It’s that pesky millennial problem. The read by notification. The “You posted something online, and I’m trying not to be a freak about this, but I know this means you just aren’t responding to me. And that sucks.” And truly, it does suck. Sucks a big one.
Maybe it’s not even a generational problem. It might just be the ease of technology. How easy it has become to know we’re ignoring one another. And eventually, we all just feel like idiots. Vulnerable. Exposed. Idiots.
I’m just as guilty, I suppose. I might even be culprit number one, hiding from truths. I’m always pulling the, “oh, I didn’t see this!” and we all know it’s bullshit. Or maybe I never say anything back. I know, it’s horrible. I know, I don’t deserve to be upset when I do the same fucking thing. See, I like to make everything so transparent on the internet. But that doesn’t mean I’m as honest IRL.
“I write for the internet!” I shout, as if that lets me off the hook. As if my poetry and honesty I spill gives me an out from uncomfortable conversations. I’m not any better, any worse. I’m just trying to figure this life thing out too. I just have a more public forum to do it with. Maybe that isn’t fair to the people in my life. Maybe it is. I don’t know.
That’s a constant theme of my life: I don’t know. Like with texting. It’s this bullshit thing of feeling out of my mind when someone doesn’t respond. I wonder if it’s some pride or ego trip, but then I remember how much I’ve made a habit of chipping away at my own dignity. I know people won’t text back, but I still do it.
I know he doesn’t love me, but I still ask.
I know it won’t mean much in the morning, but I still let my fingers trace his collarbones.
I know I won’t even get a response, but I take a shot anyways.
Lately, I’m unsure if I’m becoming more brave or just more foolish. It’s this facade of being unapologetic, when the truth? The truth is I’m saying sorry to myself. My fingers act before I can think on it. I’m looking at my phone, trying to reword conversations, trying to pretend I’m chill. I’m trying to pretend I’m the cool girl.
But I’m not. I want you to respond. And it’s hypocritical. I understand. But that doesn’t stop this feeling. My face is burning and my eyes are searching. I don’t know. This reoccurring theme. I don’t know.
The reason when someone doesn’t text you back sucks so much is because it leaves space. It leaves time for you to reexamine yourself. The thing you said. The things you didn’t say. It’s not even about this other person who didn’t text you back. It’s about you. It’s the things you don’t want to honestly answer. The questions that sit in the back of your mind. Am I worthy? Am I annoying? Who the fuck even am I?
It’s an emptiness that creates discomfort. It lets us seep in our loneliness. It’s this great chasm, this void we’re trying to fill and we don’t even know what with. Youth. How truly unsure we all are. I think I’m becoming older and more mature at 23, but fuck it. I’m still so unsure.
I don’t know, I say to myself. But I stay feeling like a cliche, looking at my phone, just hoping he’ll text me.
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To some, walking is a luxury. To others it’s a chore. We lean on the convenience of rapid transportation so often that we forget the pleasure that can be derived from its absence.
But in a society where we are increasingly sped up, tightly wound, and bombarded with stimulation, sometimes it’s ideal to just be slow.
This is why today I urge you to walk more. It will make you healthier. It will make you happier.
1) Walking gives you time to think:
We are always thinking, you might say – we don’t need to walk in order to think. It’s not so much that walking provides you with extra time to think, but that it offers an environment conducive to fresh, useful thoughts. Our days are largely filled with applied actions that require a very direct, cause-and-effect type of thinking. We are typically required to be concentrating intensely enough on what we are doing that our thoughts will not wander too far. Moreso, we view maneuvering between places as a burden and seek ways to distract ourselves – ie. the millions of people worldwide, this very second, sitting on public transit browsing their smartphones.
Unless you are hopelessly lost, walking is such an automatic action that it doesn’t require intense concentration. Objectively, walking can be considered boring – a view that many people share. However, I think it is far more valuable to view walking as simple and treat this simplicity as a virtue. When combined with stimuli from your surroundings, this simplicity will help your thoughts achieve a characteristic of randomness. This randomness provides a break in the day’s routine and allows you to think productively instead of automatically. Allow your thoughts to wander and you just might stumble onto something profound.
Allow your thoughts to wander and you just might stumble onto something profound.
2) Walking makes you fit:
Have you ever noticed a postal delivery person’s calves… ridiculous right!? It’s no surprise that people who walk frequently are usually in amazing shape. Walking is a great fat burning and cardiovascular workout, especially if you are walking quickly in order to get somewhere on time. There’s a certain meditative quality that accompanies a fast-paced, purposeful walk. While many will scorn the stereotypical urban fast walker, I believe that this is a great person to be. Filled with purpose and ambition, this person zones out to their own thoughts of “right foot, left foot” until they arrive at their destination feeling energized, refreshed and ready to tackle their next task with enthusiasm (albeit probably a little sweaty).
