Feeling Creative: A Guide To Your Emotions

When we think of creativity, what usually comes to mind? Maybe the image of an artist adding colour to a canvas, a musician strumming their guitar, or a kid building a mansion out of LEGO. Or you might think of the creative geniuses you admire the most, from Albert Einstein to Lady Gaga. Feeling creative can look like so many different things. Whether it’s art, theatre, film, music, science or more, there’s a whooole lot of creativity out there in the world! Seriously though, how can you NOT be inspired?!

Feeling creative allows us to try new things, follow our passions and learn more about ourselves. The sky is really the limit! Getting into a creative headspace can feel like you’re tapping into a whole other part of yourself. A side that gives us fulfillment, happiness and an appreciation for life. All work and no play? Nobody wants that. So let’s dive thru how feeling creative is great for our mental wellbeing!

A Deeper Look At Feeling Creative

What does it really mean to feel creative? So glad you asked. APA Dictionary defines creativity as: “n. the ability to produce or develop original work, theories, techniques, or thoughts. A creative individual typically displays originality, imagination, and expressiveness.”

As kids, we had so much freedom to be creative and use our imaginations. We made up silly dance routines to our favourite songs, drew murals on the sidewalk out of chalk, and wrote the wildest stories our little brains could imagine. Now as adults, getting creative might look a bit different. We might put our creative skills to the test when we’re working on a group project for school, or in our jobs. Getting creative isn’t just arts and crafts (but those are fun, too) — it’s coming up with ideas! Making something new! Finding ways to improve our lives and the lives of others! If it sounds thrilling, that’s because it is.

Experts believe that creativity sets people up for success and improves their quality of life. Flexing creativity helps with social skills, managing emotions, problem solving, productivity and resilience. Are we seeing a pattern here?! Getting creative solves everything! Kidding. But it does bring us a lot of good!

How Feeling Creative Shows Up Mentally

When you’re in a creative flow, where you’re so engaged in what you’re doing that the rest of the world seems to melt away, the benefits to your mental health are pretty great! Your brain releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical. You feel motivated, inspired, calm and happy. Your mood is boosted. All in all, you feel amazing! And you’re more likely to repeat this creative activity since you know how much better it makes you feel.

Not only does it just feel good, but practicing creativity is great for coping with mental illness or mental conditions including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar
  • Dementia
  • Schizophrenia

If you’re struggling with mental illness, or know someone in your life who is, try getting creative with them however you like! Maybe suggest a paint night, learning to crochet or songwriting together. Connecting with other people creatively helps us feel inspired and uplifted! So don’t be afraid to reach out to someone with similar interests, join a new group and try new things. Your mental wellness will thank you for it!

How Feeling Creative Shows Up Physically

Creativity isn’t only great for your mental wellbeing. It has some notable pluses for your physical health, too! Like what?! Well, reduced stress, lower heart rate and a boosted immune system, to name a few. But that’s not all! 

Getting creative and practicing cognitive skills throughout your life can help combat degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. People with chronic illness can also find creative practices to be helpful with managing pain, reducing stress and inflammation. Obviously, the body responds well to a mind that engages in creativity!

5 Ways To Appreciate Feeling Creative

All right, now is the time to put that creativity to the test and enjoy this feeling to its fullest! Not sure where to start? Hey, we’ve got you. Here are some easy ways to channel all of that creative energy:

1. Do Something Creative

… ok, duh! But our point is, don’t underestimate your creativity or be afraid to try something new. Art has so many forms: there’s painting, drawing, colouring, sculpting, animation and so much more. You could try your hand at some grandma-esque but super calming activities like scrapbooking, knitting, embroidery or calligraphy. There’s also writing songs, poetry, stories. Anddd picking up an instrument, ‘cause why not? Do whatever sparks your interest and creativity!

2. Engage In Compassionate Self Talk

Everyone gets in a creative rut sometimes. It’s also easy to compare yourself to the creativity of other people and feel discouraged. But look, we’re unique and have different strengths. And that’s okay! When you’re questioning your own creativity, show yourself compassion. Remind yourself: I am creative, imaginative and unique. I do ___ because I love it and it brings me joy. My level of creativity does not define my worth.

3. Journal

Journaling is a great practice for exploring your innermost thoughts and feelings, but you know what else it does? It sparks creativity! Try writing about how you’re feeling, what makes you feel the most creative, and the things that inspire you. Putting these thoughts on paper will help you gain new ideas and some perspective into your creative process. Journaling saves the day, once again!

4. Connect With A Friend

We can pull a lot of inspiration from the people we know, especially if they like to channel their creativity alongside us! Call up a friend for a brainstorming sesh. Ask them to send you some motivational quotes or their current fave playlist. Meet up for a jam session or to go for a walk. Their presence can be the push you need to make something awesome!

5. Practice Meditation

Meditation is a method that’s been used to relieve stress and improve mental clarity since, like… forever. Sometimes, you could use a lil’ extra help focusing when you wanna get creative. This practice allows us to slowww down and shift our mindset. If you’re not sure how to meditate, follow a guided practice to get you started. It’s a game changer, trust us!

Thanks for diving thru feeling creative with us. We hope these strategies help put your creativity in motion! Now go make something great like you’re the next Picasso. 

 

Better Understanding Failure and Success

If you’ve watched Gilmore Girls, you’ll remember that Rory faced some harsh AF criticism during her internship that led to her dropping out of Yale. She took some time to grapple with her mistakes. But, ultimately, she came out of it as a hella successful journalist!

Success is something that’s universally encouraged and praised. Meanwhile, failure is viewed negatively (something to stay the heck away from!). But they aren’t the polar opposites that we’re used to thinking of them as. They actually have a very complex relationship. So, what lessons can we learn from Rory’s journey with failure and success?

What Constitutes Failure And Success?

Well, there is honestly no real definition for either. Google ‘failure,’ and you will get “the lack of success.” Google ‘success,’ and it will tell you it’s “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” If you’re even more confused than you were when you started, that’s because your question wasn’t really answered!

You’ll end up falling down an endless rabbit hole of search results just explaining that YOU create that aim, or purpose. And that’s just a long-winded way of answering our initial question: you DECIDE if you’ve failed or succeeded. In fact, since 1936 (woah!), researchers have said that failure and success are subjective experiences. They are determined by both our own expectations of ourselves and society’s expectations of us.

In his 1936 paper, Psychology of Success and Failure, German-American psychologist Kurt Lewin uses the example of a person throwing a discus. On their first try, it lands 40 yards away and they celebrate. Their second attempt lands at 50 yards…and 65 after that. They feel very successful. But on their fourth attempt, they hit 50 again and feel like they’ve failed — even though they just felt the thrill of success a few moments prior! This perfectly shows the relationship between expectation and achievement.

Achievement Is Subjective To Expectation

Whether you’ve placed fifth in a competition — or dropped out of Yale — you might say you’ve experienced failure. And we say “might” because someone else may not perceive that same experience as failure. (Tricky, right?!) So why does that annoying little voice in our heads constantly tell us that we should DO better…BE better? Because we let it!

Rory was so used to being perfect that, when she didn’t succeed in the eyes of a big-time journalist, she saw no option other than to give up. She had put value into what that person thought about her — rather than what she thought about herself (and her personal definition of success). After time away from writing, and Yale, she realized just how much she wanted to be a journalist. So she kicked her ass in gear and made it happen! Her mindset shifted. She no longer focussed on what others deemed “successful,” and focussed on attaining a level of achievement that she defined for herself.

“Success has to do with our expectations of ourselves,” explains psychotherapist Dr. Courtney Tracy in a recent episode of the Truth Doctor Podcast. “Failure and success impact us significantly — and success and failure are also significantly impacted by us. Our expectations of ourselves play a major role in whether or not we let a specific outcome be a success, be a failure, or be a neutral experience.”

So if it’s all about perception then let’s change how we perceive, or define, success.

Defining Success

Success shouldn’t be about being THE BEST at something. Instead, success should be about achieving something that you’ve put your mind to. You may not have that 4.0 GPA that Lisa has, but you’ve raised your GPA an entire half-point in one year. Congrats baby! And you may not have made those cupcakes by hand for the bake sale, but you said you would bring cupcakes and here they are! Doesn’t matter that they’re store-bought!

