Flickr / Daniel Lobo
Flickr / Daniel Lobo

My daughter has begun seeing things. I don’t know if they’re imaginary, like any child’s mind is prone to creating, or something more, like the things I’ve seen.

I’ve told you all last summer about the stories she started telling me, about the “man” who would come to her window and tell them to her… about the claw marks I found in the sill. I’ve also told you about the attack she suffered almost a year ago when I took the advice of friends and stood up to a terrifying spirit that was stalking me. To say that she’s been through more than a normal five-year-old is an understatement.

She’s gotten really good at drawing. I can identify the things she draws without her having to tell me. I’ve encouraged her by buying how-to-draw books and drawing with her from time to time.

The other day she was drawing. She had already drawn a horse and signed it when she declared, “I’m gonna draw a monster!”

“Okay, I look forward to seeing it,” I said, distracted by something I was reading at the time.

A few minutes later, she came up to me. “Here Daddy,” she said, handing me her latest creation. I looked at it. The thing on the paper looked more like a person than a monster. It had a torso like she draws when she draws people, and it had legs and feet. But it had four lines coming off it like arms, and the head was a circle with a jagged line through it.

“What is this?” I asked.

“It’s a monster,” she replied.

“It looks like a person,” I said. “Is it a zombie?” She knows what zombies are. Sometimes when we’re playing outside and it starts getting dark, I mention that zombies come out at night as a means to get her to want to go in. Works like a charm.

“No,” she said, and then began explaining the features to me. “That’s its arms, and that’s its legs, and that’s its head.”

“It has four arms?”

“Uh huh.”

“Where’s its face?”

“Its just got a big mouth with sharp teeth.”

“Oh, that’s scary.”

“Its mouth is big so it can eat people.”

“And what’s this rectangle beside it?”

“That’s my closet.”

My arms suddenly felt heavy and a chill ran up my back. I looked at the drawing again with open eyes. The rectangle beside it was her closet. There, behind it, another rectangle… her bedroom window. There, her toy buckets. There, her dresser. It was a drawing of her bedroom.

“You know there’s no such thing as monsters, right?” I asked. She looked at me quietly, not responding. “Have you actually seen this?”

She still didn’t answer. Her eyes seemed to be looking past me, staring off into space. It suddenly occurred to me that she looked extremely tired. Our daycare provider had been saying that she had a tendency to fall asleep in the morning, well before nap time.

“Honey, have you seen this? In your room?”

She didn’t say anything; she just nodded at me silently.

“When have you seen it?”

“At night.”

“Every night?”

She nodded again. “It comes out of my closet.”

“You must be pretty brave, to have something this scary come out of your closet and not scream! I would scream.” I would scream, probably. That drawing was too freaky. I was still unsure whether or not to believe her.

“It says if I scream, it’ll kill whoever comes in my room.”

That got me freaked. My daughter isn’t one to talk about killing and death lightly. The last time she’d done it was when she’d told me one of those bedtime stories from the man in her window. Thoughts of that came flooding back, and I started wondering if the two incidents were related.

“It can talk?” was all I could think to ask.

“Well yeah, it has a mouth. See?” She pointed to the jagged line across its head.

“I thought that was for eating. Why doesn’t it eat you?”

“Nippy protects me from monsters, remember?”

Nippy is her stuffed toy dachshund. When she used to get scared and talk of monsters before, I had told her that Nippy was a special dog who no monster could get past. At the time, it was just a way to get her to go to sleep. But now I wonder if she didn’t believe in it so thoroughly… no, NO… monsters don’t exist!

As I thought that, I heard the creek of a door come from the hallway where the bedrooms are. I thanked my daughter for the drawing and asked her if she could draw me a horse for me to take to work and she went off to do it, having already forgotten all our talk of the monster.

I went into the hallway and listened. Our duplex is old, and I’ve become attuned to the sounds it makes. I know which floor boards squeak, and how they sound when you apply pressure to them. At that moment, I heard the soft shuddering groan of a board in her bedroom. The door was shut. My wife and I had insisted on keeping the bedroom doors open to help keep them warmer.

