Health Care Mind Mental Health Health

How I became a more mindful pessimist

I know, I dread to say it. Pessimists get a bad rep, sometimes rightfully so.

Going biking around the city, and I’ll remember the grating sound my bike made. Listening to feedback on my writing, I’ll be drawn to the things people said I could improve, agonizing over those. As a result, I need constant validation from others, although it barely ever sticks. My head has long been a magnet for negativity and it’s been draining me and even those around me.

But I don’t believe that ‘once a pessimist, always a pessimist.’  I’ve found ways to turn my mindset around.

What it takes is consciously detangling myself from pessimistic thought patterns. I was once enrolled in a Science of Happiness course (ironic, I know) where I learned about mindfulness tools. One of those was called the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercise and it aimed to rewire your brain to think in a more positive way. 


Naturally, I was doubtful. But it makes sense. My thoughts, feelings, and behavior are so closely connected that if they were on a Venn diagram, they would be overlapping each other. Recently, my thoughts are more introspective than ever. So, on my journey to become a more mindful pessimist, I’ve been keeping tabs on my thinking—especially negative thoughts. 

Here are some pessimistic thought patterns that I have become more aware of throughout my journey: 

Fortune Telling

A major one that precedes all others. I predict negative outcomes, imagining the worst possible scenario to happen. This is often the case when I try something out of my depth, such as when I flew to another country for a project without knowing anyone that would be on my team. I assumed that I wouldn’t get along with anyone and was already counting down the days to come back home. I thought they’d see me as a fraud and not want to work with me, although we were all enrolled in the same class. At the last moment, this thinking almost made me drop out of it.

I’m so grateful I didn’t because I ultimately met some of my closest friends there and produced good work. 

All-or-nothing thinking

Sometimes I look at situations as if there are only two possible outcomes. Either my team likes my idea or they hate it. I often forget that everything can be placed on a scale, they may like it but think that a certain part isn’t working. They may dislike it but see potential, suggesting a way to elevate the tension in the story.

Mind Reading

Making sweeping negative conclusions about a situation can be the easiest way for me to make sense of what is happening. For example, if I have an awkward conversation with someone, where I unintentionally said something insensitive, I may walk away and say to myself: “They certainly don’t want to talk to me again.” It is far easier to just claim that and be “done” with it rather than acknowledge my fault and find a chance to apologize. In these moments, I need to remember that I can’t read anyone’s mind and the only way to know for sure is to have a conversation with them.

Using ‘should’ or ‘must’ statements 

I have fixed ideas of my future and the way I conduct myself, even to the extent that I expect how others should react to me. Thinking that I should be close to people working in my field and they must want the same things that I do sets up unrealistic standards for both parties.

When these expectations aren’t met, I feel a deep sense of failure. Whenever a ‘should’ or a ‘must’ make their way into my thoughts, I need to take a step back. I can’t predict everything, who am I to know what ‘should’ or ‘must’ happen?

Emotional reasoning

Admittedly, I am a very emotionally driven person. I tend to value the way that I feel about something—a job or person I’ve met—rather than rationalizing the reality of working in that environment or being involved with that person and their lifestyle. I often make the mistake of thinking that something must be true because I feel that it is. I feel annoyed with someone; therefore, they must have done something wrong. Or I feel lonely; therefore, there is no one around that cares enough to reach out to me. These are both dangerous thought patterns because once I’m in them, I begin to ignore any evidence to the contrary.

Consciously recognizing these thinking errors and reframing them in a positive light is changing my outlook on the future. I started off the year rejecting every opportunity that came my way out of fear that they would overwhelm me, such as grad school and internships. Now, I feel more hopeful and am willing to try out what comes my way. I am enrolled to start a graduate program this coming fall.

Even if it doesn’t work out as planned, I can stay on track and remain positive by steering clear of the major thinking errors. I can’t help being a pessimist, but I can be a mindful one. Some of us are more susceptible to negative thinking like I am, but there are ways to navigate it without spiraling into hopelessness. 

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All I wanted was to be busy, but now I miss being lazy

I’ve never considered myself to be an ambitious person. I was always more than happy just kind of sitting about and chilling. I wanted things, but never with a fervor. Yet even for me, the months after graduation that I spent looking for a job were hard. I felt useless. I looked for jobs in multiple countries and faced countless rejections. It was hard not to tie up my whole self-worth into my job search. I felt like I could only deserve my spot on this planet if I got a job and kept busy. My main goal was to have each hour of my day accounted for, so I felt like I wasn’t wasting my time.

Here’s the thing – I’ve always thought of myself as a lazy person. It was the one part about me that I disliked the most, but I never did much to change it either. I thought I was irresponsible and didn’t seek out hard work. I only did the homework I absolutely had to and often studied for exams just two days before. I didn’t take on any extra projects in college and just kind of did the bare minimum. I felt like I could have done much more as a kid, joined classes, practiced playing an instrument and dancing, maybe tried to become good at a sport? But I didn’t. It was the worst kind of self-awareness. I knew what was wrong, but didn’t have the knowledge or motivation to fix it. Or at least, that’s what I thought.

Then I got a full-time job and several projects to do that I was very excited about. At first, I loved this arrangement. I finally got what I had wanted for years. My schedule was completely packed and it felt fulfilling. But as the weeks went on I realized something was wrong. I honestly thought that achieving the dream of a packed schedule was an end goal – that it would be enough. But I started getting into a phase where I thought about work all the time. Even when I was hanging out with my family or talking to my friends in my free time, I felt guilty about not working. It was frustrating, to say the least. Why wasn’t this working – why wasn’t this packed schedule of hard work making me feel happy? I finally changed the part of me that bothered me the most, it should have left me satisfied with myself.

I was talking to a friend about this and after she listened to my outburst, she had something wise to say. “But you know that even people who are not lazy aren’t productive every minute of every day, right? And why do you even want to be satisfied?” I thought a lot about that. What did I really want? What would make me happy?

I realized my goal wasn’t a sustainable one. It isn’t practical to expect to feel happy when you are constantly under pressure. The satisfaction that comes with applied effort needs to go hand-in-hand with the peace and joy that comes from leisure. I also think I was too hard on myself as a kid. Maybe I didn’t work as hard as some other people, but that was because of a lack of motivation. I’m learning that I’m capable of applying myself to projects that I’m passionate about. So what I was was not lazy, but chill. I miss that now.

