Thought Catalog


12 Signs You Are The “Wounded Healer” Personality Archetype

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 08:00 PM PST

"The wound is where the light enters." – Rumi

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Paolo Raeli

1. When you give other people advice, it feels like you are telling your younger self what you needed to hear. It's this dynamic that makes you love to help others. Healing them heals you.

2. Since you were little, you've known that you wanted to help people. You may not have known how you were going to do it, but you were aware that you wouldn't be happy unless your life amounted to service in some capacity.

3. Being recognized for your work is both your most intense desire, and your worst fear. You want other people to see you as a healer or teacher or writer or whatever, but at the same time, your deepest, most conflicting fear is being seen in that way.

4. You believe that without struggle, you cannot truly know happiness. You believe that there is a purpose in suffering, and that it is so we can see with complete clarity what it means to be at peace.

5. It's hard not to let your work become your life. You give everything you have to what you do – and sometimes it's hard for you to know when to draw a line. Your work is your life, but you wouldn't have it any other way.

6. You sometimes help too much, and struggle to let people self-heal. You've learned the hard way that often, you can tell people the answer, but until they figure it out themselves, it won't truly resonate.

7. Criticism feels particularly painful to you. As someone who has been deprived of love in some way (that's what all wounds are made of, FYI) sometimes criticism can sting more than it should (but you pull through).

8. You are grateful for the difficulties you went through. You recognize that the most painful times in your life were the most deeply transformative; without them, you would not be who you are or where you are. They were necessary (and transitory).

9. You are always working on yourself. You are committed to self-growth, and you are always open to ways you could be more open-minded, more loving, or more aware.

10. You want to fix everything, sometimes to a fault. It's hard for you to see the difference between being a perfectionist and being driven toward the life you want. You often blur the line between dedication and near-insanity.

11. You have a very sound sense of purpose. You know why you're here, and you know what you're here to do, even if it's just be present and be as kind as you can.

12. Your life goal is to know that you helped even just one person, even just a little. You don't have to save the world, and in fact, you don't really care to. All you want to know is that you helped at least one person in their life. That, to you, is success.TC mark

Want more articles like this? Check out Brianna Wiest’s book The Truth About Everything here.

the-truth-about-everything

21 Things You Need To Know About Dating A Guarded Extrovert

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 07:01 PM PST

eddie_rios
eddie_rios

1. They internalize things more than you think. Because they are so fun-loving, they tend to brush off the little things easily, or so they would lead you to believe. But, in fact, just because they aren't harping on minute details doesn’t mean things don't bother them; they're just internalizing.

2. Being "extroverted" and being "forthcoming" are two very different things that are not guaranteed to go hand-in-hand.

3. They always say "yes" to plans, but that doesn't mean they don't need time to process things. While they love to be surrounded by good people and fill their schedule with social engagements, when things are starting up between you and them, they will still need time to take a step back and breathe.

4. Mostly, they process things through talking to one go-to person. You imagine your favorite extroverts surrounded by a group of people, as opposed to having a meaningful one-on-one conversation. But even though they excel in a big group and give off the impression of being best friends with everyone, they still need time to talk things through when important things happen in their life.

5. Introducing you to their friends is really important to them — but it's not the be all and end all. In the end, they want you to understand how much they have to offer outside what they offer their friends.

6. They like wine-and-couch nights too — if they're with the right person.

7. Sometimes people assume that extroverts are the ones that are great at small talk because they're the people who can make conversation with anyone and make anyone feel welcome. But, in all honesty, a guarded extrovert is good at small talk because they don't feel like opening up to everyone. If they're willing to open up to you, it means that you're never going to be stuck in the small-talk-zone with them.

8. They don't like to be pushed around. Just because they're extremely confident, doesn't mean they enjoy being unnecessarily teased. While they can appreciate a good joke, they're more sensitive than you might think.

9. They're the same person around you and around everyone else — full of life and energy — but your conversations together are completely different than those they have in group settings.

10. They aren't afraid to do things by themselves because they know they can hold their own. But if they're taking themselves out for a meal or to see a movie, sometimes it really is because they need to be on their own for the night.

11. Their confidence is one of the first things that will attract you to them. They exude confidence and yet somehow still feel approachable. However, the more you get to know them, the more you'll realize that they still have humanizing qualities that shake their confidence.

12. They're great at introducing you to people, but they don't dominate the conversation. They want to let you do some of the talking.

13. When they encourage you to speak up, it's not because they're nagging you, it's because they want to make sure they're giving you time to ~~*shine*~~.

14. They know they're an extrovert, but sometimes doubt it simply because there is an entirely other part of them that feels the need to protect themselves, get defensive, and just generally keep things in.

15. They sometimes get frustrated with the friends that just take them as a face-value extrovert and don't realize that they have so many other layers.

16. While they're someone who wants to make plans 85% of the time, some weeks they feel like they need to be more selective about social engagements simply because they're feeling a bit "off" and don't want to necessarily be surrounded by a mob of people.

17. They show their affection by random, small acts of kindness, rather than grand gestures because they don't feel comfortable coming off too strong.

18. They have trouble admitting when they need help because it's sometimes hard for them to show their vulnerability. Because people assume that they have their shit ~~soOOoo together~~, it stings their pride a little to admit that they, too, need help every once and a while.

19. If they do admit that they need your help, it shows that they're becoming much more willing to trust you. So you must've done something right.

20. They have been hurt before, but most people (other than their very close friends) don't know much about what really happened. Don't pump them for information. Let them open up to you when they're ready.

