I’ve been obsessed with animals for as long as I can remember. I’m sure you’ve seen me (or one of my ubiquitous, 30-something single-lady soul twins, perpetually emitting twee-voiced animal baby-talk while ensconced in an inch-thick resin of cat hair). As a child, I was the annoying, overly sensitive, bleeding-heart kid who orchestrated elaborate funerals for dead squirrels in the backyard; cried as her parents explained why birds kept dying by blindly flying into the oversize windows of our sunroom; and went vegetarian-and-proud (hi, obligatory PETA membership) at age 14 when I could no longer stomach the idea of having animal flesh anywhere near my own, er, animal flesh.
Lots of years have rolled by since then, but I’m still an oversensitive, dyed-in-the-wool creature-lover. So, obviously I’ve always had pets — cats, to be specific. I grew up with a calico named Trouble, then took in Jobie in college, and adopted Joon during my crazy twenties. My animal family has expanded over time, as families are wont to do, and now I play mom to Joon, another cat named Batman, and a dog called Hennessy (aka Henny, pictured above). I love all my animals, of course. But I need to be honest: my dog is … a lot. More than I was expecting, at any rate. Keep reading »
Clinical depression sucks and it’s only growing more common. Almost one in two people in the U.S. will suffer from depression or another mental health condition at some point and about one in 17 Americans actually has a serious mental illness right now.
Despite its rising rates, depression can be hard to wrap your brain around, especially if you’ve never had it. It’s not easily treated or cleared up by positive thinking, or yanking yourself up by your bootstraps, or shoving your feelings to the dark corners of the back of your mind. It’s so much deeper and more insidious than that. I once described depression this way:
“None of those external [good things you have going for you] truly register or resonate when you have depression. You can logically identify them as Good Things, and you know they are supposed to make you feel Good, but you can’t feel them, they can’t get in. It’s like your brain is wearing a full-body armor designed to keep only the good things out. Bad things … get ushered in instantly, like VIPs.”
People who don’t have depression don’t always know what to say that could possibly help to a friend or family member going through the all-encompassing yet simultaneously utterly numb sensation of your own brain turning against you. Here are a few things not to say (unless you want said friend or loved one to grow homicidal as well as miserable): Keep reading »
“There’s more to life than books, you know, but not much more.” Ah, the immortal words of my beloved Morrissey – they served as a kind of mantra for me as I stumbled and bumbled through adolescence and early adulthood. Books have been a vital part of my everyday existence for far longer than Moz, though (WHAT?! I KNOW!), serving as my nearest, dearest cultural companion for as long as I can remember.
Books especially saved my ass when I was young (as a super-shy, introspective only child, I got accustomed to spending a lot of time alone). Books swooped me away from my loneliness. They became one of my first Easy Escape Routes of Choice — later I’d add alcohol and men to the mix. (Fortunately, books are socially sanctioned escape routes that I never had to feel lame or ashamed about engaging in night after night — no hangovers! No awkward “Will he or won’t he call?” bullshit!)
Do you have books you turn to again and again, ones you rely on in times of fear, or anxiety, or depression? I do. So I thought I’d lay ‘em out for you here — some of the books I turn to as “medicine” for various precarious emotional states. Enjoy, and add your own picks in the comments. Keep reading »
In case you’re above following these sorts of things, Her Madgesty has been all over the news, the blogs, and the tabloids again lately. There was September’s much-disparaged hydrangeas incident. Critics’ chilly reception to her new movie, “W.E.” The “narcissistic” acceptance speech she gave upon receiving a Golden Globe award for best original song (beating out rival Elton John, who later snarked that she’d better “lip-sync good” at her upcoming Super Bowl performance).
As a devout Madonna fan since age six, as far as I’m concerned, she’s worked hard enough to earn every blip of press she gets. Say what you want about her — and you will — but if there’s one thing M knows how to do, it’s bust her ass to get something she wants. And if the recent onslaught of press is any indication, what she wants right now is to build buzz for her upcoming studio album, “MDNA” (to be released on March 26). What better way to do that than by performing at America’s most center-stage stage of all, the Super Bowl’s halftime show? Here’s why Mads is the perfect pick for such an exclusive gig — which, in classic overachiever form, she’s striving to make “the greatest show on earth.” Keep reading »
Research has indicated that as much as 90 percent of people lie in their online dating profiles. Women in their 20s and 30s slyly deduct anywhere from five to 20 lbs. from their weight, while men tend to lie about income, education level and, yes, relationship status. Yikes.
Here, we count the ways regular folks get creative while creating sexier versions of themselves online. Keep reading »