You Need “Thicker Skin”

This is something for anyone who publishes their written work to keep in mind.


Taking My Own Advice…Revisited

About a month ago, I wrote a post stating that I need to take my own advice that I easily dish out to friends or family. Revisiting this idea, I realize that taking my own advice is, just like giving others advice, more easily said than done. Going after what makes me happy in life sounds simple on the surface, but when I dive deeper, I’m thirty feet below the surface, thrashing around and holding my breath until I have to come up for air. While I know what will make me happy in the future, it’s tackling how to achieve it that becomes difficult.

Going through the motions of daily, sometimes boring life can make the advice I give myself and hear from others sound muffled in my head. The words are distant, almost foreign. But I run away from my own advice at times, unambitious to take risks in traveling towards my dreams. It’s scary how easy it is to get caught up in the monotony of the small things in life. I want to see the big picture and travel different paths, but first I have to listen to the advice I’ve been telling myself all along.

Even though hearing the same advice I tell myself from other voices, it helps to hear different tones and inflections. This makes the words become clearer, louder, and in a language I recognize. While I’d rather tell myself what I want, if many voices agree, then it just makes my own advice more valid.

I readily have words of encouragement for others, but when I feed these words to myself, I walk on, leaving the words behind me. My words are sincere, but somehow I lack the ambition at that moment to take the risk of going after my own happiness. Maybe actively changing my life feels scary? Sometimes it’s easier to leave things as they are, hoping life will change on its own. But that is not the way life should be. Where is the fun in waiting around for life to be what I want?

Not only is fear of change a reason for not taking my own advice, but it could also be that I’m comfortable. I see it in others every day: people like myself who are unhappy with something in their lives, but are too comfortable to actively change the situation. If outside circumstances change the situation, those changes are welcome. But if I am the one seeking out change, it feels too risky, and I hold back.

I want to experience life and not just live it, but in order to do that, I have to take my own advice. Change on its own takes too long, and life is too short to live waiting for situations to improve. Knowing what will make me happy is the first step, but the most difficult part is going after it. Actively making that change to make my life the way I want it to be. I want the best for everyone around me, so why not for myself as well?


The heartbreak of creativity: a public service announcement

This is a clever and funny blog post. I think many of us have some symptoms of creativity. 🙂

Drinking Tips for Teens

ross jobs A version of this piece originally aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.” You can hear the original audio version here .

Hello, I’m Ross Murray, beloved columnist, salad dressing connoisseur and author of the best-selling self-help book Don’t Kid Yourself, Mister. Today, I’d like to talk about a condition that afflicts 2 out of 6 Canadians and in some areas as many as 1 in 3. I’m talking about… creativity.

Creativity can strike anyone, anytime, though probably not before 10 a.m. Creative people are just like you and me, except with weirder clothes and occasionally dubious hygiene. Creativity is a highly distracting affliction, but, with regular treatment and flattery, most creative people lead full, productive lives… Let me try that again: most creative people lead full lives.

There are two types of creativity. Some people are born creative, although early creativity remains difficult to diagnose. Many parents become convinced that their…

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I Don’t Write For You…Sorry I’m Not Sorry



I’m not writing this for you, reader. This, and almost everything I write, is for myself.

I entered the blogging world to find a new way to improve my writing while reading other people’s ideas. Maybe I had a teensy hope that other people would read my blog, occasionally leaving a comment saying, “Hey, you’re awesome!” While that’s all well and good, for my whole life, I’ve never been writing for anyone but myself.

Does that make me selfish? You might think so. But honestly, reader, are you writing for other people (besides for work)? Most likely not. Sure, it gives me confidence when I receive positive feedback, but that’s not why I started writing, and it’s not why I continue, either. And the same goes for you.

Think about it: You’re in your favorite writing place (your desk, a coffee shop, or your porch) and the creative energy is flowing through your brain so fast your fingers can’t keep up. In those moments, which for me as a writer can feel like Nirvana, who am I writing for? Me, myself, and I. It’s my therapy, and I’m not thinking about anyone else (unless of course someone is the subject of my creativity).

