Thought Catalog


When Two Damaged People Love Each Other

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 08:00 PM PDT

Joel Sossa
Joel Sossa

These are the ways we love each other.

We are sitting in the same room, not talking. You are playing video games and killing dark things on screen, whilst I am writing away every violent memory that has crept through my mind in the last ten minutes. There is no pressure of conversation. There is no necessity in this. It is simply being and we are both dealing with our demons in our own ways. The difference is, we understand that – without talking about it.

We are leaving a restaurant in the middle of London, after a beautiful day and I see him, the man who haunts my memories. My whole body withers in fear and as you look up in his direction, he is gone like he was never there, just a memory. You wrap your arm around me as we walk, not asking any questions just understanding. Later, Facebook reminds you of a memory you would much rather forget, and as I pull you close into a hug, I can feel the storm shaking inside your body.

We are in a Doctor's office and you're silent. I know how much you hate it here and how everything about this place makes you need to hold the broken pieces of you together even more fiercely. I touch your hand and you look up at me, lost, then look away again. The silence isn't the problem. The memories are, and it takes someone who hates being in this room as much as you do understanding that. You say to me "I'm sorry I brought you with me." I smile and squeeze your hand tight. "I wouldn't have it any other way." I didn't fall in love with you because you were perfect. I fell in love with you because you were so honest and you never ever hid your damage.

We are lying in bed, both wide awake, not sleeping. Caught between nightmares and the moon, the Sandman has forgotten us completely. After a while of restless shifting, you get up and go to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I stay in bed and watch the ghosts of our pasts shift in our bed, waiting for you to return. When you do, we chase them away with a midnight film – an old black and white movie. We both know that getting up tomorrow is going to be a pain, that we will be exhausted at work – but there is no fighting insomnia when it is immersed in our bodies so deeply.

Some days, we look at each other like we are about to say something and then stop – almost as if the clock in our heads have told us not to speak about it yet. The difference is, there is no pressure to speak about it until we are ready.

You see, the way we love is different because we are broken. Whilst others love in flowers and songs and conversation, we love in silence and helping each other pick up the pieces. Our love is a quiet journey in healing. Our love is where we wait for the other to fix themselves and help them grow slowly.


You see, we are damaged, so we love a bit differently. These ways in which we say 'I love you' aren't perfect. But they are balm for healing, a balm for dark memories.

You once asked me, "How can you love something as broken and damaged and unhinged as me?"

It's easy, my darling, you are damaged and broken and unhinged. But so are shooting stars and comets. TC mark

I Am Not The One For You

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 07:00 PM PDT

Noël Alva
Noël Alva

I am not the one for you and I am so sorry.

I am trying to fall in love with you, but it's just not working. Your face cannot get any prettier. Your butt couldn't be any more perfect and bouncy. You are beyond beautiful. You are educated and you are a scientist. On the exterior you are my motherfucking dream girl, but I don't want you.

You are making me a sweater from scratch as a surprise, and I need you to stop. Please don't finish it. I can't let you put so much work into something that is geared to fit my exact individualized measurements. I won't appreciate it like you want me to. You won't receive the loving reaction that you have earned.

I don't listen for clues about what your favorite Sylvia Plath quotes are or take note of your favorite water-ice flavor. Slugs have 4 noses, and you weren't the first person I wanted to tell. When I tripped off the ledge at Kelly Drive and fell into the Schuylkill River, I (justifiably) had a very dramatic reaction. For days, I whole-heartedly believed that had I contracted both syphilis and a brain-eating amoeba from the repulsive unsanitary contaminated water. Even during that time of panic and fear I did not find comfort in you wanting to take care of me. I found comfort in wanting to take care of myself.

When you're driving behind me, I don't get out of my car at a stoplight and run to your window just so I can kiss you. I don't pick you a flower when we're going for run. I don't grab your butt in Whole Foods or try to kiss your face off every second. I don't wonder about your day or save you that last Oreo in the Oreo sleeve. I don't demand that you immediately cease what you're doing so we can dance in the kitchen to Leon Bridges.

My schedule is not rearranged to fit you in. I don't care if we've just passed your favorite candle at Target. I won't pretend I've forgotten to grab gummy bears and run back to memorize the candle brand. I don't feel compelled to steal your hoodies and hold them close to my nose because I miss you and crave your scent.

I don't think we make love, I think we have sex. I don't talk to you during or pull you closer after. I don't count the freckles on your back or rub your shoulders at night. I don't want to explore your body and know all your secrets. I have no desire to obsess over the details of you, like I should, and like you deserve.

When I met you, I was so vulnerable and heartbroken. I told you to do what you wanted and that I wasn't ready. Instead you stayed and have so greatly assisted in converting my weakness into strength. You have helped make me brave again.

I'm thankful, more than you realize, but now I have to let you go. I have to get out of the way so you can be found by the person who can't wait to kiss you, who doesn’t have to try to fall in love. TC mark

For Everyone Who Has Been Single For So Long They Feel Completely Unlovable

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 06:00 PM PDT

Yuri Arcurs
Yuri Arcurs

Some nights when I rest my head on my worn down pillow, I think to myself how nice it would be if that pillow were instead a human chest. And some days, when I see couples roaming the streets holding hands so tightly as if they could never let go, I feel a twinge of sadness.

“That used to be me,” I think to myself. How beautiful that was.

And I’m lucky because I have truly loved. That’s something not a lot of people can say at this age with their whole heart. I loved and was loved back and I would never take that back for anything. But now, I don’t have anyone but me. And it took awhile to convince others and myself that this was a good, if not amazing thing.

Right now, hundreds of people are falling in love at this very moment. And hundreds of people are falling out of love. But, hundreds of people right now also feel lonely and scared that they will never get to fall in love again, that they will never find someone to love them back. Hundreds of beautiful souls right now are looking at all the couples roaming the streets and are feeling pathetic. They are feeling lonely. They are feeling unlovable.

