Wisdom and Advice
Your own independent thinking is more important than all of this put together. No one else is you. As humans we have this tendency of thinking that if it works for us, surely it will work for a stranger, but even in the best circumstances that's not quite how it works. However, you might find some useful information here that helps you in life. Anything typed longform here is from my own experience, and again, might not be relevant to you.
General life advice
- All things considered, the 90s were actually worse than now, even with a global pandemic. Lo, let me count the ways: we had lotsa AIDS and it had such a stigma people weren't really getting treated, kids in my school got broken bones like every month cause safety wasn't really as much of a priority when exercising, we didn't even know what genderqueer was let alone the other parts of the rainbow community besides "gay" and the existence of lesbians was only then starting to become well known, mental health awareness wasn't a thing because you were either crazy or sane and that was it; the standard advice was to think positive and grin and bear it, things were somehow even more fucked around the world in various countries, self care consisted of fucking around in the neighborhood after school being up to no good while your parents hoped you didn't get into trouble and your parents usually had no self care if they weren't rich or fans of credit cards, the consumerist craziness was out of control and plastic crap built up everywhere, speaking of 'out of control' the racism was absolutely bonkers esp. the institutionalized kind like denying good housing and jobs to Black and Native people - yep even worse than now, warnings about 'at risk youth' abounded because of the amount of gang bullshit going on in most major cities and they recruited young, most family restaurants still had smoking sections, people everywhere were way more racist and sexist and xenophobic (this was the era of 2Pac and Biggie, let's not forget), income inequality was bad, pay phones were scary as hell cause who knew what germs were on those, for some reason people actually bothered to still patronize Amtrak and Greyhound and if you've ever traveled on those Luxury Lines you know what's wrong with that, dial-up was a shit, cities were dirty places you generally went to get mugged or depressed, we had even more of a class divide than what's going on today and there was still a stigma of staying in your lane, many people spent much of their lives in front of the TV which is actually worse than the 'net because there's no choosing or cross-checking information sources, education was realllly bad, and let's not forget, we didn't really have the internet so misinformation was far more harmful and we had less info in general. Out of sight, out of mind, and lots of crap went on that was covered up more easily. And we had the abominations known as mom jeans, rayon exercise gear, spandex workout zoot suits, and teal colored everything. God, I hate teal. Things seemed good because ad executives and politicians and marketing folks and TV said it was good, but it wasn't. It really wasn't. Things are better, and they are improving.
- If you, like me, want to take serious risks because you are straight up a daredevil, don't put other people at risk right along with you. You'll probably regret it just as much as I do these days.
- Sometimes, you just have to go for it.
- You know what's worse than risk? Not taking enough risks. Because not having anything to live for or enjoy in life is way more of a risk than never taking risks. Could make you seriously depressed or even suicidal if you do that too much. And no one gets out of this alive anyway. So yeah, safety good, but don't go overboard. Forget about 'safety first.' Carpe diem. Just don't do something seriously dumb and ruin your life.
- If you learn to be happy on your own not only are you a better friend, but you wind up with better friends
- Cultivate a real friendship with yourself. Self-compassion helps with becoming a kinder, better person
- A large percentage, probably a majority, of the world's population is straight-up evil. They just hide it well. Keep this in mind with all social interaction and don't let on you know.
- Forgiving one's abusers is the classic mind trick used to get victims to continue to be victims. It's usually done with Christianity and "for your own good, so you can heal" as an excuse. Abusive people are not good friends. They're not good to have around. They're just not good, period, ever, no matter how much they've "changed." Leave them alone or set up extremely strong boundaries and keep them up.
- Talking to gen Z kids is a trip. Apparently they don't have as much clique drama in their schools, in fact, sometimes they have none at all. What on earth? Clearly, a superior generation. We essentially had uniforms for our cliques. The jocks wore their sports gear, the preps their rhinestone jeans and straightened hair, the emo kids black dyed hair and really expensive skinny jeans, etc. and heaven forbid you tried to speak to someone outside of your clique, disagree with the clique, or not fit into the clique by pretending to be someone you weren't really. You had to choose a clique or you wound up like me, friendless but with self-esteem intact. Authenticity made people really uncomfortable. Then again we were being raised and abused by Boomers, relentlessly broken into conformity by them in order to make their coddled lives easier, so hey, it makes sense
- People who are really into toxic positivity tend to have a terrible relationship with reality and usually flake when the chips are down. Generally speaking, you shouldn't trust them.
