In ancient times, rites of passage meant more than just getting your freak on at your best friend’s barmitzvah. They were downright horrid traditions that were meant to push you out of your comfort zone. In order to become a man from a boy or woman from a girl, you had to go through one of the most dreadful experiences in your whole life.
A Spartan boy would be forced to abandon his family for Agoge (rigorous training till the age of 18). After the age of 18, the boy would then be instructed to kill a random ass slave (poor bloke) and return in one piece. Here is the twist: if he was detected, he would probably be executed. If he succeeded, he would become a warrior.
The Nootka natives of the Vancouver Islands would take a girl who just had her first period into the furthest reaches of the sea and push her off the boat. The girl then had to swim all the way back to the island on her own. As if bleeding from your genitals for the first time wasn’t horrifying enough.
These rites of passage were meant to push people way out of their comfort zones and teach them that becoming an adult is no child’s play. After the rites of passages were over, the elders would always tell the newly initiated, “This is only the beginning my sweet summer child. Now the true passage starts." This meant that their lives would become more difficult now because they were now full-fledged adults. In other words, a rite of passage was only a trailer for what was to come. These passages were quite common in the ancient times, because the societies that did not engage in these activities died off. The societies that practiced these strict rites of passage were more tenacious and stress-tolerant, hence making them more prone to survive the harsh conditions they faced.
Our current western society doesn’t practise this anymore. It could be argued that going to college, moving out of your parents’ house, losing your virginity, or having your first drink is pretty stressful for a lot of people; but it’s not as stressful and horrific as getting your ass abandoned in a random part of the sea and swimming back to shore without a compass whilst bleeding out of your vagina for the first time. Some people can argue that moving out or losing their virginity isn’t even that big of a deal.
So are we really being pushed out of our comfort zones? Obviously I don’t endorse murder or putting someone in a life threatening situation for the purposes of pushing them out of their comfort zones. But I also don’t endorse putting college students in “safe zones” to protect them from the opinions of different ideologies. College is where you are supposed to challenge your current beliefs in order to change or even improve them by taking knowledge from different angles. Sometimes these angles are from ideologies you might not agree with. If you don’t doubt your own current beliefs here and there, how will you ever improve? It’s uncomfortable to go to a Trudeau speech if you are a Conservative, but you must go there and listen to the points he is making to increase your knowledge. Life isn't black or white. How will you grow if you are always stuck in the same echo chamber all your life?
Stepping out of your comfort zone is painfully difficult. Yes, it’s uncomfortable to go to a therapist (basically a stranger) and tell them your whole life story and about your depression. It's uncomfortable to try out different strategies to kick your procrastination problem. It's uncomfortable to start telling the truth when you been lying your whole life. It's uncomfortable to ask out that cute guy in class. But it needs to be done in order to grow and become stronger than before. These incidents could be our own rites of passages. Every one of us has our own different unique lives filled with these little rites of passages. In order to improve our lives and mental wellbeing we must go through them.
So what makes you uncomfortable? What is your rite of passage?
- Post by Aleef Khan, SExT Cast Member and Resident Blog Contributor
Some in-depth discussion and perspectives from our SExT cast about mental illness are in the inaugural publication of Be Scene Magazine! Pick up your copy now! bescenemag.wordpress.com/
On June 3rd SExT had the pleasure of performing for Jane Street Hub as part of their Community Info Fair, highlighting sexual health as well as health and wellness in the African, Caribbean, Black, and Latino communities. The event included resources, community services, workshops, counsellors, performances (wink-wink), and anonymous testing for STIs. Having a safe space for conversations on these stigmatized topics such as STIs and mental health, and having it be accessible to everyone, is so incredibly important. I would like to thank the organizers for this.
Performing a poem on stereotypes, rapping about cultural identity, and talking about consent and STI testing (among other things) is always very powerful in itself, but having people come up to us afterwards sharing how they relate to our show is absolutely amazing. People wanting us to perform at more community events and speaking up about these issues is liberating and a great reminder of why we at SExT are all so passionate about our message of inclusivity and acceptance.
Our group also attended a session on stigma, and let me tell you, I could never get tired of listening to my peers share their stories about stigma. One cast member shared his account of navigating his mental health with his father, who at first didn’t understand, and is now the one to advocate to his own friends about mental health resources. As I listened to the people in the room open up, the air got lighter with each person’s story being told. Seeing this kind of environment being fostered gives me hope that one day everyone can find comfort and liberation in being able to share their own experiences.
After the session on stigma, we listened to a panel of five brave individuals speak about being HIV positive. Let’s just say it got real deep. Hearing the personal accounts of a young woman born with HIV, a gay man having to keep his sexuality a secret, and a trans woman’s story about accepting her HIV, is so inspiring. Hearing their accounts of the stigma they have experienced and their journeys overcoming it, is so freaking inspiring. One of the women on the panel even took an HIV test in front of us to demonstrate how easy the process is and to encourage others to take charge of their health and get tested. She encouraged others to reclaim their power, to be knowledgeable about their sexual health, and not to stay hidden in shame. I was able to witness the stories of those who suffered in secret, now opening themselves up to a room of strangers. I don’t know how on earth they did it, but I’m so happy they did. I know many people in the room found hope from hearing these stories coming from people sitting right in front of them, smiling and proud of who they have become.
