Thought Catalog


The Strange Thing About Your Aching Heart

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 08:00 PM PST

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Rachel Baran

the strangest part about a hurt this big is that no one
can really feel it but you;
no one else is going to remember it
5 years 5 months 5 minutes from now.

you have his phone number memorized and you've thought about calling it a hundred times tonight but there are somehow
billions of people who don't even know the color of his eyes.
the picture from last summer when both of you are
sun-soaked and laughing only holds two strangers that
so many people will never even see.

he was your whole universe but when it's in perspective,
you are just a speck of dust, and he, a pinprick of light
that you were unlucky enough to cross paths with.

there are people who saw you out of the corner of their eyes
when you were on your first date, when he kissed you the first time.
they don't think about you. they never did.
there's a girl who bumped into him on the street the night
he left you and she mumbled a 'sorry' and then forgot him and
moved on, the way you never will.

and when you are sobbing into your pillow and your whole body
is heaving with how much you love him,
how much you need him, how much it hurts,
someone across the world says his name and
doesn't feel a damn thing. TC mark

17 Smart Ways Happy Couples Do Love Differently

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 07:00 PM PST

Twenty20, kirillvasilevcom
Twenty20, kirillvasilevcom

1. They value experiences over expensive gifts, choosing to spend time together over spending money on each other.

2. They say "I love you" every single day, even when they're frustrated with each other, because they really do feel that way on good days and bad.

3. They also tend to qualify "I love you" with details specific to their bond that make the proclamation that much more meaningful.

4. They make each other laugh. A lot. They tickle each other, exchange dumb jokes, wrestle, and make fun of each other whenever possible.

5. They divide household chores automatically, because they truly think of each other as equals. If one person cooks dinner, the other steps in to clear the table and do the dishes without prompting.

6. They tell each other what they honestly want—out of a weekend afternoon, a vacation, a night out, sex, and life overall.

7. They set goals together and enjoy working towards meeting those goals, two likeminded members of the same team who cheer each other on through every loss and win.

8. They share their dreams—both the aspirational ones and the weird nighttime ones reflecting their innermost desires.

9. They don't fear change because no matter how many shocking events Life throws their way, they can count on their relationship to remain constant. When you still have each other, it doesn’t matter if things don’t go exactly as planned.

10. They take each other's emotional temperature constantly, and they're committed to accommodating each other's every mood, good and bad. They adapt to each other naturally, flying through life like two birds of the same flock, sensing each other's every wing flap in the face of changing weather patterns.

11. When things aren’t going so great, they're proactive about protecting their relationship. For instance, they might take time apart (even if that just means spending an hour in separate rooms) BEFORE they get to a breaking point.

12. They're not afraid to go to bed angry on occasion, knowing from experience that everything will probably be fine by the time they wake up. Sleeping alongside each other, they always seem to recalibrate.

13. They don't bother pretending that their relationship is emblematic of some romantic ideal. You don't see boastful #soproud #soinlove hashtags beneath all their social media posts.

14. They don't need their relationship to be perfect. They just need it to be.

15. They relive their shared memories frequently, taking stock of what they've built so far and taking comfort in the reality that there's so much more to look forward to as their future as a couple unfolds.

16. They know that staying together takes work, but they're willing to invest whatever sweat equity's required to reap the rewards of long-term commitment and lasting love.

17. They have no regrets, not even over their nastiest fights, because every single experience they've shared to date has shaped them into the couple they’ve become. TC mark

I Don’t Believe In God And I Don’t Need Your Help

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 06:00 PM PST

alygrossii
alygrossii

For a while, I used to hope something would change my mind. I’ve fantasized about finding religion in some romanticized way, like those washed up actors who suddenly have a mid-life epiphany. They spout Bible verses like everything finally makes sense.

I envied friends who never questioned how the universe works, how we got here, or where we eventually go.

I’ve opened up to the possibility of, “I don’t know what exists” and found that to be as cemented as I can get.

I just don't believe in God. And no, I don’t need your prayers or suggestions on how to find the light. Because what I’ve learned is this IS my light. This is how I feel at home. This is how I make peace with the nightmares.

Now listen, I have my moments of spirituality. And I’m comfortable with the idea that I don’t know. That maybe deaths aren’t ultimate finalities. But I’m okay with that hanging question.

I never believed in a God, but at sixteen, it got even harder. How could I wrap my brain around something as inconsistent as a higher power when this power robbed me of my father? A truly good human being who lived a way I’ve heard referenced in religious ceremonies. Loving. Compassionate. Selfless.