“Perfection” is impossible to achieve, so try to stay away from unrealistic expectations of yourself. If you start small and work yourself up to your ultimate goal, you can learn and grow from your experience along the way. In the end, you’ll find yourself getting more satisfaction out of your efforts — and becoming more resilient — because your definition of success isn’t tied to one specific end goal. What’s that saying? “The adventure is in the journey, not the destination.”

“Success and failure don’t actually exist except for in the mind of whoever is making that judgement” explains Dr. Tracy. “You hold the power. You hold the power to define what success and failure means to you.”

5 Ways To Encourage Success  

Since success is subjective, your best bet is to fill your brain with ALL the good thoughts. Beating yourself up over something will just keep making you feel like a “failure” (even though you’re definitely not), so let’s evict that mindset and let a more encouraging one move in!

Here are some tricks to get you on the path to success:

Believe In Yourself. Build up your self-esteem and tell yourself you can do this. 

Stay Positive. Always think about the best possible outcome.

Set Goals. Envision yourself where you want to be, and play to your strengths.

Think Forward. Don’t dwell on past failures, but use them as a lesson.

Work Hard. Be willing to put in some elbow grease, because nothing good comes easy. 

Accepting Failure

Failure presents itself in many different ways. For Rory, her perceived failure caused her to doubt her abilities. She thought less of her skills and intelligence, and lost all confidence in herself. Immediately, her fear of failure overtook all logic, and a newly developed performance anxiety led to her quitting school. She felt helpless as her path to success (the one she had been following since she was three years old) disappeared. Much like the athlete with the discus, Rory unconsciously invalidated her previous successes because of one piece of — rare — negative feedback. When you can actively recognize this self-sabotage, you can take failure for what it really is: a lesson!

“People who succeed are not people who know that they’re going to win. Often, only one person truly wins in our own minds,” explains Dr. Tracy. “People who succeed are people that are willing to fail.”

5 Ways To Cope With The Fear Of Failure

Learning from failure can be a lot easier said than done. What happens if you choke before you can even make another attempt because you’re too scared of failing again? Well, we have some resources for that!

If you’re feeling pressure to succeed, here are some tips that can help:

Breathe. Focusing your breathing helps take you out of instinct-mode and put you into a rational mind.

Keep your brain busy. Try whistling to bring your attention away from your worries. 

Rest and replenish. Like muscles, willpower can also be overworked and under-nourished. 

Focus on what you can control. Feeling in control is the literal antidote to helplessness.

Celebrate small victories. Whenever you hit a milestone, remember how far you’ve come.

Following these steps can help motivate you to try again, decrease the likelihood of another failure, and increase your chances of feeling successful! As Oprah Winfrey once said, “failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

To learn more about failure and success, check out “The No B.S. Break Down: Failure” episode of the Truth Doctor Podcast!

 

How To Talk To Your Parents About Difficult Things

Have you ever wanted to talk to your parents about something really hard but didn’t know how? We don’t blame you…it can be awkward AF. Maybe your mom believes she’s “not like a regular mom, she’s a cool mom” but that still doesn’t mean you’re running to tell her about a bad grade, the state of your mental health or any details about dating or like, your sex life. *cringes into the next lifetime*

Maybe talking to your parents about difficult stuff gives you major anxiety. Maybe you’re worried you’ll upset them. Maybe you’re afraid they won’t look at you the same way. You wanna keep that image of a perfect lil’ angel in their minds whenever they think of you! But hey, you don’t have it all figured out just yet. There are times when you could really use some help from your parents (even if you don’t wanna admit it).

Opening up this communication with your parents is super important! (If it’s safe to do so!) They wanna be there for you and guide you through life, even through all the scary stuff. If you don’t feel safe talking to a parent, talk to a trusted aunt or a friend’s parent.

Here are some things to help you talk to your parents about those uncomfy things that you would much rather not talk about, at all.

Practice What You’re Gonna Say

There are a lot of subjects that you might think are off-limits when it comes to your parents. Maybe you wrecked your car, or failed a test. Maybe you’re hanging out with a new friend who has a problem with shoplifting and you don’t know what to do. Or maybe you’re dating someone you really, really like but you’re starting to feel pressure to move faster than what you’re comfortable with.

This might sound weird, but rehearsing what you wanna say to your parents can be really helpful. When we’re panicking inside, it’s normal to fumble what we’re trying to say. So write down what you wanna tell them in a journal first before you dive into that talk. Even practice it in the mirror if that works for you! Ya you might feel kinda goofy doing it, but having an idea of what you’re gonna say will make you feel wayyy more prepared. Don’t know what to say? Keep reading and we will help you put the words together.

Find The Best Time To Talk

Even if you have a super-tight relationship with your parents à la Rory and Lorelei Gilmore, you still might not know how to start those difficult conversations. Picking the right time to talk can make the conversation feel a lot easier. Find a time when they’re not grumpy or stressed out about something. Wait until you’re more level-headed and calm if it’s an emotional topic for you. Then when you find that moment alone with your parents, seize that opportunity!

And keep in mind that you don’t have to tell them in person. You could also write them a note, text them or call them. Whatever you’re comfortable with!

“Are you busy right now? Do you have time to talk?”

“Hey, I want to talk to you about something. Could we go for a walk/drive?”

“There’s something on my mind I want to talk to you about, could you let me know when you’re free?”

Make Your Feelings Known

If it feels like your anxiety levels are through the damn roof right about now, it’s probably because you’re worried how they’re gonna react. So let them in on how you’re feeling right now about the thing that you wanna tell them. It’ll give them the heads up that a) you’re obviously nervous as heck to bring this up and b) they should try to go easy on you and consider your feelings before they respond.

“I wanna talk to you about something but it’s kind of embarrassing.”

“There’s something I need to tell you but I’m worried you’ll be disappointed in me.”

“I’m scared of upsetting you, but we really need to talk about this.”

Define The Real Problem

If you got a bad grade, maybe the problem is you’re struggling in that class and could use a tutor. It could be that you’re having a hard time focusing in class because of something else going on…like your mental health.

If you got really drunk at a party, maybe it was because you were worried about fitting in. Or you have social anxiety and feel like you can’t be yourself in a room full of people who might be judging you. Or maybe you just made a mistake, which we all do because we are human.

Maybe deep down, you don’t know what the problem is. Maybe you need help from your parents defining the problem. Whatever it is, you can work through it. Together.

“I know this behaviour isn’t like me. Lately, I feel a little bit lost.”

“I think I’m struggling in school because I’m feeling ___. I want to work on this.”

“I know I made a huge mistake. I don’t think I was thinking it through.”

Explain What You Need From Them

Make it clear to your parents exactly what you want out of this conversation. Do you need their advice? Their support? Do you just wanna vent? Are you in trouble? By sharing what you need out of this conversation, your parents will know what angle to come at this convo from (and maybe diffuse any potential anger or disappointment they feel towards you *crosses fingers*).

“I’m not sure what I should do. I could really use some advice from you.”

“I don’t need your advice right now, instead can I just vent to you about something?”

“I messed up and you might be upset with me, but can I explain? I would appreciate you hearing me out before you say anything.”

“I know you are going to have thoughts/advice. It is hard for me to even share so can I share first and then you can yell/talk to me about it tomorrow, or later, when I am mentally able to listen to what you have to say? Can you just listen to me for this moment?”

Be Honest

It’s hard to be honest with parents sometimes. But it’s really important to always stay honest, especially if you want your parents to understand your side of the story. Even if it’s something pretty bad, like you stole money from your parent’s wallet, or got into a vehicle with someone drinking and driving, own up to it. If you get caught in a cycle of lying to them, it’s reallyyy hard to build up that trust again.

So make it clear that you wanna be honest during this whole convo, even if it means facing the consequences. It sucks but honesty is 100% the best policy.

If what you need to share with them is in regards to trauma, you don’t need to share everrryyything at once. All you need to do is just start the conversation and be honest in telling them you’re not ready to share all of it yet.

“This is hard for me to do, but I know I need to tell you the truth. Even if there’s consequences.”

