13 comments | March 20th, 2012

rated wtf

(story submitted by Dina Gachman, from Bureaucracy for Breakfast)

My three-year-old niece had to get glasses a few months back. Her specs are flashy and pink and she adores them (she’s a mini fashionista), yet seeing her so proudly push the glasses up her nose for the first time, one of my first thoughts was: “If any kids make fun of her I’ll kill them.” Obviously that’s an exaggeration, but the knee-jerk reaction to her innocent little accessory came from a fact most of us know all too well: Kids can be cruel. Bullying happens, and it’s not pretty.

Last night I got the chance to see the controversial documentary BULLY. If you haven’t heard, the reason it’s controversial isn’t because it’s a heartbreaking, honest, raw look at real kids across the US being physically and verbally pummeled by their classmates while their teachers and administrators shrug it off. It’s not because it frankly looks at what it’s like to be a gay teen in a small Oklahoma town (newsflash – it’s hell), or because it doesn’t sugar-coat the horror of parents dealing with the suicide of ...

#chestismsAmy Sedaris, a Chestism

7 comments | March 14th, 2012


(first submitted by OOC: 12.14.10, then again, today)

Here's Amy Sedaris, in an interview for Psychology Today:

"They assume that I want a boyfriend, and yeah, that I'd probably like to get married and have a baby - but they're wrong."

Why do we love it, you ask?  Because it speaks to the expectations of others, and how Amy acknowledges them and dismisses them - as not what she wants for her.  To us, in a lot of ways, it's the essence of what we're hoping OOC helps you do for you...realize what you want, and what you don't...get closer to understanding the things that hate on your happy (and why they do) and the things that make you happier (and why), so you can spend more time on the happier than the hating.

Soooo...you ever find yourself confronting the expectations others have of what you should want, and thinking nope, they're wrong?  You ever say anything to them?  Tell us about the when, whos and whys.  Yea, expectations can be such a buzzkill.  #Discuss.


It’s Only Hair…Right?

89 comments | March 13th, 2012

chestist soup

(story by Mir, from WouldaShouldaCoulda)

No one is ever going to accuse me of being easy-going; my teenager's favorite thing to say to me, these days, is "Geez, Mom, CHILLAX." (I am, I suspect, the only person with whom she uses that word, and the humor is partially because of that, of course.) I can be a bit persnickety, yes. A little high-strung at times, sure. I have strong opinions on many things. I'm okay with this.

One of the issues on which I cannot be bothered to feel strongly, however, is hair. Hair grows. No hair decision is irreversible; even if you're terribly unhappy with your choice, eventually you can do something else. It's just... not that big of a deal.

To me, this makes sense. To some folks who know me, though, I guess it was a little surprising when I let my young son grow his hair long. Or when I let my daughter dye a streak in hers. But to me, it was a easy way to let the kids have a bit ...

Love & SexWhy Can’t Women Sleep Around?

51 comments | March 13th, 2012

chestist blue

(story submitted by KSE, a Chestist)

This writer's wondering why her BF has a problem with the number of guys she's been with.  Here's her story:

I've been with a lot of guys.  Not hundreds but a lot.  I like sex and I like men and I like having sex with men.  I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years.  He hasn't slept with that many women and I think it freaks him out that I've had so much more sex and so many more partners than he has.  Isn't that so sexist of him?  His being all freaked out about my past make me wonder if we can have a future. If the situations were reversed, and he'd had slept with a lot more people than me, he wouldn't think twice and wouldn't expect me to either.  It's 2012.  Why can't women sleep around and have it be as much of a no-biggie as when guys do? 

We agree @OOC HQ agree...there's still this cultural double standard about women and sex that doesn't exist for men.  You agree or disagree?  Why do you think the double ...

#thecumulativeeffectGiving Away Our Self Esteem

11 comments | March 7th, 2012

Chestist typewriter 2

(story submitted by Sueann, a Chestist)

Do advertising and the images you see in popular culture affect how you feel about how you look?  Sueanne worries you might.  Here's her story:

I just saw a segment on a morning show about the new Levis ad campaign "women come in all shapes and sizes".

I constantly hear psychologists, doctors, sociologists, etc commenting on how the media affects our self esteem and how we start as young girls to look at advertising images as how we should be.  I want to remind EVERYONE that it is an industry that cares about making money NOT shaping your developing mind!!!!  Don't look to the pages of a fashion magazine for role models!  Look instead at the people in your world who love and care about you. 

Look to our teachers, health care providers, social workers, and the all the people in your lives who make a difference.  The change can start right now with each one of us.  Don't comment on someone's acne, weight gain, or wrinkles. Have an open mind and an open heart to the kindness and wisdom that ...

#thecumulativeeffectSmile When Happy

5 comments | March 5th, 2012

chestist swirl2

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

We pretty much love this, sent in by one of you. Here's what she's thinking about "hi, how are you?"

Sometimes I think politeness has ruined honesty.

