Thursday: Thoughts On “All The Rage” by Darcy Lockman

  • This book definitely makes it on my required reading list for anyone considering becoming a parent or co-parenting with a man.

  • Great complementary book to Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, which explores neurosexism and patriarchal bias in science examining gender differences

  • The funny/humorous tone in this book in the trend of Jessica Valenti’s writing style makes it really easy to dive in and relate plus the analysis of Facebook groups and other contemporary forms of community women create makes many of her points even more salient in our social media saturated world.

  • This book comes with many other recommended reads on gender and division of labor that I’ll hopefully be able to review.

  • The clear & negative impact of inequality is interesting especially when you think of it in terms of the covert contracts that appear to be implicit in most heterosexual relationships. The scary part is that more equal labor distribution before kids can totally vanish once a woman decides to have kids. Sinister to think about.

  • At around 50% of the way through the book, I thrust it straight into my required reading list before having kids. Eye opening and the book will probably spark many projects.

I know this blog post is short but I’ve been writing a lot for work this week and trying to keep my head above water there. Do you have any summer reading? Drop your latest read in the comments below. 👇🏽

Wednesday: Why You're In Toxic Relationships... 9 Essential Skills For Cultivating Healthy Long-Term Relationships

Every relationship changes or evolves. Over time, we grow closer or further apart from various people in our lives and through each “season” of our lives, we find ourselves surrounded by some of the last people we may have imagined. During certain points of your life, the seeds that you plant eventually flourish and individuals are left to reap what they sow.

Relationships that last don’t do so because of fate, God’s grace, or through wishing them to last. We cultivate skills and values during our lives and what we’re left with is a series of relationships — either good quality or bad. We’re either “surrounded by toxic people” and dissatisfied, or contented and stable.

These 7 skills weave the fabric of relationships that last, and most relationships in your life need these ingredients or they will unravel quicker than a cashmere sweater. Most of these skills play off of each other — you often can’t have one without the other and together, they make your relationships an impenetrable force against hard times.

1) Respect For Boundaries

No relationship truly exists without boundaries. A respect for boundaries doesn’t only refer to setting boundaries but respecting others boundaries as well. If you believe that only your boundaries are worthy of respect and you routinely trample over others, disrespect their space or react negatively when confronted, you’re experiencing a breakdown in the most fundamental part of forming relationships. A healthy set of boundaries also influences the pacing of different relationships which enables you to have both friendships and romantic relationships that last longer.

 
“The only people upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefitted from you having none.”

“The only people upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefitted from you having none.”

 

2) Support

Boundaries create the foundation of all healthy long-term relationships, but support is the blood that keeps a relationship alive. Supporting other human beings in a social context is one of our biggest drives as social creatures. It’s in our nature to aid those around us and provide support to people within our communities (Kropotkin). Mutual support is what’s critical. If relationships are one-sided, this leads to problems later on and resentments. Of course, different people support each other in different ways and show their love in different ways. What matters is that we find people we are compatible with who understand how to give and receive support the way we need them to.

“Support” doesn’t mean uncritical, blind agreement with every decision another person makes. Sometimes support refers to the way you challenge people and help them grow. In unhealthy relationships, one person does not give genuine support or is unable to receive unpleasant feedback. This ties into having healthy boundaries because if you have healthy boundaries surrounding what actions you will and won’t accept, you will learn to seek supportive relationships that reflect the way you wish to be treated.

 
A relationship is where two people make a deal that they will help the other person become the best version of themselves.

A relationship is where two people make a deal that they will help the other person become the best version of themselves.

 

3) Consideration


Many people want a partner or friend who can “anticipate their needs”. Unfortunately, this way of viewing things is codependent in nature, as it expects an element of mind-reading that most people aren’t capable of. (Hello, Miss Cleo? You there?) Perhaps instead of seeking mind-readers, we need a little more nuance. Consideration covers this general principle and makes far more sense. You don’t need someone to guess what you want to eat for dinner (ladies, we really don’t) but you might want a friend who offers to grab you coffee when you’ve forgotten your wallet at home, or someone who takes your feelings into account when making decisions that affect your life.

Cohabiting with my fiancé forced me to acknowledge how important consideration is. This is one of the actions that adds up slowly over time but if there’s no consideration for another person’s feelings, the results are catastrophic. A lack of consideration is one of the hardest relationship problems to bounce back from because this behavior usually leads to many small frustrations piling up over time until issues and resentments are insurmountable. Consideration can be a form of support and also an expression of healthy boundaries. For example, if you’re armed with good boundaries, you are more likely to consider someone’s feelings and behave in an appropriate manner because you understand and respect that values of another person. People behaving in an inconsiderate manner are less likely to have an appropriate response to boundaries being set and are rarely available to offer support at a time when it isn’t convenient to them.

 
Be mindful of others and their feelings. Loyal, easy going people have their limits too. You never want to push people to a point where they no longer care.

Be mindful of others and their feelings. Loyal, easy going people have their limits too. You never want to push people to a point where they no longer care.

 

4) Coöperation

Coöperation and support are similar, complementary traits, but cooperation requires a little more depth than support. Coöperation refers to hands-on problem solving in a given moment. You may need support from your friends when you’re going into a job interview, but when it’s time to clean up your apartment after a huge rager, you don’t only need support, but coöperation.

In all relationships, problems arise. Shutting down or behaving in an unproductive manner is uncooperative behavior that eventually degrades relationships over time. Problem solving in relationships requires both parties to have a vested interest in building up healthy boundaries, solving issues that arise, and maintaining peace and harmony. A toxic person will refuse to cooperate to find a solution that works for everyone and maintains a “my way or the highway” kind of attitude. This goes beyond stubbornness and refers to someone whose overall attitude towards relationships means they would rather lose a relationship than cooperate to find a productive solution that works for everyone.

Cooperation is the antithesis to “compromise” and far more important to healthy relationships than compromise as cooperation implies both parties get their needs met without one person sacrificing.

