Don’t Let Depression Stand In The Way Of Your Ambition

Depression to me is exactly as the writer describes it: Knowing you have great potential, but living with constant fear of never reaching it.

Thought Catalog

I remember the day I first became ambitious.

It was around 4pm on an overcast Saturday. The dog was barking, mum was crying on the phone, and I’d just swallowed an entire box of Zoloft pills.

Having struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life, I’d finally decided on making a red-hot go of escape. But as the nausea began to hit, so too did something else: the realization that should I succeed, I’d be dead. Not only would I be dead, I wouldn’t be around to experience the aftermath. I wouldn’t be at the funeral, I wouldn’t see the impact it had on my family or friends or teachers or those who bullied me at school.

I’d be dead — gone. Just like that.

It wouldn’t be the victory I’d somehow imagined it, but the surest of all defeats. It might sound obvious, but I recall it being an…

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21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors

Thought Catalog

A lot of people think they can write or paint or draw or sing or make movies or what-have-you, but having an artistic temperament doth not make one an artist.

Even the great writers of our time have tried and failed and failed some more. Vladimir Nabokov received a harsh rejection letter from Knopf upon submitting Lolita, which would later go on to sell fifty million copies. Sylvia Plath’s first rejection letter for The Bell Jar read, “There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.” Gertrude Stein received a cruel rejection letter that mocked her style. Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way earned him a sprawling rejection letter regarding the reasons he should simply give up writing all together. Tim Burton’s first illustrated book, The Giant Zlig, got the thumbs down from Walt Disney Productions, and even Jack Kerouac’s perennial On the Road received a particularly blunt…

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You’re Not Supposed To Be Happy All The Time: 10 Things We Misunderstand About Emotion

Thought Catalog

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.14.32 PMMomo

1. The long-term effects of emotional abuse can be as bad, if not worse, than physical abuse.

Emotional abuse is often not taken as seriously because it cannot always be “seen.” But the severity of the long-term effects of any type of abuse aren’t all that different. Emotional abuse is similar to physical abuse in that it systematically wears away at a person’s self confidence, worth and concept. Emotional abuse can manifest in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, controlling, threatening, degrading, belittling, criticizing, shouting, etc.

2. Emotions outlast the memories that created them.

We take past emotions and project them onto situations that are in our current lives. This is to say, unless we heal what happened in the past, we’re always going to be controlled by it. Furthermore, our irrational fears and most severe day-to-day anxieties can be traced back to a cause…

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VIRGIN TERRITORY

MTV’s Virgin Territory has caused quite a stir in social media circles due to the main theme of the show: sexual status, virginity. The network has tackled a subject that people ridicule in this new century. As if hosting shows such as 16 and pregnant, Teen Mom, Skins, etc. didn’t have enough sexual innuendo to them, this show about actual virgins has given people an inside look on the lives of virgins.

Initially, when the first promos came out, I wasn’t attracted to the show. I thought it another excuse for MTV to air sex and teens on TV, but when it did catch my attention, two weeks after it premiered, I was hooked.

Where before a person’s virginity, primarily a woman’s virginity, was considered sacred and could make or break a family’s reputation, the 21st century has turned the word upside down and marked it as something to be ashamed or embarrassed about.

Movies and shows like The 40-year-old Virgin, The Real World and Awkward. start off on the subject of being a virgin and then losing it. “Virgin Territory” is similar, except it follows people of various ages either trying to desperately lose their virginity or trying to keep it until a special moment, say marriage.

It’s an interesting concept in retrospect. What turns me off is having someone follow you with cameras as you meet a guy, flirt with a guy, take him to your room and then turning the lights off. Then again, that’s every reality show on TV right now.

The prospect of seeing two people meet and then go through the predictable moments that lead to a hook-up have become so normal in our society that the topic of virginity is looked over. No one thinks anyone else is a virgin anymore. If you’re 20 and have never slept with someone, the common thought process is that there must be something wrong with you. Reality check: there’s something wrong with being comfortable or used to seeing people be intimate on TV.

Whereas before, in the 19th century and early 20th century, virginity was seen as being sacred and important enough to ruin or make a family’s reputation, people now see virginity as a hindrance, maybe something shameful. Why? When did the world change so much that more and more people are trying to get rid of the V-Card so early in life?

Think about it.

