Thought Catalog


10 Amazing Things That Start Happening When You Stop Giving A Sh*t About Being Weird

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 08:00 PM PST

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 9.57.59 PM

1. You find your tribe.

When you give yourself permission to be exactly who you are, it’s amazing how quickly the right people find you. We’ve all had those moments when it felt like we had to play some character — a version of ourselves that seemed more acceptable. And damn, that shit is exhausting after a while. But as soon as you start letting your freak flag fly, you begin attracting those who actually appreciate it. And nothing beats that.

2. You figure out what really matters.

We’re not going to be on this planet forever, so better to figure out the stuff that makes you happy, confident, comfortable while you’re still here.

3. You learn how to embrace your flaws.

Everyone has some varying level of insecurity. It could be rooted in truth (a bad habit, something others would agree isn’t *the best*, etc.), or it could be totally irrational — something only you focus in on. For example, I spent YEARS hardcore hating my knees. I thought they looked like ugly, chubby men just hanging out, arguing across the way with one another. And seriously, of all things to be self conscious about, knees are kind of ridiculous. But the thing about accepting weirdness — the good AND the bad — means everything else seems manageable. I now proudly refer to my fugly knees as Frank and Larry, my buddies.

4. You live without regrets.

If you know you’ve been your authentic self all along, you can’t really play the What If game. Because otherwise, it would just be a “What If I Were Someone Else?” and Babe, you’re not. So don’t waste a single second thinking about it. Rock what you got.

5. You give yourself permission to look foolish.

Embarrassment can be such a buzz kill. So many of us feel consumed by the fear of what others are going to think and how we’re going to be received. While a level of awareness is good, being too obsessed with if/how we might embarrass ourselves can keep us from so many experiences. If you accept that, sometimes, you’re going to look and act a fool, it won’t seem quite as terrifying to put yourself out there.

6. Other people’s perceptions don’t alter your reality.

In regard to the point above, if you reach a place of self-acceptance, you won’t be as susceptible to other’s influence. It’s an easy concept to say, much harder to actually put to work. But understanding that how someone views you doesn’t have to change how you view yourself can be life-changing.

7. You have more fun.

Being yourself is always more fun. Always. ALWAYSSSSS.

8. You rely on external validation way less.

I say “less” because we ALL get off on some outside validation. And if you’re sitting here and saying, “Nah, not me. I don’t care at ALL what people think!” you are lying to yourself. If someone pays you a genuine compliment, it’s going to feel good. Just is. But if you invest all your personal stock in that kind of thing, you will be on a terrible roller coaster.

9. You notice other people around you letting down their guards.

There’s something really beautiful that happens when you start being yourself and allowing the weird to show; other people do the same. It’s like because you’re saying it’s okay to embrace quirks, the rest of the world decides to follow. And that’s pretty f*cking awesome.

10. You’ll run into real love.

No, not just Nicholas Sparks bullshit. Not Instagram worthy candle-lit dinners and perfect stories to tell future grandchildren. Sometimes, it’s bizarre and messy, and nothing like you thought. But if you show someone your strangeness, and they dig it, that’s the kind of flame that keeps burning. TC mark

10 Brutally Honest Reasons Why Long-Term Couples Actually Stay Together

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 07:30 PM PST

Paolo Raeli
Paolo Raeli

1. They’re terrified of breaking up—from a logistical standpoint.

At a certain point in a relationship—once you've moved in together and your lives, including your schedules and finances, are nearly 100% intertwined—the prospect of splitting up becomes intimidatingly tedious. Breaking up might seem like a great idea in the aftermath of a nasty fight, but only until you remember what a raging headache it would be to separate from a practical standpoint. It's not the hypothetical emotional anguish of heartbreak that keeps people together, necessarily. Sometimes, it’s fear of the logistical nightmare associated with dividing two intricately connected lives. Moving out, separating accounts, and explaining what went down to family and friends are all highly unpleasant tasks. As humans, we're programmed to choose the path of least resistance, so we stay together because it's just simpler sometimes.

2. They know too many intimate details about each other.

Over time, you acquire encyclopedic knowledge of the person you’re dating. Eventually, you know most of your significant other’s passwords, their social security number, and their answers to the typical security questions. You also know every embarrassing detail from their past, every shortcoming, and every vulnerability. No one wants an enemy armed with that much intel, so couples that know each other inside and out are incentivized to figure their shit out rather than split, which would mean releasing a scary knowledgable potential adversary out into the world. We all have a vested interest in keeping well-informed parties close.

3. They possess vast archives of potential blackmail material.

Nowadays, sex tapes aren't just the territory of the Kardashians and fame hungry Z-list celebrities. It's easy for couples to get drunk, prop an iphone up at an angle, hit record, and film a little DIY porno. Since we're all recording such a staggering percentage of our mundane lives, it’s also easy to lose track of video content. Is that three-minute oral sex vid living on your hard drive or theirs? How about the footage of that 10-minute BDSM experiment gone wrong? And what about all those sexts? In some of those sexy shots, you even included your face as a demonstration of trust and faith in the relationship. As much as you'd like to believe that your partner of several years would never ever have the heart or the audacity to blackmail you, can you really be so sure???

