Thought Catalog


Why The Idea Of Behaving Like A ‘Lady’ Makes Me Want To Projectile Vomit

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 08:00 PM PDT

Paolo Raeli
Paolo Raeli

I'm sick of acting like a lady while men are acting like pigs. Now before I even get into my argument here, NOT ALL men are disgusting creatures that should rot in hell for their acts, but some are and those are the ones I'm talking about.

I'm so sick of hearing about what women wear to the bar. Newsflash, they can wear whatever the hell they want to wear and if they choose to wear a mini skirt that's not a free invitation for you to shove your fingers up her skirt. Just like if she's wearing a low cut shirt it is not an invitation for you to come rub your face in her tits. If she's wearing heels that doesn't mean she's looking for someone to go home with, and if you think her outfit says otherwise I'd love to see her shove her heel up your ass for being such a sleaze.

Do not ever attempt to make an argument that she was asking for it by her outfit because that is painfully pathetic and completely deranged. If a girl wants you she will make it known. Do not come near her, do not touch her and do not get aggressive with her if she says no. Because she probably will and when she does, you just need to take your rejection and walk away.

Before I can even remember I was always told to watch my drink when I go to bars or parties. I was told to never leave my drink unattended, never accept drinks from strangers, to always place my hand over the top and to make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary or fizzy. I was taught those things long before I even started going to the bar because it's such a big deal. I'm glad I was warned of those dangers, I know everyone who told me was just trying to watch out for me and keep my best interest at heart.

But the fact I've heard those things my whole life is utter and complete bullshit because as many times as I've heard that I've never heard a single ad or commercial or read a pamphlet on men not drugging women. I wish I could say the same about the reverse, but I've heard it, seen it, watched it and read it for women being drugged by men and date rapped. That is not OK.

I'm sick of trying to be a lady, trying to be proper and have etiquette because honestly I'm not very good at those things. I've got a mouth like a sailor, I write articles about sex, I don't dress appropriately and I'm happy that way.

Don't tell me to watch my drink, teach men not to be such scumbags that they have to drug a woman to have sex with her because honestly that makes you pathetic more than anything.

Don't teach me to fear the dark and be afraid to do things alone, but congrats world you did teach me that and it worked. Just yesterday I was out walking and a man was in his car slowly driving next to me in the daylight, but I was still scared. I was thinking, why is this man driving slowly next to me? What is he doing? Why is he staring at me? Fuck. Fuck. Get out your phone just in case.

Nothing happened, it was daytime, but I was still alone and I was still panicked.

I know all men aren't out to abduct and rape girls, but there are still plenty in the world who are, and because of that we are taught not to trust any men we don't know.

We send our friends on first dates with us to hide in the corner, we carry pepper spray and pocket knifes. We are on high alter all the time because when we turn on the news there was another story of a young woman getting abducted, getting date rapped, getting murdered when she was walking home alone. We see the missing persons wall filled with people from decades ago who have still not been found.

I'm sick of acting like a lady, I'm sick of living in fear because it isn't fair that women have to constantly keep their guards up. So instead of trying to teach me to how to act like a lady, teach men to stop being the sleazy dirt under our high heels.

Teach them that no matter what a woman is wearing it is not an open invitation to have sex with her. Teach them that no matter how many times she says NO it doesn't make it OK to drug her because that is NEVER OK. Teach them that a girl walking home alone in the dark is not an open invitation to ruin her fucking life by being a creep or abducting her.

When ALL men start leaving women alone and stop acting like fucking jackasses, then maybe I'll start acting like a lady. TC mark

I Love Me More Than I Hate You

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 07:00 PM PDT

Naim Naim
Naim Naim

If you wanted me to hate you then you got your wish. I fucking hate you. Every single self-absorbed, douchebag piece. I could deal with your mountains of insecurities, hell I could deal with the mean and cutting words but lying is one thing I can never put up with. Especially people who can look another person in the eye and just lie.

I guess the worst part is I believed you. You fucked me and then you fucked me over. So congratulations I hate you. I know this is what you wanted. Why anyone would ever want someone to hate them is beyond me but it's exactly what you wished for.

So I'll give it to you. Anger is a secondary emotion to hurt but I will never admit that you hurt me. My pride is too strong for that. You have managed to take pieces of me that I thought I had healed. I know no one can control your self-esteem or self-love but when someone is constantly telling you all of your shortcomings, tell me then how easy it is to not give into their words and judgements.

And my friends warned me but I was so blinded by charm to see what the fuck you were. A serpent. A disgusting snake. The worst kind of human. And you knew how to play me so well. You played into my need to give and knew that I would want to heal you. I should have been tough enough, smart enough to see that.