As the discussion of stigma continued, I got to hear more cast members open up. One person spoke of his experience about being gay and adopted. Another shared her story of having depression and trying to understand why her mom doesn’t understand. Her mother grew up in a different country in a different time, and might have even dealt with mental illness herself not knowing what it was. More people opened up about a great range of stigma they have faced, and hearing that everyone has a story is a forceful truth. Some people cried, because it was moving, you know? It was helpful to see people who had overcome stigma now living life on their own terms. Everyone on the panel agreed they are living better by not caring what others say about who they are, by not giving in to the stigma, and by speaking out about their experiences.
The host also shared a story about the stigma surrounding her hair. She explained how she had been wearing straight hair since she was 12 years old. She spent a lot of time growing it out, and the day came when she said, “Okay, I’m going to do my hair today”. She spent over a day on it, and looked in the bathroom mirror feeling fabulous. She came out of the bathroom and her boyfriend said, “Oh, I thought you were going to do your hair.” Everyone in the room gasped and I saw slacked jaws, in utter shock. The host just laughed and said all that was needed was to have a discussion about it, and it was a very good discussion. She learned that his mom never wore her hair natural, his sister always had straight hair, and all his girlfriends wore their hair straight. The point is that some people don’t even know they are perpetuating stigma. We just need to educate them.
I feel like this is where SExT can come in. The reason I love our show so much is because it is not our place to judge, but to educate using our stories and allow people to be free to choose as they wish. As our director Shira always says: If everyone agreed on everything, our program wouldn’t need to exist.
When it comes to stigma, we can all do our best to not perpetuate it and to educate ourselves. Hearing everyone's stories at Jane Street Hub is an experience I will hold close to my heart, and I will always remember moments like this when we were able to discuss stigmatized topics such as sexual health in a safe space. Respectful discussion really is that powerful. I know I talked about some “heavier” topics, but the event was really fun as well! Although there were some tears, there was lots of laughter as well and great energy. Being able to express ourselves and having people support it means everything in the world.
Anyone in any group can experience stigma, and it is important that we do not give in to stigma and rise above it. I know, so mushy, but it’s true. When we all come together and have a respectful discussion without shutting down opposing views and instead giving everyone a voice, that is when real change happens. That is what I hope we can accomplish with SExT.
- Post by Emma Wheaton, Assistant Director & SExT Cast Member
We always say a variation of this in our love lives. If we meet someone awesome we say, "It was always meant to be!!!" But when the same person leaves us because we stepped on his Hello Kitty collection or some other stupid shit we say, "It was never meant to be *cry*". What the hell is this exactly?
A long time ago when I was 13, a girl came to our door to sell cookies. She was so funny and cute, I think I was in love (I was 13 okay, chill). Two minutes after she left, I started crying, "She will never come back!" Then my mom said, "If it's meant to be, it will be". She was implying that if the Universe or God or Shaka Zulu, means for that girl to meet me again, we will meet again and if not, well fuck me then it was never meant to be.
Basically the Universe and external forces control our destiny, not us, according to this logic. Even in high school and university, when I used to complain about being single for the last 18 to 19 years, people would just say, "Don't worry Aleef, it will happen when you least expect it. If it's meant to be it will happen." Not that I wasn't trying to get a girlfriend (I was), but I guess because of my repeated failures of trying to find a mate, I began to think: This is how it was "meant" to be. I will die alone. It's not like I had high standards or anything. I just wanted to talk to someone, hug them, kiss them, hold their hands, etc. I wasn't expecting a Victoria Secret model either, just a face that’s easy to look at.
Then some really terrible shit happened in my life, and I thought, "Okay, so these terrible things were 'meant' to happen and all that 'good' stuff wasn't meant to happen." I tried to make up reasons why the Universe decided to punish me. What could I have done? Just because I threw away the broccoli at dinner, I deserve a shitty life? Nothing was adding up here. Then I realized "Nothing is meant to be".
Sorry, to break your bubble this way. But this Universe and life don't give a shit about you. It literally does not care what you want. It couldn't give less than a fuck about you and your wants. Now what? What the hell can I do now? I can do everything now. If nothing is meant to be, then we make our own destinies. So that day, I decided to make my own damn luck. I said to myself, "I don't need luck, I will make my own luck!"