21. They are real — always themselves — never fake. They just might not be exposing their whole self right away. But they will if you give them some time. TC mark

14 Women Share What They Notice About A Man When They Sleep With Him For The Very First Time

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 06:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / chrislowe9
Twenty20 / chrislowe9

1. “Whether or not he asks to use a condom. If I have to ask him, I’m always disappointed. Either he’s assuming I’m on birth control, or he just doesn’t care. Both are turn offs.” —Danielle, 25

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2. “Isn’t it obvious? The size of his package. If he’s got a giant eggplant down there you’re instantly terrified, and if he’s got a little cocktail wiener you’re like, ‘well how’s this going to work?'” —Hailey, 24

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3. “I always notice the way he gets undressed. Some guys are so sexy about it you feel like you’re watching a rom com in slow motion, and then some guys remove their clothing so quickly it’s like you turn around and they’re magically naked.” —Desiree, 26

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4. “I take notice to how rough he is. If he’s super rough with me the first time we’re sleeping together I almost see it as a red flag. If you’re throwing me around when you barely know me, what are you going to do with me when you’re actually comfortable? I don’t think I want to know the answer to that question.” —Madison, 25

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5. “I notice his belly. Obviously if he has a six pack I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I actually love it when he has a little pooch. I think it’s cute, and almost endearing, like he’s more relatable that way.” —Kelly, 24

beetlejuice

6. “Nipple hair. One guy I slept with had literally no chest hair, and yet his nipples looked like little hamsters. I don’t know if he just shaved his chest and forgot his nipples, but it was one of the weirder things I’ve ever seen on a guy. I don’t mind a hairy chest, but when there’s hair conveniently growing from only your nips, it’s weird.” —Nadia, 23

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7. “His feet. If they’re dry, I’ll occasionally feel the rough flakiness rub up against my leg and it’s not a good time. All men should get pedicures. Seriously.” —Shayna, 25

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8. “I love a good butt. First time I sleep with a guy his butt is always the first thing I look at, probably why I slept with a bunch of baseball players in college.” —Cate, 24

beetlejuice

9. “I notice what parts of my body he’s willing to put in his mouth. The more the better. Unless it’s my toes. I don’t like toe suckers, that’s just too much.” —Julie, 26

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10. “I usually notice weird freckles. I think it’s so cute when they have little beauty marks everywhere.” —Alexis, 23

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11. “His odor, and I mean like all kinds of odor, especially the kinds that come from below his waist. If his junk stinks, I’m not going to enjoy myself. There’s no way your smelly balls are going to get me wet or anywhere close to an orgasm.” —Janelle, 24

beetlejuice

12. “His underwear. I wish men could have sex in their underwear. I’m so much more turned on by him in briefs than I am when he’s naked. Unless he’s in tighty whities, in which case I’d rather him be naked.” —Hope, 25

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13. “Definitely his pubes. If he’s au naturale I’m wondering why, and if he’s more groomed than I am, I’m also wondering why. I like a happy medium.” —Laura, 26

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14. “First thing I notice are the noises he makes, or the words he’s saying if he’s talking. If a guy is moaning like a woman, I start to wonder if I sound as dumb as he does.” —Rachelle, 25 TC mark

What The Hell Is Love Anyway?

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 05:45 PM PST

franco.dartayet
franco.dartayet

It was 3 p.m. in the afternoon and the heat still hadn’t let up. "Shit, I’m hungry," I thought to myself.

I was standing outside. My bare feet sticking to the sidewalk like pan-fried ham. As the delivery guy got out of his faded grey 2003 Nissan Altima, I scolded him for making me wait, before grabbing my Thai food and hurrying back inside. I didn’t leave a tip.

Most students had left for the summer. So my South Central street had grown quite peaceful. Almost like it belonged in one of those upper­-middle class towns with those self­-righteous, nouveau ­liberal families. Sure, they support Bernie Sanders, but they also get uncomfortable around black people.

Beached on the mattress like a starfish, I could only lay there, hoping it would eventually get better.

The walls were colored off­-white like computer paper, making the room feel even more desolate than it looked. In the center of the room was an old mattress and resting next to it, a beat-up old duffel bag. The rest of the apartment was nice enough though. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and brand new hardwood floors. Considering how expensive student housing could be around the University of Southern California, the $400 rent was, to say the least, generous. A friend of mine had secured the place for me, last-minute, after I had contacted her, deep into the summer desperately looking for somewhere to stay in time for the start of my internship.

I was homeless, depressed, and chain­smoking cigarettes, instead of eating food​.

I never got a chance to find housing myself because the day after my last final for school, I spontaneously jumped onto a plane bound for Europe. I ran away because I didn’t want anyone to see me in the state that I was in. I was homeless, depressed, and chain­smoking cigarettes, instead of eating food​.

Like most bad stories written by guys, this all started with a girl.

Four days prior, in the wee hours of the morning, my long-term on-and-off girlfriend (at the time), flipped a switch, told me that she hated me, and then kicked me out of the apartment that we had been sharing. While this isn’t the worse thing to ever happen in the world, going Mr. Hyde on someone who has come to rely on you, and during finals week, is never cool.

With no one awake and nowhere to go, I took my two duffel bags to the library and hung out there for a couple of hours, before going to my first final. Later that day she called me up, apologized profusely, and pleaded with me to come back. So I did. We had obviously never been the most stable couple, so I figured that her episode was caused by our impending, and final, break up. (She was graduating and moving away for work in a couple of weeks, while I had another year in school left.) The rest of the day was nothing but cuddles, sex, and "love".

So you could imagine my surprise when, at around 4 a.m., it started up again. She sat up in bed, turned to me, and told me to get out. Knowing how close of a call my final that morning had been, I begged her to let me stay on the couch­ until morning. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, and I found myself homeless­ again, and unsure of what to do.

I still remember her cold stare, as if she didn’t even recognize me anymore. I still remember how her lips pursed together in disgust, as I pleaded with her to let me stay. I still wonder, had the roles been reversed, how long would it have taken for the cops to arrive? How demonized I would've been at the sight of my handiwork:­ a pretty, USC cheerleader, sitting on the sidewalk, crying. ​I shudder, because I know that if it were me who did this to her, I would've had a knee in my back, and cuffs around my hands.

At this point of the story, I'm probably supposed to go into a long, drawn-out, sob­ story about how awful of a person my ex was. However, that's not going to happen. While I definitely didn’t deserve the atomic break up, I was by no means the saint of the relationship.