- Stay away from people who like to be part of groups a little too much. I mean it. Even a small tendency towards loving the borg hivemind life, or joining with the groupthink, is a major red flag and an indicator that this person has a habit of metaphorically beating their head against the wall in an effort to become wayyyy more stupid in order to fit in and often, such people have spectacular success in this endeavor. Then this person and all their little bugmen buddies quickly turn on you if you dare to wear red when the rest of them are wearing purple, or otherwise do some arbitrary thing that makes them all turn on you and all stab you in the back like Brutus betrayed Ceasar, because how dare you not be like them. Tribes and groups and cliques and crowds are nothing more than glorified mobs if the people in them aren't true to their individuality, and they'll turn on you in an instant. The sum total of my life experience has taught me this.
- Outcasts, pariahs, and scapegoats have one overlooked asset. When everyone tells you you're worthless for various reasons (some accurate, some so out-of-the-blue weird you don't have any idea why people think it's a problem) throughout your life, it all starts to sound the same, so all things being equal, you live life on your own terms. That's real freedom and I wonder if well-liked people have ever had a taste of it.
- Often, people will say that if you meet an asshole in the day, that's normal, but if everyone you meet that day is an asshole, you're the asshole. Those kinds of people have never lived in the kinds of places that I have, where everyone really was an asshole. Just because it sounds good and a lot of people parrot it or agree doesn't mean it's true.
- This might sound weird but it is crucial to do your best to never give a damn what anyone else thinks. 1. it gives you freedom 2. you don't have to pretend to be someone else in order to get people to like you 3. you wind up with friends who are genuine versions of themselves instead of whatever celeryman is the most popular type of human these days
- Celeryman is not your friend. Celeryman wants to be popular and liked, and you're not that important for that mission. Celeryman loves Instagram. Stay away. And don't be celeryman. Confession: I used to be celeryman, many years ago. Seems to be a stage people go through but scarily many never grow out of it.
- Sometimes you are in a place where it is impossible to make friends by being yourself. I still remember when I was bullied by everyone I knew for strange reasons, such as that my parents were immigrants, I was new in town, I had no friends already (LOL), I was not wearing what everyone else was wearing. I still remember the mob mentality that caused everyone to dump on me for everything, which had absolutely nothing to do with my actual personality - I was really quiet back then; didn't say or do much of anything. It made me figure out that all things being equal, you might as well be yourself and do what you want, because what difference does it make if they hate or love you for such arbitrary reasons? Even if they were to profess their admiration and love for you, it wouldn't be real. My point is 1. that many people will love or hate you for reasons that they say make sense, but don't. And such people don't make very good friends. and 2. Things like being thin, LGBTQ+, complaining, happy, curvy, outgoing, or quiet all are in vogue or forbidden in various human societies and various parts of our history for one reason or another. For instance, look up the pictures of Peter Paul Rubens; fat used to be fashionable. Also look up what some Native American tribes call "two-spirit;" being lesbian or gay in some tribes was once/still is a badge of honor. In some Slavic countries it is considered polite to complain about circumstances in order to open up a conversation. In Russia, people will look at you strangely if you smile at strangers. In Japan, it is considered rude to not be quiet (by American standards). Strange how we accept cultural paradigms without giving them a second thought. 3. Often it really is better to just be alone.
- Any real friend is worth their weight in gold. This is someone who doesn't hang out with you for ulterior, superficial reasons, who respects you, accepts you as you are, who is loyal, who is a decent human being, and most importantly someone who helps you when you truly need it. Be that friend, and don't accept anyone as your friend who does not bring that to the table unless you like potentially life-ruining drama. Problem: people like that are rare.
- People come with problems. It took me a whole lifetime to learn to not judge them for minor ones and I'm still struggling with it. Don't make my mistake. Decent human beings don't do evil things, and that is all the judging criteria you need for someone's character.
- Some really evil people masquerade as really good people and no matter how experienced you are in life with figuring out who is trustworthy and who isn't, you might wind up with one of them gumming up the works. For this reason don't trust anyone unless you've known them for a solid three years, at least.
- Bullies make bad friends even if the person they're bullying at the moment is not you.
- People in cults or who are obsessive about something can potentially turn on you no matter how long you've been friends. It's often not a question of morality but of mental health. Judge these guys on a case-by-case basis and be careful.
- Know your boundaries. What is okay? What is not? Some people love to party with their frat brothers every Saturday, make crude jokes, and draw dicks on their passed-out bros' faces. Some people love to have sterile dinner parties with their very hygienic, polite friends. Make your choices and keep to them because no one else can decide on what you like.
