Thought Catalog


How 9/11 Turned From Tragedy To Kitsch

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 06:15 PM PDT

via YouTube
via YouTube

Ready to feel old? This year’s high school freshmen will be the first crop of ninth-graders in history to learn about 9/11 as an event that transpired before their lifetime.

Granted, old fogies like you and me can never forget the terror of that Tuesday morning in 2001. Indeed, the images of the day – the people leaping out of the towers to their demises, the billowing, cancerous fog exploding into the New York sky as the buildings crumbled, the firefighters and policemen covered in toxic sut – are burned into our retinas, no matter how much we try to forget them.

But to today’s 14-year-old, what does all of that mean – if anything? How in the hell can they possibly grasp what life was like “pre-9/11,” and how the very fabric of American life changed over the course of ten minutes?

I suppose it’s like when we watch footage of World War II – the corpses floating in Pearl Harbor, the Japanese with their irradiated skin burned off in Hiroshima, the mass graves in Poland. We know what we’re looking at when we see the shivering, skeletal remnants of Auschwitz survivors and the half-starved Russian troops with the gaze of inescapable trauma forever tattooed on their eyes, but it didn’t happen to us. Yes, all of this was important and changed the trajectory of mankind as we know it, but it was just so long ago – what happened in Manchuria and the East Indies and Stalingrad and Dresden 75 years ago might as well have happened 200, 300 or 500 years earlier. Try as we may, we just can’t relate to what happened.

As strange as it may seem to us, every graduating high school class from here on out will feel equally disconnected from 9/11. They will never know it as something that happened to them, they will only know it as a collection of images and grainy, pre-Facebook television clips. Instead of seeing it as the line separating the past from the new modernity, it will be just another event in the pantheon of things that happened before they existed.

What the under-18 crowd “knows” about 9/11, fundamentally, is its after-effects on the only sort of historical antecedent they share as a collective: popular culture. To us, the great after-effect of 9/11 was that sudden realization that national security wasn’t the great protector we thought it was, that perhaps indefinitely, Western Civilization as we know it was to be gripped in asymmetrical war with a borderless adversary driven by an anti-modernist ideology. In short, after years of feeling nigh-invincible in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, we suddenly, dramatically, got reacquainted with the notion of “vulnerability.”

But the great residual effect of 9/11, if you aren’t old enough to vote or buy cigarettes at the moment? “Murica.”

Yes, that’s what 9/11 means to today’s kids. Not terror. Not tragedy. Not the loss of safety. It means “that weird point in time before social media where everybody liked Chuck Norris.” To them, 9/11 is nothing more than the origin point of all sorts of kitschy, quasi-patriotic ephemera – the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, American Idol, the Call of Duty video games, the entirety of puppeteer Jeff Dunham’s career. What we reflect back on as modernity’s point-of-no-return, they can only see as the needless catalyst for why their uncle with a mullet got a bald eagle tattoo or why there are so many videos on YouTube from 2006 with Drowning Pool playing over static images of U.S. soldiers and military equipment.

To them, 9/11 and the Iraq War blur together (let’s call it the “W diplomacy syndrome.”) Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are just two interchangeable dead guys from the Middle East. Air travel in the United States has always been a skein of bureaucratic ineptness and counterproductive “safety procedures.” To them, the “War on Terror” and “The PATRIOT Act” are nothing more than abstract buzzwords, cultural leftovers on par with the music of Andrew W.K. and those old Geico cavemen commercials. Try as they may, they’ll never perceive 9/11 as anything more than something that happened concurrently with the Nintendo Gamecube and Vanilla-flavored Coca-Cola.

Yes, they will interpret 9/11 is an extraordinarily significant event, but they are forever destined to feel detached from it and unimpacted by it. When they watch the jets explode on impact with the World Trade Center, they feel pretty much the same thing when they watch footage of Halo 2 or a Larry the Cable Guy routine. “It’s just the past,” they all think aloud. “And I just don’t get it.”

