Trigger warning

My rapist,

It’s strange to use that possessive pronoun with a word like ‘rapist,’ but that’s what you are. Perhaps you’re someone else’s rapist, too, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have now come face to face with the truth.

Only weeks into our time together, you were pressuring me to have sex. I was not ready. However, your answer would always be “I’m not waiting forever.” Right then I should have left you. But, I was insecure and you seemed to show genuine interest in me. I was never impressed by your lack of commitment to things other than being a frat guy, your marijuana dependence, or the fact you had five or six previous sexual partners, but I tried my hardest to look past all of that.

It was a day that I wish I were able to change. Our favorite bar, .00 pitchers of Natty Light, and what I thought would be a normal day. I remember drinking three beers and a mere 12 hours later, waking up in your bed naked. I never sleep naked. Never. How did I get undressed? And why were you being completely unsympathetic to my confusion? Why was my inbox full of messages from concerned friends who had seen me that day?

“I was so blacked out too!” you kept repeating over and over. Just simply warming me up for your grand finale…

“Oh, and I didn’t use a condom.”

How convenient of you that you remembered such an important detail. Just one of the many things I did not (or never would) consent to. That morning as I walked home, I had never felt so alone with the knowledge that I had been raped — by you.

I knew it was wrong. I knew you were wrong. I knew sex without consent was never acceptable even if I was your “girlfriend.” You had no right under any circumstances. My body was not your property. Yet, my insecurity was at an all-time low and I thought it was just a one-time mistake, so I stayed hoping you would change. You didn’t.

I have lost sight of who I am. I have lost my sense of rational reasoning and thought. I have lost my faith and spirituality. I have lost friendships. Deny deny deny deny was my daily thought process. Maybe if I do this or this, then that feeling or nagging thought will go away. Yet, it never did. You have made sure that every action, every move, and every risk I take is met with a sense of panic.

What you did to me the State of Ohio defines as RAPE according to The Ohio Revised Code, Title 29, Chapter 2907.02. Being that you saw my inability to resist or consent because of my impairment due to intoxication, and that your actions resulted in extreme mental anguish, it was AND IS a felony.

But let’s face it. Even if had I filed a police report and sent it to my family attorney and even if I would have had the courage and physical ability to have gotten a rape kit, you still would have easily escaped punishment. In fact, your all-forgiving mother would have saved your incompetent, spoiled, immature self. Sadly, for you, it will be that way the rest of your insignificant life.

You are a violator and waste of space. You did things, which you can never take back. You disrespected the trust I had in you and forever tainted my belief in loving relationships and the true meaning of sex. However, many people expect me to hate you.  I don’t hate you.  I hate what you did. I will still hold onto the hope that you can become a new and improved person through all of this. That you can become more responsible and respectful of women. I will forever hold that hope because of the fear of you continuing to ruin the lives of your future partners.

Understand this though: I do not wish for your friendship. I do not wish for your response. I do wish, however, that you never hurt another woman the same way you hurt me. If you do, you best hope you never meet me on the street, or for I will greet you loudly and clearly with your most enduring title:


A survivor and your victim no more TC mark

featured image – Shutterstock

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Yesterday I had to buy Tylenol at CVS and it was six dollars. I wanted to punch myself in the face. Partly because I was mad that Tylenol cost six dollars, but mostly because I was distressed over six dollars. But that’s how things are when you’re broke. You question every purchase. You worry about every little penny. You feel like you’re never going to catch up. You wonder how people can spend money on things like eyebrow waxes and yoga memberships, when you’re just trying to figure out how many bananas you can buy at Trader Joe’s for under a dollar. (The answer is four.)

Having no money is tough. It’s a challenge. It can be mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting. But it’s also an extremely important experience to go through. Having little to no money changes you, often in the best way possible. It opens your eyes to new ideas and new experiences you wouldn’t have had other wise. When you aren’t distracted with wealth, your life can become a lot more satisfying than you ever expected. And here’s why. 

You want less because you have less.

It’s common knowledge that the more things you acquire in life, the less satisfied you’re going to be. Buying a new pair of shoes is really fun and exciting in the moment, but the high always wears off. And then you’re left wanting another pair of shoes. And another. Suddenly you are spending 0 a month on Kim Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle website, wondering why you purchased a pair of high-heeled cheetah-print boots. No matter what material items you’re spending your money on, you’re never going to be satisfied. And that’s why sometimes it’s freeing to have no money. You start buying less and you start wanting less. You’re happier with what you have, and when you occasionally do treatyoself, you savor every moment of the experience.

You appreciate stuff that has no monetary value.

