Thought Catalog


I Hate My Body (JK?)

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 07:00 PM PST

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One of life's cruel injustices is that your mind and body never quite seem to sync up. By that I mean the second your brain starts to get smart your body becomes dumb. I'm 29, which feels like the semi-sweet spot of age. My body is in relatively good shape, no knee problems or herniated discs (although my brother, who is only a year older than me, suffers from both) and I'm very, very slowly figuring out how to live life in a meaningful, productive way. My brain is becoming less of an embarrassing place to be while my body still retains a sliver of fuckability.

But of course, that will surely fade. My body will start to go as my mind becomes stronger and stronger. And you know what? I think it's bullshit. Out of our lifespan, we only get a handful of years where the mind and body are looking great at the same time?! Rude.

My dad, for example, is a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant man but he's invisible because he's old and overweight. He says he feels like a ghost wherever he goes because, after a certain age, people decided he wasn't worth paying attention to. They're wrong, of course, but it doesn't matter. Once you make the choice to erase someone, it's done.

I have no idea what it feels like to be old and, because of this, I've stopped judging people over the age of 65 for anything they do. Parents stay in loveless marriages, they become roommates, they stop going to violent movies because it upsets them and they only want happy endings. They eat too many sweets.

My mom recently quit smoking, which was a process that took almost thirty years. She finally stopped because my brother and I wouldn't stop harassing her about it and also because technology finally made it easier—at least physically. Since quitting, she's put on some weight. "I ate a grilled cheese for dinner," my mom told me the other night. "I never do that!"

"Well," I suggested. "Maybe you should join a gym? I bet that would make you feel better!"

"No," my mom snapped back. "Sweets are all I have left. I'm not getting that taken away from me too!"

I understood her point. At a certain age, eating a grilled cheese after 8pm becomes your heroin. It's the new "fucking a hot stranger" or  "popping molly."

But doesn't that fact just devastate you? If a grilled cheese is the highlight of your day, what, pray tell, is the lowlight? Wait. Don't tell me. Thirty years from now, I want to be surprised.

My parents are at an age where this world is no longer designed for them. Unless it's an infomercial for menopause, advertisers don't give a fuck about them. And since they're retired, the workforce doesn’t pay them any attention. So in a capitalist society, does that mean they're finally free or does it mean the world is just waiting for them to die?

****

Let's talk about youth for a sec. At 20 years old—the beginning of my young ingĂ©nue years!—no one had kissed me, sucked my dick, anything, in almost two years. I was so desperate for physical affection, I almost went home with an old man I met at MOMA simply because he asked me to. (Saying no to the things that made me feel funny didn't really register as an option until my late twenties.) The reasons for my celibacy were complicated but mostly stemmed from being gay and disabled. I have cerebral palsy—a group of disorders that affects the way you talk, move, and think—and my self-esteem resembled that of a plump person sitting next to an Olsen at New York Fashion Week.

I've always wanted to know what it feels like to be young and desired, to use your looks to get something as meaningless as a free scone at a coffee shop, to not have to tirelessly win someone over with your sense of humor just so they'd maybe consider letting you give them a lackluster handjob later. I, for once, would just like to be used and objectified.

I know it's embarrassing to admit all of this. Like, "Forget about my professional achievements and my cool brain. Just tell me I have a nice ass and that you’d like to come on my face!!!!" But TBH it's how I feel a lot of the time.

At 27, my life was at a personal low-point. I was thirty pounds overweight and living in a bell jar filled with Speculos cookie butter. Things finally came to a head when I went to visit my grandmother. She hadn't seen me in months and the first thing she said was "Oh my god!!! Your face is swollen. Are you OKAY?"

"Yes, Grandma. I'm fine. I didn't realize my face looked weird but, uh, thanks for pointing it out!"

"Well, it does." She paused and then said matter-of-factly, "It's probably because you've gained weight."

I stood there frozen for a few seconds before changing the subject. The next day, I joined a gym.

Now, look, it's difficult to unpack my fitness journey. There are lots of layers to it—it's a seven-layer dip really—but try to stick with me, alright?

When I first started working out, I was terrible at it. I remember going on an elliptical and having it flash "RESUME WORKOUT" because I was going so slow it thought I had left. But I kept at it, eventually going six days a week, and before I knew it, I was full-blown addicted.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time in my head. I am 99% brain, 1% body. So the idea of spending an hour each day dedicated to something that wasn't my thoughts, feelings, and emotions was revolutionary. After 27 years of ignoring its phone calls, it felt like I had FINALLY met my body and started taking care of it.

Great, right? Yay! Here's where the story ends? Not exactly. Getting fit was sort of a double-edged sword. Before going to the gym, I never thought about all the terrible food I ate because ignorance is bliss and so is denial but now I was obsessed with working out and tracking my calorie intake. I lost thirty pounds in five months and I did it by basically being very hungry. If I had a "bad eating" moment, I'd spiral out and feel deeply ashamed. This never happened to me before.  I DID NOT THINK ABOUT FOOD OR MY BODY AT ALL. WHAT. THE. FUCK? It was as if becoming healthy had made me unhealthy in this whole new way.

But one of the major positives of losing the weight is that it made me more confident. For the first time in my life, men checked me out–and not because of my hunchback. I remember the first time it happened. I walked into a coffee shop wearing a tight white t-shirt and blue jeans (channeling my style icon River Phoenix in Stand By Me, natch) and a guy looked up and let out a huge smile. Then, walking past me, he muttered under his breath "So handsome…"

Around the same time, I started hooking up again. It felt amazing to have sex as someone who liked himself and wasn't just filling someone's hole to fill the gaping one in their heart. I also started speaking openly about my disability and generally giving a "no fucks" attitude.

