Thought Catalog


Netflix’s ‘Audrie & Daisy’ Will Change Everything You’ve Thought About Sexual Assault And The Internet

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 06:15 PM PDT

Audrie & Daisy
Audrie & Daisy

In September, Netflix released a powerful documentary, Audrie & Daisy centered around two young girls who were sexually assaulted while in high school.

Audrie Potts was unconscious at a party where two young men drew all over her naked body with Sharpie. They said it was a prank that they wanted to play on her. Not only did they draw incredibly explicit and lewd remarks all over her, they took pictures and they fingered her "for like a second."

Maybe I'm confused as to what a harmless prank is but that doesn't sound like one to me.

Daisy Coleman was 14 years old when she was sexually assaulted by her older brother's friend while another one of his friends took a video on his phone. She had been drinking with one of her friends when they snuck out to go hang out with the older boys. Afterwards, the boys drove her and her friend home, dropping Daisy on her front lawn. She could have died from hypothermia if her mother hadn't found her soon enough. Only one of the boys was charged with a misdemeanour for child endangerment which warranted a mere two-year sentence of probation.

Not only did both of them have to live through the trauma of being sexually assaulted, social media played a huge role in how both victims were treated after. The photos of Audrie were placed in a Yahoo account that many students at her high school had access too. The pictures of her spread like wild fire and she was horribly cyber bullied. She started getting Facebook messages from anonymous people saying horrific things. Both of the boys, who were 15 at the time, were charged but only received 30 days and 45 days which were only served over weekends.

Audrie tragically ended her life in 2015 by hanging herself in her bathroom one week after the crime.

Daisy was also a victim of cyber bullying. People were telling her to slit her wrists and that she was a huge liar. She was treated as if she was the actual perpetrator. While Daisy has struggled since her attack, she has gone on to become an advocate for victims of sexual assault. Her story, thankfully, doesn't have a tragic ending.

There are two factors in both of these cases that get to me.

One, that sexual assault against women seems to be continuously growing. We have someone running in the American Presidential race who said he loves being famous because it allows him to molest beautiful women and get away with it. We see victim shaming on a regular basis. This prevents sexual assault victims from coming forward because of the things that people could potentially say about them.

That's incredibly sad. That survivors of such trauma are being told that they're the real criminals or that they're liars. How can we have come so far in society only to seem as though we're backsliding? Sexual assault is never, ever justified. No means no. No doesn't mean ask me 15 more times. No doesn't mean try to guilt me into sleeping with you. No means no. It's that simple. If I cannot speak, if I'm unconscious, that's also a no.

These cases made me think back to all the conversations I've had with friends and a number of women over the years. Stories where they said no but then it kind of happened anyway.

It happened anyway.

They were too ashamed to say anything to the person who did it or to anyone else until years and years later. It's guilt, shame, and worthlessness they've lived with since it occurred. They were too afraid of what people would say about them. They were too afraid to confront the person.

They were just too afraid to admit what happened.

Why? It's because even now, women are made to believe we need to be nice. We need to be nice or we're going to be called a bitch. Assertiveness is not bitchiness. If you're out a bar with your friends wanting to have fun and a man grinds on your ass, then that's your fault for dressing too provocatively. There are many times I hear my friends tell a guy at a bar that they're not interested by saying they have a boyfriend. Why is that? It's because a guy is more than likely to respect the that you're another man's instead of just not interested. If you're just not interested, then you're a lesbian or a bitch.

Sexual assault and sexual harassment are still some of the hardest cases to prove. It usually comes down to a he said-she said which isn't enough to convict someone to the fullest extent of law. But we've also seen cases where the evidence was strong but still ended with the defendant getting a lesser sentence. We saw it with Brock Turner earlier this year.

The second part of this Netflix special is the cyber bullying. When I was a kid, the internet wasn't as popular as it is now. Facebook wasn't really a big thing until I was in my last year of high school. We did however have some version of Facebook. I remember reading comments about myself that these girls were sending to each other about how I was an asshole, a liar, a bitch and every other mean word a 16-year-old girl had in her repertoire (which is a lot by the way). I remember crying to my mom. I remember completely shutting down and not wanting to go to school. I remember struggling through the days, wondering if life gets better after high school. Of course, life after high school is always better but you don't think that at 16.

I couldn't image if I was sexually assaulted and then all of these people I knew and even considered friends were ganging up to write all these brutal comments about me on Facebook. Audrie didn't even report her assault to the police but because of the photos, people in her school felt it was their right to tell her how slutty she was. They felt it imperative to tell her that she was a "horny mofo." She was unconscious.

I struggle to remember a time when the internet wasn't a big part of my daily life. It makes me wonder what life will be like for the younger generation. I can already see the blatant fact that kids don't get a break from bullying anymore. They don't get time to come home and decompress. They don't have a chance to just be a kid. While bullying is unacceptable, at least when kids got home before they could get away from it. They can't anymore.

