Thought Catalog

40 Words For Emotions You’ve Felt, But Couldn’t Explain

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 08:00 PM PST

Dustin Adams
Dustin Adams


n. the awareness of how little of the world you'll experience. Imagine standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people's passwords, each representing one more thing you'll never get to see before you die—and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.

Mal de Coucou

n. a phenomenon in which you have an active social life but very few close friends—people who you can trust, who you can be yourself with, who can help flush out the weird psychological toxins that tend to accumulate over time—which is a form of acute social malnutrition in which even if you devour an entire buffet of chitchat, you'll still feel pangs of hunger.


n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you'll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Hanker Sore

adj. finding a person so attractive it actually kinda pisses you off.


n. the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm, listening to waves of rain pattering against the roof like an argument upstairs, whose muffled words are unintelligible but whose crackling release of built-up tension you understand perfectly.


n. weariness with the same old issues that you've always had—the same boring flaws and anxieties you've been gnawing on for years, which leaves them soggy and tasteless and inert, with nothing interesting left to think about, nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried long ago.


n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn't possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.


n. a kind of melancholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—briefly soaking in the experience of being alive, an act that is done purely for its own sake.

Nodus Tollens

n. the realization that the plot of your life doesn't make sense to you anymore—that although you thought you were following the arc of the story, you keep finding yourself immersed in passages you don't understand, that don't even seem to belong in the same genre—which requires you to go back and reread the chapters you had originally skimmed to get to the good parts, only to learn that all along you were supposed to choose your own adventure.


n. the desire to care less about things—to loosen your grip on your life, to stop glancing behind you every few steps, afraid that someone will snatch it from you before you reach the end zone—rather to hold your life loosely and playfully, like a volleyball, keeping it in the air, with only quick fleeting interventions, bouncing freely in the hands of trusted friends, always in play.


n. the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist—the same sunset, the same waterfall, the same curve of a hip, the same closeup of an eye—which can turn a unique subject into something hollow and pulpy and cheap, like a mass-produced piece of furniture you happen to have assembled yourself.


n. the moment you realize that you're currently happy—consciously trying to savor the feeling—which prompts your intellect to identify it, pick it apart and put it in context, where it will slowly dissolve until it's little more than an aftertaste.


n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you'll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured.


n. the feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness—to the extent you have to keep reminding yourself that it happened at all, even though it felt so vivid just days ago—which makes you wish you could smoothly cross-dissolve back into everyday life, or just hold the shutter open indefinitely and let one scene become superimposed on the next, so all your days would run together and you'd never have to call cut.


n. a recurring thought that only seems to strike you late at night—an overdue task, a nagging guilt, a looming and shapeless future—that circles high overhead during the day, that pecks at the back of your mind while you try to sleep, that you can successfully ignore for weeks, only to feel its presence hovering outside the window, waiting for you to finish your coffee, passing the time by quietly building a nest.

Dead Reckoning

n. to find yourself bothered by someone's death more than you would have expected, as if you assumed they would always be part of the landscape, like a lighthouse you could pass by for years until the night it suddenly goes dark, leaving you with one less landmark to navigate by—still able to find your bearings, but feeling all that much more adrift.


n. the feeling that no matter what you do is always somehow wrong—that any attempt to make your way comfortably through the world will only end up crossing some invisible taboo—as if there's some obvious way forward that everybody else can see but you, each of them leaning back in their chair and calling out helpfully, colder, colder, colder.


n. a feast celebrated on the day of your 26th birthday, which marks the point at which your youth finally expires as a valid excuse—when you must begin harvesting your crops, even if they've barely taken root—and the point at which the days will begin to feel shorter as they pass, until even the pollen in the air reminds you of the coming snow.


n. frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone—spending the first few weeks chatting in their psychological entryway, with each subsequent conversation like entering a different anteroom, each a little closer to the center of the house—wishing instead that you could start there and work your way out, exchanging your deepest secrets first, before easing into casualness, until you've built up enough mystery over the years to ask them where they're from, and what they do for a living.

Rigor Samsa

n. a kind of psychological exoskeleton that can protect you from pain and contain your anxieties, but always ends up cracking under pressure or hollowed out by time—and will keep growing back again and again, until you develop a more sophisticated emotional structure, held up by a strong and flexible spine, built less like a fortress than a cluster of treehouses.


n. the kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably—the hidden talents of friends and coworkers, the fleeting solos of subway buskers, the slapdash eloquence of anonymous users, the unseen portfolios of aspiring artists—which would be renowned as masterpieces if only they'd been appraised by the cartel of popular taste, who assume that brilliance is a rare and precious quality, accidentally overlooking buried jewels that may not be flawless but are still somehow perfect.


n. an image that somehow becomes lodged deep in your brain—maybe washed there by a dream, or smuggled inside a book, or planted during a casual conversation—which then grows into a wild and impractical vision that keeps scrambling back and forth in your head like a dog stuck in a car that's about to arrive home, just itching for a chance to leap headlong into reality.


n. a moment that seemed innocuous at the time but ended up marking a diversion into a strange new era of your life—set in motion not by a series of jolting epiphanies but by tiny imperceptible differences between one ordinary day and the next, until entire years of your memory can be compressed into a handful of indelible images—which prevents you from rewinding the past, but allows you to move forward without endless buffering.


n. a moment of awareness that someone you've known for years still has a private and mysterious inner life, and somewhere in the hallways of their personality is a door locked from the inside, a stairway leading to a wing of the house that you've never fully explored—an unfinished attic that will remain maddeningly unknowable to you, because ultimately neither of you has a map, or a master key, or any way of knowing exactly where you stand.


n. a conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening, simply overlaying disconnected words like a game of Scrabble, with each player borrowing bits of other anecdotes as a way to increase their own score, until we all run out of things to say.