But I want you to know you are never going to be unlovable. You are not pathetic. You are not alone. And you are most definitely not a failure. As much as there are couples in this world, there are millions of single individuals just waiting for The One, just waiting to be loved and just waiting to say “I do.”

But here's the thing, we all need to stop waiting. Stop pacing your room at midnight anxiously wondering when you’re going to meet your soul mate. Stop swiping right on guys who you know aren’t going to give you the kind of love you can give them. Stop questioning your self worth just because you’re single. Stop giving yourself panic attacks because you’re 23 and don’t have a significant other. Stop googling, “When will I meet my husband?!” whenever you’re tipsy. Stop the self-hate. Stop under appreciating yourself.

You have so much time to find that person you want to spend the rest of your life with. I promise you, you have so much time. And if your friends ever try to set you up with someone, or try to convince you that you have to try online dating, then you can send them on their way. You are freaking awesome just the way you are, and you don’t need a boyfriend or a girlfriend to tell you that. You are just as worthy and smart as the girl next to you making-out with her boyfriend at the bus stop. You are just as beautiful as the girl showing off her diamond ring that rests on her ring finger. You are just as successful as the girl you went to high school with who already has a child.

As soon as we turn eighteen, our goals shift. Instead of just wanting to get good grades, we start to worry about our future. And we usually want our future to involve someone else. Then our anxiety shifts more as we become adults. Society constantly feeds us articles and movies about couples and about a lost girl whose life becomes magical as soon as she gets her prince charming. But the truth is, you don’t need anyone else to make you happy but yourself. This anxiety we all feel is just society and the rest of the world putting ideas into our heads. Your life can be just as magical without a prince charming. Your life can be a fairytale without that happy ending. Right now, is the time to just love yourself. And kick ass.

You don’t need to rest your head on someone's shoulder to be ok. You don’t need to hold hands with someone to feel complete. You are too young to worry about wedding bells and flower decorations, too young to worry about bridal showers and what age is the “right” age to get married. Now is the time to worry about yourself and take care of only you, because there is a lot more to life than falling in love. And you are going to do much more than just fall in love in your lifetime. Take pride in not needing a horse drawn carriage, or a fairy godmother to help you find your “soul mate”. Take pride in being your own soul mate and needing no one but yourself. TC mark

12 Things It’s Okay To Learn The Hard Way

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 05:00 PM PDT

lensinkmitchel
lensinkmitchel

There are some people out there who are perfectly capable of learning from the mistakes of others.

I am not one of those people.

From the time I was a child, I always had to get my hands dirty. I needed to test things, to tinker with them, to break them apart just to determine how to put them back together. In the words of my parents, I had to learn everything the hard way. And not much has changed as an adult.

I strongly believe that some of us are simply wired to learn through experiences. To learn through doing, remembering, regretting and reconfiguring our plan going forward. And contrary to popular belief, that is okay sometimes. There are some things that we may even need to learn the hard way.

1. It's okay to learn the hard way what kind of love is right for you.

It's okay to fall for someone who's wrong for you, to try too hard at a relationship that ultimately fails, to give your all to something that ends up not lasting forever. Learning to love takes trial and error. And it's okay to not know how to do it right away.

2. It's okay to learn the hard way what your limits are.

It's okay to push too hard, to give to much, to run yourself into the ground trying to accomplish all you can before you ultimately crash and burn out. It's okay to not innately understand where your own boundaries lie. Life is a game of constantly making adjustments as you go.

3. It's okay to learn the hard way when to leave.

It's okay to stay too long, to bail too soon, to constantly misjudge when you need to stay and fight and when you ought to leave and let go. The art of knowing when the timing is right is not one that comes naturally to any of us. We have to learn to trust our guts the hard way.

4. It's okay to learn the hard way who you are.

It's okay to fit yourself into different boxes, to struggle to live up to expectations, to invent and reinvent yourself as many times as you need to until you get it right. Deciphering who you truly are is a lifelong challenge. And it's one you'll have to rise up to time and time again.

5. It's okay to learn the hard way who to trust.

It's okay to misplace your devotions, to mismanage your expectations, to place your care and convictions into someone who ultimately lets you down. It's okay to live with a wide-open heart and learn the hard way when it needs a little extra protection.

6. It's okay to learn the hard way how to let go.

It's okay to grasp too tightly, to hold on too desperately, to love when you really ought to leave and to linger when you ought to let go. We all occasionally have to hang onto that deadweight for a little too long, before we're able to fully appreciate just how good it feels to let it fall away.

7. It's okay to learn the hard way what your value as a professional is.

It's okay to work too hard for too little, or to work too little for too much. It's a natural part of living to need to constantly adjust your perception of what you are professionally worth and you're going to get it wrong a few times. It is okay to let that go.

8. It's okay to learn the hard way how to treat yourself.

It's okay to be a little too harsh or a little too soft with yourself on the way to finding that happy medium. It's okay to let your relationship with yourself shift and alter and rearrange itself as often and as drastically as it takes for you to find the balance you physically and emotionally need.

9. It's okay to learn the hard way how to forgive.

It's okay to hold onto resentment, to struggle with hatred, to let the poison of bitterness infiltrate your system before you are able to understand the necessity of letting it go. When you struggle to forgive, you are struggling with the emotions that are only purely human and self-preserving. Without doing so, you'll never learn the importance of allowing yourself to fully heal.

10. It's okay to learn the hard way how to cope.

It's okay to grasp at straws, to turn to desperation, to try and fail at coping mechanisms that do not grow or serve you in the long run. It's okay to not intuitively know how to save yourself. It's through that trial and error that you end up discovering what you truly need, and what parts of yourself you can turn to during times of struggle.

11. It's okay to learn the hard way how to set boundaries.

It's okay to give too much and then too little as you struggle to find a balance that does not deplete you. It's okay to go too far out onto a limb for someone who wouldn't ever do the same for you. At the end of the day, there is no better way to learn to respect yourself and establish your own internal limits.

12. It's okay to learn the hard way what you want.

It's okay to barrel full-speed ahead toward a dream that ends up dying. It's okay to go chasing the wrong waves. Your life will be a constant process of shifting perceptions and desires. And you don't need to have them all figured out right away. There are some things we can only truly learn through trial, error, reflection and re-evaluation.