Instead, I sit by his side and watch it disintegrate. Hollowed out body, his skin, his flesh shed like a snake.

I guess I cannot believe in God when he took my Dad, took him and left me.

Gone.

To where? I have no idea.

And it’s okay to not know. It’s okay that I’ve made this personal decision. It’s okay that I like talking to my Dad like he’s still here. And not necessarily because I believe he is watching over, but because I think relationships can exist after death. And that doesn’t require religion.

The first time a stranger told me he was in a better place, I gently requested they never mention Heaven to me again.

There is no better place than my heart, my home. I don’t believe in God and I don’t need your help. I’ve found what I believe on my own. TC mark

You Don’t Have To Have A Love Life In Order To Love Life

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 05:45 PM PST

dj.akisanya
dj.akisanya

He had two loves: One was tough on him, the other to him. Both were tough for him.

"I love her too much," he explained to me, elaborating that his love for the former, his mother, was too great for him to execute a dissatisfied romance-induced suicidal plan. He rationalized his actions to align with the belief that a person need not have a love life to, at least try, and love life.

Though a highly rational being, his feelings ran deep and his amorous ambition long. On the clouded front between peace and chaos, the helpless romantic derived peace in knowing that at any given instant, he could access love in one of its various forms.

Eager to leave the house and attend university, this male teenager, despite his strong love for his mother, by no means aligned with the definition of a "mama's boy." He loved his mother, his friends, his siblings, exercising outdoors and numbers (including the one represented by the very last letter of "love.").

Together, these various forms of love inspired him to become the best version of himself so that he could "love" his life and the world in which he lived as an aspiring engineer. And he knew, that by choosing to not live and nurture the passions of his life, he would be jeopardizing love, and the happiness of others, at large.

There exists love between friends, family, communities, teams, passions, ideas, self and even strangers through charity. There exists a love at every moment for everyone in this world because there is a place for everyone in this world, which is not limited to the arms of another.

While we often glorify, idolize romance as the poster child of love, perhaps out of loneliness, vanity or desire for attention, we so often dismiss the other beautiful forms that can be just as powerful, if not more, than romantic love itself.

Yes, these ideas may seem residual of a rose-colored lens, though some of the darkest realities of this world have inspired – no – forced me to sit down and share this message. It is so affirming to hear that we deserve respect and love and equally empowering to realize we all deserve respect. Far too often, we conflate these aforementioned virtues for love or confuse love for acceptance in this broken world.

Perhaps we all want love because it is one of the very few things (among knowledge), that when shared with others, is not "divided" or lessened. Rather, it multiplies, it grows. You don't need a love life to love life, but you do need to know that you, just as you are, are worthy of love in your life.

Certainly, you deserve romantic love, but why limit yourself? You deserve all forms of love. You are worthy of all love. Just because one particular form of love is not present in your life does not mean it cannot be nor should not be. You are already loved probably more than you realize.

Imagine how much happier and more peaceful life would be if people just realized they are loved and others are loved. As an expression says, "Hurt people hurt people" which begs us to reevaluate the underrated power of simple acts of kindness, such as a smile, or positive words. Yes, the feeling of someone to whom you are attracted displaying kindness to you is wonderful. Yes, it is worth pursuing. There is nothing wrong in and of itself to seek to be loved. Romance is good, but a disproportionate desire for it is unhealthy, though an invitation to embrace other forms of love.

For example, consider negative integers. If the number 0 represents no romantic love life whatsoever, and a negative number represents an abusive, violent relationship, we can see that it is "greater" (or better) to be single than "loved" in this case. Far too often, we mistake company and attention for love. Company and attention are related to love, but they are not the same entities. Sometimes, it is better to be by yourself than to be with someone else, especially if the other person is harms, abuses or inhibits your growth while showering you with compliments or gifts.

We so often forget that we are capable of bringing ourselves happiness, that we are attractive in the eyes of others for reasons that we can acknowledge ourselves. In finding our own beauty first, be it through a superpower like kindness or passion like running, it becomes so much healthier (and a bit more objective) in understanding the beauty others see in us.

Yes, there is a happiness associated with affirmation. We all seek to be affirmed, perhaps in different ways through different sources, and that is normal. However, affirmation does not add or subtract from the awe, talent and potential within all of us. The fact someone realizes you are capable or acknowledges a strength does not mean you suddenly have that gift.