I started working on myself, got in shape, became more social, started going out more, opened up a few dating profiles, learned how to talk to women anywhere and anytime. So I tried, again and again. Till I met the most amazing girl ever. Then she became my girlfriend and we lived happily ever after (just kidding, she broke up with me and married her cousin NO JOKE). Ironically she told me, "It's not meant to be." The fact is that no relationship is "meant" to be. It’s the duty of the couple to work it out if that’s possible. She didn't think it was worth the effort so she left. And now I am stuck here writing this blog post all bitter and sad while she is shagging her cousin.
My point is, nothing in your life is "meant" to be. Nothing will come out of the sky suddenly. You need to put a decent amount of effort to get it. Whether it’s a relationship, job or experience, it is possible for you to get lucky here. You might randomly just get that job or guy that you always wanted, but for all the folks that don't have luck on our sides, we need to make our own goddamn luck if we have to.
We all know people who are literally gifted. Their acting, singing or what have you is amazing without them putting much effort into it. They can thank God, Harambe or the Universe for their talent, but what if you achieved the same level of mastery as these "gifted" people with sheer effort, training and willpower? It means that you honed this talent all by yourself despite the decision of the Universe not to give you that "gift". We don't need the universe to bestow upon us this "gift". We will develop our own "gift" through sweat, blood and tears. When you yourself achieve a level of mastery through pure effort and hard work, you should thank yourself and yourself only for your sheer will and tenacity. What is better: to be born with a talent, or to overcome your limited nature and achieve that talent through intense struggle against all odds?
"The harder you work the luckier you get." - Forgot Who Said This.
So stop waiting around for Mr. Right to come into your life! Go outside, go to bars, clubs , libraries, parties he might be there. Set up a bunch of dating profiles in as many sites as you can. Go to local events and talk to random people. Heck try JSwipe. It’s a ridiculous dating app that is only for Jewish people (works even if you ain't jewish). Stop waiting for Mr. Right to find you, GO FIND HIM. Who knows he might just be that boy you sold cookies to. Just don't forget to leave your number on that cookie, so he can call you and not think about it later and write some article after 8 years.
- Post by Aleef K., SExT Cast Member
Your disadvantages and shortcomings can be used to turn the tables. With a little bit of reframing, you can actually turn what makes you feel insecure into an advantage.
I have three stories to share with you: one fictional story (100% made by me, pinky promise), a fable about marsupial evolution and a true story. All these stories have one thing in common. In each of them, the main character turns their flaw into an edge, an edge that proves vital to their success.
Ollie the Overthinker
Ollie was a kid, who suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). There are many variations of this mental illness because it manifests differently for everyone. For Ollie, OCD made him overthink everything and I mean literally everything.
Should I eat the lettuce? What if it tastes bad? Okay so I won't eat it, but if I don't eat it my mom will get mad, and if my mom gets mad she will fight with dad, and then they will get a freaking DIVORCE AHHHH! But what if this lettuce has a flesh-eating bacteria?'
Years of therapy, positive thinking and resilience helped Ollie manage his OCD to a point where it didn’t prevent him from enjoying his life. Ollie always wanted to be a pilot, ever since his day pretend co-piloting his uncle. Flying high and looking down the clouds was an amazing feeling. That feeling was an escape from his constant nag in his head. It was his solace in a life of agony.
He enrolled himself to flight school. He did well in all of his examinations. He graduated with high distinctions. His career as a pilot was going smoothly, until his 67th flight.
It was the best flight condition. Clear skies and steady winds, but unfortunately the biggest airplane malfunction in history was about to take place (if you think the story has a happy ending, you haven't watched enough Game of Thrones). Just as the plane reached the optimal altitude for the long flight, there was a BOOM. The plane gave a little shiver. The control panel stopped working. Ollie didn't know how fast or how high the plane was going. More importantly, he had no idea what went wrong. Did they lose the left engine? Did snow clutter their engine? Were they leaking?
His co-pilot, a recent graduate from flight school named Paul, tried to contain himself and contact air traffic control. The radio screeched and stopped working.
"I guess we can't contact air traffic control," Paul said, almost crying. "Things can't get any worse."
Ollie calmly reached into his glove compartment and took out a notebook. It was titled "Over 500 Things That Can Go Wrong In This Plane". He threw the book to Paul and said, "Read scenario 298 on page 345 aloud."
Paul opened the notebook with his trembling hands and realized the book contained nearly 678 emergency scenarios and what to do about them. The flight academy only taught 54 scenarios.
Ollie's OCD made him constantly calculate every negative thing that can happen in a situation, which made his life a living hell, but he used his "disability" to make the most vast list of disaster scenarios and solutions. He was able to think of more ridiculous disaster scenarios than writers of a Michael Bay movie.
Ollie performed each step calmly as Paul read them aloud. First, he turned off the autopilot. He didn't know how high or how low they were, so he pulled the stick to go higher. He cleaned the debris off the cockpit windows with his hand. He figured that he was still near the airport, so using his memory of the building, he maneuvered the plane to line up with the airport landing strip. Ollie couldn't slow the plane down to land, but because he thought about this scenario a million times, he knew exactly what to do. He was going to drift the plane to a stop and that’s exactly what he did. The landing was pretty rough, but everyone survived.
