Thought Catalog


15 Things You Need To Know About People Who Have Concealed Anxiety

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 08:00 PM PST

PabloRomero
PabloRomero

1. They don't hide their anxiety, they hide their symptoms. To have concealed anxiety isn't to deny having it – only to do everything in your power to ensure other people don't see you struggle.

2. They have the most anxiety about having anxiety. Because they are not comfortable letting people see them in the throes of an irrational panic, the most anxiety-inducing idea is… whether or not they'll have anxiety at any given moment in time.

3. They come across as a paradoxical mix of outgoing but introverted, very social but rarely out. It is not that they are anti-social, just that they can only take being around others incrementally (which is mostly normal). Yet, on the surface, this may come across as confusing.

4. They make situations worse by trying to suppress their feelings about them. They are extremely uncomfortable with other people seeing them in pain, and they don't want to feel pitied or as though they are compromising anyone's time. Yet, they make things worse for themselves by suppressing, as it actually funnels a ton of energy into making the problem larger and more present than it already was.

5. They are often hyper-aware and highly intuitive. Anxiousness is an evolutionary function that essentially keeps us alive by making us aware of our surroundings and other people's motives. It's only uncomfortable when we don't know how to manage it effectively – the positive side is that it makes you hyper-conscious of what's going on around you.

6. Their deepest triggers are usually social situations. It's not that they feel anxious in an airplane, it's that they feel anxious in an airplane and are stuck around 50 other people. It's not that they will fail a test, but that they will fail a test and everyone in school will find out and think they are incompetent and their parents will be disappointed. It's not that they will lose love, but that they will lose love and nobody will ever love them again.

7. It is not always just a "panicked feeling" they have to hide. It can also be a tendency to worry, catastrophizing, etc. The battle is often (always?) between competing thoughts in their minds.

8. They are deep thinkers, and great problem-solvers. One of the benefits of anxiety is that it leads you to considering every worst case scenario, and then subsequently, how to handle or respond to each.

9. They are almost always "self-regulating" their thoughts. They're talking themselves in, out, around, up or down from something or another very often, and increasingly so in public places.

10. They don't trust easily, but they will convince you that they do. They want to make the people around them feel loved and accepted as it eases their anxiety in a way.

11. They tend to desire control in other areas of their lives. They're over-workers or are manically particular about how they dress or can't really seem to let go of relationships if it wasn't their idea to end them.

12. They have all-or-nothing personalities, which is what creates the anxiety. Despite being so extreme, they are highly indecisive. They try to "figure out" whether or not something is right before they actually try to do it.

13. They assume they are disliked. While this is often stressful, it often keeps them humble and grounded at the same time.

14. They are very driven (they care about the outcome of things). They are in equal proportions as in control of their lives as they feel out of control of their lives – this is because they so frequently try to compensate for fear of the unknown.

15. They are very smart, but doubt it. A high intelligence is linked to increased anxiety (and being doubtful of one's mental capacity are linked to both). TC mark

50 Dirty Jokes That Are Totally Inappropriate But Also Hilarious

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 07:00 PM PST

The Daily English Show

1. How did Burger King get Dairy Queen pregnant?

He forgot to wrap his whopper.

2. How is a woman like a road?

They both have manholes.

3. Why are men like diapers?

They're usually full of shit, but thankfully disposable.

4. What type of bird gives the best head?

A swallow.

5. What’s better than a cold Bud?

A warm bush.

6. How do you get a nun pregnant?

Dress her up like an altar boy.

7. What should you do if you come across an elephant?

Apologize and wipe it off.

8. What do a bungee jump and a hooker have in common?

They’re both cheap, fast, and if the rubber breaks, you’re pretty much screwed.

9. How are gay people like mice?

They both hate pussies.

10. What did one butt cheek say to the other?

Together, we can stop this shit.

11. What’s the difference between your job and a dead prostitute?

Your job still sucks.

12. What do you call a cheap circumcision

A rip-off.

13. What do priests and McDonald's have in common?

They both stick their meat in 10-year-old buns.

14. How is tightrope walking like getting a blowjob from someone ugly?

If you want to enjoy either, you absolutely can’t look down.

15. What did one of the prostitute's knees say to the other?

How come we spend so little time together?

16. What do you call two men fighting over a slut?

Tug-of-whore.

17. Why did the woman leave her husband after he spent all their money on a penis enlarger?

She just couldn’t take it any longer.

18. Why don’t little girls fart?

They don't get assholes til they're married.

19. What do you call an incestuous nephew?

An aunt-eater.

20. What do you do with a year’s worth of used condoms?

Melt them into a tire and call it a goodyear.

21. What do you call a nanny with breast implants?

A faux-pair.

22. How is being in the military like getting a blowjob?

The closer you get to discharge, the better you feel.

23. What do women and noodles have in common?

Both wiggle when you eat them.

24. What do you get when you jingle a man’s balls?

A white Christmas.

25. What’s the difference between a rabbi and a priest?

A rabbi cuts them off. A priest sucks them off.

26. What do you call a guy who cries when he masturbates?

A tearjerker.

27. What did one broke hooker say to the other?

Can you lend me ten bucks 'til I’m on my back again?

28. Why does Miss Piggy douche with honey?

Because Kermit likes his pork sweet and sour.

29. What’s the real definition of a male chauvinist pig?

A man who hates every bone in a woman’s body—except his.

30. What does a slut say when her daughter asks how to spell “penis”?

"I wish you’d asked me last night, when it was on the tip of my tongue."

31. How are Kentucky Fried Chicken and a woman the same?

Once you take away the legs and the breasts you’re left with one greasy box to put your bone in.

32. What does the receptionist at a sperm bank say as clients leave?

Thanks for coming!

33. What do you call a sex-crazed gay cannibal?

A head hunter.

34. Did you hear about the constipated accountant?

He couldn’t budget, so he had to work it out with a paper and pencil.

35. Why did the semen cross the road?

Because you wore the wrong socks today.

36. Why did the snowman suddenly smile?

He could see the snowblower coming.

37. What’s the difference between a clitoris and a cell phone?

Nothing! Every cunt’s got one.

