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WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?

#bodiesDistortion

30 comments | February 28th, 2012

do you see me

(story by Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda)

After years of being a female teenager, myself, and now having spent a couple of years parenting a female teenager, I've come to an inescapable conclusion: Surging estrogen has a negative impact on the brain. Argue with me if you must, but I think it must be true. I look at pictures of my teenage self, now, and wonder at how I could've been so myopic about my own looks. True, my hair was rather unfortunate (hey, everyone's was) most of the time, but I recall being convinced that I was plain, at best. On a good day, I believe I was plain. On a bad day, I just knew I was horribly, terribly ugly. My measurements, as a teen? 34-22-34. And I have a very clear memory of that first discovery of cellulite on my thighs, and trust me, it wasn't in my teens. When I was a teen, I was pretty. Not just that, but I had a killer figure. And I had absolutely no idea. Instead, I wore ...

Love & SexDr. Freud?

4 comments | February 27th, 2012

astronauts

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Ever found yourself physically to someone who you just do not think you should be?  She is:

I keep finding myself attracted to therapists. Not mine, thank god, but the idea of one. Like, physically attracted to.

I've been in therapy since childhood and have always been fascinated by the mind, but I really don't know what's going on and am afraid it makes me perverted somehow. Or crazy. which i'm not. I'm in therapy because I have had issues with self-esteem. I have no idea what is going on. what is wrong with me? {end story}

While we're not sure why this potential Freud-fretish is upsetting our writer - it is.  What about you, ever find yourself lusting after a certain person - or type of person (astronauts maybe) - in a way you didn't quite get? Do you have a look or type that you've always been drawn to?  Any thoughts (or questions) for our writer?  Bring it on and bring it all...  

#bodiesBody v. Mind

11 comments | February 25th, 2012

chestist blue

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

One of the things that's most interesting to us about this Chestist's story, is she feels unattractive despite a BF that loves everything about her.  Why's that?  Check her story out here:

"I'm 20, 5'4, 165lbs and used to be 135 five years ago. ive always been curvy and athletic. other people say i am average but those cruel BMI indexes say i am over-weight.  when i looked up my BMI it was like getting punched in the gut. it doesnt take into consideration that i have a good deal of muscle mass in my lower body from having lifted weights and run track. yes i could spare a few pounds and i need to get back to the gym. but i am sick of the media throwing at me that i

am not beautiful because i am not a size 2. i am smart, funny, compassionate, and have a boyfriend who loves and thinks every inch of me is beautiful. Why is it that only appearance is what makes someone attractive and desirable? Why isn't it considered that the most attractive feature a ...

#chestismsHooray for Hollywood?

14 comments | February 23rd, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-02-22 at 12.55.26 PM

(Submitted by Eva and Seth @OffOurChests, originally last year and again this - and next if we have to)

  Here's the thing.  Hollywood built and paid for our house.  Actually, it paid for it and pretty much everything else in our lives, including this here thing we call Off Our Chests.  The point we want to make upfront is, we're lovers not haters.

But as we approach the Oscars, there's another point we want to make about Hollywood.  Popular culture being both, how do we say popular and cultural, influences and shapes how feel, what we think about, talk about and wonder about.  And it can wield this power for good and ill, passively or actively.  Hollywood can raise and sometimes even change our consciousness - or just fuck with it.

Of course we're talking about Hollywood broadly and metaphorically here, and we really mean the purveyors of the stuff of popular culture.  We're talking about the product (movies, music, tv, video games, fashion, celebrity...) they make and which we consume, and that maybe too often consume some of ...

#lifestagesWhat I Should Be

7 comments | February 18th, 2012

chestist black scratch

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

There's nothing we want to do more than give this writer a hug and let her know it'll all be okay.   Here's her story, a short one full of hurt:

Sometimes I look at other girls my age and want to cry because they remind me of what I should be. I should be worrying about prom dresses not treatment centers, hiding hickeys instead of cuts, and wanting to rebel a little rather than trying to keep it together for my parents. {end story}

We have no words.   Do you have any comfort, experience or thoughts to share with this writer and each other?