4. They’re all over each other's social media accounts.

Your significant other is probably an integral part of your online history. They're at the center of your social feeds because everyone loves an adorable shot of a happy couple so you lean on those for “likes” when you need to feel better about life. If you were to part ways, you'd either have to leave that evidence of your past relationship sitting around to haunt you every time you scroll through your social feeds, or go back and untag/delete your former boo from every single post they're featured in. Neither option is all that appealing. Why not just stick it out instead?

5. The very idea of dipping back into the dating pool exhausts them.

Whenever you're out at a bar or a restaurant, you pinpoint the couples in the early stages of dating within seconds of overhearing their stilted conversations. Listening to all of that awkward, boring small talk makes you supremely grateful to be well past the point of feigning interest in the details of your date’s daily commute and local weather patterns. Reentering the world of singles might be fun for a minute, but the thrill of sleeping around would wear off at some point, and building actual intimacy from square requires a serious amount of work. Sigh.

6. They already have each other's bodies figured out.

The process of getting to know someone's body and learning how to pleasure them most effectively is draining, as it requires a good deal of communication, cooperation, and vulnerability from both parties. Plus, it’s not easy to find someone you can love and respect whom you also want to fuck regularly. There are so many factors that play into sexual chemistry. So if you and your current lover are compatible in the sack, repairing whatever's wrong between you often seems like a more attractive option than launching a search for yet another needle in the haystack of people-you-want-to-hang-out-with-and-also-bang.

7. They’re part of each other's extended families.

Throughout years of dating, you inevitably start to think of your partner’s family as an extension of your own even if you’re not engaged or married. You celebrate holidays together and your significant other's siblings' and parents' birthdays are ingrained in your memory. After a certain point, breaking up means leaving your partner and their family. The more people you have to leave behind, the more traumatic the potential shake-up. No thanks.

8. They don’t want to trash all the stuff they’ve given each other.

Between Valentine's Day, anniversaries, and birthdays, you've probably gifted your significant other with quite a few nice pieces of jewelry or expensive electronics or cheap but meaningful knickknacks. Separating would mean using or wearing said things at the risk of triggering unwanted past memories, or giving them up all together. It's tough to part with nice stuff, but you don’t have to if you can find some way to keep the relationship in tact.

9. They have all the same friends.

Don't be fooled into thinking it’s possible for anyone to be the Sweden of their social circle by staying neutral and friendly with both members of a relationship post breakup. It's not how it works. Everyone has to choose a side, and that sucks. None of your friends want to be forced into the Sophie's Choice position of aligning with either you or your significant other. Understanding this, a lot of people in long-term relationships would rather go home to someone they low-key hate for a while than be part of the divisive Berlin Wall duo responsible for messing up monthly game night.

10. They love the fuck out of each other.

The thing about relationships is that they tend to grow stronger with time all on their own. Moments are constantly transforming into shared memories, good and bad. Nothing can stop the timeline of your existence as a couple from getting longer, day after day, or the roots of your bond from growing deeper minute by minute (unless of course you split). Things don't always have to be going swimmingly for your relationship to strengthen. You are a unit. You are best friends. And you love the fuck out of each other—most of the time, at least. TC mark

I Bet She Doesn’t Love You Like I Do

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 07:00 PM PST

Franca Gimenez
Franca Gimenez

I bet when she feels your hands she'll cringe at the callouses
and you'll explain how you got them and that you can play her a song
and I bet you'll play the one
that made me want to fuck you
six months ago.

I bet when she's on top of you
you'll sneak those same hands up her thighs leaving little bumps and most of all
a shiver
a cheeky hesitation
that I bet will remind you
of me.

I bet she'll like all your favorite songs and sing loudly in your car
and I bet you'll find it so fucking cute when she belts it out of tune
because I saw how you smiled when I messed up the chorus.

Maybe you'll think of me when:
you look into her brown (not blue) eyes you bury your face in her dark, curly hair you spread kisses across her ample chest and maybe as comparison
you would think of my small tits.

I bet a bunch of doings
and sayings
and feelings
will make you think of me
as someone living in the back rooms and hidden closets of your consciousness
and not just some spirit of a girl you used to fuck six months ago.

But actually, I bet I'm just making all this up.

Because I'm heartbroken and pathetic
and I tell myself
I'm doing just fine besides,
one should never underestimate the power of the right Instagram filter
I bet
she doesn't look that good in real life. TC mark

This Is Why Men Start To Pull Away When You Want Them The Most

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 06:30 PM PST

Twenty20 / NickBulanovv
Twenty20 / NickBulanovv

Here is a situation many girls have experienced. You meet a guy and feel the proverbial spark. Numbers are exchanged, flirty texting ensues, and eventually you go on a date…and it's amazing!

The chemistry is strong, you connect, you have fun. You go out again and it's another ace in the hole. Now you start to get really excited…could this be it? Maybe you hang out a few more times, but then something changes.

Either you notice that he starts to pull away and seems less engaged (commonly known as "the fade away"), or he just vanishes (a phenomenon known as "ghosting"). You feel completely blindsided and shell shocked.

What went wrong? Here is why this situation is so confusing for most girls.

When a girl loses interest in a guy after a few dates, she can usually pinpoint the reason. Maybe he was too desperate, not intellectually stimulating, too quiet, too loud, too boring, too boisterous–she usually knows exactly what it is that turned her off and can give a reason as to why she doesn't want to continue dating him if asked.

It's not always like this for guys. A guy can go on a few amazing dates with a girl and find himself suddenly and inexplicably put off by her. Whereas he was previously texting her throughout the day and feeling a strong desire to see her…he now has no desire to contact her whatsoever.

