Thought Catalog


You Were The Storm That Changed The Skyline

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 08:00 PM PST

Chris Lawton
Chris Lawton

There are storms that change the skyline, that leave patches
of blue where branches had once spread their brittle fingers.
And in the aftermath, an eerie calm settles over the forest,
as shell-shocked birds sing warily in the sunlight. The
nervous flutter of their injured wings, barely audible above
the hammering of a hummingbird’s heart.

You once told me the wind is silent. How his sound can only
be heard through collision. Last night, he cried with a
violent yearning while he tore through the trees. As he
brought down their twisted branches, I thought of the first
time you said my name.

You were the storm that changed the skyline. After the
damage and the deluge, I could see things so much clearer.
There hasn’t been another like you since.

In 1953, we began naming hurricanes so we could remember
them beyond the wreckage. So we could make sense of the
destruction. It is the way I remember you.

Like this poem? Read more in Lang Leav's book Memories, available here.

The Nine Goodbyes Of Your Breakup

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 07:00 PM PST

DSC_1951
Drew Wilson

The very sad truth about goodbyes is that your lips are often the last to know it. See the first goodbye is uttered between 3am bodies, restless in the night, slowly inching apart towards opposite ends of the mattress and your hands never touch – and rather than awakening to find your sleep-covered eyes locked with your lover's gaze as you always have, you will instead find yourself staring up at ceilings or into crooked shoulder blades with edges crueler than a cliff face.

The second comes in those rare moments you now spend alone. Where conversations without ends once flourished fewer words are now spoken– with points sharper than spearheads and phrasing blunter than cement bricks. Searching for words which once came easy will become excruciating and the silence will slowly sour your hearts. There is now no turning back.

The third goodbye will appear in those nights out apart, each shaking and strobe light-licked body will become a what-if, and you will hold the stare of a stranger for just a second longer than you should, and even the emptiest of promises will cause your skin to sweat. You will kiss the love out through your mouth and call it a mistake. You will fuck the hurt out of your skin and call it nothing because it is.

The morning after you will return to him, and your conscious will hold inside it more guilt than the verdict of an open and shut murder trial. You will ask him to sit and the trembling in your hands will speak the fourth goodbye while your eyes scream the fifth and the ums and ahs will spit the sixth, the seventh, eighth and ninth.

And you will find that when your lips at last whisper goodbye it will not pain you like it should, because your heart will have spoken it many times before, it was simply misunderstood. TC mark

I Don’t Write For You (But Damn, Am I Happy You Hate Me)

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 06:00 PM PST

12374959_10153673228020791_1308145171133578213_o (1)

I've finally discovered the source of our confusion. Force of nature, somehow too implicit to identify.

I enter the situation—that is, any situation—in retreat. Synonyms, in this case, include: defense, absence.

For you, however, the point of entry is confrontation. Affirmative action, offensive measure.

I've had it all wrong, you see.

You: Object.

Me: _______.

* * *

Yesterday, a boy approached me.

"Why did you write about my friend? He's a homie. He's nice."

I told the boy, "I'm glad he's your friend. I'm glad you think he's nice."

He responded, "Why did you write about him, then?"

To which I retorted, "Because he's not my friend. And he wasn't nice to me."

"But he's a good guy."

"I'm thrilled."

"Don't hate him."

"Don't know him."

"You should get to know him."

"I'd rather not."

* * *

Listen, Christian. I don't write for you, and I don't write for your friend. And while I'm sure White Phallus is perfectly nice to you and your homies, he offended me. I owe him nothing, and that isolated experience I had with him is mine to write.

If my friend were to interrogate you, Christian—if she were to scan your brown skin and launch an unsolicited game of 21 questions about which war-torn region of Africa you're from—that ignorant, dull meeting would be yours. Yours to paint, yours to write, yours to sing, yours to publish. And with all my love and respect for that friend, I would be a consummate asshole to defend her with blind misconstruction—to saunter up to you and to tear open the bruise she forced by insisting that you must've misunderstood her social illiteracy. That she's my friend. That she's "nice."

These words do not fashion themselves. On occasions like these, they rot inside me before they find their way to the page and breathe.

If your friend didn't want me to write poorly of him—if he wanted me to pen sweet somethings that reflected all his niceness with poetic splendor—then he shouldn't have fucked with me. Particularly since my reputation clearly precedes me—he should've acted nice. These words do not fashion themselves. On occasions like these, they rot inside me before they find their way to the page and breathe. I don't write them mindlessly. And I always hedge the anonymity of my subjects, even when all my sense tells me they don't deserve any creative protection.

