Thought Catalog

When The One You Could Love Forever Slips Away

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 07:00 PM PST


To my sweetheart, my teacher, and kindred spirit.

What a senseless fool I have been and how ashamed I am for allowing you to slip away, for letting my past stand in the way of something so extraordinary, present and sincere. But this isn't a time for excuses or apologies. Heaven knows you have heard enough these last few weeks and I am now out of ways to express the enormous regret I feel and acknowledge that admitting to, or apologising for my actions and mistakes does not make amends for them. Neither would I have you believe that this is a desperate plea to win back your affections. I am tired and ashamed of dampening your days with my desperate pressing and I never intend to do so again. Rather, I am writing you because anything else would be insincere. I am writing you because I adore you and nothing can be done about it. I am writing you because there are things that must be said and I can think of nothing else but you.

I remember, with every available minute, how soft and simple the days were with you. How each one fell gently into the arms of the next and instead of feeling trapped or anxious thinking ahead to the future, I wished, for the very first time in my life, that time would begin to slow down. That things would stay sweet and gentle, as they were, and that I would never taint or make a mess of all that was free and joyful in us.

You have always been someone I have respected enormously. Your mind is extraordinary, and the way you perceive the world around you with such enthusiasm and wonder moves me to do the same. I am so proud of all that you do, and all that you are. And the pleasure of seeing you apply yourself and achieve such spectacular heights motivates the people around you to push and fight harder for their own wishes and dreams.

There is never a dull moment with you. You move me to be more present and in tune with the world around me, and have a manner of making even the most mundane thing utterly magic and unforgettable. Every day with you has been a pleasure and a gift, and my god, you have made me happy and whole. You captivate me with your passions and send me positively mad with want and need. I want to roll around with you on the floor. See you dance and turn in the low light. Push my lips to that devilish grin again. Feel my hands on your hands and everywhere else. You make me wild and naive and a single kiss from you is enough to send me to ecstasy. You have this extraordinary energy about you that consumes and calms me all at once, and the way you dismantle my defences and challenge me at every turn helps me to become a stronger and more passionate person. I feel capable of anything around you—you bring out my best self.

I love you, precious. It has been a privilege to love you. It is a privilege to love you. And though every day without you is agony and things between us have become messy and painful, there is a relief in knowing, at last, with absolute certainty, precisely what it is I want. I would like you to know that not a single day will go by where I would not give the world, and my very best, to make amends, to shelter and serve you, and know the immeasurable privilege of having your heart and trust with me once more. I adore you. You have been a true light in my life. And if nothing else, let these words speak to the profound and wonderful influence you have on the lives you touch. You certainly did on mine. TC mark

A Thing About Men I’m Afraid Of

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 06:00 PM PST


I'm always paranoid men are going to think I'm falling in love with them. Because, I don't know, isn't that a thing they are always thinking? Aren't they, at some point in their collective youths, imbued with this community fear? That women only want to love them in order to take something away from them. That there is freedom that exists only in the stark contrast of feminine love and that our wiles exist to woo you to the dark side.

The nightmare is that you wake up one day and you are middle aged and you are chained to cinderblocks in the form of a nagging wife and kids and a mortgage that means you really can't do anything to save yourself.

Maybe I'm projecting.

Maybe I have just had a lot of arguments with men who have always thought I was falling in love with them. And there's nothing that will make a mark on your psyche like arguing with someone about whether the way you feel is silly. Or that they know more than you do about the way that *you feel.*

I don't know what other people expect from me, or what they want. I know the way my whole body feels when I appreciate someone for what they are without needing more than what is happening in the present. Isn't that what every mystic, ever, says? Nothing good can come from wanting things to be other than they are. If you are wise you are supposed to love this moment for all the good parts that are making it up. And I think I can do that.

But there's this voice in the background, this subtle dis-ease that the intensity of my enjoyment might be taken as a sign by others to be something else. Some kind of yearning for a future I don't want to think about. I want my yes to mean yes and my no to mean no, but I also understand that we have all gotten so good at lying to each other, and to ourselves, that all of these things only mean maybe — and for the time being.

I don’t want to be pitted against people. I don’t want our happiness to be zero sum — the abundance of mine coming at the expense of yours. I want there to be some kind of prairie away from the obstruction all of other people’s ideas about how things should be where we can see that nothing is coming in the distance. And nothing is hiding, waiting to jump out. TC mark

My Grandfather Worked At An Insane Asylum And I Found His Personal Logs Dating Back To 1902 (Part Seven)

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 05:00 PM PST

Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library

Read Part One Here.

Read Part Two Here.

Read Part Three Here.

Read Part Four Here.

Read Part Five Here.

Read Part Six Here.

I know. I KNOW, ALL RIGHT? I said I wouldn’t be so long and looky here, it’s almost a month later with no word from me. Maybe you started to think I’d gone nuts? Got taken by the witch from Gramps’ stories?

