my parents aren’t teaching me life lessons.
Some shit about life, from a bonafide adult:
- even if you get along great with your family you will get along even better with them after moving out
- generic is almost always just as good as name brand. But there are some things you never buy generic, including: peanut butter, ketchup, liquid NyQuil, Chips-Ahoy chewy chocolate chip cookies
- just imagine the person on the other end of the phone hates talking on the phone as much as you do. Even a receptionist. I worked as one and I hate talking on the phone
- at least once in your life you will go to Wal-mart to buy something under $20 like an ironing board or something and your debit card will get rejected. No one will judge. Everyone at some point in their lives has had $2.98 in their bank account.
- thrift stores
- everyone else is too busy panicking about everyone else noticing every tiny thing that could possibly be wrong about them to notice any tiny thing that could possibly be wrong about you
- you will screw up. a lot. you live and you learn. and when you start to think too hard about that embarrassing thing that happened and how you wish you could change it, just tell yourself that what’s done is done. There’s no changing it, so just forget it and move on. It’s the only way to stay sane.
- do the dishes before the sink grows its own ecosystem
- you can’t put Dawn dishsoap in the dishwasher.
- if you are the only one in the aisle at the grocery store, and you need to get from one end to the other without even looking at anything in that aisle, then you should totally cart-surf down the aisle. Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional. Hold on to the little things. They make all the difference.
- never try to make cake from scratch at 3am. You end up with a topographical map of Middle Earth.
- 15% tip.
- the best way to get money for food is to tell your grandparents about how you basically live on microwaved mac and cheese. Their horror may result in twenty bucks and orders to go out and get yourself “a real dinner”.
- sometimes life sucks, and knowing that it might get better doesn’t always make it suck any less, but you’ll never get to the non-sucky days without enduring the suckiness.
- no seriously, NEVER put Dawn in your dishwasher
I would add:
- Don’t buy generic parmesan cheese, either. It’s worth the pennies for Kraft.
- 20% tip. The people that serve you in a restaurant count on the generosity of others. Consider it a form of pay it forward, because there is inevitably a jerk making over $100K a year who leaves a 2-5% tip. I know, because I used to be married to one of them.
- If you get your clothes out of the dryer and lay them flat, they won’t look wrinkled, but you didn’t have to fold them or put them away. It’s amazing how long it’s possible to get dressed from a stack of clothes that moves from your bed to other flat surfaces repeatedly.
- Don’t be afraid to be kind and to give help when you can. Does the man holding the sign in the grocery store lot REALLY need food? I don’t know. Why not buy him some fresh muffins and fruit anyway?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Monetary or otherwise. The people that you love and that love you—whether your family or your chosen family—need to know what help you need. They can’t read minds.
Things I’d like to add:
- Buy one good cookbook at the thrift store and learn it until you can do a few decent recipes in your sleep. It makes you look good, and soon you’ll realize you can make better mac & cheese from scratch, for cheaper.
- If you’ve got even the tiniest bit of apartment patio, grow something. Herbs, tomatoes, flowers - make something live.
- Do one Random Act a week, from paying for coffee for the person behind you to slipping love notes into books. The love you make, people.
Other things I would like to add:
- Please, PLEASE get insurance. You are too young to be lumped with debt if your toaster accidentally burns down your apartment or you drive your piece of crap car into the back of a Benz. It may seem like an additional expense but hey, it’s piece of mind or paying back a loan you had to get because you had no other choice.
- omfg pay your bills FIRST. Budget. Your. Shit. My own mother’s rule of thumb was this: pay your bills first, buy your food, fill your car, put 10-20% into savings and the rest is yours to play with.
- No one actually gives a shit if you rock up to the gas station in your sweatpants and a grotty hoodie.
- Make time for your family. I am 28 and I still have dinner with my parents every week. I write to my grandparents who live four hours away. They LOVE getting handwritten letters and I love getting them in return.
- Don’t be a cunt.
I would also add:
- Sometimes a kindness from a stranger makes all the difference in the world. Offer to pay the ten cents difference in someone’s bill if they’re short and you’re behind them. Buy a homeless person a hot coffee when it’s cold out. Buy your cashier a chocolate bar. Small things like that can make all the difference between a shitty week and a great one.