There are some things we can only learn the hard way. TC mark

13 Women Share Their Biggest Sexual Regret (So You Don’t Have To Make The Same Mistakes)

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 04:00 PM PDT

Twenty20, isaiahphoto
Twenty20, isaiahphoto

1. “Tirelessly blowing my first boyfriend without ever asking for head in return. Throwback to when I was young and too insecure to assert myself in bed. Now I won't sleep with a guy again if he doesn't go down on me the first time.”

— Marlo, 25


2. “Giving my ex a rim-job. I don't regret doing it—it was actually super empowering and hot for me, lol—I just regret doing it to him. He was such an insecure little bastard that the next morning, he turns to me and goes, 'I can't believe you touched my asshole last night. Gross.' Sorry you’re too sexually frustrated to admit you actually loved it, babe. Moans like that don't lie. ;)”

— Nellie, 23


3. “Sleeping with a random guy on vacation without a condom, and then dealing with the anxiety of thinking I had an STD (don't worry, I don't) all summer, because I was too scared of the results to get tested in a timely fashion. It was miserable.”

— Simone, 21


4. “Anal.”

— Farah, 20


5. “I definitely didn't sleep around enough while I was single. Now I’m married, and I fantasize about other men constantly because I didn’t experiment enough while I could without it being considered cheating.”

— Tasha, 29


6. “Drunkenly sleeping with my best friend's crush in college. She forgave me, but three years later, I still lug around the regret of screwing her over like that for one night of totally mediocre sex.”

— Lucy, 23


7. “The sorry motherfucker I kicked out of my dorm room immediately after he said, 'I've never hooked up with a black girl, but you're so hot I couldn't resist.' Always scan for douchebags before inadvertently taking one home.”

— Valerie, 21


8. “Never actually trying Netflix and chill.”

— Janie, 26


9. “Turning down a threesome with my hot best friend and her ex, who was also hot. I was afraid we'd regret it/that she'd be weird to me afterwards, but we were both too mature to let it fuck up our friendship. It would've been wild.”

— Delilah, 22


10. “Trying an open relationship with my long-distance ex-boyfriend. The stress of it eventually broke us up, and the one time I actually took advantage of the arrangement, the sex was incredibly awkward and not pleasurable at all. It just felt wrong. Do not recommend.”

— Sasha, 27


11. “Vegas. It actually would've been a fun night of clubbing and debauchery if that Italian hipster hadn't kicked me out of his hotel room and made me pay for my own cab. He made me pay for the cab because I would't suck his dick. That fucking cab fare overdrew my bank account. Lesson: Never go to Vegas. And don't fuck hipsters.”

— Jenna, 23


12. “I regret pretty much every time I had sex till pretty recently. Maybe I'm alone in this, but before I started hooking up with a guy who actually cared about making me come, I was just going through the motions, letting every guy I banged just pump and pump and then finish, clueless of whether or not I was genuinely enjoying it. Meanwhile, I'd be suffocating on the bottom, faking the pleasure of the whole experience. Sex should be fun. Not a chore.”

— Zaida, 22


13. “Honestly, my virginity. It sounds corny, I know, but it's the truth. I always told myself I'd wait for someone I cared about, but then sophomore year of college came around and I was still a virgin, so I caved and did it with a random guy who had a reputation for screwing anything that moved. The sex was horrible. Thinking of that dude sweating and grunting on top of me makes me want to hurl.”

— Mer, 26 TC mark

Trump Watch, March 24th, 2016: Devil Trump Invades The Stronghold Of Emory University, Slays All He Encounters

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 03:44 PM PDT

via Flickr - Michael Vaddon
via Flickr – Michael Vaddon

Trump’s inky shadow has been seen lately even among the hallowed halls of America’s most holy and stalwart establishments and by that, of course, I mean the private universities which span this great nation of ours.

Most recently it was Emory University which felt the cold touch of the Donald’s influence. A lo, that touch was cold.

via campusreform
via campusreform

Now the student body at lovely Emory is a tough group, no doubt, but this, this is a bridge too far. The depiction of Trump’s name, “Trump”, written legibly in chalk is something that no true American would allow. The very name summons the spirits and demons of racism, sexism, and xenophobia which we have been attempting to exorcise lo these many decades. But What Is To Be Done?! in the face of such chalky hatred?

Ban? Did someone say ban? Not yet, no, but it’s not for lack of trying. There is pain at Emory, oh dear reader! Pain not seen in a thousand generations! Come, feel the pain of this poor angel, confounded by all she has seen.

"I'm supposed to feel comfortable and safe but this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well … I don't deserve to feel afraid at my school.”

Safety violated? Silence? My gods but what have we become. Animals? Something worse? Bear with me another moment for there is more pain and it is pain that must be seen to be believed.

“It was like cross burning. It was on private property. It was extremely damaging and the students and faculty were totally embarrassed…it was absolutely intended to intimidate everyone and it worked."

Trump’s powers are many indeed for him to reach so far into the ivory fortress and strike such a wound. Dumbledore, Snape, Gandalf, etc, help us.

In other news…The Trump has a new icon, possibly. Please let it be so.

March 23rd, 2016: ‘Lyin Ted’ With A Side of Trump’s Hot Wife

It is official. Donald Trump has officially named Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” The nickname is everywhere on Trump’s Twitter feed.

“I will be the best by far in fighting terror. I'm the only one that was right from the beginning, & now Lyin' Ted & others are copying me.”

“Low energy Jeb Bush just endorsed a man he truly hates, Lyin' Ted Cruz. Honestly, I can't blame Jeb in that I drove him into oblivion!”

Lyin' Ted Cruz steals foreign policy from me, and lines from Michael Douglas— just another dishonest politician.”

Lyin’ Ted Cruz denied that he had anything to do with the G.Q. model photo post of Melania. That’s why we call him Lyin’ Ted!”