“I really wanna tell you everything, even the parts that I’m afraid to say. Please keep in mind this isn’t easy for me.”

“I want us to be honest and open with each other, but I also need to feel safe when I come to you about stuff. Can we work on that together?”

Try Understanding Their Perspective

Sometimes we forget this, but our parents worry about us. That worry usually comes out as anger when they’re yelling at us for wrecking their car, or as disappointed silent treatment after we get caught in a huge lie. They have their own feelings of fear and anxiety too, and it’s usually about our safety and well-being.

“I know you worry about me and just want what’s best for me.”

“I totally get why you would be upset about this.”

“I wanna be able to talk to you about difficult things, even if it’s kinda awkward for both of us.”

Remember You’re Loved

In case you needed this lil’ reminder: your parents love you, no matter what. It’s easy to forget this when it’s time to tell them something scary AF. You might be imagining all of the ways they’ll ground your butt or worse, if they’ll come for you with “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” like a punch to the gut. Maybe you’re imagining the mutual cringe when you come to them about relationship boundaries, or different birth control options.

But no matter how awkward it might be or how they’ll react, it’s alllll comin’ from a place of love. You love them. They love you. So lean on them when it’s time to talk about difficult things! Having their support, guidance and understanding can really help you get through some tough crap…even if you’re kinda stubborn and think you can figure it all out on your own. You don’t have to deal with anything alone.

Have Friends Or Siblings On Standby

If this conversation is going to be a hard one, have friends on standby or siblings that you can talk to after. Having someone to be with after this difficult conversation will be important.

We hope these tips help you start those difficult conversations with your parents. It’s not easy, but it’s 100% worth it in the long run.

However, we know that not everyone has a positive relationship with their parents. We know that there are parents who aren’t supportive, and who in some cases are abusive. The number one priority is safety so for those who don’t feel safe talking to their parents, you can adapt these talking points to any adult that is a mentor or parental figure for you. If you are concerned about your safety, reach out for help from the following resources and consider speaking to a trusted adult first.

*If you need immediate help, dial 911 or your local emergency number.

US & Canada: Crisis Text Line offers free emotional support. Their crisis counselors are available 24/7, just text HOME to 741741 or use Facebook Messenger. Check out their website for more info: https://www.crisistextline.org/

Canada: Kids Help Phone has a free texting service that’s available 24/7, just text CONNECT to 686868 to speak with a trained crisis responder. They’re available to talk you through anything you’re going through, big or small! You can also call 1-800-668-6868 to speak to someone on the phone. Visit their website: https://kidshelpphone.ca/

 

What Is Sexual Assault? Taking A Look At All The Ways It Shows Up

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a heavy af subject to cover. Heck, it’s a heavy af experience to go through! It can leave us with a ton of different emotions and sometimes these emotions even feel like they conflict with one another. It’s confusing, it’s painful, and it can be a difficult thing to come to terms with. 

Sexual assault can also be a hard thing to define or recognize if you aren’t totally sure what it is. Has anyone ever sat you down with a dictionary and pointed it out? Probably not. But that’s why we’re here (minus the dictionary)! We’re breaking down what sexual assault is, what consent is and what it means, and how to help yourself if you’ve been assaulted. 

Sexual Assault Definition

Let’s define sexual assault. It’s actually a lot less complicated than you might think. Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual act enacted on one person by another. So many of us have a tendency to downplay sexual assaults that seem “lesser” to us or “not as bad” because we weren’t forced to have sex against our will. But it’s important to remember that without consent any kissing, touching, groping, humping, or sexual act is sexual assault.

What Is Considered Sexual Assault?

Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’ve BEEN sexually assaulted. So often, people have experiences that just don’t *feeeeeel* right and then they look back to realize that it was actually sexual assault that they experienced. Here are some examples of things you may have experienced, heard, or even said that you might not have realized were sexual assault:

“I wasn’t really into it, but we hooked up at the party.” 

“They just kept pushing themselves on me, so I gave up and gave in.”

“I didn’t want to send them my nudes but they were just so insistent…” 

“I didn’t want to do it, but they made it seem like I didn’t have a choice.” 

“We had just started dating and they said they’d break up with me if I didn’t have sex with them.”

“We’re dating so that doesn’t count. They were just being rough.” 

Let’s expand on some of these situations for a minute. We mentioned texting, and while you might think that texting isn’t a way that someone can be sexually assaulted, it totally can be. You can be sent an explicit picture that you didn’t want to receive, you can be coerced and groomed online (or over text) to send pictures or sexual messages to another person, or you can be pressured into sending sexual messages that you’re not totally comfortable with. This can happen to people of any age, but it is particularly important for people under 18-years-old to talk to an adult about it  — because the person who possesses the sexual texts and images is then in possession of child pornography. 

Where Sexual Assault Can Happen 

Ok, not to get too scary here, but sexual assault can happen literally anywhere. We often think that it’s saved for parties and nightclubs, or strangers in an alley, but that’s unfortunately not true. It can happen between partners, family members, friends, strangers, or really anyone.  

Here are some places where sexual assault can happen: 

– Home

– Church 

– School 

– A party 

– Work

– Public transit 

– The sidewalk 

– With a trusted partner 

– With an authority figure 

– Online 

– Over text 

Oof, that’s a loooong list. It can feel really daunting looking at that and it can feel scary as heck trying to keep yourself safe. But the important thing to remember is that you have the ability to give and revoke consent at ANY time and in ANY situation. Consent is key! And it’s not just “key” — it’s needed, demanded and completely necessary. 

Consent

Consent is a majorrrrr factor in any sexual act. To put it plainly, consent is an enthusiastic and fully informed “yes!” If you said yes but felt pressured, that’s not consent. Felt tricked? Then it wasn’t consent. If you said no, you didn’t give consent. If you stayed silent, you didn’t give consent. Without that continuous “YES,” it’s not a healthy and consensual act. And consent can’t be given by someone who is underage, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unconscious, or asleep. 

Power dynamics also influence consent. For example, if you’re forced or pressured into a sexual act with your boss at work, or a teacher at school, and you don’t feel like you have the ability to say “no,” then that person is using their power for sexual gain. If you take back your consent and the person does not acknowledge it, or refuses to, then the sexual act becomes assault. 

But there IS good news about consent! It can be given AND taken away at anyyyyyyyy point in time. You could be in the middle of having sex and then realize that you’re not into it anymore, you feel unsafe, or you just don’t want to keep doing it. You’re allowed to change your mind and say “no” or “stop” or “wait” or “I’m not sure anymore” or any other string of words that lets the person know you no longer consent. Don’t let anyyyyooonneee tell you differently! You should be in control of what happens to you and your body at all times. 

Oprah said it best — “‘No’ is a complete sentence.” 

How You Might React To A Sexual Assault

Before we get into how you might feel or react after an assault, just know that however you feel is valid. Everyone’s reaction to assault is different and there is no expectation for you to feel any way that you aren’t comfortable with right now. 

Now, with that being said, here are some common reactions to sexual assault: 

Fear 

– Anger

– Denial

Shame 

– Guilt

Depression 

Anxiety 

– Feeling isolated

– Disruption of daily life

– Feeling a loss of control

– Emotions are triggered easily, or not at all

– Lack of concentration 

– Feeling dirty or unclean

– Lack of interest in sex, affection and/or touch

– Flashbacks 

– PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

– Wondering “why did this happen to me?”

All of these reactions have so many layers to them and, like we said, they’re all completely valid. Sexual assault invades a person’s space, their safety and their body. Our minds can only cope with so much trauma and it’s hard to grapple with it all! You might feel like it makes total sense one day and then zero sense the next. And that’s totally normal and totally valid. 

The process of acknowledging the assault, and healing from the trauma, is a confusing and frustrating journey. Know that you are not alone. There are resources available to help you in whatever way you need.

What To Do If You’re Sexually Assaulted 

If you’ve been assaulted, remember that it’s not your fault. Sexual assault is 100% of the time the fault of the attacker. Not you. You didn’t ask for it because of what you were wearing, it’s not ok or acceptable because you’re in a relationship with your assaulter, and you never “owe” anyone sex — ever. Full Stop. E. V. E. R. 