I walked over, grabbed the knob, and wondered if I was going to be eaten. Part of me wanted to just walk away, but the other part of me had to know. I opened the door quickly, almost flinging it open and stepped back just in case.

The room was empty. Her toys were all over the floor, but that’s normal. Her bed was a mess, but that’s normal. The closet door was open, but that’s… wait. That’s not normal. And as I stood there, looking at it, I realized the door was moving as if someone had just been in the process of opening it.

I grabbed a toilet plunger from the bathroom to swing at anything that might come at me. Obviously it was filthy and germ-ridden and, being made primarily of rubber, was a dumb idea, but it’s best not to linger on it in hindsight. I crept up to the closet, but there was nothing there. And more over, there wasn’t room in it for something to fit, especially something as large as the monster in her drawing.

On my way out, I spotted a piece of paper on her bed. Or rather, I spotted a torn strip of paper on her bed. There was nothing on it but one wild, crazy scribble. It looked like one of my daughter’s attempts at writing. She knows how to write her name, but at times she’ll just drag her pencil in a loopy, rollercoaster of a scribbled line and tell me she wrote something.

I took the scrap to her in the living room.

“What’s this?” I asked.

She looked up from her partially-drawn horse. “Looks like words,” she said.

“Not really, but it does look like something you’d write.”

She shrugged.

“Do you know what it says?” I handed her the scrap. She has a curious way of being able to decipher her own writing, even though it’s not actual words. It’s as if the scribbles mean something in her mind that other people can’t see.

She looked at it, mouthing the words silently. She handed the scrap of paper back to me and went back to drawing her horse.

“Well?” I said, “What does it say?”

“It says, ‘I told you not to tell anybody.’” she replied.

That afternoon I went into her bedroom and took some precautionary measures. I removed the doorknob from the inside of the closet. I installed a small latch on the outside (ineffective against brute force, but it was all I could find without running out to Home Depot). I took several of the heavier bins of toys and shoved them up against the door. I haven’t had to block off her closet in almost a year. She looked at it with curiosity when I put her to bed that night, but didn’t ask. I think she knew what it was all about.

I asked her the next morning if she saw the monster that night, and she told me she hadn’t. Of course, there’s no guarantee that this solution is permanent. I don’t know what’s going on… what she saw, if it’s real or imaginary, but from the things I’ve seen, and the things that have happened in this past year, I just can’t be too careful. TC mark

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Shutterstock / Aleksandar Stojkovic
Shutterstock / Aleksandar Stojkovic

We yearn for the good ol’ days when hairy chests and full beards were celebrated on men instead of, well, the rigorous manscaping that’s going on nowadays.

Not on our side with this one? Here are 5 reasons — proven by science — why hairy men make awesome life partners:

1. They’re masculine.

It’s true! Research shows 54 percent of women prefer a masculine man with facial hair over a guy who’s clean shaven. (And if the majority of women agree on this, then they can’t all be wrong, can they? We think not.)

2. They’re smart.

Find doctors and geniuses sexy? Chances are they’re hairy under those white coats. Research shows that body hair is connected to intelligence. Still not convinced? Another study found that the majority of members in Mensa — the largest IQ society in the world — also have thick body hair!

3. They’re hilarious.

Jason Mantzoukas, Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Robin Williams, Jim Gaffigan and Zach Galifianakis have two things in common: They’re hilarious and they’re hairy. OK, so this isn’t exactly science, but whatever, it should be.

4. They’re into good causes.

When November rolls around you can see many men going all out with growing out their facial hair for “Movember” to promote awareness for prostate and testicular cancer. And a man who brings awareness to great causes is DEFINITELY marriage material.

5. They’re secure with themselves.

Currently the majority of millenial men — 57 percent, in fact — manscape. Want a man who doesn’t follow the status quo? Go hairy! TC mark

This post originally appeared at YourTango.

