Editor's Picks History Forgotten History Historical Badasses

Meet María de Zayas, the first author to publish under her own name in Spain

Although often forgotten, María de Zayas was a famous 17th-century writer and the first Spanish woman to publish fiction novels under her own name.

If I asked you to name the oldest female author that you can think of, chances are that you will say Jane Austen, or perhaps the Brontë sisters. Unfortunately, this only shows the prevalence of the perception that women did not write before the 19th century. But they did, and they did so well. We have simply forgotten about them. Or chosen to.

I want to bring to light the figure of one of those women from previous times who decided to be a writer: María de Zayas. I admire Zayas not just because she is Spanish like me, and therefore has been a role model of mine for several years now, but also because, unlike most of the female writers of the Medieval and Early-Modern period, she published fiction books under her name, and made a profit from it.

Let me tell you about her.

María de Zayas y Sotomayor (1590-1661) was the most famous female writer of 17th century Spain. We know of her existence from her written work, as, sadly, there are few documents that tell us anything about her life.

She published fiction books under her name, and made a profit from it.

Zayas was born in the Spanish nobility and, as such, had the opportunity to receive an education (albeit limited, as she was a woman) and travel to different countries, where she discussed with scholars and academics of the time. She began her literary career in the contests organized by the literary academies of her time.

María de Zayas became famous for her collections of short novels, each comprised of 10 novels under a common narrative frame: Novelas amorosas y ejemplares (Amorous and Exemplary Novels) and Desengaños amorosos (The Disenchantments of Love). She also wrote poems, that she incorporated into the novels and a play.

Most of Zaya’s novels focused on the limitations that women suffered in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were short, fun, and witty, aimed for a mostly female audience.

Many have considered María de Zayas to be the first feminist writer of Spain. She filled her novels with female characters that were brave and questioned sexist concepts such as ‘honor’.

This writer shocked her readers when she stated that the human soul was neither male nor female. Moreover, she dared to insist that women were not less knowledgeable because of lack of capacity, but because of a lack of education.

Most of Zaya’s novels focused on the limitations that women suffered in the 16th and 17th centuries.

She stated that: “the reason why women are not learned is not a defect in intelligence but a lack of opportunity. When our parents bring us up if, instead of putting cambric on our sewing cushions and patterns in our embroidery frames, they gave us books and teachers, we would be as fit as men for any job or university professorship. We might even be sharper because we’re of colder humor and intelligence partakes of the damp humor’.

María de Zayas dared to do something that seems very simple right now: publish fiction under her name. At the time, and particularly in Spain, women who wanted to be writers became nuns, such as Santa Teresa del Jesús or Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. By being part of the Church, their access to (some) books and writing was acceptable, but their works were limited to religious themes, and therefore an appropriate interest for women to have.

Zayas did neither one nor the other. She wrote fiction, works that were entertaining, not moralistic. She signed them under her real name and made a profit out of their selling. She was a woman that earned a living as a writer. This is simple but was, at the time, almost unprecedented.

Zayas achieved incredible success during her lifetime. She was respected and admired by her colleagues. Writers that are now known by every student of Spanish literature such as Cervantes or Lope de Vega praised her work and recognized her as an equal.

Sadly, the passing of time worked against her. A hundred years after Zayas’ death, her work was still being printed, until it was censored by the Spanish Inquisition. They considered that it went against morality and banned its printing and publication. They thought that, by doing this, she would be forgotten.

She was. But only for a short time.

When I studied literature at school, I never learned about her. All the famous writers that appeared in my curriculum were male until we reached the 19th century. By the time I studied Spanish Literature at university, María de Zayas had obtained a paragraph in a chapter filled with pages and pages about her male colleagues.

Her writing was so controversial that it was quite literally censored by the forces in the Spanish Inquisition.

Surely but slowly, we are recovering the stories of those incredible women that history has asked us to forget. We are demanding them to be given the attention that they deserve. We are being inspired by their stories of courage and sacrifice. At least I know I am. I hope other people are too.

I hope we learn that the desire to write, to have a professional life, has always been inside women, throughout history. We have collectively chosen to forget. But now it is time to remember. 

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!