This can be as baffling for guys as it is for girls. When asked, many guys will say they don't know why they were suddenly turned off…they just were.

So why does this happen? Is it really out of the blue without cause or provocation? No, there is a reason. The reason it's so hard to pinpoint and articulate is because it's extremely subtle.

During the first few dates with a new guy, your vibe is typically pretty laid-back and easygoing. You want to explore the possibilities with him and see what he's all about. It starts out light and fun, it's about connecting and enjoying each other's company.

After a few great dates with a seemingly great guy, most women can't help but get excited about the possibilities. They think of where the relationship might go and they start to invest in a fantasy future.

When this happens, you are no longer in the here and now, seeing the situation for what it is. Instead, your mind is focusing on what it could be and that's when it becomes a problem.

You become attached to this fantasy future and then you can't help but stress over it and worry about losing it (even though it's not something you ever really had!). Then your fears and insecurities rise to the surface and seep into your interactions with him.

You begin interacting with the thoughts in your head rather than with the person in front of you. Rather than trying to learn who he is and what he's about, you look at his behavior and the things he says as a means to measure how he feels about you… and whether you're getting closer or further away from your goal of having a relationship with him.

Most guys can intuitively sense when a woman is reacting to them as an object rather than a person, when she is using him as a means to fill a void within herself.

Guys typically don't operate this way in relationships and he can't fully understand what happened to turn this seemingly happy, cool girl into an unpleasant, emotionally-reactive, reassurance-seeking mess.

Why Do We Do This?

All anyone really wants is to feel OK, and most of us don't. When a woman worries and needs constant reassurance, it comes from feeling from "I am not OK" and the feeling beneath that is fear. What makes it so destructive is that it's not an overwhelming, gripping fear; it's a vague feeling of unease. It's so quiet and subtle you may not even realize it's there. You know how sometimes you'll go to take a sip of water and you literally can't stop chugging? You didn't even realize you were thirsty, it's only when you begin to quench the silent thirst that you realize how potent it was. That's kind of what's at play here.

It's tough for someone to nail down to source of feeling not OK, but they unconsciously latch onto things that will get rid of this feeling, usually through reassurance or trying to make situations come about that they feel will make them happy and finally grant them relief. This inevitably impacts your vibe, you become a parasite of sorts and everyone you come into contact with is simply a means to an end.

When you meet a guy who makes you feel OK, your need for that feeling becomes overwhelming and you latch on forcefully. You may not even realize you're doing it; it's not something you express outright. But it's there and it comes across, even in the slightest ways. It changes your vibe and your energy and guys feel this.

At this point, instead of him feeling like he's connecting with you, he feels like you're trying to get something out of him. Maybe it's reassurance or validation, or maybe just more of the feeling of being OK.

Guys don't know exactly what it is, but suddenly their instincts are telling them to get away. This usually occurs at the point where the woman could no longer keep the act up. Maybe she's trying to appear cool and go-with-the-flow, but in her mind she's already thinking of ways to turn a relationship that's really nothing at this point into something. From that point forward, it's not easygoing and natural, it's her measuring if she is getting closer or further from her goal.

Everyone recognizes when someone has an agenda, it's just something our intuition picks up on and it immediately puts us off. Think about how you feel when someone approaches you and tries to sell something. Your first instinct is typically to get far away from them. It doesn't matter how nice and friendly they are, you can't trust them because you know they want something out of you.

That's the switch guys feel. It's the shift from things being easy to fun to agenda-driven.

When the woman feels like she's getting closer to her goal, she's happy and elated. When something happens that makes her feel like she is moving further away, she is gripped by that, "My world is falling apart" feeling and may try to seek reassurance from the guy, either outright or subtly.

You Can't Force Love

When you take a relationship that is brand new and start thinking that it's something, or forcing it to be more than it is, it's game over. Your vibe will become man repelling and before long, he'll be gone and you will be left baffled, analyzing what exactly you did to drive him away. But you won't ever find the answer, because it isn't concrete and measurable.

This is one of the main differences between men and women when it comes to relationships. Men are more in the moment and are able to comfortably enjoy a situation for what it is as it is. Women are always looking for ways to improve the relationship and push it forward. It's not that one gender has it right and the other has it wrong. There needs to be a balance between enjoying the present and comfortably laying the foundation for a future. It just can't be done forcefully.

The best relationships are the ones that unfold organically with two people bringing their best selves to the table and discovering who the other person is and developing an appreciation for that person.

It's not about using the other person to gain status or self-esteem or security. A relationship can give you these things, but that's a by-product, not the goal.

This is essentially the difference between a healthy relationship and a toxic relationship. A healthy relationship is one where two people feel fulfilled by their individual lives and let that joy and sense of fullness spill into their relationship. They each bring something to the table and can comfortably give and receive. A dysfunctional relationship is when one or both people believes the other person can "give them" something or that there's something to "get" from the other person.

So what's the solution? If you just enjoy life and engaging with him and make nothing of it, your vibe will still be enjoyable to be around and he will continue hanging out with you.

When he feels good around you, he'll want to be around you. When he feels like you're trying to get something out of him, he will want nothing to do with you. It really is as simple as that.

