Thought Catalog

Read This If You’re Constantly Worried About What The Hell You’re Going To Do With Your Life

Posted: 19 May 2016 08:00 PM PDT


"So, what are you doing with your life?"

There it is. The most dreaded of questions. The kind of question that makes you avoid certain social situations and trips to the local grocery store for fear of seeing someone who might stop you to ask:

What exactly have you become, now that you've grown up?

On the imagined timeline of your life, you had it all planned out – every milestone in chronological order, marked by a neat little dot, exactly when and where it was supposed to happen. Sure, you might be a little bit confused when you graduated from High School, but in College it would all come together. You would find yourself. You would find your passion. You would go on to get your Masters, hell, maybe even you PhD, because you would love what you were doing THAT MUCH.

Your career would take off. You would fall in love with someone that you met on some Tuesday afternoon in a coffee shop or on the subway. It would be so perfectly random (albeit cliché) that neither of you would ever grow tired of telling the story. You would get married and have children. You would have all of these concrete ways of measuring your success.

No one ever told you that life is rude and would have zero respect for your timeline. No one ever told you that things rarely, if ever, go according to plan. They forgot to mention all of the time that you would spend being heartbroken over the people you would lose along the way. They forgot to mention that the line between 'forever' and ‘never again' is so thin that you would step over it more times than you could ever imagine.

No one ever told you that you would never stop growing, that you would never stop changing. How the things that you wanted yesterday might not be the same things you want today, and that tomorrow you might want something else entirely. They never told you how other people can change their minds just as quickly and as easily as you change your own, and how even worse – they're allowed to do so.

No one ever told you how, like changing your clothes, you would have to put on many different versions of yourself – trying to find one that fits, trying to find one that you can actually stand looking at in the mirror every morning. They forgot to mention that someday you might be so confused that you won't be able to find the words to answer a question as simple as, "So, what are you doing with your life?"

No one ever told you that someday you would have to make the painful transition from the person you always thought you would be, into the person that you actually are.

They forgot to mention that when you find yourself at this stage, the most important thing to do, the only thing to do, is to learn to love yourself.

Love yourself with the wholeness and the certainty with which you love your best friend.

Imagine she called you in the middle of the night, sobbing over life's latest let-down.

You listen to her. You are kind and patient with her. You tell her that you understand. You tell her that she is smart, that she is beautiful, that she is capable, and that she deserves only the best. You remind her of all of her accomplishments and you remind her of all of the hardships that she has already overcome. You tell her that she will be okay, that it will all work out. And you believe it. You believe in her.

Imagine what could happen if you told yourself these things.

Imagine what could happen if you let yourself believe them. TC mark

You’re Not Really A Couple Until You Have These 17 Different Types Of Sex

Posted: 19 May 2016 07:00 PM PDT

Photo by
Photo by

1. Drunk sex

Early in a relationship, it's typical to get tipsy and/or flat-out wasted before getting naked together. Alcohol eases our inhibitions and makes the process of learning someone else's body slightly less intimidating. If booze helps you figure out how to turn your partner on and get them off, so be it!

2. Hungover sex

Whether you were blasted the night before because you're still in the midst of the beginning, lustful stage of dating, or you randomly decided to party your faces off two years into exclusivity, hangover sex is the natural successor to drunk sex. You wake up feeling like absolute crap, and the only thing—other than a bacon egg and cheese sandwich, of course—that will make the world right again is an orgasm.

3. Dead sober sex

Since you can't get drunk every single day of your lives, at a certain point you have to embrace sober boning. The beauty of boinking dead sober is that it feels amazing because you're so much more in tune with your senses than you are while under the influence. Plus, the whole experience is much more memorable simply because you're doing it without compromising any brain cells and you are actually able to remember it.

4. Celebratory sex

When you truly adore someone, their happiness is yours. What better way to note a happy occasion than to give each other the gift of orgasmic pleasure? Every promotion, good grade, and closed deal is worth acknowledging with intercourse.

5. Ego boosting sex

We're all bound to have bad days, and to feel down and out and entirely unsexy as a result. If you're in a relationship, it's your job to sense when your partner might benefit from an ego boost and to do what you can to excavate them from the rut they're in. One of the most effective ways to do this is to fuck them back to their happy place.

6. Obligation sex

Sometimes, you have sex because it just seems like you should. For instance, when you're on vacation, unencumbered by your hectic schedules, you'll probably feel obligated to have more sex than usual. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are also days on which you might fuck mostly because it seems like a bad idea not to.