When I began writing, it was an effective way to channel my creative energy. I wrote about everything, and learned from my mistakes. I never thought about anyone else while I was writing. All I knew was it brought me clarity and awareness of the world. I felt my mind expanding and my ideas deepening. Writing gave me personal growth.

When I write opinionated pieces, of course not everyone will agree. But that shouldn’t matter to me. I write for myself, not for you. And reader, you aren’t writing for me, either. You write for you. We shouldn’t have to feel selfish about that. Writing is a deeply solitary process, and in that solitude, we become more aware of our world. We better understand ourselves, and that allows us to have fulfilling lives.

In life, caring about ourselves should never be selfish. While caring for yourselves and disregarding the needs of others is indeed selfish, making yourself happy is not. Write for yourself unapologetically. You write for you, and I’ll write for me. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll leave comments on each other’s posts saying, “Hey, you’re awesome!”

Maybe People Are Stars

According to Universe Today, when some stars die, they “will condense into a black hole.” And when we look up at the night sky, we may be gazing at dead stars because sometimes they appear to shine after they die. Keeping that theory in mind, I connect it to humans here on Earth. Maybe some people are like dead stars. People who have died inside, living in a black hole. We look and they appear to be shining, but it’s only a facade.

As we travel through our galaxy, we have many relationships that fade away over the years. At first our friendships are brilliant and glimmering, but over time they become distant. Or, we may distance ourselves because a relationship isn’t healthy, but the star burns bright, refusing to fade away. Every time we star gaze, that particular star is the only one we see, despite the billions of other stars in the universe. Yet other relationships explode, dying quickly and turning to ash. Either way, these stars scorch our skin before they die.

Of all the stars in this galaxy, I gravitate towards the ones that glimmer. I’ve been burned by stars that scorched my skin, and I watched them explode and become black holes. I’ve seen stars fade, falling away from me until I can’t see the light anymore. There were the stars I could always find in the sky, no matter the weather or billions of other stars surrounding the galaxy. But over time, they faded, and I orbited towards other stars.

There are billions of stars in this universe, and some are only ghosts. They are black holes of their former selves, hollow inside but existing on the outside. I star gaze at night, watching stars explode, burn out, and die. I hold onto the stars that keep me warm and give me some of their light.

Who Reads My Blog, Anyway? (Where in the World…)

Fellow WordPress bloggers, are you as obsessed with following your stats as I am? Sure, that’s not why we blog, but it sure gives you a rush. Seeing the numbers of your traffic increase (hopefully) is one of many reasons to keep blogging, knowing that people are reading your words.

For me, one of the coolest features is seeing the countries my viewers are from. I’ve had traffic from countries I’ve never heard of, and countries I’ve dreamed of visiting. Maybe that’s why I always loved playing “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” as a kid. Since I’m so interested in culture and hope to travel more in my future, I decided to compile a list of the top ten countries that visit my blog. And maybe this will now be my Bucket List of countries to visit. Drumroll, please. And the winners are…

Source: Chicago, IL skyline

Chicago, IL skyline

1. United States–This is obviously number one because it’s the country I am from, and English is its native language. I’ve been to several states within my home country, but I’d love to see all 50 one day.

Source: My dream vacation

My dream vacation

2. Australia–In the middle of winter where I live, I sure would love a vacation to Australia right about now!



3. United Kingdom–I love British accents, British literature, and the history of the United Kingdom. I’d love to see some theatre, meet awesome people, and see the sights. Any followers in England wanna take this girl shopping in London? 🙂

Source: Beautiful scenery

Beautiful scenery

4. Canada–The scenery of Canada looks so beautiful, and being from Midwestern America, Canada isn’t that far away. I’d especially love to see Niagara Falls.