My faults were being naïve. Naïve and stupid. Stupid enough to believe that you had one good bone in your body. Your mind is vicious and your heart is completely fucked up. But your soul, your soul is made up of pure hatred. Because no one who knows what love is could ever treat any other human being the way you do.

And I know I'm not the only casualty of your cruelness. I'm not the only one you destroyed on your path to your self-fulfilling prophecy. The one where you convince and tell yourself that you are a good person. You're not a good person.

Good people don't make others feel less than. They don't control them with horrible words or extort their insecurities. Good people love people in abundance regardless of their shortcomings. Regardless of if they measure up to some unimaginable standard you made up in your head. But loving other people would mean that you would have to love yourself.

And it's clear you don't. And my dear no matter how much I hate you, it's nowhere near how much you hate yourself. So for that I pity you. I feel bad for you. Because love is so much better than hatred. Hating yourself is only going to leave you feeling empty and lonely. And that vacant feeling you have in your heart is going to stay. Don't ever think that because some else is warming the other side of your bed from time to time that you aren't completely and utterly alone.

Hate is a waste of an emotion but I feel it pump through my veins when I see your name. But this is when I let that go. Because hating you for the rest of my life would only harm me. And I love me more than I hate you. TC mark

You Are Not Your Worst Mistake

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 06:00 PM PDT

gratisography.com
gratisography.com

You are human, so you’ve screwed up. Probably a lot. Probably so much that at times you can’t stand to be around yourself. You’ve hurt people you love. You’ve hurt strangers. You’ve hurt yourself. You’ve done things that don’t feel like you, things you never thought you’d do, things that have kept you up at night, wondering, in sheer panic: Is this me? Is this actually who I am? Am I this bad of a person?

You’ve made a lot of small mistakes, seemingly trivial ones, but ones that still tortured you for days. Little mishaps at work, tactless things that slipped out of your mouth in social situations before you thought them through, moments where you dropped the ball when a lot of people were counting on you.

And you’ve made bigger mistakes, the ones that eat at you over longer periods of time. The ones where you knew what the right choice was but something stopped you from making it. The ones where you’ve let down someone you truly cared about. The ones where you consciously said something truly hurtful, something you could never take back.

We dwell on these things, because dwelling on them makes us feel like we’re at least doing something. Maybe if we obsess over our mistakes enough, if we torture ourselves enough over every little thing and every big thing we screwed up, then we’ll be allowed to move on. We punish ourselves, because we don’t know what else to do.

But ultimately, punishing yourself doesn’t do anything. All it does is internalize the hurt and the pain of your mistake within you, instead of apologizing and fixing what you did and then letting it dissipate into the universe. It keeps the pain alive, allowing it to suck life out of everyone and everything as it jumps from host to host. Punishing yourself does nothing but allow the hurt to continue to live.

Here’s how you kill the pain: Accept the responsibility for the mistake. Accept that you’ve screwed up. Apologize, admit your wrongdoing. Do what you can to fix the situation, do what you can to help the people you’ve hurt. And then move on. Latch onto the knowledge that you are not your worst mistake. Understand that the most telling thing about who you are is how you behave after you’ve made the mistake. Maybe you did a bad thing, maybe you hurt someone, maybe you hurt a lot of people. Maybe you made this choice impulsively, and you’d do anything to take it all back. Well that’s great, but you can’t take it back, so what are you going to do instead?

You could ultimately be your worst mistake, if you want. You could let this be who you are. Or, you can learn from it. You can fix what you can, you can fix what’s in your control. You can make sure that no one else makes the same mistake. You ca apologize and admit your wrongdoing and understand exactly what you must do to make sure you never do this again. And when you’ve done all that, you can forgive yourself. It’s not the same as forgetting, it’s not the same as acting like it never happened. You can allow the mistake to become part of you, part of your history and part of the reason you are who you are today – in a good way. You can be smarter and wiser and better and kinder because of it.

You can make sure you are not your worst mistake. It’s up to you. TC mark

14 Reasons Why It Takes A Strong Woman To Handle A Scorpio Partner

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 05:00 PM PDT

 Credit Joel Sossa
Credit Joel Sossa

The Scorpio sign is associated with a plethora of bold personality traits – being headstrong, domineering and controlling, to name a few. Though this sign has historically gotten a bad reputation for their suitability as a romantic partner, I’d like to argue that it simply takes the right kind of partner to handle this ambitious type.

It takes an equally headstrong woman – who is content with herself and her own life – to thrive in a relationship with a Scorpio partner. This sign is not for the faint of heart. But for the strong-willed and determined individual, there are many reasons why they can make for an excellent match.