After the landing Paul asked Ollie about his secret of staying so calm. Ollie simply said, "I spent my whole life afraid of everything. I reckon I just got tired of it, really."
The Evolution of a Cute Marsupial
A bear realized he wasn't fast enough to compete with his brothers and sisters for food. They would always eat the best stuff before he could reach it, so he said to himself, Well screw this. I will just eat from the tree that no one touches. So the bear started eating from the poisonous eucalyptus tree even though it made him feel sick. Over time he started enjoying the taste and adapted to digest the leaves properly. He met other bears who couldn't run fast and taught them his ways. Scientists call this family of bear, Phascolarctos Cinereus. You might know them as koalas.
Admiral Horatio Nelson (AKA Most Badass Champion of the Seas)
This name may seem unfamiliar to you if you don't Google pointless military history instead of studying for your finals. Nelson’s name brought shudders to even Emperor Napoleon. Nelson is the most celebrated naval admiral of all time. He kicked major ass in the seas for England during the Napoleonic Era. He was responsible for whooping Napoleon's ships so hard in Egypt, that Napoleon had to cancel dates with some cute pharaohs and retreat all the way back to France. He was also quite the risk taker, and was known as "a win or die guy” (literally). His notoriously risky attitude made him lose an eye and a hand during battle. He also had sea sickness, not the best condition for an aspiring sailor.
Back in those days, Classism was all the rage and it was a disgrace to be seen in public missing a limb. Only poor peasants and crappy soldiers had missing limbs. The press poked fun at Nelson for his appearance and his sea sickness: "Horatio Nelson lost that battle because he couldn't see the enemy approaching ... from his BLIND SIDE! GET IT?! 'CAUSE HE'S BLIND FROM ONE EYE! LOL!".
The press, particularly the press from countries who were enemies of England, tried to get into Nelson's head and ruin his confidence so he would stop being courageous. They failed miserably.
The Battle of Copenhagen. The English forces were outnumbered and outgunned there was no way they could win. The British Admiral Parker (Nelson's superior) signaled a retreat. He wanted Nelson to fall back with his men. Nelson simply ignored the order and attacked the Danish fleet. Obviously he whooped their ass. The press later asked Nelson why he did not follow orders to retreat. Nelson said something like, "I didn't see the retreat flares from the Admiral. It is probably because I have a BLIND SIDE!"(That’s how the phrase "turning a blind eye" came to existence). Not only did Nelson acknowledge his flaw, he owned up to it.
Even though Nelson suffered from sea sickness and a missing limb, he did not let his impairment hinder his success. He threw up every now and then and still managed to be one of the finest Admirals of all time because his love for the sea surpassed his hate for his sickness. He also died in the most heroic way possible. After defeating the joined Spanish and French fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar, an enemy sniper shot him right on the chest. Before his death he said, "I have done my duty, farewell." When the king heard of his death he said "We certainly lost more than we won."
All of us have some type of flaw, disadvantage or shortcoming. Do these things have to hinder us from being successful? Absolutely not. Nelson was poised by sea sickness, literally the worst condition an aspiring sailor could have, but he did not let that stop him from achieving what he wanted. It doesn't matter how disadvantaged you are. If your love for what you want to achieve is huge, nothing can stop you. So go to the audition that says "Seeking 6 foot tall actors" when you are only 5' 10. Attempt to write articles even if you suck at Grammar *wink*. Go try singing even if you suck. You can do anything you want. No one can stop you other than yourself.
Embrace your flaws and wear it as a badge of honor like Nelson did. He showed off the fact that he lost his arm and eye. He used to say, "I am the real Lord Nelson. Look, I have the fin." Try to change what you can, but own up to what you can't change and accept it like your height. Instead of being that short guy who broods a lot, you can change your attitude towards your height. You can be that short guy who has a positively cheerful attitude! Who wouldn't want to hang out with that cool short guy?
Look at your disadvantage from another perspective like how Ollie turned his OCD into a supercomputer to generate disaster scenarios. Try looking at your disadvantage in a different light. They can be reframed as an advantage if you look at it from the right perspective.
Ollie's experience with OCD made him literally immune to fear. When the plane was crashing, his calm and collective demeanor saved his life. If you have been a victim of a horrible incident, try to see what that incident taught you. Did a bad break up teach you who to trust? Did a traumatic incident teach you how to help someone going through the same thing? Did a bad parent teach you what not to do to your future children?
Creative Desperation is a term coined by Adryan De Groot. It’s when someone is forced to take an unorthodox approach to solve a problem. In other words: Make way out of no way. What did the Koala do to avoid walking around a lot? He took the unorthodox approach by adapting to eat from that poisonous tree no one touches. Desperation isn't always a bad thing, it forces us to be more creative.