Existence and acknowledgement are not the same. There are so many things in this world we have yet to discover that already exist. Equally, just because someone no longer sees the positive trait that once drew them to you does not necessarily mean that you no longer have that trait. You are just as funny, artistic, and intelligent before or after that person came into your life. You are just as funny, artistic and intelligent once that person leaves your life, too. Love does not add or subtract from your value and dignity; it only affirms it.

No, I am not saying that you can't have a love life and love life. You certainly can, as the two are related, yes, but at the same time, being single and loving life are not mutually exclusive. Studies show a relationship (no pun intended) between happiness and a relationship status.

While it is very clear that a romantic partner can enrich life on so many levels, be mindful that correlation does not always imply causation. That is, it is absolutely possible that happier single people attract other happier single people and become happy couples. Why? Because positive energy is an attractive force. Positivity, be it through smiles, kindness or humor, uplifts spirits.

So, grant yourself the power to enjoy life, to respect and accept yourself, and to not generalize the world at large from one situation devoid of love. Give yourself permission to remember you, just like every other person, are worthy of love and respect. Always. And please, let yourself "stop and smell the roses" in the garden of life because when you look up, someone may surprise you with a bouquet right before your eyes. TC mark

This Year, Celebrate The Love That You’ve Lost

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 05:00 PM PST

unsplash.com/Ravi Roshan
unsplash.com/Ravi Roshan

Every February 14th, we focus on the love that we have.

We sent our partners flowers and chocolates. We take our friends out for dinners and drinks. We call our family members, loved ones, distant connections and let them know that we're grateful to have them in our lives. That their impact has been positive and strong.

And it's wonderful to celebrate love. Whether it's romantic or platonic or familial, we all need that reminder from time to time. That we're here for each other. That we care about each other. That love is still boundless and plentiful.

But here's something we so rarely stop to celebrate: The love that we've lost.

We tend to view losing out on love as a negative experience. We break up and our heart cracks in two. We part ways with a friend and a part of ourselves leaves along with them. We lose a treasured family member and never quite fill the space they left. There are a lot of negatives that come along with losing love.

But there are a lot of positives too.

Because the truth about love is that it doesn't always get to last forever. Sometimes circumstance tears us apart. Sometimes we cannot rise up to the occasion. Sometimes love falters and fades out and fails when we thought that it was going to last forever. We don't always get those happily ever afters. But maybe that gets to be okay.

Maybe this year it's okay to pause and be grateful for the love that didn't last.

For the relationships that were ultimately wrong for us. For the friendships that cracked under pressure. For the love that was fleeting or faint or inconsistent but that nonetheless taught us something real. Because in their own way, those relationships matter. They still stand to teach us something genuine.

Because the thing about love is that it's impossible to be touched by it and remain unchanged. It is the ultimate catalyst for so much of our personal development and growth, even when it cannot last. And so why not let ourselves celebrate that impact?

Celebrate the person who couldn't love you right. The one who kept you guessing and left you hanging and who made you feel like a tiny, desperate version of yourself. Recognize and realize what inconsistent, unbalanced love does to a person and remember not to give it out yourself. Resolve to be better than that.

Celebrate the love that destroyed you. The one that got inside you, took your heart hostage and then ripped you apart from the inside out. Remember what it felt like to be the most genuine, vulnerable version of yourself and to still not have it be enough. To still be left broken and reeling.

And then remember how you picked yourself back up. Remember how you stitched those broken pieces back together and kept going. Remember the ways you loved yourself when someone else couldn't, and realize the strength that's born from that.

Celebrate the love that you couldn't hold onto. The love that death or disease or distance ripped from your fingers and claimed as its own. Remember the sense of powerlessness that accompanied that loss and all of the ways in which it changed you. Realize how quickly love can be stolen from us, and how fully we ought to appreciate it while we still have it. How grandly and boldly and fearlessly we are capable of loving each other while we still have the chance.

Celebrate the love that you messed up enormously. The person you couldn't love properly, the ones whom you failed and let down. Realize that love exists in a thousand shades of grey and that you have sometimes chosen the murkier ones. That you still have a lot of growth and development to get through. That you are not exempt from loving others wrong.

This year, instead of lamenting over the love that you've lost, take a moment to thank yourself for letting it in in the first place.

To celebrate the best of times, the worst of times, the most confusing of times and the absolute most absurd of them.

Because the truth about love is that it doesn't have to last forever to teach us something. And so this year, just be grateful for the lessons.