3) Walking allows you to get in touch with your surroundings:
Looking for new places to eat, relax, go on dates, hang out with friends? You’d be surprised how much escapes your vision on a daily basis. Walking just a few blocks in an urban area will expose you to a variety of restaurants and businesses that you might not have been aware of before. Walking in a rural area will expose you to new beautiful landscapes and aspects of nature. It is important to humans to become familiar with our surroundings so that we may feel comfortable and at home. Walking through the area in which you live will make you feel more connected to your neighbourhood and more familiar with the attractions it has to offer.
4) Walking can help you find inspiration:
A combination of #1 and #3. Walking helps you to see new things and think new thoughts. What better way to become inspired? The human memory is a complex entity that eludes and excites us daily. Thinking and observing while you walk can help trigger past memories and motivations, helping you to create or regain inspirations that will dictate your future actions. Even better, walking will allow you to reflect on your inspirations so that these moments are not fleeting. Once an idea pops into your head you can consciously reflect on it and either form a plan of action or achieve a sense of closure, depending on the nature of the thought.
5) Walking will calm you down:
Life is fast, walking is slow. Like immersing yourself in a good book, walking is a gradual, linear activity that regulates your heartbeat and breathing, focusing your thoughts. Humans are highly capable multitaskers and we have become accustomed to doing many things at once, but multitasking too often has the effect of fragmenting our thoughts and turning our intentions into loose ends. We build stress as we fail to pursue our thought processes and actions to completion. We progressively feel incompetent at coping with our responsibilities. Like playing an instrument, reading, baking, or whatever hobby you enjoy, walking is an opportunity to engage completely in a task from start to finish.
A good walk will make you feel collected and complete, capable and alive.
I slept with a guy from two years hoping that eventually he would commit to me and guess where it got me?
I dated a guy casually for a whole dreadful year, because he wasn’t ready for anything serious just yet and guess where that got me?
These are the results of what I call the ‘80 percent’ relationship that our generation knows all too well.
Lets face it, if someone really loves you, if they really want to be with you, they will be. It’s that simple. It’s not easy to accept this when you love someone – you are blinded by optimism, how could you not be? Trust me when I say, I am not immune to the delusions that come with someone giving you 80 percent of their heart.
80 percent is a game people play with strategy. They do this when the relationship is too good to give up on but not good enough to satisfy them entirely. The receiver of the 80 percent will most likely begin to debate ending it, solely from the exhaustion that comes with constantly debating whether someone’s actually into you or not. But like a never ending cycle, you both hold on, because it’s too good to give up yet too little to satisfy and you hope for that 20 percent to kick in, as if you’re both in a car, racing to a finish line. But guess what? It’s never going to ‘kick in’ and that 20 percent has always been there my dear. They just didn’t want to give you anything but that 80 percent.
Loving someone with half of your heart is cruel, yet, I’ve done it. I’ve been the one giving only 80 percent as many times as I’ve been the one receiving 80 percent. From first hand experience, both ways hurt – a lot. There’s a very obvious reason why we all do it. We’re all afraid to be alone, so we hold onto relationships we secretly know aren’t right. Regardless of what side of the 80 percent relationship you’re on, by staying in it, you’re settling.
After enduring the pain of ending yet another 80 percent relationship, I made a promise to myself that I would never ever again love someone with half my heart. Never anything but 100 from this day on – and if you know what’s best for you, you should make this promise too, because you know where loving someone with only 80 percent of your heart gets you?
Ahhh, the most benign argument that always starts under this false pretense of being sooooo chill and flexible. “Really, it’s wherever you want to eat, I’m okay with anything.” And then before you know it, 30 minutes pass and NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE. “You pick.”“No, you pick.” OMG. SOMEONE JUST PICK A PLACE ALREADY!!!!!!
2. The Name-calling Olympics
It’s not that you’re even fighting about anything in particular, more of just seeing how many insults you can hurl at one another before finally running out. It’s like your own special language of affection, essentially a list of things you’d never say to anyone else. The crueler they are, the more love.
“I hate you, bitch.” “Oh, you goddamn piece of shit.”
*embraces one another and agrees to never let go*
3. The “YOU WATCHED THAT WITHOUT ME?!?!”
Ohhh that beautiful night when you both were sitting in a movie theater, a trailer came on, and you excitedly agreed, “We are DEFINITELY seeing that together!!” But then…one night, you were out with your family and they all suggested the same movie. You couldn’t say no! You had no choice, really. But when word gets out you saw that movie without your BFF? Oh man. BETRAYAL CITY.
…but then you’ll remind them of the time they watched three episodes of House Of Cards without you, so you decide to call it even.