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Wall Decals Home Is Where Heart Quotes House by BestDecals on Etsy
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Flickr / Andrew Kalat
Flickr / Andrew Kalat

If you are like me and have just discovered the whole new world of yogadom, you’d no doubt have stalked numerous yoga blogs, websites (like this one) and started following yoga celebrities on Instagram with their impossibly beautiful, death-defying, paradigm-shifting selfies. Just check out #hollowbackpincha if you don’t believe me. Beyond the body beautiful however, many have touted the life-changing benefits of practicing.

Calmness, self-acceptance, compassion, enlightenment and all matters transcendental are pretty much up there on the list. Sure, these are all good. And I for one, am convinced yoga is a lifelong journey towards the inner self. Still, while most yogic scribes are happily breathing in their own spiritual ether (or as a renowned yoga instructor put it “stewing in their own juices”), I can’t help noticing some non-rarefied, oh-so-trivial kicks of this remarkable practice. Totally random. Totally underrated. Like those times when:

1. Your Arms Are So Tired They Can Hardly Peel That Damn Top Off

You are so destroyed by that last vinyasa flow class, getting that sports bra off over your head demands every last ounce of energy left in your triceps. We all know the tops are meant to be tight, to provide support, and of course.. to show off our toned-to-perfection torsos. But dammit, in the shower you totally regret choosing the S over the M.

Well, it did make my shoulders stand out more. Shrug. After an epic struggle in which you thought you’d never extricate yourself from the suffocating death grip of your yoga top, you finally experience joy and liberty in nudity under a rainshower. Ok maybe not all of us have a rainshower head but we can close our eyes and imagine…

2. 7AM Yoga Class

Don’t judge me now. I used to be someone who cannot wake up before 10AM on days I don’t have to be at work or an appointment. The first time I pulled myself out of bed for a sunrise yoga session, I fully expected it to be my last. But then, I kept going. I can’t explain it, to be honest. All I know is early morning yoga classes are a gift to mankind. Most gyms aren’t even opened at that time. And imagine doing zumba or bellydance or tango at dawn. Shudder. Just doesn’t happen. You have a mini epiphany that you are actually doing sun salutations the way they were intended.

Like I said, it’s a mini one, because you in fact don’t even notice the sun coming up while in the throes of a really vigorous flow sequence punctuated by excruciating asanas. After class, you are struck with the realization that it’s only whaaat? 8:15AM, and the day with its infinite possibilities stretch temptingly ahead of you. Perhaps you gotta work. Bummer. But hey, you go through the day knowing you’ve already fought and endured through one challenge. You secretly smile as you think smugly to yourself, “I’m done with my yoga for today”. Blasphemy of course. No one is ever “done” with yoga. But oh, you know what I mean.

3. Planning Your Yoga Wear A Full Week In Advance

You consciously make a decision NOT to wear boom-boom colored cum wild-patterned leggings two days consecutively. Cos doing so might earn you a yogatramp stamp. You also want to coincide the donning of your newest, most state-of-the-art yoga pants with that cute instructor’s class, just so he knows how seriously you’re taking your practice. The trusty all-black tights is reserved for the time of the month when you feel all bloaty and unattractive. Oh, and the bright teal yoga top with the fancy, criss-crossing back straps that arrived in the mail this morning? Sigh, decisions decisions decisions. I’m shallow. Whatever.

4. Not Being The Newbie In The Class

Everytime the instructor asks, “Who is new to a power class here?”, your sympathy goes out to the tentative shy hand that is raised. First of all, nobody enjoys the moment when all eyes in the room dart towards you. Especially if these are supercharged shards of laser-beam intensity gazes emanating from highly advanced yogis and yoginis. Secondly, nobody likes being labelled a rookie. And you know this rookie is in for a wild ride. You settle comfortably in the complacent anonymity of what must be your 256th class (ballpark), thinking back to that DAY when it was you who raised your hand. Thankfully, those days (or rather, that day) are over.

