Thought Catalog


I’m Not The Girl Who Will Make Your Life Easy, But I Will Make It Worthwhile

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 07:00 PM PDT

Twenty20
Twenty20

1. I'm always clear about how I feel.

If you piss me off, I'm going to tell you exactly what you did that was wrong. But if you turn me on, I'm going to go into extreme detail about where I want you to touch me and what I want to do to your penis. But if you can't handle me when I'm nagging you to death, you don't deserve my sexts.

2. I'm not the best girlfriend.

Unfortunately, I tend to say the wrong things at the wrong time. I won't always know how to comfort you when you're upset or how to apologize to you after a fight. But if you can look past the words I'm saying and look into the depths of my soul, you'll see that I'm trying my best. I'm doing all I can to make you happy.

3. I won't hold back my crazy.

If a show kills off my favorite character, I'll cry about it for days. If my favorite baseball team loses, I'll throw curses at the ref through the television. I can be a little crazy, because I'm passionate about the things I love. But lucky for you, that means I'll be crazy in the bedroom, too. Your kinkiest fantasies will become a reality.

4. I have high standards I expect you to reach.

That means I'm not going to like it if you leave without telling me where you're going or text another girl behind my back. In fact, it might be grounds for a breakup. If that sounds harsh, then you can hit the road. But believe me, my high standards go both ways. I'll hold myself to the same level that I hold you, which is why I'll treat you like a prince as long as I'm your princess.

5. I won't inflate your ego.

I won't laugh at your jokes if they aren't funny. I won't tell you that you're making a good decision when you're making the wrong one. I'm going to be brutally honest with you. It might be hard to hear, but I'm trying to help you create the life I know you deserve. If I go easy on you, you'll never reach your full potential.

6. I take forever to get ready.

Yes, I'm the stereotypical woman who spends an hour in front of the mirror. I won't apologize for taking pride in my appearance, and you shouldn't want me to, because it means that you'll get to see me in fishnets and thongs on a daily basis. You should be happy about it.

7. I have hot male friends.

I won't use them to try to make you jealous. If I'm texting them, it's because I have something to say to them. I'm going to respect your wishes as best as I can, but I'm not going to drop all of my friends for my boyfriend's benefit. On the plus side, you can have all the female friends you'd like.

8. I can be pushy.

If I want to take a trip to Disney, I won't shut up about it until it happens. But you know what that means? That we're eventually going to go to Disney together. If that's not a perk of dating me, then I don't know what is.

9. I have trouble making decisions.

If you ask me what restaurant I want to go to, it's going to be an hour before I come up with options for us, and I won't even be happy with any of them. Dealing with my fickle attitude can be frustrating. Of course, that means you'll always get to choose where you want to eat.

10. I alternate between loving and hating myself.

I'm either going to make self-deprecating jokes about how much I hate myself or I'm going to brag about how sexy I am. There is no in between. I'm still working on finding myself, and I want a man who understands that. No, I want a man who loves that. TC mark

19 Men Reveal Exactly What They Think Makes A Woman Beautiful

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 06:30 PM PDT

rykerroberts
rykerroberts

1. “What makes a woman beautiful is confidence. If she looks like she doesn’t like herself, she will make everyone around her feel the same way.” —Gerry, 25

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2. “A woman is beautiful when she isn’t afraid to be herself. When she’s not ashamed of her quirks, and not only openly admits to them, but accepts them as a part of who she is, that’s beautiful.” —Paul, 27

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3. “A woman who’s beautiful is more than just physically attractive. She’s intellectually attractive. She’s emotionally attractive. When you find a beautiful woman, yes you can’t keep your eyes off of her, but you also always want to be around her because she’s that intriguing.” —Tim, 26

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4. “A big ass. I’m an ass man.” —Brandon, 27

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5. “Sounds extremely corny, but her smile. That’s the first thing I notice about a girl, and you can tell a lot about her personality from her smile. If it’s fake, she’s fake.” —Alex, 24

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6. “I think what makes a woman beautiful is her optimism. I love a woman who has a continuous positive energy. She doesn’t have to always be happy, but when she is experiencing hardship and can still see a silver lining, that’s beautiful.” —Zack, 26

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7. “Her eyes. I’m a sucker for big blue ones.” —Daniel, 23

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8. “I think her beauty comes from whatever makes her unique. Whether it is physical or not, but whatever makes her different is what makes her stand out from the rest, and I think it’s beautiful to be different.” —Justin, 26

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9. “She’s beautiful when she gets super heated about something she’s passionate about. A girl who gets heated is hot.” —Miguel, 24

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10. “You know what makes a woman beautiful? When she cooks me dinner.” —Tucker, 25

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11. “Dimples when she smiles. They’re so endearing. They make me want to be her friend…and more.” —Chris, 25

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12. “I think women are beautiful when they have the ability to understand certain things you can’t even understand about yourself. My girlfriend understands me.” —Luke, 24

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13. “What makes a woman beautiful is the way she takes care of herself. If she doesn’t take care of herself she doesn’t care about herself.” —Ryan, 25

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14. “I think a woman who accepts her body the way it is, is beautiful. You can tell when she’s uncomfortable in her own skin. That’s not beautiful.” —Patrick, 25

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15. “Breasts are beautiful. Preferably larger ones.” —Kyle, 27

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16. “I love the way my girlfriend’s eyes crinkle when she smiles. It means she’s happy, and when she’s happy she’s beautiful.” —Anthony, 26

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17. “Intelligence. Her outer beauty won’t last. She’s going to get wrinkly, her body parts will sag, but her intelligence will always be there. Kevin, 25 

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18. “A strong woman is beautiful, not physically, but mentally. If she can stand up for herself and her beliefs, that’s pretty kickass.” —Marcus, 27

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19. “My wife’s laugh is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I will never get tired of hearing it.” —Nate, 29 TC mark

17 Signs You Have An Unhealthy Obsession With Your Best Friend

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 06:00 PM PDT

katerpillah
katerpillah

1. You talk about each other CONSTANTLY.

It’s borderline annoying. You bring them up ALL the time in conversation, and honestly it’s without even meaning to (most times). It’s not that other people are boring — your best friend is just that much more interesting. And besides, everyone needs to hear about how they prefer asiago bagels to everything, and how their poetry is going to change the world. Obviously.