4. The Unanswered Text Message
Hey, remember that time you had incredibly exciting news but YOUR BFF WASN’T ANSWERING TEXTS AND IT WAS THE WORST EVER BECAUSE OMG WHY AREN’T YOU ANSWERING RIGHT THIS SECOND?!?!
Exhibit A: (sorry Johanna)
5. The Better BFF
It’s like the platonic, “I love you more!” “NOOO, I DO!” You start testing who knows each other better? You’re basically playing the Newlywed Game, and are probably better at it than real life couples.
6. The Soup Nazi, but like with phones
Could also just be called the “I’m trying to keep you from making mistakes you will regret in the morning.”
“NO PHONE FOR YOU!” “I’m not that drunk! I won’t text anyone!” “No.” “PLEASE.” “YOU CANNOT BE TRUSTED AT THIS TIME, YOU WILL THANK ME TOMORROW!”
7. The Hipster Showdown
Not that you’re an actual hipster (or you might be, I don’t know your life!!), but when you both fall in love with a new band/song/TV show and are both convinced YOU were the one who first talked about it.
“Dude, I was the one who told you about that!” “WHAT? No! I totally was telling you about it last week at brunch!!!”
8. The Irrational Anger At Being Apart
You actually feel weirdly mad at not seeing each other. You don’t want to admit you suffer from massive separation anxiety…you don’t want to. So instead you’ll be like, “SO AM I EVER GONNA SEE YOU AGAIN?” And it seems like you’re joking, because it’s so dramatic and over-the-top. But that’s just to downplay how concerning it is that it’s been 72 hours and you miss them…
9. The Same Celebrity Crush
You both have the hots for the same celebrity and calling dibs isn’t a simple process. Sure, this celebrity is so out of reach, potentially already married, but that won’t stop you from arguing over which of you gets the pass to bone them one day.
10. THE CAPS LOCK!!!
This could legit be anything. You just like to TYPE LIKE THIS TO EACH OTHER BECAUSE ONCE YOU START, IT IS VERY HARD TO STOP. IT MIGHT EVEN BE LIKE, HEY I’LL BE AT YOUR HOUSE IN TEN MINUTES. SEE YOU SOON! LOVE YOU.
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Pressuring you to orgasm. Sometimes it’s not going to happen but I still like having sex because it feels good even without the climax. What definitely doesn’t feel good is having a pair of eyes on you waiting for you to come.
Last too long and say “you can’t make me cum.” Like it’s a challenge. I dated a guy who did this all the time would last forever and go on and on about how I couldn’t make him cum. Biggest turn off, not only do our Lady bits get sore after that long, but no one wants to be told they can’t get their partner off, it’s not sexy, it’s disappointing and make us feel bad about ourselves.
That circle thing, where you move your penis in a circle while inside her instead of in and out. It does not feel good when you’re wildly jerking your junk around like you’re trying to do the helicopter inside my vagina. Stop.
Based on my past experience, the worst things you can do are as follows:
1) Not making any noise. It’s just creepy to me. You don’t have to be porn star level loud. Some women (like me) prefer more noise than others, but I don’t know any women who prefer completely quiet men.
2) Ask me every time you want to change positions. It kills the mood and just makes things logistically awkward. If you want to change positions, either say something sexy to encourage it, or just move to make it happen. Don’t just stop and go, “So do you want to like, be on top now, or…?”
3) Not changing your rhythm. Don’t just go in and out at the same pace until you cum. Go shallow, then go deep. Go fast, then go painfully slow. Go hard, and then go gentle. Make it exciting. UNLESS SHE’S ABOUT TO CUM. Then just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t change a thing.
4) Making foreplay just a precursor to sex. This one is kind of weird, but to me, I think of foreplay as a separate sex act. I’m not just doing it to make my partner horny. I’m doing it because I want to explore their body, find out what they like, and make them feel good. I could do foreplay for a fairly long time before sex because I don’t think of it as the road to sex. For example, oral. I don’t think of oral as “getting him ready for sex.” It’s just oral. It’s a separate sex act. Plus, I promise, sex is way hotter when you’ve been building up to it for an hour or two (or hell, even thirty minutes if you get bored fast) than if you just fuck around long enough to get horny and then stick it in.
5) I’m gonna edit to add this one because I forgot how much I hated this with my ex. On a broader scale, making sex the exact same every time sucks. Switch up the situation a little bit. Go with a different room, or spend all day teasing first, or be rough one night and gentle the next. Part of what kills sex in relationships is boredom. Hell, every once in awhile, just come home and immediately pounce on her. Show her you’ve been thinking about her all day. Just mix things up and don’t get in the habit of doing it at the same time every night with the same foreplay.