And those four are just over the last six hours. Oops, better make it five. He just posted again.

“I think having Jeb’s endorsement hurts Lyin’ Ted. Jeb spent more than $150,000,000 and got nothing. I spent a fraction of that and am first!”

“Lyin’ Ted” now appears alongside the other nickname zingers Donald’s graced us with this campaign season including “Low Energy Jeb” and “Little Marco.”

In other goings on, Lyin Ted has a super PAC on his side called “Awesome American” or “America Is Awesome” or something like that. They’re running this devastating ad against Donald.

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Truly, Trump’s support among straight males is now destined to drop as they realize just how scorchingly hot his wife is.

This is all very mild stuff though compared to the fights that broke out over Trump not having enough seating capacity at his rallies. People really get heated when they can’t sit down and last week’s skirmish in Tucson, Arizona is just an example of that.

Get more seating, Donald! The people outside are tired of waiting! I’m really not sure if he’s ever going to learn. Seating capacity and impatience has been an ongoing problem at his rallies since the beginning.

March 17th, 2016: Trump Shotguns Everyone In Sight

Trump attacked Megyn Kelly again today saying she is “highly overrated” and to “focus on others!” He also attacked Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz and ran a poll asking who was the bigger liar. So far Hillary is winning. She’s probably happy to hear it. She likes winning.

He also attacked the Wall Street Journal saying they’re bad at “math” or physics or whatever. He demanded they “apologize” for their lack of math or physics skills.

He also attacked Ted Cruz again saying the reasons evangelicals won’t vote for him is because they are “very smart.”

He also attacked Mitt Romney’s former campaign manager calling him “Sad!” He also attacked Fox News for having bad and boring debates.

Donald won every state but Ohio on Tuesday. He has a new attack ad out where Putin laughs at Hillary Clinton while she barks like a dog.

The Kremlin was ecstatic at being featured.

"It's an open secret for us that demonizing Russia and whatever is linked to Russia is unfortunately a mandatory hallmark of America's election campaign. We always sincerely regret this and wish the (US) electoral process was conducted without such references to our country." 

They loved it.

March 15th, 2016: Nice Guys Get Put Down

Trump attacked John Kasich today reminding everyone that Kasich isn’t a nice guy. “Watching John Kasich being interviewed – acting so innocent and like such a nice guy. Remember him in second debate, until I put him down.” Donald just wants to remind everyone that he’s the nice one, not John Kasich who is just acting nice. People who act nice have to be put down.

Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri, and Ohio are all doing the GOP voting thing today. I predict that Trump will win the Black vote handily in both Illinois and North Carolina and Donald is predicted to win every state except Ohio.

There are reports out there that Trump’s name was left off of a bunch of Florida ballots. I’m sure that’s just a mistake.

Also, people are accusing Trump of doing 9/11. I imagine we’ll start seeing attacks ads about it soon.

March 14th, 2016: An Accident In Chicago

What a crazy weekend for trying to get into a Trump rally. Up in Chicago it looks like they didn’t sell enough tickets and a lot of people ended up fighting to get seats.

Trump wine and steaks were not served at this rally. Coincidence?

March 10th, 2016: An Accident In North Carolina

Trump attacked Fox News today saying “Wow, you are all correct about @ – totally biased and disgusting reporting.” I think he was talking to his followers maybe? Maybe the entire internet? Maybe the Democrats? Anyway, it looks like Donald is on to them.

He also tweeted an ad saying he wants to keep “lightweight” Marco Rubio and “his friends” out of the White House. The debates are tonight so Donald will probably let Marco know this in person in case he didn’t see the ad. Donald’s pretty thorough, I think. I don’t think he’d want Marco to miss the ad.

There was kind of an interesting incident at Donald’s North Carolina rally last night that a lot of people are making a big deal out of. A group called “Black Lives Matters” was protesting there for some reason and were asked to leave. On their way out, a Trump supporter, obviously trying to keep one of the protesters from falling backwards down the stairs, balanced the guy’s head with his fist and I think he misjudged the distance because the guy pitched forward up the stairs. Security was quick though and grabbed the protester and pulled him up the stairs to make sure he didn’t fall.

You’re always safe at a Trump rally it seems, so many people looking out for you.

March 9th, 2016: Trump Performs Miracle Of Turning Politics Into Wine And Steak

Trump attacked the Club for Growth today saying “Phony Club For Growth tried to shake me down for one million dollars, & is now putting out nasty negative ads on me. They are total losers!” I’m not sure why he bothered talking about a phony club. I mean, if it’s not real then what’s the point? Just mark them spam and move on.

Trump didn’t sweep all four states yesterday like everyone said he would. Ted Cruz won in Idaho. Donald seemed to take it pretty well and had Trump wine and Trump steak at his victory afterparty last night. He apparently has a palatial 600 acre setup on the Potomac River in Virginia where the grapes are grown for Trump wine.

Not at all the Trump vineyards
Not at all the Trump vineyards

He offered all the reporters free wine. I mean he ended up yelling at one reporter but he still offered him free wine. I don’t know if Trump had been drinking or if the reporter had but there was wine available. You could see it right behind him.

At one point he was really nice though and complimented a different reporter for being beautiful and so politically correct.

So, all in all I think he was nice to everyone.

He did seem a little tired. He’s such a dynamo that it’s hard to tell but to me the area around his eyes seemed a little whiter than usual. Still, at the end of his speech he asked all the other Republican candidates to drop out so everyone could unite behind his campaign so I guess he wasn’t that tired.

The 10,001st Republican debate is tomorrow which is really great because they’ve all been very informative I think and really varied in the topics.

March 8th, 2016: Ivanka Trump Is Our Future

Donald was mad at Mitt and Lindsey again today. He tweeted that they’re both losers and that Lindsey was a drop out. He says it’s all very sad.

Today Mississippi, Hawaii, Michigan, and Idaho all report to the polls to decide whether they want to bring back Christmas or see it become another also-ran holiday like the Winter Solstice. Last night Trump promised Mississippians he’d save Christmas like Jason Alexander in that awful 2002 movie. The War on Christmas just seems to start earlier every year. Maybe Trump can stop that from happening.

