Your story matters

Who else is feeling like the world just imploded this summer? Gaza, Syria, Iraq, America’s reentry into Iraq, so many refugees, an endless stream of people with nowhere to go… every place is “full” and the money supply is always dwindling as the 0.1% keep stuffing their secret bank accounts with more billions each month.

And it’s all there, right in our face on social media. It’s exhausting just to keep up with all the senseless suffering. But then I had this thought. What if social media is eventually going to put a stop to all this? When enough people have had enough and join together in a massive show of civil disobedience of this bullshit system of war and profit over people and peace. Wouldn’t that be something. Soon, everyone under 20 won’t know a world without social media. Soon, it will be impossible to justify war when its true face is in our face every single day.

Stories have the power to change the world.

One visionary photographer, Brandon Stanton, was recently unemployed when he began to  take street portraits of strangers in the summer of 2010. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories.  The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called “Humans of New York,” in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes.


It’s an incredible project, and it’s more than just photos. Every day, millions of Facebook users are introduced to a handful of strangers, along with some of their most intimate secrets and stories. When you follow the page long enough, you begin to see what a revolutionary idea this is because it makes you understand, on a molecular level, that every single person alive is fighting their own struggle and that their moments of sadness and joy may not be felt across the world, but once they are put out there, they resonate with hundreds of thousands of people across the world. And that’s never really happened before, not as intimate, not as instantaneous, as it is now on social media.

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Last week, in partnership with the United Nations, Brandon set out on a “world tour” to capture photos and stories of people outside New York. He started in Iraq and his posts so far have been heartbreaking and sensational. Because Brandon holds a very rare currency these days – the internet’s trust – and when he shows us stories from refugees, in their own words, of fear, love, despair and courage, we listen. We feel. We become connected. And that’s the only thing that can make this bleak present become a brighter future, globally.

This is one of the stories he posted today.


“The fighting got very bad. When I left Syria to come here, I only had $50. I was almost out of money when I got here. I met a man on the street, who took me home, and gave me food and a place to stay. But I felt so ashamed to be in his home, that I spent 11 hours a day looking for jobs, and only came back to sleep. I finally found a job at a hotel. They worked me 12 hours a day, for 7 days a week. They gave me $400 a month. Now I found a new hotel now that is much better. I work 12 hours per day for $600 a month, and I get one day off. In all my free hours, I work at a school as an English teacher. I work 18 hours per day, every day. And I have not spent any of it. I have not bought even a single T-shirt. I’ve saved 13,000 Euro, which is how much I need to buy fake papers. There is a man I know who can get me to Europe for 13,000. I’m leaving next week. I’m going once more to Syria to say goodbye to my family, then I’m going to leave all this behind. I’m going to try to forget it all. And I’m going to finish my education.” (Erbil, Iraq)


Everyone we know is brokenhearted

I think Joshua Ellis just made my blog obsolete with this amazing, somber, absolutely human post. Please, please read it. I also think, whenever I get down in the future, I will just go back and read this and spare everyone my take on contemporary sadness. Not that everyone’s pain isn’t valid, it is just so… the same. Without further ado, go read: Everyone I know is brokenhearted.


Readers appreciation post

In celebration of reaching almost 500 followers on WordPress, I wanted to open up the floor for a little informal Q & A.

When I started this blog 1,5 years ago I really had no idea what kind of blogger I wanted to be. I thought I wanted to be a lifestyle/personal blogger but over the past year I have learned how much I truly value my privacy and not having to put every little thing out there. Not to mention, my life is really not that interesting! I’ve even stopped maintaining a personal Facebook because I just don’t see the point anymore, although I’m more than happy to creep on others! It also seems to me that personal bloggers tend to buy a lot of stuff to constantly show off and that’s really not going to work for me since my blog is basically an anti-blind-consumerism forum.

So here we are, and I’m very happy to be right here. I’ve really been enjoying the WordPress community lately and discovering a lot of insightful and well written blogs. As fun and frivolous as Instagram is, the blogging sphere is where I feel most at home. Over the past year, I have moved away from the more personal posts to cover issues that trouble and inspire me. It’s been a wonderful outlet for me and I feel so blessed for having such intelligent and compassionate readers. 90% of the comments I receive end up making my day because I get to feel heard and understood by people all over the world. What a gift writing has been and continue to be for me.

But it’s perfectly natural to feel curious about the person behind the words so consider this your chance if you have wanted to ask me a question, or for me to clarify anything I have written in the past. Let’s get to know each other a little better! Continue reading


Anatomy of suicide

In this post I’m going to talk about something that is difficult to talk about, but also very important. To me, it cuts to the very core of what it means to be human. The act of taking your own life. Humans are unique among the animals as in we are capable of deciding if we want to keep living or not. Do most people consider it a choice?

Continue reading


The Yelp generation will be the end of humanity

I’m dead serious with this one. You might be able to tell from the amount of times I will use the word ‘asshat’.

Ok, so global warming is a thing. It’s happening. I don’t care what you call it or where you think it came from – it is happening, it is a thing.