For a 15-year-old in America today, just how much does 9/11 reverberate throughout their lives, anyway? Are we to expect them to flip through the Wall Street Journal and see the tenuous links between the rise of ISIS, the fall of Syria and the disastrous “liberation” of Iraq as direct consequences of the Sept. 11 attacks? Do they gaze at the school resource officer in their cafeteria and the traffic light cameras in their neighborhoods and the smartphone apps that literally observe their every move as the collateral effects of 9/11? Do they reflect on every international treaty, every free trade agreement and every WMD accord through the lens of 9/11, that crucial reminder of just how bad things can get, or do they merely see 9/11 as that convenient excuse for right-wingers to despise Muslims, and – irony of ironies – the start of Islamophobia as a cultural doctrine?

No, to them, 9/11 was just another “thing.” They’re not ignorant, mind you, just being honest – they have no formal emotional connection to the tragedy, and you have to give them a little bit of respect for having the forthrightness to avoid feigning any syrupy, synthetic sentiments.

History is a funny thing. For our parents, there was nothing bigger than the fall of the Berlin Wall. Their entire lives were defined by the Cold War, and watching that slab of concrete crumble in Hasselhoff territory was both figuratively and literally the series finale of their culture’s most epic real-life drama. But for us? We have no recollections of the great Soviet Menace. Detente and the S.A.L.T. talks and Reagan’s “Star Wars” defense network are little more than Trivial Pursuit fodder. Mom and dad spent half their lives enmeshed in a global order where the threat of nuclear extinction was literally a 50/50 possibility, but when was the last time you and I even thought about the world’s stockade of atomic weaponry?

Well, it’s the same deal with Gen Z. They can read in textbooks and buttonhole some elders on the subject, but since they didn’t live through the times themselves, they will never truly grasp the severity and the significance of 9/11.

And in that, there lies a very real challenge, and mayhap even a grave threat to U.S. society itself. Go on, crack open another browser, click your way to YouTube and type “9/11” in the search box. The very first video I saw – the very first one listed on the biggest news event of the 21st century – was titled “JAW DROPPING – NEW 9/11 FOOTAGE DESTROYS MAIN STREAM NARRATIVE.”

Among the most viewed 9/11 clips on YouTube? The second most-watched 9/11 related video, with nearly 30 million views, promises to “let every one know the hidden truths” of the tragedy. A video titled “100% WTC Drone Attack/Strike Plane PROOF (Many Witnesses)” and “Believe Your Own Eyes – 9/11 – No ‘Planes’ Were Ever Used” each are closing in on 10 million views – and both have substantially more hits than any 9/11 retrospectives or historical footage from any of the network or cable news heavyweights. A conspiracy video titled “9/11 Pentagon Attack: A Closer Look” has amassed more than 8 million hits – first published 10 years ago, not only is it one of the oldest 9/11 related videos still on YouTube, it was one of the first videos ever published on the user-generated media platform.

This is where far, far, FAR more kids are getting their “information” on 9/11 than we would ever care to acknowledge. With many school districts and even colleges hesitant to bring such a contentious issue into their curriculum (indeed, reports reveal that some of the most illustrious universities in America no longer require American history as a prerequisite, even for history majors), an entire generation is growing up fully believing that 9/11 was “an inside job” perpetrated by the Bush Administration or international financial institutions. Rather than accept that 9/11 was the doing of an aggrieved cult of ideologically-obsessed pseudo-commandos half a world away, our middle and high schools are pooping out scores of youths convinced Sept. 11 – if they subscribe to a hard-right ethos – was the handiwork of Jewish banking bigwigs or – if they subscribe to a hard-left ethos – was the doing of a racist, patriarchal federal government trying to institute a new form of slavery under the guise of a “national emergency.” God help us, there are even kids out there who believe – honestly, genuinely, unironically – that Sept. 11 was a false flag event orchestrated by subterranean “lizard people” like in that old TV show V. You would be aghast – aghast, I say – just how many teens out there believe no one at all died on 9/11, and that the whole thing was some elaborate ruse to bring about some nondescript Orwellian nightmare (whose final form, of course, depends on how far right or how far left of the spectrum you prefer your politics.)

Those who forget history, the old platitude goes, are destined to repeat it. In this case, the updated maxim is “those who rewrite history are destined to defeat it.” While such fringe, cockamamie conspiracy theories about 9/11 – themselves, trojan horses for a whole host of inherently prejudicial, bigoted and fundamentally insane philosophies – will (hopefully) never become “mainstream,” a great many young people (seriously, you would not believe how many I’m talking about here) do indeed embrace the far-out hypotheses proposed by cranks, dingbats and crackpots like Alex Jones and the producers of propumentary films Zeitgeist and Loose Change as the “real story” behind 9/11.