I also want to add that this isn't the only reason a man will lose interest, it's just the most common and most misunderstood one. The problem is most people don't accurately define what the problem is. It gets written off as the woman being too available and not making him chase her. That is not really what's at play here. Being available isn't the issue, the issue is really not being present. It's an issue that comes from seeking validation through a relationship rather than in your life.

It is also worth noting that sometimes two people can be happy and satisfied in their lives and just not a match. Compatibility can't be forced or created. It also can't be ignored. If you're incompatible, it will come to the surface eventually and a relationship can't last without a foundation of fundamental compatibility.

The winning strategy when it comes to love is to bring your best self to the table and not stress over your relationship. Instead, trust that if it's right it will work out, and if it's not right you'll be free to move toward something that is the right match for you. TC mark

This post originally appeared at A New Mode.

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

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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.

I Stayed Overnight At A Haunted Prison And Here’s What Happened (Spoiler: I Believe In Ghosts Now)

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 06:00 PM PST

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

9:35 PM

We finally arrive at the Mansfield Reformatory! After pulling through the gates, and driving down the same long driveway you can see a prison car drive down in the Shawshank Redemption, we find ourselves standing in the renovated foyer area.

The crew consists of me, my photographer Erin, and my friend Cameron. Our mission? To find out whether to place is really as haunted as they say. I consider myself a paranormal skeptic. I’m not outright opposed to the idea of ghosts and whatnot, but I certainly scoff at all the Travel Channel specials featuring sensational mediums and rowdy poltergeists.

9:45 PM

The lobby / foyer area is filled with interesting historical artifacts from the prison during its operation. As we walk around — killing time before the event begins at 10pm — Erin began to get some very weird vibes. I ask her what up, and she says feels extremely uneasy.

I decide to go to the restroom before we start. The only operating restroom is apparently pretty deep in the building, so I am escorted by an event staffer named Joe. Joe walks with a swagger, talking about the building and various “ghost hunts” he’s worked in the past. Before I walk into the bathroom he turns, looks me directly in the eye, and says:

“And before you ask, yes, this place is definitely haunted.”

A chill goes down my spine.

While Joe walks me back from the restroom, I ask what his spookiest experience in the prison was.

“People will talk about hearing things, and seeing shadow people, and we absolutely have that,” he said after a brief pause, “But the creepiest experience I ever had was actually different. It took place in the solitary confinement cells. We had a group down there, and one girl, who was sitting in one of the cells began giggling. The rest of the group was kinda angry, because they were trying to focus on the tour, and this girl just wouldn’t stop laughing. I walked her out of there and almost immediately she began crying, ‘I couldn’t stop,’ she told me.”

Officially creeped out.

We go back to the foyer, and a staffer is reciting the rules:

“No ouija boards, no seances,” the employee says.

“Yeah, because they’d work,” Erin whispers under her breath to me.

10:10 PM

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

Okay, the night has officially begun, and we decide to scope out the cell blocks first.

The cell blocks are, well, pretty much what they sound like. There are rows and columns of cells stretching down over 100 yards.

We spend a lot of time walking around the ground floor, getting a feel for the place and our equipment. We poke around in some cell, and in this creepy AF little room that had who knows what purpose:

The creepy room!! 😭😭👻

A video posted by Jacob Geers (@jacobgeers) on

The whole place definitely feels spooky, which is ABSOLUTELY not helped by the cardboard cutouts of Shawshank Redemption characters that some cruel cruel person decided to put all around the place, but nothing paranormal yet.

10:30 PM

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

Then we decide to go to the attic, and things get a little freaky.

The attic is a huge vast array of broken church pews, old junk, and heating ducts. We slowly walk the entire thing to the very end where there are some additional chambers and a lonely chair.

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

The three of us gather together, and Erin suggests we all turn off our flashlights in unison. Clinging to each other like infants to their parents, we click off our lights and are submerged in total darkness.

We let a minute go by, and then another, when suddenly Erin gasps, “What the hell is that?”

Cameron and I look up, but don’t see anything. Erin explains that she had seen a light at the far other end (the entrance side) of the room. Suddenly, it appears again. It glows orange and moves up and down from the corner of the ceiling. We turn our flashlights back on and it vanishes.

“What was that?” I ask as we bounce possibilities off each other. It didn’t look like a “traditional” orb that I had seen on ghost hunting television shows, and Cameron thought it might be the light from a flashlight shining through from another room. As we inspect the area it was coming from, we don’t see anything man-made that could have produced it.

11:00 PM

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

After a little more poking around we leave the attic and scope out the chapel, which is also supposed to be riddled with paranormal activity. I sit in a pew in the first row and recite the Lord’s prayer.

We take some photos and walk the room. Suddenly we hear a sound from the ceiling, and all turn out flashlights toward it in panic.

Just birds. F*cking birds perching on the church rafters.

We decide to peace out, and head upstairs from the chapel to the TB ward.

11:10 PM

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

The steps up to the TB ward were extremely narrow and difficult to navigate. By the time we pushed the door open to the vast open expanse of the room, we were pretty on-edge. Only a few steps inside the room, I gasped, and everyone froze.

A headless bird lay dead on the floor. I let out a sigh as Cameron hit me, and we continued on our way. As it turned out, the whole room was riddled with dead birds, and totally freaked out not by the paranormal, but by the avian corpses, we decide it is time for a break.

11:45 PM

We go back to the breakroom where the Reformatory’s Preservation Society — who organized the event and maintains the prison — serves pizza and (the worst) coffee (i’ve ever had in my life).