7. Hate fucking

It doesn't matter how madly in love you are. There will be times when you hate each other to bits. You will fight or you will grow tired of each other and the very sight of your partner's face will drive you literally insane. Luckily, there's a good use for all of that anger. When channeled into fucking, temporary loathing can make for an incredible flesh bumping sesh. This is when you tear each other's clothes off, experiment with spanking, and cum like crazy.

8. Makeup sex

Once the anger fades and you remember just how much you love each other, and why, the next step is makeup sex. This is when you shower each other with compliments in between apologizing for your respective roles in the nastiness that preceded, and make sweet, tender love that lasts and lasts.

9. Sex for him or her

You're not going to feel horny every time you partner wants to get laid. Sometimes, they’ll start tickling your stomach or scratching your back and you won’t feel the least bit aroused. You might as well suck it up and fuck them, even if you're not in the mood, because there will come a time when you’ll need them to do the same for you.

10. Morning sex

There are days that call for hitting the snooze button and using those extra twelve minutes for naked play instead of additional sleep. It's tough to regret embarking on the day ahead with an orgasm under your belt. You're bound to think about each other and that satisfying morning romp throughout the hours that lie ahead—until you're back together and you can do it all over again.

11. Sick sex

Every couple ends up sick simultaneously at some point because people who exchange bodily fluids regularly tend to contract things from each other. Lying in bed together, sneezing and wheezing and dry heaving and feeling like shit, one of you will realize that orgasming might be the key to temporary relief from whatever's ailing you. So you'll rub your sweaty, slimy bodies together until one of you passes out from exerting energy they don't have, or one of you gets off. It'll be gross, but also memorable.

12. Routine sex

Every couple eventually falls into a sexual routine of sorts, but whatever qualifies as "normal" between the sheets for you and your significant other doesn't have to be dull or disappointing. If anything, you're probably really good at getting each other off in a particular position. So be proud of your go-to boning style and use those routine strategies as you please without fear of being boring.

13. Dirty sex

If you feel like you've been leaning on your routine too much, you can always mix things up. Read articles, watch movies, and keep your ears open for new ideas. Maybe it's as simple as spanking or blindfolding each other. Maybe you're kinkier to start with, and the next level means an orgy, or anal. Whatever the case, when one person gets the urge to push the bedtime boundaries, it's time to get naughty and experiment.

14. Silly sex

Laughing and orgasming are both highly pleasurable activities that trigger the release of feel good hormones in the brain. Combined, they tend to enhance one another. Couples that stay together long enough figure this out, so they don't shy away from getting downright weird and trying to make each other crack up during sex.

15. Nostalgic sex

Once you've been together for an extended period, you accumulate a vast archive of memories that can be extremely powerful romantic triggers. You will stare into your lover's eyes or observe them from afar and suddenly remember that time when [insert special moment], and you will be drawn to them all over again with a burning passion, as if Cupid just shot that arrow in your ass.

16. Sex in public

Doing it out in the open is a common bucket list item for couples. It's not even all that hard to execute, so it's totally worth the thrill that goes with it, and the shared story you get to relive thereafter. All you need is the right moment and the right abandoned street or bathroom to make it happen. In exchange for a few minutes of discomfort, you earn yourselves a lifetime of bragging rights.

17. Quickies

Time should never be a constraint on your sex life. If you want lasting love, you absolutely have to fit sex into your lives, no matter how busy you are. Mastering the art of the quickie is one way to ensure that you can get off and get on with your respective days without feeling sexually frustrated (and thus more likely to stray). You don't even have to be naked to do some quick thrusting and humping. TC mark

Real Sex Stories book cover

Read more writing like this in Mélanie Berliet’s book Real Sex Stories That Will Make You Really Horny here.

10 Times You Should Listen To Your Best Friend Instead Of Your Heart

Posted: 19 May 2016 06:00 PM PDT


1. When she tells you to change your dress. If your best friend doesn't approve of your outfit, you should listen to her because she probably knows your closet inside out and knows that you have a ton of other dresses you can wear that you will look better in, but you're probably just saving it for a special occasion. Trust her on this one and change the dress.

2. When she tells you he's just not that into you. Believe her. She's seen the way he looks at you and the way he acts around you and she knows better. You're probably infatuated or blinded by how much you like him but she is watching him and looking out for you.