5. Being Able To Communicate In An Ancient Language

So cool right? Not only does yoga make you feel hot, it makes you feel smart. Sure, every asana has its equivalent in English. But it is sometimes simply more straightforward to refer to it in Sanskrit. “Put the soles of your feet together, open up the hips and let the knees fall to the side.” Err.. Come again? “Go into your Baddha Konasana” Ahh.. Got it! Your confidence grows as your vocabulary does. You know you’ve graduated from Yoga 101 when names like Pinchamayurasana and Utkatasana roll effortlessly off your tongue. Yoga spelling bee anyone? My favourite is Paschimottanasana. So tricky, that one. Want a real challenge? Try Utthita Hasta Padangustasana. Do we really need to use the Sanskrit names? No. We do so cos we CAN. So there. You jelly?

When all else fails, there is always OM.

And Namaste.

Peace out. TC mark









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Flickr / Calgary Reviews
Flickr / Calgary Reviews

For the past three years I have been a hostess at the same restaurant. I applied in high school when a friend and I thought it would be fun to get our first jobs at the same place. We both had no previous retail experience, or experience doing much of anything besides being typical teenagers with no real career goal in mind. So, together, we picked restaurant work. We were both hired easily and began our new lives in the American workforce as hostesses. Our jobs seemed simple: greet the guest, seat the guest. 

We had simple rules to live by when hosting, like the 10-4 rule. Smile at 10 feet away, acknowledge the guest from four feet away. Never ask if they’ve been here before–  too pushy. Rephrase. Ask what their favorite item is on the menu. Don’t tell guests they get free ribs on their first visit, they’ll lie the next time and expect free ribs. 3 years, or more specifically 1,095 days later, I am still hosting. 

The rules have developed into habits. And while I do still love meeting new people every shift and interacting with different personalities, being a host is no simple task. At the restaurant I work at, we hosts get a lot of trash talk when it comes to our jobs.

“It’s so easy. The only thing you do is walk back and forth from the host stand every shift and talk to each other. It’s the easiest job in the world.”

Wrong. Hosting is no cake walk.

We take shit, and when I say shit, we take the whole load. Not only are we in charge of seating thousand of guests, but we are also psychologists, maids, dishwashers, and nannies. Because we not only know how to multitask and watch your children while arguing about how the tables are bolted into the wall, and no you cannot move them; we would also make the perfect girlfriends.

1. She is queen of multitasking.

Hosts could literally be known as the best multi-taskers in the world. With so many people at the host stand on busy nights, she may have ten different jobs aside from what you think she’s doing. She’s not just standing there, saying hi to people and writing down names. She is also coordinating, taking people pack to their tables, updating, monitoring server rotation, keeping the other hosts in check, making sure there’s enough silver and plates, as well as trying to maintain her own sanity.

2. She’s good with kids.

Hosts can be caught up not only greeting guests, but can also become instant nanny. I don’t know how many times I have had parents pull me off to the side asking if I could watch their children or take them to the bathroom. Don’t even get me started about kids night.

Make me a balloon animal!

Can you color with my child?

Can you like watch my kid for ten minutes?

Here, stay with my daughter in the stall. She can wipe… usually. Sometime’s she wants someone else to do it.

Can you throw away this diaper for me?

3. She knows how to deal with all different types of people.

In my three years of hosting, I think I have met just about every kind of person there is. Hosts have been trained to deal with all kinds of personalities and all types of situations.

4. She has mastered the art of perfecting the perfect poker face.

What she’s thinking?  Nobody knows. Thanks in part to the superhero like ability to maintain her composure and quite literally, “fake it until she makes it.”  Hosts are master actors and actresses, they have refined the art of pretending to be happy and excited, when they are more than likely seething on the inside. Since it is our job to deal with people, we know how to keep everything and everyone cool, calm, and collected when a guest is yelling in our faces about how we don’t know what we’re doing.

What do you mean you don’t take reservations?

We only take call aheads m’am, it is not a reservation. It shortens your wait time.

Why the hell would you not take reservations?!!  The other one does?!

No they don’t m’am. Our company uses a call ahead system.

Well that’s just bullsh*t!!!  Where is your manager?!!  You all are **********     You get the picture.