- Maintain your car or else it will blow up on you at the worst possible time. I have had a car drop a drive shaft, explode, and almost any other terrible thing a car can do, and it was all because I didn’t take the time to swap out the oil and change the spark plugs occasionally.
- Try not to judge other people so harshly. They’re having a hard time of it just like you are.
- Do not feel ashamed if you have to ask for help (be it from friends or family or by going to apply for welfare). No one can get through this alone.
- If a bill collector calls you and you owe $700 and you can only spare $300, make an offer. They bought your debt for pennies on the dollar and are usually glad to make anything off of it. It’ll get the debt of your credit score and stop the people from harassing you.
- Do not ever lie to a judge. Judges are human bullshit detectors. If you’ve done something bad, even if it’s just a speeding ticket, go before them, ‘fess up to being wrong, and ask for lenience cuz it’s your first time and you REALLY don’t wanna do that again.
- Ramen noodles can be modified in about fifty billion ways. You can add shit, take shit away, make a stir fry, whatever. Google “Ramen Recipes” because it will change your life.
- Additionally, rice is the cheapest and easiest food to make and you can do SO MUCH with it. Pennies per meal.
- Do not drink and drive. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. Seriously. Don’t drink and drive, I don’t care how good to drive you think you are.
- Always keep a portable space heater or a kerosene heater around if you can help it. You never know when you’ll be stuck in your apartment freezing your balls off at 3 a.m. with the power out.
- Credit cards are a ripoff. Unless you absolutely have to (as in, emergency medical care or something), you really shouldn’t bother getting one. You’re better off saving up hard cold cash for anything you want. Seriously.
- Checks will get you into trouble. You should probably stay away from those too.
- Cheap conditioner is the best shaving cream. Don’t bother with anything else.
- If you have the money for a Costco (or similar bulk-buying place) membership, GO FOR IT. I save SO much money on eyeglasses and contact lenses, medicine, and coffee beans that the membership basically pays for itself. Plus Costco is actually a really good company and treats it’s employees well.
- Always stand up for your rights. If you don’t know what rights the law affords you, be an educated person and read up on them. It might screw you over occasionally, but there’s a reason they’re called rights.
- Sock monkey hats make everything better.
- Make time for things you enjoy.
- Breathe, nothing is the end of the world, trust me, shit works out.
- Be nice to your car, spoil it. That car is your baby.
- Don’t forget to be awesome
- Yo, forreal never put dish soap in the dish washer. Don’t do it.
Just want to add here:
- Pay attention in algebra. That shit is actually useful once you get out of school, if only because sometimes it shows up on employment applications.
- There is a difference between things that you want and things that you need, and figuring out that difference is the biggest step toward managing your money well.
- Save money. Even if it’s only $20 a paycheck or something like that, put it in a separate account and pretend it doesn’t exist anymore. That way you have a little extra if something unexpected happens. “Something unexpected” is not the release of your favorite band’s collector’s edition boxed set. :P (You can save up for those things, too, but keep that separate from yoursavings.)
- Speaking of money, try to bank with a credit union. A lot of them will let you join as long as you live in a certain area, and it’s basically a co-op where everyone who is a member is part owner and it exists to serve its members rather than pay dividends to shareholders. They aren’t always as convenient as banks, especially in rural areas, but it’s worth it in the end. (My CU charges me $5 when I overdraft. I don’t do it often, but it’s a huge difference between my fiance’s bank, which charges $30.)
- Seconding Costco so hard. Thirty bucks for fifty pounds of rice that will last you three months easy. A hundred fifty there once a month plus another hundred fifty throughout the month at a regular store will feed four people no problem.
- If you can make it yourself, do so. Processed foods are hella expensive and never as good for you as unprocessed foods.
- Rice and beans are a complete protein, potatoes and butter are a complete protein. Cabbage is cheap and delicious and can be used as filler in most dishes.
- Don’t turn on your heat if you can help it. Collect blankets and sweaters instead, or use a space heater to warm the area you’re in.