So please, Christian. Holster your gun. Never again approach me with the chauvinistic assumption that I should defend your homies with respect for the history of your friendships. I don't scare easy. And I've lived two decades in a place where people constantly remind me that silence—that never making a scene—is always best. That if a man should gall me or paint my skin "Puerdo Rikan," I should grin and bear it. I should stay quiet. I should fancy that he's a nice guy, despite the fact that he was not nice to me.

Unfortunately for you, that's not how I operate. I'm very loud. I'm brash and wild and I don't like to hold my tongue—not for no woman, not for no man. And I know how it sends hot lava through your veins, I do. Ask the anonymous asses who spit fire below some of my more incendiary titles. Jesus, just talk to my mother.

Fortunately for me, you'll never quite realize that your venom gives me life. It fuels me. Without it, what steam would I have to write?

I take back what I said: Pull the trigger. Never stop firing. And I'll never stop writing. TC mark

Most People Aren’t Forever: 10 Signs You’ve Confused A “Teacher” For A “Soul Mate”

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 05:00 PM PST

trangxng92
trangxng92

1. Your soul mates are the people you feel completely at ease around. You do not have to win or work for their validation or love. This can seem confusing if not off-putting if the only "love" you are used to is that which you have to earn – but of course, that is not real love.

2. You can talk to your soul mates forever and never run out of anything to say. You talk about everything, nothing, the same 10 things over and over again – and it never becomes less interesting.

3. It doesn't seem like you choose to be with your soul mates as much as you just… are. There's a certain kind of effortlessness with the people you end up spending your life with – you just "click," and gravitate back to one another over and over again.

4. The only time your relationship with your teachers becomes unbearably painful is when you try to make them soul mates. The tumultuous love we want to last forever, the person whose approval we never had but desperately want, the person with whom we feel a deep attraction, yet total discord that we can't reconcile… these are traits of people who are not long for our lives, but they're not meant to be.

5. Your teachers come back into your life again and again until you've learned what you need to know. Most often, that lesson has to do with learning to love yourself or change the way you think and see the world. (It's always heavy!)

6. You spend time mentally and emotionally laboring over whether or not one of your teachers will re-enter your life – or if you'll spend your lives together. With your soul mates, that does not happen. Sure, you may have a fleeting concern or consider it, but it's not an existential crisis.

7. You are severely in denial that one of your teachers isn't your soul mate. In fact, just reading up until this point makes you want to click off and completely disregard it altogether.

8. You are the one who decided they didn't want a relationship with one of your teachers, yet at the same time, you're wishing and begging for them back. This applies to both romantic relationships as well as friendships – you cut it off, and now you have a problem with it.

9. You never take time to consider what it means that you and your soul mates are together.
You don't do anything but when you think about you and your "teachers." You honestly just don't think or care about how other people see you or what it "means" about you that you're with this person. When it comes to a "teacher," that is almost the entire appeal (or crisis).

10. Sometimes habits you developed in dealing with teachers will bleed over to your relationships with soul mates, but you'll stick it out. You'll end up more close to those people because you've worked through your old issues and habits together. TC mark

9 Barbaric And Brutal Experiments And Tests Governments Performed On Gay People

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 04:00 PM PST

via YouTube
via YouTube

1. The Aversion Project

For seventeen years (1971-1989), the South African government carried out a project of ferreting out homosexuals (men and women) from the military and subjecting them to medical torture and forced sex change operations. All of those forced into the program were conscripted by the South African government and therefore had no choice but to take part in the program.

Methods used by government supported Army psychiatrists and chaplains included chemically castration, electro shock treatment, among others. All told, 900 individuals were forced to change their sex under the program although that is not the total number of people who underwent this insane and brutal treatment that robbed individuals of their personal identities by manipulating their sexuality.

Here’s just one first-person account of an individual who underwent this therapy.

I was just turned 18 when I joined the SADF in 1985. Shortly I found that I was bissexual and began to engage in homosexual relationships with others. About a few months later the authority summoned me to enquiry and requested me to have the “treatment”. They forced me to recognize I was a homosexual before my parents and colleagues. They applied electroshock treatment on me. The electroshock treatment last for over half a year, which failed to “cure” my “disease”. Then they administered medication on me without telling me what that was actually about. When the effects of hormones therapy became irreversible, they persuaded me through continued counselling that only a change of sex can cure my disease. They pushed me to the operation table to have the gender reassignment surgery.