 
Cooperation is the thorough conviction that no one else can get there unless everyone gets there. — Virginia Burden

Cooperation is the thorough conviction that no one else can get there unless everyone gets there. — Virginia Burden

 

5) Assertiveness

Assertiveness empowers individuals to bring up problems as they occur and involves direct and honest communication. So many people rely on passive aggressive communication to get their needs met in interpersonal relationships. Tactics such as the silent treatment, avoiding confrontation at all costs, allowing too much time to pass before addressing conflicts, and avoiding honesty, are all examples of common passive communication that’s completely ineffective at maintaining long term healthy relationships.

Assertiveness is not the same as rudeness and I’ve written on this blog a bit about how you can cultivate assertiveness in your life. Assertive communication at its core is honest. Without honest communication, it’s nearly impossible to have a relationship at all, much less a good one. If you avoid assertive communication, this will definitely create problems. Assertiveness can be cultivated through practice, and is the only way you can truly get your needs met in any relationship, friendship or otherwise. We need assertiveness to set boundaries and to ensure we are co-operating rather than compromising. Assertiveness can also encompass offering support as sometimes offering support means bringing up honest and unpleasant truths. Assertiveness never violates the rights and needs of others, one of the many ways its distinguished from being “mean” or “harsh”.

 
Assertive people communicate honestly and directly; they express feelings needs and ideas and stand up for their rights, but do so in ways that don't violate the rights and needs of others.  -- LINDA ADAMS

Assertive people communicate honestly and directly; they express feelings needs and ideas and stand up for their rights, but do so in ways that don't violate the rights and needs of others.

-- LINDA ADAMS

 

6) Integrity

Integrity is ultimately the glue holding any individual together and a person without integrity is liable for relationships around them to fail and they will make no changes to their behavior, doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again — likely to blame everyone around them for it too. This Brené Brown quote on integrity summarizes this value perfectly, “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

This quote encompasses all the facets of integrity but most important is the aspect of practicing our values. We can’t wake up one day and exist as perfect people. When you have integrity, you acknowledge this. You acknowledge that anyone is capable of screwing up, even if you think you’re a good person and try to do the right thing. Someone with integrity doesn’t fear getting called out or critiqued for their behavior. Someone with integrity practices what they preach when it comes to their values and practices in the traditional sense too — getting better with each iteration over time.

 
Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them  -- Brené Brown

Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them

-- Brené Brown

 

7) Accountability

Accountability and integrity can’t exist without each other. Accountability is a bit more specific because it refers to not just maintaining our values, but taking responsibility for your actions. Accountability doesn’t mean taking the blame for everything and it’s dangerous to see accountability as the equivalent to blame. Accountability allows us to humble ourselves when we’ve done wrong and take action to make amends to people we’ve hurt. Accountability reminds us that there are others outside of ourselves and that our actions affect them.

Accountability is more meaningful than a simple verbal apology because it is connected to taking responsibility for the way our actions impact others. A lack of accountability in relationships can be extremely damaging because it involves one person either not taking responsibility for their actions, or the inverse, assuming that their actions and emotions are caused by someone else’s behavior. If someone never takes responsibility for their behavior and always blames other people, this person will not be able to co-operate.

Without accountability, you cannot have integrity because choosing to be accountable to someone else is not always easy or fun. Someone may avoid this “inconvenience” and destroy relationships along the way. Accountability can take you far in problem solving and lends itself to healthy assertive communication in a way that blame does not.

 
Accountability feels like an attack when you aren’t ready to acknowledge the way your behavior harms others.

Accountability feels like an attack when you aren’t ready to acknowledge the way your behavior harms others.

 

8) Interdependence instead of codependence

I grappled with not putting this on, but avoiding codependent behavior is so important that I added it despite the similarity to earlier points of cooperation and assertiveness. This point isn’t simply about cooperating or asserting yourself and your boundaries when occasions arise for you to do so. Interdependence refers to the entire culture of an interpersonal relationship. Is this a relationship where it is acceptable to address problems? Is this a relationship where individuals can maintain their real identities? Can you have different thoughts and different beliefs from the other person? Are there appropriate boundaries within this relationship in the first place?

A relationship built on a foundation of codependency will have poor boundaries, poor respect for boundaries, and the underpinning belief that enmeshment is equivalent to intimacy and closeness. Codependent people often cannot see the difference between codependence and interdependence, which is why it is so important to establish these boundaries early on. It’s easier to create good habits than to break bad ones.

 
A good relationship has "interdependence" not "codependence" where two independent individuals have mutually agreed upon standards of behavior and hold themselves and each other accountable for that behavior.

A good relationship has "interdependence" not "codependence" where two independent individuals have mutually agreed upon standards of behavior and hold themselves and each other accountable for that behavior.

 

9) Self-reliance

Interdependent relationships require two individuals with a healthy set of separate identities from each other. Self-reliance made it to my list because it’s so essential to bringing a fully formed person into a relationship. When you’re self-reliant, this doesn’t mean that you do everything on your own or you do not allow friends, family, or other people to help you. Self-reliance means taking responsibility for your life choices, your actions, and ultimately your happiness.

Self-reliance is a philosophy defined by not needing another person’s behavior to change in order for you to be happy. Self-reliant people don’t think that they need a man or woman in their lives to find happiness. Self-reliant people recognize that their choices have consequences and they are responsible enough to face these consequences. Like many traits, self-reliance can have a shadow side where some people intentionally misinterpret this to mean that they should neither help others or receive help. This is fundamentally against other principles that make relationships healthy like cooperation and support.

 
self reliance.png
 

These skills are not innate and fixed. Neither are these skills independent of each other. You cannot be self-reliant, yet never cooperate with others and consider yourself a healthy person. Well, you can, but you might still have some work to do. When we participate in toxic relationships, and continue to wonder why we are not happy, or why we always seem to find ourselves repeating the same mistakes, often times we could refer to some of these skills and improve our ability to have healthy relationships.

Which of these skills is the hardest for you to maintain? I tend to struggle with assertiveness and also fear some types of boundary setting due to my fear of being considered “a bitch”. I have also been less than self-reliant at various points in my life. If we are honest with ourselves and face these unpleasant truths, we’ll have a chance in hell of improving our relationships and sucking toxicity from our lives.

This isn’t simply about accusing others of being “toxic”, but identifying our own troubling behavior, and having the bravery to hold ourselves accountable for the outcome of our lives.

If you like any of these quotes, I invite you to pin them to your favorite board for motivation and relationship advice!

