Thought Catalog

8 Reasons People Who Are Close With Their Families Are The Happiest People To Be Around

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 08:00 PM PDT

Modern Family
Modern Family

1. They understand the joy that can be found in the little things. Just like any other kid growing up, they loved toys, they loved going on trips, they loved surprises. But they were also lucky enough to find pure happiness in the simplest things: long nights spent hanging out at the dinner table, laughter in the car rides that should have been long and boring, and many other things that would have been uneventful and forgetful if it weren’t for their family.

2. They can find the good in anyone. Being close with your family doesn’t mean you don’t fight. On the contrary, they can remember intense screaming matches they had with probably every single member of their family. But what they learned is that no matter how frustrated or irritated someone can make you, everyone has lovable and redeemable qualities once your anger fades.

3. Their priorities are simple. Things like wealth and a steady career can be wonderful additions to your life. But the most important things to someone who is close with their family are the small things: family dinners, holidays spent with loved ones, health, laughter, trust, loyalty. The things that make them the most happy are the things that are already right in front of them.

4. They developed a solid sense of self at a young age. Growing up with strong ties to your siblings and parents helps you to understand what kinds of qualities and behaviors you most admire in others, and consequently what kind of person that you yourself want to become.

5. They know that it’s okay to ask for help when they need it. Forming deep relationships with loved ones at a young age teaches you that no matter what happens – whether you did nothing wrong at all or whether you were the one to screw up – your loved ones will do everything they can to help you. You just need to remember to ask for it.

6. They know how to have fun even in the most mundane of moments. Grocery shopping, spring cleaning, whatever – they will find a way to make it silly. Even particularly serious things, like a religious service, were (and still are) always fun when you’re surrounded by people that make you laugh and make you feel at home.

7. They’re constantly reminding themselves to be grateful. Particularly when it’s time to leave the nest, you realize that what you miss more than anything – more than your private bathroom and shower, more than your big comfy bed, more than your lack of responsibilities – is the family that you spent every night with. People who are close to their families are always trying to practice gratitude, for something as big as a family wedding to something as small as having one last meal together at the airport McDonald’s before everyone heads back to their separate destinations.

8. They get a lot of energy from the happiness of others. Nothing thrills them more than simply knowing that the people they care most about are happy. And when you can get joy from something like that, you can’t help but feel pretty damn lucky. TC mark

40 Signs You’re Slowly But Surely Turning Into Your Mother

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 07:00 PM PDT

Brooke Cagle
Brooke Cagle

1. You make sure your purse is fully equipped with 'things' you may or may not need but you take it with you just in case.

2. You have to start your day with vitamins.

3. You start complaining about things; the music is too loud, the food is not cooked well, the room is not clean enough…etc