3. When she tells you that your new friend is shady. No she's not just jealous or territorial – she cares. She can tell if the new friend you made cares about you or is just befriending you out of convenience. She's seen people take advantage of you before and she can spot the warning signs when she sees them.

4. When she tells you to get out of the house. Even if you can't stand anyone, even if you're heartbroken, even if you don't feel like getting out of bed; let her drag you out of the house. You will probably end up having a great time with her and it will be therapeutic.

5. When she tells you you're being too hard on yourself. No, she is not just being nice, she is being honest. She knows that you can be your own worst enemy and she is here to tell you that you should give yourself some credit instead of beating yourself up.

6. When she tells you that you can't have any more drinks. Always listen to her when she tells you that because chances are she knows your limit and she doesn't want to see you throwing up in the corner of the street or texting your ex.

7. When she tells you that you can do it. She knows you and knows what you're capable of, she believes in you because she sees your true potential. If she tells you to apply for that job or ask for that promotion or take a certain risk, just do it. You will thank her for it later.

8. When she tells you that you're wrong. Trust her when she tells you that you messed up, that you need to apologize and that you were being unreasonable. Even though she always takes your side, she is also keeping it real with you. Don't be stubborn when she tells you that you were wrong. She is your reality check.

9. When she tells you that you will be fine. She knows how strong you are and she has seen you overcome a lot of difficulties. No matter how helpless you think you are, she knows that you are not and she won’t let you stay in the darkness for too long.

10. When she tells you that she loves you. Listen to her when she tells you that you deserve to be loved and that you need to love yourself even if you feel so unlovable. Don't believe your heart when it attacks you and makes you feel worthless, believe your best friend when she tells you you're beautiful and you are truly loved and admired. TC mark

At Least Tell Them We’re Good Friends, So They Know I Mean Something To You

Posted: 19 May 2016 05:00 PM PDT

Joselito Briones
Joselito Briones

I should have known from the start — this wasn't going to work.

One Sunday night, a few drinks too many, I (mistakenly) confessed my feelings to the guy I had been friends with for the past eight years. Except I told him I didn't want to be just friends.

Shockingly, he agreed. We decided to give it a go.

Except there was a problem that sober-me realized the next day: This would be a closet-whatever. I’m gay, and so is he. Except he's in the closet, and I'm very much not.

He convinced me this would work. This would only be a secret for a while; it would only be a bit until he left the comfortable confines of his closet.

Shockingly, I agreed. We decided to give it a go.

We began what I thought to be a beautiful relationship. I did everything right — waited a while before making things official, talked out problem areas, respected his privacy. It was all good.

Until I went to his house for the first time. No one was home, and we seized that opportunity.

One second it was beautiful, natural. The next I was on his bedroom floor, confused.
"Get dressed," he told me, "my sister will be home any second."

The look on his face made me feel shame, as if we were doing something we weren’t supposed to. Just as quickly as I got dressed to leave, I made myself abandon that feeling in the depths of my psyche.

In the meantime, things started to get serious. We discussed our future plans often, both of us including the other. We talked about when he would come out. It kept getting pushed further and further back, but I didn't mind.

I was in love.

About a month after the incident at his house, I got a text from him.

"Hey, my friend asked me if we were dating today, so we have to tone things down in public from now on," it read. "I told him we were just working on a project together."
I told him we were just working on a project together.

I repeated these words over and over in my head. It was one of those things that keeps you up at night in total agony, sick to your stomach. He told me one thing — that I was his everything, that I meant the world to him — but his actions told me another.

It seemed to be the peak of our relationship when he broke up with me. I told him that it hurt when I was diminished to just a project partner, that it hurt when I couldn't even meet his family.

"At least tell them that we're good friends," I pleaded, "so they know I mean something to you."

Maybe I was wrong for bringing it up. After all, I agreed that this would work, that I would wait for him to come out. I guess he didn't believe me, and maybe I didn't believe me.
It was over. And for a while, I thought I was over too.

Once I was out of that blind phase of love, where everything seems perfect, I was just in love. But I started to see all the problems.

Now I keep going back to that day after my drunk text to him, after I realized we wouldn’t work.

"I don't think this is going to work," I told him. "We're just in two different places."

In reality we were never in the same place, even when we were. We were in a relationship that consisted of two separate narratives: his and mine. I was his dirty little secret; he was my Prince Charming.