It’s hard to know what to do next when you’ve been sexually assaulted. You might face roadblocks or challenges that you didn’t expect to encounter while trying to heal and help yourself. So here are some steps that you can take to get help: 

Make Sure That You’re In A Safe Place

 If you need to, call your friends or family members and ask for help. Make sure that this person is someone you trust. If you don’t have anyone to rely on, search online for a local shelter that harbours people fleeing violent situations. 

Call A Helpline 

In the United States, RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) is available 24/7 for phone calls or online chat. In Canada, you can find your nearest crisis centre by dialing 411, or through CASAC (Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres). The trained professionals can direct you and tell you what steps you should take next because it can be really hard to know what to do on your own after something so major has happened. But, they’re there to support you. 

Seek Out Medical Attention 

Medical professionals can care for the injuries that you can and can’t see. They can also log any information related to your assault so that you can have a professional record of what happened to you. 

Report To Law Enforcement 

This can feel like the scariest step of all for many people because they have to face an authority figure and potentially not be believed. If you ultimately choose not to report the assault to law enforcement, that’s ok! You do what you are capable of doing and if that means going to the police, great! If not, that’s also totally fine because it means you’re looking after yourself and listening to your needs. Don’t push yourself to do things you aren’t ready for. 

Consider Therapy 

Therapy can help you work through trauma and pain. It can also help you process and cope with your emotions and help you understand where you want to go next on your healing journey. If you contacted a crisis centre or hotline, then they will be able to recommend some therapy resources. If not, you can search online for terms like “sexual assault counsellor,” “sexual assault therapist,” or “sexual assault psychologist.” If you’re trying to determine what kind of therapist you want, we can help with that. Here is information on how to choose a therapist

This is a REALLY INTENSE thing to have happen to you. This stuff is hard and we hope this information helps! Just know, at the end of the day we support you, your feelings are valid, and YOU are valid.

 

*If you need immediate help, dial 911 or your local emergency number. 

*To report a crime against a child, or other vulnerable persons, contact your local police.

 

Coming Out As Bi: Everything You Need (And Want) To Know

Coming out as bi, accepting your bisexuality, or questioning your validity as a bisexual person is a difficult and tricky road to begin travelling. There are no handbooks, no guidelines, or any hard and fast rules that you can follow. 

But there is some good news. What’s that? We have basically written the bisexuality master doc! Ok, maybe not the master doc, but we are talking about everything and anything related to bisexuality – especially the things that other people like to avoid or forget. 

So, cuff your jeans and buckle up! It’s gonna be a wild ride! 

Accepting Your Sexuality

If you’re anything like us, and many many other bisexuals, you didn’t realize you were bisexual until you were a full-fledged adult. Our sexuality never changed, we were always bisexual. It just took a little bit longer for us to figure out. The lightbulb was always there…it was only just recently turned on! 

Soooo many bisexual people think that they’re straight, and soooo many bisexual people think that all straight people fantasize about having sex with people of the same gender. News flash! They don’t! You might’ve played off your same-sex crushes as just “fun,” or your attraction to certain celebrities as something influenced by pop culture. And even though you felt these attractions, you still identified as straight. 

But you’re here, you’re queer, and you don’t know where to start on your journey to understanding and accepting your bi-identity. Maybe you’re just coming out as bi, or maybe you’ve been out for years! Whatever the case is, we’re dissecting it all! We’re breaking it down and talking about stuff that other people aren’t. So, let’s prepare to get a little vulnerable. Don’t worry, we’re in this together! 

Compulsory Heterosexuality

You might’ve heard the term “comphet” on socials lately. It’s the cute, shortened term for Compulsory Heterosexuality. What is Compulsory Heterosexuality? Adrienne Rich wrote about the concept in her essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” published in 1980. In the essay, Rich argued that heterosexuality is not natural, but instead an institution imposed on women to keep them subordinate and subservient to men in society. Comphet basically assumes that heterosexuality is the default sexual orientation of all people. Rich wrote this essay as a way of challenging the erasure of lesbianism from scholarly and feminist literature, and it’s now making a major resurgence in LGBTQ+ discourse (THANK YOU!).

More and more Queer people are realizing that comphet is actually hella applicable to their sexuality and situation. Many of us didn’t grow up with queer representation in the media, and only straight relationships were encouraged and promoted around us. Dolls were for girls, and toy trucks were for boys. “That’s just the way it is,” still echoes in our brains. Nothing was telling us that it was ok to be queer and nothing gave us permission to act on what we felt inside of us. 

A narrative has been constructed in pop culture about bisexuality where it has been looked at as a joke, a “stop on the way to gay-town,” or simply a fake term used for people who can’t make up their minds. All of this also plays into the idea of comphet. Bisexual people are told that their attractions aren’t real, so many of us default to identifying as straight, then end up eventually (hopefully) coming to terms with our sexuality a bit later in life.

Bi-Imposter Syndrome 

A lot of bisexuals face an internal battle because of our attraction to different genders. It’s like we have Imposter Syndrome, but the bi kind. This is when we doubt ourselves, doubt our attractions, and feel influenced by the messages we hear about bisexuality that are out in the world. When we hear negative messaging about bisexuality, it can really impact how we view ourselves! Even if it’s just a joke or an innocent stereotype (like cuffing our jeans). We can still feel like if we don’t do certain things, or act a certain way, that we aren’t actually bi. 

Having a lack of representation can also make us doubt ourselves and lose trust in what our gut is saying. The media we consume, and the narratives within that content, can impact how we come to accept our sexuality — particularly when the bisexual identity is a joke or “not real.”  It’s like being gaslighted by the media. We’re told that we’re just at the pitstop before we “become gay,” or we’re just “acting bi” to be shocking. Ugh.

Coming Out

Bisexuals don’t always come out. Sometimes it feels like we’re living a life shrouded in mystery. Bisexuals (particularly bisexual men) don’t come out to their family or partners because they fear they’ll be ostracized by their loved ones. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone! 

A lot of bisexuals in straight-passing relationships are hesitant to come out. (Hiiii!) There can be a sense that you’re not “bi-enough” that can harbour hesitation about coming out because you’ve never had a partner, or experience, with someone of your gender. Maybe you’ve been with your partner of the opposite gender for years and don’t want to come out to avoid questions or criticism. That’s totally fair! You do what’s best for YOU! 

If you do decide to come out, there are so many ways that you can choose to do it. It can feel like a weight off of your shoulders, but it can also feel like you’re intruding into a space that’s not totally welcoming to your sexuality. 

Biphobia 

Biphobia is the belief that bisexuality is lesser than, or not-as-real as, other sexualities. People can view bisexuality as unnatural, a choice, and something to be ashamed of or looked down upon. It’s often not taken as seriously as other sexuality-based phobias, but biphobia can be just as impactful as homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination against someone in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Studies have shown that bisexual people don’t come out to the people in their lives as much as lesbian and gay people do. We can hold a lot of confusion about our identity and sexuality, and there can be a lot of negative messaging around bisexuality that leads to the development of mental health struggles like anxiety, depression, and more. 

Internalized Biphobia

Ok, so we talked about feeling bi-imposter syndrome. But now we’re going to talk about something that many of us don’t want to confront — internalized bi-phobia. Yes, you can be biased and phobic against yourself…and it feels awful. Like we said, as bisexuals we tend to question our sexuality more than our queer counterparts. 

This is particularly prevalent in men. Men don’t have a lot of bi-representation, so many are left battling their sexuality from a perspective of legitimacy and acceptance. Are they bi? Are they gay? It seems to be more culturally acceptable for women to be bisexual, so men are sometimes left wondering if it’s even possible for them to be bi. We’re here to tell you —  it is absolutely possible! It’s also possible for a trans person who defies the gender binary to be bisexual. It’s all about connecting with a label that feels right for you!

Often as bisexual people are discovering their sexuality, there’s a growing confusion about the emotions and attractions they feel. This can lead to self-esteem issues, self-hatred and other mental health issues. And these issues aren’t helped when the messaging from your family and friends isn’t supportive and loving. 