If a woman in 1900 was no longer a virgin, she would be viewed as a whore, a prostitute. A women’s virginity was integral to the good reputation and social standing of an entire family and it could affect future potential matches of other women in the household. Virginity gave you leverage over everyone else, in some ways.

What does it say about our society, our culture, that some of us choose to give away that leverage before we even know what it means to have it?

It’s an interesting concept: Our loss of innocence comes with the passage of time.

Do we really think about who we want to give our virginity to? Do we needlessly worry about our sexual status as much as Virgin Territory seems to suggest? Or do we hold onto it until the time comes where we feel ready to let go of the final shreds of childhood?

Money, Money, Money: The problem with reality

Photo credit: Photodisc/Getty Images

Photo credit: Photodisc/Getty Images

Today I moved into my new home for the next 8 weeks: A house in a respectable neighborhood, quite close to the city’s university.

Little did I know that not only was I expected to pay this month’s rent, but also the $400 deposit that neither the landlady nor the previous tenant had told me about.

Here lies my frustration: It’s a lot of money due within very short notice.

The problem is not finding the money; no, the problem is that it’s a lot of $$$ due at a moment’s notice. I think most college students would agree that they either become very depressed or very anxious at the idea of so much money leaving their bank accounts in one fell swoop.

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed that the world is far too addicted to those green slips of paper and shiny cards the size of your palm.

It’s really depressing. Here I am, in fact, here we all are, trying to make something of ourselves in this huge world where no one seems to care about how you’re struggling to pay the rent and trying to pursue your dreams without letting them go. It isn’t a lie: the world is a harsh place to live in.

It’s a fact of life that thinking about money and struggling over it will get you down. The key is to not let it get to you. The key is to use it as motivation to succeed and make something of yourself.

Writing this, I’ll be the first person to take heed of my own advice. I’ll be the first to say that money makes things worse and better. I’ll be the first to use that frustration and turn it into something that I can overcome.

I have a boyfriend: Why it’s no longer a good excuse

I recently read something that made me think about the way women present themselves and how we must look to our male counterparts.

If you’ve ever been approached at a bar or any other social gathering by a male that has immediately assumed you would be interested (and you’re not), how have you or how would you react?

What would your first reaction be? What would you say?

If you immediately think, “I have a boyfriend,” is a viable excuse to get the unwanted prick off your back, then you are doing yourself and all females a great disservice.

Not only is the phrase/excuse “I have a boyfriend/lover/husband/etc” tell the unwanted male seeking your attention that you need a man to get him to go away, it’s also letting him know that you need a man for him to respect you.

How is that normal? How has that become the norm?

To be honest, I used to think that saying I had a boyfriend would be a great excuse to get someone to go away, but now that I think about it, it sends the wrong message to men and women everywhere.

It says that women need a man in order to other men to respect her. When a woman says, “I have a boyfriend,” they are immediately giving power to male privilege.

It’s true that you could actually have a boyfriend that is busy getting you drinks or standing right next to you. It’s about the principle, though. Just like learning self-defense, it’s extremely important that women learn to defend themselves by saying “I’m not interested” instead of “I have a boyfriend.”

Women seem to have a hard to time being upfront about not being interested in a man. Based off of my own experience, I would say this is probably due to the fact that women want men to think they’re nice people as opposed to the “bitch” they’d immediately be labeled as if they were actually being honest about both their relationship status and their feelings.

Don’t be afraid of being the “bitch.” If that’s a man’s opinion of you after you’ve been honest and direct then it can only be his problem that he cannot accept the truth.

So, what can we do? Own it. Let’s be honest with these guys/girls. You’re not interested. Period. End of story; it’s not going to change in the next five seconds. 

I’ve met guys who automatically assume that if I’m not interested then there must be a reason for it, something that will explain why I’m not taken with them.

Here are three:

1. She has a boyfriend. (We’ve already established that I, in fact, do not. Still not interested.)

2. She’s a lesbian. (No, but I have friends that are lesbian, and will still let women who are interested in them know that they’re not interested.)

3. She’s a frigid bitch. (This one is extremely offensive, and the one that women fear they will be labeled as.)

Let’s talk about the “frigid bitch” label. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t even care about what the accuser thinks about you. Why would you care? You’re not interested in him in the first place, so there’s no reason to worry. Don’t even worry about him telling his friends, because if he’s like that, then there’s a big chance his friends will be exactly like him.