Source: Taj Mahal in Agra, India

Taj Mahal in Agra, India

5. India–It’s fascinating how many various countries view my blog. I find the Indian culture beautiful and fascinating because it’s so different from my culture.

Source: Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

6. Spain–I studied Spainsh, and have always wanted to travel to Spain one day. I would love to explore many cities in Spain. The history, culture, food, and music interests me.



7. Austria–I sure wouldn’t mind visiting this place. Look at how beautiful it is!

Source: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

8. Netherlands–I know that the Netherlands has delicious chocolate. I am a chocoholic, so I think I should pay this country a visit for that reason alone…

Source: Castle in Germany

Castle in Germany

9. Germany–Who wouldn’t want to live in a castle in Germany? Maybe I’ve watched too many Disney movies. But a girl can dream.

Trip in Greece

Trip in Greece

10. Greece–I’m so excited that Greece is in the ten ten countries that visit my blog! I’ve been there once, and would love to go back. It’s a beautiful country.

Thanks to all my viewers from around the world! And to fellow bloggers, where are your viewers from? Any surprising countries?

Why the “Fitspiration” Movement is Dangerous (And Should Disappear)

For those of you who haven’t heard of it (you lucky souls), the term “fitspiration” is a movement started to supposedly promote fitness, mainly for women. On the surface, it seems like a positive idea. Promoting a healthy lifestyle? Posting pictures of girls working out and being healthy? Awesome! Let’s do it!



But…not so fast, ladies and gents. That’s just what these fitspiration enthusiasts want you to think.

On the surface, it seems harmless. But this movement is too similar to another internet movement: thinspiration. This movement promotes women being skinny (something new), and they encourage women to develop eating disorders to achieve their narrow perception of “beauty.” Sure, at least fitspiration encourages fitness, but it doesn’t promote a healthy lifestyle.

Fitspiration crosses the line, showing that women are, as always in advertising, only physical beings. While now the women are lean and working out, they are still only bodies, and nothing more. They work out to get attention and to feel worth something. Again, it’s the dangerous idea that women are only worth what they have on the outside.



Working out should be about health, and feeling good on the inside as well as the outside. Fitspiration is just more crap aimed at women to make them feel bad about themselves. The idea of women working out and improving their lives is great, sure, but fitspiration isn’t much better than thinspiration. Both are the same in that they both show a narrow perception of what they think women should look like. They both say, “Hey, here’s what you should look like. This girl.”



“You need to look like HER. Quit eating, (or work out for six hours a day), and MAYBE, just maybe, you can look half as good as she does. Good luck!”

How is that inspirational?

On the website The Great Fitness Movement, in an article written by Charlotte Hilton Andersen, she says, “Fitspo may be thinspo in a sports bra.” I could not agree more with that statement. Both fitspiration and thinspiration are telling women that, above all, our looks are most important. We must also devote our lives to perfecting our bodies, at all costs. These “inspiration” movements are promoting obsessive habits. Fitspiration promotes “fitness” in dangerous ways, and it continues the trend of making women feel bad about themselves. It does more harm than good.

While I’m all in favor of working out and improving your health, women also need to have a healthy self esteem. Fitspiration is doing nothing to empower women, so I think it’s a movement that should be stopped. A nonprofit online magazine called Libero Network was started to help support people recovering from eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. Libero Network promotes healthy lifestyles, and brings awareness to the dangers of the fitspiration movement. This online magazine started the “Stop Fitspiration” movement. With March being National Women’s History Month, I think it’s perfect timing to start promoting HEALTHY lifestyles for women, not obsessive-cumpulsive eating and work out habits.



Women want to be empowered and loved for their minds, not their bodies.  Let’s put an end to thinspiration, fitspiration, and anything that’s out there tearing women down.

Snow White and the Queen’s Blog (A Fairy Tale)



Once upon a time, Snow White was strolling through the WordPress World. All of a sudden, she came across a Big Bad Blog, run by an Evil Queen. The Queen screamed throughout her Blog that her ideas were best, even though they were evil ones.  She was the Queen of her Blog, the most opinionated in the WordPress World.