We talk to another event staffer and ask him if there is any explanation for this weird light that we saw in the attic. He almost immediately replies “no,” and elaborates that there isn’t any sort of lighting up there that would look like what we saw.

We decide it is time to pay another visit to the attic and see is up with this orb.

12:30 AM

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

When we arrive back in the attic, we discover that we aren’t alone. A couple of people are standing at the far end of the attic (from where we originally saw the light) and something is going DOWN.

Using a flashlight and some sort of radio wave scanner, a woman is communicating with something, and it is freaky as hell.

“If you are with us, please turn off the flashlight,” she says, as the flashlight sitting on a crate begins to flicker on and off repeatedly.

“Are you friendly or non-friendly?” The woman asks.

“Non-friendly,” I can make out through the static on the radio scanner, and a chill goes down my spine.

“What’s your name?” The woman asks, but the answer comes much less clearly.

“Do you want us to be here? Do you want to talk to us?” The woman persists in asking, and the answer again, comes out fuzzy, but sounds much more like a “no” than a “yes.”

“If you want us to leave, turn off the flashlight,” the woman says.

The flashlight begins flickering on and off like mad.

“Well, I guess if you don’t want me here, I’ll leave,” the woman puts plainly. Since she had started communicating, a larger crowd has amassed, and we decide to move on until the area clears out a little bit.

We decide to take the plunge to solitary confinement and the basement.

1:00 AM

On our way to solitary we traveled through the east cell block on an upper level. The scaffolding is extremely narrow, and you definitely get a weird feeling while passing cell after cell. While we were walking through, however, Cameron (who was at the back of the pack) kept asking me to walk faster. By the time we reached the end, we were all basically sprinting. He said that he felt like someone was following him, and both he and Erin heard footsteps behind them. I, being in the front, heard footsteps behind me too, but I just assumed it was theirs.

After getting to the “wing” of the prison where solitary is located, we actually ended up in the “sub basement” cuz we didn’t have any idea where we were going, and this was an area that I was extremely eager to leave. Besides being eerie and spooky, the ceiling was extremely low, leaving me with a very claustrophobic feeling.

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

Then came solitary, or “the hole.” Maybe because solitary confinement had been so hyped up as this creepy AF place, or maybe because we had already had experiences elsewhere, that it didn’t quite meet my expectations.

Erin said she got seriously intense vibes while walking through the south side of the solitary cells, but neither Cameron or I were really spooked or felt anything in the area. After walking around the area a few times we popped upstairs to the court room and scoped that room out as well.

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

Afterward, we make our way through the old library and infirmary. The library still has a few scattered old books, and the infirmary is littered with random chairs and some abandoned medical equipment.

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

After poking around the infirmary, we are all yawning pretty intensely and decide that we should go back to the breakroom one last time to caffeinate.

1:40 AM

We regroup in the breakroom and discuss the occurrence in the attic. A staffer, Doug, comes by and asks us what we experienced. He encourages us to check out the East block showers, where apparently two spirits — Mr. Anderson and Mr. Salts reside. He also suggests that we should walk the front side of the East Cell block, because he almost always hears footsteps behind him.

Ironically enough, the East Cell block was exactly where we were when Cameron and Erin heard footsteps behind them that I had previously dismissed.

“That happened to us!” Cameron exclaimed after Doug finished, and the seasoned staffer just nodded with a smile. It wasn’t a surprise to him.

We all decide that it’s time to break out our equipment. Erin had brought a beginner’s paranormal detection kit, and we examined what was in it. We had a clickable flashlight, motion detector, and radio wave scanner (with headphones). We head off the to the showers to see if we could contact some ghosts ourselves.

1:50 AM

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

We set up the motion detector at the end of an bench facing the showers and I put on my headphones connected to our radio wave scanner. We try asking for both Mr. Anderson and Mr. Salts, but to no avail.

“We need to do something to get their attention…” I muse.

“I have an idea!” Cameron exclaims while putting his flashlight on the ground and standing up, “Hey ghost! Jake dropped the soap!!”

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

Erin and I look at each other and groan. Maybe it’s time to try another room.

2:30 AM

We decide to try our equipment in the room that has seen the most paranormal activity all night, so we once again return to the attic.

Similar to the first time we went there, it is completely empty. We set up our stuff at the end of the room where the woman before had been communicating with a spirit.

Erin Koyle
Erin Koyle

We begin by introducing ourselves and asking questions. We invite it to flicker our flashlight or set off the motion detector to make its presence known. I listen to the static in my headset as nothing changes.

After a while, I muse, “I bet you’re sick of people bothering you tonight,” and without warning, my headset begins blaring Justin Bieber.

“What is that?” Erin asks with a puzzled look on her face.

“The Biebs,” I reply as I remove the headphones.

“That’s…not a radio…” She replies slowly.

We all look at each other.

Aftermath

Erin Koyle via iPhone 6
Erin Koyle via iPhone 6

We don’t have any further luck with using our amateur (i.e. pretty shitty) technology, so decide to pack it up and start the drive back to Columbus.

Even after going over all the photos, videos, and notes I took, much remains inconclusive. We haven’t found anything super paranormal on the footage we’ve gone through so far, so we are really left with the experiences we had in the prison.

The attic was absolutely the most active for us, and absolutely surpassed my expectations. So much weird shit went down there, and nobody seems to have an immediate explanation. The footsteps phenomenon in the east cell block was also fishy, though there is also something to say about “nerves” and sheer coincidence.