I’m not an expert but even I understand this. In very broad strokes it means that the global temperature is rising, which leads to ice melting in places where it hasn’t melted before in human history. That leads to global ocean levels rising which spells trouble for all the coastal cities out there (where the majority of humanity lives.) It leads to warmer oceans which is troubling for all the coral reefs out there, where the majority of marine life start their food chains. Warmer weather means more droughts which leads to desertification of land. Less lakes and trees and plants. Bad news for humans. Mass-extinction of species is also happening, which humans eventually could be one of the unlucky ones.  Very bad news all around.


But this is all kind of happening slowly, so it kind of falls outside our definition of ‘news’. News in 2014 is something that happens very fast, with lots of developments and plot twists, and something that is usually over in a couple of days. The only way to make global warming news is to ask what people think, because opinions are news too, dontyouknow. Luckily for news stations everywhere people seem have a lot of opinions in 2014! And, boy, are they encouraged to voice them.

I first started to take notice because of Yelp. Don’t get me wrong, I rely on Yelp as much as the next person when finding a competent doctor or just the phone number to a particular restaurant but once you are on Yelp you can’t help but read the reviews. Some are funny, some are unfair, some are helpful but mostly they tend to be very long. Like seven paragraphs long. About buying frozen yogurt. I mean, dude, it took you five times longer to bitch about your yogurt-buying experience than it did to eat the damn yogurt. So I thought, maybe this is a sign that deep inside every person is a writer that is just dying to spring forth and release literary genius on unsuspecting window shoppers online. Because people put a lot of effort into these reviews – how they were greeted, who they were with, what they ate complete with pictures, and whether or not they got free birthday desert. Clearly stuff of vital importance to no one.  asimov-cult-of-ignoranceAnd then it hit me, this is not about writing – if they liked writing they would get a blog – this is about having opinions.

And then I started noticing it everywhere. This excessive plea for uneducated opinions. I like to watch crime shows like 48 Hours (they have them on YouTube) and after each 45 minutes episode laying out evidence of murder that usually ends with conviction, the show will end in a dramatic voice over: “Do you think s/he is guilty? What would you have voted if you were on the jury? Chat now with Twiddlebum on Twitter and Facebook!” And without fail I get angry. Because for once, in a shut-and-done murder case, it is perfectly okay to not have an opinion. All I know of this case is what the TV show showed me, I don’t have access to the evidence and I haven’t spend months or years reading up on it, so I’m pretty sure my opinion is completely invalid right now and for all foreseeable future. And that’s ok! It is totally ok not to have an opinion on every little thing.

But, oh no, the media can’t have that. They want to know what you think of celebrities dresses on the red carpet, they want to know what you think of politics, of wars, of movies, and of science. Millions of people actually spend money to vote on reality shows like American Idol and the countless imitators that came after. We have been conditioned to have so many fucking opinions on unimportant shit that now we seem to think we can ‘opinionize’ our way out of global warming by simply choosing to ‘not believe’ in it.


I don’t need to show you the reports by actual scientists who spend their days, years, and decades studying the actual conditions of planet Earth. Most of them are saying we are past the point of no return and even if we stop polluting today, there will still be repercussions felt by future generations. Plastic, toxic and acidic are the legacies we leave behind. And it’s cool not to want to change our behavior. That’s valid choice. But at least we should own up to that choice and stop hiding like cowards behind all these opinions.

P.S. Turns out ‘asshat’ isn’t such a big part of my vocabulary as I thought when I started this. But that’s ok. Go on Yelp. You’ll find them. In fact, you can’t miss them.

If you’re as fed up with the ridiculous mainstream media as I am, check out my guide to finding real news on YouTube. Breaking the Set’s Abby Martin remains my spirit animal. After all, we are both 30 year old angry white women with a lot of opinions ;)


Love Him Madly: A Jim Morrison memoir and why I love biographies

I read on average about a book a week. Sometimes a particular book will take me three weeks to finish, and other times I devour three books a week, making a conscious choice to choose reading over all other activities. But mostly reading is just a natural part of existing for me. I read in bed at night, I read in the bathroom, I read while I eat or wait.

I’m not a book snob. I read pretty much anything but I think I’m particularly drawn to biographies and true crime. But I space that out with literary fiction, young adult fiction, pulp fiction, horror, how-to guides and non-fiction of all kinds. I’m addicted to reading because it adds layers to my world that I otherwise wouldn’t get to experience, and I read to understand all aspect of the world. The world, of course, usually means people. I’m not very good at making friends with people who aren’t already a lot like me, with vastly the same experiences, so I read to understand the people who inhabit the world that aren’t like me.

Since I love to read so much, writing came equally naturally to me. I thought it was just what people do. I didn’t think it required a particular talent or anything. Like most writers, I don’t think I’m too good at it so reading a lot of the time feels like masochism – all these people are such wonderful writers so why should anyone want to read mine. Wah, wah, right. But secretly I love that the world is so full of so many talented writers willing to share their unique experiences. Continue reading

Stories we tell ourselves


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