From Friends and Family

Many bisexual people choose to keep their sexuality under wraps and never reallyyyy come out. You might tell some trusted people in your life, but many bisexuals aren’t known for making an announcement or a coming-out post on the ‘gram. This is because we don’t feel like facing any criticism, scepticism, or backlash from our closest friends and family. 

Family and friends often overlook the attraction to people of the same gender and see bisexuality as a curiosity or a choice. Some people experience their family and friends avoiding the topic of their sexuality, or asking about relationships only with people of the opposite gender.  

We just wish that our parents would support us and that our friends would accept us with no questions asked. When that doesn’t happen, it stings, it hurts — and holy crap does it suuuuck! But we see you and we’ll always be here for you! No coming out post needed! 

In the LGBTQ Community

Bisexual people search for a welcome space in the queer community but are sometimes met with hostility. Bisexual men are assumed to not be ready to claim the title of being gay, and bi women are looked at as “just experimenting.” But both men and women are shamed for being in straight-passing relationships. Even though we’re part of the acronym, many bi people still feel like they’re the invisible “B” in the LGBTQ+ community. 

A study in 2016 found that biphobia persists in all communities. Research has found that bisexual people are marginalized by both heterosexual people and those in the LGBTQ+ community. Oof! Some Queer people see a bi-person in a straight-passing relationship as less queer, and less legitimate, than if they were in a relationship with someone of the same sex. 

The Need For BiCons (Bi-Icons) In Pop Culture

There are many stereotypes about bisexual people that are perpetuated by society. We can be seen as sexually promiscuous, rebels against lesbian and gay communities, and attention-seeking dramatics. And bisexuals are often criticized (and then fetishized) by straight men who see bisexual women as an opportunity for a threesome — as though a woman’s bisexuality is actually a way to play into the male gaze.

Bisexual men are judged by society because they are seen as only just beginning their journey to homosexuality. The male bi-identity is so overlooked, forgotten and looked down upon because of the toxic masculinity that is so prevalent in all aspects of our culture. Unfortunately, so many prominent male bisexuals have been categorized as gay — like Freddie Mercury. So, bisexual men don’t have many role models in pop culture to look up to for encouragement and direction. 

The internal struggle of bisexual people could be made so much easierrrrr if pop culture and media would portray bisexuality in positive and complex ways. 

Bisexuality Affirmation 

If you’re struggling to accept your bisexuality, you’re not alone. Like we said, so many bisexual people struggle to accept their sexuality because of confusion, cultural messaging, internalized biphobia, and biphobia from other communities. 

Accepting Your Bisexuality

If you’re still questioning then think about this…straight people don’t spend all of their time wondering if they’re straight. They don’t worry about how their relationships are perceived. So if you’re worrying about if you’re bi enough, let us be the first to tell you that YOU ARE. You’re 100% bi-enough. 100% queer enough. And you’re worthy of accepting yourself regardless of your dating history, or what anyone else might tell you. 

You are worthy of owning the bisexual label if that’s what feels right to you. Bisexuality doesn’t have to mean that you’re only attracted to two genders either. You can be bi and still attracted to everyone within, and beyond, the gender spectrum. And, bisexuality is not limited to just men or women…you can be agender, non-binary, gender non-conforming, gender fluid, or any other gender expression! If the label of bisexual feels right, then that’s what matters most of all. 

It can be hard to start owning and accepting your bisexuality. Saying it out loud for the first time can be a bit scary! (And if saying it out loud 10 more times is still a little scary, that’s ok too.) So take it slow at first. Only do what’s comfortable for you at this point in time. 

Connecting With Others

If you want to go a step further, reach out and talk to other people in the queer community that might be open to acting as a guide as you start down the path of acceptance. And follow other bisexual people on social media! The more bisexuals you follow, the more you’ll realize that our stories are all very similar in nature. Reading their stories and seeing their journeys can help you come to accept your own. 

If you want to start connecting with other queer people, check out Taimi! Taimi is the world’s largest online LGBTQ+ platform (with over 10 million users — and millions identifying as bisexual+ spectrum), featuring a social network, dating app and streaming all wrapped in one! It’s a safe and secure space to look for long-term romance, make friends, network, or just talk to someone for fun! The best part is that they’re open to everyone regardless of where they identify on the gender and sexuality spectrum. Plus, they post blog articles like this Drag Race review, this list of binge-worthy LGBTQ+ TV shows and this Dark Side of Valentine’s Day post. Taimi’s goal is to create an LGBTQ+ community where diversity, inclusion and love are the core values. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be part of that?!

Learning More

There are also a number of books that you can begin reading to help you learn more about bisexuality and what it might look like for you! Here are some of our favourites:

Bi America: Myths, Truths, And Struggles Of An Invisible Community by William Burleson

The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips, And Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways by Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski

Bi Lives: Bisexual Women Tell Their Stories by Kata Orndorff

Bi Men Coming Out Every Which Way edited by Pete Chvnay and Ron Jackson Suresha

Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu

Representation 

Bisexual representation is becoming more and more prevalent. Apps like TikTok have bisexual content that’s basically guaranteed to land on the fyp of a questioning bi. For years, the media and entertainment industry has gotten the portrayal of bisexual people reallyyyy wrong. But it seems to be changing for the better! 

It’s important to see ourselves in the characters we see on TV, read about in novels, and hear about in songs. It reminds us (and everyone else) that we’re normal! We exist! It gives us hope and encouragement that one day, we won’t have to defend our sexuality to anyone and that we can work towards acceptance. 

We hope that this article was helpful! We know how difficult it can be to fully accept and love your bi-identity. 

Your sexuality is valid. 

You are worthy. 

You’re deserving of love.

 

*This article is sponsored by Taimi.

 

Definitions Matter: Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity

When it comes to knowing about sexual orientation and gender identity (and the Queer Community as a whole) — we’re going to be honest — there’s a lot to learn! There are a variety of sexual orientations and gender identities that heterosexual people might not be aware of. It can be intimidating when you’re just beginning to learn them all and dip your toes into the Queer waters.

Perhaps your friend just came out to you, or your child, and you want to try and learn as much as possible to understand who they are. First, congrats on being such a great person and working to create a welcoming space for them. Second, we are so glad that you’re here with us to learn more!

You’re prob reading this article because you’re not sure of what you need to know and where/how to start learning it. Don’t fret, we’ve got your back! Below is a little glossary of our own that’s full of definitions related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and a liiiiiiittle bit of Queer history, to help you out. 

Also, we know that we aren’t perfect! So, if we’ve missed any terms or have misrepresented an identity, please let us know. Shoot us an email and we’ll happily fix our mistakes!

Sexual Orientation

A person’s sexual orientation relates to the gender(s) of the people that they’re attracted to. This can also include sexual attraction, as well as feelings of romantic, spiritual, and emotional attraction to another person or people. Sexual identity can also depend on varying levels of sexual and romantic attraction. For example, some people only feel a sexual attraction, while others only look for a romantic attraction. It really depends on the person and their preferences. So, here’s what you need to know:

Asexual

Having no, or very little, sexual attraction towards other people regardless of their gender.

Allosexual

A person who feels sexual attraction towards other people. This term was created by asexual people to identify, and refer to, those who are not asexual.

Androsexual

Being mainly attracted to masculine qualities, men, or masculinity.

Aromantic

A lack of desire for romantic activities or little, or no, romantic attraction to others.

Bisexual

Being sexually and romantically attracted to men and women.

Demiromantic

This is when a person has little, or no, romantic feelings towards someone else until a sexual connection is established.

Demisexual

This is when a person has little or no sexual feelings until a romantic connection is established.

Gay

This is when people of the same gender are sexually and romantically attracted to each other. For example, men attracted to men, and women attracted to women.

Gynesexual

Being mainly attracted to feminine qualities, women, or femininity.

Heterosexual

Also know as a straight person, a heterosexual is attracted to the gender opposite them. For example, a man and a woman in a relationship would be considered a straight couple.

Homosexual

A term used to describe a person attracted to the same gender as their own. The term once referred to a person believed to be mentally ill. Because of this it’s not widely used anymore.

Lesbian

A woman who is emotionally and sexually attracted to other women.

Pansexual

A person who is attracted both romantically and sexually to people of all sexual orientations and genders.