Who says we need to turn the tables? We can just flip them!
- Post by Aleef Khan, SExT Cast Member & Resident Blog Contributor
Google defines “self-esteem” as "confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect."
I do kind of agree with this definition, but I don't think it’s totally complete. As someone who has struggled with self-esteem myself, I decided to dedicate the last 8 months to researching as much as I could about this topic.
Self-esteem is confidence in one's competence in dealing with life in general. It is measured by how much we think we deserve happiness and respect. It also correlates with how much we love ourselves. Someone with high self esteem usually loves themselves a lot.
Self-esteem defines our thought patterns and feelings. It can have an extremely positive effect or an extremely negative effect on us. While almost everyone agrees that high self esteem is a good thing, people don't always see it as a necessity. Rest assured that high self-esteem is not only "a good thing", but crucial to our well-being and happiness.
If someone with low self-esteem is happy, they feel and act like they don't even deserve it. Our self-esteem is like a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you think you are good, you will be. If you think you are shit, you will be.
Here are some examples of how someone with high self-esteem and someone with low self-esteem react to the exact same situation:
Situation: Romantic Rejection
High Self-Esteem Joe: I will find someone else, maybe even better. I am a pretty cool person, so it won't be hard.
Low Self-Esteem Joe: What did I even expect, a piece of shit like me would obviously get rejected. Why do I even try?
Situation: Job Performance
High Self-Esteem Joe: I think I am doing a pretty good job. My boss and coworkers said I am doing well, so it must be true.
Low Self-Esteem Joe: My boss said I was doing good? He is probably just mocking me, my last article was such garbage, like everything I do.
High Self-Esteem Joe: I can do this! Even though it’s tough, I am tougher.
Low Self-Esteem Joe: I can't do this, I suck at basically everything. It’s too hard.
High Self-Esteem Joe: Big whoop, lets try again. I am better equipped with the lessons I learned from this failure.
Low Self-Esteem Joe: Well shit! I am a failure, and I suck at everything I do. WHY DO I EVEN TRY? Might as well give up.
But I was always a low self-esteem person from childhood! How can I change?! Well, it’s not impossible. HARD, but totally possible. Nothing is set in stone. Your brain is capable of massive change, but only if you commit to changing it.
Let’s start with some solid advice!
#1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
John was born into a poor family located in the "bad" part of town. John's parents were alcoholics and constantly abused him. John also had a learning disability that hindered his studies. This made him give up on high school and drop out. Then one boring Tuesday afternoon, John read an article called "How To Improve Self Esteem and End Up Winning Every Time". This changed his mindset and he went back to high school. After graduating, he got into Ryerson and then got a job as a bank analyst. He made good money and couldn't be happier.
One day, he went to his local tennis club and met Eric. When he got home, he found Eric on Facebook and like everyone else in the world, he started stalking his life like a creep. He noticed that Eric went to Harvard and worked for NASA. Eric also had a pretty nice looking girlfriend and an amazing house in America. This made John feel like a failure. John thought, "We are the same age and from the same city, and Eric has achieved so much more than me. He became an astronaut and I just became a banker from Ryerson." John ate some ice cream, cried a little, then went to bed.
Was it stupid for John to compare himself to Eric? Yes. Eric was born in a "good" part of town into a loving and supportive family. Eric didn't suffer from any learning disorders. His military father instilled a strong sense of discipline and a tireless work ethic in Eric, which helped him get into Harvard and succeed. John got dealt a bad deck of cards in life, but he still turned the situation around even though the odds were against him. Eric got dealt an amazing deck of cards in his life, and his life seemed to be a breeze. Life deals each one of us a deck of cards. Some people get the good ones and some people get the bad ones. No one chooses their decks, but if you play them right you can still win even with crappy deck. So it's unfair, stupid, unscientific and ridiculous to compare ourselves to other people.
The story is not yet finished, because Eric didn't actually have the amazing life John thought he did!
Eric's girlfriend constantly made him feel horrible about himself. Eric went to NASA to be an astronaut but instead got the job of a mechanic. Eric hates his job in NASA because it makes him miserable. He thought NASA would be more exciting. Eric has no idea how he is going to pay for that expensive house he just bought.
John made another mistake. He compared his life to Eric's highlight reel. He conjured up an idea of Eric from what he saw on Facebook. Would Eric really post his struggles in life on Facebook? No, he would only post the good parts. So don't make the mistake of comparing people's "good parts" with your life as a whole. You don't know what's going on behind the scenes.
Also if you start comparing yourself to others, you will find that there will always be someone who is better looking, taller, smarter, has better WiFi connection, etc. You will never win if you start playing that game.
So what should we do instead? As Ernest Hemingway said: "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."
He is right, we should only compare ourselves to our former selves and see how far we have come. The only fair comparison is when you compare yourself with someone who was dealt the same cards in life as you. YOU.