Yay, right? HERE'S where the story ends?

Nope. It was all very complicado. Although a big part of me felt super cozy in my own skin, another part of me was still drinking "I Hate Myself" juice. Now that I'd gotten some male attention, it was like a drug and I wanted more of it. The key to that, I thought, was more workouts, more muscle, more eating healthy. In my twisted little brain, I thought that if I worked out enough, my cerebral palsy would just magically disappear and I'd somehow become able-bodied. Because people with broad muscly shoulders don't have disabilities. People with tight asses can't be gimps! It's impossible!

After dating for a few months, I miraculously found a boyfriend and fell in love. He's someone who accepts me for who I am, scars, limp, and all. So….that fixed everything, right? This MUST be where your body issues ends? (Please God say yes. This shit is getting long.)

Uh, no. Unconditional love barely put a dent in my issues. Learning to love the body you're in is, spoiler, a super long process, and one that has no clear ending. As a culture, we're obsessed with happy endings. We LOVE to see someone triumph over adversity and ride off into the sunset while "Everyday Is A Winding Road" blares in the background. But such a blissful scenario rarely exists. There's constant spillover. Narratives are not clean.

A few weeks ago, I stripped down to my underwear on camera for a website called StyleLikeU and talked about my body. If you'd told me I'd be doing this a year ago, I would've thought you'd forgotten who I was a la Julianne Moore in Still Alice and called 911 but here I was. Naked. Imperfect stomach. Scars. And it was empowering, uncomfortable, terrifying, freeing. Basically how it feels to be in my body at any given moment. And I realized that all anyone can hope for is progress. All I can hope for is the celibate boy with the limp one day finding love and feeling secure enough to show off his body for what it is. Even if "what it is" involves sucking in your stomach a teensy bit.

Let's talk about getting old for a sec. It's not for sissies, is what my father tells me. He gets pre-cancerous moles burned off every few months. He's always catching something that could kill him if left untreated. It's like a full-time job just to stay alive.

My mom, meanwhile, wants new eye cream. If she had the money, she would probably get work done.

Both my parents were in good shape at my age. My dad was an athlete. My mom was stunningly beautiful. Their bodies were accepted by society, reflected back at them on television and being implicitly told that they mattered.

I wonder if they ever felt the acceptance, though. I wonder if they looked down at themselves and actually liked what they saw.

Or if, like me, they had moments where they were like, "I hate my body."

Pause.

"JK?" TC mark

15 Women Reveal How They Really Feel About Anal Sex

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 06:00 PM PST

1. “I legit dumped a guy over the question of anal. He said he expected the woman he loved to 'go there' with him. The fucked up part is that I could sense it was actually important to him—like he would be measuring my affection in anal terms—so I bounced out of the relationship for good.”

— Bethanny, 27

beetlejuice

2. “Finger in the bum? Fine. But a whole dick? No thank you! Never. Not happening. Ever.”

— Theresa, 24

beetlejuice

3. “Once I was having sex with my boyfriend of two years and he tried to slip it in the back door and position it all as a happy accident. As if I would fall for something like that! I wish he'd just been honest and asked me if I was willing to try it. The sneakiness is what really turned me off. Obviously, we're not together anymore.”

— Fay, 32

beetlejuice

4. “Every single part of your body is a potential pleasure center. The sooner women realize that, the more sexually satisfied they’ll be. I pride myself on exploiting every cavity I've got to the fullest, butthole included.”

— Gretta, 27

beetlejuice

5. “A dude I was dating a few years ago asked me about anal on our THIRD date. Can you believe that? I'm no prude, but I'm not doing anything in bed that involves anyone's pooper until I at least meet your parents, okay?”

— Emma, 28

beetlejuice

6. “I had anal sex with my boyfriend for the first time a month ago. It was my five-year anniversary gift to him and it wasn't great for me, but I let him keep going because I'm good for my word. When he pulled out after what seemed like a decade, a little poop came out. I was pretty mortified, but my boyfriend made me feel okay about it. I don't think we'll be doing it again any time soon, but the experience brought us closer together.”

— Lilly, 29

beetlejuice

7. “My vagina's awesome. I see no reason to open up any other entrances.”

— Abigail, 25

beetlejuice

8. “An old boyfriend once accused me of homophobia because I refused to have anal sex with him. In reality, I have a health issue that makes that kind of penetration really painful. Anal’s just not an option for me. Neither is dating a misguided loser who can’t understand that. ”

— Elvia, 26

beetlejuice

9. “My husband waited until we were married to propose anal. I didn't say no outright, but I started encouraging him to pop in the bathroom every time I was going number two so he could get a whiff of what goes on down there. Passive aggressive, maybe, but I think it’s working. He hasn’t made another request lately.”

— Jennifer, 34

beetlejuice

10. “Truthfully, I like it. I resisted trying it for ages, but once I did, I realized that it's a great change in pace. If you relax into it, it’s amazing. You just have to be calm enough to unclench, you know?”

— Olivia, 31

beetlejuice

11. “My long-term boyfriend and I decided to try anal about a year ago just to spice things up or whatever. It took about two seconds for me to start screaming 'Get the fuck out!' I don't care what anyone says. It felt like I was taking a massive shit and that is NOT a sensation I want to associate with lovemaking.”