- Christmas lights are your friend, especially white LED ones. They provide a significant amount of light while using hardly any electricity. They’re especially great at staving of seasonal depression resulting from low lighting.
- Thrift stores and dollar stores have great dishes for really cheap, especially glass wear. Dollar store glasses are hard core.
- Ross is a really great place to buy things new.
- Don’t bother with cable, unless you end up getting a really great deal combined with internet. Netflix and internet is really all you need.
- Get twice as many small spoons as anything else. They will disappear. You will not know how all your spoons disappear, but they will.
- Plastic sheets over windows, especially single pane windows, help keep heat in.
- White vinegar and baking soda will clean anything, without harmful chemicals.
- Dawn dish soap will remove grease stains from clothing.
- Don’t leave big ass messy piles of things places, especially clothes. You will end up with bugs.
- Take care of your health. Doctors are expensive as fuck, but go if you need to. Dentists are also expensive as fuck, but go when you’re supposed to go. Bad teeth is a sign of poverty for a reason, and preventative care goes a long way.
- Check your mail regularly.
- When you move into a new place, especially a cheap one, do a thorough check of all the cupboards and drawers. If there’s a stash of drugs/jelly beans/dead rodents/something else interesting hidden away that the last person to live there forgot about, you want to know as soon as possible.
- If you’re looking for an apartment, try to get an upstairs one near the middle of the building. You’ll stay warmer.
- Literally anything you buy as a boxed mix you can make from scratch way cheaper. Rice-a-roni is rice, noodles, and chicken stock.
- If you have the time and access to multiple food sources, don’t do all your shopping in one place. It’s worth it to spend a little more on meat and produce, but don’t buy dry goods for more than you have to.
- I’m not just talking “buy generic,” by the way. Buy generic at the bargain places. The warehouse-style grocery store’s store brand and the slightly more expensive place’s store brand are the exact same product made by the exact same company, just one has a classier packaging design. Don’t pay for classier packaging.
- Know where the cheap gas stations are. Know where the slightly less cheap but still affordable gas stations are in case the cheap gas stations go out of business.
- Get canvas grocery bags. Not only are they better for the environment, but they can be loaded heavier without ripping or losing their handles so you’ll have to make less trips too and from the car to bring in groceries.
- get a library card
- put money into savings because if the shit hits the fan you will need it
- baking soda and vinegar make less expensive cleaners
- baking soda is good for skin too if you need a skin cleanser
- use dollar stores i mean seriously
- no really always have baking soda on hand
- learn to bake and cook from scratch
1. Advice that demoralizes you. One young poet despaired when a teacher told her to put her poems in a drawer for ten years before sending them out. That advice plays into a paralyzing perfectionism. You can usually manage to see your words through fresh eyes in only a few days or weeks.
2. Advice that limits your potential. Could it be true, as a novelist once wrote, that if you’ve left a novel unfinished for a few years, you may as well forget about it? Not if your passion for project is still there or can be resurrected.
3. Advice that cramps your imagination. Should you only write from your own point of view or about a group to which you belong? No, that’s too rigid. Great fiction has been written from the point of view of the opposite gender or from another era or culture. It’s all about pretending.
4. Advice suggesting that what works for you is nonetheless wrong. One novelist worried when told it was best to “Get the story out first, then polish.” His own method was to polish each section before moving on. That worked for him because he never became paralyzed by obsessing over every minor detail to the detriment of making any progress at all.
5. Advice that’s more market-oriented than you are. You may often hear, “Anticipate what the audience wants and then give it to them.” While that has worked well for some authors, others can’t create at all if they’re not pursuing their passions. There’s a time to focus on whether your work is the best it can be for reaching the audience you have in mind. But to prematurely zero in on what you think “they” want can be inhibiting.
6. Advice that’s impossible to follow. My favorite example of this is “Don’t think.” I, for one, can’t write from my toes, elbows, or even my heart. The trick, of course, is to take this less literally, and to learn to think in more inclusive ways than the usual grocery-list-compiling way.
7. Crazy-making advice. Examples: “Read everything,” or its reverse, “Don’t read at all when you’re writing.” Obviously one can’t read everything, even in a particular genre. Focusing on junk leaves little time for the good stuff. I like to immerse myself in the kind of work I’d like to produce myself. As I read so many books, I’m not worried about imitating someone’s voice.