38. When is it okay to beat up a dwarf?

When he’s standing next you girlfriend saying that her hair smells nice.

39. What does a dumb slut say when you ask if she’s ever tried 69?

“Thirty dudes is the most I can screw in one night.”

40. How are women like linoleum floors?

If you lay ’em right the first time, you can walk all over them for the next 20 years or so.

41. What’s the square root of 69?

Ate something.

42. What do you do when your cat’s dead?

Play with the neighbor’s pussy instead.

43. What do you call a smiling Roman soldier with a piece of hair stuck between his front teeth?

A glad-he-ate-her.

44. What’s the difference between a bitch and a whore?

A whore sleeps with everyone at the party. A bitch sleeps with everyone at the party—except you.

45. What do you get when you cross a dick with a potato?

A dictator.

46. Why did Jesus die a virgin?

Every single “wound” he touched closed up.

47. How is life like toilet paper?

You’re either on a roll or taking shit from someone.

48. What’s the best way to respond when a girls asks “what’s up”?

“If I tell you, will you sit on it?”

49. What does it mean if a man remembers the color of a woman’s eyes after a first date?

She’s got small tits.

50. Wanna hear a joke about my dick?

Nevermind. It’s too long.

So What’s The Difference Between Having Standards And Being Too Picky?

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 06:00 PM PST

cburtonsiller
cburtonsiller

At twenty-two, you have your whole life ahead of you. You have all the time in the world to explore your interests and figure out what it is that you want to do with your life. At twenty-three, you’re still so young. There is still so much time to do all the soul searching and career-path-expirmenting and finding yourself-ing that you need to do. And at twenty-four, people still allow you to stay in this category. You’re still young enough to do all the exploring you want to do without anyone asking questions.

And then you hit twenty-five and everyone is suddenly extremely concerned with whether or not you’ve paired off yet and when you’re going to get married. It’s as swift as a light switch. And trying to keep the same dating standards you’ve always had suddenly becomes a hell of a lot more difficult.

Because at twenty-two, and even twenty-three and twenty-four, it’s easy to imagine all the qualities you want in another person, and to believe you will find them, because settling down with someone for life is something that seems so far away. In your early twenties, you and your friends are washing away each work week with tequila shots, and planning trips at a moment’s notice, and living in a world where your only deadlines are work-related. Emotional-related pressures have not yet seeped into your everyday thinking.

But slowly, and then all of the sudden, you are in your mid-twenties and people are getting married left and right. A Sunday scroll through your Facebook newsfeed is more like a “let’s get caught up on who got engaged over the weekend” ordeal. You keep watching other people find each other, and eventually your dream partner starts to feel like a mythical creature. The line between holding your love life to a certain standard, and being picky to the point of foolishness, becomes blurred. It is hard to understand when you’re settling out of fear, and when you’re holding out to the point of being shallow and illogical about what your life partner should be like.

When should you be willing to budge on something? What qualities in your significant other should you hold out for, and which ones should you let go of? What is the difference between being flexible versus losing sight of your once rock-solid values? All questions that you weren’t asking yourself at twenty-two. Because dating at twenty-two was so much simpler than it is now. Dating at twenty-two was about exploring, about figuring out what you like and what you don’t like in others, about how you wanted to feel as an individual compared to how you wanted to feel as part of a couple.

But now, dating feels more like a race against the clock. It’s like a board game where you feverishly keep rolling the dice so you can (hopefully) move ahead three spaces closer to the finish line. Where you are torn between wanting to stay true to yourself and what you are looking for in another person, but also wanting to avoid the dreaded possibility of moving back a couple spaces and falling behind everyone else.

So now you start wondering – am I being too cavalier about my love life? Am I holding out for someone that does not exist? And if I am, and if I need to rethink my standards, how far back the other way am I supposed to go? Where is the balance between being practical while also not settling for the next schmuck I meet on the street?

But having standards does not mean you are automatically shallow, foolish, and a hopeless dreamer. Having standards will actually save you more time in the long run, as long as you are being realistic about which standards you expect your potential significant other to uphold. Waiting for someone with brown hair and tan skin and a fantastic sense of humor and a job in a creative field and a huge family and a love for travel is being picky. That’s you trying to control every single aspect of your love life – that is shallow, foolish, and hopeless.

But holding out for someone that makes you smile, someone you trust, someone who supports you, someone who (while they don’t necessarily have the same passions as you) is at least interested in your passions because they care about what you care about – that is having standards. There is nothing wrong with that.

Maybe your significant other won’t be the funniest person you’ve ever met – but the right person can still have a sense of humor and make you smile. Maybe they won’t be as passionate about cooking as you are – but the right person will still care about it because they know it brings you joy. Maybe they won’t come from a big family like you hoped they would – but the right person for you will still share the same values you do about loved ones. It’s not about pinpointing exact qualities you are looking for in another person; it’s about knowing what you need to get out of a relationship in order to be happy.

So when you think about it, the line between having standards and being picky is not as blurred as you think it is. As long as you’re looking for a partner, not a checklist. TC mark

These Are The 12 Types Of Girls You’ll Encounter This New Year’s Eve

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 05:00 PM PST

Twenty20, jessigreenny
Twenty20, jessigreenny

1. The Slutty-Dress-Wearing Desperate Chick

This is the one who doesn't care about much else besides boys and booze. Her dress is a combination of glitter and lace. The too-tight, too-short contraption (and her entire persona) screams 'I'm trying to get laid'. And that's about it. Where is she pre-countdown? Frantically scrolling through Tinder.

2. The "I Just Broke Up With My Boyfriend" Sh*t Show

Whether he broke up with her, or she broke up with him—don't ask. You don't want to hear the teary, twenty minute play-by-play. You'll find this friend hovering by the spiked punch, batting her eyelashes at the bartender, or in the bathroom reapplying her makeup since half of it is running down her cheeks.

3. The 'Just Hangin' With My B*tches' Feminist

She's the one guys want nothing to do with, but is probably the best countdown kiss option. She's rocking the heels and black dress that is a perfect mix between sexy and conservative. Where is she? She has no time for you. She's the one with the camera, taking pictures with the girls and having a great time ignoring the entire male species.