— Quinn, 30

beetlejuice

12. “Anal sex is amazing if you let it be. Gay men have, like, the best sex ever. Everyone knows that. So get involved, already. It's just another way to enjoy your body.”

— Nina, 31

beetlejuice

13. “I'm down for anal as long as we have vaginal intercourse first so I can get off. It's a round two thing in my book. If a guy can't get it up again, that's his problem.”

— Asha, 26

beetlejuice

14. “My husband and I were wasted one night a few weeks back and when he went to plunge his dick inside me, he penetrated my ass instead of my vaj. I freaked out for a second, but then I told him to go a little deeper and we ended up having full-on anal. It wasn't the best sex of my life, but it was decent.”

— Ruby, 30

beetlejuice

15. “No man or woman is every getting close to my butt like that. I can barely handle the stinky reality that is my asshole.”

— Hadley, 22 TC mark

Growing Up Is Overrated (And So Is DJ Khaled)

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 05:45 PM PST

prozipix
prozipix

I close my eyes and rub my temple like one of those jaded police detectives from the movies. As I look back up, I see the TV clock blinking: 3:00 a.m. Even though I hate leaving movies unfinished, I can barely keep my eyes open right now. So I shut the damn thing off with a resounding click from the remote.

As I get up from the couch, I can't help but do the "dad inhale." You know what I'm talking about; that little sound that emanates from the battered joints and unchased dreams of middle-aged men as they get up from their La-Z-Boys.

I make my way to my room. It still looks just like the one I left behind when I went away for college. There's the futon I lost my virginity on, and there's the place I used to hide my bowl. In that moment, I can't help but notice that the room is the perfect allegory for my life at this moment.

True existence can only be found in the present, which currently consists of rancid clothing, and the dramatic ramblings of a 22-year-old who refuses to grow up.

Since moving back home, I have regressed; like a sadder, less handsome version of Benjamin Button. While I'm not turning into Brad Pitt, I am relieving my 14-year-old traumas, and I can already feel my hair getting "jew-ier" and "fro-ier". Upon collapsing onto my bed, I feel my nose instinctively crinkle at a mysterious odor. "What the fuck is that?" I think, as I shift my body, reaching an arm under myself to fish out a handful of rancid clothing. The movement serves as a painful reminder that stage diving is never cute, not even when you've just graduated college.

The smell triggers images that flash before me like they've been captured on a reel of film, but not quite. I see Sarah laughing and Becca smiling. I see Angie's eyes closing as her face leans into mine. But then I remember that those days are gone. True existence can only be found in the present, which currently consists of rancid clothing, and the dramatic ramblings of a 22-year-old who refuses to grow up. Feeling resigned, I push my clothes from the bed and they fall onto the floor like the world's saddest waterfall.

Lying down, I reach over to the nightstand and pick up my very-recently cracked iPhone. Upon opening up SnapChat, and toggling my story-feed, I see "Dj Khaled" pop up. Like a car crash happening in slow motion, I can't help but watch Khaled as he waters his plants, rides his JetSki, and eats chicken sausage. I am disgusted yet amused as he quotes himself with the sincerity of someone who genuinely believes that they do something of real significance for the world.

He has the strained self-confidence of someone who does CrossFit and the self-awareness of a papaya. He is a hologram: a living, breathing, walking meme. Like the crash of a tree in a forest, Khaled's entire existence depends solely on the presence of others. His Snapchat Story, a cathedral of ID, is the summation of vine aesthetics and recycled Instagram philosophies. He is a culture-vulture who’s been validated by similarly synthetic profiteers.

He is the fake news that lays in between the fake news involving more relevant celebrities. He is the gunk found under your nails and the scum at the corner of your eyes. He is grey matter.

He is what you look at when you’re bored but you're too bored to actually find something that will relieve your boredom. He can be found in the stillness of the aftermath of a defeat so resounding that it could only precede an unambiguous surrender. He is what the losing team feels like when they must forfeit the game because they don't have enough players. He is the stale, warm air found in an empty Pizza Hut box that rests on a coffee table in a small studio apartment that's rented-by a divorced father who's trying to reconnect with a son, and moving out of state to live with his step dad. He is Greek-Fire – just by denouncing him, I am further perpetuating him.

I run through his updates like the police responding to a crime in a white neighborhood. I see black beady eyes and a perfectly manicured beard. I see a man who's sure of his place in the universe. I see a personality disorder. I see a captioned video, depicting captioned sandals, captioned shirts, and "captionable" quotes. I see a world of captions. Where the truth can always be found at the end of another shitty aphorism. I see social media triumphing physical flesh.

I see jowls that jiggle with self-assurance. I see an existence that is measured by consumption and fueled by self-perpetuated indignation. Then, I see myself, drunkenly celebrating graduation by wearing a tiara and throwing cake, and in that moment it dawns on me: despite graduating, I am as much of an adult as "Dj Khaled" is a real person.

I've never done anything that's "adult" or "mature". Sure I drink coffee, like IPA beers, and wear boots, but those are just acts. I can pair fish with wine but that's only because I've watched countless adults do it before me. I can make conversation with a stranger at the bar but that's only because I know to ask,"What do you do?" and "Where are you from?" I understand that while I should seem interested, I shouldn't come off as too eager. I am the numb summation of countless hollow answers given, and stale questions asked. But I know that I'm just being immature because being mature means knowing that every day isn't candy, and being adult means sacrificing leisure for stature and significance.