4. You start talking to strangers about how hard life is.

5. You ask random people if they are lost, cold, need help or any other 'motherly' thing you can offer.

6. You make sure you take an extra sweater with you in case it gets cold.

7. You can't sleep without making sure your friends or your boyfriend got home safe.

8. Plans after 9 PM are considered 'too late' for you.

9. You have to write down things so you don't forget them.

10. When your friends come over, you bring them food even if they're not hungry.

11. You can't keep up with all the names of the young actors and musicians and you get them wrong every time.

12. You catch yourself giving people the same advice she gave you.

13. You use phrases like ‘be careful’, ‘don't do anything too crazy’ and ‘Lord have mercy.’

14. You start getting emotional watching TV shows and movies and your favorite genre is drama.

15. You use sunscreen religiously and you ask your friends to use it too.

16. You yell at people driving too fast.

17. You have to google abbreviations and acronyms.

18. You love canceled plans because that means you can stay home and go to bed early.

19. You have uttered the words 'I'm too old for this.'

20. You start rejecting new and complicated technologies.

21. You have a love-hate relationship with heels – that is more inclined towards hate.

22. You agree with moms who discipline their children.

23. You secretly start living life in terms of 'what would mom do?'

24. You get way too excited about sales and coupons.

25. You forgot all the phone numbers you knew by heart.

26. Grocery shopping makes your heart skip a beat.

27. You don't care about being 'stylish' anymore. You just want to be comfortable.

28. You go-to drink is wine.

29. You say 'I told you so.'

30. You start taking your 401 K  and saving plans seriously.

31. You actually read health insurance policies.

32. You sleep watching CNN and you’re determined to keep up with the world news.

33. You are more attracted to men who have a stable life and can make good husbands.

34. You start saving expensive clothes for special occasions.

35. You bake things and send Thank You cards.

36. You are starting to appreciate classic movies and soulful songs.

37. You secretly love watching the cooking channel. Rachel Ray is your idol.

38. You sympathize with everyone.

39. You give out free hugs to people.

40. You and your mom are actually friends now because you started agreeing on almost everything. TC mark

7 Bizarre Facts About Charles Manson And The Manson Family

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 06:00 PM PDT

Manson Had Very Specific Rules

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On the Spahn Ranch, books were not allowed. Neither were watches, clocks, or calendars. The oddest thing that Manson Family members were not allowed to do was wear glasses if they required them. Why? Charlie wanted them to “see the world around them” with their natural vision. As someone with a pretty high prescription, I can tell you some of them weren’t “seeing” anything at all… which was probably just how Manson wanted it.

The Family Had A Celebrity Hit List

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It’s a good thing they were caught when they were, because the Family had big plans for the coming years. They were determined to become absolutely infamous, with a carefully-chosen group of celebrities they planned to murder, including Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Steve McQueen.

Manson Never Actually Killed Anyone

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Because when you have a cult full of people willing to do anything you say, why WOULD you bother getting your hands dirty? Manson would either send Family members to do his bidding or leave just prior to the murders. However, that makes him no less guilty in the eyes of the law.

…But There May Be As Many As 35 Victims

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Officially, the Family has only been held responsible for the eight deaths that occurred during the 1960s, but experts speculate that they may have actually carried out even more murders. They weren’t pursued in court because the Family members involved in the murders had already been found guilty.

He Was Inspired By A Very Famous Book

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So we all know how Manson took cues from Hitler, but guess who else taught him how to manipulate members of the Family? Famous author Dale Carnegie and his legendary book “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” During his early time in prison Manson studied the book religiously, specifically the part about influencing others to “take ownership” of an idea.

The Family Members Were Also Big Beatles Fans

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While Manson’s affinity for the Beatles is fairly well known — Helter Skelter and all that — but the Family were also obsessed with the British band. In fact, they were so obsessed that it was a big shock to them when Charlie was arrested and none of the Fab Four ever bothered to call. In an interview with Rolling Stone, female members of the Family demanded that the magazine “tell them to call.”

They Were Fiercely Loyal To The End

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During the legal proceedings, a young lawyer named Ronald Hughes chose to represent Manson and Family member Leslie Van Houten — then dropped Manson in favor of Van Houten. In 1970 he went missing during a camping trip. Months later, his body was found in the woods. While it’s still a mystery what truly happened to Hughes, it’s highly believed that the remaining members of the Manson Family murdered him in return for betraying their leader. TC mark

25 Things That Happen When Your Brother Is Your BFF

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 05:00 PM PDT


I have a lot of best friends, people I've collected over the years and can't live without. I'm still BFFs with my childhood besties, and my college friends are my nearest and dearest. However, it's my little brother, Dylan, who is my true best friend, and we go way back … all the way back to the year he was born. We've been tight for almost 26 years!

It's not super-common for a brother-and-sister duo to be as close as we are, and that's why I love it.

1. You've been BFFs your whole life. That's something to celebrate nearly every day.

2. You can complain about how crazy your parents are being and the other person will totally understand.

3. Your friends are always like, "You know, your brother is really cute!" and he's always had crushes on them.

4. When you were younger, having a tagalong little brother was kind of annoying, but now you wouldn't trade it for anything.