- Explain your boundaries and needs to your friends. They are not mind readers. If necessary, negotiate and compromise, but never on what's really important to you. No friendship is worth losing your self-respect.
- Call your friends. Send them letters. Email them. Four times a year is the absolute minimum if you don't see them very often. Real friends are always glad to see you after a long absence but those long absences suck. Revel in the good times together when you can get them and always, always seize the opportunity when it presents itself.
- Get pictures of your friends and stick them to your refrigerator or wall. This way you don't forget just how important they are, because brains are weird like that, and you'll remember to hang out and interact with them more.
- If someone doesn't want to be friends with you, then you wouldn't have much fun with them anyway. They're doing you a favor.
- Never turn away a friend in need, especially if they are in mental crisis. Not to be drastic, but the consequences could be severe, and at best you could lose your friendship. Besides, that's just straight-up cold and unfriendly. Some people make friendships just for the fun and games. It's wiser to make friendships for supporting one another when the chips are down.
- To make friendships, start with the ones you already have, and value the heck out of those. If you don't have any friends, then interact with people online, such as on Discord servers, and later when the pandemic is over and you're vaxxed, with people at places you go out to. Random chance is all it takes to meet your best friends in the world, and you increase the odds of that happening by putting yourself in social situations more. You don't have to say much either, just speak from the heart.
- If you care about someone's well being, express it. They won't know unless you tell them, and what's the point of that?
- Sometimes people lose their ever-loving minds for a few years, and then change, come around and beg for forgiveness. It happens.
- Communicate and overcommunicate. Chances are no one in the relationship is a mind reader. Be explicit about what you need, don't drop hints. Not just at the moment you need things either. Talk about your needs from a perspective of 'must have in order to stay sane in a relationship' and ask about theirs, then talk/ask about your desires for a perfect one. You don't need to settle for mediocrity when you can have collaboration that creates something amazing. Just talk, damn it!
- I just saw a scene in The Mitchells vs The Machines that reminded me of one in Steven Universe. Of a preteen dude indicating interest in a girl by communicating respectfully and clearly, and offering to spend time at his place having discussions about dinosaurs. My husband and I laughed about it because when we were growing up, the way we got flirted with was that people threw stuff at the back of our heads and laughed at us. (Or in my case, having an endless stream of 'nice guys' become friends with me only to friend-dump me when they discovered that their little charade didn't make me magically fall in love with them cause from the get go they only wanted a relationship, not a friendship, and failed to tell me.) There was also a huge emphasis on being rich enough to buy the best clothes and look 'hot.' Including in junior high. It defined your social status to classmates and teachers alike, and dateability. Our school hallways constantly reeked of Axe and everyone pretty much hated one another. Anyway there may be hope for our species after all
- Being a pickup artist is successful in nightclubs and bars only because people go there to get laid. Anywhere else, and you have yourself a recipe for a sexual harassment lawsuit. Plus there's also the sad fact that staring at someone's tits, making crude remarks about their body, or cat-calling them makes you look incredibly stupid, because uh, if you do that, you are. Think it through and you'll probably understand why I'm saying that, but most people who do this shit don't bother to think it through because... reasons?
- Confidence is attractive. That is why people tell you to get your mental health in check and learn to at least feel okay about yourself/not hate yourself/possibly even like yourself before going out to try to attract a partner. That is also why wearing oversize, bulky, unattractive clothing, no accessories or makeup, and not making eye contact with anyone is an excellent way of making sure people do not notice you, which is a tactic commonly used by very attractive women because believe it or not, they do not enjoy being cat-called every five seconds. Speaking of attractiveness, there's a downside to being conventionally handsome/beautiful and that is superficial people who hang around you for your looks alone, only you don't find out until a loooong time after the fact. In some areas really beautiful women are notorious for becoming drug addicts because they wind up with boyfriends who pretend to love them for them, and superficial partners often have other problems, like drugs. The superficial partner then dumps said beautiful woman after getting her addicted, and then she's an addict. It's sad as fuck. What's weirder is that society will tell you that working hard to make yourself beautiful by getting plastic surgery, wearing makeup and nice clothes, etc. is somehow immoral and then it will judge you for not being beautiful if you don't do it. That is, in itself, ugly and illogical, so if you would live a better life to look better, or if it would make you happy, by all means go for it.
- Know your mental health status and your partners. If they have any mental thing going on whatsoever it will affect everything and so will yours. Learn about the effects of their mental illness and of yours and learn how to properly manage the symptoms. Regular therapy for all parties in the relationship is a good idea too. A whole lot of relationship problems are the direct result of mental illness.