I open my eyes and I consider going back to the living room to finish the movie I was watching – Boyz In The Hood. While I don't move, I don't try to go back to sleep either. Instead, I think back to a scene in the movie where Furious Styles says to his son Trey, "Any fool with a dick can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children." While this statement works literally, in that any man can make a child but only a real man can provide them with emotional, financial, and physical support, it also works figuratively. Maybe I can apply Furious' logic to a greater struggle of identity.

Just because someone can act like a "man" or “woman”, it doesn’t make them a "leader". Just because someone can create a life, it doesn’t make him responsible. Just because someone looks wise, it doesn’t actually make them so. We are told that knowledge comes with age, and perspective is something that's gained. However if graduating college has taught me anything about growing up, it's that correlation does not mean causation.

However, as I got older, the supposed realizations never came. Life didn’t get clear, it got more convoluted.

I'm 22. I "look" grown-up, and I can "act" like a grown up, but I don't know what fucking good that actually does for me, because I don't want to be grown up. I've always known what the "right" thing to do is and I've done it: I've gone to college, I've done the internships, and I've worked the shitty jobs. But despite reaching all of these seemingly essential milestones, every path that's been laid out before me now, still scares the shit out of me.

I've always been told that I felt this way about growing up because I was young, naive, or spoiled, and maybe that's true. But when I compare the unadulterated joy I felt playing in the park as a boy, to the sheer misery of working as a waiter for $5 per hour plus tips, it becomes clear to me that this isn’t necessarily true. While refusing to work for something that you supposedly want is in fact "spoiled," not wanting to work for something that you just don't want, is simply sane. Furthermore, if all existence is temporary, and we are only alive for a number of years, then doing anything that doesn’t make me resoundingly happy, every-god-damn-day, would be fucking insane.

I often think about how I've changed from a child to a supposed adult. I remember that whenever I questioned my mom, she would respond with "Because I'm the adult and I say so." That was her ace in the hole because there was no response that I could give. That statement implies that there's knowledge and power waiting on the side of maturation. So I would quiet down and I would think to myself, "I can't wait to be old. I can't wait for it all to make sense to me, the way that it does for Momma." However, as I got older, the supposed realizations never came. Life didn’t get clear, it got more convoluted. Apparently, there's no "right" way to live life, and there's no certainly no golden manual for raising kids. Humans have been around for a while. If there were any universal truths that we could pass on from generation to generation, you would think that we would have figured some of this shit out by now.

I have no real concept of a 401(k), mortgage, or starter home, and any twenty-year old who does, should stop lying to themselves. Then again, my existence is entirely reliant on the concept of "renting." When it comes to relationships, I can only manage a friend with benefits, and when it comes to transportation, I only use "Lyft." I can't even commit to the time it takes to illegally download music anymore. The biggest commitment that I've ever made is the purchase of "Spotify Premium" for a month. While going to college was a commitment, it wasn’t a choice that I made as an individual. Everyone and everything around me was telling me to do it. I went to college out of fear of working without a degree, and out of a desire to have unfettered sex.

Now that I'm home again, I can't help but think about my first job in retail. I worked for $10 per hour, and relatively speaking, that was good pay for a spotted teenager with no experience. No one is passionate about working retail but I did it to gain job experience. "Finding your passion" is something that universities drill into us so that we shell out $600,000 for a piece of paper. These crooks schools have recognized that we need a college degree to earn enough money to live comfortably because no one wants to work in retail forever. That being said, many people do. They do it because they have to eat, and they need to live – we all inhabit the same system. So they have no choice but to trade their lives away for $10 per hour.

Working because you don't have a choice is the definiti…"Clank!" – the sound of my fork dropping onto my empty plate is enough to end my existential moaning for the night. I suppose that if there's one good thing about being a man-child, it's the free food. Who knows? I'll never sell out. I'll never mistake happiness for comfort like everyone else. But wait a minute, "How am I going to pay for my Coachella tickets this year?!" TC mark

20 Women On Their Absolute Dream Proposal

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 05:00 PM PST

Tyler Brown
Tyler Brown

Half of my friends are Instagraming pictures of their engagement rings, babies or wedding pictures, while the other half are posting pictures wearing practically no clothes with a caption like, "bad bitch contest we in first place." Okay, maybe that's only a couple people (thankfully), but basically the rest are posting their weekend bar pictures or their fifth dog photo in a row (me).

I'm at the point though where some of my friends are married, some have been dating their significant other for years, some still bounce around from guy to guy, and some have their whole wedding planned on out Pinterest even though they don't have a boyfriend. And of course there are those girls who just don't want a relationship because they've given up on love or just want to stay independent and do their own thing (me, again).