Never apologize. Persist in your acceptable explanation. Respect yourself.

 

I’m interested in knowing what men think about this subject. Comment below.

I’m Sick Of The Millennial Complaint

Captures how I feel all the time. The sad/scary part is, we tell ourselves we must go to college and once we’re there, we feel like we have to finish it out. We tell ourselves, “I’ll wait until I’m graduated, then I’ll pursue what I really want to do.” Does it ever really happen? Or do you just get sucked in to another promise?

Thought Catalog

Nicki Varkevisser Nicki Varkevisser

Recently I had a mental breakdown over school. It’s frustrating. It’s uncomfortable. It’s expensive. I really enjoy the teachers and education that I’m receiving, but a majority of the time I just feel unaccomplished. You know what I did for three straight hours yesterday afternoon instead of studying for my Art History exam? I stalked Shailene Woodley. I then proceeded to browse online interviews on different accomplished millennials for a few hours. The result: continual self-hatred because I’m almost at the age where great actors and geniuses contributed unbelievable achievements to humanity, while I sit here on my MacBook, avoiding an art history exam. I constantly feel bad about myself. I feel bad that I’m not famous. I feel bad that I don’t go to a better college. I feel bad that I haven’t changed the world drastically in the past nineteen years of my existence.

But the…

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My roommate abandoned me for some guy on Tinder

My roommate recently downloaded the Tinder app, which, for those that are not familiar with it, is like the guilty, raunchy version of eHarmony. You download the app on your phone, create a profile and begin to “play” by either swiping left if you don’t like a person based on their looks or swiping right if you do like them. Also, they can do the same to you.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of it. However, it is the first time the app itself has affected me or someone I know. In this case, that person would be my roommate.

I began to notice something was going on when she became even more attached to her phone than what is usual for her. She’d laugh at random moments and constantly be moving her thumbs rapidly across the keyboard of her iPhone.

I wasn’t sure what was going on with her until I asked who she was texting.

“Some guy on Tinder,” she said.

At this point, I thought, “Tinder? What?” and then I remembered the app that made easy hook-ups even more simple and accessible for college students. I couldn’t believe she was using it.

It took her a couple of days to meet a guy and invite him over to our apartment. Needless to say, I was surprised by how quickly their acquaintance had moved from the online app to living room introductions that went something like this: “Guy meet Alexia, Alexia meet guy.”

Why is it necessary for young adults to meet people on apps (not even a website) in order to find someone to either hook-up with, date or just text. What happened to the organic way of meeting people?

I get it, we’re generation X or Y or the millennials, whatever label you want to use. We’re the generation of people that are super savvy at technology and making technological innovations. We’re the generation that will find a way to create [insert highly advanced technology here].

My point: How did it become normal to meet random people through your phone and invite them over to see if you like them or not?

The outcome of the night was my roommate deciding she didn’t like him. It took her a few hours and him a bottle of red wine and a tub of cookie dough. Now, she’s working on finding the next Tinder guy.

I’m curious: Would you ever get a Tinder account? If you have, what have been your experiences?

 

Dealing with impending adulthood

As a 20-year-old college sophomore (I don’t use nouns because, like Britney Spears in the movie Crossroads, I am not a girl, not yet a woman) I’ve had a year to get accustomed to situations that come with being an adult. Without parental help. Through the last year, I’ve realized something grievously important: How does it make sense to let young people between the ages of 18 and 22 make life changing decisions about their future careers when they haven’t even lived a quarter of a century?

When I realized this problem, I also realized that I was the only one capable of letting society know that it could shove all of its expectations of getting a job by the time I’m 22 out the window. While I do hope to be offered a job by the time I graduate from my four year institution, I also don’t want to feel pressured into entering the workforce solely because it is something that is expected of me. I want to experience life first. Isn’t that what LIFE is about? LIVING?

I’ve had moments where I feel unhappy just thinking about how my time as a carefree student is ending. Does entering the world of adults mean I can’t plan to visit places like New Orleans with my friends? Does it mean I can’t wait impatiently for Bonnaroo or Coachella anymore? I still have dreams I want to accomplish. I don’t want to slowly leave them behind just because a 9 to 5 job is demanding my full attention?