Happy HatingI Can’t Find the Off-Switch

10 comments | February 17th, 2012

chestist threads

(story submitted anonymously, by a 27 yo Chestist)

Oh how we here @OOC get this - from one of you:

I cant find the off switch.  I wake up in the middle of the night thinking, rehashing conversations, replaying situations.

When I'm in the car, my mind wanders over and over again to those things that are stressing me, not those things or people that are making me feel good. I try and breathe through it.  I try and breathe into it.  I try and let it go, not even to ignore it, but to give me some peace, some rest, some quiet.  My mind though keeps ticking and seems like it's forever on rewind.  I want to be present and I want to find the off-switch.  {end story}

What about you?  Are you able to get out of your own head, when your head is not giving you what you want?  If you are, share how you figured out how to flip the off switch.  If you aren't - keep trying.  You'll find it.  Sometimes our heads are terrible places to spend time.  XO

Happy HatingHurt You

10 comments | February 17th, 2012

chestist sad

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

You ever been hurt so badly you want to hurt someone back?  One of you is dealing with this right now.  Here's her story:

I want to make you pay for everything you did to me. i want to hurt you. i want to hurt you on the outside even though i know it will never measure up to how much i hurt on the inside. {end story}

The rawness of her emotion and hurt is so real and tangible - probably because we can relate to it in our own ways.  Here @OOC HQ, we are of the opinion that these feelings are always best expressed as this writer has - in a safe place, productively, and not actually.    Have you ever felt as she does?  Did you act out on the want, or we you able to let time heal the wound and move on and past it?  Either way, tell us how. 

 

#lifestagesNot a Good Fit

7 comments | February 17th, 2012

Chestist typewriter 2

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Have you ever wanted - or needed - a job and not gotten it?  She has, and it sucks:

I just got *another* email informing me that while I interviewed well and the hiring manager liked me, I am not a good fit for the position. I feel like I keep getting so close and then ... SLAM, nothing. {end story}

It can be so hard to keep plugging along, trying to find that next job, that new job, and getting close but not getting it.  Has this ever happened to you?  How'd you kep your spirits up when they keep getting smacked down?  Remember, if you share your story you can help change hers.  Go on...  

#bodiesA Healthy Relationship With Self

13 comments | February 15th, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-02-10 at 11.51.13 AM

(story by Carre Otis, a Chestist and author of BeautyDisrupted)

When was the last time you honestly asked yourself, “How do I feel about me?” “How do I see myself?” Simple and obvious? Maybe not so much.

How we feel about ourselves and bodies affects much more than I think we realize. Our self image, confidence and feelings of self worth ricochet out through the universe — and certainly the universe of our daily lives and interactions. Our feelings impact other people, shaping their feelings about us as well as about themselves.

Do you feel happy? Confident? Beautiful? Centered in your place and mission in your workplace? At home? In relationship? With your children? With self and others?

Self-love is the battery that powers every other kind of love.

I believe many of us suffer the effects of living on an autopilot of low self esteem and negativity. We’re shut down, dismissing the very need to be in healthy dialogue with our inner selves.. The relationship with self must be nurtured first before we can expect to experience fulfilling and reciprocated relationships in other ...

Happy MakingMoney and Happiness

5 comments | February 15th, 2012

money bags

(by OOC via DailyMail)

'Mo money may mean 'mo money, but does it mean more happiness?  This isn't the first time we've broached the topic of money and happiness here @OOC, and it won't be the last, no doubt. 

According to this research coming out of the U.K. (where they are on a happiness-making binge at 10 Downing Street), money - at least to a certain extent - can make you happier.  Surprised?

From the article: "it provides a cushion against rising living costs and can pay for treats to lift the mood such as holidays, good food – and lipstick...58% of those earning more than £50,000 (call it $90,000 USD) are satisfied with life, compared to 43% of those with an income of less than roughly £15,000 (call it $25,000 USD).  The details emerged in a study of happiness and income, which identified a huge divide between rich and poor."

Call us cynics, but the stresses on those - especially if they're a family - making $25,000 ...