But to us, love was just a game that could only be won or lost­ and we both hated losing.

Besides stating that, I refuse to talk about it because it's a story that you've already heard before. It can readily be found in the annals of modern folklore. It's a "love story" that's regularly packaged and fed to the public for entertainment, because it's glorified by a culture that inhabits the imaginary realities of Hollywood films.

If you think I'm wrong, let's do a quick round of word association.­ What comes to mind when you read the names: Rihanna, Chris Brown, and Amy Winehouse? Is it ‘passion’? Runaway love? How about infidelity? Rage? Abuse?

Nowadays, emotional and physical abuse are implied to be the byproduct of a type of love that's quantifiably more than a connection that simply fosters stability or care. The ugliness of my relationship exposed what truly lies beneath these "sexy" dynamics: insecurity and emotional baggage, and it's not Louis Vuitton quality stuff either. It's the type of baggage that's bought at goodwill, stuffed to the brim with Abercrombie & Fitch, and taken back to a country that scorns American imperialism, but still worships all of her shitty, worthless brands.

However, I digress. I'm going to skip over all of that dramatic­ bull­shit because my writing about it, and your reading it, is an insult ­of cosmic proportions, to the brevity of life and the sanctity of real companionship. In the spirit of full disclosure though, I will say that we were young, dramatic, and in love. But to us, love was just a game that could only be won or lost­ and we both hated losing.

So after spending some time in France, I flew to Spain and without telling anyone (sorry Mom), rented a motorcycle and spent 3 weeks touring Andalusia, Spain's southernmost region. Even though I had no phone, very little money, and no prior experience riding a motorcycle, I ended up driving over 2,000 kilometers. No, I didn't want to die, I just went off my rocker, which is, despite what Big Pharma has to say, natural and needed sometimes.

If you want a cute, ­mental breakdown­ story, go and watch Bradley Cooper run around wearing a garbage bag for 90 minutes.

That being said, I can't talk about the journey because it's impossible to do so in a way that you'll find entertaining. There's no linear progression, dramatic character arcs, or exciting climaxes. It's just one of those things that happened to me. I’m not fucking Jack Kerouac, I’m just a kid with too much time on his hands and an Adderall prescription.

So I'll sum it up like this: I did a lot of driving and a lot of "soul searching". Basically, watch any male driven­ coming of age film, sprinkle in a bad case of bronchitis, a couple of motorcycle spills, some severe malnourishment, and there you have it.​ ​If you want a cute, ­mental breakdown­ story, go and watch Bradley Cooper run around wearing a garbage bag for 90 minutes.

I ended the trip 10 pounds lighter, still terrified of women, and not the slightest bit over my break up. Apparently just running away from your problems doesn’t solve them. ​Who knew? ​So upon returning to Los Angeles, and finding out my new roommates were female, I committed to avoiding them at all costs. Which brings us back to that Southcentral Summer.

One Thai delivery induced coma later, ­I had a shirt draped over my face in a sad attempt to block out the light and trick myself into falling asleep. The length of this purgatorial state would vary depending on the day.

Today, it was cut short by the sound of excited female chatter entering the previously empty apartment. Peaking up in bed, straining my neck and my ears, I listened to my roommates as they made diner in the kitchen.

"Shit" I thought to myself, is today the day?

I heard 3 definitive knocks on my bedroom door.

"Yes?"

It was Hillary asking if I was there.

"We're making food if you want something to eat!"

Instead of replying, I threw on some dirty clothes and proceeded to open the door.

There before me stood my first roommate: blonde­ haired, blue-­eyed Hilary. She wore one of those hip jumpsuits with a fashionable summer print on it­ like a true flower child; she was sunshine personified. While her eyes showed befuddlement, her grin revealed bemusement. Which meant that she wasn’t ​totally​ thrown off by my Manson hair and 70's Bruce Jenner shorts.

The dark eyes peering over Hilary's shoulder that looking more skeptical than amused, belonged to Sarah. With her powerful dark features, sharp cheekbones, and coffeed skin, she too looked like something out of a time capsule. For some reason, Michael Corleone's Sicilian wife from Godfather II, comes to mind. Maybe it's because they're both beautiful, or maybe it's because they’re both awesome.

"How are you doing Ils?" asked Hillary as Sarah beckoned me into the kitchen.

I was inching my way back into my room when the bathroom door burst open and out came the last roommate, Becca. She was as tall as me and had platinum blonde hair, strawberry jam lips, and porcelain skin­ that was radiant yet dangerous, almost like a goth Barbie.

I stood there, wallowing in awkwardness and too self-­aware of said awkwardness, to do anything about it, as all three of them bombarded me with questions about my life. Obviously, I was scared shitless. Not only were my roommates beautiful, but they were absurdly kind as well.

I challenged myself to look at my ex not as a caricature, but as a person who has hopes and doubts just like me.

It seemed that despite my state, my roommates wanted to get to know me, and eventually, a bond formed. It became routine for us to share a splif in the living room and recount our day upon returning from work. I explained to them why I had been acting/looking so strange. I told them about the break up, losing my mind, Spain, everything.

However, rather than agreeing with me when I wrote my ex off as "crazy," they challenged me. Not to necessarily forgive her, but to consider her as a human being. I know it sounds elementary but so many people, including myself, tend not to do this when it comes to relationships. I challenged myself to look at my ex not as a caricature, but as a person who has hopes and doubts just like me. Only then did it become obvious that she hurt me, not because she's a "bitch" or a "psycho," but because she's human, and humans make mistakes. I immediately felt the burden lighten and my capacity for love increase. As ridiculous as it sounds, I felt myself becoming "one of the girls".

I found that the new person I had become, was at odds with the person I had been. While I always liked being around girls, if I'm being honest, I had never really considered them they way I did my guy ­friends. My new-found friendships weren’t without fault, but they were purely intentioned. We genuinely took care of each other. I couldn’t help but question everything that I thought I knew: "Why aren’t all of my relationships like this?" "Why can't I be friends with someone I'm dating?" "Why am I not friends with more girls?" I needed to know. I was sick of being the guy with the tumultuous relationship.