And when I look back, I see just how destructive that dynamic was. Love in my eyes is supposed to be beautiful and raw and expressive and open and balanced. It's supposed to be based on compromise and common ground. He just wasn't capable of any of that. We shared a common ground, but it was his and nothing of my own took root there.

I was his dirty little secret, and you can't tell people about those.

As I leave the hopelessly in love stage, I latch on to the anxiety, the uncertainty, and, more broadly, the hurt that accompanied our relationship. The hurt that came from not being able to tell other people about the person I loved. The hurt that came from not being told about to others by the person I loved.

The hurt that came from being a secret.

But I won't look back with hurt any longer. I'll look back and see where things went wrong, where they were wrong from the start. I'll know in my next relationship exactly what I think I need, and it's the opposite of what I had.

Most importantly, I'll know what love shouldn’t be. We all deserve to have someone who loves us and who shows others just how much. There should be no secrets in a relationship, especially if one of the secrets is the relationship.

I can't say I would do it over again, but what I learned about love, about relationships, about myself, is invaluable.

So I guess I wouldn't change a thing—except the future. TC mark

I’m Sorry To Tell You That Some Things Can Be Replaced

Posted: 19 May 2016 04:00 PM PDT

I know you want to believe that some things cannot be replaced, that some things only come around once in a lifetime and that YOU can't be replaced.

But let me tell you that some things can be replaced and replaced by better things.

It's easy to replace someone who didn't give you much to lose.

The connection we had can be replaced by someone who actually wants to keep it, who wants to keep the spark alive, who wants to consistently engage in conversations that turn this spark into fireworks and someone who is not afraid of getting too close. You only liked our connection when it was temporary but you ran away when it started getting intense – when it started getting real.

The fun we had can be replaced by someone who doesn't get bored easily, someone who only wants to have fun with me instead of trying to have fun with a bunch of other girls so he can keep it exciting. Someone who already knows that having fun with someone who means a lot to you is the only kind of fun that really counts.

The dates we had can be replaced by someone who can't get enough of them, someone who wants to go to every café, every restaurant and every bar in the city with me. Someone who wants to give our dates time so we can get to know everything there is to know about each other, someone who doesn't only meet up for an hour when he has time. Someone who frees his time to spend more time with me and doesn’t keep track of time.

Our love can be replaced by someone who actually knows what love is, someone who wants to make it work against all odds, and someone who believes in things like effort, affection and monogamy. Someone who picks quality over quantity, someone who wants to pick only one person and invest in them, someone who only picks me.

The truth is our love can be replaced and I know that for sure but let me tell you this:

The only thing that was really irreplaceable was the love that I had for you, the love I was willing to give you and the love you walked away from.

I know you think that I won't find someone better or smarter or more accomplished and while that may be true, this is not what matters to me.

I don't care about your education as long as you know how to treat me, I don't care about the countries you visited as long as you understand the maps of my heart and the history of my life, I don't care about all those other beautiful women you dated as long as you see the beauty in and the beauty of my scars and how they shaped me.

I don't care about how influential you are or how you can get a room to listen as long as you can hear me and listen to me even when I'm not making sense.

To me; this is what's truly irreplaceable, that kind of love, that kind of loyalty, that kind of depth and that kind of honesty. This is what makes a person irreplaceable because one day you can wake up and society can replace everything you've ever been chasing and you will be left with nothing else to give; nothing else to live for.

So let me tell you that some things can be replaced because I know that if I find something irreplaceable, I'll do my best not to lose it, I will do my best to protect it and I will do my best to keep it close to my heart so it doesn't run away from me trying to find a better replacement. TC mark

You Have To Read These Bizarre (And TBH Creepy) Texts From A Girl Who Hypocritically Believed Her Date ‘Owed Her’ Sex

Posted: 19 May 2016 03:00 PM PDT

All across the nation there has been a blossoming movement to recognize that people have the right to say “no” to sex. And it’s a great thing. There is nothing you wear, or do, or say, besides “yes” (or an equivalent) that “locks you into” having sex. You can withdraw consent at any time. It is how it should be.