1. They're not just with you to fill a space.

Scorpios are fiercely independent beasts, who don't commit to serious relationships just because they're lonely or in need of companionship. If this type is dating you, it means they find you deeply intriguing, and they don't take your relationship lightly – which is good, because neither do you.

2. They'll challenge you intellectually.

Scorpios are constantly searching for new ways to think about the world around them. This type doesn't back down from a debate or a deep conversation – they are constantly pushing the intellectual envelope and they'll inspire you to do the same. You'll never have the same conversation twice with this deeply analytical personality.

3. They're refreshingly honest.

They may be a little more blunt than you wish they were at times – but you'll always get the truth out of a Scorpio. They aren't here to play games or beat around the bush. They'll tell you exactly what they want and what's on their mind – which is a rare trait to encounter in the current dating scene.

4. They'll push you to become the best version of yourself.

You aren't looking for coddling, and the Scorpio man isn't interested in giving it to you. This type sees your potential and they aren't afraid to challenge and push you towards the person they know you could become. This type won't keep you down – in fact, they're just as invested in your personal growth as you are.

5. They will stop at nothing to defend you.

If you're dating a Scorpio, you're already an independent lady (or gentleman) who is capable of holding his or her own. But if you're ever in serious trouble, your Scorpio will be the first one to come bail you out. This type is on your team come hell or high water and they'll be there to help you fight any external challenges you come across.

6. They will absolutely match the respect that you show them.

Scorpios go straight for the jugular when they're crossed – but if you're showing them kindness, diligence and respect, they'll match your attitude every step of the way. This type values fair, respectful behavior and if you show it to them, they'll show it to you right back.

7. They have a full life outside of the relationship.

Your relationship is not your whole life – and it isn't the Scorpio's either. This type understands that you have interests and commitments that fall outside of your role as their partner – and they don't want to stop you from pursuing those. In fact, they respect you all the more for it.

8. They're extremely resourceful.

Scorpios know exactly how to get what they want – and that isn't a bad person to have on your team. When the two of you are up against a challenge, this type takes action quickly to resolve things. Together, you are a power couple – and everyone knows it.

9. They're intensely passionate.

What this sign lacks in warmth they absolutely make up for in passion. Though they may show rather than tell when it comes to their emotions, Scorpios feel love deeply and intensely. And someone as determined as you can only truly be matched by someone as passionate as the Scorpio.

10. They will never stop striving to understand you.

There is nothing the Scorpio loves more than a puzzle – and if they care about you, they consider you to be the greatest puzzle of all. This sign wants to delve deeply into the depths of who you are, and uncover exactly what makes you tick. While this may sound terrifying to some, you've been searching for a partner who looks beyond the surface and strives to get to know you on a deeper level.

11. They're zealous and creative lovers.

Scorpios are known for being highly sexual beings. They don't back down from kinks, quirks and even fantastical role-plays – which makes them phenomenal lovers. You've been looking for someone who can satisfy you in bed, and you have to look absolutely no further than the Scorpio man.

12. They don't shy away from your dark side.

Scorpios aren't afraid to delve into the deep end of the human psyche. They don't want you to hide the wretched and horrible parts of yourself from them – they want to explore them. And they may even help you work through them.

13. They have a fantastically twisted sense of humor.

Scorpios may not be the most politically correct people out there, but they definitely know how to make you laugh. This sign isn't afraid to 'go there' with jokes – but a little bit of crudeness doesn't put you off. In fact, it may even make you like them that much more.

14. Despite their independence, they're as loyal as they come.

It takes a long time for a Scorpio to let you into their circle of trust – but once they do, they'll be the most loyal and devoted partner you could ever ask for. This sign takes their relationships exceptionally seriously once they get into them – and at the end of the day, someone as independent as you absolutely needs someone as secure and committed as the Scorpio. TC mark

Hot Tip: Stop Asking Women Why They’re ‘Still Single’

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 04:00 PM PDT

jameswildexo
jameswildexo

I wish there was a solution, an easy fix, a polite way to explain to people that this question is rude and annoying as hell. A way to get people to understand that this question, rather than coming off as courteous small talk, is actually coming off more as “So what is wrong with you? What is the exact, specific answer as to why you are single? To be your age and not be in a settled, committed relationship means something is weird about you, and I’d like to know what it is.”

People think they’re being complimentary. “I can’t believe no one has snatched you up yet!” Nice, right? But what it feels like is: “It’s crazy that you’re alone, and rather than it simply being a result of a series of events that occurred in your life that just so happened to not include finding a mate, it must actually be a result of some characteristic about you that makes you undesirable to those looking for a life partner.”