Catoptric Tristesse

n. the sadness that you'll never really know what other people think of you, whether good, bad or if at all—that although we reflect on each other with the sharpness of a mirror, the true picture of how we're coming off somehow reaches us softened and distorted, as if each mirror was preoccupied with twisting around, desperately trying to look itself in the eye.


n. nostalgia for a time you've never known. Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins—and live in a completely different world.


n. the frustration of knowing how easily you fit into a stereotype, even if you never intended to, even if it's unfair, even if everyone else feels the same way—each of us trick-or-treating for money and respect and attention, wearing a safe and predictable costume because we're tired of answering the question, "What are you supposed to be?"


n. the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you'd be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.


n. a conversational hint that you have something personal to say on the subject but don't go any further—an emphatic nod, a half-told anecdote, an enigmatic 'I know the feeling’—which you place into conversations like those little flags that warn diggers of something buried underground: maybe a cable that secretly powers your house, maybe a fiberoptic link to some foreign country.


n. the bittersweetness of having arrived here in the future, where you can finally get the answers to how things turn out in the real world—who your baby sister would become, what your friends would end up doing, where your choices would lead you, exactly when you'd lose the people you took for granted—which is priceless intel that you instinctively want to share with anybody who hadn't already made the journey, as if there was some part of you who had volunteered to stay behind, who was still stationed at a forgotten outpost somewhere in the past, still eagerly awaiting news from the front.


n. an imaginary interview with an old photo of yourself, an enigmatic figure who still lives in the grainy and color-warped house you grew up in, who may well spend a lot of their day wondering where you are and what you're doing now, like an old grandma whose kids live far away and don't call much anymore.

Fata Organa

n. a flash of real emotion glimpsed in someone sitting across the room, idly locked in the middle of some group conversation, their eyes glinting with vulnerability or quiet anticipation or cosmic boredom—as if you could see backstage through a gap in the curtains, watching stagehands holding their ropes at the ready, actors in costume mouthing their lines, fragments of bizarre sets waiting for some other production.


n. the desire that memory could flow backward. We take it for granted that life moves forward. But you move as a rower moves, facing backwards: you can see where you've been, but not where you're going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It's hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way…


n. the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that's usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet—a school hallway in the evening, an unlit office on a weekend, vacant fairgrounds—an emotional afterimage that makes it seem not just empty but hyper-empty, with a total population in the negative, who are so conspicuously absent they glow like neon signs.

The Tilt Shift

n. a phenomenon in which your lived experience seems oddly inconsequential once you put it down on paper, which turns an epic tragicomedy into a sequence of figures on a model train set, assembled in their tiny classrooms and workplaces, wandering along their own cautious and well-trodden paths—peaceable, generic and out of focus.


n. a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head—a crisp analysis, a cathartic dialogue, a devastating comeback—which serves as a kind of psychological batting cage where you can connect more deeply with people than in the small ball of everyday life, which is a frustratingly cautious game of change-up pitches, sacrifice bunts, and intentional walks.

Ecstatic Shock

n. the surge of energy upon catching a glance from someone you like—a thrill that starts in your stomach, arcs up through your lungs and flashes into a spontaneous smile—which scrambles your ungrounded circuits and tempts you to chase that feeling with a kite and a key.


n. a relationship or friendship that you can't get out of your head, which you thought had faded long ago but is still somehow alive and unfinished, like an abandoned campsite whose smoldering embers still have the power to start a forest fire.


n. the smallest measurable unit of human connection, typically exchanged between passing strangers—a flirtatious glance, a sympathetic nod, a shared laugh about some odd coincidence—moments that are fleeting and random but still contain powerful emotional nutrients that can alleviate the symptoms of feeling alone. TC mark

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


I Was Born For Leaving

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 07:00 PM PST


I have this incurable condition. It’s an overwhelming, all-consuming, insatiable case of wanderlust. Last week I found myself staring at an airport departure board with such fervor that a concerned gate agent had to ask me if I was alright. The freedom of choosing my next destination by closing my eyes and spinning a globe – of leaving it all up to chance – is the beauty of full (and sometimes reckless) abandon.

It’s the desperate dream of faraway places that I don’t even know exist. I was born for leaving and I can’t stop.

I often get asked where I consider home. I mumble through the ever so awkward and slightly rehearsed preamble to explain away how and why everything I own fits into one suitcase and duffel bag, and that ten days is the longest I’ve spent in one place in the last two years. Home for me is the present. It happens to be wherever I’m located at any given point in time, whether it’s a cramped 9 bed hostel room in the heart of Rio De Janeiro or the serenity of JFK’s terminal 8 in the dead of night.