If it wasn’t clear, we also didn’t have a perfect handle on equipment either. I would be very interested in going back with better equipment and more training. For now, however, I’d say a casual examination of the evidence suggests that some of the formerly interned absolutely remain at Ohio’s Mansfield Reformatory. TC mark

Special thanks to the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society for granting us permission to use facility photos. Those interested in doing a similar ghost hunt can sign up on the MRPS website. More information can be found on their website, Twitter, or Facebook accounts.

Being Busy Is Overrated And Laziness Is A Secret Virtue. Here Is Why.

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 05:30 PM PST

Jakob
Jakob

If we were to come up with a top three of the attributes that best describe so-called civilized society, I think "busy" would occupy the top position. And the second. And the third. Being a city dweller is great – you get to be in the middle of the action, interact with many different people and have a lot of cool events right up your alley. I, personally, couldn't imagine not living in a city. However, there is a downside. You have to look like you have something important to do at any given time. You cannot afford to give the impression that you are "slacking off."

In fact, let me emphasize this: The key word is *look* busy – actually being busy is secondary.

When you look busy, you look important. When you say, "I have a meeting," or "I have business to take care of," you look like a productive member of society, contributing to the advancement of civilization.

At work, when you complete an important assignment, you have to look as if you're immediately on to the next one – even when there is no next one yet, in which case you have to think of the next assignment yourself. No breathers, because the boss will smell you in a millisecond. "Hey, don't just sit there and slack off," the boss will say. "But I'm not slacking off – I just did that thing you told me about just as I walked in today, and it turned out OK, too," you will say. Just kidding – you will not, under any circumstance, say that. That's talking back and it's rude, not to mention it will put you on the boss' special watch list. It's against company policy to not look busy at all times.

Naturally, since looking busy is so crucial to our contemporary urban lives, we begin to stress about how to keep looking busy, we end up spending too much time in our heads and we no longer pay attention to what goes on around us. This makes us anxious and, being anxious, we also become brash and careless. Naturally, the stress affects even the work that is so important to us, which loses in quality.

In other words, the constant concern with being busy and productive leads to a lack of balance in our lives. Ideally, we would have times when we are working and times when we relax. There's a good reason why yoga classes are mostly attended by corporate employees. Yoga is all about slowing down, relaxing and having a moment to focus on yourself in order to recharge your batteries. Our work times and our leisure times are not separate – they complete and potentiate one another. The more you work, the more you feel the need to take some time off, and after you've taken some time off, you are re-energized and more motivated to do good work.

Let's be honest – when we see a person that seems to be taking their time and who – gasp – has a peaceful, relaxed expression on their face, we tend to classify that person as a slacker. We get a bit envious and even mean-spirited. We say, "Look at you. It's like you have no care in the world."

Spoiler alert: yes, they do – of course they do, because no one's life is perfect. It's just that they've realized that it is, in fact, important, to take some time to slow down your mind, look around you, and at least try to not burden others with your stress. It's exactly because we are all caught up in a never-ending vicious circle fueled by anxiety and stress that we need to take our times of relaxation and leisure very seriously. When you work, by all means, work. Give your 110%  to do the best job you can do. But when you relax and play, as rare as those times are, I urge you to make a conscious effort to keep your mind off work and give your 110% to your relaxation and play. TC mark

When Your Parent Loses A Parent

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 05:00 PM PST

fivesixthreedays
fivesixthreedays

Next week is the two year anniversary of the day my mom’s father passed away. Pop-Pop, as he was called by his grandchildren, was a warm soul who had an infectious presence in any situation he was in. Anytime you walked into a crowded room, he was the one commanding it, no matter where he was sitting or what was happening. People flocked to him, often without even realizing they were doing it. He just had that sort of gift – everyone wanted to be around him, because he made every person he interacted with feel special.

He was eighty-years-old when he passed away. There was nothing shocking or unexpected about it. He had suffered various health problems for over thirty years. He survived a heart attack. He was on God knows how many medications for the various ailments he had. Even has a child, I remember watching him start the day by taking what seemed like ten or twenty multicolored pills every morning. He was a walking miracle, and a ticking time bomb. And so on February 4th, 2014, while his family stood around his hospital bed and watched him take his last breath, no one was particularly stunned. It was surreal, yes. A punch in the gut. We were all in shock. But after watching his health rapidly deteriorate during the last two years of his life, his death did not feel abrupt or unforeseen.

But regardless of the circumstances, nothing prepares you for death. I’ve had it easier than many others, so far. Pop-pop was the first truly emotional death I experienced, and it didn’t happen until I was 23-years-old. So I was heartbroken, aching, shaken, numb. But I also understood that the first serious loss I experienced happened to someone who died peacefully, of natural causes, when I was already through my tumultuous teenage years and into my well-adjusted early twenties. I was lucky. I was grateful. It was a barely-visible silver lining during a particularly dark time.

But even still, nothing quite prepared me for the pain of watching my mom suffer so dearly. I’ve missed Pop-Pop tremendously over the last two years. Dreamt about him frequently. Felt his absence at family gatherings with a sinking feeling in my stomach. Listened to old voicemails he left on my phone and hated that there would never be more.