4. The Mom

She's practical, and wearing low heels. Or at this point has probably taken them off and traded them for flats. She's ditched her glass of champagne hours ago and is either in the corner flipping through her phone contacts or pushing her way through the crowd, trying to find her drunk friends. Her hair? By now it's been pulled into a low ponytail or twisted bun at the base of her neck. She's probably rocking pearls. And her eyebrows are definitely furrowed. She's on a mission.

5. The "I'll Just Be Kissing My Bottle" Long Distance Relationship Sufferer

She knows the drill. Another holiday apart from bae. She's wearing something cute, but not too cute. She's drinking vodka sodas—so she's drunk, but not a mess. And you'll probably find her by a window, or somewhere quiet so send Snapchat selfies. Where is she during countdown? Either Face Timing or pushing prospective NYE kisses away. That's what besties and bottles of vodka are for, right?

6. The Closet Rave Girl

You don't know where she is half the night because she's front and center of the dance floor, eying the DJ and shaking her a**. When you do find her, she's soaked head to toe in Smirnoff and sweat.

7. The Selfie Snapper

We all have that one conceited friend who cares more about the pregame pictures and Valencia-filtered Instagrams of the club than actually having a good time. She's the one in the stilettos she can barely walk in, and the real diamond earrings. And she's the one demanding bottle service and a limo instead of shots and an Uber. Where will you find her? Probably alone because everyone's sick of her. But she'll be too busy taking pouty-lip pics to notice.

8. The 'Grounded' Gal

This is the girl who probably rebelled a lot in high school and was a sorority chick in college. Her party days are dwindling. You'll find her snuggled up on the couch at home with a bag of barbeque chips and a bottle of Pinot Noir. And probably a cat. But don't worry. She'll has her 'Netflix-And-Chill-Post-Club' dudes on speed dial.

9. The "I'm Just Here For the Booze" Babe

She's the undiagnosed alcoholic. You'll lose her the second you get to the club and will find her the next morning, curled in a ball in the hallway outside of your hotel room, shoeless and extremely hungover.

10. The Responsible Rebecca

She's over the party scene and just wants a low-key gathering of friends in the comfort of her own home. She's probably a good cook. Everybody likes her. And she's in bed by 1AM.

11. The Party of Two

This is the girl that never, under any circumstances, leaves her boyfriend's side. Regardless if it's two months or six years, she and the beau are attached at the hip. They drink the same sh*tty beer, take bathroom trips together, heck, their clothes even match! Lost her? Well hopefully you know his number because her eyes, hands, and lips are too busy to answer your call.

12. The Lost Puppy

She's not sure what to do. Either freshly twenty-one, or the type that doesn't venture out much, she's hovering around her friends, nervously checking her phone, and drinking a martini trying to 'adult.' All the while hoping no one's looking. TC mark

25 Stores And Restaurants You Didn’t Know Were Open On Christmas

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 03:00 PM PST

Martin Good
Martin Good

Here's what's open on Christmas:

1. Taco Bell. Because nothing says birth of Christ quite like a cheesy gordita crunch and a baja blast.

2. Burger King. So that you can grab one of those crowns and pretend to be one of the three wise men. Alternately, just so you can eat overly salted fries on Christmas.

3. Denny's. In case you need to kick everyone out of your house on Christmas morning and make them eat a mediocre meal so your feast will taste better by comparison. If you need to manage expectations, send your family to Denny's.

4. Albertson's. While it might not be your go-to grocery store, it's one of your only options on Christmas Day, so you should become a fan as soon as possible. You're going to need to buy something on Christmas — probably seltzer.

5. CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. If one is going to be open, the others sure as hell aren't missing out.

6. Fresh 'n' Easy. But if you're looking for them in Southern California, they're all closing.

7. Waffle House. If you're feeling nostalgic or need hash browns.

8. Dave and Buster's. Because if you thought Denny's was the most depressing place you could go on Christmas, D&B wanted to prove you wrong. (JK, I actually think Dave and Buster's could be a pretty fun way to hang out with family on Christmas. Like, games and drinking? What could be bad?)

9. Applebee's. How To Celebrate Christmas By Getting Drunk On Discount Margaritas.

10. Starbucks. If you need one last Gingerbread Latte.

11. Dunkin Donuts. If you need to show up your cousin with the Gingerbread Latte by breaking out the real coffee.

12. McDonald's. All Day Breakfast: Christmas Edition

13. Panda Express. But for the love of God, you can find better Chinese food at ANY local, family-owned place.

Here's what's open on Christmas Eve:

14. Trader Joe's is open until 6 PM on Christmas Eve, but then closed on Christmas because the Hawaiian shirt folk need a day of R 'n' R.

15. Costco is open from 9 AM – 5 PM , so if you want to buy in bulk do it before the 25th.

16. 7-Eleven is open 24 hours on Christmas, so get your slurpee on.

17. Whole Foods is open from 7 AM – 7 PM. To buy gold, frankincense and organic myrrh.

18. Michaels is open from 7 AM – 6 PM on Christmas Eve. In case you need to stock up and make some last-minute crafts for everyone you forgot to buy a present for.

19. IKEA is from 10 AM – 4 PM, if you need an extra table for the next day's festivities.

20. Barnes & Noble is open from 8 AM – 6 PM for last-minute gifts.

21. Nordstrom is open til 6 PM if you desperately need a personal shopper the day before Christmas.

22. Macy's, Kohl's, Sears, Marshall's, BJ's, Best Buy and Gap are all open til 6 PM.

23. Hobby Lobby is open til 5:30 PM. No one is surprised that they aren't open on Christmas Day. If you haven't heard, they're religious.

24. The Apple Store is open til 6 PM, and please someone go buy me a new computer.

25. Target is open til 9 PM and Kmart is open til 10 PM. Because they want to help you out late into the night. TC mark

I’m An American Without Being An American

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 02:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / benjaminandrew
Twenty20 / benjaminandrew

When I left Jakarta, I was an Indonesian. But when I arrived in Australia, I was an American.

During awkward self introductions and breaks between classes, people often used my accent to initiate a conversation.

"Where are you from?" They would ask.

"Indonesia."

