Thought Catalog


Don’t Get Mad When I Treat You The Same (Awful) Way You Treated Me

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 08:15 PM PDT

Bianca des Jardins
Bianca des Jardins

It has been exactly a year since I allowed you to come into my life, fuck shit up, and leave. Only to return and then come in and out as you please. Of course, I have to accept responsibility for the role I played in this God-awful situationship. It is nobody's fault but my own that I allowed this to continue. But one thing is for sure: you're a fucking douche. And that, my friend, is absolutely your fault. So please don't get mad when I pull a 'you' on you:

When I forget to return your phone calls or respond to your texts, don't take it personally. I probably just had something better to do, like watch the latest episode of the Kardashians. Or I was probably answering someone else's phone calls and accepting dates from other guys. 

Please don't get upset when I blow you off. Something or someone better probably just came along and I simply forgot to inform you that there's been a change in plans. Oh yeah, and don't get offended when I pop up on social media having the time of my life; we were never official, so I'm free to do what I want, even at your expense. But don't worry, I'll be sure to make it up to you with more false promises and bullshit excuses.

Honestly, I really am a busy woman, so please be understanding when I can't make time for you. Between my job, my family, and my shithead friends, there just aren't enough hours in a day to carve out time for you. Not to mention the many other guys vying for my attention – there just isn't enough of me to go around. As a matter of fact, take a number and have a seat until your number is called. I promise I'll get around to you eventually.

Oh, you wanted to go out on a real date? Wouldn't it be better if we just stayed in and enjoyed a session of Netflix and chill? After all, we could end our romantic night with a wrestling match (sans clothes) between the sheets before the movie even ends. Who doesn't enjoy a nice night of naked wrestling?

And since we're on the topic of sex, you should know that it's perfectly okay for me to hook up with other guys, seeing as how we're not in an actual relationship. Sex with you is great and everything, but I'd be doing myself a disservice if I didn't share my most intimate parts with other willing participants.

Gasp! Of course I'm not stringing you along. I really do like you I'm just not ready for a relationship and I really don't know when I'll be ready. I don't mean to keep you hanging in the balance, there are just so many other guys out here so it's only fair that I weigh my options until I'm completely sold on the idea of you, if ever. Just make sure you're still around when I finally do make my life-altering decision. TC mark

This Is Why I’m Scared To Love You

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 07:15 PM PDT

Chiara Cremaschi
Chiara Cremaschi

I am a child, a stubborn red-headed little girl. Spent a whole lifetime believing I'm better off alone. Not used to having someone nice around. Throwing a tantrum that I might have to give something up to get something in return. And why is it so delicious to be stubborn, to pout, to brood?

I don’t know how to lay my heart on the floor. And I certainly don’t know how to hold yours in my hands. My body doesn’t know how to respond to this much affection. My mind doesn’t understand why your attention is simultaneously enticing and terrifying. My head is in winter. I am unnerved.

Don't ask me what's going on in my head because I don't know myself. Trust me on one thing: I don't know what I'm doing. I don't often get to have something I've wanted.

And you are uncharted waters.

I am so used to cutting them loose when their time is up. So used to leaving hearts and beds, I never learned how to arrive. Walls were never built because they were always there, just got stronger with time.

It's a risk I have to accept, I know. But I don't feel like having you in my head. I don't know if there's room for you among my bulk of useless thoughts.

You've been the longest to stay since the last one left with her. So I'm anxious, and stubborn, and brooding.

But I need to stop whining. I am a child.

If you wanna ride the bike you have to fall down. If you wanna find blue skies you have to get through the gray. At least lower your drawbridge, open your gate, or else you'll never entwine with another.

And try not to disconnect.

We are hovering on the edge of a cliff. Do we jump? TC mark

Why Your Sex Life Got Boring (And What You Can Do About It)

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 06:15 PM PDT

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

When I say "sex," what are your first thoughts? They probably involve the physical parts of sex, such as touching, kissing, penetration, or orgasm. Some of you might be daydreaming about specific desires or erotic fantasies. Below these first thoughts, though, we all have at least two emotional needs that we are unconsciously working to balance: Certainty and Uncertainty.