- It is nearly impossible for people to both be undamaged and find undamaged partners. Understand that the first few years you are with a person will probably be you running into each others' scars and accidentally hurting yourselves and each other. Try to overcommunicate as respectfully and gently as possible to reduce this problem; be prepared since you will likely wind up being each others' primary therapist and cheerleader. Understand that in order for you both to be happy you must find a way to compromise and collaborate through these issues and find the love or at least 'serious like' that powers the strength within you to handle them. Challenge is the name of the game. Ask yourself if it's worth it and be very clear about your feelings and dedication because you'll need that clarity to handle the crazy shit life throws at the both of you.
- Both parties must compromise and change in any relationship. ANY relationship. Maybe a little, maybe a lot, the relationship is bigger than the two of you and more complex and requires extra effort and sacrifice. If one or both parties are so inflexible they are not willing to change even a little for the health of the relationship, that isn't good. With the right partner who is also game to change, change is good. Embrace it.
- Never, ever judge the quality of a relationship with wishful thinking or emotional reasoning. Yep, love is a drug and it can addle your brain and ruin your life as a result. Use your logic and reasoning to fully hash out what is going on and if you are not compatible in terms of personality, fugheddaboudit. If you can't be yourself around them, and if they can't be themselves around you, then at some point you have to realize you just want other people, not each other. Letting go will be healthiest, and perhaps your friendship would be a lot healthier than your relationship ever was. Unfortunately, unhealthy relationships are a dime a dozen, and you cannot have a healthy relationship if it is not based on mutual friendship and respect. Period.
- If you can't trust or respect the other person, or vice versa, if you're not fully committed to the relationship with the explicit terms you set for it together, and if you're not giving equal effort to this relationship, this is not a healthy relationship, leave.Here's the golden question. Would you be friends with this person, even like them as a person, if you weren't dating them? If yes, great, if no, GTFO, nothing's right
- If you're being abused, leave. Just do it and don't look back or you can kiss your happiness, freedom, money, health, career, and hope for the future goodbye. You might even lose your life. If kids are in the picture, then this is the only thing you can do to keep them safe because for all the crap you'll go through, they'll go through even worse. Abusive relationships are addictions. Down a 1/4 c. hot chocolate every few hours for the first few months after you leave to make withdrawal more bearable if you can. Have a rebound relationship if you need to. Surround yourself with moral support, specifically people who have experience with dealing with being in abusive relationships. Do whatever it takes to make sure you don't go back to that person, because it's a threat to your life. I repeat: it could kill you. Worse, it could make you not care if you live or die because of how damn miserable you are. If someone is really making you that sad, making you cry all the time, they are not going to change anytime soon (if they do at all), and they certainly aren't your soul mate. In fact, they're doing evil deeds, because you don't do that kind of stuff to anyone who loves you. And if you have loved ones who care about you it would make them really sad. Often people stay in abusive relationships out of self-hate or a lack of self-love, so if you think that's possibly an issue for you, cultivate your self-esteem and really fight to improve it. In particular if you were abused during your childhood it may have been normalized in your mind so for your own sake before you start dating get therapy. Do it. Even if you're bullheaded enough to never be abused after such a childhood what's stopping YOU from being abusive if you don't get therapy, hey?
- Your relationship with your parents and authority figures in childhood can harm your dating life, especially if they're abusive and you still live with them or have contact with them. Unless they have utterly changed the way they treat you and have quit abusing you cold turkey, it is dangerous for your mental health to look for partners while still in that toxic living situation because it's nearly impossible to get your head screwed on straight while in one. Then you might wind up with a partner that's just as abusive as your folks or worse. Move out ASAP, preferably before dating, and give it a year before you date.
- If one of your friends is in an abusive relationship, for the reasons listed above, chances are they're not really staying out of a desire to hurt themselves but because they're too traumatized by their life experiences to leave; experiences that taught them the only way to survive was to endure. The best thing you can do to help them is to just be their friend, be there for them, help them love themselves, and offer them a couch to crash on for as long as they want should they decide to leave the relationship. Many people stay in abusive relationships (besides the prev. listed reasons) because they don't have any support system to fall back on. Leaving your friend in the lurch because you're disgusted that they won't leave that relationship is not going to win you any brownie points for doing the right thing, because it's not.