In a way I feel like that's what being 20-something is all about, either getting engaged or watching your friends get engaged, maybe even both. But it's a common thing to at least think about at this point in our lives. Whether you admit it or not, you’ve thought about that potential moment of someone getting down on one knee. And here are 20 of those dream proposals that these girls were willing to admit to fantasizing about.
beetlejuice

"I'm honestly not sure, thinking about engagement kind of freaks me out. I definitely don't want it to be in front of a huge crowd or at a restaurant. I would want it to be just us doing something meaningful like out somewhere or something like that. But I would definitely want him to hire a photographer to take pictures of it all." —Haleigh, 21

beetlejuice

"I haven't even thought about getting a date, let alone an engagement. But I guess my dream engagement would probably be on a hot air balloon. I've always wanted to go up in one and having someone else who enjoyed adventures as much as me would be cool." —Mallory, 23

beetlejuice

"It’d be amazing if it was while traveling because I love travel so much, especially if it was on a tropical beach so we could always go back and visit on our anniversary." -Andrea, 28

beetlejuice

"I want my dog to be there and just have it be unexpected outside with my family and friends around. Keep it simple, keep it sweet." –Sam, 23

beetlejuice

"I would want him to ask my parents, obviously, but I also would want something that would make him happy not just about what he thinks I would want. It's about both of us. My happiness will come from him asking me to marry him, to know that I'm going to be with someone I care about and love for the rest of my life." –Ally, 21

beetlejuice

"Well, I don't really have big expectations because I don't want to be disappointed if it doesn't live up to the plan in my mind. But, I obviously want to be completely surprised. I think it would be cool if someone were there to take pictures of my initial reaction." –Alayna, 22

beetlejuice

"I would want all of my family there, and a complete surprise. I want him to get down on one knee and use my full name. But for me the surprise part is the most important." –Lauren, 20

beetlejuice

"After a long day of skiing, we are sitting in front of a roaring fire on the couch under a comfy blanket drinking hot chocolate. The cabin is cozy and quiet and it's snowing outside. He tells me all of the reasons he loves me and how he doesn't want anyone else to have me. He says he wants to spend the rest of his life making me happy. Then pops the question." –Margaret, 23

beetlejuice

"A cute date anywhere that would be memorable, or just at home with something proving they know me and love me, like the Harry Potter orchestra playing in the background. I hate corny, so I don't want something all drawn out. But he better tell me why he loves me and wants to marry me, and they have to be really good points so I know he's the one!" –Kaleigh, 26

beetlejuice

"I don't care how I get engaged as long as I get engaged." –Kayla, 24

beetlejuice

" I definitely want to make sure my nails are done, but I'm pretty basic so I'd either want it to happen somewhere special to me and my fiancĂ© or somewhere crazy so I have a really good story to tell." –Gabby, 20

beetlejuice

"Probably something that meant something to both of us. Maybe in Central Park maybe while it was snowing or something kind of magical, but I would want it to mean a lot coming from him." –Emily, 22

beetlejuice

"Having a ring tied to the collar of a golden retriever puppy." -Amber, 22

beetlejuice

"I think my perfect proposal would be after we've spent time cross country road tripping and we were parked camping for the night. We'd just be hanging outside, talking about life and he'd tell me what he loves about me, then get down on one knee." –Bridgette, 27

beetlejuice

"Definitely something Budweiser related, maybe my sir riding in on a Clydesdale, hops down and proposes with beer and ring in hand, then we ride out on the horse away into the sunset." –Katie, 25

beetlejuice

"I think I would just like it to be intimate and personal. Maybe in a great scenic location having him give me a letter of why he's in love with me and telling all the reason why he wants to make me his wife. I love love letters, I think they are so underutilized now a days because it's much easier just to send a quick text. And then of course I'd love for him to get down on one knee and ask me to marry him. I've always thought it would be nice to have my family there and involved, but I think it would be much more romantic, personal and intimate if it was just the two of us." –Hannah, 20

beetlejuice

"My perfect engagement would be in the winter with a light snow falling down. I would want to be riding in a horse and carriage around Central Park to be taken ice-skating, and then he would get down on one knee with a prepared speech. All the while being photographed by a hired photographer to capture the moment he proposed." –Anissa, 22

beetlejuice

"Naturally I imagine a Tiffany ring and perfect nails and a secret photographer." –Grace, 21

beetlejuice

"I absolutely hate public engagements. My dream would be just my future husband and I on the dock of my camp or on a boat ride alone at sunset." –Paige, 26

beetlejuice

"It isn't anything super specific, but I’d want it to be some what private. Like if it was done along the canal in my hometown in the fall when the colors are absolutely amazing, I would love it. It'd be a super special moment and having that moment with my significant other would make it that much more special. As long as he asked my fathers permission, gets down on one knee, and looks at me how my dad looks at my mom then I would have my dream proposal." –Molly, 22 TC mark

8 Habits That Are Completely Killing The Chance Of Living Out Your Dream

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 04:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / vegasworld
Twenty20 / vegasworld

Are your habits ruining your chances of a bright future?

Success and failure are both a result of a gradual process. The habits you develop over time cement themselves. Your circumstances act as a mirror of your actions. Your actions are determined by your habits.

Today I’m going to share some negative habits that will kill your chances of living the life of your dreams. If you’re exhibiting any of these, it’s time to reevaluate your actions and make steps towards changing them.

Procrastinating

“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you find you’ll be left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

I spent about 5 years considering whether or not I should be a writer. Had I started then I’d be well on my way to mastery by now. A year from now, you may had wish you started today. The type of procrastination I’m talking about doesn’t have to do with chores or running errands.

The most dangerous type of procrastination is putting off the actions leading you to your destiny. There’s that “thing,” you really want to do — write, start a business, become a dancer, whatever — but you keep putting it off. It’s always nagging you, pulling at you, trying to fight its way out of the back of your mind. If you continue to put it off, eventually the pulling will stop. Your dream will give up on you.

Blaming

It’s not your employers fault you don’t make enough money. You chose to work there. It’s not the economy either. It’s not your parents' fault. Everybody’s parents screwed them up a little bit. It’s not X Y or Z. It’s you. You will never be successful until you take responsibility for your life.