No such luck. Just the holidays, I’m sorry to say. Bet you wished I had something better to tell you but that’s all it was, visiting with some friends and the ex and her brother, who I actually get along with all right. Truth be told me and the ex get along okay too, though we probably wouldn’t if she saw the piece of ass I was seeing on the side these days. Sexy little number I met on Tinder — who says old guys like me can’t pick up a hottie from time to time?

Anyway. When I got together with the ex, Julie, you know… my mind started to wander. I thought less about Gramps’ logs and Clara and the long-gone asylum where he used to work, thought more about the old days. How it might’ve worked out between us if we’d been able to have kids. But back then it was all finger-pointing and drunken arguments and… well, you know. Things fall apart.

I could tell she wanted to ask me, you know. If I thought we might’ve stuck together if not for… that. If we hadn’t both blamed the other and been too proud to actually work on things. Been with someone long enough you can see the unasked questions in their eyes after a few Christmas cocktails.

But that’s that. She went back to her place, I went back to mine. And there they were, waiting for me after all those nights without the tapping on my window. Pages and pages of Gramps’ confessions. ‘Cause you know that’s what they are, right? Yellowing, ancient confessions, stacked like corpses in that old moldy trunk.

So you got what you wanted. Here we are. No sense in holding back now.

December 26, 1906

It has been a fortnight since I last spied the witch at my window. I have tried to keep close attention on the children in the new wing of the hospital but it is no use. They clamber over each other like a fresh litter of puppies in a kennel, I do not know if the nurses even bother to count their number each night as they go to sleep. Unwanted children are a surplus in this town.

There is simply no way to tell if she has been taking them but if she has it has kept her away and God help me, I thank them for it.

January 3, 1907

The birth of another new year. My home is empty, my wife and children are dust in the ground. My family tree has become a boneyard.

The girl, though. In the market. I see her from time to time and each instance my heart stops in my throat.

She smiles at me.

I suppose it is time to admit that her smile alone was enough to make me stay.

January 11, 1907


Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.

I have heard her name, the girl with the red wine hair, and it is Lucy and it is as beautiful as she. The very thought of her pale skin and gentle smile can get me through the strict nightmare my shifts at the asylum have become. Every trip to the market I grow closer to her, inch nearer, think of what I could say to make her mine.

She is surely betrothed to another but I cannot rest until I take this chance.

April 14, 1907

I have had no time, no time at all to update these logs properly because a miracle has happened. When once I thought I would know nothing but darkness, a beacon of light shone through the shadows. Lucy has banished the darkness and cleared the sad thoughts from my head.

She has reminded me that one cannot dwell in a boneyard forever. The dead are the dead and the living are the living and to curl up with a rotting corpse is to doom oneself to a life without love.

We are to be married on the morrow.

April 15, 1907

I have never been as happy as I am on this day.

May 5, 1907

Work progresses. Lucy is my wife.

All is well. There is not much else to say.

June 18, 1907

I am a bit concerned. It has been months since we are wed but Lucy remains without child.

She strokes my hair, tells me all will out as it should. She smiles. Her smile could soothe even the most savage patient in Highville far better than any electroshock therapy.

I think, for a time, I will step away from these logs. Lucy tells me I spend far too much time documenting the past than appreciating the present. She may have a point. To look back on older entries only makes me sad.

I shall store them away for future reading. Perhaps our children will enjoy them. When they are old enough, of course.

Here, there’s a break. Not a weird, scattered one like between 1904 and 1906. A very solid break, even between types of paper and ink used for the logs. Seems Gramps took that time away like he said he would. And these dates, well — these dates, I recognize a little more.

March 13, 1918

I had feared I would never have a reason to return to my written logs. Yes, I have been happy, I have been well, but I have remained happy and well without an heir. It seemed my name was doomed to die with myself and Lucy; no matter how strong our love, her womb remained an empty room.

My wife, my lovely Lucy with the long red hair, never gave up hope. She smiled her beautiful smile and told me all will out as it should. Unlike other women in the village who fell grim and silent upon realizing they might never birth a child, she continued on as carefree and innocent as the day I first saw her in the market. As the day I decided to stay at Highville.

And though I could first start to see the lines on her face, though she approached the age where a child seemed like a wild hope never to be realized, though I had begun to suspect the only children I would ever be allowed had been taken by the witch…

Today, Lucy seized my hand and placed it on her stomach.

She told me we would have a son.

I am over the moon. I believe her, I can tell from the way her eyes shine that what she says is true. We will have a son and our family will be complete and I never have to return to the boneyard of my mind again.

Taken by the witch. To read these words gives me some pause. Some ten years have passed without the tapping at the window, without the fingers dragging through dark hair, without hearing her song on the wind.

Perhaps it was all in my mind.

May 23, 1918

Dr. Wickers has noticed a drop in numbers in the children’s wing. He suspects they are being sold off in secret to the factories. His chief concern seems to be that he is not taking part in the profit.

He has ordered attendance be strictly monitored.

I feel that electricity in the air again but I will keep my head down and do my work and eagerly await the arrival of my son.

September 11, 1918

I have a son!