Working as dominatrix and fetishist, I have seen that uncertainty has a major influence on why clients seek out the experiences they do. After the boundaries are established between us, my expertise is to give them an experience of uncertainty. This may come in a physical or psychological form, and the greater the intensity of uncertainty within the session, the more the emotional uncertainty needs of my client will be met. Many times, experiencing uncertainty manifests in the form of giving up control, and our experience together helps to balance out the certainty that is being over-fulfilled in other areas of their life.

We tend to want certainty in our lives, for sure. It keeps us steady, in a comfortable routine, and studies have shown that couples in long-term loving relationships are happier and healthier. So why the emotional need for uncertainty?

It's simple: Shit gets boring!

Bringing an element of uncertainty into your sexual relationship can be rejuvenating and powerful! It reawakens our curiosity about each other, gives us courage to try new things, and builds confidence. Think of it as an adventure, and forge ahead into uncertainty when you or your partner feels out of balance.

Build Anticipation:

Sex doesn't start or end in the bedroom, especially for women. For the ladies, we usually need a 10-15 minute warm up before the games begin. Start building the sexual arousal hours beforehand with sweet torture by sending suggestive texts ("I have plans for you later"), sexy photos, and phone calls. Of course never fully reveal your plans, so that you keep the uncertainty strong, and use your imagination.

Plan a Secret Rendezvous:

Get creative on this one according to your and your partner's level of openness, and embrace the uncertainty of breaking the rules. Have sex outside or in public (woods, car, party, store dressing room). Rent an hour of private play space at the local BDSM/Fetish dungeon or studio. Or, for a more mellow option, tell your partner to meet you at a restaurant or bar and role play that you're picking them up for a one-night stand.

Keep the Mystery Alive:

Once we learn all the nooks and crannies of our partner and they become predicable, our excitement can flat line. Granted, you can still love them to death, but after getting used to their daily routines, you might need a way to refresh your view of your partner. To keep the uncertainty alive in everyday life, keep a little distance between your daily grooming routines. Having your partner shave your legs by candlelight is one thing, but coloring the greys, trimming nose hairs, and waxing your upper lip are less sexy. Let them wonder how you always manage to look fabulous. Be confident and unreadable. Come off to your partner as not needing their approval to be who you are—the air of independence is very appealing.

We all spend our days trying to minimize uncertainty—we try to plan for and avoid unpleasant surprises with our work, cars, families, and personal lives. We usually assume that stability and certainty will lead us to greater happiness, but in our romantic relationships, a little uncertainty keeps things fresh, intriguing, and exciting. TC mark

Someone, Please Find The Part Of Me That’s Lost

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 05:15 PM PDT

Dustin Adams
Dustin Adams

Not too long ago I was celebrating one of my last weekends as a college student at a club that everyone went to because of the discount Long Islands and the discount gay men. I don’t think the building was initially intended to be a club — especially seeing as there was an “actual” gay club literally across the street — but I guess that’s what happens when you decide to stay open until 2:00am and play house music.

I was having a good enough time. I had more than enough to drink, and was drinking some more — probably knowing somewhere in the back of my mind that it was all destined to return to this world vis-a-vis a toilet later that night — but whatever!!!11

Shaking my body in some limbering motion that could only generously (and drunkenly) be called “dancing,” I began to move closer to the boy that I had a crush on for almost six months. I was behind him, so I only saw his curly black hair tucked under a blue hat. But even that small piece of him, I wanted. I approached him closer still, and suddenly his motions broke out of tune with the song. Suddenly the room felt awkward. He called off to another friend. I left the stage.

**

This was an unusual way for me to spend a Friday night, truth be told. For almost my entire senior year of college, I had worked weekends. I told some people it was because I needed the money — which was not particularly untrue, but it left a lot unsaid. I had gotten the internship of my dreams over the previous summer, and the weekend schedule looked to be the only way it could continue into the year.

So every Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday — for a total of twenty hours a week — I worked.