Family Life

My mom survived breast cancer. Am I next?

On average, an estimated 15.2% of new cancer cases in the United States are women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. That means that 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. 

These statistics are indicative of families, touched eternally by a cancer that is more than just a disease – it is linear. Breast cancer often weaves a thread, mangled in fate and fear, through mothers, daughters, and sisters alike. The survivors among them are the superheroes of nearly every generation of women, powering through all of the anxiety, body disfiguring surgeries or treatments, and impromptu decision-making associated with the onset of such an illness. They take this disease and nip it in the bud, almost passively, acknowledging the unforgiving weight that will forever be weighing down their bodies and minds. 

In some cases, before these women can even think about what comes next, they are sewed up, stripped, and shaved. Left without any sensation in their breast area after a mastectomy, and feeling less and less whole with every visit to the oncologist. It is hard for most women to even feel at home in their bodies anymore. 

In February of 2017, my mother sat in a bleak and claustrophobic doctor’s office for her regular mammogram visit and heard the dreadful words that every woman lives in fear of, “I think we’re going to need to take a second exam. There may be cancer.” 

There was. 

She has told me that she spent most of her life, 38 years to be exact, in terror of what was surely to come. When my mother was 17 years old, the same age that I had been when she was diagnosed, her mother passed away after a long and debilitating battle with breast cancer. Afterward, this disease became a constant threat. So, in some ways, her diagnosis was more of a relief than anything else.

For me, however, it was excruciating. I had a hard time fathoming the enormity of it. Often, I would find myself drenched in hot and burning tears, unable to put into words what I was feeling. I was incoherent and unable to be comforted. I really hated it when people tried to comfort me, too—it felt condescending. I didn’t want to need them.

But, at the same time, I wasn’t even close to being the strong person that I presented to the world. I was falling hard—and fast. Most days, I would go to school or hang out with my friends, but the entire time I felt as if there were a million knives stabbing my chest at any given moment, and I couldn’t help it. Sometimes, I even liked feeling the pain. If my mom had to suffer, then, I thought, so did I. 

Years later I’m able to articulate my thoughts a little more clearly. I was terrified, desperate, and I didn’t know where to turn. So much was happening all the time and I was grieving my old self. That is, the self that hadn’t yet felt such complete and sunken remorse. There was this urgency to do everything right. In a situation like that, there’s no room for mistakes and I was incredibly nervous that I would mess up. Or maybe I was nervous that something would mess me up. Either way, I changed a lot that year. 

Unfortunately, our story is not an uncommon one. 

A woman’s chance of developing breast cancer increases if her mother, sister, or daughter has been diagnosed. In addition, women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene are at an increased risk of breast cancer than women who do not carry the gene. 

My mom is thankfully, and gracefully, in remission today. Her fight seemed, on the outside, to be continuous and suffocating. But, she is a survivor, bold and vivacious, in all of her glory. She has the scars and the strength to prove it, too. 

I am well aware that my risk of this disease is high. But, I am also confident that this does not mean that it is a death sentence. Regardless of being only 21 years old, I am diligent in conducting breast exams on myself at least once a month in an attempt to detect any early warning signs of breast cancer. What I search for is any abnormal lumps or changes in the breast tissue/skin. 

The good news is that with advancing technologies the survival rate of people diagnosed with breast cancer is steadily increasing, even though the number of people getting sick remains stagnant. 

Any cancer diagnosis is terrifying, but breast cancer for me feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I won’t be able to stop being overwhelmed by this sharp and unrelenting nervousness until it is completely out of my system. And we all know that there is only one way for that to happen. 

For now, I am trying to focus on what I am able to control. Breast cancer is certainly not one of those things. But, I am in control of my mindset. While it is important for me not to let my guard down, at some point I have to just let go and let it be. I trust that fate will run its course. 

I come from a long legacy of confident and courageous women, all beautiful and bountiful in their own right. So, it would be a disservice if I did not take their wisdom and hold onto it tightly. I mean, I watched while my own mother boldly stared her fears directly in the face. She never skipped a beat, not even for a second. Her resilience against a disease that is otherwise overbearing is nothing short of inspiring and I am so proud of her. Because of her, I am starting to think that maybe I can handle it too, that maybe I can be as brave as her, when and if the day comes. 