So John, I hope you realize how far you have come given the circumstances and that you give yourself a pat in the back, because you deserve it.
#2. Accept compliments.
When someone gives you a compliment, what do you think a low self esteem person says in return? They say, "Oh no, I look ugly" or "Oh no, my story was lame". We can make the mistake of seeing this as being humble or not braggadocious but in reality, when someone brushes off a compliment like that, that person is rejecting the "good" people see in her. Why? Because the person does not see herself as pretty or smart.
We can change that, let's flip the script by using two simple words. When someone gives you a compliment, look them in their eyes and say, "Thank you!" Accept your goodness and realize that everybody around you does not think the negative things about you that you think about yourself. If they had a look into your mind they would laugh at the criticisms that you make about yourself.
I have a friend who is pretty, cool, smart and kind. Unfortunately she doesn't see herself as these things. She told me that she was insecure about her breast size. Obviously to me and all my other friends this seemed so bloody ridiculous we started laughing. We honestly never noticed her "small breasts" (according to her), because we were too busy noticing the amazing things about her. Besides, who doesn't love small boobs?
We are our own worst critic. Before you start freaking about that pimple on the cheek before a date, try to imagine your date having a pimple on his or her cheek. Would it really matter to you? No, because everyone gets pimples here and there so you wouldn't think someone as lesser for having one. There is a lot more to you than your FLAWLESS FACE! Who cares if you have a pimple? Does your pimple downplay how funny you are? Does it downplay how intelligent you are? Does it downplay how generous you are? No, it does not. Stop defining yourself with one good thing about yourself. Try to realize that you are a sum of good things.
#3. Associate with supportive people and support them in return.
When I first started highschool I had no friends. Being an immigrant with no prior connections to the area didn't help. I was sad, confused and lonely. I ate my lunches in abandoned hallways because I didn't like sitting alone in the cafeteria. A teacher caught me and asked me why I was sitting there. I said, "I don't like feeling alone when everyone else has friends." I burst out crying after saying that. The teacher took me to the cafeteria and forced a group of people to sit with me. They became my "friends". I would sit with them at lunch, carry their books, do small chores for them, be a target practice for them. Oh they also constantly called me ugly and stupid. Such good "friends" they were. I didn't leave them because I thought being alone was the worst thing ever.
One day I couldn't take it anymore. I sat next to some other people in class, whom I didn't know. There I met my current best friend, who introduced me to my other current best friends. Life with the new group of friends was way better. They laughed at my jokes, they didn't treat me like a slave, and they were actually nice to me.
We all have a bad habit of being with people that put us down because we feel like we have no other choice. It is actually better to ditch those people and be alone than be called a potato every single day. We also should refrain from calling our friends potatoes, even in a joking way because maybe they think they actually look like potatoes. We should make a habit of boosting their self-esteems by telling them nice things. It feels great to give and receive compliments, so it's basically a win-win situation.
Aleef K out. I will return with Part 2 soon, stay tuned :)
- Post by Aleef Khan, SExT Cast Member & Regular Blog Contributor
Tired of your past making its way into the present? When you are just about to talk to that pretty girl, do you start remembering all those times girls rejected you and made fun of your “not that big nose”? When you think you found the one, do you start fearing that he/she will dump you for the dumbest reason just like the last one did? When you are just about to get into a relationship with that “cool guy”, do you start remembering how the last “cool guy” ended up being a serial killer who eats people and more importantly, always left the toilet seat up ON PURPOSE, WHAT A SOCIOPATH?! Or are you one those people who love and accept their past relationships and are happy with the present? GTFO of here. Just joking. Chill out. Send this to your friends who might not be in the best place. Heck send this to your friends because this article is entertaining. (I added that just in case someone gets this article and immediately says, “Hey, you sent me this article because you think I am unhappy? Do I look unhappy, HUH?! I just haven’t had my coffee and vodka mix for breakfast yet!”)
In order to let go of the past and be a happier person in spite of it, I have developed a three step action plan: let go of the past (duh), ditch the “bitch” in your head, and be a "happier bastard".
Step one: Let go of the past.
1. Accept the past.
Don’t try to deny it or pretend it never happened. It’s tempting to tell yourself “that never happened. I never got abused by my ex, he was just a bit rough.” Sorry to break it to you, but saying it didn’t happen might help you cope in the short term, but it’s best to accept these traumatic events as a part of your life. You can’t go back and change it, and you can’t remove it from your memory, so just accept it. It’s hard I know, but you’ll learn do to it eventually. No rush, this isn’t a race.
2. Forgive the people who wronged you.
Yes, this sounds like I copied this right out of the bible. If you know me, you would know I have a tendency to tell devout Christians that I am a Satanist just for shits and giggles. Well they shit bricks while I giggle. I am not religious at all, but this advice has helped religious and non-religious people alike: forgive people for their mistakes. There is no point in holding in the bitterness and hate, it just does not feel nice to be bitter. Trust me I tried it. If you can’t forgive others, how can you forgive yourself?