They'd shake their heads, obviously dissatisfied. "You sound American."

And then I would get into my automated spiel that, unbeknownst to me,would have to be rinsed and repeated for the next four years of university.

"Well," I'd start, taking a deep breath and knowing that a barrage of comments would come after. "I went to an international school in Jakarta so most of the teachers were American. I also grew up watching American movies and TV."

I wasn't American, but in Australia, I was treated like one. They made jokes about my accent, my references, my predilection for American media. I was American, or in some cases, Canadian. My American accent sounded so thickly Californian that some people mistook me for a valley girl whenever I got too excited.

I had lost my identity overseas. People couldn't quite understand that I was first and foremost an Indonesian with an American education. It didn't matter than I had never spent time in the states. I was too foreign in many different ways.

Growing up, I relied heavily on the English language to communicate, and nearly discarded my Indonesian altogether. The sporadic Mandarin lessons never really interested me, and that part of my family's culture and history embedded in the intricate characters were lost forever. I spoke English with my father, and tried to explain my thoughts in broken Indonesian to my unilingual mother. Growing up, my bookshelves bursted with books written by American authors and my television played nothing but the famed 90's television shows from the West. I never touched the default channels that showed Indonesian shows and relied on mainstream American songs to overlay the daily Maghrib prayers exploding from every mosque in the country.

The first American I met that was in my age group was a university exchange student from San Diego. She was tall, blonde, and was exactly like what I imagined an all-American girl to be like. She was beautiful and bubbly, with an instant connection that led us to still be in contact two years later.

"You sound like an American," she said with a smirk one day, as if she was proud that her country had made me a minion. And maybe she was, but just like everyone else, she couldn't fit me into a box. I sounded like an American, but to her, I was not. Although to everyone else, her and I were two peas in a pod.

One night, I pulled out my skills in American Sign Language to speak to a deaf Australian, forgetting that they used Auslan, a completely different signing system. My accent transcends voice, because even to the deaf I was still American.

The moment I flew back to Jakarta as a fresh graduate, I felt like an immigrant in my own country. I was called a bule, which means foreigner in Indonesian. I struggled to speak fluent Indonesian to my coworkers and salespeople. I stammered to find the right terms. Grasping for words felt like trying to drink the water from a drizzling rain.

But when I went on a trip to the states a few months ago, I somehow felt like I fit right in. I wasn't treated like a foreigner because I didn't have an accent to put them off. I no longer stuck out like a sore thumb with my hard r's and American slang like I did in Australia.

When my British boyfriend said he wanted to learn more about my culture, I taught him how to speak Indonesian. But he pushed on. "No, I want to listen to your music and watch your movies and know about your history."

It was then that I saw myself the way everyone else did. I was not Indonesian. I was born and raised in Jakarta but growing up, I had subconsciously shunned every single aspect of my country's culture and history in favor of America's. I became an honorary American without realizing it.

When two Americans interned in my office this summer, I was tasked with the job of being their glorified babysitters. Instead, I became their friend. I understood their references and they understood mine. We were on the same wavelength and we managed to have similar political and social views. Aside from the odd local slang that these LA folks peppered in our conversations, I began to overlook our differences and basked in our similarities.

The internet made me think like an American, and when faced with their people, there were no barriers to stop us from connecting.

Mostly, my American-ness have been emphasized by my boyfriend's, well, English-ness. He makes fun of the way I say aluminum or route, and he finds my American slang strange. But he knew the box I belonged in; an unlabeled crate that housed my ambiguous identity.

After awhile, I started using the word we and us to describe Americans. We don't think that way. We're not voting for the Republicans. We don't really like Ariana Grande after the whole donut incident. I've somehow grouped myself with an entire populace. After four years of being treated like an American, I finally let myself become one, without actually becoming one.

But the Americans who read this will tell me I'm not American. And of course, I agree. I'm not American, but then again, what am I? My broken Indonesian renders me as a bule in my own hometown. My knowledge in American laws and news beats my basic understanding of how Indonesia works. My ignorance on the Indonesian media have left me out of the loop with my coworkers. No Indonesian has ever stamped me as one of them.

To these people, I've been too whitewashed; my opinions too liberal and my patriotism nonexistent. I'm too much of everything, but I am no one thing in particular.

Perhaps now, the question of "where are you from?" merely indicates the location printed on our birth certificate. There are so many others like me; in cultural limbo and holding on to a semblance of an ethnicity. We are the ones that pause when you ask us that question, hoping that our answer satisfies you.

"Where are you from?"

I am from Indonesia, but I don't think like one, act like one, or know much about my country.

"Where are you from?"

You will call me an American, but I have never stayed there for longer than a few weeks.

"Where are you from?"

My blood is of Chinese and Indonesian descent, but the neurons in my brain fire thoughts that belong elsewhere.

"Where are you from?"

If I knew, I would tell you. And I wouldn't feel so lost. TC mark

25 Things Only People Who Went To A College With Under 1,000 Students Will Understand

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 01:00 PM PST

Twenty20, coolburns
Twenty20, coolburns

1. Going to the grocery store in your bummy sweatpants and seeing at least three of your teachers.

2. Taco Tuesdays. Breakfast for Dinner Thursdays. And every other scheduled meal in your campus cafeteria.

3. Student mailbox numbers.

4. The sign above the library printer: “Printer is broken. Please go to the Campus Center.”

5. Recognizing faces of (or knowing intimate details about) everyone on campus.

6. Campus-wide gossip via Snapchat when someone new transfers in or visits for the weekend.

7. Impromptu IT messages: “Wifi will be down from 9-10pm tonight.”

8. Personalized emails. With your actual name instead of an automated ‘Dear Student’ address.

9. The typical prospective student questions: “You guys don’t have Greek life?!” “Wait…how many students go here???”

10. Never having to schedule an appointment to talk to someone in Financial Aid.

11. People in Financial Aid actually knowing who you are.

12. Personalized comments on every one of your tests and papers.

13. End-of-semester dinners at your Professor’s house.

14. College-hosted lawn movies for the whole campus (and town).

15. Random free events because all the mom and pop shops love college kids.

16. Hating a teacher…and having him/her for three more classes before you graduate.

17. The library closing before midnight.

18. Your professor knowing when you ditch class. Every single time.

19. Being a dry campus.

20. Getting campus-wide emails about the college being a dry campus from the librarian. (Yep, this actually happened.)

21. Never being worried about walking alone at night.

22. When the Registrar (there’s only one) knows you by name.

23. Saturday brunch in the cafeteria is its own social event.

24. Walking into your professor’s office to have a casual chat about grades. At literally any time.

25. And the classic Friday night question: “Are you guys going to the ____ House tonight?” “Yeah, everyone’s going.” TC mark