We have an epidemic plaguing our society. Cyber bullying is a real concern. I know as an adult who writes on the internet — I get some pretty terrible messages. I'm also 26 and have a very real grasp of who I am as a person. Kids aren't so secure in themselves and they don't have to be. Being a kid and a teenager means finding out who you are. Being a kid means you can be weird, goofy, carefree, and slowly become aware of the adult you want to be.

The sad part is that for women and girls like Daisy, they will live with their sexual assault for the rest of their lives. Daisy will live with the words that were said about her online daily. She will continue to know what people think about her because it's on the internet for everyone to see. Sadly, for Audrie, she couldn't see another way out.

If you are a girl, love a girl or even just know a girl, you should watch Audrie & Daisy on Netflix. If anything it will give you more perspective on sexual assaults amongst teenagers and how social media plays a huge roll in bullying these days.

If you're someone who's suffered through sexual assault know this, you are worth so much. You are brave. Don't be afraid to tell your story. You are a survivor and a warrior.

Audrie's family set up the Audrie Pott's Foundation to help educate teenagers on cyber bullying, offers scholarships for arts and music programs and grants for school therapists. Click here to find out more. TC mark

Fighting The Stigma: Let’s Talk Suicide, This Is My Story

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 05:15 PM PDT

Photo by OnaArtist.com
Photo by OnaArtist.com

Suicide.

It's been three years I've been avoiding that word.

I don't know why. Virtually mostly anything else in my life is an open book. I'm not ashamed to answer explicit questions. I'm not ashamed to write vulgar poetry about the boys that broke me.

Most of my writings are in-your-face and don't need much deconstructing. I fucked you. I hate you. I'm still turned on by you. There it is.

But suicide…

Our generation has abused and overused this word. It's become a trend to use it as a cute blog descriptor that sometimes it can be difficult to discern whether a person is suicidal because he is born suicidal, or he's suicidal because that's what the media or the internet are telling him to be.

Sometimes I think the word has lost its urgency. Is it because I've grown apathetic to young people romanticizing pain? Or is it because there are a lot of mentally sick people that are still unheard and uncared for that we've normalized human beings taking their own lives as a desperate attempt to escape internal suffering?

I've never talked about my own experiences. Maybe partly because I'm scared. I'm afraid someone who knows me in real life gets to read my post and will ostracize me for it.

No matter how much society has claimed to be enlightened, people still don't understand what it is to be depressed, suicidal, anxious, or mentally ill. I feel like a freak walking on egg shells.

Are they talking about me behind my back? Do they know?

FUCK. Stop whispering about me. Breathe. You're okay. No one knows. Yet.

I would not blink if the entire universe knew about my promiscuity. But the thought of people in real life finding out the sordid details of my suffering? No thanks.

Maybe it's my superiority complex. The thought of anyone knowing I'm anything less than what I present myself to be is crippling. They'll see I'm weak. They'll smell blood. And they'll attack me, again.

I'm still not totally comfortable talking about the entire bit-by-bit details of my ordeal. But I will share what I can.


I never understood depression before nor did I know such a thing existed.

Living in a third world country, you're not really informed about mental illness. So all my life, since childhood, I'd find myself curling into a ball, crying for no reason at all. Or sometimes be so devoid of emotion it would scare me. Solace was the underside of a bed or the inside of a closet. I'd hide in there and just feel so heavy that even breathing was a labor.

I remember I'd sob for hours. A seven-year-old me, confused at the strange emotions boiling inside me. I was a friendly and imaginative child, but lonely. I'd inexplicably break down in the middle of playing with my toys. Who knows why? I didn't. My frustrated parents didn't.

Fast forward.

I can't remember (or maybe my subconscious is blocking this out on purpose due to trauma) how it started three and a half years ago.

I remember I was in my third year of University. I was on top of the world. Forlorn, most days empty, but from a practical perspective – on the path to success. I was on the honor roll, the Editor-in-Chief of our department paper, chosen to take part in TV interviews, documentaries, and seminars for selected young students. My writing was being published in the city paper and had won some small school contests. Despite being such a quiet introvert, upperclassmen were inviting me to join their parties as a candidate to run for University office that year.

It sounds like I'm bragging, but I'm trying to paint you a picture of how good I had it despite how empty I'd feel. I was unhealthy, but somewhat stable. At least I had purpose, something to keep me going and keep up the spirits. (And it's kind of integral to the story)

There was a strike going on in the paper. Everyone agreed on quitting because we didn't like the attitude of our publisher/classmate. I can't even remember what he did that offended everyone so much.