2. Nazi Concentration Camps

The upside down pink triangle was used to mark a person as a homosexual via wiki commons
The upside down pink triangle was used to mark a person as a homosexual via wiki commons

Homosexuality was banned in 1933 when the Nazi Party came to power. Viewed as counter to the plans to produce and propagate a German master race, circa 50,000 individuals were convicted for being homosexuals during the reign of the Reich with as many as 15,000 of those individuals being sent to concentration camps.

All indicators point to the notion that homosexuals were treated worse than any other group in these camps with guards treating them with especial cruelty. Sixty percent of homosexuals would die in these camps where they were also shunned by Jews, members of the intelligensia, Roma, and other persecuted minority groups. They were people without a protective group.

What’s more they were also the subjects of repeated Nazi experimentation ranging from castration to experiments intended to locate the causes of homosexuality so as to eradicate it. Even after World War II had ended, homosexuals who had died or been imprisoned in the camps were not acknowledged as having been victims of Nazi persecution due to the overwhelming stigma.

3. The Lebanese “Egg” Test

Last year in Lebanon, five men criminally accused of homosexuality were forced to submit to a police ordered test on behalf of the "Moral Protection Bureau." The test consists of sticking an egg up the victim’s rectum. I refer to them as victim’s because the practice is defined as torture by international law.

What exactly the test is supposed to show is unclear but in previous years it was banned after a police raid of a theater suspected of showing pornography resulted in thirty five of such tests being conducted. Refusal to take the test in those cases was used as evidence that they were homosexuals.

4. Kenyan Rectal Examination

via flickr - AMISOM Public Information
via flickr – AMISOM Public Information

In Kenya, owning a DVD of “Queer As Folk” is enough to get you drawn up on homosexuality charges. As recently as September of this year, two men were arrested because of neighborhood rumors and then forced to undergo an anal examination consisting of sitting in stirrups while a doctor tells you to cough and then looks at your sphincter with a magnifying glass. The practice has been condemned by the UN Committee against Torture and the World Medical Association.

5. Kuwaiti Homosexual Detection

Homosexuals are banned in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to make sure none slip past, Kuwait, in 2013, instituted a testing method for expatriates entering the tiny oil-rich country to make sure they aren’t homosexual. The Kuwaiti government declined to explain just what this test would consist of but I’m willing to bet it involves an egg, a rectum, and the violation of international law.

6. The Canadian “Fruit” Machine

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Canadian government was hell bent on making sure no one working for the government was a homosexual. In support of this, they came up with a test designed to detect homosexuals. The machine wasn’t really a machine at all and consisted solely of sitting the potential homosexual down in a chair and using a camera recording their pupils. The subject would then be shown lots of pictures, some dull and some racy, of both men and women. Dilation of the pupil while looking at someone of the same sex naked meant you were a homosexual.

The Canadian government collected files on 9,000 people they had tested this way and that had been deemed homosexual. The problem with this test besides it being humiliating was that it was based on scientific presumptions that weren’t warranted and hadn’t been studied ie that there was a standard dilation across all males or females that was “normal” and that unconscious pupil dilation itself corresponded with arousal. In short, the test wasn’t a test at all.

7. Shock Therapy

via Flickr - otisarchives
via Flickr – otisarchives

Rock legend Lou Reed stated in his biography that as he was growing up his parents subjected him to electroshock therapy to purge his mind of attraction to men. It didn’t work. Reed remained bisexual until the day he died and wrote a song about the experience.

However, that hasn’t stopped organizations and some psychiatrists in China from making the same insane mistake of torturing homosexuals in an attempt to make them straight. The entire concept is based on a Pavlovian kind of aversion therapy not really all that different from self flagellation if you think about it.

This sort of thing used to be fairly common and was accepted science in the U.S. prior to 1973. It was so accepted, in fact, that electroshock devices were available for home use so you could pointlessly torture your son or daughter in the privacy of your own house.

8. Lobotomy

via Wiki Commons
via Wiki Commons

Some homosexuals were forced into lobotomies in the belief that they would be cured of their sexual orientation. The lobotomies were the crudest kind, literally an icepick through the eye and into the frontal lobe.

One prominent lobotomist Walter Jackson Freeman II who is estimated to have performed 4,000 lobotomies over the course of his career. Of those 4,000, 30 to 40% were homosexuals. This was, of course, considered sound science at the time.

..the “icepick” lobotomy and was performed by inserting a metal pick into the corner of each eye-socket, hammering it through the thin bone there with a mallet, and moving it back and forth, severing the connections to the prefrontal cortex in the frontal lobes of the brain.