2. You’re more invested in their dating life than your own.

Sure; you’d like to find somebody to ~*lOvE*~ one of these days, but it’s more important that you make sure your BFF didn’t match with a Ted Bundy wannabe on Tinder. You want them to walk down the aisle some day with you in a bangin’ best man/maid of honor outfit and that doesn’t just HAPPEN.

3. You’re each other’s best friend on Snapchat.

And you like each other’s Instagrams first, retweet all the time, and would definitely be numero uno if the Myspace Top 8 was still a thing.

4. You get genuinely offended if they tell someone big news before you.

If your best friend gets a promotion at work, gets a cute guy’s number from the bar, or even takes a particularly lovely shit in the morning and you AREN’T the first one they text about it? That is sacrilegious. They would be dead to you and you would be h e a r t b r o k e n.

5. You know ALL of their medical information.

Yeah, you’re each other’s emergency contact — that’s a given. But you also know all of their allergies, their blood type, what birth control they’re on, what medicine they’re currently taking, and the real answer to the standard, “How many drinks a week do you have?”

6. You have a personal vendetta against people you’ve never met simply because they wronged your bestie.

You don’t CARE that they’re probably a nice person/volunteer/donated a kidney to a stranger. They were rude to your ride or die so they are on your permanent shit list. And that is iron clad. They could donate their other kidney to you and you’d STILL give them the cold shoulder.

7. You can finish each other’s…

(You get it.)

8. You’ve seriously considered getting married to them for the tax benefits.

Well…the benefits and because you know you’re never going to find anyone who loves you as purely and authentically as your best friend. That’s the harsh reality of having someone so perfect in your life.

9. You’ve licked your finger to get food or dirt off of their face.

And they weren’t weirded out at all.

10. You KNOW one of your children will be named after them.

It would just feel wrong to not have a mini homage to your person running around when the time comes. Even if it’s simply the little nugget’s middle name, it’s just a given that you’ll be giving credit where credit is due.

11. You consult them for every decision in your life. Big or small.

How else are you supposed to decide what to eat for breakfast at McDonald’s or whether or not to apply for Grad school? You cannot trust your own decisions without a yay or nay from your BFF. That’s just the way it is.

12. You’ve seen something on social media and known it was them before even looking to confirm it.

Including when they inevitably share this article on Facebook and tag you with the dancing girls emoji.

13. You do not think of your co-depency as a bad thing. At. All.

You say texting you best friend pictures of the weird rash on your back to confirm that it is not in fact syphilis or spider bites is weird, I say “what a healthy relationship” and good. for. you.

14. You share everything.

You’re the type of friends who share food, clothes, your car, your Netflix account, your cable, your computer….and the list goes on and on. It’s not even a question; what is yours is 100% theirs. You’d share your sexual partners if you could. (Ok maybe not but like…the thought has crossed your mind.)

15. You have COUNTLESS inside jokes that no one else finds funny.

You bust them out at any opportunity and the two of you completely lose your damn minds laughing. Everyone stares at you like the weirdos that you are but you don’t give a damn. It’s caused many an awkward silence but does that stop you? No, no it doesn’t.

16. You think they’re dead if you don’t hear from them at least once a day.

Tbqh, if you only hear from them once a day you assume that they’re dead anyway. Or mad at you. Which would be worse.

17. You can’t believe you ever lived without them.

And you’re so grateful that you never have to ever again. TC mark

36 Sexually Experienced Women Share The Surprising Sex Wisdom They Wish Someone Had Told Them

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 05:30 PM PDT

via Flickr - ePi.Longo
via Flickr – ePi.Longo

1.

“Semen will come back out. Sometimes hours later.”

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2.

“Your cervix changes position based on where you are in your cycle. Doggy style and deep thrusts can feel good one week, and hurt like a mother the next. This is perfectly normal, and should not cause alarm.”

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3.

“That you shouldn’t be ashamed of what you find pleasure in. I spent way too much time feeling ashamed, and not enough time enjoying myself and my partner.”

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4.

“This is something very important I learned at 19/20 years old. I was single, and wanted sex, and I just assumed guys who were into me wanted it too. So things would move really fast I would say ‘that was fun’ and go on about my business.

And OH BOY did guys start getting offended when I didn’t want to date them, or if I was talking to more than one guy at a time and one of them found out… I assumed it was just a sex thing… I didn’t think they wanted anything else… I was a moron. I literally didn’t correlate ‘I want to have sex with you’ to ‘…and you know, probably date you too.’ And of course I was too inexperienced to realize I should’ve confirmed these things beforehand. ‘Do you want more out of this, or are we just hooking up?’ Goes a long way. I wouldn’t have had sex with a couple of people if I’d known to ask this first.

But anyway now I am old and mostly monogamous so thank god those awful sexual blunder years are behind me and I know how to conduct myself as a kind, thoughtful human.”

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5.

“Weird noises are inevitable and it’s ok to laugh. Bonus points if your (penis-owning) partner is inside of you. The laughing may tickle his penis and it’s really funny to watch him squirm.”

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6.

It’s not supposed to hurt. If it does, stop, use lube, change position. If that doesn’t help, see the doctor.

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7.

“For a lot of people sex is very emotional. If that’s the case for you, you just need to be careful about how far you go and with whom.

And you need to be aware of that with your partners, too. While you aren’t entirely responsible for someone else’s emotions, it’s ethical to pay attention to how attached/emotional/vulnerable your partner is and be careful of hurting them.”

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8.

“Don’t view sex as a performance. instead, look at it as a chance to simply explore each other’s bodies and find out what feels good. Don’t take it too seriously – just have fun!”

9.

“Just because you’re both not moaning like a porno, doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Sometimes it’s so good it’s hard to make a sound.

Orgasms feel different depending on so many factors.

Don’t focus so much on trying to have an orgasm and actually enjoy sex.”

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10.

“ALWAYS PEE AFTER. ALWAYS. DO NOT WAIT. NO CUDDLES, GO PEE.”

11.

“Penises are a lot of fun, and not scary at all!”

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12.

“We are supposed to move too. The guy isn’t supposed to do everything. Try things you enjoy, move how it feels good for you. Worry about yourself and what feels good for you too.”

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13.

“How to say “nah I don’t really want to fuck you” and not care how they feel about that. I learned how to deal with saying that muuuuuch later into my sexual years and it kind of sucks.”

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14.

“Your first time is not guaranteed to hurt whatsoever.”