There is something to be said for a changing definition of success, even if it does feel frustrating. We are taught that the ultimate goal is to get a job, to move ahead in our careers. We are never told that achieving goals isn’t everything. When I really think about it, I come to the conclusion that it makes no sense to build a system of work and education around the idea that there is only one way to live. We are told that our time must translate into a perceived value, be that money or productivity – something tangible to point to and say “Here is where my time went.” However, the definitions of value and productivity themselves are not objective. There is more to life than being a constant productive machine.

I now know that packing my schedule isn’t the end goal. It doesn’t make me feel great about myself, instead, it allows more things to fall through the gaps. I’ve read it so many times before but it is just now starting to make sense to me – life is all about balance. We need to remember that there is value in taking a break, relaxing, and doing things just for fun. There is value in a lazy day.

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Editor's Picks The Ultimate Guide to Dating Love + Sex Love

All the words I wish I could have told you

I got rid of my last photo of you, and I immediately regretted it. I realized that I will never be able to use the photos I took, documenting our love, as a bookmark.

I regretted that on any suspecting afternoon, with the sun gleaming just right twenty years from now, one of those photos will never fall out of an old book in front of my children and they won’t ask about the boy in the picture with curly hair and reddened cheeks.

I regretted it because you are – you were – my first love. And a person only gets one of those in a lifetime.

When I finally left I reacted curt toward you, almost passive or indifferent, because I didn’t want you to know that this was killing me too. Because I wanted to be strong – because the alternative was weak. Because we met un-intentionally and you immediately became forever etched into my soul.

I regretted it because we were damned from the start – because I found happiness in you before I found happiness in myself.

But, the reality is that I didn’t even know that I was looking for someone like you to save me from my misdirection. In fact, all I knew was that I liked the feeling in my stomach when your bright smile landed in my direction. I liked the comfort I felt in your eyes, I liked being desired. And, I liked how the beginning of our love story sprouted as if it were straight out of a Nora Ephron film.

The thing about those movies, however, is that they always ended just before the story actually began and reality set in.

For whatever reason, I thought myself righteous enough to pop our bubble. To be the one who decides that there is something better, grander, more extraordinary beyond the story of us.

So, I let it go. I convinced myself that I needed to get away so that I could start feeling again.

But seared inside my mind, hidden behind my self-proclaimed and glaring passions for the best love story known to man – and my belief that you couldn’t possibly give it to me – are the photos of you that I took in sepia. My hand on your chest. The back of your head against a sunset. Our hands holding one another. A kiss stolen in a gas station parking lot. Your eyes meeting mine with affection from the driver’s seat when we stopped at a red light and I told you to smile.

I regret that I didn’t give us the chance to seize just one more moment together. I regret that I didn’t give us a chance.

I know that you broke my heart in little ways for a long time, but I broke your heart in a big way all at once. One does not cancel out the other.

I loved you unconditionally. You knew it, too, but you lost me. I waited until I had enough and I left.

I realized that it is better to be single and search for myself, then to settle for something I feel insecure in.

Don’t get me wrong though. Our ending wasn’t nearly as tumultuous as I am making it out to be, nor as I would have liked it to be. One second we were, the next we were not. And that was it. We just ended. There was no thunder, no lightening. Nothing.

Even now as I am sorting through what exactly happened, I still can’t help but think that if you loved me the way you said you did you would have treated me the way you said you would.

I wouldn’t have had to beg.

Even when we did eventually try to talk about us, instead of ignoring the elephant in the room with banter or seduction, I’d be speechless. I didn’t know where to start.

But, please don’t mistake my silence for indifference. I do still love you. I always will, except it’s not the same. We spent so much time together and I know that I am saying so little right now to make up for it. I know that this is unbearable, but I promise you that every word I wish to utter to you is in my mind. I just can’t bring myself to speak when you look at me like that. When you draw yourself closer, it is a bribe which I can’t commit to. So please take a step back, I’m so tired of this. I am drained. If I stayed, I would spend a lifetime choking on words I wouldn’t ever dare to say.

I invested in you and I lost myself. I became dependent. And to be honest, this was the last thing I wanted. I spent close to a year relying on someone I didn’t want to rely on – nor could I. I knew it was the end long before you did, and I held on anyways, just in case, because I have a drastic fear of letting go and moving on.

But how can I reconcile breaking your heart and leaving everything we had together in just a few short minutes. You say that I took you by surprise, that you didn’t see it coming – but I don’t know how. I gave you all of the signs. You saw my silent tears. I always knew I wanted more. I was destined for something different. I felt it, deep in my bones, I just never faced it until I was forced to. I was able to ignore my confusion because we laughed with one another. We couldn’t take our hands off one another. We ran home in the pouring rain together, stopping only to kiss.

We experienced the best of one another for a short period of time, and I know that our relationship lasted as long as it was meant to. We loved each other until we couldn’t. We chewed us up and spit us out. We got everything we needed to get out of one another. We fell in and out of love from worlds apart. But I still feel terrible. And I feel like I should be feeling more even though I have been overcome with intense conflicting feelings every day since we said goodbye. Every day for close to a year.

I guess I just want you to know that I didn’t make this decision in haste. I needed to get away in order to understand more of myself.

I regret not thanking you enough for watching me blossom and believing in me so that I could believe in myself. I should have told you just how much you helped me realize the endless bounds of myself, for better or for worse.

I should have thanked you for letting me go, even though it hurt like hell.

I regret doing this to you because you waited for me. Because I gave you dozens of silent chances in my head. Because you would take me back in a second and I am here telling you that I am confused. That I need more time. That is – time to think. Time to learn and explore and dream. But all you hear is that I need to do all of these things away from you, that I need time alone. That I would rather work on building my sense of self alone than by your side.

But I deserve someone who makes me feel alive. Someone who is generous and who makes my heart jump when I tell people that they are mine. And you deserve someone who doesn’t give you an expiration date.

I am scared that maybe I made a mistake, that maybe I am foolish, or maybe that this is all that my love amounts to. I am having trouble accepting the normalcy of the end of us. The lack of explosion.

I am scared that I will forget. I am scared that after a few months everything we had will feel just like a dream. A dream that is open-ended, a dream that will constantly be on repeat in our respective minds until the end of time. Fated to carry each other’s baggage.

I regret that I now have to give you to someone else. That someone else will nuzzle into your chest, and devour your smell. I regret that I gave it all up so easily and have only in hindsight realized the weight of my naivety. Or did I? Because I also remember being so incredibly devastated, and being met with oblivion, with dismissive niceties. I remember my anxieties being belittled or made to feel small. I remember that I didn’t have the means, or the patience, to heal you.

