The Best of The Tempest: Life edition. Our favorite 7 stories from 2019.

2019 was a year. While in the grand scheme of human history it probably won’t register as particularly significant, it was a year where womxn and femmes, and basically anyone who isn’t a cishet white man, started to find words to speak their truth. We talked about deeply traumatic experiences. We shared pain. But we also shared resiliency. So in no particular order, these are the Life Editor’s top picks for 2019.

1. “I couldn’t speak about my assault for years, until now” by

I couldn’t speak about my assault for years, until now

We all know assault sucks, but to describe it and confront it in writing? That’s something special.

2. “We’re all the victims in a world of school shootings” by  

We’re all the victims in a world of school shootings

In an America where shootings seem to happen every other day, a deep and personal narrative describing the effects of such happens is so important. Even if you haven’t been directly involved in a shooting, the PTSD hits us all in its own way.

3. “My neighborhood believes in walls and privacy, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed a week without a wall” by

My neighborhood believes in walls and privacy, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed a week without a wall

Walls are made for privacy but are they hurting human compassion and sympathy? During one week without a wall in the suburbs of Johannesburg, this author discovered an entirely new side to her neighborhood. But at the end of that week, the wall went back up and the camaraderie faded. Is privacy worth it?

4. “I wish people talked more about this depression symptom” by

I wish people talked more about this depression symptom

Brain fog is a real and horrific effect of depression that doesn’t nearly get enough attention. Brain fog refers to a cluster of symptoms that affect thinking, memory and recollection. Moreover, it affects more than just those with depression. Understanding each other is the first step to making this world a better and more accepting place.

5. “What I didn’t know about life after graduation” by

What I didn’t know about life after graduation

Moving from the freeform setup of college into the abyss of the unknown is terrifying for everyone. We think the real world will offer the same freedom but, instead, we take any and all jobs that will pay the rent and offers health insurance.

6. “Here’s why I’m done helping you with your white guilt” by

Here’s why I’m done helping you with your white guilt

It is not up to women of color to make you feel better about your inherent racism. The everyday turmoil of microaggressions and stress placed on the shoulders of POC is simply unfair and exhausting.

7. “I lost my faith in religion. Now I have to tell my Muslim parents” by

I lost my faith in religion. Now I have to tell my Muslim parents

Something changed in this author’s faith over time. Slowly, she began to listen to music, dance and lose her passion for Islam. Is she still Muslim? Why couldn’t she connect?

Life is nuts but when we share our experiences the world gets a little closer and we understand each other a little better. Cheers to 2019!

Tech Now + Beyond

Has technology ever betrayed you at the worst time and caused nightmares?

What’s the worst thing technology has ever done to you? Last year in the middle of my advanced public speaking class, my computer decided to update, which is annoying but not completely unusual. Computers always seem to have an update at the most inconvenient times.

This time, however, it took five hours to update, and then I received a “disk error” message.

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[Image description: a series of computers explode]
Long story short, my computer never turned on again and my hard drive was completely erased. I was poor and couldn’t afford a new computer or to get my files extracted. So my roommate and I spent hours on the internet trying to build a new hard drive on her computer and download it onto my broken one.

It didn’t go so well.

I lost my school work, some of my articles for The Tempest, and every important file I’d ever saved on my computer, moreover, I was left laptopless for a month. I’m still feeling the effects today. I couldn’t access some of my older tax returns that I needed for financial aid this year. It’s like this nightmare won’t end.

Technology is great – don’t get me wrong, and is helpful in an infinite amount of ways, but sometimes it can hurt us more than help us. Even if it doesn’t hurt us, sometimes it can just be downright creepy, like Siri screaming random messages into the night, or seeing ads for a product you merely thought of that day.

It may be a dystopian ideal, but sometimes I can’t help but feel that our technology is out to get us or at least watching us very closely.

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[image description: woman chews gum and rapidly looks left and right in fear.]
So let us know if technology has every betrayed you or caused you nightmares in this anonymous survey, and you might be featured in a future Tempest fam article!