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15.

“Different positions feel better with different guys. I thought I had a favorite position, but different penises work better in different positions.”

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16.

“Don’t make sacrifices for him unless it gives you pleasure to do so. Anal, deepthroating, hard choking can be fun to the right girl, but if you aren’t that girl, don’t pretend or force yourself out of your comfort zone. The number of times I’ve tried anal for people….smh….you’re probably not going to suddenly enjoy something the 20th time.”

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17.

“That even very good sex is often actually LOL funny, and awkward. That your body isn’t perfect, and neither is your partner’s, and that’s fine. Your boobs or tummy or butt may hang in a way that doesn’t seem attractive to you, while your partner is obsessing about what hangs where, and what they smell like, and whether they’re doing things ‘right’ or whether birth control may be effective or ‘grandma died yesterday or what am I going to buy my boss for Christmas’. Learn to speak up and know what you want and are looking for out of a sexual experience- good partners appreciate ‘could you please go half an inch to the left?’ If a partner makes you feel unsure, or is unkind, then get out of that bed as soon as you can.

Sex is just sex. It can be romantic and heart-stopping and incredibly physically enjoyable with someone who pushes all of the right buttons for you at that moment, but even with the best of intentions, it can also be a bit silly and laugh-inducing. Unless you’re very unlucky, most partners aren’t looking to give you a number on how great you are in bed, or to rate everything about you. I’d also avoid mirrored ceilings and walls, because they just get much more funny than erotic for a lot of people.

It’s been my experience that people can get ‘good’ at the physical acts of sex with practice, but there’s a lot going for people who say ‘I’m not an expert, but if we can talk about what we want, I’m all there’.”

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Conversations With Dead People: A Medium’s Session With Nicole Brown Simpson And Ron Goldman

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 05:15 PM PDT

YouTube
YouTube

After the whole country relived what can safely be called the biggest murder trial of its history, "The People VS O.J. Simpson" has been on many minds these days. It was certainly on mine as I followed the series faithfully, finally learning the intricacies and details of a case that occurred when I was only 9 years old. In this series, I have decided to trust my gut and my heart when it comes to choosing the subjects for our sessions, and there was no doubt I wanted our second session to be with Nicole Brown Simpson.

As always, Amy and I chat a bit before getting down to business. I set up my screen recording software, make sure my dog is sleeping so he won't disturb us, and off we go.

Me: Okay! Whenever you're ready.

Amy: So, um, in tuning into both of them — Nicole, to me, feels like she's in a higher place, as far as — acceptance, and, um, angelic presence around her? I'm seeing that Ron has a more emotional body wrapped up in things.

Me: Okay.

Amy: All right.

Amy closes her eyes. When she "connects" with spirits it always appears the same; it almost looks as if she's meditating. I suppose on a certain level, she is.

I wait patiently. Amy breathes deeply — it's the only way I can tell we're still online together, she's so still. At last, her eyelids flutter and she says:

Amy: There. I feel them both, so…

Me: Okay.

Amy opens her eyes, looking almost dazed.

Amy: Um, ask a question.

Me: Okay. Um. I don't wanna start too heavy but, um, let's see… I guess we'll start a little bit lighter and ask Nicole what she thinks of her friend's book.

I hold up the copy of “Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted," written by Faye Resnick, which had just arrived at my door that day.

Amy closes her eyes again.

Amy: There isn't any… judgement towards it? But she wants to make clear and known, um, that her friendships in that lifetime, um, were very… she doesn't wanna use the word 'superficial' but… um… were based on things that she believed was true friendship at that time? But… didn't have much depth. To it.

Me: Okay.

Amy: Um. She's saying that she doesn't necessarily… feel… that the intentions behind that book were to defend her, get her story out, per se. Um. She's saying "It is what it is" because of what ruled everyone's, um, happiness and their egos in that circle.

Me: Uh huh.

Amy: So the intentions weren't as pure as they are presented as.

I think we can all agree on that. Even if Faye Resnick had intended to tell Nicole's story in a pure sense (which I doubt she was,) the story was definitely twisted at some point into something else. Most likely for fame and money.

Amy tries to explain how Nicole isn't coming from a "three-dimensional human sense" when it comes to her feelings on the matter when my video and audio begin to jitter, pop. I ignore it until she says:

Amy: Is your camera doing weird things?

Me: (laughing) Yes, I've got audio pops.

Amy: (laughing) Yeah, okay. What she's saying is that from where everyone was, in that lifetime, the ego-based intentions are what they are. She says, "Anybody should be able to understand that.”

We move on. I never like to overload Amy at the beginning of a session — the more violent or unpleasant a scenario with a spirit is, the more it affects her personally — so I try to softball one towards Ron, since he seemed so eager to speak.

Me: Okay. Um, all right, I guess we'll ask Ronald one. Um. What was he doing at her house that night?

For those of you who don't know, the official story is that Ron — a friend of Nicole's and a waiter at restaurant Mezzaluna as he pursued an acting career — was returning a pair of glasses to Nicole that had been left behind that night after a dinner there to celebrate daughter Sydney's dance recital. A phone call had been made saying the glasses were missing and Ron volunteered to return them.

Amy closes her eyes. A minute passes.

Amy: This is an interesting one. Which, I don't even, I, I never got this until just now so this is — fascinating. He's telling me, that, he was given a message. Not by her — in person, or speaking, even — was given a message for him to go there at a certain time. And, he is —

Amy closes her eyes again, concentrating hard.

Amy: — Saying to me that she was just as surprised to see him as he was surprised — to see her surprised. Like, she's like, "What are you doing here?" And he's like "You… told me to come here?"

She pauses, her fingers in the air as she jabs at important words, like 'you' and 'come.’

Amy: I'm also getting from him — that, that's basically all they got out.

She shakes her head and gives me a look that says 'you know.' I do.

Me: Before it… happened.

Amy nods.

Me: So I guess… he was given a message… had they been, and this is for either of them, had then been intimate or —

I'm barely done speaking when Amy interrupts me.

Amy: Intimate.

Me: Or were they just friends? Oh — oh, intimate?

Amy: I just literally saw a flash of them…

She makes a gesture with her fingers that describes what she saw.

Me: Goin' at it?

Amy: The position and bodies and everything… just… yeah.