Men don't hang out just to hang out. It’s not manly.

While I'll be the first to admit that nothing I assert is biblical, the fact is that many men, including me, don't know how to meet women simply as people. Not only that, but men don't even really know how to meet other men simply as people.

Men don't hang out just to hang out. It’s not manly. Men are supposed to be conquerors, so there must be an activity where conquering is involved. (Straight) Men don't go out to have fun­, they go out to pick up chicks. To "search and destroy", to "slay" – To rub their denim crotch on denim asses.

We're taught to look at life-like a game with winners and losers. That's why groups of men, or bros, love Chipotle. Men don’t go there to get lunch, they go there to beat the system. To us, paying eight dollars for an eight pound, infant-sized burrito isn’t wastefulness or consumerism at it's worst, ­it’s a statement that we’ve won.

The most bizarre thing about this is that while men stand to benefit the most from this neolithic dynamic, many women are also guilty of perpetuating it. For some reason, it's normal for women to stand at the bar like merchants, trading conversations with men for $9 watered down vodka tonics. Men pay the monetary cover at clubs, women are taught to pay with the flesh.

Next time someone some asks you about the ratio of your group, tell them to go fuck themselves. It’s insane. This is the personification of a world where men are taught that they have all the power and women are told that they have none. If this is the way that women and men are supposed to interact, no wonder (completely platonic) differentgender friendships are so rare.

Perhaps giving and receiving love isn't something that we inherently know how to do.

Luckily, my break up had left me in no place to creep or even consider my roommates as women, so it was different this time. I was also in the middle of what would end up being a five-month period of abstinence. No, I didn't want to run away and join a friar, I just didn’t want to use someone else to get over my ex. While our culture celebrates the rebound, it had never seemed to work for me. So instead of going out every weekend and trying my best to get gonorrhea, I committed to healing myself emotionally and learning from my mistakes.

While my roommates respected my space, they never let be alone for too long. If they weren’t drawing me out of my enclave with the promise of weed and food, they were gently knocking on my door, letting me know that I was welcome in the living room at any time. I know it sounds dramatic but they took a broken person, and made him whole again.

Through this process, I couldn’t help but utterly fall in love with all three of them­ not only as friends, but as people. As being in love should, they made me a better person. In that way, they really are my first loves. They brought the best out of me more than any girlfriend or guy­ friend in the past had done. They made me question what I thought love meant.

Perhaps giving and receiving love isn’t something that we inherently know how to do. Maybe love is something so fragile that it can really only be shaped by rom­-coms and Drake lyrics. Is it also something that's taught and learned through personal experience then too? What shapes our emotional habits more: our triumphs or our traumas?  We learn from the ones whom we hate the most and we love the one's who we fear the most.

It took a mental breakdown and a chance ­friendship with three amazing women to teach me how to love and accept myself, and how to eventually do the same for others.

I used to think that love was work, sacrifice, and pain, and while it can be, it isn’t in the way that I thought it was.

Love should only be work because you would sooner better yourself than lose the one you love. Love should only require sacrifice because you'd rather suffer than see the one you love suffer. Love should only cause you pain because it hurts you to see the one you love hurting. TC mark

Black Women Are More Than Their Strength

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 05:15 PM PST

cwellpics
cwellpics

The word “strong” is never too far away from the identity of black women. And we are strong, I guess. If the consequences of group identities mean anything at all, the strength that is learned as a black woman is the result of survival, not necessarily individual convictions.

But what if I told you I, a black woman, have cried in the last two to three weeks about some things that are not necessarily cry-worthy (whatever that means)? Would it mean that I’m no longer deserving of the “strength” label that is attached to my identity? I hope not because I do think of myself as strong – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Whether or not strength is represented by crying or not crying ought to be of little, if any, significance. But despite this strength, as a black woman, I think it is important for you to know that I am more than strong.

Last week, I got really choked up one day while waiting for the J train. I moved to New York City from Chicago recently, and although I was all things considered, mentally, socially, and financially prepared for the move, the hell that is finding an apartment in New York City, left me in a state of mental exhaustion on that particular day. But I didn’t want to be the (black) girl crying on a subway so I waited till I got “home” – my temporary apartment in the city – and cried.

On another day, I was walking with a co-worker, who is also a good friend, to her subway stop. (There’s a pattern here. Maybe the MTA induces tears?) We talked about my move and how I’m taking it all in. I told her I was prepared – I have been to the city a lot, already have friends here, and I want my life to be here for now. But adjustment is always hard, even when you’re used to adjusting to new places. Do you know those people who always seem to say the best thing when you need it the most, and without even trying? She’s one of them. She said in the most simple, unintentional way, “You’re doing well.” I went home and cried because apparently I didn’t think I was, and I needed to hear that.

But if woman is the nigger of the world, as John Lennon sang, tell me please, what is a black woman?

I cried most recently (other than the fact that I’m getting choked up as I write this) while finally getting around to watching Being Mary Jane. I know, I know, I’m a late adopter in some of these things but in my defense, television is not something I consider relaxing after a day spent looking at another screen – a computer, usually. So I only watch TV shows I really like. Anyway, I “powered through” Being Mary Jane in the last few weeks, and a few days ago, I watched an especially powerful episode.

Spoiler alert – Mary Jane (played by Gabrielle Union), has a best friend Lisa, (played by Latarsha Rose) who kills herself. Why? A combination of dealing with the consequences of being molested as a child, unrequited love, and loneliness. The first reason is a specific kind of pain only some can understand, but the second and third reasons are relatable, maybe even universal. Maybe despite having social ties where I am now, I just missed what was so recently my old life with all my old loves. Besides that, it’s easy to feel lonely when you also feel new. And so I cried.