He came into the world early this morning, the very picture of health and innocence. I was a bit disappointed to see he has my dishwater-dark hair, rather than Lucy’s beautiful auburn color, but perhaps he will grow into it.

We have named him Charles and this time, this time I will protect him. Whether the witch was a product of my mind or not, I will protect him fiercely and love him the best way I know how.

Lucy is well. She has already begun to sing to him.

September 19, 1918

Dr. Wickers is behaving strangely. The air at the asylum is so electric I can almost feel the hairs on my arms stand at attention.

He was moving slowly this morning — though he has aged in the past ten years of running the asylum, he is and always has been spry — and seemed as though his clothes pained him. Each small movement caused the doctor to wince in pain.

I hope he is not ill.

September 22, 1918

Today, when he did not know I was looking, I saw Dr. Wickers enter his office. The back of his white pressed shirt is dotted with blood. It appeared to be in a pattern.

He closed the door behind him so quickly I could not see what the pattern was.

The children’s wing is on lockdown — no one allowed in or out, outside of hospital staff. I do not think they are being sold off.

I think the doctor knows where they are.

November 3, 1918

My hands shake as I write this but I must write it now before I forget.

I woke early this morning, so early the moon and stars have yet to give way to sun, to the sound of glass shattering. Lucy was in the corner of the bedroom, cowering, shielding something in her arms. She was weeping. The bedroom window was utterly destroyed, glass glinting in the moonlight. The curtain wafted on a cold breeze.

I asked her what had happened, what had broken the window, if she was all right. Her head was lowered and whatever she was protecting was hidden behind the veil of her red hair.

She begged me not to hurt him. Not to hurt her.

I asked again, what had happened, was it the witch? Had she seen the witch? It was all I could think in my moment of panic.

Lucy looked up at me, wide-eyed, and pulled the bundle closer to her chest. From her arms, Charles let out a pained cry.

She asked me why I had broken the window. Why was I trying to let something inside?

She begged me again not to hurt them.

It took me a moment to realize what she meant. I raised my hands to inspect them and found the right one covered in razor-thin cuts, weeping small tears of blood.

I had to remove the small bits of glass before I wrote this and yet still my hands shake. I was able to calm Lucy down, ensure her it was merely a nightmare, that I had no idea what I had done and that I would never hurt them.

Part of that is true. But not all of it.

Lucy is back in bed with Charles. I have told them I will be there soon and that they shouldn’t worry, all is well. It took some doing but I was able to calm them for the time being. Before they fell asleep, I took care to board up the broken window.

The flow of children from the hospital has stopped. That must be it. Even under her attack Dr. Wickers has stayed strong and no children have flown from their rooms in the night to keep her satisfied. And now, as her luck would have it, I have produced an easy catch for her. Just in time.

I do not believe I will be going to sleep before morning. I am too afraid I will try to let her in again.

I had to step away from these for a while, just like Gramps did. There was a week-long gap where I couldn’t bear to even look at the logs again, let alone transcribe them for you. I’m sorry it took so long but that’s the truth.

See, I’d been sort of ghosting that hot piece I have on the side. The one I told you about, Ashleigh? From Tinder? Yeah, it wasn’t nice but after seeing Julie over the holidays I just didn’t feel like talking or texting or whatever with this perfectly pleasant little 25-year-old because I remembered what Julie and I had and it just made me sad.

She got a hold of me, though. Just after New Year’s. That’s why these took so long. I’ve been trying to get a handle on all this. Wrap my head around it. I wasn’t even going to share it with you because I didn’t think it mattered but after reading about the birth of the old man in 1918, well, I think it does. I think it kind of matters a lot.

Ashleigh, you see, is pregnant.

She thinks it’s a boy.

And ever since she told me, well. I’ve been waking up a lot. Waking up around 2, maybe 3 in the morning. Because of course, when you open your windows in January, it gets pretty cold in your room. That’s enough to wake somebody out of a sound sleep.

I just can’t remember opening the windows.

I think Clara is preparing for something. TC mark

Part 8 Coming Soon.

Why Wearing Your Heart On Your Sleeve Makes You The Bravest

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 04:00 PM PST


I've always been the sensitive type. The type who feels everything all at once, as their heart is the first to the scene every time. The ones who get overwhelmed and burnt out faster than every one else, who need alone time to sort out what is theirs and what is everyone else's. The ones who rush into love and hurry into guilt and run into hate.

We're the feelers in a world of rational thinkers.

It's only natural that this distinct part of my personality played such a key role into my depression. I felt sad. I was sad until it overwhelmed all of my other senses. My heart hurt as if it had been spending its time dragging on the floor behind me. I was constantly crying, even when crying didn't make sense. I was angry about nothing. My skin felt like it was on fire with the world around me. I was tired of feeling and my feelings were tired of me.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve no longer seemed romantic; it seemed like some kind of curse.

Hearts on sleeves meant being broken. Being broken meant being unloved. Being unloved meant being unworthy. Being unworthy meant my heart was too much. I had started an endless cycle of self-hate.