Me: I guess the question would be, then, uh… where did his — there is a reason out there as to why he was supposedly at her house. Um, that was not that they were intimate. I'm just wondering if he knows where that came from. Or why.

Amy: Uh, okay. One thing he wants to say is that, um — and I don't know about this, but was there confusion on his sexuality?

Me: I'm not sure.

I frown. Amy closes her eyes again. As she starts to focus I do what I sometimes do during our sessions — minimize the Skype tab, pull up my browser, and do some research. You can hear my keyboard clicking away as I type something along the lines of "ron goldman bisexuality."

Then something very strange happens.

Amy: I kind of get, or am hearing, bisexuality?

She goes on but instead we get… well… just listen for yourself.

I have been on many Skype calls. I know what it sounds like when the connection is slowed, interrupted, or fragmented. That is not what it sounds like.

Halfway through the garbled speech, I hear the word "fuck." My face by the time Amy comes back says it all.

Amy: — is what I'm hearing.

Whatever she said had been entirely censored.

Me: Um. So I'm gonna have to show you that? Because… you… basically after you said 'bisexuality' it did something my computer has never done in my entire life.

We discuss the anomaly and Amy does a brief pendulum session where she consults a pendulum for a yes or no answer. She asks Ron if he she was wrong about his bisexuality, if she had heard wrong. She gets a yes, she's wrong. She asks again if Ron was bisexual — and gets a hard no.

So that's settled. She had heard wrong. Ron Goldman was not, in fact, bisexual. I go back to my research that I'd abandoned in the wake of the strange sounds and find that his sexuality was, in fact, speculated on in the media.

We go back to the alibi for the night of the murder.

Amy: So he's telling me that that confusion arrived from — friends at where he worked. Uh, so he's telling me that a message came in about going there, supposedly from her, that was… explained in a way that friends of his believed happened. And he said that he was not truthful with people about his… connection with her because of her fear, number one. And she asked him not to share, with people. And so… it comes from friends, specifically at work, that… he gave… reason as to his connection with her. So that he protected her.

I explain the Mezzaluna glasses excuse. Amy closes her eyes.

Amy: Yep. He's saying that is an untruth, that that is a cover of… um… but he's saying, actually, okay. So what he's saying is that he received message at work to go see her. That she needed to talk to him, and it was important. And she didn't wanna do it over telephone. He told people… because the message came in to work, and he didn't specifically speak to her, he's saying… he did not speak to her. So he told friends that the reason she was reaching out to him was because… she had left something. He was gonna return it.

So that clears that up. And we all know what Nicole's fear was, right?

Amy: It was a woman's voice. So there's a woman who knows about this. Calling, posing as her [Nicole] so that he [Ron] would go there at a specific time.

I clarify that Ron doesn't know who placed it. Amy confirms. Now it's time to just go for it. There's no other way to say it:

Me: So I guess, we're fast tracking to… it was… I guess who… who committed the murder? (laughing) Just dive right in.

Amy closes her eyes for only a moment before opening them again. She looks deadly serious.

Amy: 100%, absolutely, no doubt. Absolutely O.J.

Me: O.J. And he did it himself?

Amy: Yep. I don't see anybody else there. And… it was literally ninja-style. So, so much… craze. So much… and preparation. On O.J.'s part of… um… how to kill quickly. How to, um… it was something that was pre-planned.

Amy looks distressed. Usually when getting these messages her eyes are closed but now they're darting back and forth at something I can't see.

Amy: Okay. Let me stop that for a second. He's… talking a lot.

She makes a talking motion with her hand and closes her eyes again.

Amy: He was killed first. I don't know, can that be proven?

Me: I'm not sure. I can look.

Amy: Okay. He was killed first. She, right within seconds. And here is where it is interesting.

She clasps her hands over her heart and bows her head.

Amy: I'm not sure how that could be proven because literally it was just in… seconds. Yep.

Another long moment passes.

Amy: And how I'm seeing it — I don't know if this could be, proven at all as well — I see her, if I'm standing, facing, I see her on the left, and him on the right —

The video and audio begin to jitter.

Amy: — and I'm trying to get a visual of where O.J. comes from. I feel — from what I'm seeing — O.J. comes from behind. Takes Ron's neck, slits.

She pantomimes this, one arm in front of her as though she's holding someone from behind. Amy pulls the other hand across an invisible neck.

Amy: Nicole is directly straight in front. And as he does that, he grabs her —

One hand still holding the imaginary knife, Amy uses her free hand to grab at an invisible head.

Amy: — like this. By the hair. That body drops and he takes his knife and does hers from the front —

She pantomimes this as well, then appears extremely upset, dropping the demonstration to shake her hands in front of her, the way a kid might do upon eating something particularly distasteful.

Amy: …Literally seconds. Guh.

She shakes her head, eyes closed. I think we have enough information for that part so I try to change course a little. I explain the layout of the condo and where the bodies were found, confirming Amy's scenario. She asks where O.J. could've came from and I tell her about the infamous side path where the glove was found.

Amy: Did they know if they crawled or anything? They feel close.

Me: No, they just fell. Here, I can find the crime scene pictures.

Amy dabs at the corner of her eyes. It appears she's teared up. Upon my mention of the crime scene photos:

Amy: Oh, yuck. They have those public?

Me: Uh, yeah. You can find almost anything like this online.

Amy: You can see their bodies? Their faces?

Oh boy, my history in morbid fascination comes through for once. I explain the origins of the photos and others that you can find online. Amy is visually disturbed and I feel a little guilty for having such knowledge.

I review the photos and explain what I see. Both throats were definitely slit. The position looks right. They're very close, as Amy said.

I inform Amy, in regards to the "ninja style" and "killing quickly" that O.J. was required to take combat knife training for a pilot he was filming at the time titled "Frogmen." Interestingly enough, he even filmed (and was trained for) a scene where he took a female from behind and threatened to slice her throat with a knife.

We move on.

Amy: The one thing that I want to say gets interesting — and I want to say it before I forget — was Ron was telling me that the reason he got targeted for this is… it was planned for Nicole, period. O.J. had made up in his mind that he was doing that. He was doing it that night. That whole, that whole thing was pre… thought-up.

Me: Mm-hm.

Amy: For HER. But… Ron is telling me that there is something that agitated O.J. to the point of… I'm feeling like, more flippant… feels so disrespected. That… he's allowing me to see O.J. was like, "Hey motherfucker. You're going too." Off of something that happened, that O.J. got pissed about.