5. You find yourself wondering which side your brother will stand on at your eventual wedding. Can he be your Man of Honor?

6. Your brother is always your first choice when something in your apartment needs fixing. In my experience, most of my dude friends are softboys (sorry, guys) who can't fix anything, though they think they can. Luckily, I have a brother on-call to help.

7. People think it's kind of weird at first. Brothers and sisters aren't supposed to be BFFs!

8. Your brother becomes a part of your social circle. My brother was one of the "cool kids" right away in high school because he had me to pave the way.

9. Your parents constantly compare you. This can be great, and it can be totally annoying.

10. You take care of each other.

11. His girlfriends have to pass the Big Sister Test before he can totally commit to them. If you don’t like her, it's probably not gonna work out.

12. You can squabble and snap at each other and get over it in approximately 15 minutes. You've had practice.

13. No one else can play the "Remember when" game like you guys can. Your memories go basically back to birth, so …

14. Someone else knows all your stories about your crazy family, and probably has his own edits to your favorite party tales.

15. You always have a ride home for the holidays, and you can make him drive so you can text and play the songs you want.

16. You understand each other's little quirks. After all, it's genetic, right?

17. When you were little, he was always the sidekick to whichever fairytale character you were pretending to be that day. If that meant he had to be a dog or a fish, so be it.

18. Sure, you had fights as kids, but they were not nearly as bad as some of the brawls you witnessed between your friends and their siblings.

19. Your brother has the spare key to your apartment and your car, not your best friend or boyfriend.

20. You're the one he calls when he needs to borrow money, edit a resume or is hurting post-breakup.

21. You're each other's built-in emergency contact, ride to the airport and "person I'll call if I need to get bailed out of jail."

22. A brotherly BFF means that you'll always have a friend to call you out when you're being impossibly bitchy or annoying. After all, he doesn't have to be afraid of how you'll react because he already knows.

23. He may or may not have transferred colleges to be closer to you.

24. Sometimes, you just wanna hang out together and eat the "gross" foods you grew up loving that no one else understands and appreciates, like Spam.

25. Friends may come and go, but your bro is family, and family is forever. TC mark

What It’s Like To Have A Younger Sister With Diabetes

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 04:15 PM PDT


When you have a younger sister with diabetes, you are faced with the terrifying truth that you cannot protect her from everything. You will be reminded of life’s unpredictability, of its unfairness.

You’ll dream of wrapping her up in your arms and instantly fixing it. You’ll wish you had the power to keep her from any harm. That somehow your love could cure it, your love could regrow her pancreas into one that works properly.

But of course, it won’t. And coming to terms with that will gut you.

When the diagnosis is made, it will feel like a stranger walking into your home. Even if you see it coming, you still don’t. You still don’t know how to react when the word is dropped into your family’s lap.

Diabetes announces itself and everything else is brought into question.

You’ll become obsessed with all the times you were unintentionally hurting her. You’ll remember the Sunday brunch you treated her to blueberry pancakes, a special day for just the two of you, and the image of her sleepy face afterwards will read back differently. Even when the doctor assures you this wasn’t from anything you did, that genetics were at play, you’ll still beat yourself up. Were there signs you missed? Were there times she was grouchy and you called her a brat, but she was actually sick?

Everyone will be teary-eyed and trying their best to keep it together. She’ll bravely say, “I’m going to be okay.” And you’ll marvel that someone who appears so fragile can simultaneously be the strongest one in the room.

When you have a younger sister with diabetes, you’ll worry about her numbers, what she eats when she’s at school, and all these things that are not in your control. You’ll feel sick to your stomach when she’s too low at night. Even when her blood sugar stabilizes, you’ll toss and turn until morning.

You’ll check on her to make sure she’s breathing, which will disturb her and she’ll get annoyed. Because she is sleeping. But the nagging fear that, maybe one day, she won’t wake up only fuels your insomnia more.