Now if my brain had been in the picture, I'm sure he could have argued a really good defense. I'm sure he could point out all the things I had going for me—a decent amount of talent, good friends, and a promising future. However being the sensitive type meant my brain was the shy kid in the back of the classroom who never raised his hand even though he knew all of the answers. He sat in the back knowing all about hope and promise, but being too shy to say that he was right.

Nowadays as my heart surges with the weighted pressure of exams, of relationships, and of feeling misunderstood. When this happens my brain waits patiently for his turn to speak. My heart pounds and groans with its displeasure as my brain takes in the surroundings, thinks, and lets my heart exhaust itself. Then he speaks.

My brain finds the silver lining in the grayest of storm clouds. He gently reminds me that this isn't the end of the world, to think of the other side of the story, or to try to imagine the big picture. Of course I'm exhausted from my heart's tantrums, but I listen to his calm and steady words of encouragement: you will survive this just as you have survived every moment before.

I'll forever be a sensitive and vulnerable soul. It's a natural, engrained part of my personality, and one that I'm able to channel in order to keep an open mind and a ready heart.

After years of practice it has taught me to go that extra mile, to care endlessly for those I love, to be honest and vulnerable, and to be loyal to what I believe in.

There is something admirable about the ones who wear their hearts on their sleeves. It is us who take in the world at its lowest, see it for what it is, and dare to love it anyway. For in our weakest moments, we are simply explorers learning another valley that has yet to be discovered. In our stronger moments, we dare to love the things that are ordinary or carelessly forgotten.

It is a wonderful gift to care abundantly and to feel freely. Even when these gifts produce the side effect of exhaustion and sadness, we have the blessing of being able to love wholeheartedly with an awareness of the world. It may mark us with depression. It may taint a number of good days. It may give us false hope and shallow promises. We may feel alone and misunderstood. The bad parts may seem to be exaggerated under the weight of endless longing and ever present melancholy as we try our best to hold on.

As we learn to balance our emotions and rationale, we can find pleasure in wearing our hearts, our stories, and our hopes on our sleeves.

It is us—the ones who have spent nights on the bathroom floor crying ourselves to sleep, that find light in a good cup of coffee and a sunny morning. We are the lovers in a world of second guessers, who look beyond damaged covers to read enlightening stories. We are the dreamers in a world of nightmares, giving ourselves hope during the storm. We are the caregivers, who give all that we have in order to feel good.

We are the feelers in a world of thinkers, who dare to feel despite knowing that we may get hurt before we fall back asleep. TC mark

I Don’t Know How To Not Be In Love With Him

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 03:00 PM PST


It’s a beautiful and terrifying thing to realize that you are going to love someone forever.

Once their soul becomes entangled with yours, there’s no going back. This feeling is what often leads to marriage and long-term relationships, but ironically enough, the exact same feeling can lead to visceral levels of pain.

Because what if the person you love is completely wrong for you? What if it will never work? What if it feels like the emotional equivalent of trying to jam a square peg into a round hole? What if the literal only reason you should be together is that you love each other? And how do you deal with that moment of realizing that love is not enough?

I can never be with him.

Realizing this was liberating in a way, but also understandably painful. He’s one of the few things I will always want the most, but we’re like two beautiful puzzle pieces that will never fit together. Despite the risky and tumultuous nature of our relationship, we intimately connected to one another more in a few short months than most people do in their entire lives. But the most we will ever be is close friends with that special bond we can always fall back on. For that, I am nothing short of grateful.

But it’s hard.

It’s hard wanting more, but knowing better than to seek it. It’s hard maintaining an expectation-free, non-attachment relationship with someone I expect things from and feel attached to. My greatest struggle has been learning to love him in a different way, but I don’t know how.

I don’t know how to let go of the one person I have always connected with on a level deeper than I know how to explain to people who will never understand it.

I don’t know how to stop letting him into every nook and cranny of my life.

I don’t know how to stop missing our daily marathon conversations.

I don’t know how to stop wanting the feeling of his arms around me when the weight of the world feels a little too heavy.

I don’t know how to stop wondering what it would be like for every inch of my body to touch every inch of his.

I don’t know how to get his memory out of my heart and his music out of my head.

I don’t know how to contain the joy and excitement I feel every time he contacts me.

I don’t know how to stop wondering what he’s up to in quiet moments of solitude.

I don’t know how to free myself from the ghost of what never became.

I don’t know how to come to terms with the pure injustice of our separation.

I don’t know how to adjust to the idea of eventually seeing him with someone else.

I don’t know how to deal with the reality of not being able to hold him when he needs me.

I don’t know how to sleep without knowing if I’ll wake up to a day that involves him.

I don’t know how to fill the space inside my chest that he once occupied perfectly.

I don’t know how to love myself the way he loved (and still loves) me.

I don’t know how to reverse the fact that he ends up in 98% of my thoughts.

I don’t know how to feel gratitude instead of searing pain.