And of course, if you’re going to buy into one lunatic fringe ideology, you might as well do all your shopping at Camp Crazy. Of course the Sandy Hook massacre was a false flag operation intended to take all our guns away! The U.N. wants to move everybody into cities so they can open up concentration camps in Kansas! The Black Lives Matter crowd are secretly communists hired by George Soros to bring about martial law! Obama uses DARPA missiles to control the weather! Vaccinations cause autism! No, chemtrails cause autism! No, the American Psychiatric Association made up autism as an excuse to lock up dissidents in underground black site prisons!

That, eventually, becomes their entire worldview. They believe nothing anyone tells them, except for their wonky demigod cult of personalities on the Internet. They discredit all historical knowledge (all the records are fake, you know – especially all that science fiction about a supposed “Holocaust”), all tenets of scientific knowledge (lest we forget, that guy who once rapped alongside that chick from Paramore thinks the world is 180 degrees flat), and discredit any acknowledgement of the social realities before them (girls don’t talk to me because I’m weird and smell like Tater Tots, they don’t talk to me because it’s an international conspiracy to depopulate the planet!)

Yeah, that may seem like a stretch, but trust me, these people are out there (in more ways than one, obviously.) And for them – our future doctors and engineers and straight out of high school disability recipients, remember – 9/11 doesn’t mean a galvanizing tragedy that, as heard in many a country song from the early 2000s, temporarily united a nation as one. Nor to them does it represent the arrival of a great alien menace and a counter-ideology to democratic capitalism, like communism in the 20th century, that threatens to spread like wildfire across the globe. Instead, 9/11 represents the disembodied concept that steered them away from positive social bonds and into the clutches of opportunistic online snake oil salesmen. It’s the “thing” that made them distrust any and all authoritative voices – government, military, business, academia, the media, Hollywood, Silicon Valley and their own families. It’s the event that got them to buy into a nihilistic Tao that casts everything as the demonic doings of some unstoppable, invisible global empire culpable for literally every bad thing that happens in the world. It’s the event, ultimately, that introduced them to a self-destructive religion that frees them from any sort of personal responsibility and cocoons them in a sadsack, misanthropic (world wide) web of fear and loathing.

Patriotism? Heroism? Self-sacrifice? Nay, to an ever-growing throng of children, teens and tweens, 9/11 represents none of those. Instead, 9/11 is the date they stopped believing in reality as we know it, eschewing the actual for a fanciful, fan-fiction life untainted by unwanted guests like “facts” and “documented truths.” Where we see tragedy and triumph, they see only kitsch and deception.

You see, folks, that’s what happens when you don’t tell your kids vital truths about the world because you think things are “too heavy” or “too complicated.” That’s what happens when school systems refuse to go over important world events because the discussions are “too problematic” and “likely to offend someone.” That’s what happens, essentially, when we as a culture forget our greatest moments of darkness, which almost always contain crystals of our greatest moments of human compassion as well.

At one point in time, didn't we all make a promise to “never forget?" Well, because of our broken oaths, it looks like the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001 are something the next generation is destined to never remember. TC mark

Here’s What Kind Of Girlfriend You Are, Based On What Region Of The U.S. You Live In

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 05:15 PM PDT

Michael Battaglia
Michael Battaglia

Northeast

You're an asshole. But you are adored for it.

You're rather quiet at first, but once you get close to your significant other, sarcasm starts becoming your first language. It takes a lot for you to open up, so when you actually start dating someone, you're serious about it.

You're really not easily impressed, you live for "turtleneck weather," and you're all about those dates where you just sit on the floor eating takeout and watching a crime show on Netflix. You're not necessarily a Cool Girl, but you're very low-key. You rarely compliment your partner, but when you do, it means a lot.

You're opinionated and most likely the boss in the relationship. You may not scream your happiness or love from any rooftops (yuck, could you imagine?), but everything you feel and express is incredibly genuine.

You'll reluctantly wear white on your wedding day, but you really wish it were socially acceptable to be in a slimming, black dress instead.