I am not alone in my fear, although it may seem like it sometimes. I am one of millions living and feeling these same anxieties at full volume, so I must not let it overcome me. Instead, I have to remind myself to be introspective and to keep moving forward.

Movies Food & Drinks

13 iconic and delicious movie foods that you can make at home

We have all drooled over these movie foods when they appeared on screen, and have wondered what they would actually taste like. But it doesn’t have to end at wishful thinking. You can easily recreate the magical moments in your own kitchen.

Here are 13 iconic foods from movies and their recipes so you can try them out yourself:

1. Remy’s ratatouille, Ratatouille

Remy, a gray rat, is making the finishing touches on a plate of ratatouille.
[Image description: Remy, a gray rat, is making the finishing touches on a plate of ratatouille.] Via Giphy
It’s probably not cool – or safe – for a rat to make you ratatouille in real life, but you – a person – can recreate Remy’s magical moment from Pixar’s Ratatouille through this recipe.

2. Butterbeer, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

A blonde girl in a striped sweater is drinking a yellow, frothy drink in a dark, pub-like setting.
[Image description: A blonde girl in a striped sweater is drinking a yellow, frothy drink in a dark, pub-like setting.] Via Buzzfeed
The Harry Potter series has offered a lot of innovative foods – Hagrid’s Rock Cakes, Acid Pops, and Chocolate Frogs – but there’s nothing like the butterbeer. This is a favorite among fans who visit the wizarding world, but you don’t have to make the trip to taste it, you can brew it yourself.

3. Tony’s spaghetti and meatballs, Lady and the Tramp

Two cartoon dogs - a gray male dog and a fluffy, brown female one - both chew on the same string of spaghetti and meet in a kiss.
[Image description: Two cartoon dogs – a gray male dog and a fluffy, brown female one – both chew on the same string of spaghetti and meet in a kiss.] Via Giphy
Is there a more romantic moment than this? The candle lit dinner the two dogs share in Lady and the Tramp has been immortalized through the years, and you can make your own dish and moment.

4. Kronk’s spinach puffs, The Emperor’s New Groove

In a cartoon, a brown, large, muscled-man serves a plate of spinach puffs to a smaller, thinner man and a purplish woman in an extravagant ensemble.
[Image description: In a cartoon, a brown, large, muscled-man serves a plate of spinach puffs to a smaller, thinner man and a purplish woman in an extravagant ensemble.] Via Fanpop
Kronk’s spinach puffs from The Emperor’s New Groove are as iconic as he is. They are his pride and joy, and you should definitely try your hand at making his best dish, as long as you don’t burn them that is.

5. Turkish Delight, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

A white, black-haired young boy munches on a powdery, soft Turkish delight as an older blonde, white woman watches on.
[Image description: A white, black-haired young boy munches on a powdery, soft Turkish delight as an older blonde, white woman watches on.] Via Narnia
If you’re betraying your siblings over food then it either means that you have issues or said food is too heavenly to resist. Maybe the next time you’re trying to negotiate something, use the White Witch’s recipe to get your way.

6. Lembas bread, The Lord of the Rings

A white, blond male elf munches on some bread and nods in approval.
[Image description: A white, blond male elf munches on some bread and nods in approval.] Via Tumblr
One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man. Legolas’ delight over this bread in The Lord of the Rings is enough for one to want to try it for themselves, and here’s the method to recreate the Elves’ magic.

7. Mint sorbet, The Princess Diaries

At a formal dinner, a brown-haired white woman shakes her hands vigorously as she attempts to come to terms with the coldness of her sorbet. Next to her, a dark-haired couple mimics her actions.
[Image Description: At a formal dinner, a brown-haired white woman shakes her hands vigorously as she attempts to come to terms with the coldness of her sorbet. Next to her, a dark-haired couple mimic her actions.] Via Bustle
Mia’s reaction to the mint sorbet in The Princess Diaries is hilarious, and the whole moment is iconic. Maybe when you make it, be prepared for the coldness of the dish to avoid pulling a Mia at the table.

