Best H.S. Valentine’s EVER.

comment | February 15th, 2013

2 hearts

(A friend sent us this Valentine's from the head of the Santa Monica HS PTA to their students.  Best Valentine's ever.) Dear Santa Monica High School Students, We love you. But today, it's not enough that we love you; it's important to tell you that we love you and why we do. We love you because you're trying hard. Because you're all different. Because you're perfect the way you are. Because you're our future. We love you because you make us happy.And we love you because you make our community whole. It doesn't matter whether anyone outside our community doesn't love you, or wants to change you, wants you to be something you're not, or wants you to listen to what they say no matter how offensive or ignorant it is. In our community, you are welcome, you are accepted, your opinions count, your beliefs are sacred, and you can love whomever you choose. You're one of us, and we love you for that.Take this message from this love letter: we don't want you to change, but we want you to grow. Just the way you've been growing, in the same directions and with ...

#chestismsLife Changing Moments

4 comments | December 10th, 2012

exploding flowers

(via Salon.com via Smithmag.net) We bumped into this article in our travels across the interwebs, on our never-ending search for that which will enthrall and intrigue you, and provoke your thought (how we doing, btw?). The Smithmag piece features the stories of authors known and not, recalling the moments in their lives that changed them, defined them, made them who they are and aren't. We were inspired. And so we ask you, are there moments in your life on which you look back and think "that one changed me"?  Which ones are they?  What happened and why did it matter?  Did you realize its importance at the time?  Let's talk life-changing moments, shall we?  You share yours and we'll share ours.  XO, FMB

#lifestagesDon’t Want Kids

comment | November 30th, 2012


(by anonymous)

I don't want kids.  My mother's going to kill me. {end story}

You ever find yourself not wanting something someone else wants (or expects) you to want?  Big buzzkill if you let it be.  How do you deal with it? 

#lifestagesLessons from a Square Peg

27 comments | November 13th, 2012

square peg

(by Mir) My standard answer, when people ask us why we chose to remove my son from public school and enroll him, instead, at a facility we have lovingly nicknamed "Hippie School," is this: It took me a while to realize that public school was trying to fit my beautiful square peg into a round hole, and eventually we figured it out and put him where there are round holes and square holes and octagonal holes and even the option not to go into a hole at all. The answer is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, sure, but it's also the shortest way to encapsulate how it all went down. Because, truly, by the time my son was struggling to fit into a classroom, I already had 30-odd years of conforming to expectations (or suffering the consequences when I didn't). There was a tacit assumption on my part that my son could also learn to adapt and that would work out just fine. Yes, I accept that my son is very different from me, and even that his mind works very differently from that of a "normal" kid, but for years I believed ...

#lifestagesLove the Vote

42 comments | November 6th, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-11-05 at 6.29.32 PM

(by Mir) I'm not going to lie; I was struggling with a post topic for today. I'm tired, it's been a hard few days, my screwed-back-together broken hand is hurting, and I'm suffering from a Halloween candy hangover. This is not the ideal combination for deep thought. So, being the professional that I am, last night I turned to my husband and whined, "What should I write about?" (No, he doesn't receive combat pay for living with me. But he probably should.) "Write about the election," he suggested. I gave him A Look. You know the one---it suggests that I would rather chew off my own leg than discuss politics. He shook his head slightly. "Not the election itself. Write about voting. Write about the first time you voted!" And I said no. Because... I can't remember the first time I voted. We worked through the history to figure out that the first presidential election where I would've been of legal voting age was 1992. Then we determined that I would've still been in college, so if I'd voted in that election, I would've either had to ...

Not As Pretty As I Want To Be

7 comments | October 31st, 2012

black explosion chestist

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist, now on OOC rewind)

We're assuming this comes from one of our younger readers.  Any advice from any of you who've been there before?  Here's what she's got to share:

I always felt really sad for not being as pretty as I wanted to be.

Then I had a nose-job and I was sure I would feel better, because it's an expensive plastic surgery that is supposed to make you look better (even if it's not that much) but never worse. It turns out I look worse.