Our publisher/classmate (who is gay, not that it's relevant) messaged me on Facebook asking for a meeting after school. I was still angry due to whatever it was he did, so I didn't reply to his message.

Later that afternoon I'm sitting in one of my classes when suddenly the door bursts open. It was him.

He started screaming at me at the top of his lungs:

Why didn't you answer my message? How dare you? You're not even beautiful, you have no right to act that way!!! Do you think you're so beautiful you can ignore me like that?!

And a string of other insults I probably didn't hear due to freezing from shock. The professor, who is a famous journalist and is good friends with my classmate, didn't do anything to stop his tirade.

There was five minutes before class started so it was still break. The hallway was shoulder-to-shoulder packed. When he screamed at me, all the buzzing from the crowd of students stopped. There was dead silence. Nearly every single person in the hallway heading for his/her classes, STOPPED, LISTENED, AND STARED AT ME. Probably because all the people in our classroom were staring at me, too, as my incensed classmate glared at me from the front of the room.

The professor allowed my classmate to scream. He literally just sat there and pretended nothing happened when my classmate was done yelling. My classmate was not reprimanded.

He even said, "I'm sorry for my outburst, sir. I hope you understand. I just needed to get that out and express it to her."

And the professor just nodded to him in silence and let him leave.

I tried to save my composure, but ended up bursting in tears. I was treated by all 300 of my batchmates as an outcast. Even my own group of best friends didn't side with me. I heard from people they even said stuff about my mental illnesses behind my back.

Albeit some were probably true, but still. You get my point. I was alone.

The only thing I clung to was my boyfriend at the time which wasn't saying much because our relationship was abusive, and my outbursts were taking a toll on him.

That weekend my mother, who has her share of habits, was berating me again for some petty thing. I actually think it was as insignificant as the way I dressed or forgetting to buy her something she wanted? The smallness of the incident was not proportional to her cruelty and anger, though.

I had a breakdown at the mall. My boyfriend grabbed my hand after he saw I was climbing over the third-floor railing, and I literally screamed until people were staring and he had to let go to save us from further embarrassment.

I went back home, locked my room.

And popped about at least 60 pills.

I became dozed. I remember lying on the floor and then… it was kind of like I was half-awake half-asleep. My consciousness was blurred and cottony. I heard my boyfriend and dormmates opening the door with a spare key, probably.

I think I blacked out because next thing I knew I was being rushed through the bright walls of a hospital.

I felt peacefully numb. I could still hear what the nurses and my boyfriend were talking about as they rushed me in. I tried to say something, but it felt heavy to move or talk, and it just felt so… nice and numb. No more triggers, no more trauma, no more aching hollowness. Just a quiet calmness.

I vaguely recall people flurrying around me, trying to get a response. I just wanted to sleep. Why couldn't they just let me sleep?

Then…

pain. An outburst of pain and nausea.

The doctor had inserted a tube down my nose to pump out the pills from my stomach.

It was like being jolted back to life. Maybe most of the hazy effects of the pills were psychological. I don't know. All I know is once I felt that physical pain again after that blissful peace of numbness, my eyes burst open and I fought with everything I had.

I ripped the tube from my nose and started screaming. A couple of nurses tried to soothe me as they attempted to reinsert the tube, but I just kept scrambling away from them, flailing, fighting, screaming, "IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTS."

This, I think, went on for five minutes.

I managed to squish my face against the hospital bed so they couldn't access my nose or mouth. My nails dug into the metal bed frames. I was so fucking desperate.

The nurses called for help and I think it took at least five people to finally restrain me. All I'm sure of is my bed was completely surrounded and several pairs of arms pinned me down as I squirmed helplessly, and the doctor finally put in again the tube through my nostril, down my throat, into my stomach.

I hurled.

And I heard the doctor yell at me, "It hurts because you did this to yourself! You have no one to blame but yourself!"

I swear all the doctors here have no sympathy for mentally ill patients. In this third world country, being depressed and suicidal is not a real affliction. They shrug you off as being overly dramatic like in the soap operas. Nobody takes you seriously. Everybody keeps telling you it's your own fault.

Today, I do understand I did it to myself and I have no one to blame.

I may be wrong because I'm not a doctor, but I feel like that is something you NEVER EVER EVER tell a suicide survivor or patient. You're just making us feel more crap for not being able to successfully kill ourselves and giving us more reason to be determined next time.

The nurses were horrible, too. I was still weak from the pills and even weaker from the tube. And the nurses kept talking about me, theorizing about my personal life and why I would kill myself. Literally gossiping right in front of me as they monitored my stats.

"Did you see her boyfriend? Maybe they had a fight. Wasn't he cute, though? Looked Chinese. Maybe her love life is going bad. Maybe she's pregnant. I also know someone who tried to kill himself. Tried to hang himself. Crazy, huh? Did you hear what the doctor said? She was furious!"