Because if you’ve learned absolutely anything through loving, then you haven’t really lost out at all. TC mark

How Big Is The Perfect Penis? 12 Women Take A Stab At The Answer

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 04:15 PM PST

Twenty20.Com / benjaminandrew
Twenty20.Com / benjaminandrew
Found on AskReddit.

1. Sometimes there is a thing as too much dick

"I’ve had 26 sexual partners so far. College was a slutty time….A few of those partners were quite large (7-8 inches). Certain positions, like doggy and cowgirl, were too uncomfortable for me to enjoy. Sometimes there is a thing as too much dick. I’ve found that average erect length (5-6 inches) is the best experience if we’re talking about straight up, average intercourse. That being said, I did see a guy for quite a while that was maaaaybe 4 inches while erect and pretty much nonexistent while soft. I’m pretty sure he knew about his shortcoming (heh) because he frequently went for positions that put him in me as deeply as he could get, i.e. one of my legs thrown over his shoulder, or missionary with a pillow under my lower back, or me sitting on his lap. So though we could never quite get doggy (my favorite position) to work because he couldn’t get his penis past my butt, I was never really bothered. It honestly is more about what you do with it than what you have."

2. Penises shorter than 5 inches just don’t make me feel anything

"I’ve had about 50 partners. No, I’m not a prostitute. Just been slutting around, I guess. Some of my partners have had big penises (9.1 in), some small (3.9 in). Some thick, some thinner. Some getting smaller towards the tip (like a cone!) and some thicker towards the tip. Some bending towards one side and some bending downward. Almost all uncircumcised. I’d say bigger is better, to a limit. This is just me, other people might have a different opinion. It also matter what size your receiving end is. A tiny person might prefer smaller dicks. My first partner had a huge dick (easily over 9 in), so I guess that set up the standard for me. The penis thickness is as important as the length. The shape matters also—if it’s thick only at the bottom and thin towards the tip it doesn’t do much. Whether the penis is curved or not doesn’t matter. I’d say I haven’t got much out of penises shorter than 6.6 in. Penises shorter than 5 inches just don’t make me feel anything. Fingers are better at that point. Whether one has a lot of belly/fat going on around the stomach area affects how easy it is to use the full length of the penis. Also, it matters a lot how strong of an erection one gets. 6 in hard penis is better than a 9 in floppy one. But no matter what size of a penis, I enjoy sex based on how good it feels, and penetration with a penis is just a tiny part of it. I’m not even able to orgasm with just penetration! Fingers, toys, chemistry, words, emotions, talent… It’s not just about the penis. The penis isn’t a measure of one’s ability to have sex. Men, stop being so obsessed about your penises!"

3. I would opt for an average penis over a big dick any day

"I’ve had three sexual partners, two were average and one had more penis than brains. Honestly, I would opt for an average penis over a big dick any day. Nothing kills the mood like having your cervix forcibly thrusted into."

4. The thing I like most about a guy’s penis is how happy it is to see me naked

"I will take it any size. The thing I like most about a guy’s penis is how happy it is to see me naked. Just like guys can have fun with boobs of any size, I can have fun with any sized pork sword. I think dicks are awesome and I’ve had them cut/uncut, so small I could fit his cock and his balls entirely in my mouth, so big we actually couldn’t have sex so we kept doing other things instead, and everywhere in between. Size doesn’t matter except for what positions we can or can’t do. Longer ones are fun because I can he can fuck my tits and mouth at the same time. Shorter ones are fun when I’m reverse cowgirl because my pelvis is slightly tipped so I can go balls deep in that particular position whereas on a long one it isn’t possible. They all have their merit, but nothing compares to a guy that fucks you with his entire body and mind as opposed to just his womb raider. I don’t pick guys, even one night stands, based on dick size because I want to have sex with him not some detached penis (I have those in my drawer if that’s all I needed). Despite what porn tells you, you are more than just your penis. Even to promiscuous women like me. You are horribly misrepresented on screen, whereas I can find several female porn stars with bodies just like mine, including the stretch marks on the hips. I’ve only had 3 dicks that would pass as porn star material by today’s standards. It’s long past the time for those standards to change, I think."

5. HUGE DICKS ARE NICE TO LOOK AT, BUT JUST SCARY AND PAINFUL

"First partner: Tiny pencil dick. He couldn’t have been more than 4 inches hardest. Absolutely no girth. It really was like a finger. It just felt wrong. Sex was awful. He kissed like a great white shark. There were no lips against mine ever, it was always around my mouth to the sides of my face. It was disgusting and made me hate any type of interaction.