When you have an unlimited budget, sometimes it’s hard to remember to stop and appreciate the little things around you. If you’re constantly dropping money on plane tickets and concerts and shopping excursions and new cars, it can be easy to forget about all the everyday things you love, like the crisp smell of autumn or the amazing feeling of not having to set an alarm for the next day. There really are plenty of things that money can’t buy, like a cozy Friday night in with your friend or a long weekend with your family. These things are a wonderful reminder that you can still feel extremely happy from the simplest things in life. 

You learn to entertain yourself with more inexpensive hobbies. 

Going to the movies these days costs approximately 8, because if you’re like me, you’re not happy with just the ticket you purchase. You also have to buy a barrel of popcorn that could double as a bathtub for a newborn baby, along with a giant ICEE. Then you see Twizzlers and remember how fun it is to bite off either end of a Twizzler and drink out of it like a straw, so naturally so snatch up some of those bad boys as well. By the end of the experience you are in debt, and you’re wondering how many more movies they could possibly make about teenagers in a post-apocalyptic world. You might feel like you have to do things like this all the time in order to stay entertained, but that’s not the case. Going out to the movies and going to bars can be fun, but it’s just as exciting to have a Netflix marathon with a friend or to get a membership at the local library. Sometimes, out of sheer laziness, it’s just easier to entertain ourselves by paying for it, but if you look hard enough, there are plenty of ways to have fun without breaking the bank. 

You learn that all wine tastes the same. 

When you’re older and you have money, then sure, go to a wine tasting and experience what a world-class Merlot tastes like. Until then, buy the bottle at CVS. It all tastes the same as long as it’s making everyone around you more entertaining and good-looking. Trust me. I took a wine tasting class in college, and the only thing I learned was how to not sound like a douchebag when describing wine: No professor, this wine does not taste like “a fresh summer rainfall.” It tastes red. Bye. 

You appreciate money when you do have it. 

When you finally get to a place where you have a little bit of money again, the pleasure is not lost on you. Being able to treat yourself to a nice meal or a much-needed winter scarf is a great thing in and of itself, but you enjoy it a hell of a lot more if it’s something you were unable to afford in the past. Having money is great, but sometimes, it’s the experiences you had before you had money that are the most important. TC mark

image – bermuda

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Shutterstock / Pressmaster
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1. Inviting friends to play Candy Crush

Listen up Candy Crushers, we are all very much aware of the inescapable presence of Candy Crush on Facebook. So if we don’t have it, it’s because we have no interest in playing it, and therefore made a conscious decision not to download it. Maybe you’re a first time offender and didn’t consider the aftermath that could potentially stem from you clicking the “invite all your friends” button. Fine, rookie mistake. But bare in mind, that multiple invites preceding this, will be viewed as a threat and necessary unfriending action will be taken. Play on playa.

2. Excessively updating your status / over-sharing

Twitter exists for a reason. A play by play of your painfully uneventful, daily routine is highly unnecessary. “Just woke up”…“Off to the gym”…“Just got back from the gym”… “Making a smoothie.” Thanks for the update, the anticipation was killing us! We were all really concerned how that last hour and a half was gonna pan out.

3. Selfies

My god, where do I begin? While guys too are guilty of contributing to this epidemic, girls are by far the worst. ‘Cause what would a selfie be without chuckin’ up the deuces along side that duckface? Not to mention the use of douchey and/or irrelevant hashtags- #IDGAF #girlswho_____(insert any verb here…literally any) #cantstopwontstop #sweatpantshairtiedchillinwithnomakeupon #lovetoallmyhaters #iwokeuplikethis. By the way, calling yourself out in the status of your selfie doesn’t make it ok. If you’re consistently flooding newsfeeds with selfie uploads, or your photo album looks like a selfie collage, consider this your intervention. A couple things come to mind when Facebook users are exposed to this “Kimye”-like behavior:

  • The amount of selfies you take is directly related to the amount of free time you have on your hands…way too much.
  • Who needs friends when you have you?
  • Your definition of #humble and #blessed (as mentioned in your caption) is probably far different from Webster’s.

4. Openly bashing your ex

This is a great way to make a bad situation worse. This is what we call a red flag. It leads us to believe that your ex wasn’t the problem, and that you may very well be a psycho. On the upside, you probably won’t have to endure the pain of another breakup since no one will want to date you. Know this, publicly exposing the details of your breakup on social media won’t get you sympathy, so quitcha bitchin.

5. Openly confessing your love to your significant other

You make it way too easy for people to hate you.

6. Constantly complaining about a relationship you’re never going to end

You can’t help a damsel who loves her distress. So if you’re not going to end the relationship, stop complaining about it. The not-so-subtle quotes and song lyrics you keep posting are a real eye-roller.