But the majority of my grieving process has mostly been about watching my mom grieve. When you watch your parent lose their parent, it feels like watching a horrifying movie of what you’re going to have to go through in (hopefully) several decades from now. You know that it’s “just what happens,” you know that it’s the “circle of life” – but those kinds of phrases and truths are so much harder to digest when they are suddenly realized in your own life.

You want to comfort them, to tell them that they will be alright, that they will be happy again. But it’s so hard to believe the truth of those kinds of words, when all you’re thinking about is how you could possibly be comforted, alright, and happy when the time comes for them to leave you.

That’s what’s so scary about being an adult, and watching your parent lose their parent: they turn to you now for help, guidance, reassurance, love. You’re still their kid. But they can’t and don’t need to protect you from the scary things anymore. They no longer need to frantically wipe away their tears when you enter the room, saying “Mommy’s okay!” They do not need to pull you into their lap, reassuring you that all is right in the world.

They’re still strong, and solid, and a fortress to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to protecting their young. But you also become newly aware of their vulnerability, their demons, their own fears. Those dark things were always there, you were just unaware of them. But now you’re grown. You’re your parents’ sounding board, their friend. They don’t need to hide the scary things from you anymore.

And now it’s time for you to be the strong one, the solid one, the fortress. The one who assures them in a peaceful, certain voice that everything will be alright. Maybe it won’t be as happy or as easy as it once was, but it will be alright. Maybe even you have a difficult time believing yourself during these pep talks. That’s okay. In those moments when you’re doubting your own words, remember that when you were young, and your mom and dad pulled you into their laps, reassuring you that everything was going to be okay – remember that they were scared then too. They couldn’t predict the future. They knew there were going to be a lot of hard things to deal with down the road. But they loved you. And they didn’t want you to be scared. So they put on a brave face. Because even though they didn’t have control over everything, they knew that they would do everything in their power to make you happy. That’s you now. You have that power. Be as scared as you want. I sure as hell am. Fear is uncomfortable, fear hurts. But fear can never stop you from holding someone in your arms, and telling them that it’s going to be alright. TC mark

A Message From Your Ex Girlfriend To The New Love Of Your Life

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 04:00 PM PST

Credit Molly Strohl / www.facebook.com/mollystrohlphotography
Molly Strohl

If she asks you who I am, tell her. Tell her because she is not starting a fire for an explanation but a confession.

If you tell her I was just a girl you dated for a couple of years, she will only give you a hard time. The hundreds of photos tagged in your outdated profile and the stack of books with our names written will be her allies.

If you tell her I was an old friend, she will only hear half of what you say. She will recall how you looked at places with a tinge of regret and a shade of nostalgia. She will remember how you skipped a certain song ― a reminder of something you'll find an excuse not to tell her every time the car radio is on.

If she asks you who I was, lie a little, because she is not crossing the line for answers but for assurances. Don't tell her how our lips played with poetry and how we dared to dream under the light of the taciturn satellite. Skip the part where we fought dragons together and how we named each other's scars.

Reserve the fact that you still keep the letters, notes, old restaurant receipts under your drawers and some tearstained thoughts at the back of your pillow. She doesn't need to know why you reread past conversations
or why your mother mentioned me at the family dining table just to ask you what I have been up to.

Finally, if she asks you who I was to you, tell her you love her. Put her in the limelight because she is testing you to pull the trigger pointed at her. But you won't. Instead, you will tell her she's beautiful to compensate for the words you never had the guts to tell me. You will tell her she's a keeper, for the hell of it.

You will tell her a poor research about human cells being replaced after seven years so that one day, I will leave no trace on your body.

She will then forget that you mentioned my name while sleeping.She will wash the lipstick stains on your bedsheets and remove the extra toothbrush in the shower.She will ignore the way you twitch every time you hear a familiar author or my favorite curse word. She will fill the spaces of your fingers and plaster kisses at the holes of your chest. She will replace every scent of me with her own promises, insecurities, and mistakes.

She will do this. She will, because when she asked you about me,she knew I was the ghost of the house. And at the back of your head, you wanted to tell her that the damned no longer need saving. But by all means,darling, she can try. TC mark

Molly_Strohl_
Molly Strohl

13 Men Share Their Worst Boner Kill Experiences With Women During Foreplay

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 03:30 PM PST

Twenty20 / lord79
Twenty20 / lord79

1. “I was just about to put a condom on, and she began to tell me how good of a mother she’ll be one day. Maybe it’s true, but really? That’s kind of why I’m putting a condom on right now.” —Marcus, 26

beetlejuice

2. “She texted her mom, legit in the middle of humping me. When you’re humping me half naked the last thing I want to be thinking about is your mom…Unless she’s super hot, but in this case, no.” —Cameron, 23

beetlejuice

3. “This one girl started talking about religion when we were in bed. And how she was born again and took the bible in a complete literal sense. I’m an atheist and it was painful to listen to. Rule: don’t talk about religion before sex.” —Jim, 24

beetlejuice

4. “She got up in the middle to pee, and told me. She was just like, ‘Hold on a sec I have to pee.’ It would’ve been fine if she were my girlfriend, but we didn’t know each other. I met her at a bar two hours earlier, a little discretion would’ve been nice. Just say you’ll be right back. Now I have a clear image in my mind of you pissing on the toilet. Ehh.” —Aaron, 24