8. Tiana’s gumbo, The Princess and the Frog

In a cartoon, an arm holding a wooden ladle mixes a pot of gumbo.
[Image description: In a cartoon, an arm holding a wooden ladle mixes a pot of gumbo.] Via The Literary Phoenix
Tiana is a master in the kitchen. The gumbo she makes as a child is her best dish just because of the special moment it accompanies. It’s hard to be as perfect as Tiana, but do give this Louisiana dish a try.

9. Boeuf bourguignon, Julie and Julia

A hand prepares a dish boeuf bourguignon in an orange pot.
{Image description: A hand prepares a dish boeuf bourguignon in an orange pot.] Via Tumblr

Julie and Julia is a homage to food, and this dish stands out because Julie burns it the first time she tries it. This is the pinnacle of French cuisine (right to the difficult name) and here’s the original Julia Child recipe for you to try it out!

10. The triplets’ biscuits, Brave

A cartoon show three red-haired toddlers enthusiastically shoving full, round, jam biscuits into their mouths.
[Image description: A cartoon show three red-haired toddlers enthusiastically shoving full, round biscuits into their mouths.] Via
These biscuits might as well be considered a main character in Brave. Every food-related scene features them and the triplets go gaga over them. These are Scottish cookies called empire biscuits, and you have to try these out.

11. $5 milkshake, Pulp Fiction

A white man with a ponytail says "That's a pretty fucking good milkshake." He's in black jacket, white shirt and a bolo tie. There's a vanilla milkshake in front of him with whipped cream and a cherry.
[Image description: A white man with a ponytail says “That’s a pretty fucking good milkshake.” He’s in black jacket, white shirt and a bolo tie. There’s a vanilla milkshake in front of him with whipped cream and a cherry.] Via Giphy
If you pay $5 for a vanilla milkshake, it better be a damn good one. At least, Vincent from “Pulp Fiction” seems to think that it’s worth the price. But you can save the five bucks and make it yourself.

12. Lemon snow cones, Monsters, Inc.

A cartoon shows a white, fuzzy yeti offering a plate of yellow snow cones to a green, round, one-eyed "monster"
[Image description: A cartoon shows a white, fuzzy yeti offering a plate of yellow snow cones to a green, round, one-eyed “monster”.] Via The Best Gifs For Me
Though the snow cones Yeti makes in Monsters Inc. end up being used for something else than as food, they still spark a curiosity. But don’t worry, it’s lemon. Here’s a pretty easy recipe you can try.

13. Spiced hot dark chocolate, Chocolat

A white man with slicked-back brown hair sips something out of a white, porcelain bowl while staring intently at someone in front of him. He licks his lips afterwards.
[Image description: A white man with slicked-back brown hair sips something out of a white, porcelain bowl while staring intently at someone in front of him. He licks his lips afterwards.] Via Giphy
Chocolate and spice is a winning combination, and that’s exactly what Vianne champions in her sensational beverage in the movie Chocolat. It’s a perfect drink for rainy days, and here’s how you can make it.

These foods have only been visual treats all this time but now you can taste them and decide whether they meet your expectations and imagination. From the animated treats to the extravagant meals, every dish served on screen is open for recreation, you only have to put your master chef hat on and start to experiment.

Book Reviews Pop Culture

“The Nightingale” shows us that war heroes aren’t always men

Kristin Hannah’s book The Nightingale is impactful, important, and not something that fades from memory easily. I read it quite some time ago but the story still weighs inside me.

It’s about women. It’s about struggle. It’s about love. It’s about war.

The Nightingale is the story of two French sisters, Vianne Mauriac and Isabelle Rosginol, as they resist Nazi forces when World War II engulfs France.

Despite being sisters, Vianne and Isabelle are as different as two people can be. Vianne, the older sister, believes in following rules and peacefully surviving through the time of war. Isabelle, on the other hand, is more rebellious, fearless, defiant, and wants to fight in the war. As the war wages on, the differences between them become more pronounced.

“You are stronger than you think you are, V,” Antoine said afterward.

“I’m not,” Vianne whispered too quietly for him to hear.