Gossiping

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” You shouldn’t waste your breath, energy, and time commenting on what other people are doing with their  life. If you were even half as concerned with your own life as you are talking about others you would be wildly successful. Successful people praise one another and collaborate with each other. Nothing good comes from trying to tear others down. Gossiping is a sign of two dream killing emotions: envy and insecurity.

Making excuses

One of the most difficult things to do is admit you’re not working hard enough. It’s on you. Your excuses may be valid and justifiable, but then what? Are you just going to give up? If you start off behind everyone else in the race you’re just going to have to run faster. Successful people are clear about the role they play in their lives. Nobody has the power to change your situation except for you.

Labeling yourself

You act in accordance with the way you identify yourself. If you define yourself as a lazy person you’ll never work hard. If you believe you’re stupid you won’t unlock the genius inside of you. Be careful how you describe yourself. It seems subtle, but the way you talk about yourself shapes the way you actually behave. Act like the person you want to become. Fake it til you make it. When you start to act like a successful person, reality will catch up to your beliefs.

Complaining

Whining, crying, bitching, moaning, groaning. Complaining kills dreams with an assassin-like efficiency. You complain about the weather, your job, your partner, your kids; you complain about everything. Shut up. Stop it. Cut it out. Knock it off. Don't cry about your life, do something about it.

Pretending

People in the self-help arena get some flack because we’re portraying a life that seems “unrealistic.” You might say to yourself, “I’m grateful for what I have. I don’t need a lot of money. I’m perfectly fine with my situation.” Maybe some of you are truly “zen,” and you’re satisfied with your life. But for most of you, I’m calling bullshit.

Are you really grateful for what you have? Or are you hiding behind the guise of gratitude? True contentment is one thing — rationalizing your situation is another. Waking up and going to a job you hate everyday isn’t okay. Spending the majority of your life doing things you don’t want to do isn’t okay. Face the facts. You want more and you know it. You can do better and you know it. Don’t run from it.

Wasting Time

I’m not saying you have to spend each of your 1440 minutes per day in a focused, unrelenting state of hard work, but you should be mindful of the time you’re spending on certain activities each day. I like binge watching T.V. just as much as the next person (I just finished watching “Making a Murderer.”), but I still carve out time each day to make progress towards my ultimate goals. Is there a certain amount of time you can commit to each day? Even 30 minutes to an hour is a good start.

Quitting

You’re only a failure when you give up. If you’ve found something you believe you were put on this earth to do, you owe it to yourself to stick with it. The things you’re trying to accomplish may take years or even decades, but if it’s your calling it’s worth the wait. TC mark

15 Things You Need To Know Before Dating A Collegiate Athlete

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 03:00 PM PST

Twenty20, katiekhromova
Twenty20, katiekhromova

1. You don't need to be ripped…necessarily…but you should know what a gym is, and have at least stepped in one once or twice.

2. You need to have a basic understanding of our sport. AKA: Basketball = shooting a BALL in a HOOP and it's called a BASKET. (Not a goal.)

3. We don't really know how to dress for dates—do we rock the t-shirt and jeans (that's basically dressing up since all we wear is sweats), or do we go all out since we always look like we're headed to the gym?!! Unanswered questions.

4. We prefer NEED a set schedule. We run on practice/game/sleep schedules pretty much 99% of the time, and this helps us keep our lives in order. So when you ask us out, for the love of God, give us a time and date.

5. No #relationshipgoals without actual, real-life #goals. AKA: We're goal-oriented people. And if you want to date us, you should have some future plans.

6. We can't be with someone who's going to be mad that we're always working out or at practice. #SorryNotSorry It's the lifestyle.

7. If you don't have a somewhat busy schedule (or understand our busy schedules) then it's just not going to work.

8. Dating, from our perspectives, is similar to our sport. There's a strategy, there are goals, and we play with our heart.

9. We can't date someone who hits the snooze button 15 times before getting up for work because we're still traumatized from that one time we showed up late to morning weights and had to run suicides for an hour straight and then do a bazillion burpees afterwards because we stopped to puke.

10. If you're taking us out, you better make sure we don't have practice the next morning.

11. As much as you beg, we're not going out drinking with you the night before a game. (And no, we won't be your resident DD either).

12. We value our quiet, relaxed, lay-in-bed-and-cuddle-after-a-long-day time and we need someone who's not always trying to party. But we'll totally party with you too, when it's not breaking the 48-hour rule.

13. As a significant other, you’re expected to be at our games, or at least ask us how they went.

14. We are extremely sensitive at times, especially post-loss. So don't take it personally or get on our case about it.

15. And the golden rule, never, under any circumstances say, "it's just a game." TC mark

22 Ridiculously Funny Times Urban Dictionary Had 100% No Chill

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 02:00 PM PST

1. “Hipster”

Urban Dictionary

2. “Republican”

Urban Dictionary

3. “Sex”

Urban Dictionary

4. “Love”

Urban Dictionary

5. “Dating”

Urban Dictionary

6. “Gummy Bear”

Urban Dictionary

7. “Satan”

Urban Dictionary

8. “Justin Bieber”

Urban Dictionary

9. “Santa”

Urban Dictionary

10. “Tony Danza”

Urban Dictionary

11. “Antarctica”

Urban Dictionary

12. “Tumblr”

Urban Dictionary

13. “Help”

Urban Dictionary

14. “Imgur”

Urban Dictionary

15. “Falcon Fuck”