9. Chemical Castration

via Wiki Commons
via Wiki Commons

Initially reserved for treatment of pedophiles, Chemical Castration was used as recently as the 50s in experimental treatments of homosexuals designed to rid them of their feelings for men. Initially, testosterone was used in the treatment because the belief was that increasing a gay man’s testosterone would make them more manly and therefore reduce or eliminate their sexual desire for men. It didn’t work. In fact, it made them feel more sexual desire. After that failure, estrogen began to be used instead with horrifying effects.

Alan Turing, the man who arguably enabled the Allies to win World War II was chemically castrated, forced to take estrogen that reduced his libido to zero, in order to avoid prison in the United Kingdom. This despite being a war hero. The drugs rendered Turing impotent and caused him to grow breasts and he eventually killed himself. In 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown publicly apologized on behalf of the government for their treatment of Turing. TC mark

63 Steps To Survive The Worst Moments Of Your Life

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 03:00 PM PST

PeopleImages
PeopleImages

Step 1: Slap yourself in the face. Hard, preferably. Because if a slap in the face seems too painful to consider, then whatever problem you're dealing with right now is really not that big of a problem. You're likely just milking it for attention or the chance to feel sorry for yourself.

It's only when you're truly wallowing in the depths of pain and failure that you think, "Hah! Slap myself in the face? That's nothing compared to my problem. Watch, I'll do it three times."

So either slap yourself or shut your mouth and get on with your life.

Step 2: Don't compare your suffering to others. No, it doesn't matter if your brother had something twice as bad happen to him last year. It doesn't matter if your cousin got hit by a car and never complained about it.

You don't actually know these things, so you don't get to compare yourself to these things.

We all feel things slightly differently. Therefore we all suffer slightly differently. Stop measuring how much of a right you have to feel bad and just let yourself feel bad.

Step 3: Identify the feeling. What is it? Anger? Grief? Jealousy? Sadness? Despair?

Step 4: Don't repress it. Repressing negative emotions kills you.1, 2 That's kind of literal. That means if someone close to you asks, "How are things?" You respond with, "I feel like dog shit," not with, "Oh, I'm greeeeeeat," and then run away to cry into your cereal bowl and wonder why nobody in the world cares about you.

Speaking of which…

futurama_sadnes

Step 5: Go ahead and cry if you need to. No shame. It's healthy.3 We all need to cry sometimes.

Step 6: Seriously. Don't worry. I won't make fun of you. I promise.

Step 7: See, doesn't that feel nice? You want some tissues? A hug maybe?

Step 8: Solicit Mark for a free hug. There may be some logistical issues involved, but whatever. It's the thought that counts, right?

Step 9: Blame somebody else for all of your pain. Now that you've cried it out, let's get to what's really important: whose fault is this? Who is the idiot here? Figure out who that person is ASAP so we can lynch the bastard.

Step 10: Once you've figured out who to blame, immediately forgive that person. No matter how hard it is.4

Step 11: Identify what you could have done better. Maybe what happened to you wasn't your fault, but that doesn't mean that you couldn't have handled it better. What did you mess up? What do you wish you could go back and change?

Step 12: Immediately forgive yourself too. We all could be better.5

Step 13: Understand that life has costs. Anything good in life requires some sort of risk or sacrifice. No exceptions. None of us make it through life without a few scars.

Step 14: Understand that pain, no matter how deep, eventually passes. Nothing lasts. It will eventually get better.

Step 15: Understand that at the bottom of every shithole there's buried gold. Stop trying to climb out and start looking for it.

Step 16: Tell somebody close to you how you feel. Expect nothing from them in return. If they don't hug you, I will.

Step 17: Tell them "I'll Be OK" even if you don't believe it yet. Because you're right, you will be OK. Even if you're dying, you will be OK.

Step 18: If you have nobody to tell how you feel, then talk to a therapist or a support group. There's a support group for practically everything these days. Maybe go to one even if you do have somebody to talk to.

Step 19: If you're nervous about the whole therapist/support group thing, print out copies of this picture of a dog in a taco suit and show it to everybody when you arrive.

pug_taco

Step 20: OK, you don't have to do that. But it's funny to think about.

Step 21: Promise yourself that you'll do something nice for somebody less fortunate than you. Nothing makes us happier than when we make others happy.6 Donate to a charity. Give someone a gift. Buy a homeless man a haircut.

Step 22: Then actually go do it.

Step 23: Don't tell anybody you did it. Don't take a selfie of you and the homeless man and his new haircut and post it on Facebook. Keep it as your own special secret.

Step 24: Don't be afraid to be alone sometimes. Become your own best friend.