I remember crying on the dance floor a year ago. Turning around so that none of my friends would see. I was staring at your messages. They were curt, broken and hard to make sense of. I remember being confused, I remember when someone told me for the first time that I deserved a love that was better. A love that nurtured. A love I didn’t have to settle for. A love that swept me off my feet.

I regret that we were different together than we were around everyone else. That no one got a real glimpse of us, in love. I regret being so quiet. I regret that I couldn’t love you like you loved me. I regret that you couldn’t love me the way I needed you to. I regret that we’ve run out of things to say.

I regret that our relationship was already broken even when your fingers were strumming through my hair or when we sat across from each other on the floor in a fit of laughter.

I regret knowing it was the end before you did, and holding on anyways just in case. I regret not telling you just how nervous I was and just how serious I was when I said that I thought we lost our spark. Our magic.

I regret it all because I wish that I held on to those pictures for a little while longer. I wish I studied them. Even though I knew the ending wouldn’t change.

Neither of us can fully heal our heartbreak unless we are apart. We have to heal for ourselves, rather than for the possibility that one day down the line we will be together again.

Seeing you that day, when you came by to collect your things, actually helped me realize that I am better off without you. That I am happy now. Really happy. And I no longer doubt myself. I no longer rely on you for happiness. I no longer get angry or sad because you couldn’t make me happy.

In hindsight I had absolutely no idea who I was when I met you. I still really don’t. I’m not even sure that I knew what genuine happiness looked or felt like.

Maybe that’s what ruined us after all. My indifference. My sadness. All of which at the end of the day amounted to nothing.

Soon I will be able to think about you without ripping my heart out.

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How absurdism taught me to embrace the chaos in my life

“A little boy in a cowboy suit, writing in a puddle with a stick, a dog approaching. Deaf or dumb, the boy is, like anyone, a little timid, partly stupid, ashamed, afraid, like us, like you. He is there. Picture the boy. See his eyes. Sympathize with his little closes. Now, break his arm. Picture violin section. The violins are on fire. (The following is said almost without anger as if it’s just another request) Now go fuck yourselves.”
Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), Will Eno.

That’s a little absurdism for you there. The next few lines go into the character trying to sound like he’s fine, but he really isn’t. He is spiraling while trying to understand the colloquial term ‘whatever’ because he thinks it will describe how he wants to feel. Did you get that? I hope so. Because underneath the strangeness is a deep vulnerability– and joy in being alive. 

It doesn’t want to have a purpose, it embraces being purposeless.

At its core, absurdism is rooted in social activism and rebellion against the norm. At a time when everyone was taking art very seriously and enforcing standards on artist’s practices, absurdists challenged the system. They said, what if we make an art form that defies expectations by being intentionally bizarre? When everything around us is so devoid of reason, embracing irrationality and strangeness may be the next best thing. 

With the current pandemic, there is little that we can control. At first, I felt so powerless against it all. That’s when I turned to absurdism. It doesn’t want to have a purpose, it embraces being purposeless. The Dadaist slogan of “art for art’s sake” and absurdism’s love of nonsense is exactly the type of energy we need to be bringing into our lifestyles. 

Absurdism taught me to embrace chaos and life not making sense (most of the time). I spent most of my life, as I expect a majority of you did, trying to assign value to myself by the things that I achieved and the decisions I made. Wanting my life to mean something, I quickly grew desperate when things did not turn out as I imagined.

Absurdism taught me to embrace chaos and life not making sense (most of the time).

Take, for instance, applying to jobs or sharing creative work. There is a powerlessness that I feel every single time. I can’t help but think that I am putting myself out there to be judged– which I am, to a certain extent. Recently, after being ghosted by a couple of jobs I had applied to, I was starting to fear that the rest of the year would be the same. All my efforts seemed to be in vain. Keen to maintain a certain image I had of my life, I started reaching out to places that I had no interest in. But I soon became so thankful that things turned out the way they did when a professor reached out to me, excited to have me on board to work on her screenplay– something I deeply enjoyed doing.

Like that last line by Will Eno, I often forgot that life was full of surprises. I learned to be okay with it. More than that, to be happy.

By reading absurdist writers, I embraced the joy of being surprised. I found humor in unexpected things. There was a strength in accepting chaos that I did not find anywhere else. When it seems like the year is going entirely on its own path, I cling to these teachings more than ever. We can’t be stubborn and try to force the year to go in the direction we want it to. We are doing more damage by pulling on the leash and digging our feet into the ground then if we let loose a little and see where the year is headed. 

All in all, when things don’t work out, whether it is with your school, career, or relationship prospects, remind yourself that having ‘nothing’ going on shouldn’t be terrible. Just take Daniil Kharm’s The Red-Haired Man, where at the end he admits that he is writing nonsense and gives up entirely. This poem has gotten me out of all types of ruts, both creative and personal.

We can all take a note from absurdism. If we embrace chaos in this way, we can enhance our own sense of wellbeing.

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K-pop Music Pop Culture

BTS breaks records and blows up serotonin levels with “Dynamite”

Ever wish you could wake up with enough enthusiasm to move mountains before lunchtime? That feeling has been pretty hard to come by for most of this year.

What with a whole pandemic forcing us to stay confined at home, while global injustices seem to pile on to no end. It’s understandable why things would seem pretty bleak to the average human.

However, global sensation BTS stepped up and decided they’re going to create an environment full of happiness by dropping their new comeback single “Dynamite.”

BTS Dynamite teaser
[Image Description: BTS looking at the camera, over a green counter at a donut shop. From left to right: Jimin, Jungkook, Suga, Jin, RM, V, J-Hope]
This track marks the first time the band has sung a song that’s completely in English. According to their leader Kim Namjoon (also known as RM), it was them challenging themselves in a world that’s changed so drastically. With their own tour for their last album Map Of The Soul: 7 postponed due to the pandemic, they wanted to spread love and happiness to as many people as they could through the song.

There is literally NO EXCUSE for you to not listen to this track under the guise of “I can’t understand Korean” now.

The music video goes along a retro theme, with the song’s disco beat is one that is instantly reminiscent of watching your favourite bops on MTV during the good old days. The boys themselves are all dressed in the funkiest, coolest outfits and are just… having so much fun in the most colourful surroundings.