It literally took me an hour to gather enough strength to give a shaky and weak, "Stop talking about me." Before I puked again.

My body was heavily pumped with charcoal the entire day. It was so disgusting and uncomfortable. Imagine feeling sick and dizzy literally every nano-second and having to vomit black goo from your body almost every time you breathed. It was the worst physical ordeal I had to go through. I was there maybe around 3PM, and it lasted until 11PM.

Time had never crawled so slow in my life.

All I could do was to try to fall asleep. Whenever I moved a little, the tube would move, too, which would stroke my gag reflex and I'd puke. I kept puking until I had nothing to puke anymore.

I was so desperate that I begged my boyfriend to find a doctor and take the thing off. As with any hospital in this sorry country, we only found a doctor after two hours. They interviewed me and made me sign a waiver that they wouldn't be held responsible if I died because they stopped treatment.

I lied and told them I just took 10 pills. They believed it.

I slowly and painstakingly made recovery.

Though very weak physically, mentally, and emotionally, I went back to school a couple weeks later but could not go through with it. It felt like everyone was staring at me, and judging me, and talking about me.

I had kept my attempt and hospitalization a secret. Only two close friends were told. They made the mistake to invite a third friend, who they thought could be trusted, too. My friends assured nothing would happen and that their cover story for my absence in school was Dengue Fever.

But some people are just horrible. That third friend spread the rumors (or rather truth) that I had attempted suicide and was hospitalized to our entire class of 300. I also heard that the classmate who had been bullying me was angry I had "stolen" his spot on the honor roll and as Editor-in-Chief of the paper. I'll let you imagine how much cruelty and pettiness young people are capable of.

I quit Uni. Bailed out in the middle of the semester. My dad was heartbroken. Thousands of money couldn't be refunded.

When I got back to my hometown it wasn't over. People kept bullying me via Facebook. We had a chatroom for our class so we could share discussions on projects or homework. Some people who KNEW I could get notifications and read their group chats would talk horridly about me. Laughing at me and mocking me "pretending" I couldn't read that they called me a psycho, or crazy, or pathetic, or an attention-seeker, or how they were so very glad they weren't born as fucked up as me. I also got some pretty mean anonymous online messages basically saying the same things.

I took a break from school and social life for a year. I was a recluse. I refused to see anyone outside my boyfriend.

Things are fairly better now. I have a book published. I'm no longer in an unhealthy relationship. I have a husband, a job, a home. I have my own set of friends I can comfortably talk to about what I'm feeling or thinking without being made fun of for it. I've changed a lot, still depressed and coping, but I haven't done anything as drastic and such a close-call attempt since then. I'm in a good place. I found surfing and poetry. I'm trying to be a little more independent.

Happy? Cured? Not really. But better. Healthier.

Still not comfortable with this post, though. I think I have it ingrained that it's something to be ashamed and embarrassed about. "WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?! WHAT WILL THE NEIGHBORS SAY?!" The thought of real life people who know me reading this or knowing about this part of my life still makes me cringe so I don't know why I wrote this now.

But you can't really cure a sickness unless you admit you have it, can you?

I guess… I'm just trying to be okay with it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't be scared to ask for help and to admit you need it. More importantly – stay. You don't have to stay strong right now because I promise you, one day, you will be. You don't have to be strong all the time, either.

Healing will be difficult, entail a lot of hard work, and often seem pointless but it isn't. Don't believe in your depression's lies or other people's malice. Believe in your own light.

"I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am." – Sylvia Plath

You are worth it. You deserve to live, to be here, to exist.

Stay, stay, stay. TC mark

Find Someone Who Breaks You

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 04:15 PM PDT

NickBulanovv
NickBulanovv

Controversial topic? Yes.

Let me start off with what I mean here.

Yes, I do in fact want you to find someone who breaks you. I want you to find somebody who challenges you every day. Somebody who does not merely exist in your life but wants to be part of it every day for the rest of your life who is there to make you better. I want to tell you that life is too short to live your life in the same routine and to play it safe. Whether you're an introvert or extrovert, a man or a woman or any in between, I believe that this thought should apply to everyone.

So again find someone who breaks you.

Someone who breaks into your life one day, shatters the glass of everything that you believed in and shows you a new side of the world. Find someone who says no for the right reasons when everybody in your life says yes. Find someone who believes that in life there are two sides of a coin that can go either way and whatever the result may be, you push through it because they know you can. Find somebody revolutionary who will let you see all that is good about you and what you can do to improve in yourself every day.

Don't settle.

Sometimes it's better to live the life you never expected, to live with an open mind. Face your fears with somebody who brings out the very best in you but who is also willing to hold your hand along the way. Somebody who you trust will all your secrets because they've finally cracked you open.