But this homegirl, apparently thinks that this applies only to women. Saying “no means no when I say it,” but downplaying a guy’s right to say “no” when he just isn’t feeling it. And while, yes, it is “typically” the guy who is pursuing sex, and the girl who is withholding consent, that isn’t always true — as this convo demonstrates

Read on:

via Imgur
via Imgur
via Imgur

There’s always an example that runs contrary to the stereotype. No means no. From anyone. Period. TC mark

For The Hearts That Are No Longer Broken

Posted: 19 May 2016 02:00 PM PDT

Joana Filipe
Joana Filipe

Wow. Look at you! Look how far you have come. There was a time where you didn’t think you would mend. You believed you would stay broken. You didn’t think you would heal. But here you are. You are so happy, you are so full. It is as if you are brand new. A stronger, more vibrant, and complete version of yourself.

You didn’t believe me at first when I told you time heals everything. You didn’t think you were strong. You doubted yourself. You thought you would never love again. You thought you would be stuck in that place. A place of darkness, of hurt, of sadness.

I’m glad you decided to listen to me. You opened yourself to love, you opened yourself to a new chapter. There are so many things that you have accomplished because of this. You chose love over fear. Though one love was lost, you knew you would love again. This time, you chose to love yourself. The most important love of all.

There was a time where you felt lost, broken, defeated. You felt yourself slipping, but you decided to pick yourself back up. You gathered the pieces of yourself that were scattered across the floor, stood up, dusted off your clothes, and started to walk forward.

You no longer look back, but are grateful for everything that came before you. Though the future is still uncertain, you do not allow fear to control you. You know that everything happened for a reason, and your journey is just as important as your destination. You are happy to be right where you are, right in this very moment. You are no longer lost, because you have found yourself.

I am so proud of you! For everything you have accomplished. For finding light, even in a dark place. For allowing yourself to let go. For allowing yourself to heal. For opening yourself to new opportunities, to the universe, and to love. Everything you have gone through, led you to where you are now.

And, where you are now, is exactly where you are meant to be. TC mark

14 Twenty-Somethings On The Muslim American Experience

Posted: 19 May 2016 01:24 PM PDT


We bring you this post in partnership with 'Secret Lives of Americans,' a groundbreaking doc series that takes a look at the secrets we all keep, and the strength it takes to reveal them to our family and friends. A key episode follows Amy, a young woman who has hidden the fact that she is Muslim from her friends due to permeating anti-Muslim sentiments and violence in the US.

Watch all-new episodes of 'Secret Lives Of Americans' Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Pivot, Participant Media's television network.

1. "Sometimes I think I'm one of the lucky ones. I am white-passing so everything's good, until someone reads my name on paper, on my name-tag or asks for it. Then it suddenly becomes an issue. That's when I become a threat to national security. They don't have to say what their non-verbal expressions give off." — Female, 29

2. "I realized at a young age it's sick but I can't do anything because in society I am seen as wrong, un-American, and dangerous. Neighbors have told my little sister that they love us, but won't talk to us on 9/11 in solidarity." — Female, 22

3. "When I spoke to my dad on the phone today and he asked, 'What do you think of this Trump stuff, him running for President? And he wants to block Muslims from coming in? Ridiculous…' It saddened me. I couldn't imagine the disappointment and frustration he must have felt. I can't help but feel bad for him and all the other Muslims in America who moved here to make their dreams come true, who worked their asses off to get to where they are now and become successful, who want to be so proud of this country and the work they put in to become American citizens. As well as those who don't live here, many Muslims have so much respect and love for this country. I'd hate to see those words turn to past tense." –Male, 21

4. "Every single religion has had individuals and groups of terrible people commit terrible acts. Just because this is the most recent terrorist group, doesn't make all Muslims bad people. How would your religion be perceived if it were defined only by a minority of members' actions? Yes, the ISIS attacks are current, but that does not justify making it a 'special' scenario in that it demands hatred and fear of Muslims. People must stop acting like it's the one religion to commit terrorist attacks." — Male, 21

5. "I changed the pronunciation of my name from Sah-rah to the regular Sara so my religious beliefs would be less evident to others. I also stopped wearing my hijab when I was 15 because I was scared about what would happen to me—who would hurt me, how I'd be discriminated against." — Female, 29

6. "As a child, I remember always asking my parents questions about Islam, and my parents would tell me a quick answer or launch into a long lecture about my identity as a Muslim girl. Islam is a part of my identity, a part of who I am as a person, and it's so beautiful—the religion, the art, the history, the everything—I always found being Muslim something I am proud to claim as part of my soul." — Female, 27