- The healthiest way to leave a relationship is in one of two ways. One is to just ghost the person if they are so abusive that you fear for your life. Leave, change your address, make sure they can never contact you again, and get law enforcement to know about the danger to you. Get a restraining order too if you can. Don't worry about your stuff; take any kids with you; cut all ties and never return; you're lucky to escape. The second way is to sit down face-to-face and be as respectful as you possibly can, as if you were talking to a dear friend, because you want them to be able to have their self-esteem intact afterwards and not to scar them for life and that is the responsible, adult thing to do. Don't, however, sugarcoat what you are doing or take forever to get to the point: tell them you are breaking up with them outright. Give them the most simplified reason you have phrased in the most gentle way possible, and if it happens to be infidelity you're an asshole, so you deserve any insults they throw at you. After you've explained yourself don't dally; pack up your stuff and leave quickly. Any other way to do this is way more painful and scarring. If you have any mutual friends, it is a good idea to ask one of them to help your ex through the pain.
- The healthiest way to get through being dumped depends on the relationship. If you love the person's personality and they love yours, question whether this was a big misunderstanding, and hound the person until they sit down and talk to you; you never know. If however things were not healthy or admittedly one-sided, stay the hell away for at least a year and a half until your emotions calm down, because love is an addiction and withdrawal is ugly as well as embarrassing. Even if you built your whole life around the notion you'd spend forever with that person and were completely broken when they left and truly believe you'll only ever love them and never love again, realize this: no one who truly loves you would ever put you through that, and even if they did, that kind of shithead is not worth loving. Another helpful tip: view the way they broke up with you with intense scrutiny and think about each detail with as much clarity as you can summon up, then figure out if it was sociopathic, vindictive, callous, or cruel. Yes? Good riddance. Believe it or not they would likely have treated you with that level of disrespect throughout any emotional argument you might have had, because breakups cause people to show their inner issues. To get through it use plenty of chocolate and whatever works to get you to focus on sex instead of love, plus throw yourself into a career field that requires a lot of time and energy and fill the void by interacting way more with family and friends, forcing yourself to if that's what it takes. Any temptation to go back to that unhealthy relationship is a sign you do not love yourself enough so seriously engage with self-care and self-help. Boost your mood regularly with whatever does the trick for you such as exercise, camping, dancing, whatever. Flirt with hotties while you're at it; a little of that is good for the soul plus if the compliments are genuine and you keep the mood light, you boost their mood so it's a win win. Since this is drug withdrawal, you should read The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx and listen to its soundtrack on Youtube or Spotify; if he can do it, you can do it. You may need antidepressants and therapy as well so don't deny yourself those. Three years will make it better, and then you can look back and go "wtf." Bonus: losing a lousy relationship like that frees up space for one that is actually good. Extra bonus: you get your life back.
- Abusive relationships where both sides love or at least like each other are the most sticky, ugly, bad situations in the world of relationships. They also appear to be the most common these days. In these the best idea is first (if applicable) to throw whoever threw a punch in jail, and then to take three years away from each other without any contact whatsoever and have both party go through three years of extensive therapy and introspection. Next some 'real talk' has to take place in order to redefine the terms of the relationship. However, if that is not an option, ladling on heavy, hefty doses of logic on both parties, moving them into separate living situations (houses not rooms!) and having them go to both couples therapy and individual therapy is the best idea. Well that or ghosting each other permanently. The fact that these ugly scenarios are so common these days are why I wrote this section in the first place.
- "You complete me" is one of the most toxic, unhealthy things you could say. Have your own life for heaven's sake; it's really unhealthy to be codependent. It's not your partner's job to make you a whole, healthy, and happy human and it puts too much pressure on them if you expect or want that. See next point.
- If you don't sincerely want your partner to happy and know that their happiness makes you happy, it might not be healthy. That level of sacrifice and setting aside your own ego is important for the compromises needed in any relationship. The real question here is who are you trying to make happy here? Are you using them like a druggie uses their substance of choice in order to feel the high of a relationship? Of course they have to feel the same way about you and their actions have to match their words.
- You will argue. Learn to do it in a manner where you both attack the problem instead of each other, and otherwise as pleasantly as possible
- If you don't want to ruin a good friendship with a relationship but otherwise have no real reason not to give a relationship a shot, reconsider the friend zone. You could be missing out big time. Worst case scenario the relationship dissolves, you spend a few years apart, then reconsider everything. Every good relationship is built on friendship. That's the bedrock.
- You do not have to have that "i am so in love" feeling that people chase after in order to have a perfectly great relationship. In fact, that feeling is the sole reason why people so often stay in toxic relationships because it is actually an addiction. If everything else is going great, then you can cultivate that feeling later with things like aphrodisiacs, communication about what you think is romantic and sexy to your partner, fulfilling their romantic/sexual fantasies, having them fulfill yours, and so on.