Step 25: Come up with three life lessons from this shitty situation. This is the hard work. This is the unfun stuff. It's so much easier to hop online and blame someone and post angry comments on Reddit and YouTube. But this is the most important step. So take it seriously.

What can this horrible experience teach you? How can you use it to make something better of yourself? Come up with three ways. Write them down if you need to.

Step 26: Promise yourself that you'll take advantage of these lessons and be better next time.

Step 27: Tell yourself that it's actually good that this god awful thing happened to you and that maybe you will be grateful for it one day.

Step 28: Then realize that you're probably lying to yourself. Sometimes things just suck.

Step 29: Refrain from stabbing somebody, including yourself. This one is important.7

Step 30: Understand that most things in life are both good and bad at the same time. What changes is our perspective.

Step 31: Pour yourself a drink. But skip this step if you are: a) an alcoholic, b) have a medical condition that prevents alcohol use, c) already drunk, or d) 12-years-old.

Step 32: Take a moment to think about all of the things in your life that are amazing. If you can't think of anything, think harder. This article might help.

Step 33: Consider how fortunate you are to have those amazing things in your life. I mean, you could have been born in 14th century Africa and had your penis cut off.

Step 34: Come up with three ways your life could be way, way, way worse. There's always a worse.

Step 35: If you can't come up with anything, take an afternoon and go visit your local children's cancer ward.

Step 36: Or just google it and then lie and say you visited one.

Step 37: Start feeling really guilty once you realize you're not a child who has fucking cancer.

Step 38: Immediately forgive yourself.

Step 39: Pour yourself another drink. Cancer sucks.

Step 40: Watch this video of a cat in a shark suit chasing a duck on a Roomba.

Step 41: Understand that the internet is frickin' amazing.

Step 42: But don't post some wishy-washy thing on Facebook looking for sympathy. That's shallow and counter-productive.

Step 43: And don't go trolling other people and using your sadness/anger/hate as an excuse to fuck with other people, even if online.

Step 44: Don't give into the urge to stereotype. The internet makes this too easy. Just because your wife left you doesn't mean all women are superficial whores. Just because your friends didn't know how to act at your dad's funeral doesn't mean people are shallow and heartless. The world is a complicated place.

Step 45: Tell your mother you love her. Email her. Call her. Text her. Whatever, she's your mother. If you don't have a mother, tell your sister. If you don't have a sister, tell your best friend. If you don't have a best friend, tell the mailman.

Step 46: Understand that mailmen need love too. We all do.

Step 47: Practice patience. Pain takes time to resolve. There are 63 steps on this thing for a reason.

Step 48: Do something nice for yourself. Eat some ice cream. Play some video games. Masturbate. Or do all of the above at the same time.

Step 49: If you still feel shitty, then sleep on it.

Step 50: If you can't sleep, make sure you stopped drinking.

Step 51: Set your alarm the next morning. Get up and make sure you do something useful and productive first thing, no matter how awful it feels and no matter how much you don't want to. Even if it's a small thing.

Step 52: Meditate.

Step 53: Sing your favorite song at the top of your lungs. It's a new day! Preferably do it in the shower or car so nobody has to listen to you.

Step 54: If you haven't already, now is the time to stop crying. If you can't, return to Step 7 and repeat the process until you do.

Step 55: Remember those three lessons you used to convince yourself that this was a good thing for like two minutes yesterday? Decide how you can implement one of those lessons today and then go do it.

Step 56: Repeat Steps 47-55 for anywhere from the next three weeks to the next three years. It's OK. We'll wait for you.

Step 57: Remember: patience.

Step 58: Get out of the house and go be social. Even if you don't want to.

Step 59: When you're with a group of people who like you, tell them about the painful horrible thing that happened a while back. Tell them something funny about it. Laugh together about it.

Step 60: Laugh at how much you cried. Laugh at how you couldn't sleep. Laugh at how you masturbated while eating ice cream.

Step 61: Realize that you're not alone. People care. Even if they don't always know how to show it.

Step 62: Realize that in hindsight, the pain is always far less important than it first seemed.

Step 63: Realize that your problems are not special or unique, that you are not special and unique. And this is good news. Because it means that you will never ever have to suffer alone. TC mark

13 Teachers Reveal Their Most Ridiculous Parent-Teacher Conference Experiences

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 02:00 PM PST

Twenty20, nikmock
Twenty20, nickmock

1. "There's a mother sitting in the chair just outside my classroom door. As I finish one conference, I step out and extend my hand for her to shake. She completely ignores it and pushes past me into the room. Then she proceeds to stand and tell me that her son 'Doesn't do B-level work' and I should ‘Perhaps consider an occupation in a better-suited field.'"