Second Partner: An uncut 9.5 inches long….I wish I was joking. I’d never seen an uncircumcised penis, so that was new. He was very clean at least. Sex was extremely painful for a very long time. It took a few months of sex semi-regularly to even get him all the way inside. He was very patient with me, but he enjoyed rough pounding sex. Sometimes it was wonderful, other times it was just a huge ordeal to go through. Because of his girth which was also ridiculous, I ended up tearing a little every few sessions. Which meant UTIs and sometimes, very angry kidneys. I'd never had anything like it happen in my life, so I thought I was dying when it did happen. Emptying my bladder with the still constant feeling like I was about to piss myself was terrible. He was a good sexual partner in the end, but the amount of work that has to go into making it work was just…insane.

Current partner: Average Size. Not big, not small…but he doesn’t have very much stamina. Not sure what that has to do with size, but there’s many times when I’m in the mood for long sessions. He's…not able to.

My opinion: Huge dicks are nice to look at, neat to fantasize about, but just…scary and painful. I’m quite fine with average, maybe even slightly above, but anything more is just unnecessary."

6. MY EX HAD A REALLY SMALL DICK, BUT HE NEVER FAILED TO GET ME OFF

"My ex had a really small dick, tiny hands and has issues with climaxing very quickly. But he was so sexy and used to be amazing at the chase, so by the time it came to sex I was so close anyway that he never failed to get me off. My current boyfriend has a massive dick, but he has no try. He thinks it's enough to get it out and swing it around, then can’t understand why I'm not turned on."

7. I've had large men who couldn't even get me off and small men who fucking blew me away

"I've had 13. Honestly I don't care about size. I've had large men who couldn't even get me off and small men who fucking blew me away. I never judge a penis by its size. If it's long enough to actually go in and you can thrust without it falling out, then it's fine."

8. sex is easier if the guy isn't hung like a horse

"I’ve had 4; 3 were probably about “average” and current one is enormous. I enjoy sex the most with the guy I’m currently with, and his penis is definitely the most attractive. That being said, sex is EASIER if the guy isn’t hung like a horse. We have to be careful that he’s not going too deep or too hard, because it hurts, and I’m not able to have super long sessions. I like going down on my guy a lot. With the bigger penis it’s hard to feel like I’m giving a good blowjob. With a smaller guy I knew what I was doing and was could tell I was doing well. With a bigger guy….It’s kinda impossible to have any “technique” at all. Just have to put it in your mouth and hope they enjoy it. Also, choking on dick isn’t as fun as it sounds."

9. i'd choose average over large any day

"Never had a penis I’d consider small, most partners I’d say were average. Had one ex with an above average penis both length and girth…I’d choose average over it any day. It was just painful regardless of how lubricated I was."

10. I’d rather have a nice fat, average- length cock; Those things were made for riding

"People think length is what matters but, honestly, I think girth is where it’s at. Long can be nice (you get a few more positions) but it’s work to make sure you’re ready to take a big ol' monster cock. Stretching can be fun, tearing not so much. I’d rather have a nice fat, average length cock. Those things were made for riding. Small can be great fun, too. Best sex I ever had was with a guy who was on the smaller side of average. He used every inch like a dream. And, of course, having a responsive partner who knows that sex is more than just pounding away with his dick. I’m a big fan of P in V, but fingers and tongues are good, too."

11. GIRTH MATTERS MORE THAN LENGTH

"I’ve had three well above average and one really far below.

It’s the experience/effort you put in, not necessarily the size.

First boyfriend was about 8 inches and about average girth. He was my very first so that size plus us being virgins was a bit of a learning curve. It hurt the first few times when he entered but that’s about all the pain. He put a lot of effort into learning and understanding my needs and vice versa.

Then came well below average guy. Not my boyfriend but a ‘nice guy’ who really took advantage of my low self-esteem to further his agenda. I caved. Probably the only lay I regret. He just didn’t put in any effort and was super quick. If that was his first time (which I swear it may have been) it was pretty miserable for both of us. 30 seconds of zero feeling for me. I swear if he’d had some sort of experience or tried something it may have been better. Hope the dude’s worked on his technique or something.