Me: That day?

Amy: Yes. Like literally, throwing him in the pot that day. Something… that… was the camel, the straw. Okay, so he's telling me… okay.

Amy closes her eyes again.

Amy: All right, let me ask him to stop for a second. Let me connect with Nicole, because I want to ask her what he's telling me right now.

A brief pause.

Amy: Okay. So, now I have both, um, he's telling me that… Nicole was at a place in that time of her life that she was well aware of O.J.'s erratic, um… she sensed, and she knew. She tried, um, like in those days before, to… share with people? That she was… scared. Of him. In particular. Moreso than when… they were married, and when she shared with people things that would happen, um… in those last couple days, she was… she had told people, or was trying to reach out to people, in specific… she had discussed with Ron about O.J.'s temper, jealousy, rage, control issues. Um. Crazy eyes, he's saying. Just this thing taking over that, um… she was literally scared of him. And he knew that. And she's confirming with me that that is true, and that she had shared that with him. So he's well aware of that… and she's well aware of that… and he's saying that O.J. became well aware of their connection. And… he's telling me that he, O.J., put two and two together of their intimacy. And… Ron's telling me that Ron was a very, um, loyal person who was not afraid to stand up… um… he would say what he thought and believed, he wouldn't cower to… um… anyone, especially someone who is hurting someone or some injustice is being done. So he's telling me that to tell me that he couldn't hide his distaste? For… him [O.J.] and that somehow, he came face to face with him. And… this all is what got him on the list of… and again, I hear O.J., "Motherfucker, you wanna disrespect me like that? To my own FACE? I'm gonna… let you…" You know. He's [Ron] very talkative. He's talking a lot.

Me: He probably feels like, um — and they even mention this on the show, that like his family was very upset because they said, you know, "It's like my son doesn't even factor in, it's the O.J. and Nicole show." And when he did factor in it was like, "Ooo, they were fucking.”

Amy: He's saying that that doesn't bother him, just the injustice of him [O.J.] getting away with it.

Me: Okay.

Amy: That, um, and, and people not understanding the full… gamut of what happened. How it was set up. The reason why he was there in the first place. Of… and he wants to make sure it's understood that, the connection between him and her was… more than just… hooking up. There was a true care, a friendship, a concern of how are you doing, are you okay, and she truly confided and trusted him, to tell him about what was going on, where she was at, and confide in him about what she had gone through and what she was going through. With O.J. So it wasn't just "Meet me at 9 and let's fuck and then you leave an hour later," there actually was… a friendship connection there. That transcended just… hooking up.

I ask if there's anything about a dog, since it was Nicole's Akita that found their bodies. Amy describes a love and care Nicole has for a very well-trained, very intelligent dog, who obeys Nicole when O.J. isn't around. She explains that "O.J. is the alpha, always.”

At this point, I need to go pick my husband up from work and Amy has her own errands to run. She says it's actually a good spot for a break because after tuning in to the murder she's feeling "pretty overwhelmed." We agree to join up again later that evening so as not to lose the flow of energy.


We pick up again later in the evening. I am in the garage because my husband is home and he is a staunch skeptic to these sorts of things, so rather than listen to him grumble in the living room I perch my Macbook on the trunk of my car and show Amy the video where she's interrupted by strange sounds.

Her face says it all. Her eyes go wide and her mouth opens.

Amy: Oooo!

Me: I can hear voices in it!

Amy: I hear a man!

We listen to it a few more times and we're both blown away.

Amy: That is so crazy. What the hell is it saying?

Me: I don't know! I've heard you stutter before online, but that… that was voices.

Amy: Towards the end, there are two to three words, I think if you broke it down you could hear what he's trying to say.

I haven't been able to decipher it quite yet so if anyone else does, please let me know. We move on.

Here's where things get very serious.

I decided after our Marilyn session that I wanted each of our conversations to have some sort of message for the reader to take away, whether they believed in the paranormal or not. I wanted to share something with our readers that impacted their lives.

Having taken over a session that was initially meant for Nicole Brown Simpson, Ron Goldman delivers that message.

To honor his memory I have included here, in full, everything Amy said that was passed on by Ron. This was uninterrupted.

Amy: He's giving me a list. So I'm going to do one, and so Ron, I would like for you to do one at a time instead of all of this all at once. Because I want to hear you clearly. Say it all.

Okay, so the first thing that he's saying is, he wants it made clear, that there is so much… deception isn't even the word because he's saying that all of these people who are chatting their opinion and speculation, the quote-unquote friends… the, circus called the police department… the media… he wants it made clear that, there is barely a drop of truth in so much that has been said. And because so much has been said in speculation, two lives have gotten lost twice, he's saying. [Amy lifts both hands with two fingers up and gestures with them.] They got lost twice. That's what he's doing to me right now, like this. [She gestures again.]

They were lost, him and her, physically, taken from their lives, and who they were as people was lost again. In everybody's obsession. With their version of what the truth is.

Factual: he wants it known, O.J. Simpson killed him and Nicole. Period.

Factual: he wants it known, Nicole was a good person. He was a good person. They had hopes, they had dreams. He's saying… that… in review of life, there was so much wrapped up in… the ego part of, the pursuit of… fame. Of acting. Being in that "It Crowd" where there's partying and good times and, um, everything's based on how nice your body is and how, you know, six-pack and all of this… in review, he understands the misconception of just making them into, um, stereotypes.

Factual: they were two people who were good people. And he's saying that she was a good mother and loved her children. He's saying that she wanted to make some changes and was seeing the detriments of choices from the past. He was excited about the future, he really felt that doors would open. And so he wants it made clear that they weren't just… Barbie and Ken. Is what he's saying.

Factual: he wants it made clear who killed him. Factual: he wants it made clear the type of people that they were. Factual: he wants to make clear, there weren't many people who truly cared, except for family. His family, which he wants to get into in a second, and Nicole's family.

He wants to say he's sorry to his family, although he knows it's not his fault for what happened… sorry for the pain that they went through. With losing him in that way. And he has great love for them all. And his… strength in, still, wanting justice… doesn't have so much to do with him — it does, but the bulk of this feeling is, what his family has been through. And what it cost them. And the years it took from them. And the pain that they still feel. THAT is what makes him… this strong. To be able to come through.

