Thought Catalog


15 Signs You’re Definitely Your Mom’s Favorite Child

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 08:00 PM PST

innalax
innalax

1. She asks you for advice.

2. Your name or birthday is her password for at least one email account, and you know this, because you know her password for at least one email account.

3. She says that in the future, she is going to move wherever you end up with your family, and totally disregards that your siblings could be somewhere else.

4. She hangs out with you the most like a friend.

5. When you're home, she rarely asks you to do anything chore-wise, you're too busy sitting on the side of her bed and talking for 4 hours at a time.

6. She's almost always one of the top 3 names on your iMessages.

7. You're the center of conversation when you get home, and you know this because your siblings always point out that you're always the center of conversation whenever you're there.

8. You have long talks in the car because as soon as you're alone, you just spill everything that's going on.

9. She overshares to the extent that you have to stop and say "ugh, ew, mom I did not want to know that."

10. She has the most selfies of you saved on her phone.

11. She complains about your siblings to you, or says they just don't "get her" like you do.

12. She asks for your input on major family decisions, and probably takes your opinion more seriously than she does her partner's.

13. She texts your friends (or at least thinks she's actually friends with them).

14. You're the most alike, and you know this because she always tells you that you were just like she was when she was your age.

15. She tells you under her breath now and again that you are, indeed the favorite child – but not to say anything to your siblings about it. (Like you – and they – didn't already know.) TC mark

How Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Likes To Fall In Love

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 07:00 PM PST

lizzieallenphoto
lizzieallenphoto

ENFP: Intensely, excitedly and passionately.

ENFPs dive headfirst into almost everything they do and that includes falling in love. Though this enthusiastic type can force themselves to take things slowly, they'd much rather be rushing eagerly into whichever new relationship strikes their fancy – and experiencing it full-force, no holds barred. They want to know the all of a person, as quickly, intensely and passionately as possible.

INFP: Grandly, deeply and romantically.

INFPs aren't always the quickest to act on their emotions but they are certainly the quickest to feel them. This type experiences a rich, vivid inner world that includes a deep sense of passion for whomever strikes their fancy. They dream of grand, romantic gestures and passionate declarations of love – even when they know those gestures are unlikely to become a reality. To an INFP, thinking about a new romantic interest is often more fun than actually interacting with them.

INFJ: Slowly, guardedly and cautiously.

INFJs are romantics in theory but realists in practice. They want to wade slowly and cautiously into relationships, ensuring they are investing in someone whom they can trust long-term. This type has their walls up high but once they let them down, their partner gets the all of them – and they expect the same in return.

ENFJ: Passionately, considerately and deeply.

ENFJs want to know absolutely everything about the person they're falling in love with. They may not jump headfirst into new romances but they certainly approach getting to know someone with an unmatchable intensity and passion. Once this dedicated type decides it's you they're going to love, they're all in – and they'll spoil their budding partner with their undivided attention and care.

INTJ: Slowly, deliberately and secretly.

INTJs have to examine a potential relationship from every angle humanly possible before deciding that it's worth pursuing – which means you may not know for a long while if an INTJ is interested in you. Though they apply logic to all their relationships, this type experiences much stronger emotions than they let on – they may care quietly and show their love sparingly but rest assured that when they feel it, they feel it deeply. And once they're in, they're in.

ENTJ: Evenly, guardedly and safely.

ENTJs assess relationships the way they assess everything else – as a potential investment with various associated risks. To this practical type, love is a choice as much as it's a feeling – they want to scout out potential partners evenly and rationally before they let their emotions run away on them. This type approaches relationships cautiously but rest assured once they're committed, they're committed.

INTP: Cautiously, curiously and sparingly.

INTPs see other people as puzzles – and the more they like you, the more eager they are to try and figure you out. This type approaches romance with a hint of deliberation but a natural sense of curiosity. In fact, they're so busy soaking you in that they may forget to make a move altogether.

ENTP: Curiously, quickly and obsessively.

ENTPs approach relationships the way they approach everything else – with an assertive, borderline obsessive sense of curiosity. They want to know everything about their potential love interest and figure out exactly what makes them tick. This type will stay in love for as long as they stay intrigued and a little bit perplexed.

ISTJ: Steadily, patiently and quietly.

Patience is a virtue for ISTJs and this applies to forming relationships as much as it applies to anything else. This type wins love interests over with their consistent and trustworthy nature, which means they don't mind taking the 'friends first' approach to budding romances. This level headed type wants to make sure they're investing in someone who shares their core values – which means they have to get to know the person first.

ESTJ: Purposefully, deliberately and decisively.

ESTJs aren't afraid to go after what they want – and that includes potential love interests. This level headed type wants a partner they can rely on, and once they find someone who fits the bill they don't mind making the first move. This type is all about wining, dining and ultimately winning over whoever captures their fancy.

ISTP: Off-handedly, unintentionally and conveniently.

ISTPs aren't the most passionate of all types but they certainly aren't exempt from falling in love. This type has a tendency to fall for those who pursue them fervently – their heart eventually catches up with their head and they realize that the person they've been assessing for the past few months is the person they absolutely want to be with. A lot of emotions are unintentional for this type, but that doesn't make them any less real.

ESTP: Boldly, brashly and assertively.

ESTPs are straight shooters in life as well as in love. Once this up-front type finds themselves enamored, they don't waste any time in pursuing the object of their affection. Their offhanded charm can win over almost anyone and they know it. They are bold and shameless in pursuing almost anyone they're interested in. Why second-guess a good thing?

ISFJ: Observantly, patiently and open-heartedly.

ISFJs are incredibly observant folk – and this practice is amplified when someone captures their attention. They soak in everything there is to know about a potential love interest before moving in closer – they want to know that they're investing in someone who they can be a good fit for – because once they make that investment, this type loves with a heart so caring and open it's astounding.