I’m telling you my sob stories to make a point: I am a black woman and I’m strong, but I’m also more than strong. At times, I am weak and lonely and afraid and anxious and angry and silly and happy and defiant and bored. Sometimes, I don’t even know what I am, and sometimes I don’t know what I am in English – I can only explain it in a different language.

Indeed having been a black woman in many places and spaces, I can tell you that being a black woman always seems to come with its special set of concerns, regardless of place and space. Life is not easy for any of us and all of us. But if woman is the nigger of the world, as John Lennon sang, tell me please, what is a black woman?

The myth of the strong black woman is old, dating back to colonization and slavery and conquest. Black women’s bodies, minds, spirits, and souls have faced a certain kind of disrespect and dehumanization in history, and then the present, of which strength of body, mind, spirit, and soul became the weapon of survival.

We have endured. We have overcome. We have transcended.

But we have not escaped this myth that we are neither less than or superhuman. We start off as ordinary girls who want to dream of the things that ordinary girls dream. We want to be seen, without being hypervisible. We want to be beautiful without only being beautiful, and only in specific contexts. We want to be intelligent. We want to make a difference. We want love.

We also want strength but we want to be more than strong. We want to be complex or rather be seen as complex because we already are. We don’t want permission.

These days, I find myself less and less asking for the world’s permission to be – to be black and a woman especially. There’s a certain kind of strength in this, but there’s also a certain kind of vulnerability – a vulnerability I enjoy.

My vulnerabilities are now also an act of resistance: being a black woman who contains the capacity to present herself as more than just strong; being more than just strong. Because I am, because we are, and because we always were. The world has a right to know, but more than the world, we have a right and a need to be reminded.

Black women, you are more than your strength. TC mark

20 Women On What It’s Like When You Finally Find The Real Deal (Not ‘Puppy Love’)

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 05:00 PM PST

Daryn Bartlett
Daryn Bartlett

1. "Puppy love is you're cute, I'm cute, let’s mess around and have some fun. Let's just take pictures to show people how cute we are. In real love there's no need to show off your love because you know how good it is, and how sad it is that not everyone has what you have."

– Aly, 22


2. "Real love is when you break down each other’s walls and really, deeply understand that person as much as you do yourself. You talk about everything and there is no judgement. Puppy love you love spending time with the person and they make you laugh and happy but you can’t truly love them because you only know them on the surface."

– Alexia, 20


3. "The difference is maturity—not only of the individuals, but the relationship itself. If the relationship is grown up, then that's real love."

– Cindy, 51


4. "I think puppy love has more to do with what people see on the outside: our looks, our personality, whether or not we are athletic, etc. It means being in love with each other’s attributes, whereas real love runs much deeper. Real love is knowing everything about a person and still feeling that same love you had when it was just puppy love. Loving someone at their worst and their best moments."

– Krysta, 22


5. "The difference is acceptance based off of beautiful ‘imperfection.’ In puppy love we look for the ideas of perfection fed to us through the world we live in. At some point, we realize that nobody will live up to these perfect ideals and we also realize that we, too, are imperfect and unable to meet such ridiculous standards. Once we accept our own imperfections as beautiful gifts, then we can find real love through our ability to accept others and find the beauty in their uniqueness. There is nothing better than the laughter between two people who live for and love each other’s imperfections."

– Lindsay, 39


6. "Puppy love is this constant need for validation and communication that the other person is into you. With real love you can sit in the same room together for HOURS and not say a word to each other and you know that everything is alright."

– Sam, 27


7. "Real love is wanting to be together after the 'honeymoon stage' is over and newness and excitement has worn off. It's never giving up on each other during hard times."

– Kimberlee, 22


8. "Puppy love is infatuation. Real love is taking care of your boyfriend when he breaks both of his legs and hosing him off in the backyard because his wheelchair can’t fit in the shower."

– Emily, 30


9. "To me, puppy love is solely a feeling. It’s when you are so ‘head over heels’ for that person who seems to have everything you’ve always been looking for in a partner. It’s when you are trying to be your best for them and they can do no wrong. But this type of love will always fade. You both start showing the sides of yourself and the flaws that you’ve been trying to hide. And this is where many people either find that their relationship fails, or they find out what true love is.

To me, true love is not just a feeling, it also has to be an action. It’s realizing that your partner has flaws and will fail, but daily choosing to give them grace and understanding because God knows that you need the same thing. It’s choosing to show them love, even when you feel that they don’t deserve it. It’s knowing that you may not always FEEL the “puppy love” for the other person, but that you can always CHOOSE to show them love anyways. True love is one of the most challenging experiences anyone can go through, but I also believe it to be one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences one can have in life!"

– Kadi, 23


10. "There is a big difference. There is the 'I think you're adorable and you make me smile' type of love that you can have with anyone if you allow yourself to. And there is real love that that runs so deep inside you that it hurts to think about that person not by your side."

– Ashlyn, 23


11. "Puppy love is all about feelings—the pull and passion that is so fun. Real love recognizes that feelings are important, but can sometimes be born of the moment. Feelings/emotions can be fun and playful, painful, sensual, or so many other things, but they are only a small piece of real love. Real love is a decision to remain and support each other. To know when tell the brutal truth with compassion. It is also the wisdom to keep your damn mouth shut when you're facing everyday irritations. It is remembering to always say ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you.’ Real love is (almost) always putting the other person first and knowing they will do the same for you. Real love is choice."

– Rhonda, 34


12. "I'm in puppy love instantly with pretty much anyone I like. Love is fun, and for me, puppy love has always amounted to being totally infatuated with someone and romanticizing everything they do. I'm in real love now, for the first time, and it's way more guttural or something. It's in your bones. I think you know you're in real love when you feel that overwhelming urge to tell the person you're with that you love them."