He's also talking about the human nature. That he wants to point out, that is… the lowest choice of what we can choose as humans, which is… ganging up is the wrong word. Mob mentality. The disgust at that… and I'm feeling emotions. [Amy begins to choke up.] Of people going through pain. And people's lives being lost. And those who loved him having to suffer through that.

And the mob mentality of people… jumping on it. As if it's entertainment. And a… circus… ride. Take a look at that, he's saying. That is, down to the bottom of the barrel of how… we can be as human beings. And he wants that put out there.

This was real. Two people… children lost a mother, and in essence children lost a father. And parents lost a son, and parents lost a daughter. Siblings lost… And to make it into a spectacle? Is the worst of human nature.

And he'd like to say that the people involved in that have been able to evolve, all these years… but he can't really say that. Because most of them have not.

But he hopes that… there are some. Who will learn from that.

Amy has spoken for over 10 minutes straight. She opens her eyes at last and wipes away tears. That was truly something to witness. I'm too afraid to speak in case it might break whatever connection she has.

Amy: I'm asking him now if he — if it matters to him if O.J. is, ever, obviously he can't be convicted because that's done. But… the justice part of it.

She wipes away more tears and listens.

Amy: He's answering me that justice… has a funny way of… working itself out. In ways that, aren't necessarily expected. And he has full confidence that justice… will be served in his lifetime. O.J.'s lifetime.

I ask if she's aware of O.J.'s current situation. Amy mentions she heard something about his book, and that he had gotten in trouble for stealing something that used to belong to him. I suggest that his prison sentence for the sports memorabilia theft might be the justice Ron had mentioned.

Amy: I think there's more justice to come. I think there's more justice to come besides… that. Yeah, because the way that he presented that to me was a future that, um… I mean that's justice, but…

Me: I mean, he's up for parole next year, but —

Amy: I'm gonna go ahead and say there's more to come. (sniffs)

Me: You doing okay?

Amy: Yeah. That was… (sighs) I actually feel he's done. It feels a LOT lighter.

Me: Like he's been waiting to get that off his chest.

Amy: Yeah. That was… that was tough. The emotion that he… put on me during that was, immense.

Me: Yeah. I mean, that's, uh, 100% right because even now — with the interest in the case, the TV show, it's at least being treated with a modicum of respect. And when it happened it really was just, like, I was doing research for this and they actually, um, they actually credit the O.J. Simpson trial with the birth of the Kardashians, the birth of reality TV, and the birth of the 24-hour news cycle because before that there was nothing like that.

Amy: He's quite disgusted by that. (laughs)

Me: I bet. Because it wasn't treated… nicely. It was treated like, "What's goin' on next with O.J. today?”

Amy: Like it's a, like it's a show.

Me: A soap opera.

Amy attempts to tune into Nicole, who has been content to take a backseat to Ron this session.

Amy: She's here. She instantly said… she let him do the talking because he's the better, (laughing) heartstring-puller.

She closes her eyes again.

Amy: She's actually very much at peace. She's very much let go of all of it. She's telling me that she's very much… um… active in, uh, being around her sister. Um. That she, often shows her… through… um. I'm trying to get her to show me what she's talking about. Um. There's things that she does with her sister that her sister is well aware of. Her sister's gifted. And her sister is well aware, um, of when Nicole is there. And so they have a wonderful… relationship that way. And it's something to do with the bathroom? I'm not sure what that has to do with… like, I see a vanity, with makeup products, and um, you know, stuff on the counter. So I don't know if maybe she talks to her in the bathroom? But that was a flash.

Amy pauses for a moment.

Amy: And also, her, number one concern is for her children. And she works hard to send them… love and support as much as she can. Because they're not… necessarily… as… balanced as they could be. And rightfully so with what they went through.

We discuss a few more aspects of the murder, including the fact that their children were in the condo when Nicole was killed. Amy seems pretty incensed at that fact as well as the fact that O.J. never asked how his ex-wife died when the police called.

But it would appear everything that needed to be said has been said. Nicole was pretty quiet until Ron got everything off his chest. I ask if there's anything else that needs to be covered. Amy says no, it's all out there and we have their blessing.

beetlejuice

Wow. Well, that certainly was… a lot. It was a very heavy session to deal with and I guess I hadn’t expected anything different. The session was intended to be with Nicole and Ron sort of hijacked it but you know what? I’m glad he did.

The point that he hammered on the most is one I find very important. It touches on humanity and the idea of how sacred human life is. It doesn’t matter if something is interesting, or lurid, or juicy. If it involves the loss of human life… there’s a certain sacredness about that. I, myself, have been guilty of losing sight of what truly was at stake when it comes to true crime stories. I think to a certain extent we all have.

But that message extends even farther than just true crime. I think we can all forget about what it means to be human, what it can mean to not take into consideration the very humanity of other people. It can become very easy to flip off someone who cuts you off in traffic, to sigh at the person ahead of you who’s taking too long in the checkout lane, to curse at someone who irritates you in a minor way. It’s easy to tear down someone who’s not you. Mostly because you are you and you’re not that other person.

That may sound like some sort of circular psychobabble but consider that. Consider the idea that your loved one — your husband, brother, sister, friend — was murdered. And consider the idea that for months, years, they were the subject of what ultimately amounted to an amusement park ride.

In that same vein, imagine that the same loved one is the person being flipped off while driving. Sighed at during grocery shopping. Cursed at for whatever. I know it’s not an equal comparison but I feel that’s what Ron’s pointing to. It’s so easy to discount other people’s humanity that it’s almost as effortless as breathing.

I think, as well as bringing light to his and Nicole’s plight, that’s what he’s getting at. That’s what he wants made known.

So I’ll end the session with this. Please, remember, all the things that you experience and feel as a human… so do other humans. Everyone around you is human. The kid who gets your order wrong at McDonalds? Human. The jerk who bumps into you at the airport? Human. I could go on and on but I think it’s pretty clear, something that we all tend to forget is that all the people around us are just like us. We’re all human.

And I was going to sum this up with a big poetic paragraph about humanity but you know what? That doesn’t feel right. What feels right is this: treat people kindly.

Treat people kindly.

That’s all. TC mark

Read This If You Wish You Cared Less About Finding Love

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 05:00 PM PDT

Jeff Isy
Jeff Isy

1. There's nothing wrong with wanting love.

First of all, you shouldn't apologize for wanting to be loved. I don't care how many people tell you that you should be happy being single and that there are more important things in the world than boys—even though all of that is true, it's not as simple as that. Everyone wants to be loved, even if they don't admit it. So never feel ashamed of wanting someone to hold.