He also released four videos, one for each state, with Ivanka asking people to get out and vote. Ivanka is very pretty. I really think all those years running the Miss America pageant put Donald in touch with what Americans really care about. The videos reflect that I think. Complex stuff, honestly.

Looking at the polls, the predicted simultaneous loss of all four states to The Donald tonight may cause the Earth to shake. I’m expecting tremors.

March 7th, 2016: A Question Of Hands

Donald Trump made fun of Marco Rubio today in a new ad. He said Rubio had been ripping the government and the Republican Party off through double billing and unapproved driveway construction. He also says Rubio is a lazy Senator who hardly ever shows up for his job. Then, after all that, he tweeted out that Rubio is a low energy guy, a stab at the man’s virility after Rubio said Trump had “small hands” and Donald had to go on tv and defend the size of his manhood.

Somebody else on Twitter said that the video shows a picture of the House instead of the Senate which is probably a little embarrassing.

Donald also made a video today about Trump University and showed a bunch of hand-written reviews from people. He cited the Better Business Bureau and seemed really serious about it and a little hurt that people might have gotten the wrong idea.

Tonight at 7pm he’s doing a rally at Madison County School District in Madison, Mississippi. He’s got five planned for the month. The guy’s doing a lot of traveling, it seems. TC mark

‘Black Mirror’ Takes Place In One Universe And I’ve Got The Evidence To Prove It

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 03:00 PM PDT

Netflix
Netflix

"Black Mirror" is widely considered to be the technological "Twilight Zone" of our generation. It's dark, it's dystopian, it's fantastic. I've been hooked since the first episode. But the relation of worlds/universes/timelines between episodes has become blurred. It's not really clear how any of the episodes connect, if they do at all.

Or is it?

I sat down and finally took a very, VERY close look at the show and discovered something. Yet during my discovery, I was met with some upsetting news: showrunner Charlie Brooker has (supposedly, I can't find the source) said that all episodes occur in their own universe. Whether this is false intel or a creator spouting untruths — I'm not sure. All I know is that when it comes to "American Horror Story" Ryan Murphy is the king of lies so I don't know why it couldn't happen on other continents.

Anyway, I've compiled a thorough list of evidence on how the "Black Mirror" universe is connected, and also a rough timeline. So sit down and strap in, because we've got some work to do.

Let's start with…

The National Anthem, Season 1, Episode 1

There's not much to say about this one. It doesn't technically connect to a lot of other episodes as far as I can tell, but to set the scene, it's important to note this:

Netflix
Netflix

The video that's been uploaded which, obviously, is very timely to the episode's constraints — a video of a Kate Middleton-type is shared and her fate is on a sort of timer — so that places us very squarely at the origin point of time. That, according to the show, is July 8, 2011.

Okay, that makes sense as to why we have no crazy dystopian future bullshit right? Definitely not one where people might be desensitized to politics because one of their highest political figures fucked a pig, right? Well, hang on to your hats because then we plunge headlong into:

The Waldo Moment, Season 2, Episode 3

So this might not seem the most natural progression but I have proof. This episode deals with the idea of a comedian-controlled cartoon character becoming a serious political figure (Donald Trump much?)

In it, failed comedian Jamie Salter is working as the voice behind an animated bear who acts as a trap for celebrities to think they're speaking on a children's show but are tricked into a Triumph The Comedy Dog-type joke. He begins campaigning against politician Liam Monroe, but eventually he realizes it's a bad idea. Now, as for the timeline, you can see that these political debates take place in 2013:

Netflix
Netflix

Jamie decides to rebel against his handlers and Waldo, the cartoon bear, loses. Liam Monroe wins. Now, it's important to realize that this takes place in 2013, for a few reasons. First of all, take a look at this billboard:

Netflix
Netflix

It might not mean anything, but it looks a lot like Abi from…

Fifteen Million Merits, Season 1, Episode 2

Right? It might not be her but god damn does it look like her.

Netflix
Netflix

The reason that's important is because Fifteen Million Merits seems like it's LIGHTYEARS in the future, like a future so far away we could never even imagine becoming purely human batteries for a higher power.

Now let's switch gears, because we need to go back to:

The Waldo Moment

Netflix
Netflix

During The Waldo Moment, we see a news ticker that reads "Controversial 'agitation' art exhibition to close three weeks ahead of schedule" while the election of Liam Monroe is being announced. This, to me, sounds a hell of a lot like:

White Bear, Season 2, Episode 2

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Netflix

Yes, White Bear is clearly an agitation art exhibition. I mean, come on, a ton of people turn out to watch a woman in obvious distress and film it for their pleasure. Now, mind you, this is obviously near in time to The Waldo Moment due to the news reel, and that took place in 2013. Spectators in White Bear have iPhones of various models, whereas in other episodes like Be Right Back the phones are slightly more advanced. PLUS the calendar on the wall, which while it doesn't display a year, the days in October match up to 2013.

Netflix
Netflix

So, this makes sense: The Waldo Moment is in 2013, and White Bear takes place in 2013 — simultaneously, but if the news reel is to be believed, then White Bear actually happened just prior to The Waldo Moment as it was shut down during the election.

Let's go ahead to:

Be Right Back, Season 2, Episode 1

Phones look very advanced in this one, as do computers. Nothing ties much to other episodes except for this pregnancy test.

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Netflix

Which leads to:

White Christmas, Season 3, Episode 1

The pregnancy test isn't exactly the same in this one, but it's the same animation/result, just a different model of the test, which actually makes sense IRL because you can choose different brands and they all differ.

Netflix
Netflix

Now, this episode was where I finally started tying a lot of loose ends together.

The karaoke song that was sang by Beth was the same song sang by Abi in Fifteen Million Merits; the only reason that's important is because "Hot Shots" is considered to be that generation's "American Idol." Beth sings "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is", which wasn't a popular song for a very long time — the original was produced in 1964. However, it's the same song sung by Abi in Fifteen Million Merits. She becomes famous from that (even though it's in the porn industry) but I feel like if that was how she was discovered, OBVIOUSLY that song would become famous. So think "A Moment Like This" from Kelly Clarkson — that's the equivalent. So is Fifteen Million Merits not so far in the future after all?