Tuesday: Top 5 Quotes I Loved On Pinterest Last Week

Each week, I like to save some of my favorite quotes to Pinterest boards for motivation and inspiration. It’s easy to take in a lot of negative messages on social media, so I enjoy taking the time to internalize something positive.

These are my top quotes last week from Pinterest.

What do you think? Comment below which quote inspired you or touched you the most. 😋👇🏼

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Monday: There’s Probably Massive Gender Inequality Camping Out In Your Household & You Don’t Even Know It

I stumbled across Darcy Lockman’s new release “All The Rage” by chance browsing the Times, and after peeking at the Look Inside, I was hooked. I started the book this weekend and Lockman’s promise for what this book would deconstruct 🛠 has already been fulfilled.

Most educated and/or observant people are more or less aware of the fact that neither first, second or third wave feminism has managed to end gender inequality. We have “made strides”, if you want to be trite about it, but we still have a long way to go. Lockman’s book explains why despite all our chit-chat about gender equality and the mythos of the “sensitive, feminist, millennial man” (ha-ha), women still face massive inequality within their own homes that worsens when they have children.

I suppose the #BuzzfeedFeminists are content as long as anal sex and getting choked remain front and center of the contemporary feminist movement.

For those of us who strive for more than submitting to men and enduring pain on their behalf might want to listen up. If your beliefs, conditioning and preconceived notions play a greater role in your household’s division of labor, perhaps reading theory isn’t the way out of this quagmire of unconscious sexist repression we get sucked into.

How can we find a way out? Early on in Lockman’s book, I noticed one piece of data that was only a sentence or two in length but critically important. Gay couples tend not to have the same issues of resentment and frustration over division of labor in their households even when there isn’t an “equal” distribution.

The “why” behind that is what’s fascinating…

Lockman and social scientists theorize that this is because there is no “mainstream” gendered expectations for gay couples, division of labor is actively discussed, negotiated and agreed upon. While we may feel as if men should intuit things and while we may face the unfair expectations of a “women’s intuition”, most of us aren’t entirely powerless to negotiate our stance on labor in a relationship.

Saddle up, ladies! Our more equitable social status outside the home comes with an additional responsibility to advocate for our own needs and practice assertiveness with our partners. Of course, it takes two to tango…

Do you think that your parents shared household labor and childcare growing up? Did your parent or parents who raised you and their attitude towards childcare influence you in any way? Let’s chat in the comments below. 👇🏼

Sunday: Constant Feedback

As an Amazon bestselling indie author, I have to publish my books, read reviews and manage social media and email which exposes me to a near constant level of feedback. Everyone has something to say about every step of the journey. Intuitively, the more you handle likes, comments, emails, etc, you realize there’s something abnormal about the way our society is not only exposed to constant feedback, but people are encouraged to give constant feedback. A negative mindset naturally leads to feedback being equated to criticism for most people.

Can there be any kind of balance in a world where we feel the need to constantly judge or in a world where we are constantly receiving judgment? In either case, I like to remind myself that I can’t control what other people do, but I can control what it is that I do. This means that if other people give “negative” feedback, I can’t control them and I don’t try to do so. What I do is if I feel the need to throw my “opinion” into the ring, I focus and highlight the positive.

These days, opinions have been exalted to a near god-like status. Many people think that the “First Amendment” is carte blanche to be a complete asshole to strangers. It’s only their “opinion” — not verbal abuse, cyberbullying or being a dickhead. What purpose does it serve to constantly share your negative opinions? I think it’s a fair hypothesis from the trends associated with heavy social media usage, that this negativity encourages a negative cognitive bias where you interpret information in your environment in a more negative way.

Maybe our “opinions”, judgments and feedback create an unnatural environment where we are overly critical of ourselves and others. This kind of environment makes it difficult to be a mentally healthy person. What do you think? Have you noticed more negativity when you focus on the negative on social media or have you never given it a second thought? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday: Am I Ready?

Creatives love the excuse of “not being ready” to start something. We will go over in our heads hundreds if not thousands of times the many ways we need to improve, change and lead all before getting started. Fear paralyzes in these occasions and we convince ourselves that we “aren’t ready” and back this up with every excuse under the sun that we can think of.

How do you know that you are ready to start something new?

The idea of failing is what holds us back. We don’t want to pick up the paintbrush because we fear that what we create will be ugly. We consider this to be a failure. But what we consider failure doesn’t have to be viewed this way. “Failure” is just information — it’s data guiding our next move. Creativity is an iterative process and “failure” only represents one iteration of many. You’re “ready” once you accept this!

You’re ready when you’ve allowed yourself creative space to define your value. Another fear creatives internalize is the fear of disappointing others. As social creatures, it’s natural for human beings to seek some approval. If for example, you strive to create content online, approval can be a literal measure of your value. However this unhealthy belief equates one measure of value with overall quality and your personal value. Approval of any kind is information too.

Fellow creatives and social media experts give advice to content creators that doesn’t help either. Telling someone to “add value” to their audience is meaningless since everyone defines value differently. You are “ready” when you acknowledge that social approval and “likes” are not the sole determinants of value. Other forms of social approval can be equally unhelpful — the feedback of naysayers and envious people comes to mind.

You are ready when you can “let go” of the outcome of your creative process. This doesn’t mean not to plan or to abandon outlines or anything of that nature. Letting go means accepting the ups and downs of the creative process without allowing it to push you off your path. When you are ready to never give up regardless of the outcome, you’re ready to dive into a new creative pursuit.

We all need these reminders as some point or another. If you’re a creative, author, content creator, poet, dancer or artist, what advice has helped you best tap into your creativity? Post in the comments below. 👇🏼

Friday: Top 10 Lessons for Creatives from Rebel Without A Crew by Robert Rodriguez

This week, I finished reading Robert Rodriguez’s book Rebel Without A Crew. I loved his diary and a lot of the ideas and mindset he espoused before his big success. My top 10 takeaways from the book about living successfully as a creative are as follows:

  • Have a “do or die” attitude about your creative pursuits.

  • Creating mediocre work to completion is better than having something “perfect” and half finished.

  • Sometimes what may look like a missed opportunity and massive disappointment is only preparation for greater success down the line.

  • Once you stop learning, growing, and practicing, you’re finished.