beetlejuice

5. “She seriously started telling me how self-conscious she was of her vagina. I mean I took your panties off and I’m still here, clearly you’ve got something going for you, the whole self-loathing thing isn’t exactly a turn-on. If you’re fishing for compliments, I’m not going to hand them out about your vagina, that’s just weird.” —Kyle, 25

beetlejuice

6. “Her dog was crying to get up on the bed, and she actually stopped, picked the dog up, and put him on the bed. And then she expected me to continue. I don’t want your dog licking my balls while I’m in the middle of fucking you.” —Pat, 24

beetlejuice

7. “She started talking about Hillary Clinton. Enough said.” —Zach, 26

beetlejuice

8. “We were making out, clothes off, having a great time, and about to have an even better one, and then she asked me if I was gay. I’m straight, not even bi.” —Mitchell, 24

beetlejuice

9. “She kept asking if it was ‘consensual.’ I realize consent is a very important thing, but she must’ve asked me 20 times. The whole reassuring thing got kind of annoying. Yes, I want to have sex with you, stop asking.” —Luke, 24

beetlejuice

10. “She asked me what angle she looks best from. Who cares what you look like, can you just enjoy yourself for the next 20 minutes?” —Anders, 25

beetlejuice

11. “She took my pants off and sighed. I was like Wtf? Did you just sigh? She kept saying she was just breathing heavy. Okay sure, how would you like it if I took your top off and went, ‘Meh.'” —Chris, 26

beetlejuice

12. “She was talking about her sick aunt. Yeah, that’s really sad, and I felt terrible for her, but nothing kills a boner like cancer.” —Cory, 25

beetlejuice

13. “Anything to do with daddy issues. If we’re about to have sex don’t start talking about your absent father.” —Eric, 24 TC mark

10 People On The Sweetest Thing Their Significant Other Ever Did For Them

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 03:00 PM PST

danielhalis
danielhalis

1. “When I was little I used to wear this Ninja Turtles hat every day that I absolutely loved. And she always cracked up when she saw pictures of me as a kid because I was always wearing it. So one random day I came home from work and there was a Ninja Turtles hat sitting on my bed, super similar to the one I had as a kid, that she found on eBay. It was so cool.”

-Charlie, 30


2. “I’m really into environmental work – it’s not my career but it’s a huge side hobby for me, such a strong part of my life that I don’t even know if I’d consider it just a ‘hobby.’ Anyway, one day he asked me to grab something out of his work bag when we were in the car together and I accidentally pulled out a book too on environmental science. I asked him about it, and apparently he’d been secretly reading a ton of books on the subject for months because he knew it was important to me and he wanted to know more about it.”

-Elizabeth, 26


3. “Work sent me overseas for a three-month assignment that I was really excited but really stressed about. Not only was she incredibly supportive and encouraging, but she took in my cat Morris, even though she hates cats, until I got back. My parents couldn’t take him and none of my friends wanted to, so otherwise I would have had to give him up for adoption which would have killed me. I somehow now love her even more than I already did.”

-Gary, 28


4. “In the months leading up to my 30th birthday (apparently she worked on this gift for months) my girlfriend bought a Moleskin notebook and started passing it around to my various friends and family and had them all write notes to me about what they loved about me, our best memories, my best qualities, their hopes for me for the future, etc. She mailed it to family members from out of town, had people fill it out in secret at social functions. It took a TON of work. And then when she gave me to me I obviously cried for like an hour before I could even read it. It is my favorite possession in the whole world.”

-Ana, 32


5. “I started a high-stress job a couple months ago (12-hour days, working on weekends, etc) and have been completely exhausted, especially in the mornings. So one day, he got up ten minutes before me to make the coffee even though normally he sleeps in an hour later than me. And he’s gotten up every day since to do it. So now I have someone to keep me company in the morning, and just waking up to fresh coffee and feeling like someone is thinking about me and worried about me makes me feel so loved.”

-Claire, 29


6. “I took a standup class, just for fun. And at the end of the term our whole class did this showcase where we each performed 5 minutes. She told me she was gonna bring a couple friends, and ended up showing up with like 30 people, my friends, family, coworkers, everybody. She had made a secret event on Facebook and invited a ton of people – it put me in the best mood and I felt super confident and then did great in my set.”

-Barry, 25


7. “Last October he told me not to make any plans for this one Friday night, didn’t tell me where we were going. We drive thirty-five minutes and show up at this awesome haunted house. The week before, I had told him how I really missed my childhood Halloweens and how haunted houses were something my siblings and I would always go to with my parents. It was AWESOME.”

-Kayla, 24


8. “I had been complaining a lot about being tired lately so one morning after he slept over I woke up (after he had left really early) and there was a new bottle of Vitamin B12 on my nightstand with a note. It wasn’t the sweetest thing he ever did but it was such a small, considerate thing to do that it makes me smile every time I think about it.”

-Aaron, 28


9. “I’m a super creative person but am really low on money right now from student loans, car payments, etc. So I’m working a boring admin job, just for now, to pay the bills. And he knew I was getting a little discouraged, so he randomly bought me a gift certificate to Michael’s so I could take classes. So right now I’m in a cake decorating class and a painting/drawing class and it’s added such an awesome positivity to my work weeks.”

-Elise, 23


10. “I proposed to my wife on the beach in this private little area where no one was around and I barely had half the words out before she just tackled me to the ground and kissed me over and over. I don’t know if that counts in this category/question thing but it’s my favorite memory of all time.”

-Jose, 29 TC mark