– Bailey, 21


13. "When you're in puppy love everything your crush does and says makes you sigh like a lovesick schoolgirl. Anything negative is quickly recognized, yet ultimately ignored. Your actions and thoughts seem to be absolutely blinded by this individual and a large chunk of what you do revolves around their personality. With real love, that cutesy stuff tends to meet its match. In real love, you want to do things, not just out of adoration for your significant other/crush, but for their well-being. You realize that the word 'love' has a much deeper and more solid meaning. You become one another's security, foundation, and trust. A part of yourself lives within your partner and vice versa–two halves making a whole, so to speak. You still may want to do fun things with your significant other, fun and cute things, but the meaning has to be strongly mutual to better both yourselves and your relationship"

– Beccah, 21


14. "Puppy love is butterflies, intense, short-lived. Love is calmness, physical and emotional attraction and the ability to withstand change and diversity."

– Pam, 34


15. "Puppy love can be sweet and innocent and pure and a sure delight, but it seems to me it’s often based upon ideals of what a girl might imagine about a boy. She projects onto him what she wants to see, or she only focuses on one attribute (his gorgeous looks, his smart answers, his humor) rather than the whole person. I’d say that the real deal becomes apparent when someone can pull back, get away from the physical attraction, and realize that this is the person she wants to wake up next to for the rest of her life. In the ‘real deal,’ each person forgets what the other looks like because they are so used to seeing inside of each other that they don’t even notice the outer appearance any more. They feel respected, loved, and honored by the other, and they continue to have that feeling of glee just knowing the other is coming into the room."

– Sarah, 55


16. "Real love is about work for the planet. I believe you find your soulmate in this lifetime because you two are here to do selfless work for others."

– Marie, 22


17. "Puppy love is the beginning phase in every relationship. As the relationship develops, the puppy love cloud disappears. Love is seeing and accepting the whole package—the good, the bad, the ugly, the embarrassing drunk moments, the raw pain and heartache that life brings—and loving that person still."

– Kassie, 30


18. "Love is facing your demons and confronting your fears. When you love someone, that shell you’ve instinctively built around yourself starts to crack. You are beautiful and you are raw. It’s pretty scary to be vulnerable but love calls us into vulnerability because through vulnerability comes true intimacy."

– Taylor, 22


19. "Puppy love is kisses and laughs. It's easy. I don't think you know real love until you are faced with a major challenge. Then you see that love is hard. Really hard. But you fight for it and for the other person because you know it's worth it."

– Rae, 22


20. "When asked why they love someone, I often hear women respond with ‘I love him because…’ They say things like, ‘he's so good to me’ or ‘he has a good heart’ or ‘he makes me feel special.’ In my opinion, these phrases define puppy love. The fact is, there are millions of men out there who would be good to you, who have a good heart, and who would go out of their way to make you feel special. But you don't love them. If your love is real love, then the answer to the question would be 'I love him because I do.' Real love cannot be defined; it just is."

– Amber, 45 TC mark

Forced Love Is Not Love

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 04:00 PM PST

Leo Hidalgo
Leo Hidalgo

Forced love is not love. A mantra I repeat seven times when you do not meet me at the bar like promised. Forced love is not love. I say it in the bathroom before splashing water on my face, trying to disguise my tears as something else. Something far less pathetic than the dirtiness of unrequited affection.

Forced love is not love. Certain men have hoped I would break or bend, that somehow my heart would grow in a brand new direction that would have us both leaping into the sunset. Sometimes, I tried. I kissed someone and told my brain this could work. It would be alright. Maybe things can just be alright. Maybe you can wish your way into wanting.

Forced love is not love.

Everyone is crying out in the same key. Nothing about this song sounds Holy.

Someone on an opposite coast is begging for another chance. I can taste salt on all our cheeks. I wonder if I can feel the lonely when I look at strangers. People asking to be seen, to be heard. A woman doesn’t open her mouth, but I can hear when she says she loves too loudly. A man keeps his eyes closed and whispers, “How can I make her stay?”

Forced love is not love. I say it when I wonder if I could have somehow made your mouth cherish mine. How close it came. How almost we were. How fully I was. But I couldn't be Hades, try to take you to my Underworld, hope with no other options, you'd see I had to be the one. That I was no better than the boys I had once called controlling. Boys I had condemned for seeing something in us that didn't exist. Maybe it's karma. I cough up half my lung. It is covered in wanting to call out your name.

Forced love is not love. TC mark

12 Activities You Resort To When You’re Stuck At Home And Depressed AF

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 03:00 PM PST

Silvia Sala
Silvia Sala

1. You purge the refrigerator of all your roommates' drunk foods from two weeks ago, clean all the loose protein powder off the sink, and even scrub the red wine stain off the white cabinets that's been there since the night you first moved in.

2. Brew approximately 13 cups of tea in less than 6 hours.

3. Journal, journal, journal, journal. For hours. For pages. Until your hand physically contorts into a claw.

4. Decide that the leaky faucet in your kitchen is the bane of your current existence and actually utilize that tool kit you bought at IKEA that one time to attempt fixing it.

5. Finally peel open that box of Swiffer WetJet wipes you bought two months ago thinking that maybe one day someone in the apartment would need them, and go to town on your wood floors.

6. Alphabetize your books. Then color coordinate them. Then organize your color coordinated alphabetized library into sections divided by genre.

7. Color coordinate every and any cloth material that exists in your apartment.

8. Reorganize all the furniture in the living room. Your roommates might come home a little confused, but will refrain from asking you any irksome questions as soon as they note your telltale feverish pacing.

9. Read everything Miranda July ever wrote. And then read everything David Sedaris ever wrote. And then stalk both their Twitter accounts.

10. After Twitter stalking for hours, determine that technology and social media are absolute evils and draft a pro’s and con’s list about throwing everything away.

11. Due to the impracticality of throwing out all of your electronics, you deep clean your wardrobe. This gives you an opportunity to really ask yourself important questions, such as: Why did you think it was necessary to buy an American flag crop top from Urban Outfitters? How did you acquire such an outstanding number of college shirts? Did you even know you owned loafers, and why?