  • When you need to be creative in order to survive, you won’t make as many excuses, you’ll find solutions instead

  • Trust your instincts about people, about projects and about your own capabilities.

  • Push your limits, try new things and engage in huge projects that challenge you.

  • Ignore the naysayers — completely. Even if you “prove them wrong”, they’ll never be satisfied.

  • You can be poor and still find a way to create, grow and achieve success.

  • Sometimes a small budget is better than a big budget because you’re forced to find creative solutions and you trim the fat a lot.

  • Learn as many skills as you can in your field. You never know which may come in handy.

There’s so much more to say about the book, but I left feeling positive psychology was greatly reinforced after I completed the book. It’s been a goal of mine since 2018 to write a screenplay (I’ve been waiting for some specific life events to move out of the way) and I can’t wait to get started!

What creative pursuits have you worked on recently? Do any of these points resonate with you? Comment whichever resonates with you the most down below.

If you like this article, use my image to pin this post to your best board for books, writers, creatives, and motivation.

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Thursday: ❌ Thoughts On Boundaries 💭

Like most of my Thursday posts, this one will have a less formal structure even if I’m talking about a BIG topic which women everywhere can stand to improve on — yes even me. Saddle up divas and hustlers, we’re going to learn why our boundaries suck and how we can fix this so that we can:

  • Get what we want

  • Feel less guilty

  • Gain confidence in sticking up for ourselves

OK, let’s get started. 💖

  • I talked about this in my assertiveness blog post but boundaries aren’t a zero sum game. You can have great boundaries with friends but let your partner get away with murder. How do you identify your weak spots?

  • Recognize that there are six different boundary types: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, material & sexual. You may have stronger boundaries in one area than in another…

  • Boundaries are often conflated with being “mean” or “bitchy”. If you think “no” is a bad word, you may have trouble setting boundaries and if you don’t change that, making progress on your boundaries will be difficult.

  • One thing that will guarantee you suffer from poor boundaries is not knowing what you want. As a woman, you want to be crystal clear on what you want so that anything that doesn’t match up with the way you deserve to be treated gets eliminated from your life. This includes how you treat yourself. Poor boundaries can mean treating yourself poorly too.

If you want to save my boundaries cheat sheet, use my 📌 graphic and pin to your favorite board on psychology, motivation and self-help.

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Wednesday: Quick Daily Report

I know when you start blogging for “real” it helps to make what you post relevant, interesting and helpful to complete strangers, but I want to document a little bit of what’s happening in my life for the sake of keeping it all together.

  • This weekend I didn’t work on my long-form blog post the way I planned because I decided to read the last 300 pages of War And Peace and actually finish the book. I liked the book, although if you’re looking for the excitement and tone of a John Grisham, you won’t find it here.

  • I started reading Rebel Without A Crew, the story of director Robert Rodriguez who created the films El Mariachi as well as Once Upon A Time In Mexico. His grit, drive and mindset are setting me right this week.

  • I did some work over the weekend, which I hate doing typically, but I just started on my next science fiction release for work.

  • I started watching Doctor Who season 1 again starting Chris Eccleston and Billie Piper. I’ve yet to meet an artist with the name Billie who I don’t love.

  • I’m starting to worry about my ability to keep up with the production schedule for this blog. It’s not so much that this is the most important thing going on for me right now. It’s just that I have high hopes for the future of this blog and the idea that I can miss a day and not write what I’ve been meaning to write makes me feel guilty.

  • I’m nervous about “oversharing” and posting to social media. I feel it’s okay to acknowledge these anxieties. I don’t love sharing personal information, and I’m quite closed off. Writing is my vehicle for freeing my overactive mind and sharing that process in any respect can be terrifying.

I know this quick daily report focused a bit on my fears and struggles, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that if you’re reading this, you can relate too. Comment down below if you’re nervous about a creative project of yours or if you have been in the past! 👇🏼 I’m sure that I’m not alone in this one…

Tuesday: Top 5 Trends That Will Be Embarrassing In Five Years

Remember low-rose pants? Apple bottom jeans? The courage of Uggs and the infuriatingly damp and stinky knock offs that ensued? Crackle nail polish? If you do remember, I bet you’re desperate to forget or at least cringing internally at all the clothes you wore that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing today. That’s the problem with trendy style vs classic style… trends come and they go and they keep you chasing after an ideal intended to remain unattainable.

Here are my predictions for the top 5 trends we are going to loathe in a few years that are dangerously popular right now…

1) Overly sculpted eyebrows — my least favorite trend by far. I thought over plucked eyebrows were rough but these... Their days are numbered.

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2) The “ugly but cute” sneaker trend — I actually don’t always hate this trend, but I don’t think it’s going to last either. Most ugly sneakers are ugly and once the shiny glow of a new item wears off, I bet most get shoved to the back of the closet.

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3) T-shirts with “cute” phrases — your sense of humor isn’t as evergreen as you might think. While some shirts like this are tasteful, fun and you might get a lot of wear out of them, others are clearly not going to make it into 2021.

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4) Over-lined lips — this particular beauty mishap seems to only afflict a certain group of people but at some point overlining your lips looks foolish and everyone can tell. I’m not really in favor of anything that “alters” your natural features, especially when it does a piss poor job.

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5) Fanny packs/bum bags — give it a rest, they’re never coming back. I’ll never know why these made a comeback, but just like they went out of style before and looked totally dated, the same will happen again. The double G won’t make a difference. Not to mention they’re bulky, impractical and remind me of my father’s fashion sense. Hard pass.

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Do you agree with this list or do you think I’m totally out of line? What fashion trends do you want to see die a miserable death? Comment down below. 👇🏼

Monday: 7 Assertiveness Tips For Women

Many women struggle with assertiveness. In the patriarchal society that we live in, women smother their needs in favor of more passive and less effective forms of communication. When “niceness” is a greater priority than confidence, honesty and directness, it’s no wonder women struggle with standing up for themselves when the time comes.

We all do this in some way or another and assertiveness exists on a spectrum. You might feel assertive with your family but not your friends, with your friends but not your partner. These tips can help you bring a little bit more directness to your interpersonal relationships…

1) Face problems right away

The longer you wait before approaching someone with an issue, the more time you have to get in your own head, lose track of the details and build up a lot of excuses for not taking the direct and assertive approach. Deal with issues in the moment they happen to you. If someone says something inappropriate, you may be tempted to stew before approaching them. The assertive approach involves dealing with the problem right away before there’s any bad blood.