BTS' Explosive New Single 'Dynamite' Is Here! - PlNKWIFI
[Image Description: a gif of BTS dancing in colourful retro clothes in front of a white building. There is a large blue sign behind them that says DISCO in yellow letters] via
And the lyrics. The lyrics literally feel like the day is suddenly brighter than ever, there’s a swing in your step and you leave a trail of stardust in your wake. 

For 3 minutes and 43 seconds, the world’s an infinitely happier place than ever before.

Cause I-I I’m in the stars tonight

So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight

Shining through the city with a little funk and soul

Light it up like a dynamite

I guess I can say that BTS blew my serotonin levels sky high with Dynamite.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Dynamite broke records for the biggest music video premiere on YouTube, with over 3 to 4 million concurrent views when the video released. It became the fastest video to reach 10 million views, within 21 minutes. Within two hours of its release, it garnered over 29 million views and has just hit 51 million as I write this.

And folks, it’s only the beginning for this comeback.

BTS 'Dynamite' Official MV uploaded by 𝔾𝕆𝕃𝔻𝔼ℕ 𝕀𝔻𝕆𝕃⁷
[Image Description: a gif of BTS looking down at the camera as it circles them, with Suga smiling closer to the lens. There are bright multicoloured lights above their heads.] via WeHeartIt
However, Min Yoongi (one of BTS’ rappers, also known as Suga) mentioned that the goal they want to achieve with Dynamite is one that doesn’t involve numbers or metrics. 

“We hope the people who listen to it find comfort and strength… I hope it gives strength to us and the fans,” he mentioned.

It’s safe to say the band has killed two birds with one perfectly aimed stone!

BTS have been known to promote the message of self-love and self-acceptance through their songs. They also talk about the gruelling journey to achieve both of those. Their lyrics convey that message in a way that touches the deepest corners of their fans’ hearts, making a home there and brightening it up in ways we would never have thought was possible. 

Pin by ☾ ♡ ❂ on bts ~ ot7 | Concert, Bts memes, Rap monster
[Image Description: A gif of BTS from one of their Love Yourself tours, where they’re looking at the camera and making heart signs for the fans] via 𝓬. on Pinterest
They mentioned how singing in all English proved be a challenge for them, but one they were willing to overcome to make their fans happy wherever they are. Despite having their success well established in the global music industry, they continue to go above and beyond for the sake of ARMY’s happiness. They consider the relationship they have with their fans to be infinitely personal, intimate, and deeper than anything known to mankind; constantly citing ARMY with words such as their “everything”, their “life”, and their “ultimate source of strength.”

BTS describe their relationship with their fans as one where they both make sure they don’t walk down the path of life alone. They do their best to provide ARMYs strength to face life through their music, while their fans do the same by giving them unconditional love and support for whatever the band does.

With that being said, any comments making fun of their lyrics and pronunciation are racist. They created a song in a language they aren’t completely fluent in for us to enjoy. If the effort can’t be appreciated, it just goes to say that a serious reevaluation of mindsets is needed.

this might be my favorite dance sequence in the MV #networkbangtan#bts#bangtan#bts dynamite#bts gif#mygif #theyre so carefree and happy #i love it so much
[Image description: a gif of Jin in a yellow shirt moonwalking across a basketball court while his friends look at him from one of the hoops. The wall behind them is splattered with colourful art] via:
Dynamite is just the kind of feel-good dose of happiness that the world could use. Even for a short while because hey, their self-produced album’s coming out later this year, in case you’ve forgotten! 

I think we could all spare 3 minutes and 43 seconds to feel like we can shine through the city with a little funk and soul. Or even in our house, for those respecting quarantine.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to YouTube, Spotify, and Deezer right now! Stream to get your happiness injected directly into your bloodstream. You might just see your blood turn purple right afterwards.

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Tech Now + Beyond

How ‘On This Day’ on Facebook inspires me to fight for the person I once was

A few months ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook memories when my attention was captured by a post I made in 2015. And it read, “I wonder if I’ll ever be happy again.”

The post caught me off-guard because I don’t remember writing it. And, while I used to be a fan of nihilistic humor at the time, it was unlike me to vaguely post something so dark and serious. When I clicked on the post, I realized the privacy settings were limited so that I was the only person who could see it.

I’m not sure why I shared it on Facebook, or why the privacy settings were so limited. It felt like a future diary entry that I knew only I could see. One thing’s for sure though – it reminded me that I’m lucky to have eventually found that happiness which I thought I’d lost

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ app. At times, it can be triggering for me. They include previous posts about abusive partners I’ve struggled to forget, photographs from traumatic stages in my life, and other tiny reminders of my trauma. I have PTSD, which means these memories are really difficult to view. For that reason, I don’t often look through the app.

But there’s an upside to seeing those upsetting posts too. They remind me that my life was difficult and that things have vastly improved since then in the space of a few years.

Some of the most difficult experiences of my life happened between 2013 and 2016. In this time period, I was more active on Facebook than in previous years because I had solid access to the internet. My posts from this time remind me of the difficulties I had gone through – hating university, having an awful immune system, battling anxiety, changing universities, enduring toxic and abusive partners, losing friends, experiencing multiple sexual assaults, dropping out of university.

Those posts remind me of the times I’ve wanted to give up, the suicidal thoughts, and the feeling of wanting to disappear because life was too hard. I ached to be free of the pain that surrounded me.

So now, when I read these memories, I desperately want to hug my past self – I want her to know that she’ll be okay, I want to tell her not to give up because the places she’ll go and the people she’ll meet will be worth all the pain one day. I want to tell her about the food she’ll eat, the cats she’ll adopt, and the friendships she’ll nurture.

I want to tell my past self that she’ll find a happiness sweeter than she’s ever felt before.

But I obviously can’t do that – we can’t time-travel and we can’t send posts backward through social media. What I can do, though, is take away one major lesson from all this – things can improve.

Our social media posts are often like time capsules. When we look back at our posts from years ago, we don’t just read what we’ve written – we remember the context, the environment we were in, and the feelings we were experiencing back then. When we share an old post from 2009 WhEn Yu TyPed LyKK thiSS***, we’re not just cringing at the way we typed. We’re cringing at our awkward, pre-pubescent selves, who were so keen on following a trend that we didn’t mind taking an extra few minutes to type out a post while alternating the case.

We remember how much we’ve grown since then. Likewise, when we see our posts from dark periods in our lives, we’re hit with a bundle of emotion and we might recoil at the memory of the pain we faced.

I’m always overcome with tenderness when I think about myself when I was a younger, more vulnerable human. I yearn to treat my past self gently, and while I can’t take care of her – I know I can take care of myself in the present.