12. Become a human manifestation of DIY Pinterest boards. Melt some crayons on white canvases, hang up photos and magazine cut-outs with some twine—then contemplate whether you could seriously be successful as a reclusive artist who never interacts with anyone ever. TC mark

WTF Did I Just See?: 14 People Describe The Most Shocking Thing They’ve Ever Witnessed With Their Own Eyes

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 02:00 PM PST

Flickr Tim Simpson
Flickr Tim Simpson
Found on AskReddit.

1. TWO GUYS IN FURRY SUITS FUCKING ON THE BEACH

"I live in a seaside town in the UK. Lots of tourism. Lots of seafront attractions. I live about 100 yards from the beach, and often walk the dog down there in the morning. I wasn’t expecting to see two guys in full-on furry suits fucking each other in the sand at sunrise. You could tell it was two guys because both of them had their lower halves exposed and there were one too many dinguses flapping about in the breeze. Needless to say we walked elsewhere that morning."

2. CLOWN GETS SUCKER-PUNCHED

"I was walking down Canal Street in New Orleans toward the French Quarter. Walking about half a block in front of me, in the same direction, was a white guy in blue jeans and a leather jacket. Coming the other direction was a clown. As leather jacket pulled even with the clown, he hopped to the side, threw a right hook to the clown, and took off running. The clown fell to the ground, clutching his face, and screamed, 'WHAT THE FUCK!' Leather jacket disappeared around the corner."

3. DIARRHEA-SHITTING ON A CORVETTE

"Last year in the parking lot of a GameStop a disgruntled employee diarrhea-shat on the roof of the district manager's Corvette C7."

4. A MAN CARRYING A HUNDRED-FOOT OAK TREE

"As a kid, I once stepped out of my house and saw a man carrying an oak tree that was at least 100 years old and 100 feet tall. I could see it had just been cut from its stump, and even though his arms couldn’t nearly encircle it, there he was slowly walking along with it. Then I realized that out of vision was a crane holding it from the top, and he was simply guiding it. Then they went on to cut it apart from the bottom up. But for those 10 seconds, I thought I was seeing some kind of superpower."

5. MALE TURKEY DEATH MATCH

"Once while driving on a back road, I came across two male turkeys fighting. This went on for a solid 5 minutes. I couldn’t get around them due to a guard rail so I was forced to watch the whole thing. No matter how many times I beeped the horn, the fighting continued. Eventually they moved off into the woods where I assumed one murdered the other. The noise was terrifying."

6. A CAT PERFORMING THE DANCE OF DEATH

"I saw a cat perform a dance of death. It was horrifying. Was walking along a quiet street when a fight between three cats spilled out from a garden. Two of them were ganging up on the third, and after trading a few blows the third just started to flip out. It started leaping around frenetically on the spot, like some sort of fucked-up ballerina, bouncing its back and neck off the tarmac, screeching and wailing all the while. Myself and the other two cats froze in utter bewilderment, just staring at what was happening. After a few moments of this scene playing out, the dancing cat hit the ground one last time, and was still. Dead. The other two cats bolted. I was left in shock. That was a few years ago, but it's stuck with me."

7. THE BURGER KING HIMSELF FLEEING A BURGER KING

"Spring of 2007. I was 12, and going on a camping trip with my dad and brother. On the way to the campground we stopped in some little Podunk town in the hills to get gas. Across the street from the gas station was a Burger King. As my father pumped gas, the three of us watched as THE Burger King himself (the creepy latex-masked one from the commercials at the time) SPRINTED out of the restaurant, hopped the guardrail into the shopping center lot next store, and ran about 150 yards before disappearing into the woods. And all the while, there was this obese child (no more than my age at the time) who was chasing after the Burger King with a camcorder, shouting obscenities at him. He made it about halfway across the parking lot before falling flat on his face and breaking his video camera. All we could do was stare in disbelief."

8. DRUNK MALE PROFESSOR MAKING OUT WITH A MALE STUDENT

"When I was in college I had a professor who everyone though was really cool. He was a British guy in his 50’s, really great teacher he would take the whole class out to eat or for coffee all the time (it was about 20 people)….After the last class he took us all out to a really nice bar and paid for a bunch of drinks. I had like 5-6 pretty good friends in the class and one of them was a gay dude, not flamboyant at all, but he had a higher pitched voice and had made some comments about having a boyfriend or whatever in class, NBD, just background. Anyway, back to the bar, we’re all drinking having a good time, none of the students got anything more than buzzed, but the prof got sloshed, like he was slurring his words. Nobody cared we all just thought it was funny. At some point most of the students decide it’s time to go, so we go up to the prof to say bye and thanks and we all give him hugs. Well, it’s the gay kid’s turn, and they hug, but as the kids exiting the hug the prof pulls him back in for what we all thought was a second hug, but he kisses him straight on the mouth. The kid was sooo surprised and didn’t know what to do, meanwhile we’re all watching and our jaws literally dropped. The kiss lasted maybe 3-4 seconds before the kid kinda slipped away and half walked half ran straight to the exit and then we all dipped like fries in ketchup."

9. SECRET CAT ORGY

"One time when I was a kid I was out playing in the backyard of the house we where living in back then. I was climbing in one of our trees and took a peek over the fence to our neighbors yard where I see this: 2 cats mating on a table, surrounded by other cats sitting in a circle around them and just watching the 2 cats in the middle going at it in complete silence. I must’ve moved my leg or arm or something that broke some little twig that made a sound because I remember they noticed me and then run away really fast. It was like they where having a secret cat orgy or something."

10. OPEN-HOUSE MASTURBATOR

"When I was growing up, my Mom and Dad were shopping for a new house. We went to a new construction neighborhood to take a look. There was a model that my Mom liked and the saleslady said there was one being built down the street, it was about 50% done, but we can take a look to get an idea of the space. So we all hopped into the sales lady car and went to go look. We got in the house and she started to show us around. We went upstairs and in the 2nd floor bedroom, there was a guy fully nude and furiously masturbating away. I am 100% sure he heard us coming as the house was empty and our voices were slightly echoing as we moved around. My Mom screamed, the saleslady screamed, my Dad said 'WTF,' I was just hysterically laughing. The guy grabbed his clothes and just ran past us and out the house."