7. Political/Religious Ranting

The worst part of a nationally televised political speech is the inevitable string of political rants that follows. I’m all for people voicing their opinion, as long as they understand and accept that not everyone is going to agree with it. Unfortunately, this concept doesn’t resonate with radicals. You know, the ones who use Facebook as a digital soapbox to go off on a tangent- typically in a college essay-like format, as expected. I’d imagine these extremists are strangers to Twitter as the 140-character rule probably doesn’t sit well with them. I always scroll down to the comment section to see who’s crazy enough to disagree with these ranters- talk about adding fuel to a fire. Gotta love it though, nothin’ like an online riot to spice up the ol’ newsfeed. TC mark

This post originally appeared at Writtalin.

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20+ Most Inspiring Dr Seuss Quotes | creativemisha
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I’m not married. I’ve never been married. I don’t plan on getting married for quite some time. This is not an advice article about how to have the perfect marriage, written by someone who’s been married for several years and knows all the secrets.

This is just me trying to express the pressures I feel from society to have an incredibly extravagant wedding, to have every second of it documented, and to have every ounce of it be flawless. I’m tired of feeling like my end goal should be to have a wedding. I’m tired of feeling like my greatest accomplishment in life will be when I become a bride. 

It’s not that I don’t want to get married. It’s just that I’m not even close to being ready for marriage right now. I can barely remember to buy myself toilet paper, let alone concentrate on building an entire life with another person. But I do want to get married… eventually.

The problem is that we are being conditioned to think that getting married is no longer about searching for the person you want to spend your life with. Instead, it’s about finding the person you want to throw a wedding with. And we feel a feverish need to make it happen as soon as possible, so that we can give play-by-plays to our social networks, post pictures that get an obscene amount of likes, and throw an incredible event that will have all our friends talking.

Marriage seems hard – terrifying, even. You’re supposed to commit your entire life to one person. You’re supposed to stay with them through everything. Of course it’ll be easy to stay with them through the good moments, like when you’re at your wedding and everyone is happy and cheering you on. But what about when one of you loses your job? Or someone gets into credit card debt? Or somebody’s parent dies? You can’t just walk away. This is marriage. It just doesn’t end when things get inconvenient or tough. 

Although I’ve never been married myself, I’m lucky enough that I have an incredible example of what marriage should be like from my parents, who have been married for over 27 years. This is normally the part where I should talk about how my parents always did lovey-dovey things, like go on date nights and talk about how much they love each other. But in reality, my parents have never been very romantic when they talk about their relationship. As a kid, anytime I asked my mom about her wedding day, she never became doe-eyed and nostalgic. She just said “your dad was a good man and he wanted a family. We had the same values. I knew he was someone I could build a life with.” As a young child being brought up on fairytales and happily-ever-afters, I always wanted her to say something cheesier, like “He was all I ever wanted!” or “I knew he was the one from the start!” I’m glad she didn’t. 

My parents taught me what real love is. Sure, it’s important to feel passionate and head-over-heels for your partner, but those are fleeting emotions. Real love is something much more solid and consistent. It’s something you feel for your partner even when they are driving you up the wall. What I learned from my parents is that the most important parts of a marriage are how you interact with each other during the really tough times. 

When I think of romantic instances between my parents, the first thought that comes to mind isn’t my dad bringing home flowers or my mom writing a corny love note. Instead, I think about the time my mom moved across the world – literally, to Japan – with two young kids, because my dad was offered a great job there. She was terrified, but she knew how badly he wanted it. I think about how my dad dropped everything last year when my mom’s father got sick, and how he did everything in his power to get us all to Philadelphia in time to say good bye. The most important lessons I ever received about marriage did not come from watching my parents in their happiest moments. It was watching my parents take on their darkest moments together that showed me what you really want in a marriage – someone whose hand you can hold when everything else is collapsing around you.

As I got older, I began realizing how special my parents’ marriage was. I started trying to soak up as much marriage advice from them as possible. What I remember most is what I learned from talking with them at the dinner table, especially on visits home from college. “How do you guys still like each other?” I would ask, in-between other important questions, like “What’s the secret to keeping the spark alive?” and “Do you have any wine that is more Franzia-esque in taste?”

And what my parents told me was this: you should get married to the person you want to take on a mortgage with, not the person you think you’d have a great wedding reception with. Because let’s be real: weddings are fantastic. There’s free food, dancing, and lots of old people who are trying to act like they aren’t wasted. A wedding is the one place where you can take a tequila shot with somebody’s grandma and chase it with cream puffs you stole off of the dessert table. Weddings are happy, joyous occasions. 

But they’re over after one day. After that, you’re supposed to have another 50, 60, or 70 years with the same person. Your wedding should be special, but it’s not going to be the most important day of your marriage. The most important day of your marriage is going to be some ordinary, uneventful day when something bad happens to you and your partner sticks by your side anyways. It’s easy to be in love when you’re wearing a beautiful dress and everyone around you is drinking champagne. It’s harder to be in love when something bad happens and you feel like your world is crashing down. 