ESFJ: Passionately, conventionally and considerately.

ESFJs are people who know what they want – and this trait is amplified when it comes to relationships. ESFJs pursue the people who interest them openly and honestly, using a traditional dating structure. They have a lot of love to give and they want to make sure they're allotting it to someone who is ready to receive it and truly engage in something meaningful. This type loves with an open heart but also a stark sense of realism and common sense.

ISFP: Carefully, romantically and serendipitously.

ISFPs are cautious and guarded about their emotions, but that doesn't mean they don't have them. On the contrary, this type loves and feels incredibly deeply. They are secret suckers for romance and like to believe that there is somebody out there for everyone. They are cautious when it comes to new relationships, but once they begin to fall in love, they fall fast and hard.

ESFP: Openly, affectionately and enthusiastically.

There's nothing ESFPs love more than love. This people-focused type dives headfirst into blossoming relationships, adoring the rush they get from falling in love. This type has the impressive ability to get along with just about anyone, which means that once someone captures their interest, their charm takes over full force. And their affection is usually reciprocated. TC mark

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

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What It Really Means To Be Brave

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 06:15 PM PST

canonographer1
canonographer1

The Oxford dictionary primarily defines ‘brave’ as the following: Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage. From the definition, I wager there are two parts to being brave – the ability to endure, and courage. To this wager, I add that when one is brave, two of these qualities have to co-exist, and they are both of equal importance.

In order to understand bravery, one must understand its opposite – fear. Fear is an enemy, and a cruel one at that. Most people don’t like to get to know their enemies but I am of the opinion that one must not only know their enemies, but it is infinitely beneficial to understand them.

Like most people, I have a fear of rejection and failure. These are supposedly the two contemporary greatest human fears alongside death – a long-standing human fear. But I also fear other things like contracting diseases (I have hypochondriac tendencies), drowning (even though I’m a decent swimmer), and being misunderstood – in an existential kind of way.

There are lots of quotes about overcoming fear so I will spare you the clichés. For the record, I have no problem with clichés  – they exist because there is usually some truth to them. But they are not needed here. The most profound thing I have learned about fear is that there is no escaping it. It is an enemy you will battle till death. Oh, the irony.

But knowing that fear is inescapable is exactly why bravery is of utmost necessity in life. Fear is the thing that paralyzes, while bravery is the thing that frees. Fear is the thing that chooses mediocre, while bravery is the thing that takes the risk of chance, a chance that could bring greatness or defeat. Fear always leads to regret, while bravery leads to knowing.

Bravery requires endurance because it requires persistence and perseverance  – that thing that keeps you going after the proverbial fat lady has sung and the show is over. Bravery requires courage because first you must make the choice to be at the show, and then to get up and sing too.

When I think of all the people in my lifetime who have been brave and who continue to be brave, I realize that bravery means many different things in different situations.

Sometimes bravery means being the person who stands out in the crowd, who speaks up, and who must be a voice, either the voice they need to hear, or a voice for others. Sometimes bravery means having the prudence to pause, to sit in silence, and to be okay.

Sometimes bravery means putting up the fight of your life, and fighting till the very end. Sometimes bravery means raising up that white flag, accepting defeat, and finding the will to move on from that defeat without resentment, and with wisdom.

Sometimes bravery means to search for the things and the people who make you feel alive; to take risks, to be a long shot, and an outlier. Sometimes bravery means to be grateful and content and satisfied with the state of your present.

But bravery, whatever it is some of the time, to be authentic, to be able to endure, to be an act of courage, must also be an act of love. Whether of a thing or of a person or of a place, bravery must be manifested through love. And to be brave you must accept that the great love of anything may result in heartbreak and pain and disappointment. To be brave, you must be willing to risk the possibility of a terrifying ending. To brave is to be alive and to live in such a way that the world knows you are afraid but you love, more than you fear. TC mark

I Often Think Of Where You Are And If You’re Happy. Are You In Love?

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 06:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / kaitlynzuverink
Twenty20 / kaitlynzuverink

To the man I love, to my future.

The first time I felt your presence, I began joining the dots
in the sky, wondering when our stars would align.

I often think of where you are and if you’re happy. Are you
in love? I hope she is gentle. I know you and I are the same
in that way–we bruise a little more easily than most. You
see, our souls were made in the same breath.

I know I’m running late–I’m sorry. Things haven’t
worked out the way I planned. But believe me when I tell
you I am on my way.

Until then, think of me, dream of me and I will do the same.
One day I will learn your name, and I will write it
somewhere on this page. And we will realise that we have
known each other all along.

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

The Cultural Significance Of Black Hermione

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 04:15 PM PST

With special thanks to Hannah Aroni and Kacea McKinney for the use of their illustrations in this piece.
theMonaOgg
Hannah Aroni

Harry Potter fans, rejoice – it's official! Hermione Jean Granger has been canonically announced as a Black woman.

Of course, it's not that simple. For starters, not everyone is pleased.

The announcement of Hermione's race came at an announcement of the actors for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play were announced via Twitter. Along with Noma Dumezweni playing Hermione, Jamie Parker will by playing Harry Potter, while Paul Thornley will be playing Ron Weasley. Of course, fans immediately went to the Internet to showcase their enthusiasm or disappointment with the announcement, some even going as far as to seek out author and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling's opinion on the matter. (Spoiler: she's totally in support).

The idea of one of the most prominent female characters in a fantasy franchise being non-white is not a new idea. Fan art on social media sites such as Tumblr have suggested "race bending" characters for years – the idea of an artist reinterpreting typically white characters into people of color.

 Kacea McKinney

Kacea McKinney

In a way, race bending does offer a solution to the recurring issue of major franchising having a lack of representation for marginalized fans. As J.K. writes in her tweet above, Hermione was always described ambiguously in the text of the Harry Potter books – ("canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified.") Though, some would argue that with the live-action adaptation employing Emma Watson in the role, some would question the sincerity behind J.K's sentiments now.