11. ALLIGATOR MAN WITH RACCOON ON A LEASH

"I was heading for the bus to go home after work when someone came around the corner in purple alligator cowboy boots, white leather pants, a lime green alligator jacket and a purple alligator top hat carrying a live raccoon on a leash in one hand and a jeweled walking cane in the other and just made a beeline for the same bus I was running for…I slowed down and decided it would be best to get the next bus."

12. MYSTERY CLOUD

"I saw a 'cloud' surround a tall building and go around it multiple times. You could see through it but it was a bit opaque. At first, it seemed to be made of small thingies, almost as if it were a swarm of bugs but it looked more like thin mist. It was around the highest floors of the building (10 in total, maybe) and nowhere else. It wasn’t perfect or symmetrical, it broke apart sometimes, it changed directions, it swirled. And of course, it had to be huge so that I could see it like that from the floor. After a while of incredulously staring at it, the 'cloud' seemed to notice the staring and 'it' started to come toward us, seemingly on purpose. It swam directly towards us, swirling and doing strange movements. At this point, I freaked out. I had been intrigued but after seeing that it seemed to feel(?) us and it was coming, I wanted to get the hell out of there. So we started going back and it followed us for a while and then it stopped. I kept looking back but there were very tall trees and I didn’t see it anymore. Now, it was late at night but I wasn’t sleepy or drunk (I don’t drink) or on drugs (I don’t use them); I never hallucinated anything like that in my life before or since then AND I have a witness, who saw exactly the same thing I did. I know it sounds absolutely crazy but it really happened. I don’t like to talk about it much with other people because no one believes it wasn’t mist or a swarm of bugs and they just laughed it off. But we both know that what we saw was neither of those things. It terrified me at the time but now I wish I could see it again, with more witnesses this time, so that I can finally learn what that was."

13. PUBLIC MASTURBATOR

"I was driving through downtown London Ontario and was stopped for construction. Leaning against a building near me there were lots of people smoking, begging for change, playing guitar, and one guy furiously jacking it. He was just going at it like his life would end at any moment and no one gave him a second look. People walked past, people chatted right next to him, it was like he was invisible and only I could see him."

14. ROADSIDE PORN SHOOT

"When I was in high school my crew team was on the bus going to practice. All of a sudden, one kid points out the window towards the woods yelling, 'Oh my God! That guy is getting a blow job!' This sparked a chain reaction of screams which was followed by another kid yelling, 'From a dude!' and another, 'There’s some guy watching!' and finally I joined in with, 'There’s another guy filming it!' We were driving past a roadside porn shoot apparently." TC mark

10 Ways Women Raised By Sensitive Fathers Love Differently

Posted: 21 Jan 2016 01:00 PM PST

father

1. You hug. A lot.

Hugs are you and your dad's thing. You hug after arguments, you hug on both good and bad days, and you hug even when you mess up. (Like that one time when you were six and missed a goal with a wide-open net. Yikes.) There's no shortage of hugs with your father. He's never been afraid to give you affection in public, to tell you he's proud, and to show you, physically, how much he loves you.

Now you hug. Everyone. Even strangers you meet for the first time. (Hugs are better than handshakes, anyways!) You don't shy away from physical contact because you know the value of a squeezy-bear-hug when you're down.

2. You are open about your feelings and you expect men to be that way, too.

Your father has taught you that it's important to communicate. He's the guy who spent countless nights in the passenger seat of your car, just idling in the driveway and talking. He has always listened to you, and he shares his life with you–stories of what he went through and what he’s facing now. His openness has made you look for, and expect, a significant other who reveals what's on his mind.

3. You value vulnerability over anything else.

You've witnessed vulnerability countless times from your dad. He's taught you that the most beautiful moments in life come from when you're in a place where you could get hurt—really giving someone your heart, trusting, having faith in something/someone other than yourself. This has become a trait that you value, above anything else.

4. You appreciate little things.

You have a plethora of stuffed animals that your dad has won at the carnivals over the years. Little things, but wonderful memories. And you value those memories—him paying $15 in throw-darts just to win you the chocolate bear, or trying the machine 6 times until he finally got the rubber ducky—more than anything lavish or expensive. For your own relationships, you don't expect anything crazy; you just want (and need) effort.

5. You value a man that is strong enough to cry.

Your father has never been afraid to show emotion. You've learned from his tears that crying does not make you weak, but shows your incredible strength. It shows how passionate you are about something or someone. So you cry, openly, and without regret. And you value a man that is in-tune enough with his feelings to express emotion.

6. You are not afraid to be honest with someone when you're upset.

Your dad kept it real with you, especially when you were a teen and acting all sorts of ridiculous. His honesty kept you on track, helped you to check yourself, and taught you that telling people how you really feel when you're mad is important, if not essential.

7. You keep a journal.

Your dad wrote things down. He wrote about his happiest moments, his worst moments, and everything in-between. Over the years, he sent you emails, notes, and letters that you have saved in a special place. Writing allowed him to be honest and to reflect on life's biggest challenges. And you've taken note. (Literally.)

8. You desperately want to be understood.

Your father has always been there to kiss your boo-boos, to push you when you felt like giving up, and to support you in every decision. He has always tried to understand you. To connect with you through all the girly tea-parties and daddy-daughter dances, but also through fishing and sports and rollercoasters. As you date, you're looking for that same sort of thing. Someone who will stand by your side, make you better, but also love you for who you are.

9. You are fiercely loyal.

Your father's loyalty is everything. Never once have you doubted him. Never once have you questioned his integrity, his faithfulness, or his love for your family. Throughout obstacles, he has always been consistent as a husband and a father, and you have translated this to your own relationships.

10. You are stubborn as hell, but you fight for things and people you love.

You have never thought of your father as weak, even with his sensitive side. Heck, he's probably one of the strongest, most stubborn guys you've ever met. But he's a fighter and he's raised you to be that way. You might have inherited his argumentative side, but you fight because you care. TC mark