Find someone who shares intimacy with you even when you're so used to putting up the walls as you tried desperately to hide all of your fears, doubts, and your insecurities. Find somebody who you find courage in, even when you are miles apart. Find someone you can be honest with even when all this time you've been hiding from the world the pain and sadness that you feel because you are too afraid to show weakness. Find someone who's able to balance you out, the yin to your yang. Find somebody who is able to bring out your wild side regardless if you're an introvert and your softer more down to earth side even when you're somebody extroverted.

This person who breaks you will show you a new perspective. A fresh start in life you could never find in anything else.

He or she may not be perfect but in the end they would be perfect for you.

They will BREAK you. They WILL Shatter everything you know in life. You two will go on walking this earth renewed and fresh. You will be ready to face any battle that you encounter because you know that he'll be there to help you push through it and not just help you endure it.

Stop building up those walls, let someone in, let them break you, shatter you, KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Let yourself be weak in front of them. And if everything works out and you do find that person, you'll realize that breaking you was the best thing that has ever happened to you. And in turn, if it is real, you will also get the chance to break them and share with them all of the things you have learned throughout your life. TC mark

15 Women Reveal Why They Think They Fall For The Wrong Guys

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 03:15 PM PDT

 Brandon Stanciell
Brandon Stanciell

1. “I don't know why I fall for the hard to get type. I think it's because I like the challenge and trying to get something everyone wants but can't get.” — Amy, 25

beetlejuice

2. “I tend to romanticize any situation. Like, I think he's going to change for me, or I can fix him and all that jazz. I still believe in that kind of love, you know. The love that changes people for the better.” — Erika, 26

beetlejuice

3. “I guess I come on too strong so I think I scare the wrong guys away because they think I'm needy or clingy but I'm just being honest.” — Sandra, 27

beetlejuice

4. “I've been told I'm too nice so assholes can get away with treating me like shit, but I honestly like being nice to people even if they don't deserve it.” — Kim, 29

beetlejuice

5. “I like the guys who approach me first but for some reason these guys also approach ten other women, so they attract me and then break my heart because they were not that into me.” — Nina, 25

beetlejuice

6. “I tend to play the role of the friend first because I think that's what works best but then, after a while, I think this takes away the sexual chemistry and the guy just keeps it platonic.” — Brittany, 26

beetlejuice

7. “I guess you can't really explain why you fall for someone more than the other, but I like strong, successful and charismatic guys and these guys are usually trouble.” — Nicole, 29

beetlejuice

8. “It's because I always meet them at the club or at a party because that's where my friends and I go, most of the guys you meet there are probably only looking for one thing.” — Hana, 28

beetlejuice

9. “I meet a lot of guys on tinder, still trying to match with someone who actually wants something serious but you could say that they’re mostly just wrong for me.” — Shiva, 25

beetlejuice

10. “I'm too forgiving. I give more than one chance, I say too much, I'm always open to give it another try and I think this makes a lot of guys take me for granted but I truly do believe that timing is everything.” — Kate, 23

beetlejuice

11. “I know I fall for cocky guys because I lack that kind of confidence, and these guys tend to love themselves more than anyone else.” — Vicky, 22

beetlejuice

12. “I act super tough and heartless because I don't like to show how sensitive I really am and I think that's why I attract the same type of guys — the ones that will never fall head over heels because they’re also pretending not to care.” — Laura, 29

beetlejuice

13. “Ever since college, I always liked the guys who were somehow out of my league or extremely good looking, and these guys are heart breakers because they know they can get any girl they want.” — Tamara, 25

beetlejuice

14. “To be honest, I think I just haven't met anyone good enough for me so I waste my time with these boys because it's better than being alone, but deep inside, I know I'm never going to fall in love with any of them.” — Maggie, 24

beetlejuice

15. “The ultimate cliché, I think the wrong guys can be so right if they want to, and that’s the hope I always hold on to; the day they decide to be right so we can be right for each other.” — Emily, 27. TC mark

To The Girl Who’s Heart He Broke After Mine

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 02:15 PM PDT

Sokoloff Lingerie
Sokoloff Lingerie

I was scared this day would come. I was scared things would turn out this way. I was scared and I asked for your well-being from the beginning of time. I asked that if he were to leave, if he was so sure that he wasn't just going to drag another soul down with him; I asked that he'd take care of you the way he didn't care for me. I asked that he'd never ever do what he'd done to me, to you. I told him to confide all his blades in me until he knew to control them, because I knew I was the only person who knew his light and darkness to the core. Because I believed that if I held on long enough, I could be the one to heal him before he'd hurt anyone else. Because I had already been scarred this much and this long.

But now you know him too. 5 years short of what I know, but you still know him too.