24 Things That Happen When You Visit Home For Christmas As A Real Adult

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 12:00 PM PST

The Family Stone
The Family Stone

1. You take a deep breath of the fresh, suburban air and realize how polluted the city you live in actually is.

2. Your body goes into shock from having a well-balanced, home cooked meal.

3. You can’t find where you insert quarters for laundry, so you throw a handful of change in the washer machine for good measure.

4. The furniture and memories from your childhood bedroom have disappeared and more of your parents’ weird belongings keep showing up in your old space.

5. Your mom finagles you into doing all of the chores you used to do for her, even though you haven’t lived in the house for a good two years.

6. You end up being designated driver for your parents on the way home from the neighborhood Christmas party.

7. You freak out when you realize you don’t have to pay to park, when you can’t get an Uber within five minutes, and when you can’t just walk ten minutes to the grocery store at any given moment.

8. You resort to sibling bribery to get them to drive you places because you don’t have a car anymore. You literally would sell your soul to your little brother to get him to drive you to the after-Christmas sale at Express.

9. You run into your old friends that decided to stay in your hometown. You also meet their new husbands and babies, too.

10. You go to your favorite restaurant and order your favorite thing on the menu and are shocked that it still tastes the same.

11. You decide to see what Tinder or Bumble is like in the suburbs and then immediately regret it when you accidentally swipe right on your old high school gym teacher.

12. You find clothes in your closet from years and years ago, and decide to try them on. You then decide that you had horrible taste in fashion when you were 17 and that you need to lose a good 10 pounds.

13. You become a personal IT manager for your parents by setting up all of their technological gifts they received, not to mention configuring their WiFi password into something other than “password123.”

14. You forget how conservative your family is and they don’t really appreciate your cute new habit of sprinkling swear words into your everyday language.

15. Watching Nightly News turns into a two hour screaming match with your parents about womens’ rights, the war on terrorism, drug regulation, immigration, civil rights, etc.

16. You run into your high school ex and their whole entire family at church and you want to run away, but you need Jesus in your life more than ever because Lord knows you’re on the naughty list this year.

17. Your mom INSISTS on taking a family photo and makes it sound like someone is going to die in the next year if we don’t take the damn picture that you end up having to redo like 7 times because Dad keeps blinking and your brother refuses to smile.

18. Your family starts questioning your sexuality more than you did that one drunken night at that college bar based on your never ending status as being “single.”

19. You realize you can actually drink with your younger siblings and you end up getting drunk in your parents’ basement watching cheesy Christmas movies in your pajamas.

20. Speaking of getting drunk – you and your grandma got lit at Christmas dinner, and you’ll forever cherish the memory of dancing and singing with her to the song “S&M” by Rihanna.

21. One of your little cousins pukes. It doesn’t matter which one. One of them pukes every year from eating too many cookies before dinner.

22. You probably end up puking, too. You try your hardest to puke as quietly as possible so your parents don’t realize how drunk you actually got during dinner.

23. Your parents still play “Santa” even though you and all of your siblings are over the age of 18 and some are even married at this point. You don’t really care, because mom and dad are cute as hell.

24. You realize that even though you’re older now, things have changed, and Christmas doesn’t always have the magic sparkle it did when you were a kid…it still is a special time of year and you’re so glad to be home. TC mark

Here’s What I Found On My Trip To Palestine: Heartbreaking Despair And Unrelenting Hope

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 11:15 AM PST

You can also read this en Español

I have never seen anything like it. Well, maybe it is better to say I've never felt anything like it. When you first land in a place surrounded by desert and you see the sea on one side, and the vast Middle East on the other, it is both stunning and peaceful. From the plane, you fly through clouds that resemble big choleric fists being thrown to the sky, demanding mercy and justice.

HUMO
Raquel Nogueira

Then, you get off the plane and all your senses suddenly change. It is difficult to explain but you feel the history in every corner. You get a sense of war, conflict, and suffering but also of peace, love, and hope. You can feel the true meaning of the Holy Land. It gets to you; it gets to every single corner of your body and soul.

beetlejuice

I first landed in Tel Aviv's airport –­ named Ben Gurion after a famous Zionist, at the beginning of November. At the time, in Europe, all you could hear about Israel and Palestine was that the conflict was reactivated, it was dangerous, and the Third Intifada was about to explode. So I landed simply hoping I could get to my destination safely.

It was exciting; I was chosen to be part of a study trip organized by a Dutch NGO called Horizons. A bunch of young people from all over Europe were gathering in Bethlehem to get a hint of what the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was all about. The funny thing is we didn't get only a hint, but we got to experience everything in a much deeper way.

The first thing you should know is everything we've heard so far in the media about the conflict is misleading, biased, and depending on the country, manipulated by the State of Israel. I am talking about politics, government, bureaucracy, and not the population itself. I'm not saying this out of judgment or preconceived notions, but as the result of eight days traveling around Palestine, visiting Israel, and meeting and talking to locals. Moreover, my current point of view comes from everything I've seen and experienced during the most intense week of my life. And I think all my mates from Horizons who travelled with me can vouch for these assertions, from the smiles and spontaneous tea welcomings, to checkpoints and cold military stares.

Secondly, we should stop talking about the situation as a conflict in the way we commonly understand that word. It is easy to be confused by the term conflict ­as most of the times, it is understood as war or having to do with war. This puts Israelis and Palestinians at the same level. But we just can't do this. This is not about an army fighting another army, nor civilians confronting other civilians. It is not what they are trying to sell us about a state protecting its citizens from terrorists – which is a huge misconception because, really, who are the actual terrorists here? This is bigger and older than all of that.