The question does arise – does the canon decision to make Hermione Granger Black mark a progressive twist on the familiar franchise? I believe that it's very well up to interpretation, but by allowing for such a major character to be nonwhite, we can begin to have context and nuance in a long-overdue discussion on how we treat race within the literary world.

Representation is something that all readers should have the privilege of experiencing – the feeling of recognizing yourself in a beloved character within the pages of a book is unlike anything else in the world. And Harry Potter is unique, in its position to being one of the first major franchises that captured the hearts of young readers around the world. Many articles have explored the impact that the franchise had in shaping the political and social viewpoint for a generation, and while I agree with many points mentioned, I still think that race is often left out of the discussion for fear of anger and derailing the conversation.

The fact of the matter is Black girls deserve to see themselves as magical, intelligent, and central in their own stories. Hermione Granger allows for that.

Like many readers, I saw Hermione as a girl like myself – we had the same hair with a mind of its own; we enjoyed learning and spending our time in books; and we were fiercely loyal to our friends. But having a character I saw like myself take center stage in one of the most important books of my childhood gave me indescribable joy. Black girls are too often left out the conversation when it comes to equal representation – though we have a growing presence within popular media, there's still a lack of characters we can identify with that embody traits that go outside of the typical troupes we normally see associated with Black girlhood. And as someone that's not only interested in diversity within media, but as a woman of color myself, seeing Black Hermione is revolutionary. It allows me to see myself in a new light.

Buzzed writer Alanna Bennett previously wrote about the importance of a "racebent" Hermione, and so has Thought Catalog‘s own Vanessa Willoughby (via HelloGiggles). Fans of color have imagined characters like Hermione to be Black for years, but to have it confirmed as part of the canon allows for new opportunities to arise in future media. And best of all, it gives girls and children of color permission to explore their identities and importance within the magical settings of literature and media. We owe ourselves that. We owe readers, children, and media consumers around the world that, and so much more. TC mark

13 Women Reveal What They Do When Trying To Be Sexy

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 04:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / marisa.zupan
Twenty20 / marisa.zupan

1. “Usually I just put on some hot lingerie. Red lacy panties can make any girl feel sexy.” —Leah, 24

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2. “Not trying to sound conceited, but I rarely ever try to be sexy, I just kind of am. I look sexy in a turtle neck. It’s just me.” —Christina, 25

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3. “I think I’m the most sexy when I’m the most natural. Sure, putting on a tight dress and high heels makes my legs look good, but I think it’s sexy when I’m comfortable being myself, when there’s no need for makeup and heels and short skirts, when I’m just me.” —Alicia, 26

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4. “Red lipstick. It makes me feel daring and edgy. When all attention is on your lips, how is that not sexy?” —Denise, 23

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5. “I’m the most awkward person ever, so me trying to be sexy is like a dog trying to meow. It just doesn’t happen. If I try, I fail miserably. I think being myself is enough, and in a way I guess that is sexy on its own.” —Aimee, 25

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6. “If I’m trying to be sexy for a guy, I’ll usually just wear tight clothing. But being sexy for me and no one else is all about confidence. When I’m confident, I’m sexy.” —Morgan, 24

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7. “Being sexy isn’t all about lingerie and revealing clothing, it’s an attitude. If I’m trying to be sexy I just trick myself into thinking I am sexy, and that usually works. It’s all about whether or not you believe it.” —Nora, 25

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8. “A good spray tan does the trick for me. A nice golden glow is always sexy, especially in December when everyone else looks like Casper.” —Hannah, 23

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9. “I usually have a designated ‘sexy’ outfit. It’s the one outfit I wear if I ever want to get laid. It varies season to season, but usually it’s tight, low cut, or short, and sometimes it’s all three. When I have it on, my friends know I’m on a mission.” —Ally, 23

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10. “I wear a good pair of Spanx, makes everything all tight and compact. They feel sexy when I have clothes over top of them, but if I’m with a guy and he takes them off, eh that’s not so sexy. That rarely happens though, so most times, yes, they make me feel sexy.” —Chloe, 25

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11. “When I’m trying to be sexy, I talk dirty. Anything to do with him on top of me, or me on top of him, that usually gets both of us going, and makes me feel hot in general.” —Paula, 23

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12. “I just make really direct eye contact. I think some people are uncomfortable with that, but I want to be looking at him, so that he knows I’m looking at him for a reason.” —Elise, 25

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13. If I’m with a guy I usually just touch them. Whether it’s my hand on their leg, or my arms around their neck, I think touch is a simple way to show affection, and add a little sex appeal while doing so.” —Cate, 24 TC mark

What Your Boyfriend Actually Wants, But Will Never Ask For

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 03:00 PM PST

valeohoh
valeohoh

He wants to be someone you're proud of. He wants you to brag to your friends about him, gush to your parents about him, take the numerous painstaking pictures that result in just one you can post, because he wants the world to know that he's with you. He wants you to slip your hand inside of his while you're walking down the street, as a simple, territorial claim. He wants to be the guy who you openly can't get enough of, because he cannot get enough of you.

He wants you to take him at his word. He wants you to know that "I love you" today means I love you tomorrow and I'll love you the day after that, even if he doesn't always say it aloud. He wants you to know that the way he feels about you isn't impacted by the tiny annoyances and the petty arguments and either of your foul moods on the bad days. He wants you to know that his affection and adoration for you are pervasive and you shouldn't have to question that – ever.

He wants you to act like he's the very first guy. Not the first guy you've been with or loved – you have a past and he respects you for that. It's part of what makes you yourself. But he wants to feel like he is the first guy you've ever looked at in the specific way you look at him. Like he's the first one who's ever lit your world on fire. Like he's the first guy you've ever seen a future with in the exact way you see a future with him, because you're the first girl he's ever felt like this about. The way feels to be with you is brand new to him, even though he's had other girlfriends, and he hopes that it's new to you too.