I know exactly why you might hate him at times. I know exactly why you love him.

I know exactly what you are realizing each day. I know exactly what it feels like to look in the mirror. I know exactly what it feels like to let your imagination run from the bits you might see from social media. I know what it feels like to be crying with every inch of your body in pain, banging on a cold, closed door, with the possibility of it reopening again slimming every day.

I know what it feels like to know the existence of my face. The reminder of why you're in pain.

I know what it feels like to be forced to love yourself when you've never did in the first place.

No matter what it may look like to you on my end, know I know to my very core. Know I feel. Know it's not rainbows and sunshine on this end either.

There's so much that doesn't make sense about this picture. I know.

I am just sorry. Sorry that you had to be a lesson to two foolish strangers you never had to know, because they were too young to love themselves, to handle themselves correctly. You were the teacher to two people who lost themselves and tore other souls down with them in their war of being unable to fight for what they dreamed.

You couldn't receive the best that you deserved. You and all the people around you. Around us.
We hurt many people in this process of losing ourselves.

And I think you deserve one of the first apologies during this time.

I can't ask for forgiveness, because I too, am seeking it every single day. Because remember, before you, there was me. And although I prayed no one would walk my shoes, because no one deserves it, here you are, wearing the pair I left behind.

I pray for the both of us each day. I pray that we find healing, we find forgiveness, because forgiveness is not for our sinner, it is for the peace and freedom of ourselves. I pray that we find love within ourselves, I pray for our growth, and I pray that we become the very person we were meant to be.

I think everything happens for a reason. Even if we may not understand it now.

But we are always where we are meant to be, in order to become the person we need to be. You taught me many things. About myself, life, and the capacity a person can have to love and forgive. May you find a few good things to take with you from this as well.

I know there is nothing that I could say or do that can take this pain away. But do not allow yourself to fall victim to someone's inability to value himself enough to understand the affect he has on those around him. Do not fall victim to someone's inability to value you the way you deserve to be. Do not fall victim to yourself and only grow to be the best you can be.

Wishing you a safe journey, always. Have strength, have courage, and have love. TC mark

Dear Internet Stranger: A Response Article To Your Response Article (And So On And So Forth)

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 12:45 PM PDT

alastairdavey
alastairdavey

@YOU: I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT WHAT YOU WROTE AND THEY ARE VALID OMG.

*

Hello, fellow internet stranger. How are you on this random weekday? Oh lol, plz don’t bother answering because that would be another open letter online, and OMG we don’t need it. (Are you seeing where this is going??)

I saw that you read something I wrote on the internets. CRAZY. You and a million other people. Isn’t it weird how so many people have access to the same 700+ words? That still blows my mind a little bit.

But in all seriousness.

A) Thank you for reading. That I actually do care about. You see, when a good portion of your job is dependent on the idea that people have an interest in what you have to say…it’s sort of imperative that you get lots of people to click on your work and, well, read it. So thank you! You’re part of the reason I’m here today.

and

B) Oh wow. You have a response article to an article that had literally nothing to do with you? Groundbreaking.

Here’s the thing about your thoughts and feelings and ideas: they are valid! They are worth expressing! They are…dare I say…relevant? (Get it? No? Ok moving on.)

But in all seriousness, just as I am entitled to write whatever my little, overly caffeinated and opinionated heart desires, you are as well. And as much as I might make fun and Liz Lemon-roll my eyes at the idea of a response article or an “open letter” to someone who is a complete stranger who’s motives and execution you are well within your right to assume, but in reality have no idea about when you never asked? It’s a poor excuse for “journalism” and doesn’t exactly add to your credibility, BUT you are entitled to write whatever you want about it.

But the tagging? The @ing? The incessant emailing and messaging? The desperate, “HEY I WROTE THIS THING ABOUT YOU LOOKIT” mentality? That’s just…well…

It’s dumb.

It’s invasive.

It’s annoying.

It’s, frankly, unoriginal.

And all it is, is clearly an attempt to start something. Not a dialogue, because those have a more level, systematic approach. But something like @ing someone in what is clearly meant to be a “take down” is not a dialogue.

It’s trying to start a Twitter fight, or a Facebook fight.

Or, it’s trying to start the “response article to a response article” back and forth. Which is not only exhausting and often a completely inefficient way to execute what you’re probably trying to convey, but it’s utterly pointless.

Go to any website, to any platform, to any blog written by any girl who’s done the whole “I dye my hair fun colors for the instagram!!!” (Guilty as charged btw.) It’s an exhausted formula that is 1010% ineffective. Everyone’s done it; but those who really care about discussion, common ground, dialogues and, well, GOOD content, don’t do it anymore.

And to be TOTALLY honest:

9 times out of 10, anyone who has written an iota of content online cares absolutely 0% that you have a “hot take” on what they had to say.