Netflix
Netflix

That’s definitely what it would seem, because in the brief moment our narrator watches television, he flips through the "Hot Shots" special on Selma, the breakout winner from Fifteen Million Merits:

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Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

Then the Toy Soldiers segment also featured in Fifteen Million Merits —

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Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

Then, oddly enough, a shot of the television show from The Waldo Moment:

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

THEN, as though that weren't enough, a little tidbit during the shot of the train crash:

Netflix
Netflix

Yeah, that says that MP Liam Monroe has claimed his Twitter account was hacked. That's the same problem another political figure had at the beginning of the Waldo Moment — claiming that his Twitter account had been hacked. Also, the fact that Liam Monroe is in power (as he was elected to during The Waldo Moment) shows that White Christmas happens after both National Anthem and The Waldo Moment. Yet Fifteen Million Merits had to have happened prior to White Christmas, too, or at least very near it for the clips shown from “Hot Shots” to be relevant at all.

EDIT

Reddit user Guteren, who put together their own well-informed article, noted that in the above screenshot, the other news tidbit next to the Liam Monroe scandal reads “Skillane appeal bid rejected.” Victoria Skillane is the main character of White Bear, and if you’ve seen that episode, you know she is a criminal who kidnapped and murdered a little girl. So since the White Bear art exhibit has been stopped and she’s no longer receiving punishment, it would appear she’s moved on to the sentencing phase of her trial, and her appeal in court was rejected.

So. We have been shown how all these seasons tie into each other. Which is bizarre, considering the amount of technology and its effect on civilization. Here's the timeline, in my humble opinion:

National Anthem

White Bear

The Waldo Moment

Fifteen Million Merits

Be Right Back

The Entire History Of You

White Christmas

The only thing that doesn't tie in — and believe me, I looked — is The Entire History Of You, which is my absolute favorite of episodes. Like, above and beyond. Maybe that's why it doesn't connect? Either way, it's absolutely fantastic and I hold hard to the idea that if the memory-recording technology it features existed we'd all be fucking nutcases.

But I DO think it takes place before White Christmas, and here’s why. In The Entire History Of You, the main technology involved is the Grain, which is implanted behind your ear and works through your eyes. But several characters throughout manage to remove it, and the tech seems voluntary, a luxury sort of like a smartphone where it’s expensive but EVERYONE has it. In White Christmas, Jon Hamm (VERY HANDSOME JON HAMM) explains that there is a similar, more advanced tech that works through their eyes — but you can’t remove it. That proves that the technology has advanced and perhaps even been utilized by the government, putting White Christmas at the tail end of the timeline.

So there you have it. There are far too many connections for Charlie Brooker to claim the episodes aren't in the same universe. You can't show multiple clues in multiple episodes then say it's "just an easter egg." I believe that White Christmas, the chief episode that proves the connections, acted as a fun way to show that — indeed — these characters exist not only within the same dimension, but a fairly reasonable period of time. TC mark

Why the Anti-Trump Protesters Are Wrong

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 02:45 PM PDT

via Flickr - nathanmac87
via Flickr – nathanmac87

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." —George Orwell, 1945

"Even when it denigrates me?" —Yale protester, 2015

Back in the 1950s, there was this guy named Joe McCarthy. He was a senator from Wisconsin and he really, really didn't like communists. In fact, he thought communists were such a great threat to the nation that he was willing to drum up a national movement to "expose" alleged commies and commie-sympathizers, with the hopes of ending the professional careers of everyone painted as "reds."

Just one problem; there were no covert Soviets in the U.S. and the whole thing was basically a ploy to silence all of McCarthy's political rivals. People lost their jobs, their families, their livelihoods and many were falsely convicted of crimes they never perpetrated.

Fast forward to the 1980s. With Reagan's election, the evangelical right Moral Majority rose to power. They really, really didn't like so-called Satanists, so they started a national movement to "expose" devil worshippers. Throughout the U.S., a rash of purported "Satanic Panic" crimes were uncovered, with the most noteworthy being a string of hideous child molestation allegations in California.

Just one problem; there were no covert Satanists in the U.S. and the whole thing was basically a ploy to silence all of the Moral Majority's political rivals. People lost their jobs, their families, their livelihoods and many were falsely convicted of crimes they never perpetrated.

Both of the lamentable episodes in American history perfectly demonstrate the equation "politics + paranoia = persecution." We may be a good 400 or so years removed from the Salem trials, but as this year's election rhetoric proves, we're still not above outrageous hyperbole and the occasional good old-fashioned witch hunt.

And distressingly, we're still OK with destroying the lives of people who have not committed any actual crimes simply to confirm our own political biases and affirm our group identities.

Donald Trump is not a popular person in a lot of circles, and for obvious reasons. He's a loudmouth lie-teller who says a lot of borderline bigoted things about Hispanics, Muslims and the general female population. However, thanks to this little thing called the First Amendment, he and his supporters are guaranteed the right to spout whatever offensive drivel they want to and convene en masse in public, just as long as they do so peaceably and without compromising the general safety of others.

The same right to free expression guarantees the very same to people who don't like Trump and his supporters. Note, however, that the operative term in all of this is the word public – as in, the open, government-owned sphere. The First Amendment, you must recall, does NOT protect individuals from having their rights to expression curtailed by private, non-government entities in private, non-government-owned places. That means you can stand on a street corner and hold up a sign reading "I hate Trump" without fear of being arrested, but it doesn't mean you won't be arrested/tossed out of an NBA game if you start screaming obscenities.

In that sense, Trump rallies are more like NBA games than street corners. His events are privately organized, meaning he pays to rent out whatever venue he is speaking at. To attend, an individual must register online and agree to certain terms and conditions – i.e., the same kind of conduct policies you'd find in the fine print of any sporting event or concert ticket. Legally, that gives Trump and his handlers the contractual right to toss out any protesters, the same way movie theaters have the contractual right to toss out anyone who won't stop talking during a screening.