7. "When my family and I immigrated to the U.S. in the summer of 2003, hate and discrimination towards Muslim individuals and families were real. Threats and intimidations were real. The unjustified violence towards innocent people was real. It was happening and it continues to happen in communities today. However, I have experienced a side of America that welcomed me with open arms; a facet that is a true testament to the people I have met, the friends I have made, and the communities that I have lived in across the country. In fact, the majority of people I have come across have looked at my personal journey and instead of siding with ignorance and dubbing me a 'terrorist,' they've overcome those stereotypes by focusing on my character, my ability to overcome adversity, and my willingness to work for my dreams." — Male, 23

8. "Growing up Muslim clearly has not been a really 'safe and easy' ride; I was merely a kindergartener when the 9/11 attacks occurred. That's when it all started. I struggled after that. I was picked and teased jokingly about being a terrorist because the color of my skin was not 'standard'. Kids were ruthless in picking on my faith and asking hurtful questions about terrorism and Islam. I grew to realize that this is how I'd be treated for the rest of my life based on one event that shattered the identity my Muslims brothers and sisters hold." — Male, 30

9. "I remember wearing henna to school for Eid and being relentlessly bullied for having a 'skin disease' and apparently celebrating the attacks. I often feel like the entire country has turned on me because they think there's something morally wrong with what I choose to believe in." — Female, 29

10. "When I first moved to America I was a 10-year-old boy with a curious heart, an open mind, and a lot of energy. I was so ready to make America my home and take advantage of the opportunities it offered that I didn't care what people said about my culture or religion. When ignorant classmates called me Arab I didn't take it personally, instead I made sure they knew the difference between an Arab and an Afghan. When neighbors, unable to hide the disgust on their face, called me a 'foreigner', I made sure they knew I was an American citizen whose involvement in community, charity, politics, and world affairs was the embodiment of how an American citizen should behave. In a way, Islam will always be a part of my life from a cultural aspect but what guides my morals and ethics is a simple understanding of remaining conscious of my surroundings, acting towards others with good intentions while remaining humble and thankful for that which has come my way." — Male, 23

11. "Witnessing the severe anti-Muslim sentiments pour into our living room from across the country over the years, it took a lot for me to get past my own self-hatred regarding who I am and what I look like. But I am fighting—fighting the system. I am getting involved in campus rallies in support of freeing Palestine, I am getting involved in my masjid youth group to teach and engage my community, I am being a better Muslim for the sake of God and for the sake of fighting against the hatred we see today." — Female, 25

12. "For any Muslim-American born and raised in the United States, we can all agree that some days it is difficult. It's difficult waking up, looking in the mirror, and knowing that tax dollars go into funding drones that could kill your people back home. Living with that guilt, as well as the guilt you might have that may or may not have been pushed onto you in the post 9-11 climate, it can be too much. It can push you to some of your worst days, alone and with your doubts and thoughts: Why did I laugh at that one terrorist joke? Why didn't I just say something against it?" — Male, 30

13. "I often think about the time my mother, brother and I were put into a separate room at the airport for a 'random' screening on our way to Germany. It was just us three and another Muslim-American man in a completely separate security clearance room. I thought it was weird then, and now I see it as degrading—as pure paranoia that a ten year-old girl would be hiding a bomb somewhere on her body." — Female, 21

14. "When I moved to the U.S., it was hard to adapt at first (even though I'm more liberal than a lot of Muslims), because people stereotyped me. It was hard to walk among Americans like one of them when I would get all sorts of annoying questions about my religion like 'so do men really have four wives?' It baffles me how little Americans know about Islam. Unfortunately, their only source is the media and the terrorists groups representing their own version of Islam. Sometimes I wish I could take Americans to Egypt, where my family is from, so they can see the real 'everyday' Muslims and their kindness—their hospitality, their warmth, and the love they truly have for other people. When Prophet Muhammed first set out to spread Islam in Mecca, a lot of people advised him to do so by force, but he politely responded, 'There is no compulsion in religion.' This is what real Islam is all about. It's a religion of peace, and it's a religion of hope." — Female, 28 TC mark

Learn more about religious intolerance on this week's episode of Secret Lives of Americans (Friday at 10 p.m ET/PT on Pivot), which follows Amy, a young woman who has hidden the fact that she's Muslim from her friends because of permeating anti-Muslim sentiments in the U.S. after 9/11.

Inspired by Secret Lives of Americans, Pivot is offering tools and resources to further the conversation around some of the topics explored in the series, ranging from literacy to religious tolerance. Visit the series' "Take Action" hub to learn more about the issues and get involved.