3. Forgive yourself.
Yes, write a letter to yourself. Write about how you forgive yourself. Make it very detailed. We do a lot of bad and stupid things, but it’s not because we are bad and stupid people. It’s because we are human. Cut yourself some slack, nobody is perfect. Beating yourself up over your past mistakes won’t make the mistakes go away, but learning from them and trying to avoid them in the future will have a positive impact on your life and future relationships.
4. Seek professional help.
If you have experienced a severe trauma like death of a loved one or rape, you need to seek a good therapist that can help you. Going to a therapist isn’t a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it’s a sign of courage. It’s quite courageous to admit you have a problem and to tell a stranger about your most personal issues in hopes of getting better. If you had a bad breakup and can’t cope, go to a therapist. No problem is too small or too big to seek professional help.
You can’t forget the past. I know you really wish you could but you can’t. But you can accept it and forgive. So take some time and forgive God or Probability or whatever you believe in.
Step two: Kill the negative cycle of thoughts or “Ditching the bitching”
My grandfather always used to say “Ditch the Bitch.” He didn’t mean women. He meant “ditch the complainers and pessimists.” Unfortunately, sometimes the complainers and pessimists are in our own heads, singing songs like: “You are ugleeeeeee. You have NO FRIENDS. You will ALSO go NOWHERE in LIIIIIIFFFFEEEE!!” Time to fire this bitch and hire Rihanna or someone cool to change the song in your head.
There is actually a scientific term for when your mind turns on itself and constantly hinders your happiness. It's called "Learned Helplessness", a psychology term that was coined by Martin Seligman in 1967. It basically means “throwing the towel”. You feel so powerless from all your failures and traumatic events that you just give up.
Here is how someone with a negative outlook may think after a break up:
I will never get over him. (Notice the word “never”)
I can’t live without him. (Notice the word “can’t”)
The whole breakup was all my fault. (Notice the phrase “all my fault”)
Here is how someone with a positive outlook may think after a break up:
It’s hard but I will get over this. It’s only temporary. (Notice the word “temporary”)
I miss him, but I have friends and family that can help me get through this. (Notice the word “can”)
The whole breakup was both of our faults. (Notice the word “our”)
Notice how the negative-thinking person tends to over-generalize his/her thoughts and ends up blaming him or herself. If you see yourself as the person with the negative outlook, try changing how you see the situation. It will take effort and hard work, but the results at the end are totally worth it. You can’t change what happened, but you can change your outlook on it.
There is no surefire way to know if someone is “The One”, but constantly fearing that he/she might cheat on you is not really fair to him/her. Nobody deserves that kind of treatment. He is not your ex and the “all guys are the same” line is BS. Have you met my grandpa?
Some of my friends say to me, “Man, I am tired of asking out girls and getting rejected. My heart can’t take it anymore. No girl ever likes me. I give up.”
Well in the dating world there is a saying: “The more rejects you get, the closer you are to getting to a ‘yes’.” It’s quite true, believe me. So ask away. Screw your ego. I approach women in dingy alleyways who don’t know me at all, so I am no stranger to rejection. I won’t lie and say that rejection doesn’t hurt. It hurts just for a while. But when you find that awesome person that says “yes”, the pain of the rejection is nothing compared to the joy you get from the relationship.
If you don’t ask the person out, he/she is not rejecting you. You are rejecting yourself, which is the second saddest thing in the world, the first saddest thing being the point in the story when the dog dies. Honestly, I never have an emotional reaction when people die in movies, probably because I hate people, ah going off topic here. Anyways, just do it. Ask her out. The same principle can be applied for jobs. Don’t get discouraged by the rejections.
Step three: Be a happier bastard.
1. Act cheerier.
Act like you are having fun then you will trick your mind into actually having fun. The opposite works as well. When I am reading something particularly boring for school, I pretend it’s the most interesting thing ever and it doesn’t feel that boring. But hey, this method has its limitations. If you just got mugged, you don’t have to be all cheery: “"I just got mugged it was the worst experience of my life, ayyyyyy!" Some things are just sad, but if you have a wacky sense of humour, go ahead and make people feel awkward.
2. Think of three things you appreciate before you go to bed.
Had an awesome meal? Take some time to appreciate it. Had an awesome masturbation session? Take some time to appreciate how awesome the human body is. Hey, you can even say, “I appreciate my boobs, they are gorgeous!” before going to sleep. It can be literally anything, anything you are thankful for.
3. Do some exercise.
Yeah man, get outside and jump up and down like a monkey on meth. Run like a bird, dance, shake your booty, whatever man. As long as it's some physical exercise, just do it. It releases endorphins that make you feel good (endorphins are some magic stuff in your body).