When you have a younger sister with diabetes, you pay attention to food. You get so used to reading nutritional labels that it changes how you view the industry. You stop mindlessly snacking. You’re now much more aware of what is going into your body. It’s a strange side effect to her disease, that you are being more healthy.

And you also have no choice but to get better at math.

When you have a younger sister with diabetes, you are forced to stop taking things for granted. You learn about trust (injecting someone with needles will do that to you). You value your relationships and understand how important it is to say things like I love you every single day. You are appreciative for her smiling, for her happiness.

And maybe most importantly, when you have a younger sister with diabetes, you see what human resiliency looks like. And whenever you face your own struggles, you think of her, and she inspires you. TC mark

When You Wake Up And Realize That All Your Grandparents Are Dead

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 04:00 PM PDT

Growing up I didn’t have much experience with death, but I did have a lot of experience with health crises.

Every few months or so, someone in my family that I saw a few times a year would come down with some serious illness. But they always got better; they were always around at the next family gathering; they were alive forever.

Until they weren’t.

My mom’s dad passed away when I was extremely young. But her mother, and my dad’s parents, all lived until mid 2013, when they all suddenly died almost within one calendar year.

My parents’ grief was palpable. It exploded as a hot iron hitting steel, intensely and immeasurable. I think sometimes they were frustrated that my sister and I didn’t share their expression of grief — and perhaps at points we numbed ourselves to it — but in another sense, how could we? The typical relationship between a child and a parent is profoundly different than the typical relationship between a child and a grandparent.

That’s not to say the grief doesn’t exist. But sometimes it takes longer. It is the slow knife; slowly sliding into your heart and slicing away your humanity.


Take my father’s mom, for example. Grandma Carol was always sticking up for the underdog — especially when that underdog was in her family. A story I heard from her — because she frequently spoke against racism — was when she was a young mother taking her children to the public library.

Carrying a handful of her children’s books, she patiently waited as the librarian scanned each and every one, and placed them into her burlap sack on her side. Her kids — probably at least three or four of the eventual nine — danced around her, trying to grab their books out of the bag to carry with them.

But something stopped her, maybe just for a second.

A young African American boy, roughly the same age as her eldest son at the time, was looking to checkout a book. He pushed the tattered paperback onto the counter and looked at the aging librarian with long grey hair tied up in a bun. It was another copy of the same book one of my grandma’s sons had checked out.

“Oh no no,” The librarian said with a look of pity in her eye as she took and placed it behind the counter. “You won’t be able to read that book, you should find an easier one.”

The boy looked downcast beyond measure, and my grandmother approached the counter.

“You just checked out the same book to my child here,” gesturing to my Uncle Cliff (probably).

“Yes, of course.” The woman replied as if there would be no confusion.

“Then why can’t that child, who appears the same age as my son, check out that book? He wants to read.”

“He’s different,” the librarian replied stiffly. “They can’t read at the same level you know, I must take it into consideration. He might not even return the book, after all.”

I imagine my grandmother’s eyes hardening — which would have been a noticeable difference from their normal overwhelming warmth.

“Check out that book to the boy,” She responded. It wasn’t a suggestion.

“Have a good day, ma’am,” The librarian responded before turning away. The boy, watching the scene with anticipation, began to walk away too.

“Check out the book to me,” My Grandma Carol said.

The librarian paused and glared. It was a glare of discrimination; the quiet discrimination that lingers even after passage of the Civil Rights Act and a compassionate speech from a young black pastor by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. The type of racism that votes for Donald Trump, that footnotes every racist thought with the proclamation “I’m not racist!”, that pigeonholes people into lesser stereotypes that they can rarely escape. My grandma saw this glare, and she met it.

“I have an full library card, I have been a member for years, check the book out to me,” My grandmother repeated and she stepped forward to the counter.

Without saying a word, the librarian pushed her glasses up to her eyes before fiercely stamping the back of the book with a due date. My grandmother took it and carried it over to the boy.