This Is Falling In Love With The Possibility Of Someone

Posted: 19 May 2016 01:00 PM PDT


You let out a breath of air as you look up at your ceiling. Every time you close your eyes, you see their face. And it's not irritating. It's just captivating. So captivating it's keeping you up at night. But why are they even in your brain? It's not like you like them. You promised yourself after the last time that no one was going to break down the extremely high walls you've built around your heart.

But you can't get their stupid face out of your mind. So you're awake. Their face isn't actually even dumb at all. It's beautiful. It's so beautiful that you wonder what it would be like to trace your pointer finger from their forehead down to their perfectly shaped lips. They're also not only physically beautiful; they're that truly beautiful that scares you. They're smart. They're passionate. They're funny.

They're everything interesting that makes you wonder how people like them exist.

And they do exist. They're not the figment of your imagination that you've dreamt of. They're real life, breathing humans that make you want to dive in again. That makes you forget that for a split second that your ex ever existed.

Then you let your mind start to drift to what they're doing right now in this very instance; that maybe right now, across town they're awake thinking of you too. That maybe, just maybe, this time you're not just dreaming about your future. Maybe they are your future.

Then the negativity sets in. What if they're not sleeping by themselves right now? Just because there's a side in your bed that's empty doesn't mean that the object of your affection is also alone. That's what you're thinking isn't it? You think that the powerful feeling you felt when your hands brushed was only one sided and that you're crazy. You're insane enough to believe that this beautiful person could ever feel the same way about you.

You're alone for a lot of reasons remember? You wanted that empty side of the bed next to you because it was once filled with all of your hopes and dreams but now, now it was just empty disappointment. Because you did love before. You loved so hard and so deep but it wasn't enough. Now here you are, awake, thinking about letting yourself be that vulnerable again. You're thinking about placing your battered and bruised heart into the hands of another person who could just crush you.

You once weren't afraid of love. You weren't so crippled by the thought of letting someone new take your hand and lead you down a new path of love but you are now. Because every trip you've taken has ended with nothing but heartache and there was no way you were going to let yourself go there again. No matter how beautiful the next person is.

But they are beautiful. And then your mouth twitches for a second before you let yourself smile thinking about the crinkles by their eyes when their face lights up. You let out a small chuckle when you remember how much you laughed at that internet puppy meme together. Your heart stings a bit when you think about how they talked about their own heartache.

It reminds you that no one is exempt from experiencing heartbreak.

It reminds you that even though they're amazing in every way; what you look like, what you've been through and who you are doesn't determine your ability to be loved.

Your fingers start to burn. You just want to text them and see if they're still up. If they have that one thing to say to you that will ease your mind and give you hope that your feelings are matched. All you really want to text them is 'give me love please.'

Lying in your room, looking up at your ceiling, you take a deep breath and let it out. In that moment you make yourself a promise. Love will come and go but if it does go, it wasn't because you weren't enough. It was because life has a way of teaching us lessons that we need in order to get where we're going.

Then your mind drifts back to that beautiful person entrancing your mind, keeping you from sleep and you smile. You smile because this person reminds you of possibilities and that life is full of them. That feeling you feel right now is hope. And that in itself is a beautiful thing. TC mark

14 Women Reveal How They Turned Their ‘FWB’ Relationship Into Something More

Posted: 19 May 2016 12:00 PM PDT



“Well, we had been friends for a pretty long time — like all through high school. Then we both came home during a winter break and were hanging out and ended up having sex on his basement couch lol. I had always had feelings for him, but he just wanted to be hookups buddies. I agreed, because I thought it might lead to more. We kept hooking up during college breaks until one day he asked me if wanted to go on a date. People say that FWB doesn’t lead to relationships, but in my case it did.”

— Jillian, 23


“Me and this guy had been f*cking for a while, and then one April Fools Day I showed him a fake pregnancy test I got at some gag store. He totally freaked out! It was hilarious! After I told him it was just a joke, he was pissed off for a minute but then started laughing too. Then he was like, ‘Ya that was a joke, but I wouldn’t mind spending some more time with you though…’ We ended up dating for three years.”

— Cara, 26


“When I was in college I was in this “on-and-off” relationship with a guy who was kinda a fuckboy. He would flake on all our dates, but have ALL the time in the world after 2:00am when he wanted me to come over. I thought we had some real chemistry, so I told him: If you want my body at night, we need to be more. I guess he thought I was a pretty good in bed, because we dated for a few months after.”