Not having a place to call home is both beautiful and exhausting. It’s late nights at a laundromat and flying with food poisoning. It’s flight delays, traffic, and painfully slow internet. It’s Skype dates, jet lag, and an embarrassing over-reliance on Tinder. It’s constantly yearning to be where I’m not.

And I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. Because it’s also friendships that transcend distance and time. It’s having a home cooked meal by a campfire in the middle of the Serengeti, nothing but an expanse of stars above and the rumble of wildlife in the distance. It’s the wistfulness of holding a book once held by Galileo.

It’s wandering through unknown cities without a map or plan. It’s waiting for a goat to cross the road in Uganda so you can safely make it alive. It’s a bartender in Zanzibar “treating” your malaria with a gin and tonic. It’s chasing waterfalls and snacking on deep fried crickets. It’s holding a stranger’s baby on a rickshaw in Bali. It's seeing the sunrise on the other side of the world. It's relearning how to live when you're completely alone in a foreign country.

It's feeling how utterly insignificant your problems are as you occupy such a tiny place on this earth.

You see, no one has ever given me a reason to stay in one place. If and when someone does, I’ll know it’s real. I’ll know that I’ll be able to happily call a place home, because sometimes, home isn’t four walls or the familiar curve of your favorite pillow. It’s wherever another soul calls you to return to day after day. Until then, my heart yearns for the unfamiliar and distant corners of this tiny planet that each and every one of us calls home. TC mark

Here Is Which Myers-Briggs Personality Type You Should Go To Based On What Kind Of Advice You Need

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 06:00 PM PST


When you're feeling stuck and need help seeing new possibilities, go to an ENFP or an ENTP.

ENFPs and ENTPs lead with extroverted intuition, a cognitive function that is constantly scanning the horizons for new, exciting possibilities. No situation is too odd or unconventional for these eclectic types and if it's an undiscovered solution you're searching for, they're the ones to go to. You'll walk away with ten thousand different solutions to any given problem or situation and feel supremely empowered to boot.

When you're having trouble setting or implementing concrete goals, go to an ESTJ or an ENTJ.

ESTJs and ENTJs lead with extroverted thinking, a cognitive function that focuses on achieving one's desired outcomes at basically any cost. These types are skilled at setting concrete goals that will help you get what you want in as direct and efficient a manner as possible. Go to them when you aren't sure how to achieve a goal or need help implementing plans. You'll walk away with a clear and concise plan of action.

When you need a reality check or are lacking the motivation to go directly for what you want, go to an ESTP or an ESFP.

ESFPs and ESTPs lead with extroverted sensing, a cognitive function that is allergic to bullshit. These types are skilled at cutting to the chase and going directly for what they want – and they'll encourage you to do the exact same. Visit these types when you need to cut the bullshit from your life and pursue the most direct route to whatever you're after.

When you're having trouble understanding how your decisions might affect the people around you, go to an ESFJ or an ENFJ.

ESFJs and ENFJs lead with extroverted feeling, a cognitive function that is highly in tune with the emotional experiences those around them. When you're at a loss as to how to appease a group or handle an interpersonal conflict, visit either of these people-savvy types. They'll help you harmonize with and better relate to just about any personality.

When you need help understanding the outcomes of various possible courses of action, go to an INTJ or an INFJ.

INTJs and INFJs are constantly examining various possible courses of action and how they are likely to unfold. When you're unsure about the long-term consequences of an action, visit either of these future-focused types. They'll help you examine the various possible outcomes of just about any situation and narrow down which plan of attack will best serve you in the long run.

When you need help implementing order in your life or optimizing your existing routine, go to an ISTJ or an ISFJ.

ISTJs and ISFJs lead with introverted sensing, a cognitive function that sources reliable solutions to problems and implements order in a concrete way. Go to these grounded types when you're having trouble finding a routine that works for you or understanding which tried and true solutions will best suit your needs. They'll help you organize and optimize your existing routine in order to overcome any challenges you're facing.

When you need to find a logical yet unconventional way of getting something done, go to an ISTP or an INTP.

ISTPs and INTPs lead with introverted thinking, a cognitive function that breaks down logical systems and finds the loopholes and hacks that exist within them. Go to these clever types when you're looking for a shortcut or workaround for a logistical problem that conventional sources just can't give you. They'll almost always be capable of providing you with a creative method of achieving what you want.

When you need help working through your feelings and understanding their underlying causes, go to an INFP or an ISFP.

INFPs and ISFPs lead with introverted feeling, a cognitive function that seeks to deeply understand the emotional experiences and core motivations of both themselves and others. When you're seeking to achieve an in-depth understanding of why you behave the way you do and what your emotions truly mean, visit either of these emotionally savvy types. They'll help you understand yourself in a way you may not have known it was even possible to. TC mark

Pick up Heidi’s new book “How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type” here.


8 Sex Positions For When You’re Lazy AF But Still Want To Get F*cked

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 05:00 PM PST

Girl on top? Excuse me, I signed up for sex, not CrossFit. My legs look and feel like two Twinkies that melted together so the only way I can pull this feat off is by squatting like I'm pooping in the woods. Pinterest told me to do squats in between commercial breaks to build endurance, but come on. I'm not an Olympian.