I don’t know how to stop loving him, and I don’t think I ever will. And the most beautiful and tragic part of it all is that I know he’ll never stop loving me either. TC mark

20 Weird Things That Inevitably Happen To Every Girl Who Kicks It With The Bros

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 02:05 PM PST

Twenty20, meganbarry.20
Twenty20, meganbarry.20

1. You are suddenly privy to excruciatingly intimate details of your dude friends' sex lives. AKA: The texture and taste of things you (guaranteed) did not want to know about. Which will ultimately prevent you from ever seeing these poor girls again without picturing them naked. Ew. TMI! TMI!

2. You regularly find yourself trying a disgustingly frothy, thick, syrupy beer because they’ve managed to convince you that it’ll taste good. You ALWAYS regret it. Every. Single. Time.

3. You are teased (frequently) with Mennist tweets/jokes/sayings/catch phrases. For example, (but not limited to): "Women shouldn't be allowed to drive. They don't need a car to get to the kitchen." Ha. Ha. Sooooo funny.

4. Your life is definitely put on blast (quite often). And all of the following is fair game: the guys you've dated, the heel-boots you're wearing in the snow, that party three years ago where you kissed that weird dude, the time you slipped on ice, etc. Nothing is sacred.

5. You are the guinea pig of their tragic pickup lines and attempts at flirting. So for the love of God (and hope for all the females out there) help them figure out what to say and how to text.

6. You eat (a lot) of fried foods. AKA: One or both of these two things: some form of potatoes (fries, potato wedges, etc.) and something cheesy (probably pizza or mozz sticks). And you may or may not be judged for how much you can put back. But who cares? (Not this girl.)

7. You are a bandwagon fan of whatever game's on TV. And they’ll turn to you every few minutes and go, "Did you see that? Did you see that?" So if you're not into it, at least try to seem remotely interested.

8. If you're a fan of a specific team, the guys a.) don’t believe you, and b.) demand that you name at least five players. Because, you know, you're a woman and all, so you probably have no clue, right? (Wrong).

9. You hear the words 'dude' and 'bro' probably 50 times per conversation (at least). So start counting and call them out on that ish. They'll get butt-hurt about it, which is hilarious.

10. You are constantly enlightened by all the crazy sh*t they've done in the past days, weeks, months, years. They like to talk brag about that stuff. (Much wow. Total bada$$).

11. You are continually asked super personal, but definitely genuine questions about your life. But you can't talk too long because they don't really want to chat about your love life and drama, they just want to make sure you're good. AKA: Good enough to chill with them without bursting into tears.

12. You laugh. A lot. Fruity-drink snorting type of laughing. Because they either say something completely ridiculous or give someone sh*t about something that's totally terrible, but too good not to laugh.

13. You spend however many endless hours listening to their favorite sh*tty music. (JK it's not that bad…but if you're lucky enough to get the aux cord in the car, you better play something good.)

14. You get hit on. Jokingly, innocently, actually, and obnoxiously.

15. You are playfully shoved, pushed, poked, hugged, and fake-tripped. And don't bother to do your hair, because you're guaranteed a nuggie or two.

16. You are always receiving unsolicited, off-the-cuff dating advice. Or general tips on how to live your life. Listen. (But don't take this too seriously.)

17. If you dare to ask for male/dating-related advice, be prepared. Prepared for jokes about your emotional instability and embarrassing life choices, followed by questions regarding your sex life. (Do not answer those.)

18. There is swearing from all parties. (Including you.) And potential bar fights because this random dude looks at you wrong. Or because one of your guy friends is cheering for some other guy's enemy team and the guy gets super salty. (PS: Get the hell out of the way.)

19. There are spills. Beer, wings, ranch dressing, water, freaking everything. Just accept the fact that your shirt will probably be stained. But you're not (and won’t ever be) their mommy, so make them clean up their own damn messes.

20. But no matter what, you are included. Because you're obviously pretty freaking cool if you can handle them and their shenanigans. And (they won't ever tell you this, but) they really do enjoy having you around. TC mark

8 Reasons People Who Travel Make The Best Employees

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 01:00 PM PST

Dear hiring managers, allow me to make a novel suggestion: If you want to dominate the competition, be on the cutting-edge, and rise to the top, the best thing that you can do is hire the guy wearing hippie pants with a beat up backpack and a passport full of stamps.

It might sound crazy, but hear me out. The place to find excellent employees isn't an ivy league school's job fair, LinkedIn, nor Craig's List. The place to find the perfect out-of-the-box thinkers, problem solvers, and movers and shakers is the arrivals hall at an international airport.

Old-school hiring managers will see a year off spent traveling rather than working as a carefree joy ride rather than a learning experience. They'll make the mistake of thinking that those with travel experience are just waiting for their next travel fix, they're flakey, or they aren't hard-working. That couldn't be farther from the truth, and time well spent in the university of the world is far superior to a classroom or cubicle.

Clever hiring managers know (or at least should know) that travelers make the best employees. Here are eight solid reasons why:

We are disciplined and dedicated

Almost every long-term traveler self funded his or her journey, and we saved up for a long time to make the trip happen.