Polyamorous

This is when a person is in a relationship with more than one consenting romantic, or sexual, partner. Polyamorous relationships can take many different shapes, and each has its own specific dynamic. Polyamory is not the same as polygamy.

Queer 

A generalizing term used for those who do not identify as straight or cisgender.

Skoliosexual

When a person is attracted to transgender people (this includes people who identify as agender, non-binary, gender fluid, gender non-conforming, etc.).

Gender Identity

A person’s gender identity is what someone expresses as their gender. This is different than a person’s sex (their biological attributes). A person’s sex does not always indicate their gender because, let’s be honest, gender is just a social construct!

Agender

A person who does not subscribe to identifying within the traditional gender binary. Agender people can sometimes see themselves as without gender.

Androgyne

A person who embodies both masculine and feminine qualities within their gender expression.

Bigender

A person who moves back and forth between the genders of female and male.

Cisgender

A person whose sex assigned at birth aligns with their gender identity.

Demigender

This is a term for people who feel a partial connection to a gender but don’t totally identify with it. This identity typically falls under the non-binary umbrella.  

Enby

This is the shortened form of Non-Binary. A Non-Binary individual expresses their gender outside of the typical gender binary of feminine and masculine.

Genderfluid

This is when a person’s gender identity changes every now and again. These changes can occur daily, weekly, monthly, or whenever!

Gender non-conforming

This is a term used to describe people who don’t conform to the traditional ideas of masculinity and femininity.

Genderqueer

Similar to the term gender non-conforming, genderqueer is an umbrella term used to describe people who don’t identify with the binary labels of masculinity and femininity.

Gender variant

Similar to the term gender non-conforming, this is when a person doesn’t conform to society’s idea of gender (i.e. transgender, intersex, genderqueer, non-binary, agender…).

Intersex

This is a term for when a person is born with a reproductive system or sexual organs that aren’t traditionally male or female. This can present in a variety of ways and each intersex person’s experience, or identity, is different. One example could be a person born with male genitalia and a female reproductive system. 

Multi-gender

When a person experiences more than just one gender identity.

Neutrois

This is a non-binary gender that falls under the genderqueer and transgender umbrellas. Common alternative terms include: neutral-gender, null-gender, neither male nor female, genderless, agender. 

Non-binary

When a person’s gender is neither male nor female. Non-binary includes a person with no gender at all, a person with a third gender, or a person connected to the two binary genders. Each non-binary person expresses their gender in individual and unique ways.

Pangender

A person who does not limit themselves by identifying with just one gender, and can even express all genders at once.

Transgender

A person whose gender identity does not align with the gender they were assigned at birth.

2 Spirit

When an Indigenous person identifies as having both masculine and feminine energies. Indigenous people can use this to express their sexual, spiritual, and gender identity.

What is the Meaning of “Queer”?

The term Queer describes someone that is part of the LGBTQIA2S+ Community. Anyone whose sexual orientation and gender identity are not straight and cisgender can use this term to describe their sexual and/or gender orientation if they want to!

A lot of people use this term as a kind of general blanket to describe themselves because sexual orientation and gender identity are complex concepts and can change over time. They are fluid, ever-changing and layered. “Queer” represents that complexity.

Queer is sometimes a slur towards anyone who doesn’t identify as straight or cisgender. But now, people in the LGBTQIA2S+ Community have taken back their power by using that word as a descriptor for themselves. Many people now use the term Queer Community to refer to the LGBTQIA2S+ Community as well. It encompasses more, and helps to include the identities and orientations left out of the LGBTQIA2S+ acronym. Some people still see this term as a negative word, so be sure that you ask someone how they identify before calling them Queer. Juuuust in case!

Gentle Reminders

We also want to remind you that you can’t assume someone’s gender just by looking at them. Ask for people’s pronouns when you first meet them, and include your pronouns in your email signatures and in your bios. These efforts make a BIG difference. 

And please, please, please work to dismantle your own ideas of what gender and sexuality “should” look like, because there is no right or wrong way for someone to express themselves. If you’re wanting to create a truly welcoming space, you have to do a lot of internal work on yourself and deconstruct the heteronormative mindset you might have been raised with.

We hope that this article has given you a good starting point to understand, and learn more about, the many complex identities of sexual orientation and gender identity! There are a lot of definitions here, but we know you’ll become familiar with them all in no time! We also want to encourage you to do some more research of your own to help you learn more. The more you learn, the more you’re able to become a fantastic ally to the Queer Community!

 

Feeling Exposed: A Guide To Your Emotions

Feeling exposed is uncomfortable, to say the least. It’s like all of your feelings, thoughts and personal history are spread out for the world to see! Not only do you feel unsafe, but you feel afraid. The thought of someone seeing you and understanding you is anxiety-inducing and totally overwhelming. What if they see you differently? Or don’t like what they find? What if they reject or abandon you? All of these negative thoughts start to flood your mind and you just want to close yourself off immediately, or run away. Uggghhh, why are feelings so hard?!

Look, you’re not alone. So many of us struggle with opening up for all kinds of reasons. Maybe we’ve been hurt in the past or have trauma that still affects us. Or we’re scared of being judged or rejected by the people we care about the most. So we build up walls to protect ourselves to avoid ever feeling exposed again. But we’re here to tell you that even though it is really hard at times, opening up emotionally can be a great thing! Let’s dive thru feeling exposed and how to navigate this feeling.

A Deeper Look At Feeling Exposed

What does it mean to feel exposed, exactly? Dictionary.com has a few definitions of exposed: “adj. left or being without shelter or protection; laid open to view; unconcealed; susceptible to attack; vulnerable.” As far as feeling emotionally exposed, we think the key definition here would be the last of the list: vulnerable.

Okayyy, so what does THAT mean? Maybe you think of your elderly grandparent, a newborn baby or a cute lil’ puppy. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown says “vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.”

It’s actually very common to feel uncomfortable sharing openly about ourselves with other people. We spend a lot of time worrying what others think and maybe even only showing one “side” of us. Maybe you feel that you can truly only be yourself when you’re completely alone. And obviously, that can be a really lonely feeling. Even if you so badly want to be more vulnerable with other people, the voice inside your head is telling you it’s a bad idea. Other people might not like you for who you really are, so you just avoid that potential hurt altogether!

But even if we think putting up walls will protect us, in the end, it has the opposite effect. When we fear exposing our true selves, we miss out on the connections that we all want as human beings. Something we need to understand is that nobody is perfect. But people appreciate when they can share openly with others, and not just the good things. It makes us feel 1000x more connected with people when we can openly communicate and share the dark and twisty, vulnerable side of ourselves! It shows us we’re not alone and that we’re all just figuring out life as we go. 

How Feeling Exposed Shows Up Mentally

It’s not easy to open up, especially when you have a ton of mental roadblocks in the way. We get it: feeling exposed or having a fear of intimacy can be challenging to work through. If you’re really struggling with feeling exposed, here are a few of the symptoms you might experience mentally:

– Low self-esteem

– Trust issues

– Angry outbursts

– Higher risk for depression

– Difficulty forming or committing to close relationships

– Inability to share feelings or express emotions

– Tendency to withdraw socially or isolate yourself from others

On the outside, people who have a hard time opening up and being vulnerable can come off as cold or detached. They might have a hard time keeping relationships because other people find it impossible to connect with them emotionally. This can make someone closed off feel even more isolated or alone, and even confirm their belief that “everyone leaves” them. If you find these feelings have started to affect all of your personal relationships and you’re struggling to cope on your own, speaking with a therapist can be super helpful!

How Feeling Exposed Shows Up Physically

Just like it negatively impacts your mental health, feeling exposed can harm your physical health, too. It heightens stress and anxiety, causing your body to go through some not-so-fun symptoms. Here are some physical signs you might experience:

– Increased heart rate

– High blood pressure

– Heightened cortisol levels

– Chest pain

– Muscle tension

Sometimes, people who have a hard time coping with feeling exposed or opening up are at risk of substance abuse problems. They might turn to alcohol or drugs and become addicted to this unhealthy coping mechanism. Since feeling exposed can also bring up a lot of anger, this emotion is only heightened by the use of alcohol or drugs. If you experience any of these signs, it’s important to seek professional help before it affects your quality of life and ruins your close relationships.