– Adam, 45

beetlejuice

2. "In the middle of a conference, this dad starts talking about the newly-implemented Standards Based Grading system at the school. He goes, 'Yeah, I heard there was a couple meetings and a big uproar about it…But it’s just grades. Who cares? Get over it.'"

– James, 55

beetlejuice

3. "One of my first conferences as a student teacher, this parent introduces herself to my cooperating teacher and I, then turns to me and says, 'Now how long are you here for? Because I have to be honest, the kids don't really like you.'"

– Rachael, 23

beetlejuice

4. "We're having this conference, and in the middle of me telling Mom and Dad Audrey's last quiz score, Dad burps very loudly and totally acts like it didn't happen, as did the rest of the family."

– Jamie, 29

beetlejuice

5. "Don't ask me how the conversation turned to superheroes, but all of a sudden this dad pulls down his shirt collar and goes, 'Hey, check out my cool superman tat!' Umm…okay, cool? I wasn't really sure how to respond."

– Isabel, 27

beetlejuice

6. "So I'm sitting there, and Johnny's parents are telling me that I must not know what I'm talking about since Johnny's always been a straight A student and doesn't struggle with math. I smile, nod, and tell them that Johnny is a great student, but he struggled on our last test. Their classic angry-parent response: 'Test? What test?'"

– Elizabeth, 33

beetlejuice

7. "I am in the middle of a short presentation to about thirty or so parents on Curriculum Night. I'm talking about Google Classroom, which my science course uses for in and out of school activities and homework. This father interrupts me and goes, 'Do you really expect Cam to finish all that homework? He has football practice every night! I don't think you teachers understand that students have lives outside of school.'"

– David, 40

beetlejuice

8. "One of my worst conference memories? This student wanders over to my desk while I'm explaining something to his parents. He looks at this 'Super Teacher' cartoon I have posted on the wall above my computer. Student: 'Why do you have that posted on your desk?' Me: 'Because it looks like me!' (We have identical blonde hair and it's an inside joke between teachers.) Student: 'But you don't really think you're that skinny…do you?' Parent: *Snorts.* Says nothing."

– Jen, 41

beetlejuice

9. "I'm trying to tell a couple that there have been several incidences where their daughter has been caught stealing from other sixth graders. Mom, with hands on her hips says, 'I really don't care what you have to say about this. It's your job to teach these kids right from wrong. Not mine.'"

– April, 32

beetlejuice

10. "I'm explaining the syllabus to a group of six or seven parents. All of a sudden this father laughs obnoxiously and says, 'You expect my kid to write a two page paper? He's in eighth grade!'"

– Matt, 38

beetlejuice

11. "It's my second conference of the year. A couple walks in, unannounced, and the mother goes, 'Sam tells me you don't do that good of a job updating the grade book. Care to comment?'"

– Rebeccah, 26

beetlejuice

12. "My most annoying conference was when this Dad's phone is going off. I mean, it keeps going off. Probably five times. And every time he picks it up, wipes the screen, fiddles with it for a moment, and leaves the volume on loud."

– Angie, 29

beetlejuice

13. "My favorite conference memory? This dialogue between a parent and child. Parent (to me/out loud): 'Wait! You expect my kid to learn that? That's way too hard! I can't believe that the school expects them to know that!' Parent (to child): 'Do you even understand what is going on in school? Student: 'Yes, Mom. Apparently I am way smarter than you are!'"

– Kyle, 56 TC mark

Left At The Altar: 10 Heartbroken Brides Describe How It Feels

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 01:00 PM PST

Pablo Torri
Pablo Torri

1. IT’S AN EMPTY HOLE IN MY BODY THAT FEELS BOTTOMLESS

"The person I love most in the entire world has left me. Gone. Vanished. And the real kicker here folks—he left by choice. You all know this and yet you still say it's 'his loss." As if that is supposed to make me feel better, console me; make me the 'bigger person.' It does none of the above because the truth of the matter is: I have experienced a loss….I cried so much for the first few weeks that I thought I would get dehydrated from all the water loss. I cried at any moment I could get alone, and around people with whom I felt comfortable….When I see other couples holding hands, when I turn on sports, when I hear his name, when I dream of his touch, when I get another invitation to a fucking wedding, I am jolted with a pain that knocks me off my feet for a bit. It's an empty hole in my body that feels bottomless some days, and will never be filled."