He wants you to allow him to spoil you. He sees you as nothing but his equal but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to indulge you.

You are what he wants to spend his money and time and his effort on. He wants to whisk you away on vacation, to take you out to a nice dinner, to watch your face explode into a grin when he comes home with a surprise that you were never expecting. He wants to be the thing that lights up your world because you’re the thing that lights up his.

He wants you to know he's not infallible. He doesn't want to tell you – that he's not always brave or decisive or sure, but he wants you to quietly know. To pick up on the moments when his face falls or his voice quivers or he heads straight to the den when he gets home. He wants you to understand that sometimes he's avoiding you not because he's upset at you but because he is disappointed in himself – for not being strong enough and capable enough and successful enough to provide you with all you deserve. He wants to be your hero but he wants you to know that he won't be able to be that 100% of the time. And he wants that to be okay. He wants you to know that it's never going to stop him from trying.

He wants you to be patient with him. Your determination and your certainty and your confidence in the arena of love are what he adores about you most and yet sometimes he needs to take it slow. He wants you to know that to him, love forms quietly – in the moments when you laugh unexpectedly, on the mornings when your smile brightens the room, in the moments when you're falling asleep and your breath steadies out and slows down – and he knows that you feel safe inside his arms. He needs you to know that relationships aren't something he dives into headfirst because he wants it all to matter in a real way. He wants to build something that's going to last with you. He wants you to know that you shouldn’t worry about where the two of you stand because if he can swing it right, you’ll have the rest of your lives to keep on falling in love with each other.

And he wants you to trust him on it all. Because what he’s actually most afraid to tell you is that even this early in the game, he already knows that he doesn’t plan on letting you go. TC mark

Why You Should Never Date A Musician

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 02:00 PM PST

PeopleImages
PeopleImages

I have a weakness for musicians. This weakness had led me to heartbreak and other inconveniences. I'd been warned not to date musicians but I never listened. I figured, you can't make sweeping generalizations like that, can you?

Actually, yes, you can. Here are some reasons why you should never date a musician. And I mean a real musician, not some guy who busts out his guitar at a dying house party and does an acoustic version of "Hey Ya!", like we've never heard that before, dude.

Their band will always come first.

You will never come before the music. Their band is always going to come before you, unless your name is Yoko Ono, and let's be real, it probably isn't. And I can't really fault the musician for that, because I get it: your career is important, and for some people, it's their driving force in life. It can just suck when you realize you're competing with three dudes (or three ladies, or whatever combination) for the attention of one dude.

They tour, sometimes for a long-ass time.

If the musician is doing really well (again, not the dude singing "Hey Ya!"), they're going to have to tour. This is great for them, as it's awesome exposure for the band and all that. What's not so great for you is that you're suddenly in a long-distance relationship. And maybe you make your peace with this, and do your best to Skype and text and email while they're away, and then suddenly, the tour is extended. It's a lot for a relationship to take.

The groupies.

A band doesn't have to be Led Zeppelin to have groupies. Just put a guy on a stage and give him an audience and a guitar, and the groupies will follow. And in this day and age, with Instagram and Twitter, it's easier for groupies to follow their favorite artists and contact them. It can be very easy to get very jealous. Even the most level-headed person could find themselves feeling envy seeing a long line of women clamoring to meet and talk to their musician of choice. Pro tip for groupies: don't ever try to talk to a musician as they're unloading after their set. Not a good time.

They're total divas.

I'm sorry, but musicians are total divas who think everything revolves around them. It's just one of those professions that comes with an ego. Even the humblest person will turn into a diva when they become a successful musician. Which isn't to say that every musician is at Kanye's level. If that were a case, the music industry would fold into itself, like some beautiful dark twisted origami. But once you get a musician working in the studio, that's it, they're totally gone, lost in themselves.

Look, I can be reasonable about this. I know some genuinely good guys who are musicians who aren't total dickbags who would rightly object to this. But I find that they're rare exceptions. Musicians are the easiest, fastest way to get your heart broken. And for what it's worth, you probably shouldn't date writers, either. TC mark

When Your Life Starts To Unravel, Sometimes You Have To Let It Happen

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 01:15 PM PST

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Ezra Ellenberg

March 11th. I don't remember how I started the day, but I finished it in my bedroom at 191 Graham, kinda drunk, kinda stoned. Scrolling through my News Feed, a friend's status flashed past: "Everyone shut the fuck up there's a new Tame Impala song." Six shows in the last 12 months puts me somewhere between fanboy and belieber for Kevin Parker's central project. I smiled dumbly, strapped on my headphones, clicked the link, and melted into my pillows.

I was already three months into an incredibly difficult year. My girlfriend, Emily, had been given a grim prognosis in December from an earlier bout of cancer and I was struggling to stay afloat – socially, at work, and in my own head. Anyone who identifies strongly with a certain artist could probably understand my anticipation – I had been scanning the web for months, reading every interview for hints about the new album, set to debut in July after a delay earlier in the year. All signs seemed to point towards a significant shift in Kevin's sound – from guitar-heavy psych-rock washed in reverb to a more diverse set of songs pulling from R&B, disco, and a more Pop-oriented aesthetic. Kevin himself, deeply involved with actually making the album, would only say that he thought it was the most musically diverse release to date. I was a bit concerned (my dad, though not an insufferable "rockist," did raise me on a steady dose of Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Santana.) The song started playing.

She consistently lifted me out of devastation and emotional ruin when it should've been the other way around.