What is going on right now in Palestine has been happening for the past sixty years, and it is as simple as an old-fashion occupation. A recognized state called Israel is unlawfully occupying the land, lives, and heritage of Palestinians, and that's why it is called Palestinian Occupied Territories. We are not talking about two equal sides, but an occupier and the occupied. We have to keep in mind we are talking about colonization and that's what most of Western media, politicians and people in general, forget.

demolitionsEastJerusalem
Raquel Nogueira

Imagine living under occupation, under a constant threat to your life, and those you love. Everybody you care about is under a menace, coexisting with an occupation in the broad meaning of the word. Israelis have occupied every single aspect of Palestinians' lives, sometimes in a subtle way, and sometimes in an obvious way. They are prisoners in their own land, literally separated from their families, friends, schools, workplaces, and so on and so forth, by an apartheid wall, and by checkpoints. Palestinians, it doesn't matter if they are women, men, elders or children, are humiliated everyday by rather young IDF soldiers pointing guns at them.

Did you know that in (an alleged) democratic state such as Israel there are people in their twenties and even in their sixties that have never been to their capital (Jerusalem)? Did you know that there are Palestinians that have never showered in a real shower? Something as routine as showering, doing laundry or switching on the lights becomes a struggle. Israelis claim there is water shortage while they rationalize Palestinian's supply so Israel's citizens can have an above average life at the Palestinians' expense. Moreover, Israel controls over 80% of the water supply in the country and the West Bank, and around 60% of the whole Jordan Valley region. But Palestinians keep smiling and living and fighting for freedom, dignity and the right to return to their rightful and legally owned lands.

Tank-2
Raquel Nogueira

A notable observation from the West Bank is the huge black tanks on rooftops, this designates that the building belongs to Palestinians. Another astonishing thing is the lack of garbage pick-up services in Palestinian territories, where wastes have to be burned outside the villages. East Jerusalem is a special case, where Israeli authorities collect trash taxes but the service is never deployed, so rubbish is just randomly stacked in sidewalks.

When you walk through all of this awful reality, anger and frustration grow in you. It is exhausting to think how easy it would be to live peacefully and respectfully, and how bad and inhuman this situation is, a situation that has been like this for the last sixty years. As one of my fellows from Horizons said, "this is the (un)Holy Land", and I think he was completely right. How can we talk about holiness while there is pain, harm, tear gas, canister bombs, landmines, death, orphans, widows, widowers, and mothers and fathers, that have to see their sons and daughters taken to jail or worse, assassinated.

During our trip, we met a lot of people. We went to Bedouins' lands and talked to them, heard them as they sharing stories of home demolition and detentions. We went to An Najah University in Nablus and talked to students and professors, men and women, about their lives and homeland. Also, contrary to what people usually think, the women outnumbered their men during our stay and our engagements with people in these institutions.

beetlejuice

We learned of nonviolent resistance in Nabi Saleh, Battir, and other villages. We also learned about organizations that bring the community back together such as Sumud House in Bethlehem, as well as tear gas attacks to dismiss demonstrations as happens on a daily basis in Aida Camp. We learned about refugee camps that have become near cities, administrative detentions of even minors, and infrastructures and house demolitions.

WallFromWithin-2
Raquel Nogueira

We learned, touched, experienced, and screamed at the shameful apartheid wall that divides Palestinians lives and souls. We saw how some houses are completely blocked by a wall full of graffiti, drawn for the sake of freedom. We saw many things done by men and women that are not supposed to happen in a 21st century democracy. We saw the humiliation of having to leave a bus in order to walk through a checkpoint just because you are Palestinian and not Israeli or foreigners.

Frustration. Rage. Pain. Disgust. Anger. All of those feelings are provoked by the situation in Palestine. But still, despite all of the evil, cruelty, and madness there is still hope. Hope for freedom, hope for life, and hope for the future.

"Hope is the last thing we lose", they say and, in fact, that's the only thing Israel has not colonized yet. Palestinians are full of hope, they are eager to be free; they are eager to reach freedom. They are grateful every time foreigners go there and listen to their stories – that side of the story that most times is forgotten.

They just want life, rights, equality, equity, water, electricity, and health care. Those are not crazy things, and those are not things terrorists would ask for. Simply going from home to school without a checkpoint, without soldiers pointing their guns, is as human want. No gun shots, no bombings, no arbitrary and administrative detentions, and no collective punishment. No pain, and no unnecessary suffering. They want these things like you and I.

AidaCamp-2
Raquel Nogueira

While the whole world criticizes, and the peace processes continue to fail, Palestinians keep living and surviving. They keep fighting and protesting no matter how many tear gas bombs are dropped or detentions they have to face.

We keep on talking about a two-states solution while there are not two viable states to build. The only solution right now is the shift into a one-peaceful-state solution: a state where Israelis and Palestinians – Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-religious, and atheists – could live together in peace and cohabitate with equal rights as in any other modern state. Even Palestinians activists said so during the visit, but are Israeli right-wing (ruling) politicians and radicalized citizens going to accept it?

beetlejuice

So, if I have to come with a conclusion of my experience in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it is that Palestinians cultivate hope in the rest of the world. Those brave men and women, girls and boys, teach us a really important lesson everyday the sun rises. "Never give up", the Palestinian wind whispers, "Hold on there. Keep on fighting. Never give up. Keep on walking so someday our sons and daughters are finally free." As the poet Rafee Ziada puts it: "[We] Palestinians teach life, sir." TC mark


Editor’s Note: If you have bilingual fluency in English and Spanish and would like to contribute to Thought Catalog, please email kovie@thoughtcatalog.com.


Esto Es Lo Que Encontré En Mi Viaje A Palestina: Desesperación Desgarradora Y Esperanza Implacable

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 11:15 AM PST

También puede leer esto in English.

Nunca había visto nada como aquello. Es realmente difícil de explicar, aunque la verdad es que sería mejor decir que nunca había sentido nada así. Cuando aterrizas en un lugar rodeado por el desierto y te das cuenta de que estás en, literalmente, la cuna de la civilización. No hay palabras para describir esa sensación. Antes de tocar tierra atraviesas unas nubes que recuerdan puños coléricos alzándose contra la injusticia; algo que no se ve en ningún otro lugar.