**

As I walked away from the club’s dance-floor I approached a friendly face who was sitting at the bar. He was an old friend, one of my first “gay friends” after slowly slothing out of my glass closet. I sat down next to him and ordered a drink.

“How’s your night going,” He asked me.

“It’s fine,” I replied probably (this part of the night is a little fuzzy). “I just feel like things aren’t really heating up between me and this guy I’m into.”

“Ah,” my friend replied, adjusting his smooth blonde hair. “I know exactly what you need to do.”

“What?”

“Here’s what you do. Buy him a drink here at the bar, and then go up to him; wrap your arm around his shoulder and give him the drink,” My friend concluded with an air of wisdom while taking another generous sip of his own drink.

Was it really that easy for people?

**

About two months after that night in the club I was in New York City, working from the headquarters of my new job. My work as an intern throughout the year had paid off, and I landed a coveted position as a staff writer at a very lean, but extremely fun, digital media company.

It was the first time I had been at the office, and naturally, the first time I had met all the staff there. In the spirit of getting to know each other a little better, the company President asked me if I wanted to grab a meal with him that week.

During the dinner — which was actually a fundraiser of the likes I will not be able to afford on my own in the next ten years — I felt reasonably comfortable and confident. At least, as comfortable as one can be in a room filled with celebrated persons you’ve never met before.

We talked a lot about work, and I didn’t feel nervous about giving free and frank feedback to my boss’s boss. It felt like just casual chat.

**

As we stumbled home from the club I slowly faded out of conversation. My college experience was over, and the craziest stories I had gotten out of it were probably akin to what most freshman had by Labor Day.

And it was never a choice of what I wanted. It was never a tradeoff, I had no things to trade between. I never had a choice. Pushing myself too far out of my comfort zone socially jeopardized my mental health.

One time I hooked up with a cute guy who is much more famous than me, and I had panic attacks for the next two weeks because he never texted me back. It’s not like he had to. It wasn’t his fault. It was me that was wired to not be able to handle casual human connection. It was me.

**

We finally got back to the campus area, and everyone began to go off in their own separate directions. My building was closest, so I broke off from the group right as we all walked past the shitty UDF where I frequently went to buy ice cream to eat alone.

I quietly bid my friends goodbye, and I walked across the empty street alone. It was surprisingly quiet — even for 3:00am. There could’ve been a tumble weed blowing across the road for how barren the place was.

Suddenly, I protested. I knew that my destination was the last night of being a student, my last night of being somewhat a kid. So I stopped. I stopped and sat down right outside the Law School building that was immediately in front of my building.

I was drunk. Too drunk. With the world softly spinning around me, I sat down on the concrete wall lining the crack-free sidewalk. I sat there and reflected. I sat there and cried.

And I want to be ashamed or embarrassed, but it was probably one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done. TC mark

When We Kiss Goodnight, Promise It Isn’t Goodbye

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 04:15 PM PDT

jessicalsmyers
jessicalsmyers

Say goodnight, but not goodbye.

Because I'm going to see you again; and if you plan on seeing me too, please don't say it. Don't let this be our final scene. Don't make this our what-if ending, because this was merely supposed to be our beginning. I just know it. I can see much more ahead for the both of us; and all of the old romantics of this world and I are screaming out in unison for Part Two. The kind of sequel that not many have huge hopes for, apart from its creators, and the most loyal of fans. Because they are the ones who believe. They believe that something already amazing can still find room to grow and be better.

And I believe it too. Even when the flame of that something has almost burnt out, and the hope of finding a source of fresh oxygen, fresh life, is dwindling fast.

There might be five thousand miles, seemingly endless oceans, and millions of people standing between us; but if you choose me like I choose you, our hearts will continue to beat together, blissfully unaware, knowing no distance.

Goodbye is too final for my liking.

Too abrupt. Too definite. It allows no room for possibility. No openness. Hell, I'll take anything instead of a goodbye escaping your lovely lips. I'll take your See Ya, your Peace Out, your Laters; I will, because you and I aren't done yet. We aren't. We have many chapters left to write in what I know could be an epic, kick-ass love story that goes on to surprise the world, and even ourselves. I don't know if we belong together, but I do know that I am willing to put my heart on the line so that we can both find out if we do.