Urban Dictionary

16. “Mario Kart”

Urban Dictionary

17. “Hell”

Urban Dictionary

18. “Life”

Urban Dictionary

19. “Roman”

Urban Dictionary

20. “Siri”

Urban Dictionary

21. “Apple”

Urban Dictionary

22. “Dictionary”

Urban Dictionary

Why does Urban Dictionary still exist? TC mark

9 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because Of Your OCD

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 01:00 PM PST

dkafalas
dkafalas

1. You obsess over things that don't even register in other people's heads.

OCD doesn't necessarily mean that you walk into a room and flip a light switch on and off multiple times. The "obsessive" part is what surfaces most often. You obsess over bad news. Some tiny part of an anecdote that comes up in conversation (that everyone else took as a passing detail) will stay with you for days after you hear it. Things you see on the news will keep you up long after the person lying beside you has drifted off to sleep. Your mind is constantly going over details that put you on edge, and you are often trying to will yourself to press pause on the relentless replays.

2. You are incredibly particular.

And when people meet you, they assume you're a huge perfectionist. You are incredibly aware of symmetry, alignment, and are generally very diligent about keeping things in a specific place. You are the type of person who pays attention to minute details that other people don't notice.

3. When you're around people, they often don't realize that you're trying incredibly hard to keep your mental illness out of the picture.

OCD is something that can be kept under wraps in that you can be flooded with obsessive panic while still sitting across from your friends, smiling and nodding at the story they're telling. Many people with OCD have small habits that only kick in when they're reacting to something that makes them feel anxious and panicked. While sitting across from you, they could be pulling at their hair, wringing their hands or even counting down from 10 just to keep themselves calm. And you'd never notice.

4. You gravitate toward tasks that fully consume you. It's intentional.

When you are trying to stay in control of your wandering mind, you seek out work or other activities that take up every ounce of thought you have. You want to be fully immersed in an activity because that ensures that your mind won't wander and obsess over your most irrational fears.

5. You are overly practical, even when talking about your biggest fears.

At most points during the day, when you're removed from trigger situations, you are able to discern your OCD-like behaviors and can even explain to yourself that what you're obsessing over is irrational. You crave practicality because it is concrete. When you can pinpoint the irrationality in your obsessive thoughts, it makes you feel more in control.

6. You have an aversion to clutter, and are very distracted by your surroundings.

Depending on what sets off your compulsive nature, you might not be able to work in a messy environment, or you might get extremely stressed standing in crowds. For some, sensory overload can push people into fits of anxiety — loud or sharp noises can also be what sets you off. What your friends don't realize is that whatever is making you "seem irritable" is actually causing you severe stress. You often find yourself in situations where you need to make an excuse to leave or make a quick exit because it's too complicated to explain that something triggered your OCD and that you needed to remove yourself before your reaction elevated.

7. Just like physical clutter can bother you, digital, emotional or mental clutter can bother you, too.

Having ten tabs open on one browser drives you crazy, as does seeing an incredibly messy desktop. Similarly, if you have too many things bouncing around in your head it will completely overwhelm you, and you'll need to write down some of the thoughts just to give yourself some relief. Even emotional clutter can flare up your OCD because it's providing yet another concern for you to obsess over.

8. You constantly worry about worst-case, irrational scenarios that everyone else says "would never happen to you."

Your obsessiveness is at your worst because you can realize that you're thinking irrationally, but you cannot stop yourself. You often visualize bad things happening, and then need a visual distraction just to push the mental images out of your head.

9. You need to write all of your to dos — work to dos and life to dos — down in a notebook.

When you have OCD, you keep your fears in the forefront of your mind when you're going through an obsessive period. This leaves you worried that everything else that should be on your mind will slip through the cracks. In short, OCD can make you forgetful because you can't focus on your jarring obsessions and your real life all at the same time. You are constantly writing down things to do, texting yourself reminders, and leaving notes for yourself just to make sure you're covered. TC mark

17 Easy Ways To Make This The Best Year Ever

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 12:00 PM PST

Twenty20, gugu009
Twenty20, gugu009

1. Leave the past in the past.

Recognize that the people, situations and events that wronged you last year will linger around as long as you let them. The only way to move on and to be open to new, better things ahead is to clear out the negative. Do your Spring cleaning sooner rather than later.

2. Don’t get caught up in other people’s drama.

Be the zen in the universe. When you hear about insane, incredulous and infuriating situations, be a great listener but don't let someone else's madness become your own. It's often just as effective to let a family member or a friend blow off steam through venting than it is to get fully involved.

3. Stop making unnecessary mistakes.

Think twice before you act. Re-read emails before hitting "send." Don’t post things on social media that you don't want the whole world to see or comment on.

4. Set goals that are actually achievable.

Then create a plan for achieving your goal, and don’t give up at the first sign of failure. Remember why you set the goals in the first place. Get a friend to join you in your quest and be sure to reward yourself (not with the thing you’ve been avoiding to achieve your goal) with something satisfying.

5. Reconnect with an old friend.

Contact that person you meant to call back six months ago, but never did. Or that person you love like family but haven't spoken to in years. Old friends know your history and what makes you tick. Make the effort this year by returning phone calls, making plans to visit and sticking to those plans.

6. Plan to love stronger and better.

Appreciate the people in your life that are there for you unconditionally and avoid those who don't give back what you put into your relationship. Don't take loved ones for granted – they may not wait for you to realize how much they mean to you.