No matter where you are on the political spectrum, however, the behavior displayed by some anti-Trump protesters cannot be considered anything other than fascistic. It's one thing to speak one's mind and cause a commotion at a private function (knowing full well the legal ramifications of your actions) but it's an entirely different matter when individuals are coordinating massive schemes to prevent people from hearing another person speak altogether.

We saw this utter contempt for free expression in Chicago, when hundreds – perhaps even thousands – of anti-Trump ideologues crashed a rally and used physical intimidation to force the speech to be cancelled. Indeed, at least one account from CBS News indicates that some demonstrators had plans to "rush the stage" as soon as Trump walked out, since "the police would not know who to grab because there would be so many people doing it."

That's not protesting, that's not civil disobedience and it sure isn't constitutionally-protected expression. That's mob violence, plain and simple, intended to stop people from voicing their opinions.

We saw the same disturbing lack of civility occur at another anti-Trump protest in Arizona – this time, involving protestors shutting down a highway to prevent people from attending a speech. Once again, that's not the First Amendment in action – that's using physical force and jeopardizing public safety to keep people from hearing and supporting something you don't agree with.

The anti-free expression, anti-Trump rancor has even made the great leap to cyberspace, with vigilante neckbeard brigade Anonymous threatening to steal and post the candidate’s private information online and shut down Trump's website – both of which constitute felonies, by the way – simply because they don't like what he's saying. Employing tactics pulled straight from the playbook of the House Un-American Activities Committee, it is perhaps worth noting that the same group posted highly suspect "data" months earlier claiming to “unhood” purported members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Yes, there have been violent episodes at Trump rallies. We've seen protestors pushed and shoved and punched… including a few fisticuffs involving some, well, unexpected participants. Those actions are unquestionably indefensible, disgusting and deserving of condemnation and, in the more egregious instances, arrest.

But we've also seen Trump supporters have weapons pulled on them, get physically assaulted in the streets and witnessed at least one ACLU representative say that Trump and his supporters needed to be killed because of their political views. And, as both the left-leaning and right-leaning media has been loathe to acknowledge, the pro-Trump side almost never seems to show up uninvited at Clinton or Sanders rallies and stir the same kind of ruckus.

It's understandable why people despise Trump and his supporters. However, none of their inflammatory rhetoric and unpopular views exonerate their political opponents for their desire to forcibly silence them, be it in the form of violently disrupting events, compromising public safety or committing acts of cyberterrorism.

Lost amid the hysterical accusations that Trump is the next Hitler and his supporters are nothing but racist, closeted Klansmen is this oft-ignored narrative about the increasingly despotic nature of identity politics in America.

Under the guise of "social justice" or "political correctness" or any number of more abstruse-sounding intangible constructs, some progressives are guilty of doing the exact same thing the ultra-right wing McCarthyists and Moral Majoritarians did. Completely averse and hostile to competing ideologies, they seek to not only limit discussion of certain social issues, they are hellbent on completely dominating the debate and scaring away anyone from disagreeing with them through threats of public shaming.

You don't have to look too hard to see this entitled, neo-fascism taking root throughout millennial America. Indeed, ours is a generation seemingly infatuated with the notion that collective group identity feelings not only outweigh the constitutional rights of others to argue to the contrary, but that our group identity feelings ought to be protected from even being exposed to differing viewpoints.

We saw this blatant hatred of communal free expression when students blocked entrances at a Ben Shapiro speech in California and pulled a fire alarm to disrupt his presentation and we definitely saw it in Anaheim earlier this year when demonstrators physically assaulted KKK members before they even got out of their vehicles, let alone began their perfectly legal public demonstration. 

Yes, many of these ideologies are prejudiced and stupid and offensive and reek of historical vileness. But the fact remains that, under the First Amendment, they have just as much a right to peacefully gather and speak their mind as anyone else.

Ironically, the hyperbole-loaded anti-Trump movement has thus far posed a far greater threat to citizen's civil liberties than anything proposed by Trump's platform.

After all, there are plenty of government-ensured checks and balances in place to guarantee no one presidential mandate places an undue burden on anyone's Constitutionally-granted civil protections. Unfortunately, there's nothing that can stop the tyranny of the majority from silencing and alienating those with opinions and beliefs that don't vibe with the consensus cultural perspective, either.

If the anti-free expression backlash we're seeing against Trump is any indication of where public discourse is headed in the next few years, you better be prepared for an utterly dystopian future.

One where if you can't say anything popular, you're not allowed to say anything at all. TC mark

Maybe Being Truly Happy Means Letting Go Of The Material

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 02:00 PM PDT

Joel Sossa
Joel Sossa

This past weekend, I lost my phone in the middle of a music festival. Thousands of jumping and screaming and laughing people…and all of a sudden there's my inner chaos as I realize my sole means of communication was lost somewhere between those jumping feet.

There's a jolt of panic when you lose your phone (or anything relatively expensive or important, for that matter). You suddenly feel stressed, like right-before-a-major-exam stressed. You start breathing quickly. You begin retracing your steps like a madwoman, willing whatever it is you lost to appear, and torturing your brain with all the possible 'what ifs' and terrible scenarios (for example, that someone will come across an email filled with passwords that will divulge your entire identity). And if you're anything like me, you instantly start crying.

But when life hits you with an unfortunate set of events, there's only so much you can do. You can freak out (which is always the first step), you can try your best to remedy the situation (aka carefully squeeze through crowds searching the ground like a weirdo), and then you can accept your fate and look at the bright side (which ultimately means cancelling your cards and service, freezing your accounts, calling your parents, finding your friends, and going back to raging).

In all this—the ups and downs of dancing my butt off, bawling like a baby, and returning to dancing my butt off—I learned one important thing: life isn't about the material things. At all.