 I often gaslight myself, thinking that my experiences couldn’t possibly have been as difficult as I think it was, but that’s not true – those experiences were hellish, and these posts prove it.

This reminds me of my resilience. I realize I’m in a much better place than I was a few years ago, and I’m confident that there’s no way to go but up. These reminders fuel me with self-love and with a resolve to practice self-care.

Millennials are often criticized for the fact that we record everything on the internet. We’re also criticized for treating our social media accounts like diaries, but there are many upsides to the ways we share our lives over the internet. And one upside is that it can provide us with tools for introspection and healing. These historical records keep notes of our individual growth, and sometimes, those notes are what we need to motivate ourselves to heal.

As annoying as Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ function may be, there’s something amazing about remembering how far I’ve come.

Editor's Picks Love + Sex Love Life Stories Advice Weddings

5 things unmarried Desi women are SO sick of hearing

A successful marriage can turn out to be the best partnership in one’s life.

However, before you decide to find the right partner, you should first work on recognizing yourself. Take time and go through life and its experiences to know yourself better and figure out what you value. That journey of self-discovery, however, takes time and patience.

Unfortunately, the middle-class Indian society that I was raised in does not believe in such a journey. Instead, it enforces a culture where women are expected to be married by the age of 25, if not earlier.

The society I come from places significantly less value on self-growth, career and the development of emotional intelligence in the ladder of a woman’s life. Matrimony and motherhood are often considered the most important milestones in a woman’s twenties.

Hence, there is endless pressure on getting married starting early on.

I am a single woman in my late twenties who, for the last five years, has been fighting this rigid culture of age-bound matrimonial rules.

Despite my exceptional academic and professional growth, I am constantly faced with intrusive questions regarding my personal life from “well-wishers. “This list includes but does not end with older relatives, cousins, neighbors and family friends. Many times, there have been questions that simply hit a raw nerve and get too difficult to handle.

After several attempts of tackling them, I have devised the perfect quick comebacks to unwelcome remarks.

1. “A career is good, but when do you plan to get settled?”

Chelsea Peretti Eye Roll Gif By Brooklyn Nine-Nine by
Chelsea Peretti Eye Roll Gif By Brooklyn Nine-Nine by

Uh. Whenever you stop asking me that question.

Time and again, I have had friends, relatives, neighbors, and even acquaintances ask me and my parents this question. What society chooses to ignore is that marriage is not the end-all, be-all of anyone’s life. Every woman should become financially and emotionally independent before deciding to get married.

2. “If you don’t get married now, all the good boys will be taken.”

Anne Hathaway Nbd Gif By Ocean's 8 by
Anne Hathaway Nbd Gif By Ocean’s 8 by

Thank god. I thought your list was never-ending!

Thank you so much, aunty, for your unsolicited advice, but I’d rather decide on my own the difference between “good” guys and “bad” guys. Despite living in the 21st century, these patriarchal prejudices continue to plague social behavior among the Indian society I grew up on.

The good boy argument constitutes someone who earns a huge salary, belongs to a privileged upper-class family and is of the same caste and religion as the girl’s family.

These three prerequisites are thus presented as time-bound since most of such ‘good men’ choose to marry younger women.

3. “The earlier you get married, the sooner you’ll relieve the burden off your parents’ shoulders.”

Benedict Cumberbatch Gif By BBC on
Benedict Cumberbatch Gif By BBC on

The only burden on my parents is your uncalled-for interest in my life.

One of the most manipulative things that I have repeatedly been told is that, after the age of 25, women become a liability on their parents.

Sexist gender roles subscribe men to be the breadwinners of a household, while women are only supposed to be homemakers. While this statement dips in misogyny, it is also gaslights young women into feeling responsible for their parents’ happiness, thereby pushing them into matrimony.

4. “How bad would you feel if your younger sister gets married before you do?”

Confused wait what gif by
Confused wait what gif by

Not as bad as you would for not being invited to her wedding.

If my sister is happy with her partner and decides to get married to him, I would be the happiest person on this planet. Indian culture often dictates the eldest sibling get married first, but each one of us lives by different expectations and beliefs.

Why time-stamp every journey with similar rigid milestones?

5. “Your biological clock is ticking.”

shrug gif by
shrug gif by

And I do not remember asking you to set the alarm.

Motherhood is considered to be one of the first conventional outcomes of a marriage. Patriarchal cultures thus force women into early matrimony so as to bear offspring early in their lives.

But what about women who do not want to become young mothers? Or simply do not want to have children? What if someone prefers to adopt?

No, these are not options.

While comebacks like these can help you tackle the many intrusive questions, this constant fight can also lead to burnout.

Through my own personal experience, I can attest that as hard as you try, you will never match society’s expectations. Because other people will never be satisfied with anything. Marriage will be followed by expectations of parenthood which will then be followed by raising the children “right” according to others’ belief.

A prejudiced society can thus place you on an unending trial of life.

At some point, you have to learn to trust yourself and follow a path that only you are responsible for. A path that places the reins of happiness in your own hands and not those of others.

When you find peace within yourself, no amount of outside noise can deter you from doing what you wish to do with your life… whether that involves marrying young, marrying late or not marrying at all.

Love Life Stories

How living alone taught me an important life lesson

Living away independently from your parents isn’t that prevalent in a desi society. Usually, you only move away if you get married.

So, letting me move to the dorms for my university education was not an easy decision for my parents. However, they knew if I wanted a good education I would have to live away from home. 

I had always dreamt of living alone: the life of no rules and regulations and being independent. So I was ecstatic about this new phase in my life and  I decided to take this leap of faith – and boy, it wasn’t easy. 

During the first few months of living alone, I would find myself crying every other day. I would call my mum every single day and constantly update her on my life. I wanted to fly back home the instant I got any time off. That was the only thing I was concerned about.

Living alone is highly romanticized in shows and movies. You never really get to dance in your pajamas like nobody’s watching.

Coming from a big family I was used to noises surrounding me. It was always hectic and busy at my place. Getting used to the eerie silence at night was the worst. I couldn’t even sleep without keeping the lights on. 

As time went by, I started enjoying the freedom that came with living alone. I could do things in my own time: eat whenever I want, wake up whenever I wanted. The freedom was enthralling. But it also made my life have no routine.

I had lived a pampered and sheltered life, so living alone did teach me to be a little bit more responsible. Having to take care of the whole room, being responsible for my laundry and cooking. To be honest, I thought I would learn more by living alone but I mostly had takeouts and frozen foods.