Why can’t you just be single because that’s just the way it fucking is right now?

Why does there have to be a reason, an explanation, a piece of information that suddenly makes it all make sense? What are they honestly expecting you to say? Do they want every single part of your life story so that they can have some small hope of possibly processing the distressful fact that you are in your twenties and are still – dear God – alone?!

No one wants the real, true reason why you’re single. They don’t want: “Well, I was in a relationship for two years and we thought maybe this was it but in the end it just didn’t work out and they moved to the other side of the country and we wanted different things and I cried for months and was depressed as hell and now I’m here and I’m open to meeting someone but it just hasn’t happened yet.”

Or “Well, I’m on Tinder and OK Cupid and Hinge and every other app you can think of and once you actually sort through all the dudes who are just sending dick pics and asking if you are looking for something ‘casual,’ there’s not a huge selection left or any guarantee that you’ll find someone in that selection that you truly connect with.”

Or even just “I’m not sure yet exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to my love life or if I’m interested in having a love life at all right now, so I’m just focusing on other things and will deal with that part of my life when I feel like it.”

No, subconsciously, they don’t want nor are they prepared for those answers. They’re expecting something simpler, like, “I’m focusing on my job” so that they can give you an easy solution like “Work isn’t everything.” Or, “It’s just hard to meet people” so that they can say “Just put yourself out there more!”

Most of the time, these people don’t have bad intentions. Either they just really do want to see you happy with someone, or they’re just nosy. But innocently-intentioned or not, it’s still tiring, tedious, and intrusive as fuck.

It’s not going to go away, unfortunately. It’s an age-old question that starts popping up the minute a woman is around 22-years-old. Because although society has progressed quite a lot when it comes to women, we still have a long way to go. Sure, women are succeeding in the workplace and in politics and in entertainment and all sorts of areas. But we’re not even close to being there yet. We do not think of women and men as the same. As far as we’ve come, people today are still confused if a woman is not married and beginning to start her family during her peak fertility years. We think we should be worried about her, and her life choices, and her happiness. We think we need a very specific answer as to why she is still by herself and how that could possibly be a good idea. Sure, women can work and have careers but only if they are also mothers and wives, too.

You’re probably never going to be able to stop these questions, or to find an easy solution for avoiding these conversations and these people altogether. But what you can do is remember that you don’t owe a damn explanation to anyone. There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing weird about you, and there’s certainly no obligation for you to put someone else at ease about your situation.

You’re no different from your married friend or your engaged friend or your friend in a committed relationship. They just happened to meet a specific person in a specific place at a specific time and their odds worked out. And yours haven’t – yet. Maybe you will meet someone, maybe you won’t. But in the meantime, keep being “still single” and don’t ever feel the need to apologize for it. TC mark

14 Single Women On How They’d Prefer A Man To Hit On Them

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 03:00 PM PDT

phiasinclair
phiasinclair

1. “I have actually been waiting for a guy to say ‘Did it hurt?’ So I can respond by saying, ‘When I fell from heaven, yes, but that line hurt more.’ That would be so satisfying.” —Alexis, 24

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2. “Don’t tap me on the shoulder, especially if we’re in a bar. It’s just weird. If you’re going to say hello, be where I can see you.” —Nichole, 25

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3. “I like a guy who lets me approach him. Give me a couple enticing eye glances so I’m confident you’re interested, and that’s all I need.” —Natalie, 24

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4. “If he says anything that would come up on Google after searching pickup lines, NOPE. ” —Valerie, 23

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5. “I think it has more to do with the woman you’re approaching. If she’s nice to a fault, she’ll be cordial no matter how you approach her, but if she’s the kind of girl who’s brutally honest and doesn’t care what people think, she could tell you to go screw yourself.” —Rachel, 26

beetlejuice

6. “I just like a simple introduction. ‘Hey, I’m (insert name here).’ It’s really not that complicated or awkward.” —Christiana, 24

beetlejuice

7. “Buying me a drink is always a good start, but don’t try to guess what my signature drink is. Let me tell you so I don’t have to pretend to enjoy some fruity concoction you thought I’d love.” —Cate, 25

beetlejuice

8. “I’m not too judgmental when it comes to how a guy tries to hit on me. It takes balls for him to approach a woman in the first place, so I’m not going to be too hard on him when he does.” —Michelle, 24

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9. “Give a compliment, it’s simple. Nothing creepy though, don’t say anything about breasts or ass.” —Bianca, 26

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10. “Tell me I’m pretty. I’ll love you forever.” —Morgan, 23