5 Ways To Cope With Feeling Exposed

Yeppp, feeling exposed is scary. And it makes you feel pretty anxious. Not to mention, stressed TF out! We’ve got your back. Let’s work through those negative emotions with some positive coping strategies! Here are a few you might find helpful:

1. Practice Deep Breathing

You might feel super anxious, overwhelmed or stressed when you feel exposed. Try it with us now: deep breaths in, followed by deep breaths out. Taking a moment to focus on your breathing has actually been proven to lower anxiety and reduce stress. Plus, deep breathing slows your heart rate and provides your brain with enough oxygen to chill for a moment. See, doesn’t that feel better already?!

2. Reach Out For Support

We know you probs just wanna run and hide right now, but you don’t have to go through this feeling alone. Try reaching out to a friend, family member or loved one when you need to have a good ol’ vent session. They can be there to listen and support you, and maybe even offer up some advice if that’s what you need. Either way, just having them be there for you can make all the difference in the world!

3. Engage In Something Soothing Or Comforting

You wanna know what’s calming? Enjoying a nice bubble bath. Curling up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and drinking a mug of hot tea. Going for a walk. Listening to a podcast or watching your favourite show. Doing a peaceful activity, like puzzles, crosswords or colouring. Try doing something positive that will improve your mood and take your mind off those hateful thoughts!

4. Comfort Yourself Like A Friend

If you don’t have anyone who can be there for you right now, that’s okay. You can be there for yourself! Think about how you would want a loved one to comfort you in this moment. Give yourself a pat on the back, or write a list of the things you like about yourself. When we feel exposed, we tend to reflect more on the times when we felt hurt more than the good times. Remind yourself of all the times you opened up and things DID work out, ‘cause there’s probably more than you originally thought!

5. Engage In Compassionate Self Talk

It’s safe to say that when you’re feeling exposed and vulnerable, you aren’t showing yourself the most compassion. Let’s flip the conversation and speak some positivity! Try telling yourself out loud: Being vulnerable does not make me weak. My thoughts and feelings matter. The people who deserve to be in my life accept me for who I am.

Feeling exposed and being open and honest about how you feel is HARD. But we’re so proud of you for trying to navigate this feeling, ‘cause that takes strength. We hope these tips help you along the way! P.S. We’re rooting for you, friend.

 

How To Be A True LGBTQ Ally And Supporter

Being a LGBTQ ally requires more than just having a “gay best friend” (can we let that stereotype die once and for all pls?) or being a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. When it comes to allyship, it’s important to recognize the difference between actions that are performative and those that actuallyyy uplift the LGBTQ+ community. At DiveThru, we recognize that we can’t advocate for mental health without including marginalized groups in that conversation. That’s why we wanna talk about what it means to be a true ally to the Queer community!

These are a few ways you can support and uplift the LGBTQ+ community in a meaningful way.

1. Stay Informed

As a true LGBTQ ally, it’s your duty to stay informed on current issues that impact the LGBTQ+ community. It’s also important to understand how sexual orientation and gender identity are linked to social inequality, and check your own biases and privilege at the door. If you haven’t already, start reading up on Queer history and culture. Don’t forget to learn the inclusive terminology too. In the wise words of Nicki Minaj, “do your fuckin’ research!”

2. Make Space For LGBTQ+ Voices

If you’re a cisgender and/or straight ally, using your privilege to amplify LGBTQ+ voices, and make space for them, is an absolute must. This means advocating for inclusivity in panels, festivals, workplaces, classrooms…you name it. Notice when you’re taking a space that would be better suited for someone in the community, and learn to speak WITH them, not for them. There should always be space and equal opportunities for the Queer community, so recognize the barriers that stand in their way, and call them out when you do!

3. Speak Out Against Discrimination

Confrontation can be uncomfortable and scary, but it doesn’t begin to compare to the hardships and trauma the LGBTQ+ community continually faces. That’s why speaking out against discrimination is 100% necessary as an ally. Whether it takes place online or in public, true allies don’t sit back and stay silent when members of a marginalized community are attacked. Use the privilege you have to call out any homophobic and transphobic slurs, harassment, or ignorance you see. It matters!

4. Listen

This one is pretty simple. Just listen. When you’re called out for your bias and privilege, listen. When you’re told how you can do better, listen. Queer voices have been silenced and ignored for so long, but as an ally you have the responsibility to help change. Listen to LGBTQ+ voices and support them however they need. We do alllll the best learning when we stop, collaborate and listen (sorry, had to)! 

5. Normalize Pronoun Sharing

You’ve probably noticed your friends adding (he/him) or (she/her) in their Twitter bios and wondered if you should do the same. Hell ya, you should! Sharing your pronouns is super important as an ally, especially if you’re cisgender. By normalizing pronoun sharing, you’re creating a safe space for trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming members of the community.

Plus, it’s easy peasy! Just add your preferred pronouns in your social media bios, your email signature or anywhere else it applies and boom! You’re good to go. Sharing pronouns in conversation and using “they” and “them”  when you’re not sure how someone identifies will also prevent misgendering someone. If you do misgender someone by accident, apologize and do better not to assume next time. Always, alwaysss refer to someone as their preferred pronouns and encourage others to do the same. It’s not up for debate!

6. Support Queer Events And Businesses

Showing up to marches, signing petitions and even volunteering for LGBTQ+ events shows you’re an ally who’s all about action. But again, remember when you do show up for an event like Pride that it’s not about you. These spaces are for the community and you’re there to listen, observe and show support.

Also, support LGBTQ-owned businesses, both online and in your neighbourhood. Shop at their stores, eat at their restaurants and recommend them to your friends. Even leaving a good review or posting about their business on social media goes a loooong way!

7. Get Political

True allies also use their voice to advocate, and vote, for policies and elected officials that support the LGBTQ+ community with not only their words, but their actions. This goes along with staying informed on social issues and inequalities that directly impact marginalized groups. So pay attention to political platforms and get involved in those important discussions, no matter how awkward you might feel at first. Your voice, and your votes, can make a difference!

8. Donate

Lastly, donate to LGBTQ+ charities and nonprofits when you’re able to do so. Even better, give back to your local Queer community! Research the LGBTQ+ initiatives and find out how you can donate. You can donate funds, donate products and services, or donate your time. There are some amazing organizations out there that provide counselling, mental health services, inclusive health care, education, residency and more to marginalized youth and adults. They need your support!

We hope this list gave you a better idea of how you can be a true ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Keep in mind your words and actions can make positive changes, so do your part! Now, sashay away.

 

Feeling Sexy: A Guide To Your Emotions

Feeling sexy is one of the best feelings! You feel confident, powerful, wanted and un-fucking-stoppable! You should feel this way allll the time! 

Unfortunately, sexiness is an emotion that not a ton of us feel very often. We can be filled with negative thoughts and self-talk that keep us from feeling this way. But we believe that sexiness should be more widely experienced and felt by everyone. Lucky you, because right now, you are loving and appreciating your body and mind for everything that they’re worth!

Somedays, you just KNOW you’re hot shit! Looking in the mirror, you love everything about yourself. You’re wearing an outfit that you love and your body looks banging. Selfies? YES PLEASE!  

You might be feeling like a fancy person in their house wearing hot af underwear, pouring yourself another martini. Or maybe you feel like a badass wearing leather and walking down the street, knowing that you’re turning every single head that you pass. Whatever the case may be, you’re looking good and feeling foiiine! 

A Deeper Look At Feeling Sexy

Feeling sexy often comes from feeling confident. There can be other areas in your life that influence this confidence. You might be killing it at work and you walk out feeling like you could conquer the world! This confidence transcends into all parts of your life and people around you can see that. Confidence has always been sexy and you are definitely feeling confident!

Sometimes we feel sexy because we’re really vibing with someone we’re talking to (not just in a friendly way…if you know what we mean *wink, wink*). We can get full of these lustful feeling and then think “Ooooh this is hot. I AM hot!” – adding to this feeling of sexy sexiness. 

Ahem. Let’s tone it down for a second and put our professional hats back on. Dictionary.com defines sexy as “sexually interesting or exciting; radiating sexuality… excitingly appealing; glamorous.” 