West

You're a Cool Girl. You've never triple texted. You always show up late to dates. You can—and will—outdrink anyone when it comes to white wine.

It takes a while of dating before you feel comfortable enough around your significant other to start having deeper conversations with them. You appreciate very simple things in life and dating, but you also like to kick off relationships with very inventive activities. You just like a challenge and a chance to show off your adventurous side—because most people assume you’re just laid back.

For someone as chill as you are, you actually come off a lot more accepting and warm than most people would expect. You prefer to be in a balanced partnership with your significant other, rather than bossing or being bossed around.

You’ll prioritize the honeymoon excursion over wedding plans. And this honeymoon won’t involve any lounging around on some beach—you can get that whenever you want where you live—but will be probably involves something like jumping out of a plane or walking around the edge of volcano.

Pacific Northwest

You're very picky about who you date, so when you get it together and finally meet someone worthy, everything just falls into place. Especially if they share your love for the outdoors, appreciation for that post-rainfall smell, and can tolerate multiple cups of the best coffee in the country.

You love intimate gatherings, so you’ll introduce your significant other to your closest friends pretty early on in the relationship. You’re down-to-earth and would never get wrapped up in petty disagreements with your partner. You like to savor those little things in life.

You have a mix of interests, which makes dating you more spontaneous and exciting. You’re as easygoing as the other West Coast girlfriends, but you’re a lot more low-key about it. You’re down to do whatever it takes to you happy. Usually this involves drinking craft beer.

You won't wear shoes at your wedding. You'll need convincing to have your hair professionally done. You will somehow coordinate birds to chirp throughout the ceremony, which will obviously take place outside in a forest next to, like, a babbling brook.

South

Wife material. You're incredibly secure and confident—therefore you address any dating uncertainties or anxieties head-on. "Passive aggressive" is not in your vocabulary.

You will monogram the shit out of every milestone of your relationship and you really don't care what anyone else thinks about it. You will only show interest and even consider dating people as charming as you are, so you both usually end up being an incredibly intimidating power couple. You're more vocal than your partner,

You're all about flaunting what you've got—and this includes whoever you're dating—because you make the time and effort to make sure anything and anyone associated with you only helps you be your best. You don't waste time with anyone you wouldn't be over-the-top proud of in every way.

You'll get married first out of all of your friends. The wedding invitations will probably be delivered by doves.

Midwest

You get along with everyone and are the friendliest, most outgoing person in your circle of friends. It’s intimidating.

Small talk doesn't cause you any anxiety, so first date etiquette comes naturally to you. You can smell a fuckboy from miles away and have absolutely zero tolerance for them. Everyone’s nice in the Midwest, sure, but what others have to be careful about is if they fuck with you, oh boy, do you fuck with them back.

You’re a loyal girlfriend, you mesh really well with your partner’s friends and family, and you look forward to finding ways to do a little something extra for your significant other everyday.

You’re excited to get married. You truly do feel like it might make you feel that much more fulfilled, and you’ve been looking forward to starting that chapter of your life for as long as you can remember.

Instead of a champagne fountain at your wedding, it will be La Croix. TC mark

Baby, Lie With Me Underneath The Stars

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 04:15 PM PDT

Molly Strohl
Molly Strohl

Baby, let’s lie beneath the stars tonight. Let’s take nothing but ourselves and a blanket, and disappear into the woods as night falls to that stretch of green where no branches cloud the horizon. Let’s lie on our backs with our hands laced together and let the darkness swallow us.

Let's pretend that just for tonight we are the only two people on this earth.

Let us just be here, in the open air so we can revel in the way our bodies feel pressed together, and you’ll nuzzle into the top of my head that way you always do. I’ll rest my cheek against your chest and listen to the calm melody of your heartbeat as you whisper into the night all of the things these sun-lit fields do not allow.

We’ll talk of the years which stretch ahead of us now and make big plans; we’ll laugh as we talk baby names and weddings more extravagant than either of us will ever be able to afford. We’ll argue about the location of our first apartment and hear the excitement mirrored in each other’s voices as we imagine ourselves there, in London or maybe somewhere by the coast, tangled up in the sheets drinking coffee and reading the newspaper together.

It won’t be perfect but it’ll be ours.