1. Doggy (Not with Labradors, but Two Overweight Pugs)

Real Housewives
Real Housewives

I know porn tells us to arch our backs so far that we look like figure-skaters doing a Biellmann spin. However, porn also tells us we can pay pizza delivery guys with sex. Sure, it works in porn, but when I do it someone always gets hurt (or ends up paying $15 anyway). I prefer to do doggy the same way I dig for a slipper under the couch: face down, ass up, exasperated facial expression. Pretend you're crawling through a tunnel to retrieve a mysterious fossil to spice things up.

2. Doggy (But You're One of Those Dogs Missing its Front Two Legs)

Louis CK
Louis CK

Same as doggy, but you're on your elbows instead of palms. If you believe in yourself, you can even be handsfree! This allows you to Google pictures of cute baby animals or eat a Cup o’ Noodles.

3. Planking


Just lie there like you usually do, but this time you're on your tummy so it's technically a new position. Who says you don't change it up?

4. Crime Scene Chalk Outline

RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul’s Drag Race

You've gotta know your angles for this one. Essentially, you're just lying there but one of your arms is bent above your head to provide a glamorous image for your partner to look at. Hitch up a crooked leg for extra glamour.

5. Touch Your Knees

Easy A
Easy A

It's like touching your toes, but you don't want to pull a muscle. Put a hand on each knee and squat slightly like you're talking down to a rowdy child at your niece's birthday party and get to work.

6. Goldilocks

Jenna Marbles
Jenna Marbles

You have to find a surface that is not too high, or too low, but just right. Then you sit on it while he stands and plows away. Just like the movies.

7. BDSM for Chumps


Trick your partner into tying you up. Oopsie, now you're tied up and can't move which means you can't do any work or contribute physically! You're welcome. Bonus: He now thinks you're kinky. Downside: He now thinks you're kinky.

8. Just Fucking Lying There


Just hurry up and finish so I can go back to watching Chopped.
I hope this list helps in your journey for sexual fulfillment without the effort. Join me next time when I teach you the art of the blowinternship (a blowjob without the payoff). TC mark

The Young Professional’s Guide To Death

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 04:00 PM PST


Everyone has an opinion on how you should live your life in your 20s—open a Roth IRA, don't put more than 30% of your income toward rent, visit your doctor annually and make sure he provides in-network coverage.

I definitely don't have any of those bases covered, but I need some help with another subject matter—death. Because I really don't know how to nonchalantly drop into happy hour conversation with friends that I just found out my aunt has stage four pancreatic cancer.

It would be helpful if someone could give me guidance on swiftly packing a carry-on suitcase filled with practical clothing options for an inevitable funeral.

Explain to me embracing my dad in way that says, "I'm so happy to be in your arms, but when I left at Christmas, I didn't think I would be back in a month to watch you say goodbye to your sister."

Send me a suggestion for responding properly to the text message from the cute guy I met at the bar last weekend. No, I didn't celebrate fucking Pizza Day because I spent my night crying on an airplane and weeping on a hospice couch.

Please counsel me on comforting my 6'4" brother with tears streaming down his face because the woman he just saw resembles a shell of his aunt whose laugh once reverberated through rooms.

I have a damn journalism degree but none of my professors covered the topic of how to write an obituary that's long enough to do your loved one's life justice, but short enough that the city paper won't send you a $1,000 bill—they charge by the letter, if you're unaware.

Walk me through the process of entering an empty, echoing home to sift through personal belongings so I can confirm my aunt's Social Security number with the incompetent funeral home director.

I'm wondering if there is a proper etiquette when responding to my distant cousin who approaches me at the wake to emphatically say, "Sweetie, you just look so tired." I'll go ahead and assume it's not appropriate to reply with the piercing thoughts on the tip of my tongue.

What's the protocol for then resuming my daily life like I'm one of those TV shows that's been abruptly interrupted by a breaking news alert? Do death, grief and mourning simply fade swiftly into grocery store trips, inane email threads and annual performance reviews?

My suggestion for the gurus who seem to specialize in the 20-something-year-old lifestyle—ditch your next article that's probably titled "11 Signs That Traveling Has Changed You" and spend some time writing the Young Professional’s Guide to Death. TC mark

The Most Scandalous Thing I Ever Did At A Wedding

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 03:00 PM PST

Carmen Jost
Carmen Jost

I knew he'd be there, so I wore his old favorite perfume and a pair of panties he'd texted me about endlessly back when we were together, just in case. The dress I was wearing was long, black, plunging in the back, and new – I couldn't resist buying something for the occasion.

It wasn't that I was planning anything regarding this legendary ex, the one I never really got over, the one that fueled all my midday "bored at work" sex fantasies … I was just going to this wedding prepared, OK?

Of course, he was there when I arrived and he looked good. He must have been spending some time out in the sun, because he was a little tan and a little scruffy, just the way I liked him. I tried not to drift over in his direction and instead went to sit by some of our friends, leaving a few spaces of buffer between us. He was definitely looking at me.

The bride must have thought there was unfinished business between us, too, because when cocktail hour was over and we were led to our tables, guess who was seated at mine? Way to go, bride. Thanks a lot.

After a couple glasses of wine, he sidled up to me when my girlfriend went to the bathroom and vacated her chair. "You look great," he said. "What's up?"