4. Don’t be a master of one, be a master of some.
The more complex you are, the more you can screw up and it won’t seem as bad. For instance, if I am just a writer and my book flops, I would be devastated; but if I am writer/father/musician/video gamer/dancer/gardener/good tree climber/ninja then I won’t be that devastated because being a writer does not define me as much.
5. Do your own thing no matter what other people say.
Your parents forcing you into a boring major? Fuck em. Your boss telling you to do your work that you don’t like? Fuck em (but don’t blame me if you get fired). Your stage manager telling you to not ad lib? Fu….My point is the more you feel control of your own life, the better you will feel. So make your own decisions. Too scared to make your own decisions? Do it anyway. Learn from your own mistakes. Instead of saying “Ah dammit I shouldn’t have gotten a degree in music just 'cause my father told me to,” say “Ah dammit I shouldn’t have gotten a degree in music" because getting a degree in music is never a good decision.
By the way, I really recommend the book “Happy At Last” by Richard O’ Connor. It's fantastic.
In Conclusion: Don't get a degree in music.
And I don’t believe that “everything happens for a reason”, but I do believe that things happen and people can accept what happened and eventually thrive. Somebody very special to me said, “Remember you are a survivor like me and you have choices in your life.” I think we should all remember that. Thanks Bubbie. Your words of wisdom inspired this article. Keep on rocking ;)
- Post by Aleef K., SExT Cast Member
Hey you, yes you. Do you know someone with a mental illness, but know nothing about it whatsoever? No worries. Read on. Ignorance ain’t a sin ... or is it? Dun dun dun!!!!
Do you have a mental illness and are tired of people talking about mental illness because they think they sound like Stephen Hawking but they actually sound like Donald Trump? Feel free to send this article to them.
Are you saying you aren’t any of these people? Are you some intelligent being who knows everything about everything? Stop reading this article then and go invent something smartass.
Seven Dumbass Myths about Mental Illness:
1. It's just a phase.
No, it's not a damn phase. This isn’t your typical common cold that goes away in a week. It's a serious problem in someone’s brain. In some instances, a person can have a depressive phase that might take months or years to go away without any help, but research has shown that professional help can make the recovery much faster (Meyers & Dewall, 2015). Most mental illnesses do not usually go away just like that.
2. It's "Rich People High Society" BS.
No, it's not. Research has shown that mental illness is more common for people who come from poorer backgrounds (Meyers & Dewall, 2015). So if you thought you were safe from mental illness 'cause your wallet looks like the inside of Jayden Smith’s brain (it's empty for the people who live under caves and don’t understand witty sarcasm), you are so wrong my friend.
3. Dude, it's all in your head. You are making this up yourself.
Um, no dude. Well it's true that “all that” is in my head, but believe me when I say I am not making this up myself unless I like seeing hallucinations that torment my life. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP FOR ENTERTAINMENT. People with mental illness can’t just tell their brain, “Hey brain, stop being crazy, brah.” I really wished it worked like that, but it doesn’t, so believe someone when they tell you about their problems.
4. It doesn't even make sense; how could you think like that? I never wash my hands and I am fine. Stop washing your hands 50 times over.
OCD is a mental disorder that makes you obsess about things and makes you do compulsions. It won’t make sense to you because you don’t have the disorder! How would John Cena understand Kim Kardashian’s back problems? He can’t 'cause he doesn’t have huge breasts.
5. Well, my aunt was abused as a kid and if that wasn't enough, her husband and first son died in a car crash, she is paralysed, she can’t talk, she doesn’t have a job, she has no money, a wild panda stole her glasses, and she doesn’t have depression. Why do you have it? You just had a lousy break up.
Props to your aunt for not suffering from any kind of mental illness after suffering so much trauma, but people are genetically predisposed to depression (Meyers & Dewall 2015). So I AM SORRY ABOUT MY GENES, MAYBE YOU SHOULD BLAME MY ANCESTRY. Some people are just more prone to have mental illnesses than others, so it's not anyone’s fault or lack of resilience.
6. It's just a phase, brah. All these disorders and stuff, it's all a phase. It's gonna disappear in a decade or so.
Um no brah, this ain’t POKEMON. Mental illness has existed throughout the centuries. It's only in recent times that we are able to categorize and provide treatment for it. With the age of TV and internet, it's just getting more traction than ever before.
7. People with mental illnesses are dangerous.
Uh, no we are not. Most people who are diagnosed with mental illness don’t want to strangle you to get your Pikachu for free (even if they really want to). There are some exceptions, however. Someone who is diagnosed as a psychopath feels no empathy and therefore can commit cold blooded murders, but guess who else can commit murders: people who are not psychopaths. Most psychopaths that exist don’t commit crimes.
In conclusion, please be a little more empathetic and understanding when someone complains about their mental health. I advise you to seek professional help if you ever feel like you have a mental disorder. Better safe than sorry mate.
Myers, D. J., & Dewall, N. C. (2015). Psychology (11th ed.). Worth Pub.
- Post by Aleef K., SExT Cast Member
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