I’ll hold on tighter to you as you speak of this next month when I’ll be leaving to go to college, and I’ll try with every piece of strength I have to push the tears to the back of my eyes but fail. We’ll speak of the phone calls and the travelling and the texts we promise to send and I’ll begin to feel myself slipping, falling, coming undone. I’ll pray for the darkness to swallow us, for the world to just stop spinning, just for a second.

Just so we can have this time beneath the stars.

You’ll press your lips to my head and whisper “let’s be quiet now” before you just hold me. I’ll relax a little, fold into your body and close my eyes. And I’ll try to remember it all, your scent which has become a drug to me and the smoothness of your hands against my skin, the sound of your voice and the way my name is spoken softer than any other word which leaves your beautiful mouth. I will feel the cool air brushing past us, hear the rustle of the trees in the distance and you, your heart, racing like the wind, just like mine.

Because though your strength is admirable my darling, your heart cannot lie. You feel the pieces breaking away from you just like I do.

So just for tonight, just so we can hold on to this, just so we can find comfort in the fact that no matter where we are, no matter how far we may be from each other, no matter how empty the space beside us feels, the night’s sky will always look the same.

And that star, the brightest one, it’s shining for you, for us, for our love.

And it will be there, always. TC mark

The Truth Behind Rejection (And The Truth About Getting Over It)

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 03:15 PM PDT

Mateus Lunardi Dutra
Mateus Lunardi Dutra

I will admit that being rejected f*cking sucks.

Whether it’s from a person, a job, a family member, rejection causes us to build up walls to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable. What we fail to to see is that rejection is a concealed way of redirecting us to something else that is far greater than we could ever imagine. We have all been rejected, or so I’d like to think. That is because life is messy and people are messy. Nothing is black and white nowadays, and sometimes things won’t go as we originally planned. It is so easy to get your hopes up and if it doesn’t end up working out, it will feel like the end of the world. But I’m here to tell you, it definitely isn’t.

Accept rejection as it comes, and accept it as it goes.

When you are rejected by another person, be honest with yourself about it. It wasn’t meant to be and that’s okay. The reality of rejection is that at first it will hurt. You will feel insecure and maybe even embarrassed by the situation. Never feel less than because someone is treating you that way. That is something I’ve always needed to hear. No other person can dictate your worth.

“You don’t find your worth in someone else, you find your worth within yourself, then you find someone who is worthy of you. Remember that.” -Anonymous

Have faith that better things are in the works. I truly believe that rejection occurs for several different reasons. Just because something doesn’t work out doesn’t mean something better isn’t coming along. Be patient and have faith that the universe has it’s own unique way of working things out.

Don’t blame anyone or anything. If someone simply isn’t interested in pursuing you, don’t blame them for it. It’s not their fault and it’s not your fault. Whether it be a job, another person, etc., it isn’t right for you and it’s time to let it go and move forward. There is no blame to be placed on anyone, including yourself.

The reality is, you will probably be a victim of rejection more than once in your life.

Never beat yourself up for it and remind yourself that something better will always come along. TC mark

Sometimes I Still Feel The Sting Of You Leaving

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 02:15 PM PDT

Leo Hildago
Leo Hildago

The care-free air of summer began to cool as it made room for the falling leaves of autumn. I only wish I had known at the time that the seasons weren't the only thing changing.

When you decided there wasn't a place for me next to you in the upcoming winter, I prepared myself for the harshness of the months ahead of me. The hopeful promises we whispered in the dark and the flickering moments of young love were gone and in its place a numbness that surfaces when dwelled on for too long. As I stood out in the cold, you left the door ajar, just enough for me to feel the warmth but not enough for me to be satisfied by it.

It's the most gnawing pain – to not receive closure from the end of a relationship because the end never happened. The hurt isn't overwhelming, but subtle. Constant. Aching to be felt when the days are less busy and the nights are more quiet.

You continued to speak to me at your convenience, leaving me hanging onto your words and to the hope that we would one day take back the time that ran out on us. Your minimal existence in my life haunted the back of my mind as I searched for you in every text I received and every guy I have been with after you.

At one point I felt lost. Confused. Frozen. I was so consumed by the idea that you kept in touch with me because we were meant for a second chance that I shut out my chances with other people.