2. What you really want might not involve love at all.

Think about what you've been craving. Is it attention? If it is, you can get that by adopting a puppy. Is it the sex? You can get that by buying a stronger vibrator. Love isn't the only way for you to get the type of affection you need.

3. Love (from others) isn't the answer.

I know it seems like finding someone to date during the day and snuggle with at night seems nice, but it won't make all of your problems vanish. A boy isn't magically going to make you change the way you see yourself. You'll still have the same insecurities that you've always had. Unless you work on learning to love yourself, another person's love isn't going to change your life the way you're hoping it will.

4. Relationships can be messier than single life is.

As much as it sucks to eat alone and masturbate, falling in love can be even worse. After all, there are women out there in relationships who are crying themselves to sleep every night. They've fallen in love, but they're no better off than you are. Some say that "better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" is bullshit, so you might be one of the lucky ones.

5. Don't believe the hype about relationships.

Movies are always going to paint a pretty picture of love. So is the music you hear on the radio. But for every sappy song, there's a song about heartbreak. People complain about love just as often as they brag about it. You've just been focusing on the good stuff, because you want what you don't have.

6. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Don't bask in your own misery. You aren't living some horrible life, just because you aren't in love. Think of all of the other wonderful things you do have, like friends who can make you laugh, parents who would give anything for you, and a beautiful mind that'll take you far. Your life isn't as bad as you're making it out to be.

7. You'll eventually find what you're looking for.

Don't beat yourself up if you can't stop yourself from caring about love. It's okay. Looking for a serious relationship hasn't been a waste of your time. You might not have found what you want yet, but one day you will. Don't stop searching for it if it's what you really want, because your hard work will pay off in the end. TC mark

We Fell In Love A Thousand Times, We Just Never Stayed

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 04:01 PM PDT

Nina Sever
Nina Sever

The first time we fell in love, we carved our initials into the back of a library book. I was afraid we’d get in trouble, but you insisted, so enamored with the idea that someone else would see it, someone else would open up a page and see our beginning. See how badly we just wanted one another.

The second time we fell in love, we were older, but not any wiser. You kept trying to kiss away my memory and I was doing the opposite. I spent months convincing myself romance wasn’t on the menu. Never again, it’s easier that way, I’d say. But then you were back breathing on my neck and I was screaming your name. Then we were back in the place we said was done.

The third time we fell in love, we were confusing love with habit. We were confusing love with routine. Our bodies felt safe, so we chalked it up to soulmate stuff.

You, with that helium heart,
how we’d get so close and without second thought,
you’d float away.
How I’d still find you weeks later
waiting somewhere,
deflated.

You’d say, “I need something else.”
I’d say, “So don’t keep landing on my doorstep.”

Me, with my leaky eyelids,
how I wanted to cry out your pain,
I’d take the brunt of it.
I’d shoulder the load.

We fell in love so many times, it’s easy to think that’s stardust lover stuff. But it’s not. Because each time we fell in, we also fell back out.

We kept falling back out.
I think we should remember
how often we fell back out. TC mark

15 Women On What A Guy Needs To Do To Make A Great First Impression

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 04:00 PM PDT

jsdaniel
jsdaniel

1.

"Personally, I find it sexy when a guy approaches me without trying to play any games. I can't stand when a man says, like, 'hey, didn't we have a class together?' or tries to play it off like we know each other, or we have some connection. No. Not interested in your made-up stories. Just come up to me, and introduce yourself, but don't beat around the bush."

— Kylie

2.

"A guy who can dress himself and has proper hygiene is one that makes a good impression, and that's so depressing, because I can't believe my standards are 'does he understand basic self-care principles and brush his teeth?' But that's what it's come to. Sigh."

— Melanie

3.

"I love a guy in a button-down shirt. That's a really easy way to make a good first impression with me."

— Gemma

4.

"I love when a man comes across as confident, without being boastful. In my opinion, being arrogant is one of the worst first impressions you can make. However, I wish more guys would realize you can be confident, and own the fact that you're smart, well-traveled, or whatever WITHOUT coming across as a pompous douchebag."

— Han Yee

5.

"If I meet a guy out at a bar, and he asks me back to their place, I'm not interested. But if they ask me for my number, I am. I've started eliminating guys based on how they move forward, and how quickly they take action, and I much prefer that when I first meet a guy, they move slowly."

— Erica

6.

"I want him to make me laugh the first time I meet him. And I don't mean I want to be treated to a standup comedy show the first time I meet someone, but I need to know that you have a sense of humor, because I know that's something I find really attractive."

— Mollie

7.

"Truly, I don't think there is anything that can make a textbook good first impression, because I really do think it's all about chemistry. It's not just about whether you're cute, or funny, or well-dressed, it's about whether we click, and we have any sort of sexual tension, or not."

— Sasha

8.

"I love to see that a man is athletic. Honestly, the men that have left the best first impressions on me are ones I've met at the gym. It's sexy to me when a man works out and takes care of his body."

— Colleen

9.

"I'll tell you the story of the best first impression a guy made on me the other day. He walked up to me at a networking event when I was so clearly standing in the corner because I didn't know anyone and was too uncomfortable to meet people. And he just gave me someone to stand next to and talk to, so I didn't feel so out of place. Eventually, we hit it off, and even tried to play professional wing man for each other while meeting other people. He didn't have an ulterior motive, he was just genuinely kind and made me feel so at ease."

— Chloe

10.

"I don't want fake compliments, but I do think that a man who flatters me slightly makes a good first impression. Dating in a major city is hard AF, and I want to be made to feel like someone appreciates what I'm saying, or how I look, or be impressed when I tell them what I do for a living. When someone makes me feel really great about myself, that's a really good first impression for me."

— Kat

11.

"The best first impression any guy can make is to actually LISTEN AND RESPOND TO WHAT I'M SAYING. It. Is. Not. That. Hard."

—Jennifer

12.

"Coming off as positive during our first conversation is so important. A lot of men think like casual negativity is part of their schtick, and it's funny. It's not. It just shows me that you have a very negative outlook, and that means you're not really someone I wanna spend time around."

— Taz

13.