The void of loneliness was also then filled up by friends who became like family so I started missing my family less.

As time passed, the calls got shorter. The updates became less and less. I got busy in my own life. That’s the thing about life: you just need some time to become used to something. The passing of time makes things easier, and you can easily fall into new routines.

When it was time to say goodbye and go back home after my university ended, I was bittersweet. I had enjoyed my time alone, learning things which wouldn’t have been possible if I never got out of my bubble. But I had missed my family too much.

I had learned a lot from this experience, in terms of growing as a person. It wasn’t easy adjusting back to a routine living with my parents again.

But living alone made me value family time even more. I realized that every second with them counts even though I might not be getting all the freedoms I had while I was living alone. There’s a lot of wisdom to be learned, memories to be made and time to be cherished with them before life makes me move away from them again.

I guess it’s different for everybody, but for me, there is no warmth in a house unless it’s filled with loving family members and people you love.

World News The Internet Music The World BRB Gone Viral Pop Culture

Here’s how BTS made history at the United Nations General Assembly – and encourage you to #SpeakYourself

I’m sure that by now, the K-Pop band BTS needs no elaborate introduction. Even if you haven’t heard their music or seen their faces, you’ve heard the name. And whether or not you’re an ARMY or you understand why they’re so popular, you have to admit how that shows the strength of their global impact.

The band of seven young men from South Korea, who quite literally started from the bottom, are now in the midst of their world tour after having released their latest album “Love Yourself 結 ‘Answer'” to conclude their Love Yourself era. They have now made history as the first K-Pop group to attend and give a speech at the 73rd UN General Assembly as part of the #Youth2030 campaign. 

[Image Description: BTS posing for a group photoshoot wearing black formal suits and ties. Top row: V, Jin, Jimin Bottom Row: RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jungkook Source: AllKPop]
[Image Description: BTS posing for a group photoshoot wearing black formal suits and ties. Top row: V, Jin, Jimin. Bottom Row: RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jungkook – Source: AllKPop]
BTS have previously partnered with UNICEF to launch their Love Myself campaign last year, which aimed to end violence and to protect children and the youth from its disastrous effects. For people who still question their relevance, you might want to rethink your battle strategies the next time you have shit to say.

Yesterday, the seven men took center stage yet again, albeit it was a stage of a different kind. Their leader, 24 year old Kim Namjoon (also known as RM) delivered a six minute speech in fluent English to the numerous world leaders, ambassadors and royalty present at the event.

Namjoon talked about how, being an ordinary boy growing up in the city of Ilsan, he had extraordinary dreams of saving the world.

However, those dreams began to dull due to the fear of what others thought of him. Fear that was caused by people, including themselves at times, doubting their chances of success.

“No one called my name, and neither did I.

My heart stopped and my eyes closed shut.

So, like this, I, we all lost our names

We became like ghosts…”

He then talked about how all of the members, individually and collectively, have battled numerous hurdles in order to get to where they are now. He also insisted that they will continue to do so, only this time, with help of ever-growing faith and love for themselves and that their fans (the ARMY) give them. 

There is no doubt that ARMY have been inspired by the boys to love themselves and use that to overcome their hardships and conquer their own peaks. Namjoon acknowledged that and concluded his speech by encouraging us to “Speak Yourself”. He urges young people to find and own our names and voices, to embrace our passions and faults alike, and to be love ourselves in all our imperfectly perfect glory and tell our stories.

You can view the speech here:

A few hours later, #SpeakYourself is now one of the top trends on social media, with ARMYs from all over the world sharing their hearts, fears, flaws and dreams to the world with pride.

[Description: Kim Namjoon (RM) saying “No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin colour, your gender identity, just speak yourself.” at the UN Assembly with Jung Hoseok (J-Hope) and Jin standing behind him. – Source: Giphy]
Aside from their success story, BTS have won over millions of hearts because despite their celebrity status as idols, they never hid or suppressed their humanity. They never fail to remind us that they, too, are just as human as the rest of us. They have individual and collective flaws, they make mistakes, stumble from time to time, and have dealt with mental health issues (a subject still considered taboo in South Korea). They can be unabashedly goofy and silly and do not lead perfect lives.

They’ve all come from different cities, financial and educational backgrounds. Instead, of shunning their differences, they’ve treated them as bits of the uniqueness that collectively created the magic that is BTS.

Most importantly, they acknowledge that the process of loving themselves was just as tedious and taxing for them as it is for everyone of us. It won’t always be easy and mistakes (both big and small) will be inevitable, but that’s okay. The key is to accept that, learn from that, and continue.

Knowing all that and knowing their influence, they use it to encourage us to take that rocky road to personal well being in a dog-eat-dog world. It’s as if to say “We know what you feel because we’ve felt it too, but this is what helped us to be happy and can help you. It may be hard, but it will be worth it in the end. We believe in you.”

BTS have proven time and time again how they are not just your everyday run-of-the-mill boyband, but an actual force to be reckoned with. They’ve shown that pop culture, depending on how it’s used, has the power to affect even international politics. That just through spreading self-love and positivity, once we own our voices and ‘our names’, we will have the power to change the world.

So…what is your name?

[Image Description: BTS are sitting in a bed of pink, red and yellow flowers. They're all wearing pastel coloured shirts, and there are clouds behind them that are coloured purple and orange. From left to right: J-Hope, V, RM, Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, Suga - Source: Ticketmaster]
[Image Description: BTS are sitting in a bed of pink, red and yellow flowers. They’re all wearing pastel coloured shirts, and there are clouds behind them that are coloured purple and orange. From left to right: J-Hope, V, RM, Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, Suga – Source: Ticketmaster]
Health Care Health News The Internet Gender The World Wellness Inequality

Anam Tanoli’s suicide reveals the ugly truths of mental health in Pakistan

Trigger Warning: mentions of suicide, depression and cyber harassment

A lot of you may be wondering about the large gap between my last article and this one, right? The reason has been a rollercoaster of mental health struggles that had severely affected my routine and motivation to work.

The reason for penning an article on this particular topic as my “comeback” is also mental health. Nearly a week ago, I woke up with anxiety for the second time in a row; I couldn’t breathe normally, and it felt like an out-of-body experience (a common symptom known as detachment or depersonalisation) with my mind turning into a broken record once again while telling me how I will never achieve my goals, I will never succeed in life, and how I will never be good enough.