I kept looking back in desperate hope to find you following me because you never burned the bridge between us. I was stuck in one place waiting for you to find me, so patient and full of unsaid thoughts that were never appropriate to share because you left at the most convenient time to not have to hear them.

Instead, you hovered around me and fed my needs only when you knew I was trying to move past the empty words and mixed signals you gave me. I made excuses for why you couldn't seem to find me – blaming everything besides your lack of desire to have all of me. The brisk draft of how emotionally absent you were used to bother me. I wanted to be reminded of your warm smile and the heat of our bodies desperately seeking the other.

I wondered why you were so comfortable with only giving me glimpses of you, because I always assumed that my presence in your life ignited your memory of the days when we were simpler.

But then I realized that even though I was the one left in the cold, you were the one afraid of it.

You couldn't let me go because you weren't strong enough to brave the frigidity of being alone. I was your safety blanket, something you grasped for when the crisp air was too intense for you but let go of once the chill passed. While I interpreted our contact as an attempt to re-live our past, your continuous complacency woke me up to the reality that we were simply re-visiting it on your terms. You were my shelter from every bitter storm and my mistake was thinking that shelters last through the destruction.

The irony is that the only destruction we were running from was the aftermath of our inability to let go of the other.

Although your memory continues to linger in my mind, I've accepted it as a token of a fleeting time in our lives that we were lucky to have experienced together instead of a sign that we needed another moment. There are times where I want to give in and reach for you, but I've outgrown pretending the light breeze I'll meet in your place is enough for me.

Sometimes I still feel the sting of the cold without you, but now it's refreshing.
It's the one thing that reminds me I'm alive. TC mark

Sweet Girl, You Are Stronger Than You Think

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 01:15 PM PDT

Caden Crawford
Caden Crawford

To every sister, daughter, wife and mother. To every aunt, to every grandmother, to every lady and woman and female and friend, I want you to know something: You can conquer every fear and shut out every doubt. There is no obstacle too big for you to overcome, for you are more powerful than you could ever imagine.

Here's the truth about being a woman—there are so many expectations. You're supposed to look a certain way, act a certain way, and somehow be original while following this set mold of what it means to be 'feminine.'

But the truth is, what makes you a woman is not your body or the clothes you wear. It's not the bubble you fill in on an application or the label on the bathroom door. Being a woman is defined by your brain, by your strength, by the way you carry yourself. And let me tell you something, you are strong.

You are strong because you are independent. You are strong because you also know when to lean on others. You are strong because of what you've pushed through as a child, and what you continue to overcome as an adult.

You are strong because of your perseverance, your faith, your positivity. You are strong because you smile, because you try so hard, because you never quit when it comes to defending those you care for.

You are strong because you are a woman that doesn't let herself be defined by the world, but instead carves her own path.

You are strong because you put others first, because you trust, because you give your heart away, and because you love.

See, sweet girl, you are stronger than you think.

The world will tell you that being an emotional woman is weak, that giving your love away is weak, that letting others in is weak, that you are weak, just because you are a woman. But the world is wrong.

Your heart, your mind, and your soul shines with forgiveness, love, patience, and vulnerability—and those qualities are the strongest of them all.

So do not hang your head when you feel broken. Do not let the world make your heart cold. Do not let the ways of this earth keep you from being the smiling, laughing, glowing woman that you are.

Because you are strong, so so strong.
And the world would be dull without you. TC mark

10 Everyday Struggles Only People Who Are ‘Emotionally Unavailable’ Will Understand

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 12:45 PM PDT

Lena Bell
Lena Bell

1. You want to keep going on dates with someone, but you can't.

You've met an amazing person. They're funny, quirky, and have an amazing smile. They fit your standards more than perfectly. But for some reason, something is off. That spark isn't there. You're uninterested in them, at most you see them as just a great friend. You keep asking yourself why, you aren't as interested as you should be. They're great, but they aren't great enough for you to stay.

2. You're overly picky, and run if someone isn't perfect. (Then regret it.)

They hate pizza? They think Rihanna is better than Beyoncé? Your first instinct is to run away, because there is no way that you could be in a relationship with someone who doesn't meet your standards. However, after a few bad dates and several nights alone, you start to wonder to yourself, "Why was I so picky? I could have still been with that person, had I not been overly picky."