I raised my eyebrows and searched his face to figure out where the hell this was gonna go. I took a little sip of my wine and thought, "Fuck it, let's see." So I smiled at him and whispered, "Well, I'm wearing your favorite underwear under this dress."

That was basically all it took. Men are incredibly easy, especially when they're a little drunk and a little loved-up. He moved my friend's dinner card over to his old seat so he could bask in my presence, and to be honest, my knees were a little melty and shaky from such close contact. I knew I shouldn't even think about letting any this dudes' appendages near mine, but I couldn't help it. He smelled just the way he always had and it was making me hungry.

"Remember when you wore those panties under that little sundress when we drove up to the cabin for the weekend?" He murmured to me between bites of our main dish, which I promptly forgot after eating it. "And you kept flashing them at me while I drove before you just took them off entirely?"

I laughed, mostly to cover up the pounding of my heart. Oh, I remembered that cabin trip. I remembered it very, very well. Let's just say I'll never look at a pontoon the same way again. "Perks of dating a Minnesota girl."

We moved between polite dinner-table chatter and naughty asides to each other for all of dinner and dessert, though his fingers started to creep up my (freshly waxed and tanned) leg about halfway through. Soon they were investigating the panties in question, stroking my inner thighs, fiddling with the elastic. "If you don't stop that now I'm gonna spill my wine," I whispered to him. "People are totally watching."

"Let's skip the dance. They won't even notice."

"But I brought a gift!" Of course I was kidding. Wedding dances are usually lame as hell, and we weren't in the wedding party.

He flashed me a glimpse of his phone, where he'd opened up his hotels app. Yeah, that's a thing. "Where do you wanna go?"

"Surprise me. Maybe a Jacuzzi?" I was about to vibrate out of my damn chair at this moment. I didn't even care that I'd paid way too much for this dress and shouldn't waste it by throwing it on some hotel floor that probably had bedbugs. I wanted my dress off and his dick inside me.

The two of us stayed for approximately three songs; we did the requisite "ooh"ing and "aww"ing over the couple's first dance, and then he swept me into his arms for one little slow dance. You know, under all this flinty sex talk, I'm kind of a romantic, so I had my moment swaying against the body of a dude I once really loved. It was sexy, and it was a little sad, too.

"I'm gonna take you down the street and check us in, and then I'm gonna take that dress off as slow as I can. Then, when you're wearing just your panties and your shoes, I'm gonna call down for some champagne and you're gonna drink it while I go down on you," he said low in my ear. "And then I'm gonna press you up against the window and fuck you for the whole city to watch."

I flushed from my forehead to my toes, anticipating the delicious warmth of his tongue on me. "It's a good thing I don't have any wine in my hand or it'd be all over your suit. God damn."

"We always had the best sex, didn't we? Remember that time when …" he started.

I was not in the mood to play "Trip Down Memory Lane." Nope, I was ready to have my dress shucked off and my whole body thoroughly fucked. "Don't play the nostalgia game with me right now," I said. "Go get my coat. I'll pretend I'm going to the bathroom and we'll leave. My panties are practically soaked right now."

"You're such a good girl. I can't wait to smack your ass and make you beg for my dick."

"I just love weddings!" I said as we left. "Someone always gets laid. And it's the best when it's me." TC mark

8 Things You Need To Know If You’ve Ever Asked “Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?”

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 02:00 PM PST

The question that is always asked of victims of domestic abuse is “Why don’t/didn’t you just leave?” I know sometimes even victims don’t really understand why.

I’ve heard that question over and over. While there are many different reasons we give for not leaving, there is a “scientific explanation” for why it is so difficult to leave an abusive situation. I will explain the cycle of brainwashing as studied by Psychologist Robert Jay Lifton but will be discussing it as it specifically pertains to domestic abuse.

Last year, after years of hiding my abuse from almost everybody I knew, I decided to publicly share my story. Recently, after my research on brainwashing, I went back to read the story I had written last year. I was shocked. Each experience I described was the step by step brainwashing process. What’s even more shocking, is that my abuser was only 15 years old.

I am not a Psychologist, I speak from years of personal experience and from spending time with women who have endured domestic abuse. When somebody’s only objective is to keep you loyal, they will go to great lengths to achieve it.

This is what the brainwashing process looks like:

Stage I- Breaking Down the Self

Step 1 – Assault on Identity: When somebody is trying to control another, they begin to attack their sense of self, their identity. They start to say things that cause the victim to doubt who they are.

  • “You are a slut.”
  • “You’re worthless.”
  • “You are not a good mom.”
  • “You are ugly, nobody will want you.”

The attacks are repeated consistently for days, weeks, and sometimes years. As a result, the victim becomes disoriented, confused, and begins to doubt everything they believed to be true. Eventually the victim will begin to adopt these same beliefs.

The idea of brainwashing is to destroy the old identity and replace it with a new one, one that matches with the beliefs, values, and ideas of the manipulator. The effects of an attack on the identity can last long after the victim is no longer in the abusive situation.

Step 2 – Establishment of Guilt: Guilt is an effective tactic in mind control and is introduced in different ways. The abuser criticizes the victim for any reason, small or large and sometimes no reason at all.