And you are radiating if we may say so! 

How Feeling Sexy Shows Up Mentally 

Feeling sexy is a state of mind. It’s how you perceive yourself and feel about yourself. You know your own worth in moments of sexiness, and you feel fucking great about it! Galleries can stop collecting pieces of fine art because you’ve outdone any art that was and ever will be created. We know that you know how good you’re feeling, but we’re gonna tell you some of the mental ways feeling sexy af shows up: 

– Increased self-confidence

– More self-worth 

– Increased happiness 

– Frequently practicing self care

Sexiness can embody a lot of other feelings too butttt we only put these on the list. Everyone’s definition of sexy is a little bit different, so we’re going to leave the complete interpretation up to you. Maybe you downloaded a dating app again for a late-night hookup, or maybe you did a cute selfie photo-shoot. You are the ultimate decider of sexiness! 

How Feeling Sexy Shows Up Physically 

Beyonce said it best when she said “Feelin’ myself, I’m feelin’ myself, I’m feelin’ my…” We would like to say that the embodiment of Beyonce was a physical symptom of feeling sexy, but alas, there is only one Queen B. However, what you CAN do is channel this energy and bring it into different aspects of yourself and your life. Here are some ways that feeling sexy shows up physically:  

– Walking taller 

– Exercising

– Making out with people you’re attracted to

– Getting dressed in your favourite clothes

– Taking chances/risks

– Indulging in your favourite things

It could also mean dancing around your house to music that makes you feel like a badass. Is anyone coming to question your sexiness today? Hell no! You’re accompanied by the energy of all the sexy songs ever written!

How To Embrace Feeling Sexy 

Ok, so you’re feeling sexy. We’ve established that! So, how do you learn to embrace and foster the feeling? We’ve gotchu baby!

1. Practice Deep Breathing

Tune into this emotion. Really work to feel it in every part of your being. Why? Once you start to do this, you’ll help yourself learn to access this sexiness whenever you want! See someone you wanna flirt with? SEXY! How did you do that? You practiced cultivating this emotion with deep breathing exercises. Look at you go! 

2. Move Your Body 

This could mean anything from going for a walk, stretching, riding a bike, to dancing around your house to that badass music we talked about! Do whatever your body is telling you to do in this moment. 

3. Practice Meditation 

This kind of falls within the same category as doing a breathing exercise. Why? Because it helps you feel sexy allll the time! Learn to feel this love for yourself with the help of meditation. If you’re just starting out with meditation, there are tonsss of free guided meditations on the internet that you can use! 

4. Engage In Compassionate Self-Talk

Tell yourself nice things! Look in the mirror and tell yourself how sexy you are. Does your butt look great in those jeans? Of course, it does! You’re sexy as hell! Find things about yourself that you love and think are super hot. Frequently doing this will help raise your confidence and help you feel sexier by the day!

 5. Journaling 

Remember why you’re deserving of this feeling. If you ever doubt your sexiness, come back to that journal entry and read what you wrote down. It can help bring you back to that moment and counter any negativity that might be going on in your head. Plus, journaling helps you reinforce your sexiness! 

There you have it, folks! Are you still feeling sexy? We hope so. Now, what you’re gonna do is close this article, be the sexiest version of yourself, and be a confident badass! Now, go break some hearts!

 

Feeling Important: A Guide To Your Emotions

When we talk about emotions, feeling “important” isn’t usually the first thing that pops up in our heads. It’s not the first emotion that comes to mind and it’s not used to describe our mood that often when someone asks how we are. 

How are you feeling today?

I’m feeling important, thanks for asking!

It just doesn’t come to us as naturally as it should! Which is a real shame because who WOULDN’T want to feel important? When we feel important, we feel seen, valued, and loved! It feels amaaaziiingggg to feel like we matter to others, but most importantly to ourselves. 

Now, don’t worry. Feeling important isn’t about stroking your own ego or making yourself feel like you’re above everyone else. It’s about valuing yourself and recognizing your own self worth and strengths! It’s a really positive way to feel and we wish more people felt like it. You clearly do because you’re here at this article and we are SO happy to talk to you about why feeling important is the BEST! 

A Deeper Look At Feeling Important

If you’ve taken a psych class at any point in your life, you’ve probably heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you haven’t, don’t worry! We’ll break it down.

So, back in the day, there was this guy named Maslow (duh), and he created a diagram of a 5 layered pyramid that details a human’s needs. Have a look:

maslow's hierarchy of needs five stage pyramid

Let’s talk about the top tier: self-actualization. This phrase might feel intimidating and it can seem like a lofty goal, but we promise that it’s not as bad as it sounds! You don’t have to go on a whole spiritual journey and Eat, Pray, Love your way to get to this place. This top tier can simply be interpreted as recognizing this feeling of importance when you find your purpose. Now, while self-actualization might be at the top of the pyramid, people don’t have to move through allllll the five different levels in order to get to this point. We can fluctuate between the levels in different ways at different times in our lives, so don’t get down on yourself if you think you need to need to reside at one particular level at one time. It’s not supposed to be a static model of existing. You’re only human, after all!  

Humans aren’t really able to feel the emotion of importance in a vacuum – all alone. We feel important because we get feedback from others around us. When we find our purpose or feel appreciated for who we are and what we’ve done, we feel fulfilled! This is because we can get that kind of positive feedback and reinforcement from others and feel like we’re making a difference for ourselves and those around us. What a warm and fuzzy feeling! 

How Feeling Important Shows Up Mentally 

When we feel important, there are a lot of other awesome and lovely feelings that come along with it. You feel energized and like you’re a brand new person – ready to take on the world! Your mind is in a healthy space, you feel confident and ready to make your life the one you’ve always dreamed of. Ok, that’s a bit cheesy, but you know what we mean, right? 

– Gives sense of purpose 

Confidence

– Happiness

– Self-love

– Self-worth 

– Lifts your mood

Isn’t it super sweet how our mind gives us little extra feel-goods? Like, how nice is that? We feel important AND feel good about ourselves! If there was ever a deal on a bundle we wanted to take part in, we want this one!

How Feeling Important Shows Up Physically 

You might not think that feeling important can show up in a physical way, but think again, friend! Because feeling important comes along with so many other beautiful emotions, these other emotions can benefit you just as much. Thankfully, feeling important isn’t an emotion that travels alone so you get allll the benefits of positive vibes in one little emotional gift basket. 

– Making good decisions for your body 

– Improve job performance

– Improve relationships and friendships

– Increased motivation 

– Improved self care 

– Increased resilience 

Because you feel important, your body and mind get to reap the benefits of this awesome and validating feeling. We want to feel this way all the time! We bet you do too. Thank goodness you’re feeling like this right now. We might be getting a little bit jealous. Just kidding! But not really… 

5 Ways To Embrace Feeling Important

So, how do we keep the good times rolling? We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you cultivate this feeling so that you can feel it alllll the time!

1. Practice Meditation

Meditation helps us focus on the emotion and work through it so we can process it, and then access it whenever we want. If you’re not a master meditator just yet, don’t worry! There are tons of free guided meditations that you can try. Search for meditations on confidence, self-love and self-respect, and away you go!

2. Journal

Write down how this feels. What happened that made you feel important? What other emotions are you feeling right now? This’ll help you live in the moment, and learn to access this lovely feeling whenever you need to.

3. Practice Gratitude

Foster this emotion. Think of practicing gratitude as water sprinkling over the seeds of self-love! It will help this feeling grow into a wonderful garden of warm and fuzzy feelings.

4. Engage In Compassionate Self Talk 

Ok, if you REALLY want to go the extra mile and help this emotion of importance grow, be kind to yourself. You should do this anyway because you deserve kind and compassionate self-talk, but practicing this will really bring awareness to the feeling.

5. Practice Deep Breathing

Sometimes taking some nice deep breaths can help us center ourselves and understand our emotions — good or bad! It’s nice to just take a few deeeeeep breaths and really tune in to our emotions. 

Alright! There you have it! We hope that this brought all the good vibes your way and intensified the ones you already had. You ARE important and you are so loved and appreciated by many people. But you obviously already knew that. We just wanted to tell you again!