8. Advice that insists there’s only one correct way to write, propose, query, or submit your work. Should you always avoid adverbs? Never use the passive voice? Never start a sentence with “there are”? Every one of these “rules” is broken constantly by top writers. And while there are established formats for query letters, nonfiction book proposals, and novel synopses, for every successful sale based on those formats, there are numerous exceptions.
Here’s the best advice I have ever heard about how to become a good ______.
Practice the skills associated with _____. A lot. 10,000 hours to become a master, and you have to actually put in the hours. Sit ‘cho ass down and write, if you want to be good at it. Paint to become excellent, play the guitar endlessly, dance like you can’t walk or sit because if you stop dancing you’ll die. What do you want to be good at? Well then, that is what you should be doing.
To become excellent at living, you must live. To be awesome at being a friend, be a friend. Strive for excellence, work for it, put in the sweat and effort, the time and experience.
“3a. Learn to accept praise. I know, I know, when someone runs up and says “I love your work!” your inclination is to mumble an apology for wasting their time with your crappy art, or to say “It’s not that great.” Don’t. This is not about you. If somebody says “I love your art,” and you say “My art is awful,” then guess what? You just insulted them. You have told them, in effect, that what they love is crap and that they have poor taste. Clamp your teeth down on that urge, smile, and say “Thank you.” If you can’t think of a single other thing to say, I make you a gift of this phrase—”Thank you. You’re very kind.” Say this when you want to scream that you messed up the knees on the horse and the tail on the fox and the eyeballs on the woman. If you have to say it every single time, then do. You don’t have to believe it, you don’t have to jump on the table and say “That’s right, I’m AWESOME!”— But don’t insult them.”
— —Ursula Vernon, The care and feeding of your artist GOH (with additional advice for artists and such and such)
Having never, ever in my life been society’s version of an ideal weight (as my mother has always made me very much aware), this article really resonated with me and brings up a lot of seriously good points.
“Here’s a thought, America: If you really want people to be healthier (I’m not entirely convinced that you do, but that’s another article altogether), why don’t we treat the concept of getting healthy the way that getting healthy actually works? There is nothing that anyone is going to do or say that’s going to make fat people skinny tomorrow. Sorry. There is no magic commercial that’s going to shame people into becoming thin overnight—just like there’s no housewife who discovered one weird trick to burning off belly fat. It’s just not going to happen. The real problem is much bigger, much harder to solve, and much less fun for people who get off on hating fat people.
The truth is that we live in a country where the system of food production is colossally fucked. There is a systematic campaign to trick people into eating garbage because garbage is cheap to produce. There are whole communities who either can’t afford or physically can’t access fresh, healthy ingredients. The “obesity epidemic” is not a “fat kids love Cheetos epidemic.” No fat people are up in arms when you criticize Kellogg’s for claiming that Frosted Flakes are “part of a nutritious breakfast.” No fat people get defensive when you make fun of that LUDICROUS Nutella commercial where the mom says she feeds her kids candy-spread for breakfast because it’s “wholesome nuts with a hint of cocoa” or whatever. Because those things? They are what’s known as ACTUAL PROBLEMS.”
“Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report The Negro Family: The Case for National Action is a reasonable place to investigate the policy implications of framing black women as uniquely aggressive. Moynihan’s report designated black matriarchy as the principal cause of a culture of pathology that kept black people from achieving equality. Moynihan’s research predated the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but instead of identifying the structural barriers facing African American communities, he reported on the assumed deviance of Negro families. This deviance was clear and obvious, he opined, because black families were led by women who seemed to be their households’ primary decision makers. Moynihan’s conclusions granted two generations of conservative policy makers permission to imagine poor black women as domineering household managers whose unfeminine insistence on control both emasculated potential male partners and destroyed their children’s future opportunities. The Moynihan report encouraged the state not to assist black mothers as women doing their best in tough circumstances but instead to blame them as unrelenting cheats who unfairly demanded assistance from the system. ‘‘This practice of widespread cultural projection reveals what is so dangerous about the ‘Angry Black Woman’ stereotype: it holds Black women responsible for power they do not possess, power that is, in fact, being utilized in very real ways by members of other social groups who can claim emotional innocence as they hide behind, and persecute, the ‘Black Bitches’ of our cultural imaginations.’’”