  • “This is your fault.”
  • “You made me do this.”

The abuser will take a small flaw and embellish it to the extreme. Abusers will shift responsibility of their actions to the victim or justify their behavior by blaming the victim.

“If you wouldn’t have talked back, I wouldn’t have had to hit you.”

An abuser will make the victim feel guilty for disagreeing with them or not meeting extremely high expectations.

An abuser may blame the victim for the abuser’s transgressions by making the victim believe they deserved it, or are a result of something the victim did. After the assault on identity, the constant criticisms cause the victim to believe the punishment and mistreatment are warranted.

Guilt can easily turn into shame when it is internalized. Inducing guilt, humiliation, and shame destroy confidence and self worth. A victim begins to feel culpable all the time and everything they do or say is wrong. When shame sets in, the victim no longer feels bad about things they’ve done, they begin to feel they are bad.

Step 3 – Self-Betrayal: Once a victim is overwhelmed with guilt and shame, they begin to abandon their own needs and make choices that are harmful to their wellbeing. The victim is bullied into cutting off communication from friends and family who share the same beliefs or behaviors. This is when isolation begins, the abuser believes the victim’s friends and family are a threat to the relationship. The abuser will blame friends or family for problems in the relationship. The victim’s betrayal of their own beliefs and the betrayal to the people to whom they once felt a sense of loyalty to, increases the feelings of shame and guilt which further destroys their sense of self. As a result, the more isolated a victim becomes, the more dependent they are on the abuser.

Step 4 – Breaking Point: At this point, the victim no longer recognizes themselves, they don’t know who they are any longer. They may have lost their grip with reality. Gaslighting techniques are used to push the victim over the edge. Gaslighting is an attempt by one person to overwrite another’s reality.

  • “You’re crazy – that never happened.”
  • “You’re making that up, it’s all in you head.”
  • “You’re paranoid.”

The victim is confused and disoriented from gaslighting and from being fed a distorted version of reality. The victim questions themselves constantly and feels like “the crazy one” and/or feels depressed, anxious, traumatized and other negative emotional and physical symptoms like insomnia and paranoia.

Some may call this a “nervous breakdown.” A nervous breakdown is the point of exhaustion reached after an extended period of extreme anxiety. The overwhelming anxiety, depression, and stress leads to a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, and absolute exhaustion. The victim’s ability to think and reason at this stage is severely compromised and they become temporarily unable to function normally in day-to-day life.

Stage II- Possibility of Salvation

Step 5 – Leniency & Opportunity: Just when a victim can literally take no more, the abuser offers leniency. This is when the abuser offers a small act of kindness amid the psychological abuse and the victim feels a deep sense of gratitude completely out of proportion to the deed.

Because the victim’s perception is so skewed, the small act shifts emotions to relief and a sense of admiration. Since these small acts of kindness are so infrequent, the kind gesture is magnified. It can be something as small as offering a glass of water, a hug, or a compliment. This can lead to a sense of false hope. It puts the responsibility on the victim to do things better, to try harder, in hopes the acts of kindness will become more frequent.

These unpredictable responses are detrimental to mental wellbeing, confidence, and self-esteem. The abuser can have an extreme reaction one day, and then the next day have the complete opposite reaction. This unpredictability can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Step 6 – Compulsion to Confess: The victim is so grateful for the small gesture between abuse and manipulation, they begin to agree with the criticisms. For the first time in the brainwashing process, the victim is faced with the stark contrast between the harsh criticism & abuse and the relief of leniency.

This is when the victim looks within and tries to find those “evil” parts of themselves and attempts to remove them from every part of their being. This leads directly to their “new” identity. The victim begins to acquire the beliefs and values the abuser has ingrained. At this point, the victim is willing to say anything to recreate those moments of leniency.

Step 7- The Channeling of Guilt: The victim does not know what they have done wrong, they just know they are wrong. They begin to feel guilty for who they are and about the beliefs they’ve held. This creates a blank slate so the abuser can attach the guilt to whatever belief system the abuser is trying to replace. The victim comes to believe it is their belief system that is causing all of the problems, the more they accept the abuser’s way of thinking, the more shame they feel about who they were. Essentially, this is when the victim begins to adopt the new way of thinking and relinquishes their old way of thinking.

Step 8- Releasing of Guilt – Logical Dishonoring: By this stage, the victim has come to believe that they themselves are not bad, but the belief systems they held are wrong, and they can escape that wrongness by completely changing their belief systems. They denounce their former belief system and the people they associated with. They confess to acts associated with their former belief systems. After a full confession, they complete the process of rejecting their former identity. Now, the abuser offers up the new identity.

These tactics are very similar to those used on prisoners of war or members of a cult. In a domestic abuse situation, the brainwashing process becomes a cycle and the steps continue to be repeated. The moment an abuser begins to feel the victim is “slipping from their control,” they will re-assault their identity. This will begin the process all over again. Victims continue to believe in the ideas of their abusers long after they have left the abusive environment. The new belief system has been so deeply rooted, it could take years to change.