Sonically, Let It Happen is a masterpiece, a synesthetic symphony. After a hauntingly beautiful first three minutes featuring an array of melodic synths, his signature Lennon-esque falsetto, and crisp, thoughtful drum fills, he pushes the looper button and doesn't let go. At first blush, you might think it a gimmick, but after a few repetitions, the head starts nodding reflexively, trapped in a trance until he snaps his fingers and suddenly you're careening out the other end of a wormhole into uncharted territory.

But what struck me most about the song was the honesty and vulnerability of the lyrics, and the somber tone of his voice. As you can imagine, 'Let It Happen' is about allowing the world to come to you, not struggling so hard against natural progressions. Parker put it this way in an interview with NME:

It's about chaos – the whirlwinds of life that have always seemed too intense for you," he explains. You put your fingers in your ears and you close your eyes to shut them out, because you've always tried to control who you are, control the world that you're in, but it comes to a point when it takes more energy to block it out than to allow it to wash through you.

beetlejuice

I think the hardest part of watching my girlfriend's health degrade this year has been accepting radically new realities very quickly. I was caught in a riptide and every time I thought I had re-stabilized from a tough update, another wave would pin me. I just couldn't stay out in front of it.

Much to her credit, Emily was so much better at this than me. I would jokingly call her a freak. Within hours of receiving news that would send many sprawling, she would call me and seem genuinely steady. "Are you ok babe?" I'd ask her. And without fail, she would say, "Yeah, I mean, it sucks, but everyone can only deal with what's given to them. And this is what's on my plate, so I just need to do this. I don't think I'm special." I would just shake my head in awe of her. She consistently lifted me out of devastation and emotional ruin when it should've been the other way around. "Okay," I'd respond "but you don't know how wrong you are. Not many people could do what you're doing."

beetlejuice

Being the junky that I am, I sent Emily the song the following morning. I thought she might have become sensitized to my Tame Impala propaganda, but much to my delight, it grew on her quickly. When I visited, we'd listen in the car on the way to lunch or lounging in bed. The message resonated powerfully with both of us, but she embodied the themes while I struggled to do the same. At first, when the chaos came, my first instinct was to deny it, or try to contain it in a tiny box that I'd hold shut, separate from myself entirely. But after a while, I realized that one way or another, the horror of what was happening was going to catch up to me. Emily, her family, friends, and I were all at the whim of a force completely out of our control. The only thing we could do was let it wash over us, get back up, and make the most of the time we had.

The irony is that it takes an immense amount of energy, pain, and mental effort to let things happen, to be capable of absorbing new situations, nodding, but never bowing to them, a concept that is reflected in Kevin Parker's creative process. He created Currents from scratch on his own, playing every instrument, recording every take, and mixing it once the raw materials were in order. The opening track epitomizes the contrast that makes Kevin's music so special to me. For all its wavy glory, 'Let It Happen' is a meticulously constructed piece of music. But when the vocals come back in around the 5:30 mark, it sounds as though he is speaking gibberish. And he is.

A lot of my vocals are the first takes. So much is that true, that on the first song [on Currents], “Let It Happen,” there’s this part at the end where I’m singing through this keyboard sampler thing, almost like a vocoder but not really. And the first take I did, I was just singing gibberish and making sounds with my mouth just to test it out. And I didn’t even know what I was saying. I was saying words and stringing sentences together that weren’t really words. I do that a lot when I’m demoing and fleshing out ideas, because I’ve got the emotion in me, but I haven’t turned it into words yet. So I was just doing that, and then I left that for months and months, always planning to go back and re-record it with real lyrics. And I only did it a few days ago, a week before mastering. I’m totally contradicting what I said before, but I couldn’t get back the same groove I did when I was speaking in tongues. So I had to make the decision, like, 'Fuck it. I’ll just leave the speaking in tongues version on the album.' It will never make sense, but the song is called “Let It Happen,” and it’s about allowing what is overtaking you to take control.

There's no doubt that it took a lot for Parker to get to this place as an artist. This dichotomy struck a chord with me through the past year – all this effort and obsessing over something so complex, and in the end, you kind of just have to say "fuck it" and let things be as they must.

beetlejuice

Throughout this process, my support system was spectacular. My friends, coworkers, family, and therapist all played massive roles in getting me through this. But I can honestly say that nothing gave me more comfort or relief than closing my eyes and allowing this song to take me wherever I needed to go. Experiencing it wholly with the people around me, people who've known me for most or all of my life, made it too real, too visceral, too painful. How can I look into a family member's eyes and tell them each devastating update, over and over, sense their empathy, and experience the pain all over again? This song allowed me to keep it at a level of abstraction while maintaining the thematic and emotional richness that the experience so obviously necessitated.

beetlejuice

After fighting the disease for a little under a year, the cancer stopped responding to treatment entirely in mid-November. Scans taken on a scheduled trip to her cancer center in Houston showed new tumors growing on her vertebrae, crushing her spinal column. In the initial fracas, the doctors rushed her to the emergency room. They were concerned that unless they were removed, the tumors would paralyze her imminently. She called me from her hospital bed while I was at work and explained the situation. It was another body blow, for sure, but she was scared, so I did my best to slow things down and think about it rationally. A few hours passed, things died down, and we were able to re-evaluate: the surgery would be an extreme measure that, at best, could give her a few more weeks of walking.

Emily made the tough, but correct decision to stop medical treatment, return home to Baton Rouge, and begin hospice care.

But during rehab, she would be unable to receive any kind of treatment on the other tumors, not to mention the tax that such a rigorous surgery would put on her already-drained body. After consulting with her team of oncologists and surgeons, it became obvious that choosing surgery would be a mistake. The operation provided minimal reward and a ton of risk.

Emily made the tough, but correct decision to stop medical treatment, return home to Baton Rouge, and begin hospice care. I visited her in late November. Though her ability to walk dissipated during that week, she was steadfast in her will to live. Each morning, she would put on her makeup and wig, and challenge herself to get outside, do a puzzle, and read. She was also tasked with planning the Christmas celebration and gift exchange for the family. I remember sitting on the couch with her while she fussed over thinking of the perfect thing for her secret Santa recipient.