Melissa Harris-Perry Sister Citizen; Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America (via brashblacknonbeliever)
- You don’t have to achieve great things by the time you’re 25
- You have intrinsic value above and beyond your perceived utility to other people and society at large.
- You don’t have to have sex, or have sex in any way that you find uncomfortable or unpleasant, to keep anyone’s love or good opinion of you. They didn’t love you or think very well of you to start with if they demand it.
- You don’t have to stay with someone who isn’t meeting your emotional or sexual needs because they need you, or you’ve been with them for awhile, or you need to be in a relationship. You need you. Your time is your own and it is finite.
- It’s ok to work at a job you enjoy that doesn’t make you miserable even if it’s not a career and it won’t “lead to anything.”
- Your life is not a narrative. It is not leading to anything, there is no overarching thesis, it does not have themes beyond the usual shared cultural experiences of your time and place. This is ok. It does not mean that your life is without purpose or meaning.
- It’s ok not to like or get along with the vast majority of people you encounter, so long as you afford them the same respect, courtesy and dignity that they afford you.
- Expensive is not always better.
- Failure is temporary if you’re still alive.
- People are both much better and much worse than you’d suspect, but usually not all at once.
- Stop thinking of your future self as a different person and it will be easier to prevent money and health problems.
- Let people help you, lean on them when you need to, and be available to help, but don’t swing too far in either direction. Try to carry your half of the life basket as evenly as you can.
- Set boundaries, and do not be afraid to kick people out of your life who disregard them. You will not end up alone and unloved. People who love you will be ok with your boundaries.
- Your power does not come from money or beauty, but from seeing life steadily and wholly, from a curious and thoughtful mind, and from your ability to say no when you want to, and yes when you want to, and I don’t know when you don’t know.
- There will be bad times, maybe lots of bad times, but not only bad times.
- Love will not heal the wounds in your soul, but love can give you the impetus to begin the work of healing yourself.
- Life might be a long series of starting over, and that’s alright.
- You’re really cool, you’re really beautiful, you’re really special. Really. Not to everyone, but to a lot of someones sometimes.
some friendly reminders for national coming out day:
- it’s never okay to out someone without their consent
- seriously cut that shit out
- neither is it okay to force someone to come out
- not everyone can afford to be out whether it be safety concerns or whatever reason
- it’s not your place to decide when and how someone comes out
- or if someone’s reason(s) for not coming out are “valid” or not
YES, forever signal boost
So there’s this dynamic:
Autistic person: The door is open!
Other person: I *know* that. It’s hot in here.
Autistic person: The door is open!
Other person: I already explained to you that it’s hot in here!
Autistic person: The door is open!
Other person: Why do you have to repeat things all the time?!
Often when this happens, what’s really going on is that the autistic person is trying to communicate something, and they’re not being understood. The other person things that they are understanding and responding, and that the autistic person is just repeating the same thing over and over either for no reason or because they are being stubborn and inflexible and obnoxious and pushy.
When what’s really happening is that the autistic person is not being understood, and they are communicating using the words they have. There’s a NT social expectation that if people aren’t being understood, they should change their words and explain things differently. Sometimes autistic people aren’t capable of doing this without help.
So, if this is happening, assume it’s communication and try to figure out what’s being communicated. If you’re the one with more words, and you want the communication to happen in words, then you have to provide words that make communication possible. For example:
Other person: Do you want the door to be closed, or are you saying something else?
Autistic person: Something else
Other person: Do you want to show me something outside, or something else?
Autistic person: Something else
Other person: Are you worried about something that might happen, or something else?
Autistic person: Worried
Other person: Are you worried that something will come in, or that something will go out?
Autistic person: Baby
Other person: She’s in her crib, and the baby gate is up. Is that ok, or is there still a problem?
Autistic person: ok
this just changed my entire perspective on a conversation i had w/ someone today.