Gender Race Inequality

Your cliche Facebook post can still make a difference – believe me

Most people think that the term “slacktivism” refers to sitting on your toilet while sharing articles on Facebook.

We all know someone like “Scott” from that SNL sketch with Louis CK where a guy solves racism by putting Black Lives Matter in his Twitter bio. But there is more than one way make a difference in the world. Activism requires time, energy, emotional labor, and a supportive community.

Not everyone has access to those things.

As much as I encourage you to go out and do something, I also know that whether it’s for mental health reasons or time commitments, you just might not be able to commit to regular activism right now. If that’s the case, here are seven ways you can still make a difference — even when life gets in the way.

1. Sign a petition.


Let me explain. No, politicians don’t care about signatures on petitions. Putting your name on a piece of paper or an online form isn’t going to magically change the world. However, organizations that circulate petitions actually do change the world. Asking for signatures is a helpful way for political nonprofits to engage their base and figure out who their supporters are. They appreciate it when you “opt-in” to receive updates.

Don’t put your name down and assume you’ve done enough. But do support organizations that you’re truly passionate about by signing up for their email lists. Commit to actually opening some of those emails, and you’ll find out ways you really can change the world.

2. Make a recurring donation.


Instead of attending a charity event where only a portion of your funds go to the cause or waiting until something urgent happens to make a donation, choose one non-profit that you really care about. Take some money out of your coffee budget and set up a recurring gift.

This takes less than five minutes, and you’ll know that you’re consistently supporting a cause and not just showing up and disappearing.

3. Share your personal stories.

You know that old feminist saying about how the personal is political? It’s profoundly true. If you’re part of any underrepresented group, there’s a good chance that legislation being passed right now affects you. Has receiving health care from Planned Parenthood saved your life? Does being trans affect your ability to feel safe in public spaces? Have you been harassed by strangers because of your race or religion?

You are a person, you are valuable, and speaking up about your experiences helps to show the world that you matter.

4. Vote in local elections.


Voting is so easy, you guys. I know that politics can be deeply alienating, and you might not fully believe in the power of your vote to make a difference. Vote anyway, especially on the local level. Local newspapers and progressive organizations often have voter’s guides to help you makes sense of what’s on the ballot.

Change starts at the local level. Look up when your next local election is. Right now.

5. Talk to your family, friends, and coworkers.


You don’t have to go visit your racist relatives or seek out arguments with people you barely know on social media. Instead, just correct people if they misgender someone. If someone you know makes a weird microaggression against a person of color, have a chat with them.

Again, you’re not going to change the world in one conversation, but you will maybe make that one person stop perpetuating that one weird stereotype they have. And you don’t even need to change your routine to do it.

6. Make friends with your friendly neighborhood community organizer.


Community organizers are already doing the heavy lifting of figuring out what kind of actions need to be taken in your community. These people are trained and have years of experience getting shit done, or at least making moves to get shit done while most people are sitting on their butts. They didn’t start doing this when Trump was elected.

They’re also extremely used to having volunteers flake out on them.

So if you can promise to do something for them, even if that thing is tweeting out a message or making one phone call, you’re helping them meet their goals and be less stressed.

7. Just be a decent human being.


I don’t care how many online petitions you sign, or how many articles about racism you share on social media. If you don’t treat other human beings with common courtesy, your intentions are meaningless. I don’t care if you call yourself a “feminist,” if you treat all the women you date like shit. If you say you support queer people, and then refuse to use a person’s correct pronouns, then you are an asshole. This one doesn’t take going to marches or spending money.

It just means listening to oppressed groups and being critical of your own actions. It means that instead of saying “I’m not racist,” you first stop and listen and examine your own actions. And stop doing them if, for example, they involve harassing someone. 


15 Tumblr posts that will make you totally scream “me”

Sometimes you just need to laugh about the mess that your life is, and that’s okay. Enjoy these hilarious Tumblr posts while we both cry about the reality that is our lives.


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