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11. “I like something funny. If you make me laugh, I’ll want to talk to you.” —Liz, 25

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12. “Honesty is always best. If you’re approaching me because you think I look good, then just say that. I’ll take it as a compliment and probably engage in casual conversation after.” —Dayna, 25

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13. “Give me at least a half hour before you try making out with me.” —Zara, 25

beetlejuice

14. “Just be genuine. If you have the confidence to be who you are, then you’ll be fine whether I like you or not.” —Ilana, 26 TC mark

Life Isn’t Meaningless — It’s Tragically Hilarious

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 02:00 PM PDT

Flickr / chelsom
Flickr / chelsom

"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

— William Shakespeare, Macbeth (Act V, Scene V)

In just two words of five syllables, medieval man brewed a bitter antidote to all from melancholy and regret to hubris and ostentation: memento mori ("remember [that you have] to die"). The phrase reminds us that no matter what stirred our pasts, nor what will shake our futures, all of it shall inevitably come to naught. For we will — we must — die.

As an adolescent, my mind latched onto death like a gnat — obsessively, annoyingly, each and every day. But my personal memento mori brought existential pain and not relief. It was a discomfort I chided myself for feeling — there existed far too many real things to fret over, like work and school and a fast-encroaching tidal wave of loans.

But still. The very fact of death made me doubt the utility of all I did, especially material or external accomplishments, especially and even when others held those things out as possessing the utmost importance. Either things were permanent, I thought, or they lacked any purport at all. Memento mori.

My logic proved unremarkable: What is the meaning — the point — of any of this hub-bub if, at the end, I'll die? Assuming there is no afterlife, that after dying I'll return to that duplicate state (or non-state) of consciousness I possessed before birth — nothingness — what difference does it make whether I plod on to eighty or expire this instant? What gives if I live a life of public utility or private quietude? Either way, it will presently be as if none of this ever transpired. The curtains will descend over my consciousness — a brief and anomalous crack of light flitting amidst two eternities of darkness. The only realness is nothingness, the only truth our finitude, mortality, and cosmic insignificance against an incomprehensibly vast universe.

This nihilism held even when pondering selfless actions. For even others I help throughout life will eventually die, until all our actions come to naught, until all our subjective experiences and memories reside in no mind, until no conscious being is left extant within a cold and dying and diminishing universe to remember any experience at all. What is even four billion years of human existence aside the vast echoes of time assaulting every corner?

The only possible answer: Nothing. Because my mind will be extinguished upon my brain's death, to my consciousness there can be no ultimate meaning, only transient meaning: To live is to write a novel that, once finished, is instantly forgotten.

"But," one protests to this younger Michael, "you glean pleasure now." Of course. Now I remember and cherish the awkward sweetness of my first kiss; now I remember and cherish the joys of past relationships, the learned lessons of mistakes made and sufferings suffered; now I continue to live on and to trudge, albeit imperfectly and with great uncertainty, through this confused existence. But it does not matter. Not ultimately. Because after death, I will no longer remember any of these experiences, as life — the enabler of experience — will have dissipated — forever, irrevocably, permanently. Because my consciousness is, in George Eliot's words, but a "globule of dew on a rose-leaf that at midday there will be no trace of."

So I didn't fear death per se. As Epicurus remarked, death is literally nothing to our sensory organs and therefore nothing to us, and it makes little sense to fear what we cannot experience. No, what frustrated me was the logical inference that follows the fact of death: the idea that there is no objective meaning since death renders life meaningless. The notion that, in other words, all of this meaningful striving is absurd.

This subtle suspicion that everything I did was absurd, that my onward trudge depended on a false refusal to fully comprehend the terrific reality of death's finality, spurred me to consume religion and philosophy. I desperately wanted an answer. Although I believed, deeply so, that life had no objective purport, that I was searching for meaning in a meaningless world, I yearned to be proven wrong. I wanted someone or something to fill my empty chalice with meaning until it overflowed with a water similar to that which Jesus promised his followers, something that could quench my thirst finally and forever.

I wanted to fully believe in the afterlife offered by religion and its meaning-bestowing God, but I couldn't. I wanted, similarly, to trust in the Logos of Stoic belief, yet that faith too escaped me. I saw no evidence of objective meaning. All purpose, all desire seemed destined to come to no end, and even if some trace of our existence lived on after death through our impacts on others, the long line of deaths following our own, like a trail of extinguishing candles, meant that even the most indelible mark one could write on the collective human psyche would remain ephemeral.