When our friends went out for expensive dinners and cocktails, we stayed at home and learned how to cook our own food. When our coworkers spent money on expensive coffee shops, we brewed our own coffee, and when everyone else bought new clothes, we went to thrift shops.

We know how to make sacrifices to reach a goal. We know how important it is to remain dedicated, never losing sight of the prize.

We know how to budget effectively

Those of us who have traveled long-term have only managed to do so because we're good at maintaining a budget. We know exactly how much we can spend and on what. We know that in order to stay on the road, we must remain disciplined.

Sure, we splurge a bit here and there, but we're also scrappy, and have figured out how to work in exchange for a little cash in hand, how to trade our skills for room and board, and how to prolong the journey by thinking outside of the box.

We know how to negotiate

Almost anyone who has traveled extensively has had to haggle at some point. We've had to figure out when we're getting cheated and how to negotiate effectively so that both parties are happy with the end result. We've honed these skills over months and years, striving to make our travel funds last.

Corporations negotiate with millions and travelers do so with dollars and cents – volume is really the only difference.

We are excellent problem solvers

Many times a traveler has been stranded on the side of the road thanks to a broken down bus, a flat tire, or a train that never showed up. We've dealt with cancelled flights, completely booked out accommodation, and situations that are far more frustrating than we could have ever imagined.

Thanks to moments like these, we've learned that crying over spilled milk or waiting for someone else to come up with a solution are both fruitless endeavors. Therefore, we know how to get straight to problem-solving.

We handle stressful situations well

The work environment can get stressful, and naturally, you want an employee who performs well under pressure. Travelers have encountered more stressful situations in one year than most people do in a lifetime, from avoiding scams to successfully navigating a country he/she has never been to before, and in a different language to boot.

We have slowly but surely learned to take these situations in stride, and to be patient, positive, and inquisitive. We know how to rise above and move forward effectively and independently.

We know how to talk to anyone

Whether it's a fellow traveler, the street stall lady selling us soup, or the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation, we've learned how to speak with people and how to address and handle anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, or status.

We know how to find common ground with others. Even if it initially seems like there's very little, we'll find it. We can easily talk about the nuances of Vietnamese food, the Italian coffee culture, or Aussie Rules Football. We're cultured, and great conversationalists as a result.

We aren't scared of other cultures

In this rapidly globalizing world, it's more important than ever to have employees who understand and respect other cultures.

We know it's rude to point the bottom of your feet at someone in Thailand, we understand how to shake someone's hand in Southern Africa, and we grasp that it's important to say, 'Bonjour' when entering a store in France.

We've picked up a lot of knowledge of other cultures during our travels abroad and we know that we have more similarities than differences to our fellow humans, and we can approach those differences with understanding rather than fear.

We see the world as bigger than ourselves

Anyone who travels also understands that this world is impossibly big while being surprisingly small and interconnected all at the same time. We're humbled by what we've seen, and we know full-well that we're not the biggest fish in the sea.

We understand that we're a small part in the grand scheme of things and we want to make a positive impact, thanks to all we've seen and learned. We know that people are fundamentally good-natured, and that finding ways to connect with others is more rewarding than stressing about our differences.

You see, dear hiring manager, anyone who travels has learned more in a few months than many learn in a lifetime. We're ready to take on new challenges, to make an impact in the workplace, and to take what we've learned and put it to good use.

So next time you see a gap in a resume thanks to time spent abroad, give it another look. Just imagine what a whole company full of cultured, diligent, itelligent employees could achieve. TC mark

This Is How To Talk To Your Son About His Body

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 12:01 PM PST

Twenty20 / coastal_gal
Twenty20 / coastal_gal

How to talk to your son about his body, step one: talk to your son about his body. Give him the vocabulary that he needs to communicate how he feels about himself.

Teach him that it's normal to think about his appearance.

Teach him that it's fine to want to be handsome or pretty.

Teach him that being a boy doesn't take away his right to have feelings about his body.

If your son tells you that he is unhappy because he is too fat or too skinny, don't dismiss him. Don't tell him that boys don't have to worry about stuff like that. Don't tell him that he's lucky that he's not a girl, because then it would really be a problem.

Listen to him – really listen – and keep your opinions about his appearance to yourself. Don't tell him that you'll help him lose weight. Don't tell him that he'll bulk up when he gets older. Just listen, and encourage him to explain how and why he feels that way.

If your son is older, talk to him about male bodies in the media. Ask him what he thinks of the storefronts for Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch; ask him if he thinks that images represent how he thinks men should look. Talk about the fact that Photoshop is used to alter images of boys as well as those of girls.

Don't make jokes about your son's weight. In fact, don't make any comments about his weight. Don't talk about how funny it is that he was so skinny as a little kid and now he's not. Don't poke him in the side and tell him that his ribs stick out. Don't sigh enviously over how thin he is.

Don't assume that you can talk about your son's body any differently than you talk about your daughter's.