I am not the kind of girl who believes in goodbyes, because I know if not now then one day, one day we will all find our way to each other again.

Under what circumstances I cannot say, but I know that what you may believe to be our last words, will be so very far from our last. I have no reason to fear the day that we leave this life behind us, because we still have the next one. And the next one. And the one after that. We will have eternity to fill with as many good mornings and goodnights as we like.

If you and I ever part ways, I will kiss you softly, and I want you to whisper in my ear, goodnight.

Because goodbye is an ending; but goodnight is a promise that we are to be continued… TC mark

I Really Don’t Care If You’re An INFJ (And You Shouldn’t Either)

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 03:15 PM PDT

Pexels
Pexels

When I was younger, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test after a friend recommend it to me.

My result? INFJ.

Naturally, I looked into it. Turns out that being an INFJ is rare.

Did I feel special? You bet.

I ended up joining an "INFJ Community" on Facebook, and that was when I realised how ridiculous the whole personality type thing is.

As an INFJ, do you ever find it hard to answer the phone? I hardly ever answer my calls because I'm too scared to pick up.

This was the first post I saw. Nothing wrong with it — it's obviously harder for introverts to answer the phone. But it was the next post I saw that made me laugh.

Given that we make up about 3% of the world, do you ever feel like you're out of place? Like… like you're better than everyone else?

Wait a second.

Really?

So as it turns out, this whole INFJ Community is a massive circle-jerk. Everyone was either complaining or talking into an echo chamber about how awesome they are.

But the real problem with these personality types is that people align themselves to them.

If you take a test and learn that you're introverted, you're inclined to act in accordance with how an introvert would. If it turns out that you're a "natural leader" — you're going to think of yourself as a leader, even if you aren't.

And personality isn't that simple. If I didn't have the experience I did, and simply came to terms with the fact I was an introvert, I'd have shot myself in the foot. Personality is malleable, and introversion and extraversion is, in my opinion, a spectrum and should be treated as such.

I'm not saying the test is bad, but you can't let it define you. These things are made to make you feel good about yourself.

Not everyone is a natural leader, or a highly intelligent introspective person.

Just because you're an INFJ, it doesn't mean you're the next Elon Musk.

P.S. Last time I took the test (over a year ago) I got ENFP, which means that these tests are either inaccurate, I answered dishonestly, or personality changes. TC mark

This Is What White Privilege Actually Is

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 02:15 PM PDT

iStockPhoto.com / MistikaS
iStockPhoto.com / MistikaS

"Black people don't need to be convinced that anti-black racism, structural inequity, and skin privilege are facts; white people do… White people have to do the hard work of figuring out the best ways to educate themselves and each other about racism." – Darnell L. Moore – senior editor at Mic and co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire

Given Name: Brittany Marie Holt

Year of Birth: 1990

Born in: Belleville, MI – Wayne County

2004 9th Grade, Algebra Class

We had a substitute teacher that day. He was understandably mispronouncing names during attendance because he didn't know any of us yet.

Teacher: "Brittany R.?"

Brittany R: "It's Britt-nay."

Teacher continues attendance.

Teacher: "Brittany H.?"

Me: "It's Britt-nay."

The whole class laughs at my joke.

I was unpunished.

How slickly

I could pluck her identity

from her hands and parade it around the class like a costume.

How criminally

I could take from her

and make it mine,

use it for my purposes,

then discard it when I'm done.

How very white of me to not only suffer no consequences,

but to also be rewarded with laughter

and the approval of my peers

when I was being an ugly bully

and humiliating another person.

Summer 2009

My friend and I robbed a local grocery store chain, and we did a poor job of it.

We stole make-up, hair products

a pregnancy test for me.

I was 18 years old.

(Because

all races

are capable of sexual promiscuity.)

We were caught by a secret shopper,

questioned, made to empty our purses,

give it all back, charged a fee,

and cuffed

put in the back of a cop car.