Walking home after work, glimpsing at an array of purposeful men and women striding resolutely to some goal or other, the apt truth of Albert Camus's observation would hit me: "At any street corner, the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face." When confronted with ambitious friends pining constantly for this external goal or that, I'd nod along agreeably, but in my mind's recess I'd think: Why bother? Why indeed live anything but an Epicurean life, if all meaning were fantasy? More morbidly, why not, as Camus asked, commit suicide and get the whole thing over with right now?

To put it simpler, life is absurd because there is no reason, or at least no objective reason, for the entirety of any one life. If I asked you to come meet me at the street corner of X and Y, you would demand a reason before bothering to come over, right? You'd demand a "why." But, absurdly, we do not hold our own lives to that simple standard. We go through the motions of work and relationships and so on, but precious few of us take the time to gaze at the entirety of our temporal life and to grasp onto it and to stare it right in the face and to demand of it: To what end? Those of us who do, like Leo Tolstoy, venture perilously close to the edges of madness.

My search for answers found solace in only one thinker: Albert Camus. Why Camus? Because, even writers as brilliant as Seneca and Tolstoy do not fully wrestle with this concept of an absurd reality. They escape it — through belief in an afterlife, through some abstract "Good," through an overemphasis on the present moment. By acknowledging and in fact embracing absurdity instead of running from it, Camus made it possible for me to retain my admittedly stubborn beliefs about the unreality of objective purpose and to still live a life of some meaning. He rendered it possible, in other words, for me to logically conclude that life could mean something even without an iron belief in God or an afterlife.

In his Myth of Sisyphus, Camus likens our human fates to that tragic Greek hero condemned to spend eternity rolling a stone up a hill only to watch it trundle back down — again and again. There is no end, in both senses of the word, to this man's exertions (making Sisyphus's situation even more absurd than ours, for at least our own actions end with death). Yet Camus's Sisyphus is happy. Because absurdity is by definition humorous and because Camus's Sisyphus fully recognizes the absurdity of his monotonous situation, Sisyphus can transcend his fate with laughter.

For "there is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn." If everything is absurd, then even the worst that can happen is also absurd and worthy of scorn, a scorn that recognizes the transience of any human experience and its ancillary inability to affect one in the long-term. This outlook makes the highs seem less significant — after all, they too are meaningless in the objective sense. There is no universal meaning, no transcendent purpose that they satisfy. But accepting absurdism also makes the lows, and fretting about the lows, seem absolutely ridiculous. In a life as temporary as this, any anxiety about anything at all becomes worthy of contempt.

Camus's absurdist philosophy thus echoes the timeless truth of memento mori, at least in its meditations on the ultimate triviality of temporal life in the face of permanent death. In a way, Camus's thoughts provide a prism through which reality can be grasped and managed. Camus allows one who cannot buy into meaning-bestowing systems such as religion to nonetheless defy his or her absurd situation, not by escaping it (the answer offered by religion's promise of an afterlife and its purpose-bestowing God) but, ingeniously, by leaning into it. Sisyphus can learn to love the process, the intimate feel of every nook and cranny of craggy ground as he drives the stone upwards; by confronting life's absurdity, its apparent lack of meaning, a reason for existing — defiance — emerges.

A disclaimer: My interpretation of Camus is not entirely faithful to his philosophy, and I still hold doubts that mean I cannot buy into absurdism as an antidote to all existential woe. After all, I'm lucky enough that I don't have to struggle with chronic disease, stifling poverty, or life in a war-torn nation. Would someone in that sort of intractable situation really be comforted by recognizing life's absurdity? Can physical pain really be transcended by a recognition that "it will all be over eventually" or that one's evanescent consciousness can only feel and remember an awful experience for so long? I don't think so. The comfort provided by memento mori and absurdist philosophy may, like so many things, be a privilege reserved only to those who have attained a certain degree of security on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. A mind wracked by hunger possesses precious little room with which to contemplate the absurd. Moreover, I have not, like Camus, come to the unequivocal conclusion that there is no God.

But absurdism's absurd truth is still there. The power to comprehend the meaninglessness of it all means that one can look upon the world's happenings, good and bad, with a sense of humor. One can stare even death in the face — and laugh.

In his excellent book The Obstacle Is the Way, Ryan Holiday writes that to overcome our problems we must grasp them, using them as fuel to propel ourselves forwards and upwards. There are doubtless others who, like my adolescent self, view the apparent objective meaninglessness of life and its consequent absurdity as an insurmountable obstacle to personal fulfillment. To those people I say this: The obstacle is the way.

To transcend meaninglessness, we must lean into it and acknowledge it. For though our rolling of the stones of human experience up the various hills of life may come to nothing, "the struggle itself … is enough to fill a man's heart."