If you notice that your son is gaining or losing weight, remember that these can be signs of depression. Without asking leading questions or otherwise being obvious about it, try to get some insight into how your son is feeling. Be sensitive to the fact that if you've noticed a change in your son's weight, chances are good that he's very much aware of it and may feel ashamed or embarrassed.

If you notice that your son is rapidly losing weight, seems to be trying to limit what he eats, or is otherwise occupied with the idea that he is fat, remember that eating disorders are on the rise among teenage boys. If you suspect that your son might have an eating disorder, don't try to "fix" him by telling him that his body is fine and he has nothing to worry about. Eating disorders are serious, and if you have are concerned that your son might have one, you should contact your pediatrician immediately.

Don't comment on other men's bodies – neither positively nor negatively. Don't communicate an idealized version of masculine beauty, and don't run other men down. And for the love of God don't make jokes about hair loss, or say that you don't find bald men attractive. Don't make jokes about short men. Don't make jokes about body hair. Don't make jokes about penis size. Seriously. Those things aren't funny.

Don't make negative comments about your own body. Don't let him overhear you calling yourself fat, or saying that you should go on a diet. He will learn to love and accept his body by watching how you treat yours. Always remember that he will take his cues on body acceptance from you.

Teach your son to be kind to himself.

Teach him to be kind to other people.

Teach your son that his body is good for all kinds of things – dancing, sports, digging in the dirt, yoga, gymnastics, figure skating, or even just sitting quietly and thinking.

Teach him to move his body in lots of different ways, from lifting big rocks to spinning pirouettes, because those things are fun and they feel good. Teach him to stretch and touch his toes because this will help keep his muscles flexible and elastic. Teach him to do cartwheels because there is no greater expression of joy. Teach him to lie in a patch of sunlight and dive into a good book.

Don't teach your son about "good" foods and "bad" foods, because food shouldn't be subject to moral judgment. Instead, teach him about foods that will fill him up and give him energy versus foods that will leave him feeling unsatisfied and cranky an hour later. Teach him that candy and desserts are great, but that they won't give him the drive he needs to get through the day.

Teach your son to cook. Teach him to cook anything and everything Рscrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese, tooth-achingly rich chocolate cake. Teach him how to saut̩ vegetables and whisk egg whites.

Prove to your son that he doesn't need a woman to cook for him.

Prove to him that there is no such thing as a "girly" interest or hobby.

Teach your son that people come in all different shapes and sizes. Teach him that there is no one specific way that he, as a boy, should look or act – his appearance and his interests are perfect because he is perfect. But teach him, too, that there is nothing bad or shameful about feeling uncomfortable with his body. Teach him that there is nothing wrong with wanting to talk about his body, or wanting to find ways to feel happier in his body.

Teach him that you're there to listen.

Teach him that he's not alone. TC mark

18 Viral Images That Anyone With A Hot Mess Life Will Instantly Relate To

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 11:12 AM PST

1. You always like to play by your own rules, and it sometimes gets you in trouble…

2. Also, you might spend a *little* too much time around your cats

3. And you are prone to making some MINOR technical errors when discussing academic concepts…

4. Your work ethic might be a bit weak from time-to-time,

5. And your social skills might not always be on-point…

6. But you have an awesome sense of humor!!

7. (maybe?)

8. Okay, okay, so you might not have the best diet in the world,

9. And you might forget to text people back from time-to-time,

10. But other aspects of your life are TOTALLY under control, right??

12. And yeah, you might judge people

13. But they unfairly judge you back, so it’s fair??

14. Sometimes you get involved in petty drama,

15. But you aren’t the one starting it!!

16. (usually)

17. ALSO, somehow you’re ALWAYS the one who gets caught doing things…

18. UGH! Maybe you just have unrealistic expectations?

Hot messes unite 5eva. TC mark

This Is Why You’re Wrong About Playing Hard To Get

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 09:58 AM PST

Twenty20 / monikajagiello
Twenty20 / monikajagiello

The men who end up committing intensely are the ones who see the woman as their partner, the woman who "gets" them, the woman who's on their side, the woman they escape to, the woman they love being around, the woman who lights up their world …

This doesn't happen if he feels like he doesn't have her. That "chasing" dynamic requires her to keep up her guard and objectifies every interaction in the relationship. It also kills any chance for true love to develop.

Girls think that playing hard to get will make a guy like them, and being too available will turn him off. This isn’t true. Waiting a certain amount of time before texting him back and pretending to be busy when you're not doesn't get a guy to like you, it gets a guy to chase you.

Does it work? Maybe a little, in that it activates his competitive drive, but that isn’t the recipe for lasting love. You can’t manipulate someone into feeling something for you … I mean you can, but your true self will emerge eventually … and then what?

In situations where you felt you were chasing a guy, you might have desperately wanted him, but did you feel like you could trust him? Depend on him? Did you feel loved?

The problem with the chase is that it creates the illusion of having chemistry.

Whoever is doing the chasing never knows what to expect, and it stirs up feelings inside that can be mistaken for an intense desire to be with the other person, when really it's just a desire to get validation by making the other person want to be with you.