When I let go of the ridiculous idea that I was going to find my phone in a crowd of thousands, in the rain, and in the dark, I realized how stupid it was to stress over something so material. This was a phone, sure something that cost money, but it was just a thing.

A phone was just a thing. It was replaceable. But the memories, the laughs, the dancing, the friends that surrounded me and the strangers I hadn't yet met—those things weren't. Those were things I would lose out on if I focused only on the material and what I had lost.

I pushed the thought of my stupid phone out of my mind and started jumping with the crowd. Lights and sounds blasted from the stages around me, tinting everyone's faces in reds and blues and greens. The strobes made our movements dizzy, robotic. The bass was so loud I could literally feel it vibrate in my heart. I turned to a person next to me, who was head-banging to the beat. We made eye contact and laughed, throwing our bodies forward in unison.

I turned my eyes to the stage; the DJ was jumping around, shouting that he loved our energy, that we were an amazing crowd. My guy friend grabbed my arm and pointed to his shoulders, I could barely read his lips in the flashing of the lights, but I nodded my head and he bent forward for me to climb on his back.

He stood up and suddenly I was taller than everyone else, surveying the thousands of smiling faces, brightly colored bras and crop tops and tanks and glow sticks and fists pumping in the air. The colors blended together, lights ricocheting off reflective sunglasses and fuzzy hats and posters and flags. There were people from all countries and corners of the world, dancing and celebrating life. I took it all in, laughing along with them, singing at the top of my lungs and throwing my own arms into the air.

I wasn't caught up in wanting to take a video of the experience, in Snapchatting the scene, in capturing a pic or Tweeting about what an awesome time I was having—instead, I was living it, soaking it all in. Experiencing the reality, rather than the cheapened version from behind a screen.

In that moment, I realized the freedom I had from material things. Suddenly what mattered wasn't my connection to the rest of the world, but what I was living right now. It wasn't about updating my followers, getting the best Instagram filter of the stage, or being distracted by social media at all. True happiness was enjoying what was happening and who I was surrounded with, which really was the most important thing.

Now, I don't recommend losing a phone. It's an anxiety-filled, bank-breaking, unnecessary hassle that I'm sure your life (and wallet) don't need. (Plus, it's scary thinking that your embarrassing photos and awkward text messages and deeply emotional playlists are somewhere out floating in the world for a random person to discover and laugh about.) But in all reality, letting go of material things is a cleansing experience.

Instead of worrying about who is or isn't contacting you, what you should or shouldn't post on social media, or even what time it is—you get to focus on the moment right in front of you.

You give your full attention to the noises, smells, sounds, and people. You truly see your friends. You look at them when they're talking. You listen to what they say.

You experience lights and bass in your chest and give yourself vivid memories that will last way longer than a camera phone pic or a ten second Snapchat. You feel alive.

As humans, we're always trying to discover happiness. What makes us happy? Is it people? Experiences? Places? Things? Looking back on my weekend, in some strange way, I think I'd say that losing my phone was one of the best-worst things that could have happened to me. Sure, I'd love to have kept my stress level at minimum and a couple hundred bucks in my pocket, but without losing my phone, I wouldn't have realized how much I depended on it…and how much I don't need to.

Without losing it, I wouldn't have seen how freeing it was, how truly happy I became when I let go of this material possession and leaned into the lights, the music, the smiles, and the bodies around me all celebrating one thing you don't need material possessions for: really living your life. TC mark

To The Boy Who Called Me Fat

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 01:00 PM PDT

Jesse Herzog
Jesse Herzog

You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you. I remember, on the first day of my junior year, passing you in the science hallway of our suburban high school. It was 2010 and I was late to class. I guess you were, too. We weren’t that different, you and I. Just two mindless teenagers rushing to first period after the last bell rang. But you, outnumbering me next to one of your friends, couldn’t let me get there fast enough. You slowed me down with those four short, mumbled words of yours.

“That girl was fat,” you said.

I was barely a foot away when you spewed that comment to your friend. You probably thought I didn’t hear it, but I did. My face grew hot and my pace fell slower, as I turned the corner away from you forever. I guess you didn’t know how embarrassed I used to be about the stretch marks on my thighs. Or that I was dreading prom that year because it meant trying on dresses that didn’t fit. You didn’t know. I suppose I can’t really blame you for that. Sixteen-year-olds don’t exactly write their insecurities on their foreheads. If they’re anything like I was, they laugh and joke and pretend they’re not cringing inside. That’s the cruel thing about being a teenager – even with all the air in the world, you can still suffocate.

I want you to know that when I found the perfect prom dress that spring, I still heard your voice when I looked in the mirror. I want you to know that I had friends who loathed the length of their legs, the curls in their hair, the size of their breasts. I even had guy friends who were ashamed about their lack of muscle or their ability to flirt with girls. I guess I want you to know these things because I’m tired of the critics. I’m tired of hearing how a teenage girl stopped eating because a classmate called her chubby or how a boy gets made fun of because he’s not athletic enough to play a sport. I want you to know that a simple sentence, even one as short as four words, can truly take a bite of confidence out a person. A bite that can take years to grow back.

You should know that I am a 21-year-old woman now, with curvy hips and long eyelashes and a sense of humor that can make my friends laugh until they cry. That there are boys who pay attention to me, who kiss my skin and call me beautiful. That I’ve traveled all across Europe and my professors think I can flourish as a writer. I’ve come a long way since hearing your awful words near a classroom full of beakers and test tubes. I’m not sixteen anymore and neither are you.

I don’t know where you are these days. I don’t even know your name or remember the complexities of your face. But I remember what you said. I remember how I rushed to band class and didn’t tell my friends a word about it. I remember letting you ruin my day and too many days thereafter.

Wherever you are, I forgive you, even if you wouldn’t apologize. I forgive you because I might not be the woman I am today if you hadn’t put me down. I wouldn’t have pushed myself every single day to be a better person. Maybe if you weren’t so thickheaded that day, you’d know what kind of person that is: a writer, a traveler, a coffee addict. A lover of dogs and Indie music and the color purple. So much more than the person you thought you saw that day. TC mark