2) Get your facts straight

One of the best ways to improve your assertiveness skills is to feel confident in what you are saying. Stick to the facts of a situation rather than character attacks. Of course, your feelings are important too but when you know exactly what you want, sticking to the facts of the situation makes speaking up for yourself easier. When no one can cast doubt about a series of events or your feelings about those events, you can better assert your needs in a situation.

3) Know what you want

This is an addendum to the second point. You have to know what you want not just as it pertains to a situation but in general. You decide what kind of treatment you will accept. When you know what you want, you can ask for it in a clear and direct manner.

4) Practice assertiveness

As with any skill, you can improve your assertiveness through practice. Start small. Do you struggle to send drinks back when someone makes you the wrong order? Start there. Find the easiest place to make improvements in your assertiveness and start there.

5) Identify your weaker spots

Once you start practicing assertiveness you will realize where you are incredible at sticking up for yourself and where you need a ton of help. Start noting moments where you have been successfully assertive and areas where you wish you stood up for yourself. What pattern do you see? Find your weaker spots and give those areas extra attention.

6) Eliminate black and white thinking

There is no one who is 100% assertive or 100% a doormat. This isn’t a zero sum game! Stop thinking of yourself as either one or the other. Assertiveness is an ongoing process and it takes time. If you fear “backsliding” or making mistakes this can slow down your progress. Assertiveness takes time and it takes practice. You don’t have to be perfect to consider yourself a strong, assertive woman, even if you’ve made mistakes in the past.

7) Surround yourself with assertive women

Are you surrounded by people who guilt trip you into being “nice” as opposed to supporting your growth as a person? Many of us have friends who encourage us to “take the high road” and enforce the notion that a woman standing up for herself is akin to a cardinal sin. Sometimes, you have to switch up your friend group. No, I’m not saying dump all your old friends. Simply add a few more positive relationships to the mix by interacting with women who support your journey to become more assertive and to express your needs. You shouldn’t be afraid of judgment from your closest friends, so if you need to, surround yourself with women who understand how important assertiveness is for all women to become truly empowered.

When was the last time you wished you were more assertive but it didn’t work out? Can you remember any thoughts that went through your head? Comment down below if you can. Every comment matters because it’s an opportunity to spark conversation and discussion.

If you liked this list, don’t forget to use my image below to 📌 pin this to your favorite board for motivation, inspiration and STRONG women. 💪🏼

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Sunday: 10 Ways To Get Over Your Fear Of Writing Fiction

The difference between an “aspiring” writer and a writer is that fear consumes an “aspiring” writer, but a writer has the courage to face that fear.

📌 Pin this image to your writing & motivation board 💖

📌 Pin this image to your writing & motivation board 💖

Becoming a writer doesn’t happen overnight nor is it a fixed state of being. Becoming a writer happens every time you decide to put a pen to paper. You get to decide how often that is. Of course, writing can be scary and these ten tIps represent more practical advice that can help you shed your fear of fiction and become the writer you have always wanted to be!

1) Embrace First Drafts

Divorce your fear of sucking really badly. There’s nothing morally or ethically wrong with writing something bad. I do it all the time. I once wrote a haiku so bad that when I read it out loud to myself, I cried. Yup, you can do that and still be a writer. If you embrace first drafts and accept that writing is the easiest thing in the world to correct over and over again, you’ll be on your way. Think about it, a surgeon doesn’t get a chance to say “oopsie!” when they’ve made a mistake. The consequences for writing am embarrassing poem, haiku or novel are way less serious than what a surgeon faces for possible mistakes. Once you embrace first drafts, you can rewrite to your hearts content.

2) Storytelling is the most natural form of communication

Telling a story, whether fiction or non-fiction is the most natural thing in the world. Human beings have been telling stories for ages and because of that, we have a lot of practice before we ever put fingers to keyboard. If you’re afraid of writing, think about this. You’ve probably already told hundreds if not thousands of stories. You’ve watched movies. You have read books. All of this has been quiet preparation for writing! You’re more prepared than you think.

3) You can learn to write better

Your skill as a writer isn’t fixed. In Stephen King’s On Writing, he claims that anyone can become a good writer but not everyone can become great. I wholeheartedly disagree. All the “great” writers have something in common. Even if some may have started writing early on in their lives, they went through a process of learning and educating themselves to write better. No baby is born knowing how to speak or write, yet most of us can. We have a strong capacity for learning, but to learn, you need to put that first word down.

4) Read Fiction (read whatever you want to write)

Reading is the best way to feel comfortable with writing. The more you read and the more you write, the less fearful you will become over time. You gain confidence by getting to the place where you believe “I could write something like this” or “I want to write something like this”. Your perspective broadens when you read which is why reading is so important!

5) Put your fears into context

This is a little tip that I’ve borrowed and rewritten from my experiences in therapy and this helps reduce anxious thinking and fear in other contexts. When you fear failure from writing, much of this fear is due to something called a “cognitive distortion” where you assume a worst case scenario with no evidence that the worst case scenario is going to happen. Long story short, if you’re fearful of writing, are you thinking of the worst case scenario? Chances are this worst case scenario isn’t what’s going to happen and you can prove it to yourself by playing out the most likely scenario in your head. For example, I may be afraid to write a haiku because it would be “so horrible” and embarrass me. The reality was I did write a horrible haiku but then nothing happened… I deleted the haiku and poof! It was gone. The worst case scenario didn’t get a chance to happen and this is most likely the case. Plus, what if the best case scenario happened? Why don’t we give that a chance for a change.

6) Make practice the goal

Our fears bubble to the surface when we set unrealistic goals. If you’ve never written a novel before why is your goal to be on the New York Times bestseller list? Faulty goal setting is a clever way of setting yourself up for failure where your faulty thinking is then used as external justification for why you never finish projects. A better goal for writers is to set a goal of showing up and writing. Don’t fuss about writing the next War & Peace. I’m reading it now, and it’s not that amazing anyway. Set the goal to show up every day and write. See how the habit becomes easier and before you know it, your fear evaporates.