"Em, what do you want for Christmas?" I asked.

"I really just want another tattoo… so how about some money?"

"Ha, alright. What do you want to get though?"

"Well I'm thinking of getting a blue whale on my right shoulder blade with 'Let It Happen' in script underneath."

What a woman.

It was especially difficult to say goodbye on that trip. We hugged each other through faces full of tears and her brother-in-law drove me to the airport.

Everything held steady for the next couple weeks. I went back to work, Emily's pain was under control, and it seemed like life had stabilized, on a lower plateau, but level nonetheless.

beetlejuice

On Sunday, December 6th, I sat down to an early dinner with my family, somewhere around 5 p.m.. It was a lazy, tired Sunday. The sun was already down, and no one felt like cooking, so we ordered falafel platters from Taim. My uncle was in town, my sister and her boyfriend showed up, and I was in a pretty great mood. At 5:38 p.m., Emily's mother texted me: "Please call when you can." My heart plunged. I swallowed hard. "No, I can finish dinner, it's probably something minor," I lied to myself. "Fuck." I excused myself quietly from the table and tapped the telephone symbol. The only person who has approached Emily's level of fortitude in the last 13 months is her mother, who is now sobbing on the other end of the line:

"Hey, Ezra?"

"Yes?" I respond, my voice already in a quiver.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this over the phone, but Em has slipped into a coma."

A few seconds pass. My head spins, my mouth fails to open.

"The nurses don't think she's going to come out of it."

I manage to choke out a few words before breaking down: "I'm so sorry Mary-Katherine."

The T.V. room in my parent's home sits between my former bedroom and the dining room, which veers left towards the kitchen, where my family is currently sitting, completely unaware. In complete shock, I take one step into my bedroom. "No, don't try to do this alone," I tell myself. I turn around and head into the kitchen. My sister's boyfriend is the first to catch my eye. I watch his lips curl downwards. Everyone turns. "Emily's in a coma, they don't think she'll come out of it." My mother wraps her arms around me and every ounce of strength I have in me leaves, immediately. My knees and hips give out, I tilt backwards and nearly smash my head on the kitchen island. My mother pulls my weight up and leans me down in her chair. I completely unravel. After 20 minutes, I start to take form again. I walk like a zombie to the couch and turn on the television, unable to confront the situation as it stands. For all the progress I'd made with acceptance, this felt like something far too cruel. In one second, it seemed she was gone.

A couple of hours later, my phone lights up: Mary-Katherine Callway. I can't deal with any more bad news, but fuck it. I pick up the phone. "Em is back. She's awake!" Holy shit. Mary-Katherine gives the phone to Emily. We talk for a bit. She's confused. She doesn't understand why people are in her room, watching her sleep. She insists she's fine. We try to explain that she was not just asleep, but unconscious. We spare her the details, but the reality is that her body is shutting down, and she will not last much longer. They put me on speakerphone.

Mary-Katherine begins: "We were trying everything we could to bring her out of it. We were talking to her and just tellin' her how much we loved her. We even started playing whale sounds." Emily was an environmental science major at school and did her thesis on the presence of culture in communities of orcas. "Then we played that song she loves. Dan, what's that song?" Mary-Katherine asks her son.

"That Tame Impala song, Let It Happen."

beetlejuice

One of my favorite memories of Emily came every Sunday afternoon. After a night of a few too many drinks, she'd smack me gently on the ass around 9:30 and remind me I had to get out of bed and get to work. I assistant teach at a Sunday School in child care on W. 4th street in downtown Manhattan. We would struggle to the Montrose L stop, stopping at Bread Brothers for a bagel and coffee if there was time, and ride into the city.

After getting out at 14th street, we'd walk briskly south, weave towards 5th avenue, and pass through the arch on the north side of Washington Square Park. That's where I would give her a kiss and leave her for a couple of hours while I went to work. After work ended, I'd emerge into the sunlight and cross the street back towards the park. I'd always see her before she saw me; I don't think she ever knew that. She'd usually be sitting on a bench, completely absorbed by the pianist who plays there on Sunday afternoons, her blond hair flowing in the breeze, blue-green eyes shining speckled in the sunlight.

beetlejuice

Emily, still dazed and not quite in it, starts speaking: "Yeah, I was in a dream. We were in the park and I was waiting for you to get out of Sunday school, and “Let It Happen” started playing. You had your back towards me and you were walking away and I was calling your name, but you couldn't hear me. And then the music stopped and you turned around and looked at me. And then I woke up."

I would consider myself agnostic at this point in my life, but I am a very spiritual person. I'm not saying that the music had any kind of causal role, or that the spirit of God came down and woke Emily from her coma, but the sequence of events is undeniable. Here's this song that meant so much to me through the past year, that helped me accept the unacceptable, unfair things that bludgeoned me, one after the other. And I was just lying on my parents couch, thinking it was all over and I'd never get to say goodbye to my girlfriend. And then I get a call telling me that she's back, and awake.

This song, it brought her back from the brink. It opened a channel for us, so that I could tell her I loved her one last time, so that I could hear her voice and tell her not to worry. As soon as she told me about that dream, the image crystallized and I was there with her in that park. It would be dishonest of me to say that this made everything ok, but it gave me a sense of finality and sewed the seeds for closure. I fear for what state I'd be in if that didn't happen.

beetlejuice

After her brief moment of clarity Sunday night, Emily was in and out of consciousness for most of the following week. She slept most of the day and experienced minimal pain, but her body was shutting down – pulse and heart rate dropping, body temperature slowly cooling.

The universe is prescient; it gives gifts to your mind around times of death.