So find the person that’s going to hold you up on the day when you can’t hold yourself up. That will be the most important day of your marriage. TC mark

image – marie zucker

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Emerson and Nature!
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One of the amazing things about humans’ capacity to reason is that we can rationalize anything to fit into our particular life narratives. This happened for that reason. It’s okay for me to steal because I need X. I don’t need to care about that cause because I already donated to another one. It’s what helps us stay sane. It’s what helps us make our decisions and live a life with a little bit less uncertainty. It’s what helps us choose what food to buy our children. Logic helps us make every single decision we consciously make, but we start getting into troubled terrain when we start overthinking — over-rationalizing. When one line of rational thought impedes on another, we enter a double bind, a paradoxical state of indecision because one line of rational thought that helps us make decisions is now contradicting another line of rationality. When making big decisions about our lives, we are prone to overthink our circumstances, and, funnily enough, make the “wrong” decisions, even though there really aren’t such things.

I recently graduated from college, didn’t really have any concrete plan, and so I moved to Spain to teach English. It was easy. It was the path of least resistance. The application process took about two weeks and was almost too easy. And to be honest, I really didn’t assert myself into trying to get any other job. I didn’t have any other option besides the Spain gig. I am even living with a friend. This all just kind of happened.

When going through change, like graduating from college, we are faced with the opportunities to make life-changing decisions. In my case, I decided to rest on the laurels of the one job opportunity that I got, and if I had to tell you why I’m in Spain right now, about to teach high school kids English (a career I have no interest in pursuing long-term or anything related to it) I could tell you many things.

I could give you many more reasons why I shouldn’t be here though. It doesn’t feel like I’m pushing myself. I’ve been to Spain before. In fact, I’ve lived here for six months before. This isn’t really new, uncharted territory in my life. I could be pushing myself professionally. I could be exploring my interests and acting on them. I could push myself to travel to more remote places — places that would be uncomfortable to travel to. Places where the culture shock would be more dramatic, the adjustment more difficult, and ultimately maybe I would grow as a person. Rationally, it’s easier to find reasons that I shouldn’t be here, doing what I am doing. Rationally.

That said, I can rationalize my ability to grow professionally and get out of my comfort zone here as well. I can read a lot. I can create individual semi-professional projects for myself and complete them with a professional zeal. I can write a lot. Everyday, actually. I can explore things that I’m interested in by reaching out to people and offering to help them for free with their work. I can go out of my way to learn new skills, think of ideas for people and companies that I think I’d like to work for, and refine them. I can push myself anywhere in any situation, socially, intellectually, professionally, even spiritually. I can talk to strangers more. I can try to be more outgoing in every waking minute. You don’t have to be pooping in a hole to experience discomfort. At least, that’s one way of rationalizing it.

We particularly fall prey to overthinking and over rationalizing our big life decisions. Because they are so important, the more time we spend thinking about them, we assume, the better decision we will make. This is a big ask for logic. When it comes to logic, there is never a right and a wrong answer. Even without logic, nothing is ever “right” and “wrong.” Things just feel more right than they do wrong.

Ultimately it’s probably wrong to use logic at all. This may sound crazy and delusional to most, but especially when it comes to life-changing decisions, you have to do what feels right. Whether it’s your gut, your heart, your intuition, whatever, you just have to know that the dots will connect. The funny thing is that if you don’t just hope, but know that the future will figure itself out, it becomes easier to feel what the “right” decisions are. If you let yourself sit in the uncertainty for a bit, one choice will feel more right than the others. Even if you over rationalize and make the decision that feels “wrong,” more opportunities will come wherever you are. You just have to be tuned in.

You can plan your life out and rationalize every decision that you make, but what you will find is that if you start making purely out of reason, you distance yourself from the experiences that you use your rationality to choose in the first place. You don’t really experience them. You watch them happening as an anticipated memory, not really enjoying it while it’s happening but excited to share the experience with friends at some future point. Don’t get me wrong; I think logic is a great thing. We wouldn’t be human beings without it. But when logic starts asserting itself as the way to make big decisions as opposed to a servant to intuition, we start to overthink.

When people ask me why I’m going to Spain, hell, when I ask myself why I’m here, I don’t really have an answer. How am I going to use the experience as an opportunity to grow? That’s the thing about logic — everything becomes a means to an end. That’s why it’s wrong to use it. You travel to grow. You read to get smarter. You choose this job because it gives you more _______ (money, prestige, responsibility, autonomy, room to grow). None of these are for enjoyment. Here’s my logic: Whether I am 90 and on my deathbed, or if I get hit by a car tomorrow, am I going to regret that one time I went to Spain for a year from now? TC mark

featured image – Sophia Louise

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