Vianne’s husband, Antoine, is sent away to fight as a soldier. After he’s gone, Vianne is left alone with her daughter, Sophie. She continues teaching at a school along with her friend and neighbor, Rachel.

Throughout this time, she faces many challenges – Nazi officers billet with her, her body is violated, and her Jewish neighbors are arrested. Later, she begins rescuing Jewish children and hiding them at the local Catholic orphanage when their parents are taken away. She’s afraid, but she has suffered enough and wants to make a difference.

Isabelle, in the meantime, becomes a part of the French resistance movement, and hatches a plan to assist allied airmen out of France after their planes are shot down. She becomes known as the Nightingale for her work. Isabelle is dangerously vulnerable at this time as she faces a threat of being caught by the Nazi forces.

Later, Isabelle is captured by the Nazis and interrogated. Doubt shadows them – they don’t believe the Nightingale to be a woman. Isabelle’s estranged father saves her then, by claiming to be the Nightingale. He’s executed in her place.

“How can I start at the beginning, when all I can think about is the end?” – Isabelle Rosignol

I live in a country, Pakistan, that has been pushed to brink of war several times. And each time that happens, the role of women in war, and their sacrifice, is often ignored. Women bear the brutalization of war – many are raped and sexually violated – but even then, no one talks about them. Misogyny cages women, even when there’s a war impending.

This book presents a hidden perspective. It shows that women too are war heroes, in their own right.

Vianne and Isabelle are powerful characters. They represent all women who bravely take part in war and fight for their countries – those who survive, those who lose their lives in the middle of it all, and those whose struggles stay with till the end of time.

Vianne is abused at the hands of a Nazi officer and is left impregnated with a child who’ll always be a painful reminder of the past, of war, of the enemy. Vianne’s story resonates with many women who are violated during war.

Isabelle walks into the unknown and puts her life in danger. She leaves behind her name, her story, her life. She makes a mark in the world. She fights. And she wins. She speaks her mind, defies the Germans, makes this war her own. Her story resonates with women who refuse to back down. 

Vianne and Isabelle are real women. They aren’t merely characters of Hannah’s imagination. They’re true people, they’re stories that we often forget.

Get The Nightingale here for $12.23.

Want more book recommendations? Check out our first ever global Reading Challenge!

BRB Gone Viral Pop Culture

14 inspiring quotes from Oprah Winfrey to keep you going

Oprah Winfrey: a woman who grew up in poverty and yet managed to become one of the most inspirational women in the world. She’s a self-made billionaire/philanthropist who gives life to the word “renaissance woman.” She donates much of her money to many charities, including her own.

Also, her show Super Soul Sunday is one of my favorites. It teaches me about so many amazing leaders and change-makers.

1. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”


Research shows that doing a few gratitude exercises per day can lead to enormous benefits. My favorite one is the “3 Good Things Journal,” in which you simply write down three positive things that happened at the end of each day. I have seen people who barely have their basic necessities met and yet their gratitude is what keeps them content. I have also seen those who “have it all” and yet always find something to complain about.

2. “Even if you’re flipping fries at McDonald’s, if you’re excellent, everyone wants to be in your line.”


This is so true. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, if you have that positive energy and attitude, people will naturally be drawn to you.

3. “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”


When I was younger, I would waste a lot of time hanging out with people who didn’t make me feel good about myself. I never realized that I had a choice in who I surrounded myself with. Now, I understand how damaging it can be when you spend time with negative people. Of course there are some situations in which it’s unavoidable, such as having a pessimistic coworker. But for the most part, we have more control than we think we do.

4. “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”


If I read this a few years ago, I probably would have rolled my eyes and continued on with my day. However, wisdom comes with age and now I realize how true this statement is. How can I expect to receive my dream job if I am too scared to even apply? Why should I expect to be treated with respect and kindness if I don’t have the courage to be assertive and set boundaries? It’s simple: if you don’t put yourself out there, then you can’t blame the world for not fulfilling your needs.

5. “True forgiveness is when you can say thank you for that experience.”


I’m still working on applying this one to my life!

6. “I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me.”