“Never stop reading,” I imagine my grandmother whispering to him.

My dad’s mother would be my only grandparent to ever learn that I’m gay. My dad told her sometime after I kthxbai-ed the information to my parents and headed back to college.

We never talked about it, but when I saw her at Thanksgiving she embraced me in an extra long hug, looked me in the eyes and asked: Are you happy?

I whispered, “yes” quietly, as if we were sharing some kind of secret. Maybe we were.

“Good,” She replied with a smile. “That’s all that matters to me. That’s all that matters.”

When my grandma died I was driving home from Columbus to visit home for the weekend. When I stepped through the door of the sleepy house I grew up in, the mood was somber. She was gone, my sister told me.

I had known she was sick, but the speed of her death shook me. The doctors had insisted she had four to six months. It had been two. I had been coming home with the intention of visiting her. I thought I had more time. I always think I have so much time.

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It was the coldest night of the year the first time my mother watched me at home by herself. I was only a few days old, and my father had gone back to his nightshift warehouse job.

And I wasn’t happy. Maybe a precursor to the negative outlook I would carry into adulthood, I wouldn’t stop crying. I cried, I wailed, I threw a fit. My mother, understandably exhausted and overwhelmed, called the one person she could — her mother. My Grandma Dolores.

The winter of 1994 was a blizzardy one, and this night was no exception. Archaic weather reports indicate that 3-4 inches of snow fell over my home town that night where, because her car was buried under white fluff, my grandmother trudged three blocks through the snow to help console me.

Just a few minutes in her arms, I was laid peacefully to bed. But I was only shortly contended (perhaps also a foreshadowing to my later life) and before too long, I was crying and distraught again. So, once more, my grandmother donned her winter clothes and braced the snow, sleet, and freezing cold. For my mother. For me. She never even questioned it.

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And then my Grandfather Cliff — Carol’s husband. His love was such for his grandchildren that despite a fierce claustrophobia that made big groups both a chore and a mental pain, he attended every single play, performance, and ceremony of ours without fail — and he looked forward to them! He looked forward to the pain, because he looked forward to us. How does that selflessness even exist!?

And that’s when the pain sets in. Not in the moment of their death, but in the moments you wish they were alive. Not upon the funeral, but the Christmases and Thanksgivings after. Not in looking at old photos, but when their presence and contributions are absent, and missed.

When you aren’t sure if there is anybody on Earth who can love you to the same unconditional degree as they could.

And through the prism of their lives — and deaths — I begin to consider my own. How will I make an impact? How will I show people unconditional love? Because perhaps the world’s best kept secret is that we are capable of loving everybody. What difference will I make before I die? What will I do worth remembering?

After all, “A difference worth remembering” doesn’t mean you have to change the world. You just have to chance one person’s world.

Like my grandparents did. TC mark

This Is What It’s Honestly Like To Watch Your Mother Die

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 03:00 PM PDT

Sophia Louise
Sophia Louise

18 October 2015

My mother is dying. She was only experiencing a cough when the incredibly nervous doctor told us she had advanced lung cancer. Apparently, she had spent 10 years creating the fist sized tumor in her right lung. She lit up like a Christmas tree when checking whether the cancer had masticated,
so there's nothing we can do anymore. This happened only a month ago.

So now the journey begins. Anticipatory grief they call it. I sometimes think it's a blessing in disguise, giving us time to do and say and experience everything we still want. Sometimes, I think it's just watching your loved one die, vanish, slowly saying goodbye to things that will never come back.

She doesn't want to know the prognosis, so we're just waiting. We're waiting for the bomb to explode, for the moment when we can't talk to her anymore, or she doesn’t have any good times left. It all feels so fragile, like watching a butterfly land in your hand, knowing any moment now, it will fly away. Just for that one moment though, you watch it, breathlessly, and in awe of its beauty.