Then was a guy I dated for a few months. Ended up as fwb for a couple weeks too when it wasn’t working. By far the longest. 8.5-9? But still like…average girth for that length? Sort of proportional. He knew what he was doing. First circumcised one, too. I found I like the look and feel of that much better. He could have been way smaller and his technique would still have made it amazing.

Current partner. I feel weird talking about him in this context. He’s got girth and length. 8-8.5 inches. Above average girth I’d say for that length. He doesn’t really need technique to make it amazing for me. But add a higher knowledge of technique and I’m sure I’d finish from him alone. I haven’t ever done so (when not on top), so here’s to a potentially promising future first.

So really…girth matters more than length which doesn’t matter much if you have the skills to work with what you’ve got. I prefer my men big, but I’m not gonna bash those who aren’t—just work on your technique regardless. Having a big dick doesn’t mean you just jackhammer away and that’s fine cause you’re big."

12. It’s not about the size of the pencil, it’s how good your penmanship is.

"I think most men should let go of this question/insecurity. It’s not about the size of the pencil, it’s how good your penmanship is."

I Never Want To Learn Her Real Name

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 04:00 PM PST

camera_mac
camera_mac

The new girl looks nothing like me.
She probably tastes like stability
and clean laundry.
I bet she's never forgotten to take her Zoloft in the morning,
or cried at Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
The two of you have never fought in Hawaii,
just smiled for photos that sit on mantels.
She never pulls away from your hands in the bed,
instead she embraces every touch.
Every tender moment, she is grateful.
Her heart is overflowing and warm,
doesn’t need to be microwaved like mine does.

I bet she wakes up early just like you.
And you go for runs together,
You never have to ask her to pick up the pace,
embracing the rising sun like it's what you're meant to do.
She probably tells you you're the only man she's ever loved
and you eat it up,
because this means your ego isn't threatened,
this means you are the only one who ever mattered.

The new girl looks nothing like me.
She's got brown eyes and I've got green,
stupid details I hone in on when I remember
it's the smallest way I have left
to act like I still know you.
I guess what my bitter heart is saying
is that I bet she's wonderful.
is that I bet she makes you happy.
is that I bet you don't think of what we left behind.
Because I wouldn’t hope for anything else. TC mark

Why Every College Girl Should Join A Sorority (Because I Didn’t And Regret It)

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 03:00 PM PST

istockphoto.com / pixdeluxe
istockphoto.com / pixdeluxe

It's January and I'm scrolling around on my younger sister's Facebook timeline. She's posted her sorority's bid day video and I click to be supportive. Twelve minutes go by and I've already cried twice. I message her about how emotional I felt watching the video. All of the talk of sisterhood and support for each other and realize I really wish I had been in a Sorority.

Most people who know me would probably be shocked that one of my larger regrets from Undergrad was not pledging. It doesn't seem like a logical desire for someone like me. I went to the New School, which is home of Social Justice and avant grade expression. I did my senior thesis in poetry for fuck's sake. But there was always a yearning to have a large group of girls to surround myself with. I never seemed to have a ton of people to always hang out with. That's the trade off when you go to a City School; everyone is off doing their own thing and trying to make it. I admire that wholeheartedly, but it can get really lonely when all of your friends are off in a million places.

When I was in Middle and High School I was in BBG. BBG is B'nai Brith's Youth Group for High Schoolers, and I was Chapter President for two years. I loved planning programs; I loved any Sisterhood event that involved candles and crying. I got to use my creativity and inventiveness to come up with cheers and skits and make cool t-shirts.

There is always negative press about Greek life with all of its horror stories. They are completely valid and there are some complete sociopaths that pledge. While that may be some people's experiences in the Panhellenic system, it is not the rule. I left BBG because of some petty girl falling out involving me giving my chapter over to some girl to lead because I though she'd do a better job and she wasn't nice to me about it. Shit happens. Girls aren't always great to each other. Some sororities really do outline your fat and put you on a washing machine. You pick yourself up, cry a little, most likely drop the sorority and become even more of a bad bitch than you were before. Either way being in a sorority had shaped you in some form.

On the other side you could find women that completely understand you and make you feel complete; women that make you a better person and shape the rest of your life. I've seen people very close to me rise up and discover their personal strengths and do more good in the world than they would have without that guidance. Everyone wants to try and change things in the world, hopefully. A sorority often provides established resources where you can stop talking about doing something and actually get it done.