—Megan

2. ‘I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE’ IS ALL HE TOLD ME

"Not so long ago, I had my whole life planned out; wedding invites were mailed, future kids' names were picked out. I even had monogrammed hand towels with my new last name on them. My fiancé at the time had been getting kind of distant, but I assumed it was just wedding jitters. Spoiler alert: it wasn't. 'I don't love you anymore' is all he told me—and just like that my entire world came crashing down. I would find out later my best friend and would-be bridesmaid who needed a place to stay and was living with us was sleeping with him. They're now publicly together, and I don't talk to either of them."

—Chelsey

3. HEARTBROKEN, HUMILATED, DEVASTATED

"I was an hour away from the wedding I'd always dreamed of—on a beach in Hawaii—with the man who was my best friend….He came into the room and said we needed to talk alone. He was crying. I assumed he was letting the emotion of the day get to him. Then he said it. 'I don't think I can do this.' I couldn't understand. I asked: 'Are you joking?' He shook his head. I stood there—with the veil already in my hair. This man who was supposed to be the love of my life was telling me he was calling off the wedding less than an hour before we were due on the beach. I didn't even ask why. I told him to leave. That hotel room suddenly felt so small….While I'd been out that morning, he had taken all his clothes and passport. He'd actually left me. I was heartbroken. Humiliated, devastated.

—Cyndi

4. I WAS AS LOW AS A PERSON COULD GET

"It’s the happiest day of your life. And then, in a moment, it’s the worst day of your life. Just like that…He said, 'I can’t do it.'…You know that feeling you get when you get bad news?…I was as low as a person could get….I can remember lying on that couch one day and thinking, you know what, how in the world did I get here? How did I get here?"

—Marilyn

5. FIVE WORDS THAT CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER: ‘I JUST CAN’T DO IT’

"We were there, and everybody was happy and excited, and he was late. I didn’t think anything about it at first because he was kind of always late. When he finally came in, I didn’t see him at first. His sister came into the sanctuary, where we all were, and said that he needed to see me. I knew. I knew something was wrong. I went back into the priest’s office, and [he] looked horrible. It was kind of surreal, because I saw him in a suit, like he was getting ready to go through with the rehearsal, yet the look on his face didn’t correspond with being in the suit. So I could see. I knew. I just knew before he said a word that the wedding wasn’t going to happen. And then he said the five words that changed my life forever. 'I just can’t do it.'…I think anybody who has been through a shock like that, you know how you feel. Your body is just really numb."

—Kimberley

6. I WAS IN COMPLETE SHOCK

"Five days before the wedding the unexpected happened. My fiancé and I sat down and he told me that he was not in love with me, and did not want to marry me, or spend the rest of his life with me. I was in complete shock and had no idea what to think or do. I was numb. The next couple days were a blur of calling guests, canceling services, and figuring out our living arrangements."

—Shelby

7. I WAS DEVASTATED AND HUMILIATED BEYOND BELIEF

"While guests are arriving to the church they find the church locked and no one inside. Out from nowhere the groundskeeper appears and asked why the guests are there? They responded they were there for a wedding. The groundskeeper informs them no wedding was set to take place. After many phone calls back and forth between my guests, the groundskeeper, and my potential groom it was discovered that the groom NEVER asked his pastor to officiate our wedding, nor did he book the church for the wedding. By that time it seemed to me, and others, that he simply DID NOT want to get married….I was devastated and humiliated beyond belief that I could have been left at the altar like that."

—Name Withheld

8. THE WORST REJECTION A GIRL CAN FACE

"I was LEFT AT THE ALTAR!!! How does a girl get over the worst rejection a girl can face? So much rejection you feel like you just can’t handle it!! I mainly guess I want to give that sorry piece of YOU KNOW WHAT a piece of my mind and tell him how I feel. He won’t even speak to me and even went on 'our honeymoon. ' We were supposed to go together!!!!! I feel so torn and one day I am angry and I hate him but then night creeps in and ALL I can think about his him….The fun things we did together. All those times we laughed and made love, I mean how can he just throw it all away like that :( doesn’t he care about me at all?"

—Name Withheld

9. IT DAWNED ON ME I’D BEEN STOOD UP ON MY WEDDING DAY

"When I put on my beautiful white dress on my wedding day I felt like a million dollars. I couldn't wait to become [his] wife. When I arrived at the register office and he wasn't there I tried to make light of the situation by joking I was the one that should be late. But as the minutes turned to hours it dawned on me I'd been stood up on my wedding day. I was devastated….I'm still reeling from being jilted on my wedding day by a groom with an alter-ego but I'm glad to be rid of the rat."