Funny how beauty isn't truly appreciated until it can be taken away from you. I never loved her the way I do now, never appreciated her, never needed her as much as I do now. It infuriates me that I wasn't able to feel all that until now. It infuriates me that she needed to get sick for me to forgive her and let her be.

26 October 2015

I'm overwhelmed. So many stories to talk about but so little energy left in me to speak. Every precious moment I am in, I urge myself to write it down so that I don't forget the magic. But in all honesty, I do forget them. There are just too many things happening. In between the churches, the graveyards, the wills, my own endless crying, the panic and her physical discomfort, my brain literally is overloaded with too many important memories. Maybe if I cling to the good, I'll forget the bad ones.

It's as if time sits still, and nothing else matters but us. Everything stops existing, and all I feel is the boundaries disappearing. There is no separation between her and me, a part of me is dying.

Today I heard my mother's cry for life. The unimaginable sadness of having to let go of life itself. I was holding her unnaturally warm hand, as if her body was trying to put the warmth of the life she's going to miss into what time is left. I see her pain, and it kills me that she has to do this alone and I can’t save her. I see the discomfort, the frustration, and her incredible ability to get up and try again. I feel so much guilt for going to my own home because I need to, instead of staying and helping her. She tells me she's fine so that I'll relax, but I know she's just protecting me.

She cries for us, her kids. It is not only our loss, it’s also her loss. And that is incredibly difficult to wrap your mind around. I wonder if it feels to her the same way it would when a parent has to bury their children. Maybe not, maybe grief is reserved for those who continue living. Still, I cannot imagine what it must feel like when you have to let go of life itself, knowing the people you love will have to live on. She's giving me so many last words, words of advice, life lessons.

She told me today to start writing them down.

She is telling me to let go of controlling, to give in with what is, to respect people where they are, to choose the life that makes me the happiest. To be my most authentic self, to be patient, to enjoy life, and oh yes, to make love on a waterbed.

By now, I havent slept more than a few hours a night since the diagnosis. I am so afraid she won't be there when I wake up. Mom told me I was such a fool for robbing myself of sleep at this point. She told me to relax, she wouldn’t die tonight. There will be rough nights, but this is not one of them. She told me to allow myself to relax, and to accept what I cannot control.

Fear is the illusion of control. We think when we fear things that we can control them, that we have some say in the outcome. We think it protects us. Fear of losing my mother, albeit it very natural, is my way of hoping it won’t happen. How can I ever let go of that?

26 November 2015

I feel like I'm stuck in a movie. I feel like she already died and I get to walk into a life that doesn’t exists anymore. It's as if I can crawl into the TV showing old family videos and walk around in a life that has been. My life, as I know it, is slipping away like sand between my hands.

The end is near. Extremely near. I can feel the angels descending towards earth to come and pick her up. She isn’t ready yet, and that’s my only consolation that it won’t happen tonight.

Moments like these demand prayer. So here it goes.

I dare pray to spare us this loss. I pray for a miracle. I naively continue to believe in recovery and I'll continue that prayer until the day she dies. I can’t believe my moments with her are numbered. So many things to do and to say, yet when I'm with her, I fall back into regularity and comfort. I refuse to truly embody how rare the present moment is, how rare my moments are with her. I, the girl of words, can’t find them when I'm around her.

But, if we must lose her, I ask you to give her true bliss in her last few days on this earth. I ask you to give her some air, so she can be at ease as her body lets go of her soul. I pray she may pass peacefully and painlessly. I ask you to distill her the trust that her ending will be light and swift.

I pray to help me let go of my anger, towards everybody and everything that is happening. I ask you to help me let go of my guilt, because at some level, I think she needed to die because I needed to let go of her. I ask for all the guardian angels to support us through this. I ask for them to embrace my family in their wings, and protect us through every step. I ask mother nature, mother earth to watch us as we loose our own mother. I ask you to send us new mothers, to guide us, hold us, and love us.