It's expected that you ask someone how they're doing whether or not you care and that they say "fine, thanks" whether or not they are. It doesn't mean much when someone says "have a nice day," because in the service world, it's basically a verbal twitch. Also, not to hate on one of my all time favorite things, but smiling (not the real ones) is getting a little out of hand. I think all this fake-happy, fake-fine, fake-consideration is making people feel lonely and get in the practice of lying to people.

I think that if we were all honest and just stopped using ridiculous words like "fine" altogether, smiled when happy, and asked questions when curious, we'd all feel a lot more at home in the world.  

You find yourself hiding yourself behind false platitudes and politeness?  Is it hiding or is it just being part of society?  Do you think we'd (you'd) feel ...

#lifestagesI Don’t Want To Have Babies

17 comments | March 3rd, 2012

chestist enthralled

(submitted by Angela, a Chestist.  Originally posted 5.18.11, and again now)

I'm a 35 year old female, married to a wonderful man, educated, working at a good job, but I have a confession to make.  This confession has taken me several years to actually realize.  Here it is...ready? (You may think you are, but I don't know!)

Okay...I don't really want to have babies!

There, I said it.  Do I still get to keep my Woman Card?  I feel like I’ll be booted out of the club for daring such a thought, the lone woman out in a world obsessed with fertility.

What I do know is that my hubby and I have been trying to get pregnant for about 5 years now - our progress is one ectopic pregnancy and...well, that's it!  He and I both have some fertility issues, meaning our reproductive organs aren't exactly working in rabbit-like fashion.  Okay, so no big deal, right?  Take some fertility drugs, try a couple (or more) of In-Vitro fertilizations, and just pop some out!  Or adopt a bunch, there are kids everywhere who don't have families!  Or get your mom ...

#thecumulativeeffectGender Stereotypes

7 comments | March 2nd, 2012

(submitted by OOC)

Ok, fill in the blanks.  Not based on what you think, but based on what you think popular culture teaches and shows us. (OK, you can fill em in any way you want.  We won't mind.)

Girls are: ___________


Boys are: ________________


Now, go check out: http://www.thegeenadavisinstitute.org/research.php, and prepare to be bummed.


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 ...

#thecumulativeeffectOscars Night, Keep In Mind…

9 comments | February 25th, 2012

Sketch 2011-02-20 19_40_58

(submitted by OOC)

Let’s put it this way, if all the people in Hollywood who have plastic surgery, if they went on vacation, there wouldn’t be a person left in town.”  ~ Michael Jackson

While the King was a bit hyperbolic about his subject, his point is well made.  So if it's all an illusion, why do so many of us compare ourselves to it? There's got to be a good answer, right?

Will you wake up tomorrow comparing yourself to what you see tonight?

(P.S. Please don't.  XO, OOC.)


#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 ...

#chestismsWhen I Don’t Love Myself…

7 comments | February 23rd, 2012


(submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

This 1 of you calls bullshit on one of the maxims of our time.  Here's her story and opinion:

People often say that no one can love you if you don't love yourself or that if you don't love yourself you can't love anyone else. No offense to anyone, but I think that's bullshit. It's our job to fill in the gaps for each other. On days when I don't love myself I need extra love from my family and friends. On days when I don't love myself I still want to give love to those who need it. If we all love each other, as hippie dippy as it may sound, there will be enough love to go around. {end story}

What do you think?  We think she's right.  

#bodiesEnding the Myth

8 comments | February 22nd, 2012

Screen shot 2011-10-05 at 2.35.04 PM

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

Motherhood has brought me many joys and insights, but the new perspective it granted me on the role I had inadvertently played in young women’s lives for the 2 decades I spent in the modeling industry was downright sobering.

Although everyone who works in the industry senses how discriminating it can be — against size, against age and against so much more — I had given very little thought to the ways in which I had personally been part of the problem. Once it did occur to me; though, I knew I had to be part of the solution.

I was essentially paid to perpetuate the myth that we are all, or should at least try to be, 17 and a size 2 forever.

For those of us who are older than 17, that means trying to turn back the hands of time… and for those of us who are younger, it means trying to accelerate time — literally growing up before our time. As a young model I was placed in impossibly ...

#thecumulativeeffectLet’s Break Some Walls Down

4 comments | February 20th, 2012

exploding flowers

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

We love this...from 1 of you, anonymously, to all of us:

Let's love on each other. Let's break some walls down. Let's treat each other like family. Let's remember that we are all in this time and place together. Let's ditch the stereotypes and give everyone a chance. Atheists and believers. Black and white and brown and yellow. Republican and democrat and independent. Gay and straight, bi or TG. We're all just human. {end}  

Do you think we can do it, or have we become a hopelessly divided house?   Why, for so many, do our differences seem to foster disregard and dislike and not interest and acceptance?  What's up with that?  Ok, enough of our cynical observations.  Let's do as the writer says and "love on each other."  Who's in?