There is hope. Abuse thrives only in silence. If you are healing from an abusive relationship, know the most important thing to do is forgive yourself. If you find yourself in this situation, please seek support. An extremely effective way to get out of the darkness of guilt and shame is by shining a light on it. Start talking about it, don’t keep the feelings inside. Shame can only survive in darkness. TC mark

If you are in an abusive situation…The National Domestic Violence Hotline

15 Defining Father-Daughter Moments That Every Daddy’s Girl Can Relate To

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 01:00 PM PST


1. When he tries to do your hair (and it looks absolutely tragic.)

Braids, pig tails, the simplest pony—he just can't do it. But at least he tries…right?

2. Your first real father-daughter date.

Maybe it's fishing. Maybe it's building a sandbox in the backyard. Or maybe it's to that rated R movie that your mother would absolutely kill him for taking you to. Regardless, it's your special thing.

3. When he teaches you how to fish, or change a tire, or shoot a hockey puck.

Or anything sport-related, 'dude-related,' or labeled as 'dad stuff.' He somehow has this incredible patience with you, and can comfort you even when you randomly burst into tears. He's the one teaching, re-teaching, and practicing with you until you actually get it. (Which can take a while sometimes.)

4. When you go shopping for mom together.

Which is usually the day of the anniversary/special event, and typically consists of you giving him ideas and him running around frantically. But regardless, it bonds the two of you.

5. When he lets you sit on his lap and drive.

And you totally suck and confuse the gas and the break, but he sits patiently as you park, reverse, and do a million donuts around the parking lot.

6. When you strike out (or completely fail at something he taught you.)

And you're walking back to the dugout with your head hanging and your bat dragging behind you like a dead animal, but somehow he hides his disappointment and makes you feel like you're the best ballplayer in the world.

7. When you take that official father-daughter dance picture.

And he buys you that little wrist corsage, pretends to be your boyfriend for the night, and never complains, even when you accidentally stab him with the boutonniere pin. Oops.

8. When he catches you kissing a boy.

Oh sh*t. Oh sh*t. You totally try to play it off but your face is the brightest watermelon pink and there's no hiding it. Now you'll have to give him the rundown.

9. When he pulls the 'I have a gun' line (and other threats) on your very first boyfriend.

Which is totally freaking embarrassing, but also endearing. Because he totally loves you.

10. The first time you ask him to buy tampons.

And his face gets all contorted with terror. Or he runs in there (literally runs), and grabs the first thing he sees. Super plus for an extra heavy flow?! Come on, Dad.

11. When he finds the bottle of booze in the back seat of your car.

He's super not impressed, but this will lead to the stories of his high school, party boy days. (And eventual grounding.)

12. The first time you get in legit, deep-sh*t kind of trouble.

AKA ears-turning-red, fire-breathing-dad mad. You might as well come clean about everything you've ever done because he's legit steaming from his nostrils.

13. The first time you make him cry.

And you feel like the scum of the earth because he doesn't cry much and his tears are probably the most painful thing in the entire world to ever witness. Never again.

14. The first time you make him cry for a good reason.

AKA happy tears because he's proud. Because you've won an award or played an amazing game or sang beautifully or got all A's or graduated. And because you're his daughter and he loves you so incredibly much.

15. When you realize he's not superman.

Probably when he tries to make pasta and totally burns the crap out of it. And you realize, for the first time, that he's not perfect. But that doesn't matter. Because he'll always be your hero. TC mark

10 Things You Learn About ‘Playing Games’ Through Dating

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 12:00 PM PST

Instagram Sophia Sinclair
Sophia Sinclair

Women have been told over and over again to play some sort of game in the dating world. The game of waiting a few hours to text back, the game of not being too available, the game of being mysterious in the beginning, the game of not showing too much interest at first or saying less than necessary. While I tried over and over again to play these games, I've come to realize that I suck at them and that they suck in general. Here is what I learned about playing love games.

1. They are a waste of time.

Playing games with someone you really like is a waste of time. I am not saying go tell the person you like that you can't stop thinking about them from day one, but I am saying if you keep pretending that you are not excited about a text, or not looking forward to seeing them or talking to them, you manifest that energy into existence and you keep dragging the game on until it's no longer fun.

2. The rules of the game keep changing.

The games change from city to city, from generation to generation, pre-tinder and post-tinder. So even if you finally got the hang of it, it will not stay that way for long and by the time you learn the new rules, even newer rules will be introduced and you will not be able to catch up. You will keep running around in circles.

3. Some people are just born with it.

Some people are just naturals at it-playing games is kind of a God-given gift. Some people just have it in them and they can pull it off and win. While some others try too hard and still lose. So if you are wondering why some people play the game better than you do; it's because they have they already have that talent and it doesn't go against their nature.

4. Someone always gets hurt.

Playing games is fun and exciting until someone loses or gets hurt. I don't think we intentionally want to hurt people but this is what happens when people play with emotions. You can get over losing a video game quickly but you can't get over your tears that quickly.

5. They are temporary.

You can't be on top for so long, at some point your game will not be as strong, whether you will start developing real feelings or you will just get tired of wearing a mask that no longer fits you. One of those days, you will just lose interest in winning and maybe lose interest in the game altogether. The truth always comes out and it will set you free.

6. They may never lead to true love.

If you are looking for long lasting love, then you have to be true to yourself and true to your partner. If you play games, you may be going after lust or infatuation, but not the kind of love that is pure and genuine.