What people fail to realize when they stereotype sororities is that you will probably find a wider variety of viewpoints there, than anywhere else on a college campus. Not everyone is the same blonde, white, Lilly Pulitzer wearing girl from the South. Not everyone outside of a sorority is making a totally diverse friend group where all ages, backgrounds, and sexualities are represented. Looking for that on purpose actually tokenizes people and is fucked up within itself. In a sorority everyone goes through the drama of getting a bid, then pledging. Everyone has been there and shared your experience and can offer advice. There will always be someone to answer the phone for you at 3 am. That's a really hard guarantee when you're making friends on your own in the wild. Sure you can have a handful of close friends, but will you have 20 people you can call who have stood in heels in the snow with you in order to get a bid?

The entire process of pledging a sorority tests your endurance and limits. In the Midwest pledging can happen in the winter. You will be expected to visit all 30 plus houses. There is a dress code and you will be standing around for hours waiting to go inside houses wearing heels and a dress when its below freezing. You are forced to look at what you consider your strengths and weaknesses and how you normally interact with people. Things like your missions in life and how you would solve problems. I would say a good amount of 18 year olds have never had to think about those things unless they've been in therapy.

Being in a sorority does mature you, even though the stereotypes of everyone being a childish bitch seem to persist. You have to learn how to resolve conflicts and make sacrifices for the good of a larger group. Every woman plays a role in making the chapter run smoother. Getting wrapped up in petty bullshit often ends up affecting everyone negatively. Other girls won't join if your chapter is falling apart at the seams because everyone hates each other. No one will do programs with you if you can't even agree on a theme. A Sorority teaches cooperation on a level that you will only find in a hospital or on a battlefield.

Joining a Sorority can be a bit of a crapshoot in terms of the experience that you get out of it. However, everywhere else is just as dysfunctional, and it is up to you to take responsibility for how you deal with it. Sometimes you have bad judgment in befriending people who turn out to steal your stuff and belittle you. Because that happened or has happened to others it doesn't mean that you're going to stop trying to make friends. I wish that I had a group always on standby to distract me from the overall shittiness of life. I wish that I had other girls to be around where we just knew we were sisters and their arms were always open to me. Female friendship and emotion is one of the most beautiful things to share. I wish I had in my adult life another place to share things like that with a large group of women. I wish that I wouldn't be judged for regretting that I didn't join a Sorority. TC mark

‘Everything is Fine’ And Other Lies I Tell Myself When Things Are Falling Apart

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 02:45 PM PST

istockphoto.com/ Vizerskaya
istockphoto.com/ Vizerskaya

Nothing can crush a dream faster than reality smacking you in the mouth.

After a year of going back and forth on moving out on my own, I found a deal so good that I signed a lease on a one-bedroom apartment within a week of finding it. It felt amazing to take the plunge and I took pride in my new accomplishment.

Ready to start fresh, I spent the following weeks leading up to the move purging hand-me-down furniture, throwing out items collecting dust and finding socks I wrongfully accused the sock troll of stealing. I made big girl purchases, bought real furniture and even painted a canvas to hang above my new couch. I was starting to envision a new life in a space I could call my own.

I had everything I needed and was ready to go – ready to start over. This finally validated all of the time, energy and hard work I've put in since starting my career in New York.

I moved my stuff in and started unpacking, reality set in. I moved into a complete shithole.

The bottom cabinets were warped with water damage. There was a leaky sewage pipe in the middle of my kitchen with mold around it. Pipes banged behind the walls when I turned on the water. My bedroom window wouldn't close all the way and it was on the first floor of the building. My place was literally falling apart and so was my dream.

When I did the walkthrough of the place a month prior, I noticed the place was old. The bathroom needed some updating and there was crack in the tile but it appeared livable.

I told myself these things could be fixed. This was temporary. Everything was going to be fine. It's in my nature to take action when things go wrong and I don't sit idly by waiting for someone to help me.

However, the landlord needed to fix these problems. This was completely out of my control.

Much to my relief there was a vacant apartment across the hall. They would move me in until the other place was fixed. Turns out that other place was infested with bugs.

Trying to "relax" when you don't feel comfortable in your home is pretty much impossible but literally being eaten alive by bugs, forget about it. If it weren't for my friends opening their doors to me and letting me sleep in their beds, I would have completely lost my shit.

Sure, it's best to stay positive and persistent in stressful situations. In this case, it's what ultimately freed me of the lease and helped me get most of my money back. Having an amazing support system that houses you, feeds you, checks in on you, and helps you move two times in 3 weeks right before the holidays also makes a shitty situation a lot less shittier.