Because “hot takes” don’t do anything. They just annoy people. They get a smidgen of page views. They don’t create dialogues. They just invoke the Liz Lemon eye rolls.

SO.

If you have questions? Email the writer! Try to have an actual conversation. If you have comments? Don’t leave them in the comment section because they probably won’t be seen, and instead – email the writer! If you just want to talk AT someone instead of with someone? Well…then that’s probably why you @ people with no room for discussion and write open letters instead of original thoughts.

I can pretty much guarantee that a “response article” isn’t going to get you anything. Except maybe a mute button Twitter. TC mark

This Is For The Girls Who Are ‘Hard Work’ To Love

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 12:15 PM PDT

Jenny Woods
Jenny Woods

Once upon a time, you probably dated, or maybe you’re still dating, a guy who has told you that you’re difficult. Challenging. High maintenance. Stubborn AF. Hard work. I hope you didn’t take it as criticism. I hope you took it as a compliment. Because it is one.

Word on the street is I’m hard work, but y’know what?

I think all the best girls are.

We expect to date in the old fashioned sense of the word. He has to make a noticeable effort. The first date is his once chance to make a bold first impression. We want him to sweep us off our feet. Of course we do. But what girl doesn't?

We keep guys on their toes. There's no room for them to grow complacent. They have to continue to impress us long after the initial dating game is over.

We’re strongly opinionated. But it's only because we care so deeply about a whole lot of things – even those far beyond our control.

We call guys out on their bullshit. Because we quickly recognise when we're not being treated the way we deserve to be. And maybe no one else has the balls to tell him he's being an asshole. But we'll step up. Not because we like pointing the finger. Not because we revel in conflict. Not because we want to gain the upper hand. But because our hearts always push us into doing what our heads know is right.

It's not always easy, but we will do it anyway.

He might tell you you're hard work, but girls like us never label ourselves easy.

If they let us down, they soon expect to hear about it. And why shouldn’t they? Keeping quiet when someone you care about has caused you pain, is only going to give that pain room to linger and grow.

We expect a lot. We want someone in their entirety. Their time. Their mind. Their affection. Their heart. And we want to see their soul too.

Ok, so we might want the world.
But we’ll offer the world, too.

That's why he stuck around so long. That's why he hasn't let you go.

We challenge someone to be their best self, just like we challenge ourselves. We expect the best, because we know just how good they have the capacity to be. We’ve seen him be better, so we find ourselves unable to accept less.

We fight to the end of the earth for someone and all the way back again. Because nowhere is too far. And he will always be worth it.

We will be there for them, always. Through the sunshine and thunder storms. Especially those thunderstorms. Because life is hard, and love can be even harder. But it's also the only thing that manages to pull us through sometimes.

We love like no one else does.

Fiercely. Completely. Unapologetically. We will give somebody our everything.

Call us hard work, but all we’re ever asking for is the same in return. TC mark

13 Everyday Benefits Of Being A Good Listener

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 11:45 AM PDT

Ben White
Ben White

1. You get invited to a lot of coffee dates because people find it so easy to vent to you.

2. Your hair is so big because it’s full of secrets. Seriously, you know every horrible and intimate detail about everyone—which gives you the tiniest bit of internal satisfaction and power, but it also just makes you feel good that you’re seen as so trustworthy.

3. You're always the first to know because you’re the last person who would tell anyone else.

4. And, boy, do you know a lot. Everyone should be terrified of the information you hold.

5. With that being said, you also have the inside scoop on which friends can’t help themselves but gossip.

6. You get a lot of: “You’re not supposed to know this, but…”

7. You've seen it all before. You've watched countless friends and family members go through difficult situations and times, and it really does prepare you should you ever go through something similar.

8. Therefore your perspective is really broadened. You’re spending less time talking about your own experiences, and more time listening to other people talk about theirs.

9. You’re innately more empathetic towards people, and that draws others to you. You don’t cut them off or act eager to jump into the conversation with your own thoughts—you savor the experience of hearing them out.

10. You’ve got a tremendous attention span. Some people really don’t know how to tell stories properly. You’ll listen anyway.

11. Honestly, you listen to so many people tell their respective stories, that you know what makes for a good one. So when you talk, you know how to make people who may not be Good Listeners actually listen to you.

12. People assume that those who talk a lot are effective communicators, but it’s actually the Good Listeners who understand what it takes to form fast and intimate relationships with other people.

