's poking at a plate of leaves.

Why should you date a girl who eats?

1. You know you'll get your money's worth.

Buffets are all about getting delightfully full on your dollar. (Expensive dollar, that is.) But there's nothing worse than taking a girl to a buffet and her ordering a baby-animal-sized meal, then claiming she's full. Or even worse, missing out on the buffet experience altogether because your chick sucks at eating.

2. You'll never feel like a fatso around her. 

Buffet, restaurant, dinner at Grandma's—the goal is to eat. And eat a lot. Mealtimes are when you're supposed to lose track of time and place and it's socially acceptable to stuff your face. With a girlfriend who eats, you'll get lost in the wonderful food-consuming experience. (You better watch those cheesecake bites though…she's a stealer.)

3. No more awkward dates.

No more scowls at your two slices of apple pie and ice cream or disinterested glances at the door when she's done and you're only on your second plate.

With a girl who eats, you'll make conversation between bites and have plenty to talk about between rounds two and three…and dessert.

4. You might spend money, but it's worth it.

Okay, so she's not going to order the kid's meal and pick at it. She's going to order the full on meal with the side soup. Not the most expensive thing on the menu, but she is going to eat. It's worth it though. Every penny, and every finger-licking, fork-sharing moment. Eating is fun. Eating with someone you love is fun. And sharing bite for bite—what's more romantic than that?

5. She knows what's important in life and enjoys it.

You've heard the quote, 'the way to a guy's heart is through his stomach'. Well, like it or not, you know it's probably 99% true. And what's better than dating a girl who knows (and loves) the value of food? (The answer is nothing.)

6. She's confident.

You want to date a girl who knows herself. Who knows what kind of restaurant she wants to go to. Who knows what kind of salsa she wants on her burrito. Who enjoys eating and isn't afraid to show it.

She's comfortable in her own skin and she's herself around you. You won't find a better type of girl. Or a better relationship.

7. She knows how to take care of herself

Health-wise and financially, she knows that her love of food can get her into trouble sometimes. But she knows how to take care of herself. She knows when to hit the gym. She works so she can pay for her own meals. She's got her sh*t together. And that makes her even more attractive. (If that was even possible.)

8. And she'll be more fun.

She's the girlfriend who will eat wings, drink beers, and watch football with you and the guys. She'll always order the best food and share it with you, thus broadening your food horizons. She loves eating, so she's probably a boss in the kitchen. And if that wasn't enough, she'll make your dinner dates, wine-and-cheese movie nights, and pretty much every other mealtime a bonding, happy experience. Life really can't get any better than that. TC mark