Two hours later, while still recovering from the ‘aftershocks’ of this attack, I randomly remembered seeing some tributes being paid on certain instagram stories for a Pakistani-Italian model named Anam Tanoli passing away the night before. I didn’t know her too well, only seeing her pictures on certain brand posts around Instagram and Facebook, and I assumed the worst to be a car accident. Until curiosity got the best of me and I decided to google it.

As it turned out, Anam Tanoli had committed suicide by hanging herself. She had been battling severe depression (she had booked an appointment with a therapist the next day), and had recently become the prime target for online hate and cyber harassment. She was only 26 years old.

So here I am, typing out a piece on a model I did not know about, but whose death has brought me to try and remind the readers of certain thing we tend to keep forgetting.

A friend of mine, in all good intent, mentioned how she didn’t think Anam would be suffering this way because she was so pretty and successful. Oftentimes we equate worldly wealth and good fortune to emotional and spiritual well-being; they’ve got it good, why should they be sad?

Why would successful people like Robin Williams, Chester Bennington, Kate Spade and Kim Jonghyun be suffering so badly they would take their own lives?

That’s the brutal reality behind mental health issues: money, fame, and looks may show a certain degree of power in the physical world, but not necessarily for the one in your mind. Particularly, for the demons living there.

Which brings me to the next thing: Over 300,000 people are at risk of taking their own lives in Pakistan. The country ranks 22nd among 25 countries in which a survey was conducted on rates of cyber bullying, and that rate is known to be increasing as of late. 

Our words can either be used as weapons or a food banquet for those aforementioned demons. The fact that some people choose to sit behind a screen and type out cruel words for others with no regard of the consequences is baffling; what kind of sick joy do these people get from trying to tear others down?

And whatever a woman does seems to be an open invitation for just that. The Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in Pakistan stated last year, that out of 535 calls made to them during their first four months of being operative, 62% of those calls were made by women.

Mental health awareness may be increasing in countries like Pakistan, but unlike that of negativity such as cyberbullying, it’s pace is drastically slow. A lot of people have no material or mental means to seek the help they need; money, qualified professionals, stigma and stereotyping have all become hinderances to what is just as important as a physical check up.

After Anam’s death, I saw depression and mental health being discussed as a serious concern among us all and not as a taboo or lack of religious faith. Many celebrities have shared their own struggles with mental health voiced concerns over jokes being made on the  victims. Pakistan’s recently elected president Dr. Arif Alvi took to twitter three days ago, proposing mental health helplines to be readily available 24/7.

Anam Tanoli’s death may have created a wave for mental health awareness in Pakistan, but it was a death she didn’t deserve. We, at The Tempest, send our deepest condolences to her family. We would also like to encourage our readers to not be afraid to seek the help they need, or to reach out to those who do. Spread love and kindness to others and save some for yourself, because you are just as deserving of it as anyone else.

For Pakistanis: two counselling and suicide prevention helplines that I am aware of that you can use and refer are the Aman Foundation’s Telehealth helpline (+92 (21) 111-11-9123) and Rozan’s Counselling Services Helpline (0800-22444, 051-2890505-6).


If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, check out the resources below:

* Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255). Here is a list of international suicide hotlines.

* People who are deaf or hard of hearing can reach Lifeline via TTY by dialing 1-800-799-4889 or use the Lifeline Live Chat service online.

* Text TALK to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free counseling.

* Call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), for free, confidential support for substance abuse treatment.

* Call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), for confidential crisis support.

* Call Trevor Lifeline, 1-866-488-7386, a free and confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth.

7 Cups and IMAlive are free, anonymous online text chat services with trained listeners, online therapists, and counselors.


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Gender & Identity Food & Drinks Life

I’m Arab and I grew up hating my body – because of my family

Trigger Warning: Mentions of bad thoughts and eating disorders.

Growing up, I was always surrounded by at least one family member who was on a diet.

Eating restrictions were a common part of our everyday lives. I knew all about counting calories, ‘light’ products, pounds and kilos before I was 12. There was an obsession among everyone around me, no matter how old they were or what their gender was, to attain the “perfect body.”

Scrutinizing and analyzing each other’s bodies is a common occurrence in a lot of Arab families. My conversations with friends have made me notice that others struggle with body image issues too. We, as a society, focus way too much on looking a certain way rather than embracing the genes we were born with and treating our bodies right. We focus too much on what others might think of us, that we don’t notice how poorly we see ourselves.

Everyone wants to have that ideal body that is displayed all over the magazines. The washboard abs and the stick-thin figure has always been appealing. Unfortunately, though, many will do whatever it takes to get it. I’ve seen it in the women I grew up around who obsessively counted calories. I’ve seen it in friends who would go on restrictive diets just to lose that extra five kilos.

I’ve even seen it in myself when I’d spend hours analyzing every angle of my body.

At only the tender age of 10, I realized I completely and utterly hated my body.  In fifth grade, I ended up moving to a new school where I didn’t know a single person. It didn’t help that I was the only one in my entire grade who was of a different nationality (i.e. automatic exclusion). Until a few students warmed up to me, I spent most of the year sitting alone or having lunch with my English teacher (no joke, I was that kid for like four months).

It was then that I started turning to food for comfort. If I had a rough day at school, I would come home and eat snacks to make myself feel better.

I had an unhealthy relationship with my body. I would eat to comfort myself about how crappy I felt at school, but then I would end up feeling even worse when I would put on weight. I spent years losing and gaining weight continuously. They were full of tears, hungry nights, vomiting after meals, and negative thinking. I knew that I didn’t have the ideal body type and being criticized by my family wasn’t making it any easier.

I was really unhappy for a long time. It was only when I started university that I truly changed the way I saw myself. I started cooking healthy meals because I wanted to. I started doing yoga and working out a few times a week because it made me feel good. There are days where I still feel insecure about myself, but I’ve learned to differentiate my own voice from everyone else’s.

Whenever I have a bad day or think I’m just not good enough, I take the time to list affirmations in front of the mirror. It takes a little getting used to and it might be a bit awkward at first, but it helps.

I came to realize that the more you focus on loving your body, the sooner you’ll start to believe it. All it takes is realizing that the unhealthy mindset that so many of us have grown up with is detrimental. It all starts when we ignore the negative comments around us, focus on ourselves, and do what we want to do to make ourselves happy.

It takes time, and I, for one, am nowhere near feeling 100 percent confident in myself. But I know that I’m on my way to getting there.