3. You keep your distance because you are scared of rejection.

You never reveal much about your interests and your past. You know a lot about someone, but they don't know much about you, aside from your name, your age, and your job. To them, you're background is like any others. But the reason why you hold back so much is that you're scared of showing the real you. What if they don't like the real you? It's better not to take that risk.

4. You lose the motivation to date quickly, but regain it after a while.

There are some points that you feel like you're ready get back out there. However, after swiping to the end of Tinder and encountering every single type of fuckboy out there, you make excuses, such as "I'm too busy to date anyways" or "This is boring", and delete your Tinder account. Flash forward to a few months later, and you want to date again. And thus the vicious cycle starts.

5. You start to blame your exes for making you like this (Then take it back.)

You blame your exes for making you unable to enter a relationship with someone. You think because they sucked the life out of you, they ruined the whole experience of being in a relationship for you, which is why you have trouble getting into new ones. Then your rationale comes back, and you realize that they were just an asshole and not all relationships are terrible. But you still think about your exes every once in a while, and you feel as if the thought of them prevents you from moving on.

6. You want to get intimate quickly, because you want to devalue sex, but stop before anything happens, or feel bad about it.

You want to just hookup with someone to relieve your sexual frustration. After all, sex doesn't mean anything, right? I can just sleep with someone and just leave. But, when you're given the chance to hookup with an attractive stranger, you either stop or hate yourself afterwards. If you stop, you probably realized that this isn't what you really want to do or can't bring yourself to be intimate with someone without a connection. If you hate yourself afterwards, you probably felt something off during the hookup and you weren't able to enjoy it, or you feel as if it was a waste of time.

7. You worry about the future too much and that ruins new relationships.

When you enter a new relationship with someone, you start to wonder about different things, such as "Will they like me?", "What do they want with me?", or "I hope they aren't an asshole". You also start to think about every single ending that you could have with that person, ranging from a terrible breakup, to a happy marriage. But you mostly think about every possible bad breakup situation that you could have with this person. Because you're so invested in the future with someone, you forget to focus on actually getting to know someone.

8. You make the other person work way too hard because you don't know how to respond.

They're always the ones who text first. They're always the one who makes plans. You just go along with it, because you feel obligated to. However, when they ask you what you want to do, your mind goes blank. You don't offer to plan dates because you're not sure if they'll go along with your plans. You don't text first because you're not sure if they like you enough. Thus, it's always the other person who makes the plans.

9. You run away when people show outward affection because you're scared.

If someone kisses you, or tells you that you're beautiful, you get scared. Thoughts such as, "They're only saying this because they want something from me," or "This is what they say to all girls" run through your mind. You don't trust anyone's words, because you believe that they have an ulterior motive. That's why, when someone says "I love you" to you, you run away as fast as possible because you don't want to get hurt again.

10. You're working hard to love yourself again.

You don't believe that you are loveable because the person/people you thought loved you for who you were turned out not to care. You feel that because people are incapable of loving you, you shouldn't love back. Deep down though, you know there's someone who loves you. There are so many people who love you. And one day, you might find someone that truly loves you. But you want to love yourself again first, as it is only the first step to great things. TC mark

I Love You In The Little Things

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 12:15 PM PDT

Kiele Twarowski
Kiele Twarowski

This is for you, a thank you letter for being such a positive, happy, and important role in my life. For picking me up when I'm down, for making me smile when I'm upset, and for proving to me that all the littlest things make the biggest of impacts.

Like:

Running errands on a Saturday morning, being lazy and laying around on the couch on a Sunday, and enjoying happy hour on a Monday. My favorite moments are the ones where we are wrapped in each other's presence, playing cards, having conversations that aren't forced. Watching new shows on Netflix together and no matter how intriguing, we wouldn't dare watch ahead because we know how much we each enjoy the show, and we want to share that happiness with one another. Singing together in the car, listening to each other laugh and eating off each other's plates. Having you finish my beers, knowing how I like my coffee, and always asking if I'm ok with cheese on the burger we are going to share.