—Katiejayne

10. THE BAD THING IS, WE HAVE A BABY

"My fiancé left me at the altar…the wedding was planned, we had booked everything, had my dress, bridesmaids, dresses, etc., I mean EVERYTHING was prepared. I had given invitations to my family and all. Well, out of nowhere he text me and said he didn’t care if I moved on to someone else because he didn’t want to marry me. I asked him what I did wrong and I asked for an explanation and he wouldn’t tell me anything. He said that I am perfect for him but he doesn’t want to marry me. He played head games with me telling me that he loved me and a bunch of other stuff…but then turned around and said he wasn’t marrying me and wasn’t going to be with me. The bad thing is, we have a baby. My heart is so broken. My chest has literally been hurting all day."

—Name Withheld TC mark

Stacey Becker was dumped right before her wedding day–find out why it was the best thing that ever happened to her in her new book Knot the One.

KNOTTHEONE-final-revised

Another 25 Hilarious Conversations Overheard At Whole Foods

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 12:00 PM PST

Flickr / That Other Paper
Flickr / That Other Paper

1.

Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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b
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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a
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

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Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods
Facebook / Overheard at Whole Foods

5 Reasons Why It Shouldn’t Matter Whether Or Not You Get Engaged Before Age 25

Posted: 16 Dec 2015 11:45 AM PST

Twenty20, chloecerami
Twenty20, chloecerami

I've seen my fair share of "Everybody's getting engaged and having babies and I'm over here eating pizza" retweets on Twitter. One of my best friends from high school just posted her big ole rock on Facebook for all to 'ooh' and 'ahh' over. And I’ve read tons of posts on being young and in love and consumed well-meaning advice on whether or not we (me and my fellow twenty-somethings) should get married young.

My real question: Why are we so concerned with whether or not others are getting engaged in their early twenties?

But I've come to one shocking conclusion: It really doesn't matter whether or not someone is getting engaged before 23, 25, or at any damn point in their twenties.

Why?

1. Let's be honest, we don't really care about whether or not someone is getting engaged.

We just want to know so we can talk about them or compare their lives to our own.

Aka: after fake congratulating the couple at the hometown bar where we happened to run into them, we go home, turn on Netflix, and binge-watch five episodes of American Horror Story while spooning mint chocolate chip ice cream straight from the container, trying to pretend that we're not utterly and terribly single.

Or we roll our eyes as we sort our bills, knowing that we would never be so foolish as to start a life with someone else straight out of college.

Either way, it's not really about them. It's all about us.

2. It's all subject to our judgments anyways.

This is one of those issues where there really is no right answer. Sure, to the 'I'm perfectly capable on my own' type of girl (you know the type, the one who will never ask for help nor give any guy the time of day), getting married young is absolutely ridiculous. But to the hopeless romantic with Nicholas Sparks' entire collection on her bookshelf, being young and in engaged is straight from a fairytale.

There isn't a right or wrong. It's subject to opinion, so in the end it's best to mind our own.

3. Furthermore…We have our own lives to live.

Let's face it. It's not a three-way relationship. It's the couple. Him-her, her-her, him-him, whatever way you spin it we're not included. (Unless it's some three-way type of relationship, but then that's an entirely different issue for a different blog).

But ultimately we're not in the relationship. Whether we agree or not is irrelevant to our own lives. We have our own lives to live. We can choose whichever side we believe in for our own marriage proposals—young, old, whenever.

4. Worrying about others' happiness and love lives isn't going to make us any happier.

Or make our perfect-in-every-way significant other magically appear at our doorstep.

I'm sorry to disappoint, but bashing the twenty-two-year-old who's perfectly content with settling down or chastising the thirty-year-olds for not wanting to get hitched sooner won't help us find Mr. or Mrs. Right.

5. And finally, the biggest dilemma. We don’t understand love.

We don't even understand the concept of love, so how can we say anything about the legitimacy of someone's engagement or age when getting hitched?

I think this one's pretty self-explanatory. What is love? Ask a preschooler and he'll say "When Mommy makes me grilled cheese." Ask a ninety-year-old, married for half a century and she'll say, while clutching a photo of her deceased husband in her wrinkled hands, "An eternal bond."

Bottom line: we don't have a set definition for love. It happens when it happens. Or, maybe it doesn't happen until you're older. Who cares?

We're way too concerned with the lives of others, I say we just go out and live ours. Who knows? Maybe we'll just happen to come across love ourselves…age twenty-one-and-a-half or eighty-seven. TC mark