The real problem about adulthood is that people eventually settle. Which is incredibly frustrating when you think about how your approaching that moment in your life where all you are worried about is a paycheck you can survive on. #thestruggleisreal

While it doesn’t make sense to ask someone in their early 20s what they want to do for the rest of their lives (because they haven’t lived life to the fullest yet), it’s great to be in our 20s because these are the only years were we can be completely self-centered.

Think about it. Once we get married and have kids, we can’t necessarily decide to pack up and take a road trip with friends. We have to see if we have money, time in our schedules, call a babysitter, see if it’s cool with the hubby, etc, etc. It’s almost impossible to have some down time for ourselves, period. So, be completely selfish while you can. Do whatever you want. Live life how you’ve always dreamed your 20s would be. Don’t settle until the majority of your dreams and goals have been accomplished, because once you stop and settle down, you’ll have less opportunity to see those dreams through.

15 things to do when you’re feeling down

It’s normal to have an off day and be miserable. We’re humans, we carry a shit-load of baggage and life just keeps throwing us more as we get older. It’s a normal part of life, but what isn’t normal is not stopping for one minute of the day and acknowledging what is bothering us. The first step to resolving a problem is to realize we have one. Once we’ve done that, we can move on with our lives and be happier.

Here are a few things to do when you’re feeling down.

1. Dress up — begin a new day feeling like a million bucks.

2. Smile throughout the day (even if it’s to yourself).

3. Treat yourself to something nice. This can be anything. Have you been eyeing that Victoria Secret swim suit for a month now? Buy it, your treat. Have you been especially good on following that diet? Then pay a trip to Starbucks and order the sweetest drink there, or pay a visit to Cinnabon! Today is your day.

4. Take the day off in small ways. The majority of people have 9 to 5 jobs, and taking a day off can be hard, especially when finding jobs is hard enough without having to worry about keeping one. So, take the day off in a small way. What about your day is repetitive? Can you change something? Try to avoid eating at the same place you go to eat during your break and try something new.

5. Make time for friends/girls day

6. Try to get to the root of the problem. What’s bothering you? Is there a solution? Face it head on and nip that problem in the bud!

7. Surround yourself with good energy. If you’re feeling depressed or sad and it has something to do with the people that you surround yourself with, then that is considered bad energy. If you can’t completely get rid of the negative people in your life, then spend at least ONE day without them. Try it out, see how it goes and then see how you end up feeling. Better? Then you found the problem.

8. Do something you love to do. Do you love playing the guitar? do you love shopping? Haven’t spent any time working on your writing or photography? Spend a little time doing something you love.

9. Take a nap! Sometimes, we’re just exhausted. We work and work and work and never stop. We’re a society that doesn’t realize that people need to take it slow every once in a while. As a college student, I cannot tell you how many people in school make time to take naps in-between classes. They actually make a time for it on their mobile calendars. So make time. Not only will your body thank you for it, but you’ll be wishing you’d started long before you read this blog.

10. Exercise! Personally, I hate exercising. I don’t what it is, but I hate getting up and getting active. It’s not the sweat, it’s the effort. Now, I’m a very ambitious person, and I’ll do anything to be successful in life, etc. Working out is different. However, when I DO become active, I find myself feeling better, more alive, and I end up enjoying the day ahead of me. If you hate to exercise, try something that beginners can easily take up like Yoga or Aerobics. You don’t need to run 5 miles on the treadmill, but you do need to do something that will make your body happy. Happy body = happy life.

11. Music! From the moment you get up to the moment you go to sleep, incorporate the favorite playlist you have saved on Spotify for today. If you’re lacking in favorite playlists, then I recommend “Mood Booster” on Spotify.

12. Think positive. If you tell yourself that today is going to be a good day, then it will be. Granted, we can’t control everything, but we can control our outlook on life and what our day will bring.

13. Cry. This one is for both men and women. Sometimes, when you’re very stressed and it’s causing you to feel overwhelmed, it’s good to cry the emotion out. Just think, you’ll feel loads better afterward.

14. Netflix. If you’re the kind of person who prefers to have quiet nights in and have time to just relax at home, then sit yourself on the couch or in bed with a warm blanket and watch something on Netflix. Word on the street is House of Cards is really popular right now.

15. Night on the town. If you’re the kind of person that loves going out and meeting new people, then perhaps this one is for you. Get dressed, put on that sexy dress, call your girls and have some fun!