I had this surgery 6 months ago and I've been crying since then. Not only because I still don't feel pretty, but because I actually miss my face. I looked better before. I'm disappointed and now I don't have any hope. I totally regret this surgery. I wish I could go back 6 months and tell myself that I looked just fine. Now I can't even take pictures 'cause my nose looks bent. I try to think "It's just a little imperfection" but that makes me angry, because I wasn't born with it, it ...

#lifestagesThe Politics of Halloween Candy

52 comments | October 30th, 2012


(by Mir)

It was during my childhood that the Fear Police decided that Halloween candy should be checked for razor blades and cyanide. For a few glorious years before whatever triggered the fear that your neighbors were trying to kill your kids, we trick-or-treated unabashed, gorging ourselves on whatever we found in our bags, and discarding the apples and boxed of raisins simply because they weren't candy, not because there was a fear that they might be deadly.

Back in the pre-fear days, it wasn't unusual to get a baggie full of unwrapped candy---the more frugal neighbors simply created smaller portions from a larger bag, rather than buying individually wrapped---and often such bags contained a variety of candy, so that you could pick through a single "serving" and have everything from cordials to pretzels. And while we always tossed the plain, inevitably stale popcorn balls neighborhood grandmas seemed compelled to distribute, the rare caramel apple or caramel (or even, if we were lucky, chocolate-drizzled) popcorn ball was cause for celebration.

But then, of course, came the various edicts: Never eat anything unwrapped. Check wrappers for signs of tampering. Never eat fruit ...

#lifestagesSweet Memories

32 comments | October 9th, 2012


(by Mir, from WouldaShoulda)

I associate both of my grandmothers with sugar; my memories of both are inextricably tied up with sweets. In the case of my father's mother, I suspect she had a sweet tooth, herself. At her house there was always a metal cookie tin on the coffee table, filled with some kind of cookie I can't quite remember. It was like biscotti---a less sweet, bar-type concoction (Dad? Help me out!)---and next to that, a glass candy dish always filled with a variety of individually-wrapped hard candies. We kids were not only allowed, but encouraged, to partake from either vessel as often as we wished. Grandma always worried that we were too skinny. This was great, because it meant we could always have more treats.

My mother's mother had diabetes, so maybe she'd had a sweet tooth earlier in life, but she was very careful with her diet (and I never saw her eat sweets) in the time with her that I remember. But at her house there was a buffet cabinet sort of around the corner from the dining room table, and the middle drawer was always ...

#lifestagesSix and Sexy

2 comments | October 8th, 2012

6 and sexy

(by Kate Gould)

Last Tuesday I decided I'd count the number of times I saw pictures of women doing sexy wherever I happened to see them. Wandering round the supermarket trying to find something for dinner that my pet rats would like, standing at the bus stop, flicking through magazines at the dentist, buying stuff online I don't need with money I don't have, walking to the pet shop to buy rat treats, and sitting in the bath reading the pile of Sunday supplements stacked by the loo, I counted 102 such images, each barely distinguishable from the next but all pouting and posing. Admittedly, waiting over an hour at the dentist and topping up the bath water to stop it going cold for two hours, I spent more time than I usually would looking through magazines in a day, but still, all those women are out there along with the products they're selling.

Despite how many we see in a day, these sexualised and sexist images of women are almost socially invisible. Adverts that depict women as dislocated body parts, corpses, objects, drug addicts, victims of gang ...

#lifestagesHe Lied About Me

4 comments | September 25th, 2012

chestist sad

(by "Breezy", a 21 yo Chestist)

I think we can all agree, sometimes some people suck.  This story is one of those times:

A good friend of mine lied to his friends and the guy I've been dating about sleeping with me. I just want to know why. I don't understand. It really, really hurts me, and it makes me feel sick, used, and betrayed. {end story}

This ever happen to you...where someone, let alone a good friend, made up a story about you...somethingthat was so false and hurtful and left you wondering wny and WTF?  What happened?  How;d you deal with it?  How'd you get past it - or haven't you?

If you haven't, we say let it go.  it's doing nothing good for you.  But either way, share your story here, won't you?


#bodiesWhere’s the Outrage?