13. You love asking questions, and that makes people love talking to you. You make friends very, very easily. And, occasionally, in very, very weird situations. TC mark

This Is How I Know You’re The One For Me

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 11:15 AM PDT

Geoff Duncan / Lightstock
Geoff Duncan / Lightstock

I have never believed in finding “the one.” It’s not that I don’t believe we have soulmates. I do. At least, I think I do. But I have never actually thought that one single person would be “the one” for me. I mean, think about those odds. It just seems a little too simple that everyone can find “the one” in their city. If there were really only one person for us, we’d be searching the globe. “The one” could be in Italy, Thailand, or South Africa. It seems too fortunate that I may find my one in Chicago, and someone else can find theirs in Seattle, or San Francisco, Boston, or Hoboken. It seems too great of a confluence of events that some greater power is working to put me and a future spouse in the same city at the same place at the same time. So I never really bought this whole concept of “the one.” I thought picking a “soulmate” was sort of like picking a college. You can be happy at/with any number of them.

But now that I’m with you, I’ve realized what makes you “the one.” It isn’t a magic confluence of events that allowed us to meet at some precise time. It isn’t coincidence. It didn’t come from searching the globe for each other, or finding each other on the streets of New York like Every Rom Com Ever led me to believe. It is choice. That is how you became “the one” for me. And ultimately, choice is something I trust, more than fate, and more than any supposed forces that make love happen in the world.

Choice is what brings you from someone I love to someone I choose to be with for a very long time. It is what makes you my “the one.” And it doesn’t mean fate brought us together. It doesn’t mean that we traveled through other loves and space and time and adversity to find each other. It doesn’t mean we were “meant to be.” It means we choose to be. And isn’t that better? Doesn’t it bring so much more to our relationship if we did not just “happen,” but we chose each other on purpose.

I choose you on purpose. I want to be with you on purpose. Every time we have to make decisions or we face challenges or we challenge each other, I choose to be with you. I choose to grow with you, to make you stronger, to allow you to make me stronger.

I do not want to leave love up to chance. And to me, finding “the one” always left it up to chance. But we didn’t wait for “the one” to come knocking on our door. You and I went looking for someone we loved, and we were lucky enough to find it. And we made the decision to evolve that love into something we chose to prioritize. Into something we would fight for. We both knew our love was what we wanted, and we weren’t scared to say so. (Or even if we were, the other person gave us the strength and courage to say so.)

And that is why I have no doubts with you. Because I don’t think our love was fateful. I think we chose it and chased it down, and that shows me that we want our love to succeed more than anything else. We yearn for each other’s love, even though we know we already have it. In short, we love each other so much that we chose each other, deliberately. And that is how I know you’re “the one” for me.

15 Hard Life Lessons People Who Are Happiest In Their 30s Learned In Their 20s

Posted: 29 Oct 2016 10:45 AM PDT

@RachelAnne
@RachelAnne

1. They learn to differentiate love and compatibility. They are separate, but both are necessary for a relationship to work. Without compatibility, love can’t thrive. Without love, compatibility is just friendship.

2. They develop discipline so they don’t confuse “not feeling like it” for being “incapable of it.” Everyone is affected by bouts of laziness or disinterest, but not everyone is held back by it. If you can do something when you want to, you can do it when you don’t.

3. They learn how to be wrong.

4. They are mindful about their social circle, and take their relationships to heart. They do not spend time with people by default, they invest in the people they want to share their lives with, even when doing so is more difficult or time-consuming.

5. They learn how to change themselves. They know how to differentiate “who they fundamentally are” from “what they can shift about that person to make life happier, easier or full of more love and joy.”

6. They keep in touch with people. They write “thank you” cards, send birthday texts, show up where they say they will. They learn accountability.

7. They learn tact, which is the art of investing not in what you say, but in how you say it.

8. They assume financial responsibility for their lives. Rather than being limited by what their salary affords them, they regard money as something they can always earn more of and manage more effectively. It’s a matter of shifting the mindset of “this is all I have” to “how can I make this work?”

9. They forgive their parents.

10. They develop a sense of self. By the sheer virtue of trial-and-error in work schedules, relationships, running their own house (or room) they identify

11. They utilize their brain’s last major growth period. They don’t regard their 20s as a throwaway decade, rather, they use the time to become the people they want to be for the rest of their lives.

12. They accept that they are responsible for how they feel, what they think, and how they behave. Realizing you are the only person that can deal with your bullshit is a burden before it’s a liberation, but the ends outweigh the means by a landslide.

13. They contemplate the hard questions. Clarity doesn’t just appear out of nowhere – even revelations are the product of many tiny realizations that add up over time. They consider the things most people avoid: what does my life mean? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do with my short, beautiful life?

14. They start making their own timing. It’s never going to “feel like the perfectly right time” to have kids or start dating again or check into rehab, and so you must stop waiting to feel ready, and learn to act anyway, for the sake of the bigger picture.

15. They keep their awe. Childlike wonder is something you have to work to maintain in adulthood – but it’s not impossible. Magic is something you make, not something you wait for. TC mark