I tried staying home from work Monday, but that did not work at all, so I forced myself to come in for the rest of the week. On Thursday, I found myself going back through old interviews of Parker from around the time the album was released. I found one from Under The Radar that I'd never seen before. I went through it slowly and finally got to the interviewer's last question:

Do you have any particular expectations for how this album will be received?

There are a few times in making an album where I’m in a really kind of emotional state, and it’s very intense to me. If that happens to someone else anywhere around the world, then I’ve succeeded. And if it happens to more people, then that’s even better. While I’m making an album I do like to just think about this one person that is experiencing it in a really strong way. That’s what motivates me to finish it. “You’ve got to get this out there, because this person, who is unnamed and without an identity, is waiting for it.” I guess [that person] is me in a parallel universe. There’s not much quite like it.

No, Kevin, there's absolutely nothing like it. I can tell by your attitude, by the care with which you make your music that it comes from some other realm. I may never meet you, you may never know who I am, but our lives have played out in parallel and your art has done more for me than I can express. I am still completely dumbfounded by the last 12 hours of my girlfriend's conscious life. I have no idea what happened, but it has given me peace and it has allowed me to let go.

My girlfriend, Emily Jane Callaway, died early in the morning on Saturday, December 12th. She was 23 years old. The universe is prescient; it gives gifts to your mind around times of death.

Song:

Lyrics:

It’s always around me, all this noise
But not nearly as loud as the voice saying
Let it happen, let it happen (It’s gonna feel so good)
Just let it happen, let it happen

All this running around
Trying to cover my shadow
An ocean growing inside
And All the others seem shallow
All this running around
Bearing down on my shoulders
I can hear an alarm
Must be morning

I heard about a whirlwind that’s comin ’round
It’s gonna carry off all that isn’t bound
And when it happens, when it happens (I’ll be holding on)
So let it happen, let it happen

All this running around
I can’t fight it much longer
Something’s trying to get out
And it’s never been closer
If my ticker fails
Make up some other story
And if I never come back
Tell my mother I’m sorry

I will not vanish, you will not scare me
Try to get through it, try to bounce to it
All the while thinking I might as well do it
Any other woman and I wouldn't dare it
Take the next ticket to take the next train
Why would I do it? And you weren't thinkin that
[x4]

Maybe I was ready all along
Maybe I was ready all along
Maybe I was ready all along
Maybe I was ready all along TC mark

The Man I Fell In Love With Was Not The Man I Went Home To Every Night

Posted: 23 Dec 2015 01:00 PM PST

Pavel Badrtdinov
Pavel Badrtdinov

Is it possible to have a major psychological change in adult age? Is it possible to overpass one of strongest human fears, that is nevertheless very common: the fear of living? When the man I loved asked me this, I was living with another man. I had a stable job and I was leading a normal life, I was on the path that everybody expected me to be. Sometimes the hardest thing to distinguish is what we really want from life and what others expect us to do.

When I left my country with the man I did not love, but I was sharing a life with, my greatest pleasure was to retreat in my room and lead an imaginary existence while reading a novel. If I were to move somewhere, I wouldn’t choose a country, I would rather choose a novel to move inside. But this story I am about the tell you is real. Somewhere on this planet, it did happen.

I left my country to continue my scientific research in a field I was working for years. But I was too scared to leave alone, so I left carrying heavy luggage: the weight of a dying relationship.

We rented a small apartment and every day after arrival, we kept on arguing about various subjects, such as: who should do the dishes, the existence of aliens, the most suitable day to clean the house or the meaning of our shared life. We could never agree on anything, our apartment resembled a battlefield, as we went on breaking dishes and sending sharp gazes, heavy with hatred, to each other. We were two strangers stuck under the same roof, who had nothing in common, except for a fear, that is nevertheless so common: the fear of loneliness.

We lived close to the sea. Sometimes in the morning, a seagull used to knock on our window. We woke up, we had coffee and ceased the war for a while as I headed to work. When I was waiting for the bus, I sometimes thought about what else to expect from life. I was emotionally drained, far away from home and living with a man who was more an enemy than a partner to share dreams with. I thought I had nothing else to expect from life and then, I fell in love.

Real journeys happen inside of us.

Love triangles are very common, almost as common as the fear of loneliness or the fear of living. They are an indication of split personalities between the need for stability and the excitement of the unknown, between what we are and what we could become. An indication of the gap between what we want ourselves and what others expect from us.

Never disregard the ability of life to surprise us. One day we might have nothing to live for and the next, there is something waiting for us around the corner. Us humans, we need something to believe in because otherwise we are just leaves blown by the wind. I do believe in love and its power to transform the way we see the world and ourselves as part of it.

I fell in love with a man whom I noticed in the bus stop. I was intrigued by the thickness of the book he was reading. I remember the intensity of the first gaze we exchanged. Maybe it is true that when we meet someone for the first time, time compresses and we can catch a small glimpse of the future. Day by day, we started talking more and more. As we were getting closer, I discovered a fascinating person, someone who took the time to listen to me, whose kind way of being brought me comfort, a man with whom time seemed to stand still. Opening up my heart towards him and revealing my true self came natural. He was a handsome man and sometimes I took pleasure in just looking at him, talking or just being. When we were in the same room, I had the impression nothing else mattered and this uplifting feeling will accompany me forever. But things were not that simple.

The happiest ten minutes of my life were those when I was half running, half floating to meet him and discuss the future of our relationship. I was so happy out of misunderstanding because I thought what hindered us from getting even closer was just a natural shyness that we both shared. But life is twisted and complicated and that afternoon when he told me our relationship will remain platonic, I had to struggle hard not to burst into tears. Platonic because he, just like myself, already had someone to share a life with. I already knew that but a loving heart always finds out ways to shut up the reason.