20 things you’ve totally seen if you’ve ever been to an Arab wedding

Arabs often disagree on a lot of things, whether that’s politics, traditions, or whose fatoosh (bread salad) recipe is better. But one thing they can all agree on is that Arabs definitely know how to throw a wedding party. If you’ve ever attended an Arab wedding (yours or someone else’s), you know the following list of instances are unavoidable.

1. When your mom wakes you up really early to get ready, but the wedding doesn’t even start till 8:00 pm.

little girl crying and resting head on bed
Image description: A little girl is crying in her bedroom and rests her head in frustration on her bed. 

We all know Arab weddings don’t usually start until the sun goes down, so why do mothers always insist on getting our hair and makeup done six hours in advance?

2. When your mom introduces you to her aunt’s cousin’s wife’s daughter’s sister-in-law and you have to pretend you know who she is.

girl gives fake smile GIF
Image description: a brunette gives a fake smile and nods at someone as she pretends to understand what they are saying. 

You always end up being forced to awkwardly talk to someone who knows every detail about your life, but you have no idea who they even are.

3. When all your relatives come around to the single women and say “inshallah we’ll be at your wedding next.”

bored over it GIF by Originals
Image description: an old woman sits on a chair with an unimpressed and tired look as she stares at the floor. 

Even though your internally cringing, you have to politely smile and nod at all the people who come up and say that to you throughout the night.

4. When you ask your close cousins, “Does anyone know when the buffet starts?” Because everyone knows we’re mostly here for the food.

hungry boy ready to eat GIF
Image description: a young Kyle Massey grabs the front of his sweatpants and exclaims, “I’ve got on my eating pants.” 

Arabs always go all out when it comes to the wedding buffet. Always expect to find over at least a dozen different dishes from each Arab country.

5. When random old people come up to you and ask “Whose daughter are you?” but you already heard they’re bride-hunting for their son.

man moving his finger to say no GIF
Image description: a South Asian man waving wagging his finger to say “no” with an angry expression on his face. 

When the older relatives won’t leave the single girls alone even when you drop a million hints about how uninterested you are in their sons.

6. When overly excited aunties force you to dance, no matter how many times you tell them you’re horrible at it.

woman dancing badly GIF
Image description: a drunk woman dancing horribly at a party with a drink in her hand. 

You always end up looking like a fool, but they just love making all the sabaya (young women) show off their moves.

7. When the couple makes their grand entrance and you can’t help but get emotional.

man with tears in his eyes GIF
Image description: an old man sobbing and placing his hand on his mouth to help him control and hide his emotions. 

When you see the way the couple looks at each other and can’t help but want that for yourself one day.

8. When your sibling asks if you want to go get seconds at the buffet with them.

woman holding back tears gif
Image description: Oprah Winfrey nods with tears in her eyes and places her hand on her chest. She is clearly moved by something someone said or did. 

We all know there’s nothing more awkward than going for seconds alone, so it’s always nice when someone offers to go with you.

9. When the waiters bring out the wedding cake and it’s five layers high with three different flavors.

kid excited over cake GIF
Image description: a little boy at a birthday party screams in excitement with a group of other children. 

You have to try all the flavors otherwise it would just be rude!

10. When all the cousins look so good you have to take a squad photo.

group of men posing for photo GIF
Image description: a group of three young men pose for group photos in front of a painted wall. 

All fifty of your cousins group together while the parents whip out their phones and try to take as many photos of all of you as they can.

11. When the DJ won’t stop playing shik shak shok. 

woman screaming out "enough" GIF
Image description: Rebel Wilson screams “enough” in an auditorium. This gif was taken from a scene from the movie Pitch Perfect.

I know it’s not the DJ’s fault that someone keeps asking them to play it, but for God’s sake, the rest of us would like to dance to something else!

12. But then your song finally comes on.

arab dancing around GIF
Image description: three men dressed in traditional Arab clothing dance in the middle of a group of other Arab men who are playing Arabic drums. 

You bring out all your good moves as soon as the DJ plays your jam.

13. When the wedding videographer comes around just when you’ve finished stuffing a spoonful of food in your mouth.

girl stuffing her face with food GIF
Image description: Amanda Bynes from the movie “She’s the man” sitting at a table at an event. She scoops up her food and holds a cooked chicken’s leg with her mouth already full of food. 

Excuse me, sir, I’d like to have my photo taken after I’ve finished swallowing my food.

14. When you can see your relatives analyzing everyone’s outfits to see who’s the best dresser.

man checking someone out and being impressed GIF
Image description: Jesse Williams in a scene from “Grey’s Anatomy” showing an impressed look with a nod of appreciation as he looks at something in the distance. 

You know by the way they’re looking at everyone’s outfits that they’re bringing their claws out tonight.

15. When an auntie introduces you to her ugly son instead of the really hot older one you had your eye on.

confused girl GIF
Image description: a little blonde girl sitting in a car looks side to side with a confused expression on her face. 

You end up getting stuck in a conversation with him and have to send eye signals across the room to your siblings to come save you.

16. When you’re trying to get that tabouleh out of your teeth without anyone noticing.

woman picking out food that's stuck in her teeth GIF
Image: a woman tries to discretely pick out food that is stuck in her teeth while standing in a kitchen. 

Never. Ever. Eat tabouleh at a wedding. Or any place where you’re forced to keep smiling.

17. When the bellydancers arrive and all the men circle around them to watch.

woman rolling her eyes GIF
Image description: Judge Judy, from the reality show named after herself, rolls her eyes in frustration in a courtroom. 

If you ever see any men running up to the dance floor, just know that the belly dancers are busting out the moves.

18. When you come out with five Instagramable posts by the end of the night.

excited woman clapping GIF by Originals
Image description: a young woman sits around people as she claps and cheers in excitement. 

Now you know the five hours of getting your hair and makeup done weren’t wasted on nothing.

19. When you’re forced to sit at the kiddie table no matter how old you get.

girl sighing in frustration GIF
Image description: a young Candace Cameron-Bure in a scene from “Full House”  where she sighs in frustration. Her bangs fly in the air as she exhales. 

Until you get married and have your own kids, you’ll always be seated at the ‘kid’s table’ at weddings.

20. When the nights over and you’re struggling to walk back to your car after a long night of dancing in heels.

deer slipping on ice GIF
Image description: an animation of Bambi from the Disney movie struggling to stand on all four legs as he walks on ice. 

This is the moment you regret wearing five-inch stiletto heels instead of the comfortable wedges your mom bought you.