I have a friend who always winds up in relationships with guys who won't commit to her in a real way. She has let a few of these situations drag on for years! Every one of the guys would manage to keep her on the hook by telling her he loved her, he cared about her, he really wished he could commit to her … but he just couldn't for whatever reason. After finally cutting it off with yet another guy who strung her along for over a year, she started dating a guy who was different from the rest. He liked her a lot (and it was obvious!), he expressed a desire to have a committed relationship, he asked to be exclusive after almost a month, he introduced her to his mom soon after. It was a drama-free, effortless, easy relationship.

The catch? She came to me and said "I just don't feel the same chemistry with him as I did with the other guys!" When we talked it out, it became clear that the "chemistry" she thought she had with the others was really just her not fully having them. In those "chase" relationships, you get lost in someone else's drama, and drama can be exciting. You don't stand on solid ground and never know what's going to happen next.

Healthy relationships aren't like this. There is no guesswork and no chasing and no trying to figure out what everything means. Healthy relationships are calm and pleasant. If you've never had a healthy relationship, this can feel really weird at first! Once you realize what's at play and settle into the stability and comfort of a relationship in which your interest is reciprocated, you will realize that it's the most beautiful thing in the world.

Unfortunately, the reason a lot of women can't get a guy to commit is because they discard the ones who are able to give them commitment, and are drawn to the ones that won't or can't.

A lot of women also lose out on the chance to have a meaningful relationship because they try to play the game, making a guy "chase," rather than trying to connect in a real way.

He's Smarter Than He Looks

Here is something I'm sure many of you don't realize. Guys know when you're doing things to make them chase you! In order to write about men effectively, I spend a lot of time around men. I can't tell you how many times I've seen my guy friends texting with some girl and then jokingly say, "Now I won't hear back for another two hours, this chick waits at least two hours before answering, I think she sets a timer or something." At first they'll put up with it, but it gets very annoying very fast.

One of my guy friends recently went on two great dates with an awesome girl and in between they've been engaged in the texting dance. She texted him while we were hanging out and he looked at it but didn't respond. I asked him why and he said he couldn't respond right away because the girl never ever does, she always waits a few hours, and he reasoned he would look pathetic if he answered right away. "She's probably just trying to make me want her more," he told me plainly. I asked if it was working and he said not really, it was mostly a nuisance, but he was putting up with it for now because he did genuinely like her. It didn't last long—he gave up on the relationship soon after.

Being too obvious about interest isn't a problem, yet this seems to be what we're all afraid of.

We think if we text back right away he'll think we're too eager and he'll be put off. Confident women aren't concerned with this. Think about it, if a woman is secure and confident, she'll see her attraction to a guy as a good thing, something he'll find desirable. But if a woman is insecure, she'll see her attraction as something that will turn the guy off, something that needs to be "not obvious" or hidden …

Maybe right now you're thinking: "That can't be right! The chase is important and it's the only way!" Fair enough—there's an element of truth to that. But here's what's really at play. The reason the chase is effective to a certain degree is that it creates a situation where a guy has to work to win you over. Whenever we work for something, we become more invested in it; this is just human nature.

However, the work does not need to come through playing a game of cat and mouse. Relationships all come with varying degrees of difficulty, even the best ones. When you can face the challenges head on and overcome them together, you put in the kind of work that gets you to a place of greater connection and a place of deep love and appreciation for one another.

You can find countless books that claim not wanting a guy is what gets you the guy, then tells you how to pretend you don't want him. Pretending you don't want someone is not the same as not wanting something from them and it doesn't matter how clever you think you are, if you're doing something to get what you want, you are in agenda mode, it's obvious, and we've seen how damaging this can be.

I think friendships are a good model of a natural way of relating to someone. When you meet someone new you click with, you don't try to force it to be something; either it develops or it doesn't. If someone comes at you forcefully and is desperate to be your friend, you feel put off by it. And if someone is shady with you, you just don't want to deal with it. When you meet someone new you hit it off with, you don't have a goal in mind; you just let things happen.

Try to compare the way you make friends with the way you approach relationships, and see if you spot the differences.

While we're on the subject of chasing, I want to mention that you should never, ever, chase after a guy. If he isn't asking you out, just let it go. If he says he doesn’t want a relationship, take what he says at face value and move on. As soon as a guy drops the “I don’t want a relationship” card, instead of his value instantly going down, which would make sense, his value instantly goes up in a woman’s eyes.

Now he is a challenge, he is the ultimate judge of her worth. If she can prove that she’s good enough to be his girlfriend, she will be worthy. If she can't, then she’ll have to keep trying until she’s finally good enough. The more insecure a girl is, the more entangled she will become in this toxic web. Think of this guy as a drug, and just say no. TC mark

Want more writing like this? Read “10 Things Every Woman Needs To Know About Men” on iBooks here.


10 Things Every Woman Needs To Know About Men is an honest, non-sugarcoated guide to understanding men and cracking their code so you can finally have the love you’ve always wanted.