Think about it. Why in the world would you want to be with someone who doesn’t want you? It makes no sense. And yet how many of us stay in unsatisfying or even abusive relationships, due to whatever reasons? I want to live my life by this philosophy and have enough self-love to step away from anyone who does not value me.

7. We often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or worthy enough. You are worthy because you are born and because you are here.”


We can be the biggest obstacle towards our success. By having self doubts and negative beliefs about my capabilities, I blocked out good opportunities. For instance, during college, there were a few positions that I really wanted to apply for. But my fear of not being good enough prevented me from getting those positions. When we don’t even believe in ourselves, how can we expect someone else to invest in us?

8. “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”


Yes x 1000! One time when I was stuck in a rut, an aunt of mine gave me some tough love and told me that I was the only one who could get myself out of my gloom. In the moment, it hurt my feelings. But after sleeping on it, I realized that the truth isn’t always pretty.

9. “Turn your wounds into wisdom.”


How many times have we gone through difficulties in life, only to realize later on that those struggles are what made us stronger? Personally, I feel that all the times I felt hurt, alone, or sad are what motivated me to become a counselor.

10. “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future merely by changing his attitude.”


Why is it that two people can grow up in the same house, receive the same amount of toys, belongings, etc and yet turn out completely different? I think one of the reasons is their mindset and attitude. Powerful stuff.

11. “You can have it all… Just not all at once.”


Sometimes I find it really hard to be patient and wait for the things I want in life, such as a steady job or a loving partner. However, I have faith that everything will fall into place when the time is right.

12. “Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”


It’s so annoying how society tells us to avoid failure or rejection at all costs. It’s so dumb because even the most successful people have “failed.” When I was a junior in college, I badly wanted to be a resident assistant. When I got the email saying I was not selected, I felt like such a failure. But because of that rejection, I was able to become roommates with Anarocio; a woman who is a huge positive impact on my life. So the moral of the story is that failure is an illusion and many times leads us to something better, we just don’t know it at the time.

13. “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”


This quote is only believable once you’re out of the storm. When you’re in the midst of it, you may want to punch anyone who tells you that the pain you’re dealing with is making you stronger. Or at least that’s the case with me.

14. “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”


When I was in middle school, I lived in Pakistan with my mother. During that time, I was extremely self-conscious of the fact that we lived in a small one bedroom apartment while the majority of my classmates lived in big houses. I was embarrassed of inviting anyone over because I would compare my friend’s houses to my own.

Even though I only made a couple of good friends, that was good enough for me because they didn’t judge me by my wealth or status.

BRB Gone Viral Pop Culture

5 inspirational videos that blew me away with their messages

With all the accessible information, it can be pretty overwhelming deciding what to devote our precious time and energy towards. I always make sure to pay attention to those on the NY Times Bestsellers list or on Oprah’s show, Super Soul Sunday. Because if millions of people are able to relate to that person’s work, then chances are I will too!

Here is a short list of some successful women who are inspiring millions around the world. Ready to feel empowered? If so, read on.

1. The power of vulnerability by Brene Brown

I watched this in one of my college classes and it was one of the most valuable things I took from my entire college experience. Dr. Brene Brown is the coolest woman ever, which is why she’s in the top 5 most viewed Ted Talks. She has researched shame, courage, empathy, and vulnerability for over 16 years AND her books are #1 NY Times Bestsellers. Is that enough to get you to watch her TED talk?

“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” -Brene Brown

2. Lessons from the mental hospital by Glennon Doyle Melton

Glennon Doyle Melton is living proof that vulnerability and authenticity are crucial for true happiness. It’s nearly impossible not to love her, especially after she courageously shares the most intimate details of her life in her best-selling memoir, Love Warrior.

As soon as I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. Glennon struggled with bulimia, alcohol, drugs, and relationship issues yet climbed her way out of rock bottom. She now inspires women around the world as a speaker, mother of three kiddos, and the president of her non-profit targeting vulnerable women and children.

3. Your legacy is every life you’ve touched by Oprah Winfrey

This video is short, sweet, and so powerful. Oprah has a gift of instilling hope, optimism, and inspiration in all of us. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that success is not the size of our bank account. This video is a reminder that our lives can only feel fulfilled when we’re serving and helping others.

