I loooove the holidays. But that doesn’t make the lead-up any less of a bitch. The older I get, the more I find how unforgiving this season can be. When I was a little girl, I never understood why some of the grown-ups in my life seemed to dread it so much.
An English professor once told me that the biggest theme of my life is trying to resist disillusionment even though the world makes no effort to hide what an ugly, unfair place it can be. Call me melodramatic, but is there any better way to describe the typical struggle we face when it comes to getting through the holidays? On the surface, it’s a happy, cheerful time of year. We want to enjoy it, but on the other hand, it’s pretty damn treacherous. Spending time in close quarters with family members that you only see once a year is stressful. So is the pressure to pick out the perfect gifts, to be a great hostess, and to somehow make your bank account survive it all. Keep reading »
Warning: if you are literally stuck in a paper bag and can’t figure out how to get out, please stop reading right now and call for help. If you are stuck in a paper bag as in you “don’t know your ass from your elbow,” are having an “existential crisis” or are “stuck in a rut” and can’t figure out how to get unstuck, you should probably keep reading.
I heard recently the saying “stuck in a rut” originally came from farmers who would drive their tractors down the same route in dirt every day and after a while, the tractor wheels would build up a significant groove, or rut, that would eventually become too high for the tractor wheels to jump. When a tractor got stuck in this rut, it would require many super strong people to hoist the heavy machinery up and move it in a different direction so that it could forge a new path. In this metaphor YOU are the tractor. But I’m sure you knew that. Keep reading »
We recently discovered that one of the many things we have in common is a deep love of new age bookstores. Ami actually used to work in one in LA, while Winona has spent countless hours wandering the aisles of Portland’s many alternative book shops, sniffing incense and wondering if she could ever make a living as a palm reader. The funny thing is, as unique as each of these quirky little stores may claim to be, they’re all exactly the same. Tarot readings? Check. Meditation room? Check. Wind chime soundtrack? Check. Light your spell candle and read on for a list of signs you’re in a new age bookstore… Keep reading »
In the movie “Singles,” -—and this sticks with Ami because she first saw it at the age of 14, so it made a big impression — Janet Livermore (played by Bridget Fonda) gives a monologue about where she thought she’d be by the age of 23. She laments:
“I’m 23. Remember how old 23 seemed when you were little? I mean, I thought people would be traveling in airlocks and I would have 5 kids. Here I am – 23 – things are, um, basically the same. I think time is running out to do something bizarre. Somewhere around 25 bizarre becomes immature.”
And where was Janet at the tender age of 23? Working in a coffee shop, having an unrequited crush on her musician neighbor without any clue as to what she wanted to do with her life. Exactly what a 23-year-old should be doing, in our opinion. Pretty much exactly what both of us were doing! Ami made note of this monologue, telling herself, Learn from Janet Livermore and don’t expect to be married with kids by the age of 23, expect to start reproducing around the age of 28 because that’s when your mom had you. Also, you’ll be a famous actress by 25, so you’ll have plenty of money to raise your kids either alone or with your husband who can be a stay-at-home-dad. Keep reading »
Amazon describes the little-known (thank God!) 1999 self-help book, The Rules For Getting Laid: Get The Sex You Want as an “outrageous, hilarious, politically incorrect book shows men the boneheaded mistakes they make in seducing women” and tells “readers the secrets no one else will have the guts to speak!” Well, that was putting it kindly. The Village Voice dug up a copy of the out-of-print book and combed through the pages for useful tips from authors David Graff and Ray Schwartz (two men who clearly have never gotten laid). Spoiler: there weren’t any. But there are plenty of super offensive, misogynistic, bordering on stalker-ish/rape-y pieces of sex advice to get whipped up about. Let’s do that, shall we? After the jump, the worst, most awful, most WTF sex advice from the book that promises: “Feminist women and men will try to ban or burn this book!” Burn, burn, burn! Keep reading »
We all want to be successful, but things like tyrannical bosses, stapler-stealing co-workers and the statistical impossibility of every single person being a CEO keep bringing us down. So we try to balance the scales by following the advice of self-help books or motivational guides — sure, a lot of those things are probably bullshit, but it can’t hurt to give them a try, right?
Actually, yes. Yes, it can hurt, because several of the “tips” that you’d expect to help you are actually messing you up. It turns out you’re not a success because you do things like … Read more…
I work from home, so I spend a lot of time alone. Eight hours a day, actually, and often more than that. I miss having coworkers (especially because my Frisky coworkers are so freakin’ awesome), but my ADD makes it really hard to get anything–especially writing–done anywhere other than a totally controlled, calm environment. When I tell people about my work schedule, they usually say something like, “I can’t believe you spend all day alone. I would go crazy.”
“Thank you,” I say stoically. “It’s hard sometimes, but it’s really good for me.” And then I go back to debating the finer points of gun control with my quesadilla.
Spending so much time alone led me to the logical conclusion that I’m pretty good at being alone. I mean, not everyone can work all by themselves day after day, right? I figured that made me some kind of professional loner. But recently I realized that maybe there’s more to this whole “being alone” thing than the hours you put into it, and maybe I’m still learning how to truly be alone. Keep reading »
Self help books get a bad rap sometimes, I think. They’re seen as the province of walking, talking “Cathy” cartoons and hippie-dippie-fruit-loop types. That couldn’t be less true: there are many different types of self-help books for all kinds of problems. Some books are more spiritual while others are more practical, as in teaching you techniques of coping with depression and anxiety. Not only is a good self-help book cheaper than paying for therapy — even if it’s just a co-pay!— but you can circle sections, fold over pages, and come back to them whenever you read.
I scoured my own bookshelf and that of The Frisky staff to find the best self-help books we’ve ever read — ones that actually work!
This piece is part of The Frisky’s How To Deal Week, in which we’re tackling mental health issues.
Last week, I wrote an “Open Letter to Mayor Bloomberg,” informing him he had no right to tell me how much Coca-Cola I am allowed to consume. After many comments about me sounding like “a high school drama queen” and telling me to “calm down,” I felt very discouraged, and even doubtful about my writing in general.
While I did get a few positive reviews, I soon realized that many commenters did not understand the tongue-in-cheek tone I tried to embody, and I decided to carefully read through each comment in effort to learn from what everyone had to say, even the nastier toned ones. Even if you don’t write on the internet and don’t regularly have strangers critiquing your words, we all face criticism of some sort on a daily basis — here’s how I learned to get the most out of it. Keep reading »