- Chances are very high that if you fall in love with someone for real, aka "true love," it will not at all feel like what the books and magazines and TV shows and movies depict it as. Chances are high you will feel terrified, awkward, kind of weird, and even physically sick. You could also feel nothing at all, no emotions aside from an intellectual liking for the person. You could even feel like you chose the wrong partner, or like you're somehow doing the wrong thing by being with them. The question is if you're willing to fight for it and that requires honesty with yourself. A lifetime of programming, often including that lying to yourself is a great thing to do, and even of programming a neat little personality into you that you never actually had or wanted in the first place, could come crashing down all at once. So yeah, falling in love for real can crush a lot of expectations. It can also create a lot of stress and emotional upheaval. That's a major reason why people say you should love yourself and have a good life before you go out looking for love. Is it worth it? Obviously.
- Certain things are total dealbreakers in relationships. Common ones include swinging and infidelity, physical or mental or emotional abuse, and refusing to cater to a narcissistic sociopath, of which in this world there are many. Figure out your dealbreakers by spending time with a partner and if possible, take a long time before you commit too much. For instance, getting married and having kids really soon sounds romantic but could create a big disaster. Forever is forever and with the right person, waiting will not be a big deal. A pain in the ass and something to bite nails over, sure, but tolerable, not a huge to-do. Hustling yourselves into quick commitment out of fear of things falling apart if you don't make grand gestures should be a big red flag for the whole relationship.
- It takes a special kind of person to be polyamorous. It takes a real asshole to demand polyamory from a partner that isn't quite 100% okay with it; that's coerced infidelity and it never ends well. A poly person would be better off breaking up with a monogamous person and going off in search of what they were looking for. Polyamory =/= being in a harem, and it is not about you, or being greedy for the goodies. Beware: using your partners in polyamory or being manipulative or withholding why you're truly there is seriously messed up, and it happens way too often; often poly people with the best intentions wind up being suckered into a harem king/queen scenario with an unhealthy power dynamic by those who don't "get" polyamory at all so be careful. It quite literally requires you to have an extremely well defined, fully agreed upon relationship with more than one person and for them to be okay with it, fully consent to the whole kit and caboodle, know exactly what they're getting into AND understand their relationship with each other. If you're monogamous at heart and have fallen for someone who is definitely poly, cut your losses and don't go there; friendzone each other or you could be in for a world of hurt. All parties have to be completely honest and share the whole truth of "why we do this" with one another. Know yourself and know your limits; although polyamory sounds like fun for a lot of people, it requires all of the work a monogamous relationship does and wayyy more. Communicate and overcommunicate, sure, and lay out all limits, expectations, and desires for the relationship from the beginning but be very careful: most people are not at all polyamorous and will lose their shit with jealousy. Plus there is also the serious possibility that someone who thinks they're truly polyamorous is really just scared of commitment and baring their soul to just one person and never wants to really settle down but just wants fun and never actually says so; truly poly people would probably get annoyed at such partners so know thyself and COMMUNICATE. Sweet heaven, the potential for drama in any relationship is magnified by so much in poly ones. I say this as an outsider but I've seen a lot of this stuff from the outside.
- Relationships are like gardens. The more effort you put into them, the more good stuff happens as a result.
- Marriage and children are not relationship glue. They are Molotov cocktails if your relationship is not on excellent footing to begin with. Other big grand gestures are also not relationship glue, such as expensive gifts, trips to Hawaii, looking good in public, etc. Straight up the only relationship glue that exists is to learn to like one another more and more as time goes on and that requires emotional/relational hard work. It also doesn't hurt to work on your self-love.
- The better you treat yourself, the better you know how to treat who you're in a relationship with, and everyone wins, so cultivate self-love
- Be really careful who you "let in" to your relationship. Often, well-meaning advice can destroy a good thing because the advisors don't have a clue what's really going on. If you need advice, generally speaking books are better than nosy friends because you can discard or keep the advice according to your circumstances, and it's not biased or targeted to the myopic view an outsider has about your relationship because it's targeted to a general audience.
- Listen to your heart and gut, but listen to your mind before everything else. That, out of the three, will never lead you astray as long as you're using good logical reasoning instead of emotional reasoning. This will determine your future freedom. Why be a slave to an emotion and thus a bad situation?
- No matter what anyone says, each love story is completely different, and there is no one-size-fits-all relationship advice ever. You're kind of on your own for a lot of the major stuff.