4. The universe has your back by Gabrielle Bernstein

Gabrielle Bernstein is a NY Times Bestselling author, international speaker, and spirit junkie. In this video, she shares her spiritual journey with us. She reminds us the importance of learning to surrender to the universe, God, or whatever/whoever you believe in. She makes you want to quit making excuses for not making time for meditation every day. Her talk also reminds us to listen to our intuition and try to quiet down the chatter in our minds.

5. How to re-program your subconscious mind to get what you want by Marie Forleo and Cathy Collautt

This interview is definitely worth investing 14 minutes of your time into. It will help you learn how to make your subconscious work for you, rather than against you. Marie Forleo has hundreds of inspirational videos that will motivate you to keep pushing through your struggles. Her guest star Dr. Cathy Collautt helps us learn how to re-align our subconscious mind with our conscious goals, in order to get the results we want in life. If you take away anything from this video, let it be this: “Your subconscious mind holds around 97% of your brains processing power, so the power of your subconscious is perhaps a million times greater than the conscious mind.”

These are just a handful of videos which changed my mindset and attitude towards positivity and hope. I’m sure that these will also strongly resonate with you.

Love Life Stories

Stop saying I’m brave to live life, just because I have a disability

It took a while to occur to me that being involved with piano and other musical activities so heavily was somewhat ironic. You see, my family discovered when I was young that I have hearing loss—not enough to be considered completely deaf, but enough to require hearing aids in both ears in order to to make everyday life easier.

When I was little, though, I didn’t think in terms of “Oh, this activity requires a lot of listening and hearing-related things. Maybe it wouldn’t be the best thing to do.” Instead, my world was much simpler. I saw that my older cousins both played piano and wanted to try it myself. My parents found a piano teacher whose only issue with letting me study was that I should wait another year to start, and I subsequently played piano for more than ten years.

There’s a popular sentiment that people with disabilities are exceptionally brave to get through life in spite of whatever challenges they have. I personally don’t feel particularly brave. As I see it, I’ve been given one life to live, and yes, this life includes dealing with less-than-average hearing, but that’s not going to change and I still have to live my life fully so it would be senseless to limit myself because of it.

[bctt tweet=”My life includes hearing loss. That’s not going to change.” username=”wearethetempest”]

There are things I have to do to work around my hearing impairment. Within a school setting, I wear something known as an FM system, basically a small microphone that the teacher or professor wears that picks up their voice and brings it to my hearing aids. I think managing this technology from an early age (as well as keeping my hearing aids safe) taught me an early sense of responsibility.

Even with this FM system there are still issues in situations where there is a lot of background noise. The machine doesn’t know how to focus on one person’s voice, and just amplifies everything, so it is a challenge to work with on group projects with lots of people talking at once.

[bctt tweet=”Someone remarked that I was brave to study abroad with hearing impairment.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Cafeterias, too, proved a challenge because of the high level of background noise. There were certain things I could do to make it easier. The school had placed me in speech therapy courses, and there I learned to lip read, which helped some in noisy situations. But there were many lunches where I only caught snatches of conversation, didn’t quite know what was going on and ended up very frustrated. This changed in high school, when we were finally allowed to eat outside the cafeteria, but even in college dining halls today it continues to be an issue.

[bctt tweet=”There were many lunches where I only caught snatches of conversation.” username=”wearethetempest”]

These issues that I face are sometimes annoying. Sometimes I mishear something and respond with a remark that’s totally unrelated, or can’t contribute to a conversation nearly as much as I would like because I can’t hear enough of it. But I am lucky that these are the only issues I face. I am lucky to be otherwise healthy. I am lucky that I have never been bullied because of my hearing.

And these things are just things to work around. Someone recently remarked that I was brave to study in another country with all the problems I face with my ears. The statement was well-intentioned, but I found it a bit preposterous. Yes, languages are supposed to be hard for someone with hearing impairment, but apparently I never got that memo either. I had been studying Spanish for over 12 years, and the hearing impairment hadn’t stopped me at any time.

Why would I let it stop me from applying what I had learned in the real world? Sure, there would be struggles. But I would figure out ways to work around them.

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!