I ask you to help me remember my mother, and my mother's energy, for when I myself have children and must keep her legacy alive. I ask you to help me forgive her for all the memories she going to miss.

But foremost, I pray for light and love through what will be one of the purest moments of our lives, including hers.

2 December 2015

I was with her when she died 6 days later.

Even when you know death is coming, it surprises you, and nothing really prepares you for it. I had so many regrets not telling her the things I really wanted to say, not asking the questions I really wanted to ask, and not saying goodbye to her while she was still conscious. These things, although we knew death was coming, weren’t appropriate to do when she was still so full of life. The moment she truly accepted she was going to die, she wasn’t physically capable anymore to be part of my “To Do List Before Mom Dies”. It might be naive, but I really thought death would wait for all the profound words to be said. It doesn't, so I am deeply grateful that she passed at peace with her own death, and that she hardly suffered.

Watching somebody die isn't scary, or fearful, or sad. As my mom used to say, when somebody dies, the curtains of life are briefly opened. It resembled what I'd imagine witnessing birth might be like. The second she passed, I had this overwhelming sense that she was dancing, singing, rejoicing that she was finally free. She was born again. TC mark

10 Things You Need To Hear If Your Significant Other And Your Family Don’t Get Along

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 02:00 PM PDT


1. Despite the odds, love conquers all.

Find comfort in this. It was love that brought you and your significant other together, and it is love that has bonded your family throughout the years. Love faces incredible odds—death, pain, heartbreak, fights, loneliness—and no matter the conflict between these people you care so deeply about, your love for them will always win, whether they choose to accept one another or not.

2. It really doesn't matter who's in the wrong.

You can spend hours upon hours analyzing the interactions and issues between your family and the person you love, but in the end, it really doesn't matter. Pointing fingers gets you nowhere. What's truly important is that both sides see and acknowledge their wrongs. Or, if that isn't possible, that everyone plays civil.

3. This isn't your fault.

You didn't choose a bad person to love, you didn't put everyone through painful situations, and you aren't hurting the people around you with your choices. You aren't being selfish and you aren't in the wrong. Don't let loaded, angry words break you down.

4. You don't need to pick sides.

It's extremely unfair that the people you care about aren't getting along, but you should never feel obligated to choose one party over the other. Even if you feel pressured, even if you may lose the respect or love of a certain person or people, you are not obligated to choose between your blood and the person you want to marry.

5. Only you can determine the truth.

You are the one caught in the middle. This means that you are the one who needs to hear both sides and determine your own feelings. For yourself.

So listen. See where both sides are coming from, then determine if a certain side is right. Then be very honest with yourself.

6. You need to pay attention to your gut.

If you're realizing, somewhat unconsciously, or through the fighting, that you shouldn't be with this person or that your family is toxic, you need to acknowledge and listen to these feelings. You need to take a deep breath, sort them out, and come to terms with the fact that you might lose someone(s) you care about. But for the right reasons.

7. You have every right to be upset.

As much as you want to love and empathize with the feelings of the people closest to you, you don't always have to tip toe around them. You are allowed to cry, to be angry, to yell, and to call people out on their immaturity. Despite their feelings about one another, your family and your significant other should put you first.

8. It’s okay to be alone for a while.

It’s okay to crave your space, to want to pull away from all the crap and the drama. You don’t have to feel sorry for wanting your space. And if you decide you want permanent space from someone(s), you shouldn’t feel bad about that either.

9. In time, pain will pass.

This might mean that your family and your significant other will let go of their anger. Or, it might mean that you learn to accept that they will never see eye to eye. Regardless, your pain will eventually lessen. Hold onto the hope of this.

10. You will still have a good, happy life.

This conflict might feel like the center of the universe right now. You might feel like you're backed up against a wall and there's no escape. You might feel like no matter how things turn out, you'll be the one who ends up broken. But that isn't true.

Despite the conflict, you will still have a happy life, surrounded by people who love you. How blessed are you that the ones you care about the most are fighting to be your number one?