HUMO
Raquel Nogueira

Bajas del avión y lo notas. La historia se palpa en cada esquina. Mires donde mires sientes el conflicto, la guerra, la desolación, el odio… pero también el amor, la paz y, sobre todo, la esperanza. Descubres el verdadero significado de la Tierra Santa; se apodera de tí, se hace dueña de tu cuerpo, tu mente y tu alma.

beetlejuice

Aterricé en el aeropuerto de Tel Aviv, al que le da nombre un famoso sionista llamado Ben Gurion, a principios de noviembre. Por aquel entonces en Europa se hablaba en los medios de comunicación de una reactivación del conflicto entre Israel y Palestina e, incluso, del comienzo de una Tercera Intifada.

Así que llegué a aquel lugar para formar parte de unas series de conferencias y encuentros de la mano de una organización holandesa, Horizons. Un grupo de jóvenes europeos nos reuniríamos en Belén para descubrir la realidad palestina o, lo que es lo mismo, para vivir de primera mano el conflicto más antiguo aún en vigor. Lo gracioso – si es que se puede utilizar ese término en esta situación – es que no solo vivimos el conflicto en primera persona sino que lo experimentamos a todos los niveles posibles. La experiencia fue, al final, algo mucho más profundo de lo que esperábamos: un viaje que nos cambió la vida a todos los presentes.

Sin duda debemos ser conscientes, en primer lugar, de que todo lo que hemos escuchado hasta ahora sobre Israel y Palestina es tendencioso y, en muchas ocasiones, está manipulado por el Estado de Israel. Es verdad que influye mucho el país del que provenga la información: no es lo mismo el discurso mediático en España que en Reino Unido. Cuando hablo de Israel, no me malinterpretes, me refiero a la clase política, al gobierno y su burocracia, las ramas más conservadoras y derechistas. En ningún momento estoy hablando de la ciudadanía ni de ningún aspecto religioso.

Al referirme a la manipulación en el discurso oficial, tanto político como mediático, a nivel mundial intento situarme en el centro del tablero y no ser tendenciosa -aunque cueste intento hablar desde la razón y no desde el corazón. Después de ocho días viajando por Palestina e Israel y conociendo a su población, hablando con hombres y mujeres -e, incluso, niños-, población civil, miembros de ONG y activistas es dificil desoír una realidad que durante muchos años ha sido ignorada por el mundo. Palestina se encuentra en un limbo entre dos realidades. Por un lado, las sonrisas de esperanza y la hospitalidad a base de té con menta. Por otro, los checkpoints militares, la humillación y las miradas gélidas de las Fuerzas de Defensa Israelíes (FDI o IDF por sus siglas en inglés).

Antes de nada quiero dejar claro que no podemos seguir utilizando la palabra "conflicto" tan a la ligera cuando tratamos el problema entre Israel y Palestina. "Conflicto" es un término confuso para la mayoría de la población, que se suele estar mal asociado con "guerra". Al hablar de "conflicto" situamos a los israelíes y palestinos en el mismo nivel, como si un palestino con una piedra o, en el peor y más raro de los casos, un cuchillo fuese comparable con todo el complejo entramado militar creado por Israel -por cierto, supuestamente una de las fuerzas de defensa mejor equipada y entrenada del mundo. El "conflicto" palestino-israelí no trata de un ejército luchando contra otro, ni siquiera es un grupo paramilitar o una milicia enfrentándose a un Estado y a sus militares.

Lo que lleva pasando en Palestina desde 1948 -y cada vez ocurre con más voracidad- es simple y llanamente una ocupación al más puro estilo colonial. Un Estado reconocido (Israel) está ocupando de manera ilegal las tierras, vidas, culturas y tradiciones de los palestinos y, por eso, Palestina es reconocida internacionalmente como los Territorios Palestinos Ocupados. Hay que dejar claro que no nos encontramos ante dos contendientes iguales sino ante ocupados (Palestina) y ocupantes (Israel). No podemos olvidar que se trata de colonización en el sentido clásico de la palabra y eso es algo que muchos políticos y medios occidentales suelen olvidar.

demolitionsEastJerusalem
Raquel Nogueira

Imagina por un segundo la vida bajo la ocupación. Imagina vivir bajo una amenaza constante a tu integridad física -además de mental- y a la de toda persona que te importa. Israel ha ocupado todos y cada uno de los aspectos de la vida de la población palestina, en ocasiones de manera sutil y en otras no tanto. Los palestinos son prisioneros en su propia tierra, viven literalmente separados físicamente a través de checkpoints y el muro del apartheid de sus familias, amigos, trabajos, escuelas y tierras. Los palestinos -no importa si son hombres, mujeres, ancianos o niños y niñas- son humillados a diario por los soldados -hombres y mujeres- de la FDI, que no dudan ni un segundo en apuntar con el dedo en el gatillo a civiles desarmados.

¿Te imaginas que en una (supuesta) democracia moderna haya veinteañeros -e incluso ancianos- que nunca haya podido visitar la capital de su país? Esto ocurre en Israel, donde la mayor parte de los palestinos tienen negado el derecho a acceder a Jerusalén -incluso Jerusalén Este, que es oficialmente zona palestina. Es más, ¿sabías que hay palestinos que nunca han podido pegarse una ducha o leer por la noche? Algo tan rutinario como abrir un grifo, lavar la ropa, lavarse los dientes o encender un interruptor se convierte en una odisea. Mientras Israel conciencia a su ciudadanía de la escasez de agua que sufre la región y la necesidad de no malgastarla, racionaliza el agua que le llega a la población palestina y, en ocasiones, como castigo colectivo destruye los tanques de agua en los que los palestinos acumulan la modesta cantidad que utilizan a diario. Es más, Israel controla el 80% del suministro de agua del país y de Cisjordania y el 60% de toda la zona del Valle del Jordán.