And with my magical white girl cloak,

I argued with the cop

that big chain corporations

didn't need my struggling-in-college-money.

***

My biggest fear in the back of the cruiser that night

was my parents finding out. Not-

my parents finding out

that their child was dead.

Losing my life,

even going to jail,

never

even

occurred

to

me.

We were released, I drove myself home.

We went to court; my friend did roadside trash pick-up as community service.

Because of my conflicting work schedule – they worked around my work and school schedule – I had to instead do 8 hours of community service at a charitable second-hand store.

I credit this moment in my life with discovering my love of thrifting.

How lovely.

From 2012-2013

I lived in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn with my fiancé and I was a server so I frequently walked home 9 blocks from the subway in the AM hours.

I wore fear like a formality, like a mild precaution.

I wore it.

It did not wear me.

Because I knew that a crime against me, a white female,

would hold more true, more real, and more hard consequences,

(consequences at all,)

more consequences than a crime against a black person.

Despite how disturbing this is, this I know to be true.

And therefore a crime against me

was less likely, and my fear

less oppressive.

Today, July 8, 2016

I write this and enjoy the luxury of my greatest fear being of what people will think of me,

fear of embarrassment,

fear of my shame – exposed,

fear of owning a past and probably a present of utter ignorance.

Those are the consequences I am facing

and therefore my fear of these consequences is so,

so

insignificant. TC mark

I Met A Boy One Summer

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 01:15 PM PDT

Sarah Loven
Sarah Loven

You met him in the loud darkness
of early August, a summer so heavy,
so humid, and yet even then
you knew. You knew his laughter
would be the reason for the most
beautiful demise of you.

His arms, ones you'd think hold
up the sky, encircle your waist
as he makes you miss
another shot at the pool table.
But you knew you could never
win when you're this intoxicated.
You can't tell though, whether
it was him or the alcohol.
And when he spins you round
with tequila dancing in both your veins,
you wonder if this is
your version of a fairytale.

His star-spangled pride was
everything you never thought
you could possibly have been
pulled into by. But his grey eyes,
which he insists are hazel,
tell you a story of a boy
willing to hold you
till the earth spins off its axis. TC mark

Dear Dad, Please Don’t Vote For Donald Trump

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 12:15 PM PDT

Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore

I originally submitted this piece to the New York Observer where I am an editor-at-large and a columnist on media and culture. Editorial decided it would no longer accept columns of this nature on this topic. I have the utmost respect for the leadership at the Observer, but I respectfully disagree with that decision.

Dad, let me start this letter by saying that it isn't my intention to embarrass you. I find that I can express myself in writing better than I can when we talk on the phone (in fact, if anyone likes this piece, that will be, in its own way, a compliment to you — I developed as a writer sitting alone in my room as a kid, trying to find ways to respond to your overwhelming parental logic) and so when I heard that you were leaning towards voting for Donald Trump, I felt inclined to put my thoughts down so they would be clear.

It's fitting that I would write to you here anyway, because the Observer has its own father issues when it comes to Donald Trump (Mr. Trump is the publisher's father-in-law.) This is a newspaper that, despite its sincere and passionate reporting on anti-Semitism and its frontline investigations on the rise of Russia as a national security threat, has found itself endorsing and defending Trump…even as he veers dangerously towards courting anti-Semitism and justifying Russia's authoritarian methods (when he isn't complimenting the tactics of Saddam Hussein.) Having been associated with my own fair share of controversial people, I empathize with the position, Jared Kushner, the paper's owner, must be in.

I get that elections are complicated. Yet I cannot help but feel that the right choice has become increasingly simple. Not easy, but simple.

The choice is simple because it's hard for me to think of a single person who violates more of what you taught me as a child. The case against Donald Trump as a candidate — even as a person worthy of two seconds of anyone's serious attention in our busy lives — is clear to me precisely because of what I learned from you, Dad.