Let go of your insecurities and your hurt. Know that you are a wonderful person who is blessed with wonderful people. You will get through this. You are loved. TC mark

You Are My Home

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 01:01 PM PDT


A home is not a single, contained space of air and brick and walls that hold, that shelter. A home is not a roof, not a door, not a fence or even a window. It is not sisters and mothers, not the picture frames hanging on the walls, not the worn carpet or even the quilt that was passed down through four generations. A home is not just family. A home is not the things that exist within it. But most importantly, a home is not a dwelling place; it is a feeling.

A home is fluttering heartbeats and steady rhythms, sweaty palms and secure hands, tears and smiles, and everything in-between. It is two people who find each other, two people whose beings, whose souls just connect.

Home is fitting comfortably, easily into the compartments of someone else's heart. Home is falling in love and knowing that person is yours. And knowing no matter where you lay your head at night, no matter if the dishes are in the sink, or if the dog's scratching at the back door, or if the paint is chipping by the porch, that person will always be yours.

Home, then is not a place, but a person. And you are my person.

You are the calm, but also the rush. The comfort of knowing I will always have someone to return to, of knowing that I am never alone. Yet also the excitement when I hear your name because I know I'm going back to you, again and again.

You are my laughter, but also my spark. You hold memories, happiness, slices of time I will never forget. And yet, you drive me crazy. You fire me up, make me angry, push me away. You give me new memories, memories outside of you. But I will always return.

You are my past, but also my future. You carry constant reminders of the girl I used to be, yet you inspire my strength. You build me, you unwind my kite strings and let me rise.

You are what I know, but what I still long for. You are my security, my savior. You are what I've always had, always cared for. Yet despite that, I still wish for you, day after day.

You are my place. You are my home. You are my person. TC mark

To Our Parents Who Always Support Us No Matter What

Posted: 01 Apr 2016 12:00 PM PDT


Every time I look up in the stands I see you there, supporting me, cheering me on. You tell me I played well over and over, even when I constantly contradict you because I think I could have played better. You hug me when tears start to trickle down my face after losing a close game that I know we could have won. The only constant between every sport I've ever played, win or lose, home or away, is that every time I look up in the stands I see your faces sitting there, encouraging me to do my best and play hard.

You both started doing this before I even realized the impact it would have on me as a person. It started when I tried dance when I was 3, then gymnastics when I was 4, and soccer when I was 5. It kept going through the countless sports I played growing up, you name it and I probably played it.

The two of you drove me everywhere, trying to balance your own lives and work, on top of my brothers and my own busy schedules. You both were extremely selfless in all you did for us, always putting us first and making sure we both succeeded as much as possible. You'd bring us to all of our tournaments and book hotel rooms for us to stay in for over night weekend trips. You never complained about it either.

In fact, I never once heard you complain about the financial part of it. I can't even begin to imagine how much money you put into buying all my equipment and paying for tournament fees and club dues, but I'm forever thankful you did it.

You also made me realize that everyone has potential, but it's what I do with it that matters. Sometimes I hated when you pushed me and I know I gave you a hard time after many losses and tournaments that didn't go as hoped. Now I know it was only because you cared and because it wasn't worth it for you to watch me not work hard during every game I played.

Thank you mom and dad for being my biggest support system. Thank you for never giving up on me as an athlete or as a person. You always told me I could do better, but it was only because you knew all I was capable of. You never gave up on me when I felt like a failure and you always told me that I'd do better the next time.

Thank you for helping me fill out college questioners and driving me around the country looking at different college athletic facilities. Thank you for meeting different coaches with me when I was scared out of my mind and needed a little back up support. You provided me with the best possible resources and experiences growing up, which allowed me to reach my dream of being a college athlete. Thank you for that. You always encouraged me to reach my dreams and never give up.

I know I can never thank you enough for all the hours you've spent on the road and out of work to watch me play, but it means more to me than you'll ever know. TC mark