"I am all about the non-verbal parts of a first impression. I like when a guy leans into talk to me (if it's loud) and puts a hand on my back. I don't like it when they're manspreading into a chair, or even if they're reclining into a chair or leaning away from me, because that makes me feel like they're either overly chill, or just not interested. Or stoned. Just a gentle touch on my arm or my hand makes me feel like we're not distant, but instead are establishing some sort of connection, and even if it's just a 'friends' thing, it's still nice."

— Trish

14.

"When he really facilitates conversation, that makes a good first impression. I hate when someone can't actually make conversation, because then it just makes me feel like they don't want to be talking to me. When someone meets me, and is actually engaging, ask questions, and has things to say beyond just 'you like gin and tonic? I like gin and tonic!' I find that really refreshing."

— Jamie

15.

"I think men who come to happy hour or a restaurant fairly dressed up, as if they just came from work. A guy in a suit makes a good first impression (though then they start talking, and it's typically down hill from there)."

— Keisha TC mark

20 Hilarious Gay Sex Memes That’ll Make You Laugh Your Ass Off

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 03:50 PM PDT

1. Everything’s the worst

Instagram Photo

You really need to work on your life choices.

2. You know you’ve been here before

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SOMEONE MAKE IT STOP.

3. You’re here to challenge sexual stereotypes in the gay community!

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Now this is a political cause I can get behind.

4. REAL

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Though, I mean, it’s not that serious. Girl, eat you a steak!

5. Fending Off basic come on lines in Grindr

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Every single eye roll ever.

6. REAL

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Never thought about this one before but I guess it makes a lot of sense, sort of like always having on clean underwear.

7. Extremely Real

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Do I know you?

8. Like, maybe more lube will do the trick?

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There are good days and bad ones. Today might be a bad one.

9. The honest to god’s truth about rimming

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Point taken lol.

10. You’ve definitely done this before

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You’re not trying to be rude but you want to know what’s going on under the hood!

11. OMG turn your sound on

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Whoever thought of this is sick in the head / also hilarious.

12. C’mon jogging pants!

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omnomnomnomnom.

13. WHYYYY

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Technology is the worst!

14. Fuck your gender roles tho

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Are gays ever going to stop asking this dumb question? What does confirming that someone is “masc” actually do for you?

15. Either that or their pic is from when they were hot back in 2006

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A dead giveaway.

16. What are you looking for?

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Sometimes there’s just nothing better to do.

17. I wanna see the receipts

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Yeah but what about Scruff?

18. Bloop!

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19. Oh no ma’am

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Oh I don’t remember signing a release for that…

20. Oprah ain’t neva lied

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WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELVES? TC mark

22 Small Reminders I Needed To Hear At 22

Posted: 17 Apr 2016 03:30 PM PDT

thechasekennedy
thechasekennedy

1. You don't need to be in a relationship to have a direction after college. Choosing a location when you're not sure about your job search is already trying, so sometimes it seems easier to wait to see where your S.O. goes. But being in a relationship cannot be the one deciding factor when it comes to moving or staying put.

2. You don't need to be in perfect shape at every phase of your life. When things around you are uncertain, exercising can be a great outlet, because it makes you feel like you're putting energy somewhere that will actually yield tangible results. But you don't need to push yourself to workout too much just because you want to look a certain way, or because you feel like it's the one thing you're in control of.

3. Success is not measured by what your college GPA is.

4. Living with strangers isn't nearly as scary as you think it's going to be. But, yes, you should definitely interview roommates before you and your roommate decide to sublet to someone off Craigslist for six months.

5. Holding on to the idea of someone is dangerous, because it makes you forget how they actually treat you. And in the end, no matter how much you care about someone, just because there was once love between the two of you doesn't mean they're the right person for you now.

6. You don't want ice cream as drunk food. You want fries. Savory foods are always a better post-drinking choice.

7. You will outgrow people, and people will outgrow you, and you aren't a bad person for not trying to stay in touch with every friend you made between middle school and your 22nd birthday.

8. The time before you hit the working world is such a gift. Because even though you might spend the month after graduation feeling like you'll never get a full-time job, you will, and when that happens, you'll wish you had taken the time to appreciate when you didn't have to be somewhere from 8 AM until 6 PM, or wake up for a 6 AM conference call.

9. The people who are three, four, or five years older than you don't have it figured out either.

10. Be patient with the friends who support you through difficult times. You will have little fights, about very, very little things, but a good friendship should never be ruined over details that will be insignificant in a few months.

11. College majors aren't completely useless, but they also aren't the be all, end all of your life. They won't necessarily govern what job you get, so the last thing you should be doing is berating yourself for getting a degree in a potentially suffering industry.

12. You need to fucking calm down.

13. You can't whine about not getting hired when you decide to watch 13 hours of Girls instead of filling out the job applications open on your computer.

14. When there is something upsetting you about any situation, confront the root cause and actually take care of what's bothering you, as opposed to brushing it off and allowing the problem to sit beneath the surface.

15. If you feel like shit every time you sign onto social media because you feel like you aren't making progress at the same pace as your peers, sign off. Challenge yourself to get off Instagram or Facebook for a week, or even a few months.

16. Not everyone meets the love of their life in college, and you certainly don't need to. Because college is basically four years when you can meet unlimited amounts of men/women your age who have gone through some sort of screening process, people think they need to take advantage of that and turn the place into a breeding ground. That's not actually the case.

17. Calling your parents isn't a chore, and you shouldn't treat it like one.

18. Don't discount advice from people that you think don't understand what you're going through right now. That's underestimating them, and it's cheating yourself out of potentially good advice. Even if it's not valuable, don't be so impatient that you blow people or their ideas off.

19. Self-care is important at 22, even if you don't think it is. Go to the dentist. Brush your teeth. If you can put the money aside to get a facial or a massage, do it. Maybe don't eat pizza for dinner four days a week. Even when you're swamped, you still need to make sure you're taking care of your body.

20. Take pride in the work you do, whether it's finishing one of the last papers of your college career, or writing a cover letter for a job. If you look at it after you finish writing and hate it, try to rework it so that you feel really good about it.

21. Now is the time to put yourself outside of your comfort zone. Even though it's terrifying, you have very little to lose. You just need to have faith in yourself.

22. Start learning to trust yourself now, because it takes a long time to fully trust yourself. The sooner you start the journey, the better you'll get to know yourself, and the more confident you'll be. TC mark