I remember the trips we took to Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. This is where people like Grandma and Grandpa first arrived in America, you told us. It was here that they stopped on their way to the American Dream, fleeing the terror of their homeland and hoping for a better life. You taught us that it was honorable and brave to be an immigrant and that what made America special was that we opened our arms to these people. Do you remember taking us to the Civil War battlefields and explaining how many of the men who fought and died in that war were fresh off the boat, paying for their citizenship to this country in blood — dying to eradicate the scourge of slavery, a plague they had nothing to do with creating in the first place? That was what made America great, you said.

But you didn't just teach us to admire white European immigrants either. It was from you that I learned to respect just how hard Latino, Asian, and Middle Eastern immigrants worked to make a life for themselves here. You told me what it was like picking fruit in the California heat, and explained how they took jobs that other people weren't willing to do — because they wanted to support their families just like everyone else. You also took the time to explain how many immigrants were entrepreneurs — starting restaurants and small businesses from donut shops to car dealerships (we've invested together in a few of those small businesses) and how their efforts made the world better for everyone.

When I was in Austria a few years ago, I called Mom and had her do some research to find the location of the refugee camp that Grandpa was sent to when he was just a little younger than I am now. It's an apartment complex now, which I guess goes to show how quickly we can forget the kind of thinking that creates such horrors. Experiences like these — they color the way I see the world, which is why, I imagine, you encouraged us to travel and study history. Those trips are why I find it so repulsive to hear Donald Trump talk about how Mexicans are "rapists" and how his solution is building a literal wall — "We're going to have a big, beautiful wall that nobody's crossing" — to keep these kinds of people out. I find it disgusting to hear him talk about banning Muslims from America. That's not what you taught me. That's not how this country is supposed to work. Mom and half our relatives wouldn't be here if it was.

I told you that a few weeks ago we had someone out at the house to repair some damage from the floods. As I was walking the property with the guy, he asked me if I owned a gun. I said that I did — this is Texas after all. "Good," he said, "you'll need to have something when them sand niggers come and try to take this country from us." Then he told me about how he was glad Donald Trump was speaking the truth and taking things in the right direction.

I know you don't agree with this man. And I don't think it's fair to hold a candidate accountable for every fringe group that attaches themselves to their platform. But doesn't it alarm you to see a candidate who seems to stoke these kinds of fires — directly or indirectly? Surely you must be shaking your head at Trump's repeated refusal to distance himself from these people.

As a police officer, you worked for a time in the hate crimes division. You've seen the horrible things that prejudice and ignorance can do. I remember you once told me that the way the Ku Klux Klan recruited people in our hometown was by convincing white people that they were being attacked and that their way of life was under siege. C'mon Dad, is that not eerily similar to some of Trump's campaign tactics? Why else would he have refused to immediately disavow the support of David Duke and other white supremacists? What possible purpose did he have to insinuate that President Obama was a Muslim, that he was not born in America? Or question a Mexican-American judge's loyalty to the law and to the Constitution?

A few years ago, Donald Trump went on live television and talked about how nice his daughter Ivanka's body was, saying how if he wasn't her father, he'd probably be dating her. It was disturbing then, but we all say things that come off utterly differently than intended. Except last year, speaking to a Rolling Stone reporter, Trump said the exact same thing again. "Yeah, she's really something, and what a beauty, that one," he told the journalist. "If I weren't happily married and, ya know, her father…"

You have a daughter (and now a daughter-in-law). Can you imagine saying anything like that about them? What would you say to one of your friends who uttered something half that creepy? You've been married for thirty years. You taught me about respecting women, about the importance of marriage and fidelity. This man, he doesn't stand for any of that. On the contrary, he refers to women he doesn't like as "fat pigs" and "dogs." He attacks them and when they press him on the issues, says it's because they're probably menstruating.

You've protected presidents and other heads of state as part of your job. Can you imagine any of them behaving that way? I remember our family trip to the White House in middle school — even though you disagreed with the man who was President, you spoke of the office with such reverence and dignity that we felt honored just to visit. I left that day with exactly the sense of admiration and respect for the office that I think you hoped we'd feel. I remember another trip to New York where we walked by the Trump Tower. What's that, I asked? You just shook your head and said, "Tacky."