Or, as noted by the Marcus Aurelius of Gladiator, "Death smiles at us all; all a man can do is smile back." TC mark

A True Friend Picks Up The Phone At 3AM And Favorites Every Single Subtweet You Send

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 01:00 PM PDT

amyjhumphries
amyjhumphries

Making really great friends is like trying to get Ryan Gosling to go on a date with you; nearly impossible and totally exhausting. But once you’ve truly met the friends that won’t judge you for being yourself, you won’t have to look any further.

Everyone goes through their own journey of making friends, losing friends and reconnecting with old ones. Sometimes people you don’t even see coming will become your greatest friends. And sometimes, the ones who you think will never hurt you, actually do.

The truth is that your real friends that matter won’t hurt you. They won’t date the boy who you adored. They won’t lie to you about it afterwards. They won’t witness you crying on the couch in a fetal position, and not say sorry. The real friends that matter would never dream of hurting you like that. Your real friends are the ones who console you afterwards, and who run to your apartment as soon as they hear. Your real friends are the ones who favorite all your subtweets about that friend and who defend you when they see her at the bar.

Your true friends are the ones who stay up till 3 am with you trying to catch a mouse with Tupperware containers. They are the ones who bring wine to your apartment for a girls’ night in. Your true friends are the ones who hold you when you go through your first breakup and go to wine festivals with you and not even care that it’s raining.

Your true friends are the ones who ask about your mental health without judgement.

They are the ones that dance to old Avril Lavigne songs with you and let you borrow their black dress for a night out on the town. Your true friends are the people you call when something good happens in your life and when something bad happens in your life.

Your real friends are not the ones who shatter you. They are the ones that help you pick up your broken parts and stitch them back together. They are your wolf pack who growl at anyone who tries to eat you alive.

They are your sisters by choice, and your sisters forever. They won’t let you go no matter how much you try to run, and no matter how much you try to hide. TC mark

Stop Looking Behind You

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 12:00 PM PDT

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Just for a while, stop looking behind you.

This is going to be really difficult but you have to try with everything you have got, to stop looking behind you. Your past has a hold on you in a way nothing should, and the problem is, you are letting it control you. You are letting its' fingers grip your heart and tug at it in moments when the future presents you with such wonderful opportunities. You are allowing it to hold you back when something beautiful that looks a lot like lasting love comes along and wants to embrace you, all of you. You are letting it toy with your mind because every fibre inside you warns you about the last time something good happened and how it was wrenched away from your arms.

But if you let it keep controlling you this way, you are never going to find a future that is full of contentment and stability and happiness. You will carry it, like a rucksack of bricks on your back into every relationship, exhausting yourself and the one you love. I'm not saying you have to forgive your past and the people who did terrible things to you. I'm saying, for your own sake, for the sake of your future happiness, you have got to look away from it to start your journey forward.

Once you do, your life will change. It's not going to be overnight. It's definitely not going to be momentary. But one day, you will wake up and find the heaviness on your chest has been lifted. All because you have chosen to stop looking back.

And then there will come a day, you beautiful, brave soul, when you will tell someone you love deeply the truth about you, your whole tale, and not a half truth that you have had to give the world because you are so afraid of what people will say once they know what you have had to survive, what you have left behind you. The story you made up to be an acceptable member of society, the story you created to fit in. But one day, you will tell your truth and it will no longer bring tears to your eyes for your recovery has begun. Instead, you will tell it with the kind of strength that will bring tears to other people's eyes.

So please, stop looking behind you, my darling. You aren't going in that direction; you are going the opposite way. TC mark

Want more writing like this? Follow Nikita Gill on Facebook or buy her book here.

It Took Getting Blocked By An OSU Football Star To Make Me Really Realize The Problem With Our Intercultural Dialogue

Posted: 04 Jun 2016 11:30 AM PDT

As an alumn of The Ohio State University, I know quite a bit about football and “sports obsessed” culture—either you love it or hate it (guess which I was). And so when I saw this tweet on Twitter, I knew I had to get involved in the brouhaha:

Twitter
Twitter

Nick Bosa is an incoming freshman football player at Ohio State, coming into the university team as his well-known brother, Joey Bosa, leaves OSU to play for the San Diego Chargers.

ESPN
ESPN

Thanks to his last name, and (probably) his well-recognized skill as a player, Nick already has a strong following on Twitter. And many of his followers weren’t impressed with his above tweet, which had two objectionable points:

Advocates for the LGBTQ+ community tried to point out to Nick that his tweet was coming from a place of privilege, and that maybe he shouldn’t trivialize the journeys of people who were apart of the school that he now helps represent as a celebrated football player.