Buried deep in the hundreds of comments, Snow White spoke, saying that the Evil Queen’s blog posts were offensive. But the Queen sent her Huntsman out to kill Snow White’s comments, bashing her with vile words of hate.

Though the Huntsman ventured into the dark forest of commentors, he could not kill Snow White. She ran further into the comments, meekly fighting back against his spiteful words. As she ran further, he retreated back to the Evil Queen’s Blog.

“Did you kill Snow White?” she whispered, her eyes narrowing to slits.

“Yes, my Queen. Snow White is dead,” answered the Huntsman nervously. He hoped the Queen would turn her computer off and miss the comments Snow White may write to prove she lives.

The Queen slept soundly that night, her laptop also on Sleep Mode, until she had a horrific dream. She dreamt of her Blog being discovered and taken over by people with higher IQ’s and more open minds than she. They ran her Blog to the ground with proof that her evil blog posts were wrong and hateful, and she was banished from WordPress World. Forever.

She woke in a sweat, waking up her computer to read the recent comments on her Blog. The latest comment was from Snow White. It said, “Evil Queen, you must stop these hurtful words.”

“Snow White is ALIVE?” shrieked the Queen. “I must kill her myself!”

The Queen put her long, red-polished fingernails to the keyboard, and began to type: “Snow White, read THIS, and see why I am right and you are wrong.”



Her plan was simple: Snow White would click the link she provided (an article with evil propoganda), and once Snow White read it, her brain would die, being replaced with the brain of a converted Follower. Snow White would appear to other readers to have simply “changed her mind.” The Evil Queen would thereafter be the most opinionated in the WordPress World.

Deep in slumber, Snow White’s cell phone beeped.

“A notification from the Queen!” she gasped, and ran back into the dark forest of comments. Snow White wondered if she should click on the link the Snow Queen had given her. But her curiosity devoured her, and she clicked on the link. It led her to an article. It was so evil, she shielded her eyes. But it was too late. Snow White closed her computer and was silent, disappearing from the WordPress World.

In the Evil Queen’s Blog, she waited. She refreshed the page, scrolling to the bottom of the comments. Nothing from Snow White, to her dismay. While she felt relieved that Snow White was no longer proving her opinions wrong, she was not agreeing with her, either. She didn’t know which was worse. The Queen’s follower count was growing, but she needed more.

“Snow White as a Follower? That’s just what I need!” she cackled to herself. But her tiny heart fluttered nervously. She ignored it and clicked “Refresh” once more.

Snow White was waiting in front of her computer, too. Though the Queen’s plan had backfired and Snow White was not dead, she did not feel brave anymore. She refreshed her WordPress page, hoping someone would speak up on her behalf. Days passed by, and every day, only Followers of the Queen commented their spiteful words.

One sunny day, Snow White’s cell phone beeped. She jumped out of bed, nervously peering at the notification.

Snow White’s heart, which had pumped slow for days, began pounding. “A Prince commented on my behalf!” she screamed, jumping on her computer to read his comment.

The Prince was educated, opinionated, and came to Snow White’s rescue. Snow White typed hastily on her keyboard, and clicked “Comment.” At every notification from the Prince, Snow White grew more brave. Together, they made their strongest effort to overthrow the Evil Queen’s Blog.

In the Queen’s room, she woke, hoping that she had gained more Followers (one in particular) while she slept. When she entered her Blog, her eyes widened in delight.

“Snow White has commented! My plan worked!” she laughed. But when she wandered through the comments, she realized that Snow White had not been converted to a Follower: She was fighting back. And had help from the Prince.

“Curse Snow White! She cannot tear down my Blog!” But comment after comment that the Queen made was struck down by Snow White, the Prince, and many others who wanted to destroy the Queen. Her reign was overthrown, and she was forced to delete her blog. The Queen was banished forever from WordPress World.

And, naturally, Snow White and the Prince lived happily ever after.