These are the five biggest issues I’ve had with guys in the past. Everything else basically comes down to learning what your partner wants.
• No foreplay (just going for it as soon as you’re ready not when we’re both ready)
• Baby talk… just creepy unless its a specifically expressed fetish.
Speaking of specifically expressed fetishes:
• Don’t choke someone unless you know they’re into it. (Side Tip: don’t choke someone if you’re drunk, your hands are surprisingly strong on our little necks, easy to underestimate the amount of pressure)
• Don’t go for anal without asking, and for the love of god please have a fuck ton of lube.
• Lastly the absolute worst thing you can do is super deep-throat a girl without asking and then get all pissy when she pukes all over your bed.
Pursue it with the same ambition, care, and obsession you’d otherwise put into emotions and ambitions that make you feel worse.
2. Do What You Want.
Not what you should or what you think you want, but what your body tells you. Get anxious or procrastinate from some optional but worthy goal? Skip it. Find one you actually like. Or, at least, recalibrate to the original happy soul of the thing. If it’s self improvement, let it be for love and enjoyment, not to meet an arbitrary goal.
Trust your internal guidance.
3. Find Where Good, Easy And Enjoyable Overlap
This golden zen center is when something is enjoyable, good for you, and easy. It has no drawbacks; just joy and advantages.
For me, a golden zen center is making a breakfast sandwich with a runny fried egg, kale, hot sauce, and an onion bun. It’s so tasty! So easy! So cheap! So decently good for me! So quick!
Some things require trade-offs. Being in shape, for example, or keeping to a budget. But some things are just so simple and good that you’ll be better for including them in your life.
Having enough sweaters, making my own breakfast sandwiches, and sleeping more instead of browsing nonsense online are three incredibly easy things that work for me. They’re so simple it’s borderline embarrassing to list them out. But that’s part of the point!
Some of the best stuff in life is easy and obvious. Take a moment of mindfulness and effort to rope them in. Okay? For real.
4. Find Some Zen
I don’t have it, and I don’t know where to get it, but it exists.
That thrills and scares me.
There are calm, fulfilled people in the world. Seriously. There are people without your (or our) angst, and, if nothing else, they’re people. Just like you.
The moment you understand that there’s peace and calm out in the world, the sooner zen becomes an actual concept worth pursuing and less a shorthand word for what you lack.
When peace and calm are actual concepts, you can try to find them and integrate them.
5. Other People
There are so many other people in the world! Statistically, some of them are going to make you feel better.
Shuffle and reshuffle your world to find them.
Oh, and here’s a bonus: anxious? Socially awkward? So are millions! There’s a world there!
In life and online, there are enough communities and spaces and people that if you don’t fit in where you are, change your surroundings, either IRL or URL.
If your soul and core don’t fit where you are, it’s location, not self at fault.
6. You Are Not Uniquely Bad
Often, angst is narcissistic.
Why aren’t you as famous and successful and fit and charming and cool and well-paid and well-dressed and capable as you always wanted to be? Yes, okay, you might concede that everyone has those concerns in the abstract, but you’re you: the protagonist of reality!
Only you can feel what you feel, so at its worst it can feel isolating and unique. You can spiral down and obsess.
Look, man. If I told you what I felt and went through you’d be confused and mildly, “uh…” about my anxieties. Right now- right fucking now- I am worried that this sweater is uneven at the sleeves, and why don’t I know how to dress myself, and where’s my money and…
Maybe you’d give a little smile and go, “dude, calm down.” And you’d be right!
Shouldn’t you let that apply to you?
You aren’t uniquely bad. The great and terrible thing of life is the universality of real challenge and joy. Love, death, fear, ambition, stress, terror and joy are all integral parts of the human experience.
Think of how understanding you would be to a well-meaning stranger, how kind and supportive you’d be about their flaws while privately going “uh, calm down.”
Take your own advice and generosity.
7. Animals and Babies Love You
How bad could you possibly be?
Do they care about your success and failures? Or do they live in an immediate, truer emotional state and inspire the same simple joy and kindness in you?
Try to get there yourself. Again, pursue happiness as a worthy ambition. Peace and calm is a concept worth striving for and acknowledging
You’re going to be fine.
8. Practice, Practice, and Remember.
Do not forget this.
Do not let this slide out of your life unused.
Happiness and calm are worthy. And like anything worthy they require some effort. Some patience. Some self-forgiveness, and, above all, practice.
We forget epiphanies. It’s so very human. What felt immediate passes. But don’t let it. Hold on to this if it helped. Apply it and remember.
You can move mountains. You will, almost inevitably: you’ll improve even by accident. Time does that.
But mindfully continuing and pursuing happiness will help it happen faster.
Reread this if it helped, even a quick browse. Loop back to the good.