Before he died, Grandad gave me his copy of John McCain's memoir Faith of My Fathers and said that I might like to read it. It wasn't until years later that I got around to it. Did you know that when John McCain was trapped in that horrible North Vietnamese prison, his captors offered to let him go several times? McCain's father was the commander of all US forces in the Vietnam theater and the Vietcong thought by giving his son an easy way out, they could show that Americans were cowards. Despite the repeated torture that he'd already undergone, despite the fact that McCain ached to go home, he refused. He stayed because he refused to embarrass his country or abandon his comrades — death was better than dishonor. I think that's the kind of lesson that Grandad was trying to pass along to me. I know you voted for McCain in 2000 and in 2008 in part for that very reason. I don't agree with many of McCain's politics but I hope that when tested, I could exhibit one iota of the courage that that man has.

And yet here we are discussing a Republican candidate who insulted John McCain in front of the entire world — claiming that John McCain isn't a hero because he was captured and spent time in a POW camp. Donald Trump, who got out of serving with a series of draft deferments, said he only likes the veterans "that weren't captured." That this pathetic encounter has been nearly forgotten in the campaign is not because Donald addressed it or apologized, but rather because nearly every day since he either said something worse or piled on with some other obscene gesture or gaffe.

Wouldn't just a single one of these remarks have run a candidate out of the race in a normal election cycle? Wouldn't have these repeated and ridiculous lapses in judgement effectively end the campaign for anyone in any election anywhere in the civilized world? I've tried to think about why we've been so forgiving of Donald Trump. Is it because his opponent is a woman? Does it say something about us? Have we all collectively lost our sense of where the line is and we're just hoping that someone will finally draw it for us?

I realize that most of these issues I've brought up are personal ones, but isn't all politics personal? That's a lesson I learned from you, too. I remember asking whether you supported the Republican or the Democrat candidate in some local election when I was a kid, having heard some friends' parents talking about it. You told me that people got too caught up in party affiliation and that what really mattered was character and whether you could work together with the person (and whether they could do the job). That's how I've tried to think all my life. I'm thinking about it now that it really matters.

The baffling reality is that when it comes to Trump, it's difficult to critique him on much besides his personality and (lack of) character — because that is all there is. Maybe you can make an exception for some of these comments, I've certainly said dumb things before. We all have. Maybe we chalk them up to media mischaracterizations as some of the Trump supporters I know have (given what I write about in this column, I'm the last one to think the media is completely fair or trustworthy). But even making allowances for that, I know for a fact, no matter what the talking heads on TV are trying to tell moderate conservatives, is that you and he stand very far apart on most of the economic principles and civil policies in which you have always believed.

I remember long trips in the car and the conversation we had about civics and governance. The basics you taught me about the free market, about capitalism, about the government staying out of people's business. Now that I'm an adult, I've come to fully understand and truly appreciate why you taught me these lessons. I see how they've contributed to my own success. I also see how the few policies or firm beliefs Trump might actually have fly in the face of all of them.

Besides repeatedly donating money to Democratic (and Republican) candidates from whom he tried to get favors, Donald Trump has said publicly that there should be "some form of punishment" for women who get abortions (though he later backtracked under pressure). He's advocated economic policies that the experts say will start trade wars with China and Mexico. He cheered Brexit because it might drive traffic to his Scottish golf courses (the definition of a conflict of interest), has hinted at using federal resources to go after personal enemies like Jeff Bezos, admits he would continue to let his children run his numerous international businesses while in office, supports "opening up" our libel laws to reduce freedom of the press, and apparently believes that global warming is a lie created by China.

I suppose it would be one thing if these beliefs came from some unique ideological framework but we both know they don't. He's a man who reacts, a man who speaks before he thinks (something you always taught me to avoid). These aren't the meticulously crafted positions of an educated leader surrounded by qualified and informed policy experts — as Trump famously said, he advises himself. There is a quote I read from Winston Churchill recently. During World War One, someone asked why he was reading the work of a certain anti-war poet. "I am not a bit afraid of Siegfried Sassoon," Churchill said, "That man can think. I am only afraid of people who cannot think."