7) Write with less pressure

I’ve touched on this in previous points but it’s important to create an environment where you aren’t facing negative pressure. As a professional writer, I can tell you that this is a total luxury, but if you aren’t a professional, it’s a luxury you may be able to afford. Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to fuss over every word. Write without an editor in the back of your mind. This editor slows you down, is often too critical, and prevents you from doing the work that needs to be done.

8) Seek feedback

This is a tricky one for me since in my opinion, not all feedback is created equal. In a day and age where people gain social capital from “dragging” others, many believe that “constructive criticism” is tearing someone down but keeping a smile on your face. Seeking feedback from those closest to you can be excessively obsequious and writers can sense phony positivity about their work. The best feedback comes from publishing your work and allowing the public to decide where they fall. There are many ways to get published. Putting yourself out there will build confidence and reduce your fear of writing over time.

9) Identify as a successful writer

I won’t apologize for how “airy-fairy” this seems because this tip actually works. Stop seeing yourself as someone “aspiring” and lurking in the shadows. Don’t go overboard with this, but slowly build your confidence by becoming an author in both spirit and practice.

10) Make the process pleasurable

The final tip is a no brainer, but too many associate writing with pain. Yes, Ernest Hemingway allegedly said to “write drunk and edit sober” but he also shot himself, so clearly the man wasn’t infallible. Writing brings me the greatest joy out of anything in my life. Even if at times I think I “suck” at writing, you would be surprised at how easy that feeling is to temper when you’re enjoying what you’re doing. Even the worst person in bed still enjoys sex.

If you can put these ten unusual tips to practice, I think you’ll have a blast and get one step closer to shedding that pesky fear of failure and disappointment.

What are your biggest fears about writing? ✍🏽 Did I miss anything? Comment down below and let me know. Since I’m just starting out on this blog every comment helps me out. Put your thoughts down below and let’s chit chat. I’m excited to help! 👇🏼

📌Pin this image to your motivation or writing board to save the article.

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Saturday: Assertiveness & Conflict

Women are trained from early in life to avoid conflict. We are the ones who make peace, the ones most often tasked with forgiveness. The labor of virtue falls on women while men, who are still upheld as more virtuous since Eve are the apple and all that, are allowed the freedom to leave that box of politeness and engage in both assertiveness and conflict.

Despite our conditioning, women must survive in a world where a lack of assertiveness can kill you. Just read The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker for first hand examples of assertiveness saving women’s lives while “politeness” and a fear of being disliked became some women’s undoing.

I would love to live in a world where women didn’t have to expand a Herculean amount of effort not to get trampled on. Yet that’s not the world we live in…

Where can women draw the line between assertiveness and aggression? Should our primary concerns be drawing this line at all before we have achieved our full potential of assertiveness?

Being a strong and assertive woman comes with so many labels. One of my favorite women who speaks about some of these labels is Tabatha Coffey, celebrity hair stylist and entrepreneur who has reclaimed the word “BITCH” which has been weaponized against her in a male dominated world. Her philosophy is that a part of assertiveness is being unapologetic about who you are.

If women spent more time asserting ourselves instead of hiding our needs and fearing being disliked, would our lives be any different? Would your life be different? Assertiveness saves women’s lives. Assertiveness empowers women in a real way to take control of our lives and embody the true strength which comes from self-efficacy in looking after your own interests.

Are you an assertive person? What scares you most about being assertive? Drop a comment down below. Seriously, every comment makes a difference and I want to hear your thoughts. Don’t worry about having something “good enough” to say, your opinion is enough.

📌Pin my “assertiveness reminder” graphic below to your favorite Pinterest board for motivation. 💪🏼 Us strong women can only make progress by sticking together and talking about these issues.

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Friday: The Biggest Lie About Working From Home

When you tell people you work from home, you get one of two reactions.

1. “Oh that’s nice” AKA “I’m so sorry you’re broke.”

This reaction can come from your family members or complete strangers. People fundamentally misunderstand that working at home is an actual job. We usually have an office, we work eight hours a day and often longer. We have a harder time balancing work and life outside of it since they all bleed together. And no, we aren’t broke. 

2. “It’s so nice that you can afford to stay at home” AKA “It’s so nice that you can afford to stay at home and do nothing”

This reaction presumes that when you work from home, you are actually having a big old party all day long. While working from home does have some benefits and may feel like quite the party for introverts, it’s far from “doing nothing”. Not everyone who works from home is doing it simply because they’re so loaded that they can afford to.

These two common misconceptions both play into the #1 biggest lie about working from home:

Working from home is easier (and you should feel bad about that). 

It would be a total lie to claim that working from home is always easy or that it’s always hard. Some weeks, I pull unhealthy shifts and I obsess over work constantly. Some weeks, I can finish my work before noon and spend the afternoon continuing my education for my career or just enjoying the natural beauty of the island that I live on.

The truth is, working from home can be a lot harder than otherwise because usually…

1. You’re your own boss

You don’t have anyone to tell you what to do or when to do it. There’s no one to supervise you and make sure you’re staying on task. If you make a mistake, there’s no one to swoop in and help you fix it. You’re all on your own. While this can be pleasant and preferred for introverts and those who work best in solitude, this solitude comes with some downsides. You absorb all the negative consequences of risks that you may take, poor decisions or simply bad luck. Being your own boss isn’t only about keeping yourself in check and reaping rewards. There are very real, negative consequences that you can face.

2. You’re scarily good at pretending you’re not working when you really are

I can’t tell you the number of times I will “sneak work” outside of work hours. I mean, it’s easy when my work is on my cellphone and on my laptop, neither of which leave my side. It’s so simple for me to check my work Instagram and justify it by saying “Instagram isn’t really work”. Hint: If you’re looking at analytics of any kind, you might just be working. The boundaries between work and relaxation are so thin that sometimes you feel like there’s something wrong with your obsession. A lot of entrepreneurs glamorize this, but I want to acknowledge how unhealthy this behavior is! When you work from home you can fall into this trap and since you’re your own boss, it can be harder to get out of. (Which boss doesn’t try to sneak in extra over time?) 