- Regardless how things are actually going, it's always a good idea to read books for relationship health, because it's kind of like insurance for one of the most important things in your life, if not the most important thing
- Ignore all advice about marriage and children. So many circumstances and details are involved in making those choices that outsiders don't have a clue.
- If you are physically female, you are by default going to be weaker and smaller than your male peers, and they will get something like 3x the benefit from working out that you do. No, it is not fair. Train consistently, week after week, month after month, year after year. Being weak and puny is not fun in the slightest even if you consider yourself "not an athlete." Consider working out for strength gains an investment for your safety and mental health because it is. One more thing: do workouts designed for men, not women; the female-targeted crap will keep you weak. Weight training. Football drills. Wrestling. That kind of stuff will get you built. With that said, don't get arrogant about your abilities. Despite your best intentions, chances are that unless you really bust your ass, as a female you are not likely to be able to hold your own against a man with the same amount of training. At least until we figure out how to surpass this hurdle, which is possible. This is not sexism, it's realism.
- If female, buy expensive sports bras, the kind that actually hold breasts in place while you're running or doing other high-impact exercise, and hand-wash them. In fact hand-wash all bras. It really sucks to replace bras every two months and have them stop really working one month in. Try Brooks Running for good sports bras. Push-up bras combined with cheap uniboob sports bras are a good combination if you can't afford the more expensive stuff.
- If it hurts while you're doing it in an extreme way, then it might be messing up your body in the long term. When in doubt consult with a doctor.
- Avoid anything with the potential for head trauma. This includes (oddly) actually playing football, MMA, boxing, and rugby. You can't play down something that affects your mental state. I've actually seen an ex-MMA fighter's whole personality do a 180 possibly because of this.
- A few minutes of exercise will not get rid of a decade of being sedentary and the consequences are horrific. The more you learn about them, the more you move around thanks to negative motivation, so learn about them. Mr. Rogers did an hour of swimming every single morning of his life, and I know a couple other elderly folks who do the same and can still move around easily at an advanced age with a lifestyle similar to that they had 20 or 30 years ago. It seems to be a kind of fountain of youth. So I recommend ya exercise for an hour a day if you can without fail.
- Walking, swimming, and other low-impact exercise is vastly underrated. Even if you do five minutes a day it's better than none at all, and over the years it really adds up. Do as much of it as feels healthy, and eventually your body will tell you "hey I need exercise now," and "hey, I need rest now." Once you start getting instincts to exercise you know you're on the right track.
- The only job worth having is one with good coworkers, good managers, and a good boss. That way even if you're literally standing around pushing a button every five minutes or some dumb thing like that, it's tolerable. Stick around in a job like that; quit a job that is not like that. Lousy people make jobs prison sentences and they can completely destroy your mental and physical health. Yeah... learned this one from experience.
- Your boss needs you just as much as you need them. If there isn't mutual respect there at your first interview indicating that your potential boss understands this fact and is more than willing to treat you like a human, it is not going to be a healthy relationship. Choose your jobs with just as much care as you would a spouse.
- Know your physical and mental limits and explicitly lay them out at your first interview. If you don't have that option, tell your boss and manager pronto, and then stick to the limits even if it means you'll lose your job. You can lose your job. If you lose your mind or your physical health, that's far worse. You may never get those back. That said, you'd better have limits that make sense, not things like "my pronouns are crystal, crystalline, and selenite." It is not your boss's or coworkers' job to care about you.
- Do your job to the best of your ability and don't screw over your coworkers so they have to pick up your slack. Then again if you're the only one working like a dog in order to pick up everyone else's slack, get out while you can.
- Music, as in your own favorite music, makes the commute and the whole day tolerable. The cool bosses allow you to listen to portable music as you work. Hopefully you find one.
- If your coworkers that have been there for longer than a few months have the time to be toxic and intolerable, they aren't working, which says volumes about the kind of management you have running the place. Rethink working there. There is plenty of work available in this country for people who actually work, since the real idiots running us into the ground aren't the immigrants but the people who aren't pulling their weight, of which there are many, and smart employers know it.
- Meal prep twice a week, like on Sunday and Wednesday. It makes all the difference between burning out because you're always hunting for your next gobbled snack and being properly fueled with 3 squares and 2 Nalgenes a day.