I think that's why I am so scared, Dad. That's why I am writing you this letter. I don't think this man has done a lick of thinking in years — except about himself and the irrational prejudices and fears which rule his increasingly erratic and bizarre life.

If my understanding of where you sit it is correct, you are inclined to agree with most of the criticisms I've just made and yet are swayed by very few of them. As is true for a lot of Americans, I know you've been disturbed with a lot what Trump has said and wish sincerely that someone else was running in his place. The problem is — the reason you can't help but feel pressure to give him the benefit of the doubt or vote for him reluctantly — is that you feel a profound and real distrust towards Hillary Clinton.

I wasn't old enough to experience the anger and disillusionment that the Clintons brought to the White House. I get the sense that you see them as thoughtless, careless self-aggrandizers who believe themselves to be above the law. Given the evidence, this is a more than fair assessment. You have real, negative experiences with the last administration and the vague memories of the scandals and noise of that era probably makes another four years seem unappealing. I get it.

It was J.K. Galbraith who said that politics was a matter of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. I don't disagree with you we are dealing with less than ideal options. But surely, unpalatable is better than disastrous.

Then again, no one is saying you have to vote for Hillary. I'm just asking if you could not vote for Donald Trump. Vote for a third party candidate. For a write-in, you could take a page from Trump's people, who when they initially had trouble finding people to speak on his behalf at the convention, apparently just put "George Washington" in as a placeholder. Or, what about just not voting in this election? Is that not a powerful statement in its own right? One does not need to endorse disaster just because they resent unpalatable.

Mitt Romney has said that he was finally motivated to get involved in this election when his son asked him, "When the grandkids ask 'What did you do to stop Donald Trump?' what are you going to say?'"

I was so happy to be able to tell you a few weeks ago that you have your first grandchild on the way and that he's expected to arrive just three days before the election. I think that's why I am writing this letter too, as my way of asking myself what am I going to do to make sure the world he enters is just a little bit better than the one I came into thirty years ago. I guess I am writing this letter to ask that you, as his grandfather, do what you can to ensure the same.

So that when he does ask, not that many years in the future, looking back at what was hopefully just a painful aberration in this nation's history, we both have a good answer to how we faced this challenge in front of us. And that we acted — despite any personal feelings, or complications or doubts — with principle and courage.

Dad, please don't vote for Donald Trump. Everything you've taught me about what is wrong in the world is everything that man represents. And if you won't do it for me, do it for your grandchild. Give him something to be proud of — and thankful for.

Your Loving Son,

Ryan TC mark

To Those Who Don’t Understand My Love For Travel

Posted: 23 Jul 2016 11:45 AM PDT

Bianca des Jardins
Bianca des Jardins

Everyone gets cravings. For most people, that means pizza or chocolate. Maybe a trip to their favorite restaurant. For me, it means another plane ride.

Anyone that knows me at all knows I love to wander. You could plant me down in my own city and I’d make an adventure out of it. But there’s a special thrill that comes from traveling to a place I’ve never been before.

You know that rush of adrenaline before a big break? That potluck of emotions? That’s how I feel before a new trip.

Am I scared? Yes. TerrifiedEvery single time. But that fear is overwhelmed by excitement. Sheer excitement to be alive and to experience all the wonders the world has to offer.

Some might ask, “Don’t you miss structure? Routine?”

Well, my “routine” is doing what I’ve never done before. I’m more afraid to stay where I’m comfortable than I am to experience what’s out there. 

Is traveling for everyone? Maybe not. But traveling has made me who I am today.

Some like to learn in a classroom. Me? Well, the world is my classroom.

It’s easy to get lost in what’s comfortable. It’s natural to want to be surrounded by everything you know. But if you don’t explore what’s out there, how will you know what you’re capable of, or what the world around you is capable of?

I want to find my limits and tear past them. I want to be in constant awe of life.

Maybe the unknown is scary, but what’s worse than always wondering what if?

There’s life out there beyond anything I could have imagined. I just don’t plan on hearing about it from someone else. TC mark