7. Apologize when you mess up—even for the little things.

Everybody makes mistakes but it's how you take responsibility for those incidents that will have a lasting impact on your relationships.

8. Get an annual physical.

There's nothing wrong with checking under the hood once in a while.

9. Stop over-scheduling yourself and see where the day takes you.

Adventure lives in spontaneity and the willingness to explore the unknown.

10. Do a few things that scare you.

Then two things you’ve never done before. Then plan a trip somewhere you’ve never been.

11. Be open minded to meeting new people.

There are no rules in relationships. Just because one person may have hurt you, doesn't mean that every person will hurt you. Participate in activities that you would normally turn down so you can meet new people. Go out when you feel tired. Be open to set-ups when you're sure it'll never work.

12. Try new foods and go to new restaurants.

Stop ordering the same thing every time you go to a particular place. Try something you've never heard of. Ask to share whatever your friend is having. Ask the server to suggest something and actually order that. Tip your wait staff generously.

13. Read the books your smartest friends recommend.

Then read some books you know absolutely nothing about. When you love a book, share it with a friend as you would a great gift.

14. Have at least three “going out” outfits in your closet at all times.

And find occasions to use them if the occasions are not finding you.

15. Move on from the person who isn’t worth your time.

When the guy you’re interested in doesn’t contact you after a few dates, pretend he's taken an impromptu trip around the world by sea and isn’t reachable any longer. Then move on and stop waiting for him to remember how awesome you are.

16. Be healthy, but not obsessive.

Drink less, sleep more, stick to a gym routine, and eat healthy. But pig out every now and then, too. Stop worrying about every calorie, every pound. Give yourself a license to have a little fun, but know where your limits are.

17. Spend time with the people who fill you up with light.

People that give you love and good energy and who understand you enough to appreciate the remarkable human you are. This is the best way to celebrate any year from now until the end of time. TC mark

Love this article? Check out Stacey’s book, Knot the One, about why getting dumped before her wedding was the best thing that ever happened to her, available here.

KNOTTHEONE-final-revised

22 Promises I Wish I’d Made To Myself At 22

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 11:00 AM PST

didipop
didipop

1. I would've promised myself that I'd say "yes" to people more often than I actually did. Yes to eating a bite off of other people's plates, yes to having a drink with someone who wanted me to give them a chance, yes to learning about people's jobs in industries I assumed I wasn't interested in.

2. I wouldn't hyperventilate when I didn't meet goals I set out for myself. I would've promised to give myself a break and realized that not only was I not going to be good at everything I attempted, but that that was okay.

3. I would watch more old movies, instead of deciding a one-time viewing of Casablanca made me cultured.

4. I would have been more aware of the fact that drunk pictures have a way of ending up on Facebook, and they're hard to get rid of once they're online for good.

5. I would put a fucking cap on my beverages and not drank them near a computer. This is honestly a promise you should make to yourself at every age. I learned this lesson the hard (and very expensive) way.

6. I would remember that it was not necessarily my fault when someone didn't like me. When you get rejected — particularly in your early 20s —you assume it's because something is wrong with you. I lost legitimate amounts of sleeping wondering why a certain guy did not see me as "datable." The truth is that people have their own baggage. They have things going on at home, they want to get back together with their ex, or they genuinely would rather be sleeping with multiple people than dating you. None of that is your fault, and you don't want to date the kid who'd rather play the field than commit to you.

7. I'd promise myself that I'd have confidence in the things I do. Or that I'd, at the very least, pretend to be confident until it came naturally.

8. I would've made a promise to myself that once every six months, I'd go home. This gets harder as you get older. I moved farther away from my family after college, and now it's hard to get to my mom's house and my dad's house once every six months, even though I work remotely. Plane tickets are expensive.

9. I would always get vegetarian burrito bowls at Chipotle because if you get a meat-free burrito bowl, the guac is free.

10. I'd promise myself that, by age 25, I'd cut synthetic cheese out of my life. I could still promise myself this, but it feels like it's not happening.

11. I would dance more because there is no better time to learn to feel less awkward in your own skin than when you're drunk at a bar at age 22.

12. I would promise myself that, at no point in my 20s, would I ever feel "old." When you're 18, being a college freshman feels so old. Then you're 20, and the little 18 year olds seem like babies. By the time you're 22 and done with college, you feel ancient when, in fact, you're just getting started.

13. I'd promise to actually study a little bit during my last semester of college. But not too much. Everything in moderation.

14. I would learn about good wine and make 22 the year I stopped drinking Franzia.

15. I would stop internalizing the jealousy I felt toward other people — people who had jobs, relationships, a plan, etc. — because it just encouraged me to question myself in the most unproductive ways.

16. I would promise to accept myself, even after realizing that I, just like everyone else, loved Beyonce.

17. I'd make a promise to keep exercising after I graduated college and no longer had access to a gym.

18. But I would not pay for a gym membership, especially if I lived in a climate where it was warm enough to run outside.

19. I would promise myself that I'd always advocate to be treated fairly at my entry-level job. But I'd also make sure that I didn't complain too much when I started the 8-to-6 grind.

20. I would not run from my anxiety, any feelings of depression, or any other mental illness. Instead, I would try to acknowledge those feelings, and deal with them in a productive way, even if that meant seeing a therapist.

21. I wouldn't keep friends around just for convenience or obligation's sake.

22. I would promise myself that 22 was the year I'd learn to make quality cocktails and have my friends over for fancy drinks for no apparent reason. TC mark