What I will always remember from that afternoon when we met and talked and an earthquake happened inside of me, is that his eyes changed colour: from light to deep blue. From the heights of the sky, I was falling fast into deep sea. My hands were trembling and as I was heading to the bus stop, I became aware I had a strange way of stumbling upon my feet. When we reach a certain level of emotion, we lose the consciousness of our body, we mix up with the air around.

After the discussion, I did not feel like going home. Home was a far place, not the claustrophobic place I was sharing with an enemy. I decided to go to the beach, to imagine what the sailors felt when willing to leave. After the sea it could be just another land, but maybe it’s also the future. As I was standing there looking at the sunset, I remembered being at home, sitting on the balcony in the dark with bats flying around, looking at the glow of the river. I remembered waiting for the dawn in my room with the window wide open just to hear the morning birds sing. And there I was, sitting in the cold and staring at the North Sea sunset. I had to travel the world to arrive at this emotion. Real journeys happen inside of us. The extent of surprise that life can bring will always outdo the limits of imagination. We cannot use imagination to predict the future in an accurate way. I tried to imagine life six months from then. But surprisingly enough, there was no pain, but a sort of comfort as if time remained suspended.

What I will always remember from that afternoon when we met and talked and an earthquake happened inside of me, is that his eyes changed colour: from light to deep blue.

Time was moving on and the platonic relationship was flourishing. As we were getting closer to each other, my desire for self expression increased. I started writing long texts which I handed him personally and one Saturday afternoon, after I came back from a trip to Berlin, I started painting. I was 26 years old and I had never thought I had a special talent for painting, my life had been linear until then, slowly building my scientific career. I started painting because the emotional outburst I was experiencing needed to unravel its tempest. As if all my life until then, a side of me was sleeping and then an earthquake came and the grounds I was standing on rearranged. Painting has the freedom of a dream, what you cannot say, you can paint. I did thirty paintings in one month and the day before he left, I gave him a painting and a hug. What I got in return was his bike.

The day when he left, I was looking outside the window of my office. I saw the seagulls aligned on the roof of the neighboring building. I was tired and afraid of a nervous breakdown. I could not sleep too well the previous night, I kept waking up in the middle of the night, it was dark outside and I was dreaming about taking the train in the wrong direction. I woke up with a terrible headache, I dressed slowly and went to work. In the bus stop, I acknowledged I will never hear his footsteps approaching me. I had to get used to this. And I also had another thing to do: to learn how to ride the bike he gave me.

The same day, when I got home after a tiring day, in which I walked around almost absent minded, I tried the bike. I did not tell the man I lived with that I had a bike now, he did not notice almost anything about me anyway, only the paintings that grew as a spider web annoyed him, he told me he would have been ashamed if someone visited and saw the paintings. But no one came visiting anymore, not even my parents. I told myself that the day I will leave the house, I will sneak out like a quiet thief, with all the paintings in my luggage. Never to be back again. But that day, I was only a refugee on the living room couch and the most priceless thing I had was the bike that the man I loved gave me. If he were a modern centaur, half man, half bicycle, giving me his bike was like giving me half of him. This is why it was priceless.

I told myself that the day I will leave the house, I will sneak out like a quiet thief, with all the paintings in my luggage.

I went outside the apartment, stepped down the stairs and unlocked the bike. I had a strong sentimental reason to learn how this mysterious machine they call a bike works. I got on the bike and noticed the height was perfect, I tried to keep the balance, but the bike seemed to be having its own will. Then, I tried to keep a line straight without putting my feet down, but the balance is a delicate thing, I never had this equilibrium, especially when it comes to emotions. A lady stopped and asked if I was okay, probably I looked drunk. It was not far from the truth, I felt my nerves tense and painful all day. I answered something about being clumsy. We are never too old to learn something. The lady went away on her own bike wishing me good luck.

Alone again. I have to do it, there is a secret power pulling me forward, the time suspension, the magic. As I get on the bike and look forward, I see the image of my grandfather trying to teach me how to ride a bike, the infinity of a childhood landscape, a summer day that survived in my memory. I start pedaling and I wake up at the end of the street. I have been floating until here, with the wind blowing from the back. It is magic. It is working. In one hour I managed to do what I could not do in a lifetime.

The encounter with him had a deep transforming effect on my personality. Sometimes without touching the physical self, you can touch better the soul. Because you can touch a lot of people who will never really know your soul.

The day when I found myself completely alone, I woke up with a pain in my chest. A physical pain, as if something was shrinking inside me and I was diving into a sea of numbness. Everything started aching when I realized that I lost my hope that the man who gave me the bike would come back. The life he chose did not include me as part of his present. It was time to move on and take a brave step into the future. I was alone all the time, while sharing the house with one and ardently thinking about the other. He will never come back, it was just meant to be like this, to meet and activate a power that was hidden inside myself.

The change of the path we take in life is possible if we are wise enough to listen to our true inner voice.

Psychological change is possible even in adult age and true love is one of the powerful forces that can trigger it. The change of the path we take in life is possible if we are wise enough to listen to our true inner voice. I heard mine for the first time as I was struggling inside a love triangle, split between a dying relationship that resembled a battlefield and a platonic one that was emotionally rewarding, but incomplete. My true inner voice told me to first learn to love myself, to explore my own emotional depth and find the patterns that could lead to dissatisfaction. I took a sabbatical year to dedicate myself to my passions, painting and writing. I took time to unify my being, to distinguish between what I want and what others expect me to do. For the first time, I chose my own path in life: a journey of self expression, in search of the only truth that is fully accessible to myself: my truth. And if people can tune in to this truth then maybe they will feel inspired to find their own truth.

Meanwhile I came back home and sometimes in the morning, as I have coffee and look outside the window, before I start my artist routine, I remember the seagull knocking at the window and the bus stop where life started changing for me. TC mark

Want more writing like this? Explore Laura’s book The Heart is the Center of the Universe available here.

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