Others tried to work on Nick’s position on climate change—as he seems to imply is purely a natural occurrence with no links to human fossil fuel activity. His evidence? The United States’ exceptionally cold winter two years ago, known in the midwest as the “polar vortex.”

This is where I jumped in:

Twitter
Twitter

(Essentially, people confuse the weather they see everyday for “climate.” Weather is isolated to a specific time and region, and is not a realistic predictor of the Earth’s overarching climate. So while we have had some extremely cold winters in midwest United States, the average global temperature has still been creeping up. Saying climate change isn’t real because you have a cold winter is like saying the bee population is doing fine because you got stung by one yesterday).

ANYWAY, Nick’s response? It was two-fold:

First, he posted this tweet:

Twitter
Twitter

Then he blocked me. Don’t think I’m special, though, he blocked more-or-less everyone who disagreed with him.

Twitter
Twitter

Almost at once, those of us who were involved recognized a hilarious dichotomy between his two responses. On one hand, he was claiming that the world was “too soft” and on the other, he was blindly blocking anyone who dared question his interpretation of the world. And while I initially posted some tweets condemning Nick Bosa for his response, I’ve come to realize how insightful they are to the condition of dialogue in our nation.

The truth is, when people are talking about the world “being too soft” or “being too politically correct” they are using a sort of code language.

Their objection isn’t truly with the world being too soft, nor is their objection with people being too politically correct. Their objection is with people disagreeing with them, and being forced to intellectually defend their positions. Their objection is with debate, with dialogue, and with having people who are willing to openly disagree.

That is how Nick Bosa can call people “too soft” in one breath, and then ban everyone who disagrees with him in the next. He doesn’t care about people being “soft,” he cares about people disagreeing with him. It is the disagreement itself that is “soft,” not the manner of the dialogue itself. If anything, people stepping forward to have a discussion should be evidence of strength, not weakness.

From Nick Bosa, to supporters of “anti-PC” candidate Donald Trump, many people are tired of having to defend positions that were commonplace and routinely accepted only a half-decade prior.

Their problem isn’t that people have different views—people have had different views in this country since 1776. Their problem isn’t with their free speech being “suppressed”—everyone still has the same legal rights to speak their mind that they did the day our nation’s first ten amendments were passed.

Their problem is that they are intellectually lazy, and aren’t familiar with people pushing back on ideas that they parrot on reflex—things that were ingrained into them via culture and tradition. Their problem is that people now get called out for previously tolerated ignorance. Their problem is that now people get fired for being homophobic, bigoted, etc. Their problem is that while people once nodded along as the privileged parroted their ableist, heteronormative, racist, misogynistic beliefs, they now get called out. Their problem is that once their privilege is stripped away, their ideas have to stand on their own merits, and their merits are very few.

But here’s the thing: this intellectual laziness is not just isolated to the people on “the right” moaning about “political correctness.”

It also exists within the cohorts of idealistic “Social Justice Warriors” who prowl the internet, looking for the next person to label as “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” or “bigoted.”

These words become apart of our code language—a way to signal to our like-minded followers that something isn’t open to discussion or debate, and that we must immediately label it and condemn it. These loaded labels are shortcuts from having legitimate discussions with people about what certain occurances are problematic.

And we say that our opinion is “fact” because we read it in some Higher Education textbook, or in some academic seminar on cultural appropriation, and box everyone who disagrees as racists, or sexists, and maybe some—we’d assume—are good people (who just need to be educated). In that way, sometimes we are just as afraid as Nick Bosa.

And you know what? Sometimes people do say ignorant things, and sometimes they do need to be educated, but dialogue is how that happens.

And dialogues don’t always formulate in university classrooms, moderated by a faculty member from the Diversity & Inclusion Center. Sometimes dialogues just have to happen. Sometimes we have to dare to assume that some offensive ideas come from a place of good intent, and be brave enough to put our experiences and beliefs out there in response. I think that’s how the world changes.

I think we have to dare to not block people who disagree. I think we have to dare to not put people into boxes. I think we have to enter EVERY discussion prepared to learn something new, even from the ideas that terrify us.

I am reminded of a speech by Michael Douglas’ character in the movie The American President:

America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.

Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

And so, I believe we are right. I believe that cultural appropriation is wrong. I believe that institutional racism haunts our country and that police brutality absolutely must be addressed. I believe all LGBTQ+ people should be able to live, laugh, love (and pee), without being oppressed. But unilaterally attacking people who disagree cannot be the symbol of our country. The symbol of country has to talking, debating, discussing, and listening—even to ideas that make us want to vomit.

And so I believe that Nick Bosa is problematic, but so are we. TC mark