10 comments | September 24th, 2012

WTF Burst

(by FMB)

We'll admit we don't get why and where popular media chooses to focus its - and our - attention, sometimes. 

Sometimes we're outraged by the abscence of outrage in our society.  Let's all talk about Lady Gaga's weight, Amy Poehler's divorce, or Amanda Bynes' troubles , but not these #s, and the massive, epidemic crisis of confidence affecting girls.  The status quo just isn't acceptable anymore.

7 out of 10 girls 8-17 believe they aren't good enough or don't measure up in some way (We're wondering good enough for what and measure up to what or whom?)

62% of all girls feel insecure about themselves (this is a massive crisis of confidence that does and will have serious ripple effects)

57% have a mother who criticizes her own looks (hey mom, think what you will - but stop hating on yourself in front of the kids)

What do you think?  Surprised by any?  What can we do to put the focus where it needs to be (and not on Ryan's abs), and why aren't we talking about this more?.




( data from Real Girls Real Pressure, a National Report on the State ...

#bodiesMy Biggest Insecurity

6 comments | September 13th, 2012

chestist sad

(story submitted by Allie P., a 16 yo Chestist)

Allie may only be 16 but - sadly - nothing about how she's feeling is limited by age.  We'd bet that at least most of us have (and sometimes still do) felt this way.  How do you deal with what she's feeling?  How have you gome from feeling like shit for what you're not to feeling good about what you are?   Remember, if you share your story maybe you can help change hers.

My stomach, my chin, my butt, my thighs, everything about me is horrible. I just feel that everyone else is so much thinner and prettier, and there is no one that will accept who i am. I'm finally understanding myself a little better, but my body is still my biggest worry and insecurity. {end story}

#lifestagesCrying About This

4 comments | September 9th, 2012


(by Sally, 34)

I was a 17 year old virgin, with no self-esteem.  He was older, good looking, naughty, and paid a lot of attention to me.  We hung out for a while, but I knew if I didn’t sleep with him, he would move on.  The night came.  I did it, but didn’t want to.  It was awful.  He dumped me anyway, and it turns out you CAN get pregnant your first time.  I just wanted it to all go away, and so did my parents.  They took me to go have the pregnancy terminated, which was also awful. 

In this paragraph, you can just use your imagination, and fill in what kind of self-medicating, self-destructive behavior you can imagine a very broken girl, in her 20’s does to herself.

So now, after a major rock bottom, I’m 34, and I’m all cleaned up.  I’m 3 years sober, my career is great, my mortgage is on time, and I finally have some peace.   There’s one very large broken piece though, that rips my heart out and haunts me.  I want children.  I want them now.  I’m single, and there’s no one ...

#lifestagesIn It Together

3 comments | September 6th, 2012


(by Abbie, 17)

i believe that everyone in the world is interconnected, so I think of each of you who are reading this as my sister. as part of your universal family, i feel it's my responsibility to each and every one of you to say that it' okay to not know. i've spent the past five years driving myself crazy trying to make sense of everything in my life but, the thing is, life doesn't always make sense.

That's okay. It doesn't have to be understood to be experienced. There is a reason for everything and I truly believe that. The misconception, for me, lay in feeling the overwhelming need to always know the reason. It got to the point that I was willing to settle for believing something other than the truth.

From trying to make sense of my physical and sexual abuse as a child to trying to make sense of my eating disorder and PTSD today, I think I've finally seen a little bit of truth. The truth, my truth and maybe yours as well, is that sometimes logic can be what we use to color ourselves and ...

#bodiesI Am Not My Stereotype

1 response | September 6th, 2012

50s chestist

(story submmitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

We're probably all guilty of having judged a book or two by its cover.  Feels a lot different when we're the book though.  Here's how she feels:

I have bleach blonde hair, big boobs, and apparently a decent ass. That doesn't make me stupid or shallow. It doesn't mean my life is perfect or that I am happier than anyone else. I have interest and issues too. I'm so sick of people taking one look at me and deciding I'm some sort of Barbie doll. {end story}

You ever been a victim of stereotyping?  When, how, why?  You ever been a stereotyper (most of us have)?  When, how, why?   Here's the thing about stereoptypes, they suck.  You can quote us on that.