3. You struggle with perfectionism

This isn’t specifically caused by working from home but it’s something I’ve noticed in a lot of millennials who work from home. We struggle with perfectionism. We put off new projects and we reject new ideas if we think they don’t measure up to what our idea of “perfect” is. Given that online spaces are so prone to comparison, we may spend an excessive amount of time comparing ourselves to our “#goals” on social media. This struggle with perfectionism may pay off in some ways. This means we are usually high achievers and our work reflects that. However, our perfectionism can mostly be negative as it leads to excessive self-criticism, stymies our creativity and can hack away at our self-esteem. 
4. You (might) struggle with a social life

When you work at home, your routine tends to revolve around your home. You have no commute, you don’t stop in at the coffee shop on the way to work and you technically don’t have to leave the house thanks to Amazon Prime. The downside to this is the intense cabin fever you can get from staying “locked up” in your office. Socializing doesn’t happen unless you make it happen and making it happen takes an extra effort. I’ll have to be honest, this can be a major struggle for me. I have seen in a lot of online communities for people who work at home that many struggle with the same thing. 

It’s not all fun and games and while working at home has many rewards for me including flexibility of work hours, flexibility to travel, flexibility with my time off and an income that allows me to enjoy all of that and more, I do want to acknowledge some of the difficulties that people who work from home face. Not all of us are rich and not all of us have it easy. Most of us are just working with a vision and a dream and we will fight as hard as we can to make that dream come true.

What about you? Do you work from home and experience any of these struggles? Comment down below if you’ve shared in this experience. PIN this post to share with friends, family and relatives who need a little more education about what it truly means to work at home.

Thursday: Thoughts & Questions On Internet “Activism”

Why oh why did I create a new Twitter account? I used to go days and even weeks without a hint of awareness of “What Y’all Mad About Today” ™️. In an effort to spread the good word about my blog revival, I’ve been indoctrinated once again into the cult of Internet outrage, mad for the sake of mad, or the more delightful alternative — mad at everyone for being mad all the time.

Perhaps it’s a delusion that I fall into the latter category and not the first.

(Let me cook!)

Today I want to compile some thoughts about Internet activism, so buckle up. Comment down below which of these you think I could turn to long-form analytical blog posts please. 😊👇🏼

💖THURSDAY QUESTIONS💖

  • Why are sex & dating the primary fields of our lives where online activism is centered? And, why does class analysis not seem to apply? With regards to gender, race and sexuality, is it honest to say that sex/dating/relationships are where this oppression plays out the most?

  • Many daily arguments on social media can be easily solved by falling back on your culture’s specific etiquette and/or accepting others differences. I follow a lot of etiquette experts on social media and books on etiquette are $7.99 on Amazon. Stop arguing and realize the decisions have been made! If you don’t want to follow what is appropriate, it’s your right, but just know that the standard has been set.

  • Many leftist theoreticians warned against a cult of personality as being dangerous to progressive movements. Yet, it’s rare you hear people who make progressive posts and have a large following publicly acknowledge this. Personal branding — by definition capitalistic — becomes intertwined with activism and creates an unhealthy dynamic around interacting with progressive ideas and values.

  • Social media has many negative effects and currently, we aren’t sure how to cope with all of them since it’s all new. I can’t Help but wonder how our technology use might change to become healthier or less healthy over time. What do you think?

Getting back on social media has brought these questions to mind. What about you? What have you been thinking of lately? Leave a comment below .

Wednesday: My Remote Work Routine - 5 Tips For Digital Nomad Productivity

I travel back and forth between the United States and St. Lucia a few times a year and in the past two years I’ve been to Martinique and Barbados during times when I’ve also had to work. Since I’m a full-time writer and I run my business from home, I’m a kind of “digital nomad” so my office comes with me wherever I go.

I have five tips for remote work that I always incorporate into my remote work routine when my office is on the road…

1) Noise-cancelling headphones

These are a must for traveling and working since you can turn any environment into a workspace and really get into the zone. I also use noise-cancelling headphones to wear on airplanes, and for help falling asleep. Currently, I’m using this brand of PLT headphones which work really nicely and can transition from wired to wireless so even if you lose your charge, you can still use them. The only thing I don’t love about them is the fact that I need an adapter for my iPhone but it’s a minor issue. I’ve tried a lot of Bluetooth headphones in the past and these have the greatest range by far out of any cheaper options I’ve tried.

2) Schedule work that doesn’t require an internet connection

This tip I don’t use within the United States as much, but when I work on flights or when I go to countries with notoriously bad internet connections (like Martinique!) I plan ahead this way too. Since as a full-time writer I balance writing 3-5k words a day with marketing and social media tasks that require an internet connection, I use this to my advantage. Before I travel, I schedule all my social media posts and emails so I can focus on writing the old school way — just a word processor, no internet connection.

3) Book a place with dedicated workspace

I have had some great workspaces in my recent trips, including a Capitol Hill studio in Washington DC as well as a my brief one night stay in the Crystal City Hilton. I require a table for focused work and I make it a priority to book a place that’s business friendly. Traveling is usually business related, and I rarely stop working when I am traveling, so it’s a priority to have a dedicated space. Working from couches or from bed really throws me off so I avoid that if possible.

4) Pick optimal work hours for the situation

I prefer working a typical work day, but on the road I have to be discerning about when I get my work done. If fitting 6-7 hours of creative work is impossible, I hit at least 4. If I’m visiting night owls, I schedule my hours in the morning as usual so I can go out at night. If I’m on a family related trip, or traveling with my fiancé, I schedule later hours to accomplish daytime activities. Just because I’m working during the trip doesn’t mean I have to miss out on enjoying the blessings and opportunities traveling has to offer. Making adjustments to my schedule sets me up for success.

5) Plan activities outside of work to look forward to

I always plan something to look forward to whether I’m traveling to Upstate NY or Martinique. I can’t focus on work 100% of the time and balance is so important to me. I always plan specific activities I can get excited about and “work for” during my trips. I like doing this because it keeps me focused and working on a tight schedule with greater efficiency.

The great thing about my remote work routine is that none of it is rocket science. Simple changes make a big difference and these easy adjustments allow me to enjoy both work and travel when I am working and traveling.