But when things suck really badly, it's ok to just accept that the situation itself sucks. I realize I don't need to lie to myself anymore. I don't have to convince myself that everything is ok when it isn't. I didn't know where I was going to sleep or where I was going to live and that really sucked. And I cried. And then I cried some more. And sometimes I still cry about it because my dream was crushed.

But eventually you stop crying, you get up, you dust yourself off and start over again – because that's the way life works. TC mark

19 People On Their Life’s Biggest Blessing In Disguise That They’re Now Actually Thankful For

Posted: 17 Feb 2016 02:15 PM PST

twenty20/deygayo
twenty20/deygayo

1. "My surgeries. It was an awful time and made me suffer a lot, but I learned to see the good in everyone because everyone has their struggles. I learned life is about how are you after bad things, not before." — Caleb, 24

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2. "Losing my job at one place, which led me to another. This has happened twice now! When one door closes, another one really does open!" – Melissa, 31

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3. "Having quite possibly the worst job ever. It was downright laughable how bad it was. But I needed it; anything less than outright torture and I would’ve stayed in a field that was wrong for me. However, since it was absolutely torture, I finally had enough and quit, and found a career field that I absolutely love." – Abigail, 24

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4. "Finding out you’re pregnant! HUGE blessing in disguise!" – Jeannie, 40

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5. "Tearing my ACL. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy, but it made me a better person. I didn't have support from my high school teammates, and the recovery was hell. I had to grow a lot as a person; I learned how important it was to be caring towards people who are going through a hard time and to reach out to people who are starting to seclude themselves. I wouldn't have gone to my college if I didn't have my sport and I wouldn't have met some of the most important people of my life." – Molly, 22

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6. "A really crappy group of friends that led me into some seriously “not so proud” moments, led me to my future husband who has pulled me out of some of the darkest emotions I have ever experienced." – Grace, 24

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7. "Getting dumped was the worst thing ever at the time, and some days I’m still upset over it. But I look back at all the awesome things I’ve done since, and you just know it was for the very best!" – Ash, 26

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8. "A blessing in disguise for me was my stay in a psychiatric unit. After seeing the struggles of some of the people there because of drug use, it allowed me to empathize with my older brother whose a heroine addict. It helped me forgive him for what he did to my family and how he treated my mom. The resentment I had towards him had been such a big weight on my shoulders, but through that experience it was lifted." – Mike, 21

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9. "Not having a long term relationship in my 20s." – Christina, 28

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10. "My uncle was suppose to be in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 for a job interview, but he didn't get the call back. He was so upset he didn't get the job, but it was definitely a blessing in disguise." – Anna, 21

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11. "Having my husband let go from the business we were supposed to take over together. That city was toxic. We would have been stuck there and we’ve had nothing but success since we left." – Molly, 30

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12. "Probably my two knee surgeries. They taught me to never take anything for granted." – Kyle, 23

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13. "My wife and I bought a duplex right after we married and the lady we we're renting to moved. We thought we were going to have to sell the house because we couldn't afford it anymore, but two days before we were going to sell someone rented the upstairs and they turned into almost a second mom for our daughters. The lady who moved out also suffered a back injury 3 weeks later and according to state law if you have a back injury you don't have to pay rent." – Don, 47

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14. "Hands down having my daughter. I never ever wanted kids, like I DID NOT WANT THEM. When I found out I was pregnant I wanted to jump off a cliff. Newly married in the military, there were places I wanted to see without being "tied down" to a baby. The moment I had her, my life completely changed. I am the best version of myself I could possibly be. She makes me so fulfilled." – Shelby, 25

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15. "After failing many times to find a job when I was in Colorado I came back home and within a week I found a job that I love and I wouldn't trade it for anything." – Alex, 24

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16. "Getting dumped by the man I wanted to marry." – Sara, 27

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17. "I turned down promotion outside of my home state a few years ago. Place was a gold mine at the time, but now not so much. I wouldn’t be in the peak state I’m in now, met the people I have now, among other things, had I taken it. Listen to your heart and follow it. Always." – Shane, 33

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18. "A career ending injury in gymnastics, leading to a blessing-filled career in track!" – Tabitha, 23

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19. "I was supposed to be going back to England to coach, but they couldn't get my visa worked out. I had to come home, live with my parents and I didn't have any jobs lined up, I was devastated. Then I got a call to be a graduate assistant, so now I'm a coach again and getting my masters for free." – Kristen, 24 TC mark