- Plan your menu and grocery list every Sunday or you're doomed and gonna go to the store like every single day, which is exhausting when you have to take care of work and chores and all that other stuff
- Force yourself into bed at a reasonable hour whether you like it or not because otherwise you'll feel like death warmed over at your next shift
- Look good for your shift and freshen up mid-shift. This is something many immigrants and children of immigrants don't know about American work culture and it bit me - how you look is perceived to be just as important as the quality of work you're doing and sometimes even more important. It's crazy, but it is what it is.
- Dressing for success is equal parts dressing to impress and dressing for your own comfort. It's worth the extra money for the good shoes and whatever else helps you not ache after a full shift.
- Take your legally mandated breaks and meditate, play phone games, or zone out (or something similarly chill) during them. If you don't take your breaks, you could exhaust yourself.
- Stack your accumulated days off so your body has time to recover. 3 days is better than 2, and 2 is better than one. If you're in one of those cushy jobs that has weekends off I guess you're fine though. Unfortunately, just one day off per week is rough on you.
- Watch out for overusing caffeine to get through a long shift. It can and will wire you and then drop you through the floor. Sip it and restrict yourself to one cup or can per 4 hours, ffs
- A quick shower and change of clothes when you get home can mean the difference between feeling like you're in a pool of ick all night and feeling refreshed
- Do not be afraid to take a gap year between high school and college. Heck, even a few gap years to iron out what you want to do with yourself. College is not the place to be figuring out what you want to do with your life. It's way too expensive for that.
- Obama lied. There is no such thing as "good debt" with regards to college loans, especially considering the insanely high interest rate. You do not want to be waiting on a job that might not materialize after college in order for you to pay for it now. If all you or your family can afford is local community college, that might be your best option. If you want more, then apply to as many scholarships as possible and hope you get some. Don't go to a college you can't afford NOW. Relying on luck and fortune, or a future windfall, is a recipe for trouble.
- If your family convinces you not to worry about how you'll pay for your college education, worry about it anyway. Think twice, because you could wind up like me and have your family refuse to pay at the last moment, and guess whose name is on the student loans? Yours. Debt collection calls for years. Is your family not like that? Thank your lucky stars and treasure them.
- If you can manage it, then instead of immediately enrolling in a college, take a year or a few while you work and just buy the assigned textbooks from your college of choice, with your major of choice and the classes required for that year's semester/s, and work your way through them all. Assign yourself a certain number of chapters per month, check your work with the answer key at the back of the textbooks, and you'll actually know more than most of the students grinding their way through college. Really. Worst case scenario, you won't be able to go to college but you'll know more than you would otherwise; medium case scenario when you do take the courses you'll already know most of the material and coast; best case scenario you'll CLEP out of most of the 101s and get your expensive piece of paper (diploma) in record time.
- Some community colleges are very, very, extremely underrated. Of course, some also suck. You might wind up looking into an out-of-state community college. To get in-state residency so you pay less for tuition usually takes anywhere from 1-5 years plus living and working there during that time, depending on the state you're moving to, and sometimes marrying someone from that state makes you a resident of that state by default. Check the laws of the intended state, and uh, your dating life.
- It has been my experience that those who exert effort to conform to social norms such as manners, courtesy, and etiquette lapse in more important ethical areas, and the greater the control exerted over the trivialities, the greater the transgressions in ethics. Therefore it is my opinion that to be crude, rude, and rough around the edges is infinitely better than the alternative. It's not like doing the right thing is easy anyway, and if you spend so much energy on the social superficial niceties, where will you get the energy to do right? More importantly, where will you find a psychological outlet for your frustrations and strong emotions? However, this is not an invitation to be abusive or hurtful to people in the name of 'not being canceled' or 'just saying what's on your mind.' That's dumping on someone and they don't deserve it.
- Being yourself is not a passive endeavor, it's a battle against a horde of angry inauthentic people. And if you do it, you'll guaranteed start to accumulate bad experiences, possibly even trauma. Why? Because merely existing as your authentic self is enough to set the lemmings off. Do it anyway because the more authentic people there are the more people start to take off their phony masks. In the end this is the only true freedom there is.
- It is far easier to come to terms with yourself, understand yourself, and stay true to your principles if you travel regularly and/or learn new stuff regularly. Why? Because that way you see the forest instead of just the trees, the underlying bullshit behind so much of what people who never leave their towns believe is an okay way of life, what you're like when you're alone and faced with new stimuli, how you handle crisis, what conditions are really like in various places instead of the stereotype, and much, much more. This is the reason why I am outright discriminatory against people who don't travel or extensively study or even want to: they don't understand a goddamn thing. I can like them, but I sure can't trust them, save for the dreamers. And no, I am not taking that back.
Big Brain Time