Do you ever work when you travel? Let me know in the comments. Pin the image below to save these remote work tips to your favorite board for travel and entrepreneurship. 👇🏼

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Sunday: Weekly Favorites, Top Upcoming Feminist Topics & Inspirational Quote

My Sunday goal today is to create rather than consume and so far, I’ve been doing a great job, even if my attempts to keep busy have taken some sharp turns. I’ve decided to make the most out of my bed rest, and doing so requires more mental discipline than I could have imagined.

Today, rather than a long form blog post, I want to create a little list of my “intriguing Sunday thoughts” that I’ll edit throughout the day and publish at the end.

Thank you for following my blog — my next long-form post on feminism and social media will be live on July 7th so mark your calendars!

✅WEEKLY FAVORITES✅

  • Top Spotify Playlist This Week | New Music Friday France [x]

  • Top YouTube Video | How I Post To Instagram (Ninja Secrets): [x]

  • Reading: How Essential Oils Became The Cure For Our Age of Anxiety (The New Yorker) | [x]

💖PERSONAL NOTES 📝

  • Today I’m brainstorming blog post ideas for the future and already fearful about getting into fiction writing again. I write fiction full time but it’s not particularly literary. I am interested in writing something different and seeing how it goes.

  • Why is there the idea that what you consume dictates your politics? I wrote about this today for next week’s blog post in case I don’t develop my ideas for the second post well enough by July 7th.

  • I’ve been reading a lot about MLM and different pyramid schemes that unfairly target and prey upon women. It’s chilling how the arguments that MLMs use can sometimes mimic feminist “empowering” language. In next week’s post, I will be exploring this idea as it applies to consumption in general.

  • Yesterday I read an article in The Cut about babe.net which forced me to think about many feminist topics that I have yet to discuss but you can guarantee I’ll talk about in the coming months: how a misogynist culture has weaponized sex positivity against women, why dogma has become more important than intellectual rigor, and how unprofessional workplaces and unsafe environments for women have become taboo to speak out against. So much to explore here!

💡FOOD FOR THOUGHT🥡

If you’re reading one of my first posts, welcome. I am putting some new energy into blogging and I really want to connect with anyone who reads this. Would you do me a quick favor that will really help me out? Comment beneath this blog post and let me know what your favorite thing to do on Sunday is.

You may not think it’s much but for a new blogger every comment counts a TON! 💕 Let’s chat 💭.

To end this blog post, here is my top motivational quote for the week. Since I broke my toe, I have run into this quote just about everywhere and it has so many applications for young creatives everywhere! Pin the quote to your favorite board if you like it and help a girl out. 😉 👇🏼

“If you don’t make time for your illness you’ll be forced to make time for your wellness” — author unknown

“If you don’t make time for your illness you’ll be forced to make time for your wellness” — author unknown

Saturday: The Aspiring Buddhist And The Broken Toe

Last week Sunday, shortly after seven in the morning, I started my morning with three piercing shrieks, loud enough that my neighbors should have been alarmed. They weren’t, but that’s okay. I’m not that good of a neighbor. Right in the midst of my quarter life crisis, I smashed my toe against our dining table and broke it. Badly. I’m still on bed rest. The great thing about staying in bed all day is all the time you get to think. Just kidding, it’s absolutely horrible and the last thing anyone experiencing existential dread wants to deal with. But I’m here, in bed, and forced to face the “quarter life crisis” fears that I’ve been desperate to ignore.

You’ve won this round, universe.

I have been inundated with this sense that I am not “doing enough” since I turned 25. It’s a mixture of millennial angst gone malignant and run-of-the-mill perfectionism. I fear that I have wasted some of my “best” years and that from this moment on, my value as a human being can only go down hill. It sounds horrible, but how many time have women heard negative messages about aging with regards to their value? I think while I recognize this isn’t healthy, these kinds of thoughts are expected with the societal conditioning we all go through.

Achievement is one of the ways we have come to see ourself as “valuable” in our society that’s prioritized the person as a brand rather than a human being. Still, it’s our responsibility to take control of the little voice in the back of our heads that says we lose our value after a certain point or that links our value to achievements. We are people and our value is inherent in that fact. Age and achievement have nothing to do with it.

I have fully accepted that my daily actions create the person I want to become. Wishing and dreaming are powerless tools of distraction from our current situation, and dreams may be powerful motivators but daily action is what really defines “who we are”. I had the misfortune of breaking my toe shortly after getting back into a more intense exercise routine since my last yoga practice in May. I was BACK! At least, I was back until my giant metal table leapt out of nowhere and smashed my toe to bits. Since then, guilt over losing my routine has all but stopped me from sleeping. I worry that I will never get back into my routine and I feel depressed that I “lost” my progress.

This view is completely wrong. While my routine may currently be stymied, my core identity as someone committed to looking after my health doesn’t have to change as a result. James Clear expands on this kind of thinking in his book, Atomic Habits. When the goal is just showing up every day, it’s okay to miss a few days. As soon as I can, I’ll show up and I’ll be well on my way to building up some of the strength I’ve lost from perpetual bed rest.

Thinking of myself as a “failure” for not exercising with a broken bone never has to enter the picture.

I have to let go of what I can’t control. This idea is nice in theory and in theory, most people think they believe this. Of course we have to let go! In practice, it’s not so easy. If it were, people wouldn’t be hung up on ex-relationships. People wouldn’t try to change their parents or their friends if this was the most intuitive thing in the world. The best thing about a surprise broken bone is that now I have no choice. I can’t control the fact that I haven’t been able to get upstairs all week. I can’t control the fact that getting to the bathroom is a Herculean effort that makes me feel like a retiree.

Despite the obviously sucky parts of life trapped in bed, I’m grateful that I have this chance to give up control and I am grateful that I have enough time to contemplate my life that I can turn around the negativity that might seem natural when a table takes away two weeks or more of your mobility.

When I was younger, we used to play this game called “two truths and a lie”, where you would say one thing that was a lie and two things about yourself that were true. The other players guess which statement was which. One of my truths used to be “I’ve never broken a bone” which at the time seemed unrealistic. I now have the chance to come full circle, and make that statement one of my lies if I ever choose to play this game again.

My new “truth” is, I’m glad I broke my toe because while it hurt like hell, I’ve had an opportunity to contemplate the thoughts that have bothered me since I turned 25.