Tank-2
Raquel Nogueira

En resumen: los palestinos no pueden acceder a las tierras de las que son propietarios legales e Israel racionaliza el agua y la electricidad a la que tiene acceso la población palestina. Una situación verdaderamente democrática y normal, ¿verdad? Cisjordania tiene uno de los skylines más llamativos del planeta: mientras los asentamientos de colonos parecen pueblos y ciudades modernas, las ciudades, pueblos y aldeas palestinas se caracterizan por los bidones negros que adornan los tejados. ¿Por qué llama esto la atención?, te preguntarás. Sencillo, esos bidones contienen el poco agua al que los palestinos pueden acceder. Y esos bidones, además, son objetivo de incontables ataques.

Aún hay algo todavía más impactante: cuando conduces por Cisjordania no puedes dejar de reparar en el humo que sale de los alrededores de las aldeas. ¿Es ese el resultado de la Intifada?, preguntas atónito. No, te responden, ese humo viene de las hogueras donde se quema la basura y los residuos de los pueblos. Mientras los palestinos tienen que pagar impuestos a Israel por "mantener los servicios de limpieza", estos nunca llegan (ni siquiera a Jerusalén Este) y los desechos se acumulan en las cunetas o se queman en grandes hogueras que nunca dejan de arder.

Cuando te encuentras en medio de esta situación, cuando lo observas todo como extranjera, la frustración y la rabia se apoderan de ti. Es agotador pensar lo fácil que sería vivir en paz, como iguales, y lo complicado, inhumano y atroz de la situación. Como uno de mis compañeros de Horizons comentó sabiamente "esta es la Tierra Impía (del inglés, "This is the (un)Holy Land"). El juego de palabras en español es menos representativo que en inglés, hablamos de la Tierra Santa cuando lo que ocurre allí se puede calificar de cualquier manera menos "santa". Cómo podemos hablar de santo o sagrado mientras que haya dolor y heridas y minas antipersona y gas lacrimógeno y metralla y muertos y huérfanos, viudos, viudas, madres y padres que tienen que presenciar las detenciones arbitrarias de sus hijos e hijas e, incluso, sus asesinatos.

Durante nuestro viaje conocimos a mucha gente, toda ella muy diversa. Visitamos a los beduinos, que compartieron con nosotros un delicioso té con menta y las historias de las demoliciones de sus casas y las detenciones administrativas. Asistimos a conferencias en la universidad de An Najah en Nablus, donde conocimos a estudiantes que nos explicaron cómo viven su día a día en la ciudad de la resistencia.

beetlejuice

Aprendimos las claves de la resistencia no violenta -una gran desconocida para el gran público- en localidades como Nabi Saleh, Battir y otros pueblos. También descubrimos organizaciones y asociaciones que luchan por integrar a todas las personas de la comunidad como el Sumud House en Belén. Sentimos en nuestra piel los efectos del gas lacrimógeno con el que Israel ataque a los manifestantes a diario en, por ejemplo, el campo de refugiados de Aida. Nos dimos cuenta de cosas imposibles de comprender hasta que no las tienes delante como que los campos de refugiados se extiendan de tal manera que acaban convirtiéndose en ciudades, las detenciones administrativas -incluso de menores- y la destrucción deliberada de infraestructura y viviendas.

WallFromWithin-2
Raquel Nogueira

Vimos, tocamos y odiamos el muro de la vergüenza que separa Cisjordania, convirtiendo la vida en un verdadero apartheid, que divide las tierras, el cuerpo y el alma de los palestinos. Vimos casas acorraladas por un muro lleno de grafitis en pro de la libertad y los derechos humanos. Hemos visto tantas cosas hechas por hombres y mujeres que no deberían ocurrir en pleno siglo XXI. Hemos experimentado la humillación a la que se tienen que someter los palestinos cuando viajan en autobús y pasan por un checkpoint.

Frustración, rabia, dolor, odio… Todos esos sentimientos son resultado de una situación insostenible que ha sido ignorada durante demasiado tiempo. Sin embargo, a pesar de todo lo malo, a pesar de todo el horror, sigue habiendo esperanza. Esperanza por conseguir la libertad, esperanza por la vida y el futuro.

Palestina está llena de hombres y mujeres que sueñan con la libertad y luchan por ello con todas sus fuerzas a diario. Además, agradecen las visitas de los extranjeros que buscan conocer de primera mano la versión olvidada en muchas ocasiones de la historia.

La población palestina tan solo reclama su vida, sus derechos, igualdad, acceso al agua, electricidad, medicina… El simple hecho de poder ir de casa al colegio sin tener que atravesar colas infernales en checkpoints y el escrutinio de soldados es algo básico y humano, no es una petición descabellada. Ellos quieren las mismas cosas que tú y yo quiera.

AidaCamp-2
Raquel Nogueira

Mientras el mundo entero crítica los fracasos de los procesos de paz, los palestinos sobreviven. Siguen luchando y protestando sin importar cuántas bombas de gas lacrimógeno les lancen o cuántas veces les detengan.

Seguimos hablando de la solución de los dos estados cuando no existen dos estados viables de los que hablar. En la actualidad la única solución posible -teniendo en cuenta que el mapa de Cisjordania parece un queso gruyere- es pensar en un estado como solución. Un estado en el que palestinos e israelíes vivan en paz, como iguales, donde se respeten todas las etnias y religiones, donde se respete la propiedad y titularidad de las tierras, donde las violaciones de derechos humanos no sean la norma. Una solución que ponen sobre la mesa muchos activistas palestinos pero ¿estarían Israel y toda su vertiente de derechas del gobierno dispuestos?

beetlejuice

Si tuviese que resumir mi experiencia en los Territorios Palestinos Ocupados con Horizons de una manera sencilla diría que la población palestina es un ejemplo a seguir en tanto en cuanto que no pierden la esperanza, ni tan siquiera en los momentos más duros. Son mujeres y hombres valientes que nos enseñan cada día a no rendirnos, resistir, seguir luchando. Como la poetisa Rafee Ziada recita: "Nosotros [los palestinos] enseñamos vida, señor". TC mark


Nota del editor: Si usted tiene la fluidez bilingüe en Inglés y Español y quieres contribuir al Thought Catalog, por favor escriba kovie@thoughtcatalog.com.