Happy MakingBe Happy More

8 comments | February 14th, 2012

chestist enthralled

(story submitted anonymously, by a 20 yo Chestist)

Here are just 15 words from one of you that sum up a whole lot of a whole lot of people:

I wish I knew how to be happy more, and how to accept being sad. {end story}

Maybe no words have been shared here that we can relate to more deeply than these.  And as we sit here typing, it's so hard not to fall into platitude and cliche, platitudes and cliches we believe with all our being, and yet we keep getting tripped up in our own thoughts.  So let's turn it over to all of us...how do you practice being happier?  Do you let yourself accept being sad?  How'd you learn to?  Thoughts on happiess and sadness...#discuss.  XO, OOC

#lifestagesWhen An Abortion Happens In a Good Marriage

17 comments | February 13th, 2012

black explosion chestist

(story submitted by Lidia-Anain, a Chestist)

Let's just get right to her story:

Six years ago I felt completely suffocated and restless. I had quit my job just a few short months earlier to stay at home with my two boys just until my oldest started Kindergarten then I’d go back to work to help pay for the degree I was finishing. My self-worth had been attached to my job. My self-worth had been attached to my title. My self-worth was not my own. In just a few months after quitting my job I found out that I was expecting another baby. I did not want another child. He did not want another child. We had not planned for another child and had taken the necessary precautions to not have anymore children by using condoms and birth control. We had other plans yet there we were expecting another baby and this time we knew that even if we weren’t ready we could not go through another abortion.

Abortions aren’t things married women have?

We had already been down that road just six months earlier when we had buckled at ...

Happy MakingHappiness, Statistically Speaking

6 comments | February 13th, 2012

happiness

(by OOC via technologyreview.com)

Just what makes us happy?  According to this research of U.S. attitudes the answers are:

Health

Marriage

Income

Statistically speaking, the healthy amongst us are 20% happier than those in ill health (us, we're surprised that the spread's not greater); marriage adds 10% to one's happiness quotient (us, we're suprised it's that high - not because we're in a bad marriage or mariage opposed, oh no, but because of the divorce rate ); and income adds 3.5% (frankly, despite knowing that money doesn't buy happiness, it does reduce a few stresses, so we're equally surprised this isin't a bit higher.)

Kids?  Now that's where it gets interesting.  Apparently and statistically, each child actually reduces happiness by 0.25%.  What then accounts for the continuance of the species and the warm fuzzies we get every time we see our children?  The research doesn't say.  For a full read, go here.

How would you rank these 4 (health, marriage, income, and kids) in contributing to your happiness, what you'd expect would make you happy, or what doesn't make you happy now?  We know a lot of brilliant, kind, ...

#bodiesTaboo

6 comments | February 11th, 2012

SYT

(story submitted by Leah, a 17 yo Chestist)

While Leah's story is about cutting and self-harm, her bigger point - that the more we talk about what's considered taboo the less taboo it will be considered* - is an important one, and one that's always been at the heart of Off Our Chests.  Here's what Leah has to get off her chest:

I believe if we talked about self-harm as much as we made did and have teen drinking or even suicide, people might think differently about it and the people around them. The fact that it's considered taboo to discuss topics in public such as self-harm is absurd to me. I'm 17, and have been dealing with cutting for a few months now. I finally realized how much stereotyping goes into what people think about it and what other people do, such as self harm. I've realized that even the people closest  to me finding out was a source of embarrassment. I believe this is because no one will speak up and unveil the mysteries that surround self-harm.  {end story}

We agree with Leah...the more we all talk about ...

#thecumulativeeffectStrangers and Self-Esteem

6 comments | February 10th, 2012

do you see me

(by OOC via Men's Health)

Oh, great.  As if our friends, family, colleagues and culture couldn't hate on our happy all by themselves - now we find that strangers can lower our self-esteem just by not looking at us.  I mean, we're strangers...aren't we supposed to not look at each other (Can you tell I grew up in NYC?)

According to the original article, researchers found that "failing to draw eye contact  can trigger feelings of social isolation and low self-esteem...curious to see how small social interactions, or lack thereof, could influence a person’s feelings of connectedness... the experimenters were instructed to walk past random students and make eye contact, smile, or purposely look through the student as if he didn’t exist. Immediately afterward, another experimenter asked the student how disconnected he felt on a scale of 1 to 5.

As it turns out, a cold eye may be more painful than a cold shoulder: The students that were made to feel invisible reported feeling 25 percent more disconnected from others."

Yowza, right?  So do a stranger a favor and make eye-contact today.  ...

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