— Mel, 23


“We had dated in high school, and in college started having sex again — but with a very strict no feelings policy. I was the first one to crack though haha, and asked if he wanted something more. We talked about it for a little bit and decided to give it another shot. We are engaged to be married now! I think it really has to do with communication and being direct about what you are feeling, because there’s no point in continuing something that isn’t making you happy.”

— Daisy, 27


“My story is interesting because it was actually the MAN who caught feelings first. I was enjoying being single after a four year relationship ended, and kinda playing the field. He brought up a relationship, and kinda immaturely I laughed in his face. He worked really hard to woo me though (like cooking breakfast in the morning, taking me out on “casual” dates) and eventually I decided to give him a shot. The relationship lasted about six months, but it was a good ride.”

— Sammantha, 21


“I actually met this guy in a group orgy I went to in college. I remember thinking he was soooooooo fucking hot and wanting him really badly. We did things at the “event” and exchanged contact information. For the next two years we spent countless nights together, and it was seriously the best sex I ever had.

Then one day, after he left, I realized I missed him. Not just his body. But him. I brought up the idea of dating, and he was really hesitant. But after talking about it, he both decided to give it a shot. It didn’t end up being a “forever” relationship, but it was a good year-ish.”

— Jasmine, 26


“Right after college I was hooking up with this dude who I had met through mutual friends. I told him that I thought he could be something more, and he got mad. Like really mad. He said that I was ruining our great FWB set-up, and I said I didn’t give a fuck. He stormed away, and we didn’t talk for like three weeks.

Eventually he texted me some booty call, and I told him “no way” after how he had acted. He ended up coming over and we talked about. He decided to give a relationship a chance, and so far so good!”

— Cynthia, 24


“We had actually dated before, but it didn’t work out because he kept cheating on me. I would always catch him, and the lies were just so unbearable. But we kept having sex, because he was good in bed and I am very…needy.

One day I brought up the idea of us dating again, and he said he liked what we had atm. Eventually we talked more about it and we decided to try an open relationship. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but we’re making it work?”

— Iris, 23


“I was the “other woman” in this situation…I was a fuck buddy to this guy who was one of my co-workers. We would do it all the time in his car, in hotels, at work. I felt guilty about what I was doing to his wife, and asked him to leave her. He did, and we’ve both never been happier!”

— Anonymous


“It’s just always a really hard situation to navigate. On one hand, we’ve all been told that casual sex doesn’t usually lead to a relationship. On the other hand, we want to stay close to the guy we are crushing on. In my case, I tried to be up-front and honest when I knew I was feeling something more than just sex. He was really understanding about it, and decided to take it day-by-day and told me we could stop having sex if I wanted. Eventually we gave each other a shot, and we’re still together today!”

— Rebecca, 20


“This actually happened with me and my childhood best friend. We had always been inseparable, but our relationship was always strictly platonic. One time we went out as a part of a larger group, and ended up making out at this bar (he had just broken up with his girlfriend, and I was in a BIG dry spell). He both decided we wanted more and went back to his apartment to fuck.

We kept hooking up for a while until we both admitted that friends-with-benefits wasn’t going to work for us. We gave dating a shot, and 6 months, so far so good!”

— Rachel, 26


“Don’t give them sex. If you have feelings for someone, don’t keep hooking up with them. Tell them straight: if you want this, you have to make this something real. Some people will say you can’t blackmail people for sex to find love, but that’s how me and my husband made it work.”

— Laurie, 27


“So I met this boy on Tinder, and we both wanted sex and started hooking up right away. I had a really good time with it for a while, but I started noticing my friends who were having sex with actual partners, and I wanted that too. After about three months of just being hookup buddies, I asked him if he was interested in something more and we both decided to give it a shot.”

— Jessie, 22


“My life is kind of a mess haha, but I’ll try to condense this story. Me and this guy, let’s call him “Bill,” were hooking up a lot. One time after having sex he told me that he was about to be evicted from his apartment because he lost his job. I invited him to stay with me.

So that worked well for a while, until I realize that I had COMPLETELY head over heels fallen for him. I brought it up with Bill one night, and he said that he really wasn’t interested in anything from me except sex. “Well then,” I told him. “I guess you’re not interested in staying in my apartment either!” He suddenly got really panicky and changed his tune in a hurry. We dated for a few months and it wasn’t bad.”

— Bethany, 22 TC mark