7. They are easily exposed.

You can play as many games as you like, but if they are all fake, you will eventually get exposed and you will then have a hard time getting away with playing them in the future.

8. They don’t solve the problem.

They still don’t let you know if the person is genuinely interested in you or in the game you are playing. They don’t answer the real question.

9. They get old.

Just like video games, you get bored of them after a while. The thrill just wanes after some time or you get hooked on a new game. Sometimes you don't even have the time to play these games anymore. Games have an expiration date but your heart is timeless.

10. ‘Game over’ is not so bad.

What is the worst that could happen if you stop playing games? The person you like may not feel the same way about you, you will be disappointed for a little bit but you will know sooner than later and save yourself before getting attached or investing more. TC mark

We Need To Get Rid Of The Stigma Surrounding Being HIV Positive In The Gay Community

Posted: 19 Feb 2016 11:00 AM PST

Guillaume Paumier
Guillaume Paumier

Since 1983, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in NYC's Greenwich Village has been at the forefront of treating and supporting individuals infected with HIV/AIDS. At the start of The Center's programming to end the resounding stigma encompassing the existences of individuals living with HIV, a diagnosis of the virus meant death. In 2016, however, being tested positive for HIV (or AIDS for that matter) holds a far less devastating fate for individuals, retrospectively.

As the CDC continues to verify and promote multiple nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors like Abacavir and Combivir (drugs that essentially slow the disease's spread and progress), it appears that HIV/AIDS infected bodies can function as readily as any other. Still, the queer community in-large has yet to witness a change in perspective over the individual infected with the virus—finding these bodies of zero worth or attraction. HIV positive persons are widely considered lesser than human, and are deemed "dirty" on countless queer online dating apps. Even when these persons showcase limited symptoms of the disease, they're shunned by way of their HIV status on dating profiles, which is oftentimes asked of them on these platforms upfront.

Having only recently been reacquainted with queer hookup apps like Grindr and Scruff, I was quickly reminded of the culture of shame surrounding those who know and admit to their positive status. While dragging cigarettes outside of a music venue in Williamsburg with a queer friend of mine on an unfriendly December night, I sat staggered as he hastily blocked all men who messaged him with a "POZ" status.

Laughing wildly, and drunkenly blabbering, "I'm not touching that one—nope! No. Sorry!" he clamored on, insisting it'd be idiotic to date anyone with HIV. It wasn't necessarily wrong of him to be precautious in his sexual behaviors or weary of who he shares these experiences with, but rather how he addressed them—as if they were people unable to enact in safe sex practices without transmitting the virus.

His delivery was hurtful; his mindset, tragically more so.

Many Millennial queer men seemingly prioritize their sex lives and overall hunt for Mister Right over a majority of other worrisome factors in life. HIV, in many senses, drastically alters this landscape. Place your positive status on a variety of online dating apps and, regardless of how attractive you may be, countless potential suitors will pass you up. Opt out of listing your status on your profile, and you might get lucky and score a date prior to coming forward with your status. After that, you only risk the potential awkward happenstance of never hearing back from the guy, ultimately having your self-esteem notched down.

A large part of this aversion to HIV positive individuals on dating apps comes from the dirty stigma these bodies face. This isn't a person-to-person dilemma, but rather a cultural downfall. What do queer guys do?

We stigmatize those who are positive out of fear that we too will one day have to list a POZ status on our profiles.

The stigma also affects HIV negative people who openly have sex with positive individuals. Tell a person you have a sex partner who is positive, and they'll automatically label you as dirty too. With the CDC considering HIV negative people who have sex with HIV positive people to be "risky" in their sex practices, can you blame those who shame? We seemingly ignore the HIV negative person's ability to take HIV preventative drugs like PrEP, use condoms, and exercise other safe sex practices to protect themselves. These individuals are sexually exiled and avoided by way of the majority's debilitating fears, anxieties, and ignorance over HIV/AIDS.

This past week, I joined an online HIV informational group where a vast array of identities flock to speak on their plights with their HIV status, obtain information on health practices and regimens, and even foster relations with people going through similar woes and triumphs. On my first day of being a member, a 20-something-year-old man posted, "I've always had a tough time attracting a partner, now I know I'll never have one," outwardly destroyed by the discovery of his newfound status.

The post devastated me, and I admittedly shed a few tears knowing that if my status were to ever become positive I would feel a similar sense of defeat.

Although HIV is now treatable, and those who live with a positive status are able to maintain a normal life, we still categorize them as if they are others infected by "the gay disease." The queer community has progressed in many ways as a supportive, strong unit, but until we view HIV positive individuals as healthy regular people, we will forever be stuck in a 1980s mindset.

The most effective way to combat this logic is with sex education. Once we are able educate Millennials, who are the most detached age group from the virus, we will see a difference in how we interact with those who hold positive statuses. Luckily, there are many initiatives and organizations, including Play Sure and HIV Equal, which promote safe practices while destigmatizing a fear that has gone unchecked for far too long.

So much has changed since the onset of the 1980s AIDS epidemic. It's only when we take responsibility over our treatment of others and move forward with a sex positive mindset, however, that we will be able to bring forward true equality, and eventually dismantle an unyielding epidemic. TC mark