5. She is really good at acting like she gives a shit.

Oh, you prefer your rolls a little less dark?  You want our baker to make you some personal rolls that are hot, but not too hot, just a little warm?  You like it when your rolls are more squishy on the inside?  Here, would you like some raw dough then?

You want us to turn the lights up because it gives you a headache in dim lighting?  Excuse me while I give a fuck. This is a restaurant, bitch.

6. She’ll never walk in on you without announcing her presence first.

Worried about her walking in on you watching porn?  No need!  Hosts are trained to announce themselves when they turn every corner. Just make sure you delete your search history when you hear “CORNER IN!”

7. She knows how to compromise.

One of the biggest things we are taught how to do is be amazing at compromising. That’s basically our job title – “The Great Compromiser”. As hosts, we are in charge of dealing with large, and sometimes unruly, large parties. It’s up to us to get a party of 55 to agree to split up their party and sit at different tables, because no, we don’t have a table that can hold 55 people, believe it or not.

8. She can talk about anything.

Hosts can literally make conversation about anything. As hosts, we are the first faces guests see when they walk in. It is our job to make the guests feel welcomed and to put them in a good mood. Whether it be complimenting their outfit, hair, or makeup, or asking how they felt about the score from the big game on our way to the table, we are masters of chit-chatting.

9. She is legitimately concerned for how your day is going.

One of the first things we are trained to ask guests when we take them to their table is, “Are you guys having a good day so far?”  Over the course of one shift, a host will ask this questions literally hundreds of times. I’ve asked it so many times, I find that I am actually caring more and more for people I don’t even know and how their day has been.

10. She will laugh at all your jokes, even if they’re stupid or don’t make sense.

As a hostess, we constantly have people trying to make jokes when checking in at the host stand. It is our job to laugh at them, because it is our number one priority to make sure you have a good experience at our restaurant. So even when that drunk middle aged man makes a joke that literally makes no sense at all, we will laugh at it. Or when that guy checks in using the name, “Batman”, we will act like its the funniest thing in the world because we know that’s what you want.

11. You will always be put first.

The main job of a host is to put all other needs before one’s own. Yes, we are tired. We want to go home. But it is our job to stay and fulfill all of our guests needs and desires. No matter how we feel or what we want to do, we must always consider the comfort of others.

Do they need bread?  Is their table okay?  Do they need a highchair or would a booster seat work?  Are they comfortable in their booth?  Is their enough room?  Is the music too loud?  Is it too hot or too cold?  Do they need another drink?  Does their food taste good?

12. She is a people person.

And if nothing else excites you, know that she is, above all else, a people person. That’s why we chose this job and that’s why we were hired. We simply love people and interacting with them. A host is a friendly, kindhearted person who can get along with almost anybody. It is proven that people with sufficient “people skills” succeed far more in life, careers, and romance than those who aren’t. 

We chose the host life because there is no better feeling than to make someone else happy. We strive to put others before ourselves and to make sure that everyone is cared for and feels welcomed and at home. We are extremely organized and self sufficient. We are independent and strong. We are all around amazing because we are true leaders. We represent everything that our brand stands for, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful. TC mark









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On March 18th, 34-year-old Colorado resident Dynel Catrece Lane lured the pregnant 26-year-old Michelle Watkins to her home under the guise of selling her baby clothes where she attacked her and used a piece of glass to cut the woman’s baby from her womb. While the victim survived, her baby did not.

The attacker, now held on million dollar bond, was caught and arrested but she will not be charged with the murder of the victim’s baby. According to Colorado law, a fetus has to be viable, capable of living outside a mother’s womb, in order to be considered a person. However, according to the attacker’s husband, who had no part in the attack, he found the baby in the Lane family’s bathtub directly after the attack and claimed it was breathing before eventually expiring. Just how long the fetus was breathing on its own is unknown but could come out in court, eventually.

The question then is what will she be charged with? Will it be assault? Attempted murder? Both seem lesser than the act committed. TC mark

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