As silly as some of this might sound, and as nice as grand gestures can be, I'll take these little ones any day. I'd rather have a lifetime of happiness in millions of little moments, than in only a few moments in the big ones. Drinking coffee together during the sunrise (ok…One day when I wake up early enough), taking road trips, going to baseball games. I want all of it, all of the wonderful, breathtaking, happy, and little moments, and I want them all to have you in them. You are such a wonderful addition to my life.

Just wanted to remind you that you make the biggest difference in my life, and that I am forever thankful for the way the universe brought us together. Thank you for showing me to not sweat the small stuff and how powerful simplicity can be. With all my love, you'll forever be my always. TC mark

To The Next Boy That Tries To Love Me

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 11:45 AM PDT

 Thought Catalog Instagram
Thought Catalog Instagram

I should say sorry ahead of time, so this is me saying sorry now.

i. If you decide you want a part of my life you must know that I might cry from time to time. I might cry when I forget to meet you for dinner, I might cry when I don't iron your cargo shorts perfectly, I might cry when I can't make you a good batch of Mexican rice, I might cry when I don't have any clean towels for your shower, I might cry when I spill rocky road ice-cream all over your passenger seat, and I might cry when I make you late. I know that none of this will be your fault, but I might cry anyway because sometimes I am going to forget that you love me. It is taking me some time to learn not to be afraid, to learn not to be so weak; it is taking me some time to learn that you might love me back. So this is me saying sorry for those times that I forget.

ii. You must know that a lot of my life has been dark and there are only a handful of moments I can remember it being sunny in California. I know that you won't understand how I never saw the sun when I lived in the golden state my entire life, but there sometimes is no explanation to madness. I don't expect you to understand it (I hope you never have to), but I do know that I see the sun in your eyes and warmth in your smile. I know that you make most days brighter without meaning to. So this is me saying sorry for not telling you every day.

iii. You're going to ask questions, but sometimes you're going to ask "What's wrong?" and my answer will sound like a tape recorder. Sometimes I won't know how to respond because quite frankly, nothing is wrong…yet somehow everything is wrong. I'll sometimes find something small to blame and sometimes I'll blame something bigger, like the world. Although everything may seem wrong, everything will somehow still be okay. So when I can't figure out what's wrong, I might just be missing the sun again. So this is me saying sorry for the days my sun has set. TC mark

Sometimes You Just Have To Take A Deep Breath, And Slow Down

Posted: 10 Sep 2016 11:15 AM PDT

Kessy Silva
Kessy Silva

I've always been a go, go go type of girl. I like the rush. I like getting caught up in all the things I have to do, all the places I have to be. I like crossing things off my to-do list and feeling accomplished as I get through more than I expected.

There's something about the rush of life that excites me. Knowing what I'm capable of makes me feel strong, empowered, and busy. And I like being busy, as strange as that sounds. I like feeling purposeful.

But life rushes at us fast. There's always so much happening, so many decisions to make, and so many things were supposed to have figured out.

Sometimes we get caught up in it.

So much so that we overlook the beautiful things in life. We overlook people and our relationships with them. We overlook our true desires and feelings. We overlook simple, wonderful things.

And sometimes we overlook the fact that we are pointlessly rushing through our days instead of slowing down to just relish in our existence on this incredible earth.

Sometimes we're trying so hard to do good, that we're not actually happy.

And I think I finally realized that this past week. I was rushing. I was running 100 miles in the wrong direction, full speed ahead, just trying to get everything done. I was making lists and crossing items off. I was feeling like I was getting somewhere, but really I was going nowhere fast.

I was feeling incomplete. I was tired. I was doing so much but I wasn't feeling accomplished or purposeful or even productive.

I just felt empty.

And that's what happens when we get caught up in the quick motion of life. We try so hard to get through things rather than slow down and appreciate where we are.

Sometimes you just have to slow down. You have to take a moment to breathe, to say, 'I'm sorry, I can't do that right now,' or 'I'll do that later.' You have to give yourself the permission to say no, or walk away when you're in over your head.

You have to acknowledge when you're stressed and give yourself a break.

You have to know who you are and be proud of who you are, without killing yourself to get things done. Because there's more to life than getting things done.

Slow down for a moment.

That doesn't make you weak. That doesn't mean you've failed. And there's nothing wrong with you.

Sometimes we all need a 'pause' button.
You can always hit 'restart' and begin again. TC mark